GLF 52: Graham tells it as he sees it.
A View From Behind The Goals
FORMER PLAYERS - I am now getting truly fed up with some of the nine former players who were made redundant constantly banging on about how hard they've been treated at getting only 20p in the pound.
Well maybe they should be thinking if the action of putting us into administration hadn't been carried out they may well have got nothing if the club had eventually gone into liquidation rather than merely administration. I know it's a bitter blow but it happens every day to people in industry ( just ask me !! ).
I may be a bit cynical but I am not 100% sure that the players are not manipulated by the media given that Mark Brown is always being quoted as being bitter about what happened to him. Knowing him he is one of the few who seems to have moved on and settled in another club and getting on with his life.
Hopefully this five minute wonder will have blown over in a matter of months when we finally come out of administration and move on, and maybe Dundee and Livingston can be picked on..
SPL RULES - good to know that the SPL rules are hard and fast and applied to all equally. Last season Falkirk couldn't come up, thankfully, because they couldn't ground share with Airdrie etc.but its now ok for everybody to share with anybody no matter how far they are prepared to travel ( including Falkirk ).
I find it hard to believe that Falkirk fans will want to travel to Dunfermline for a home game and what about the vast Clyde army heading down the A77 to Kilmarnock - they'll only need to open one Stand at Rugby Park for this move. The worst of all of them is that Inverness are prepared to travel to Aberdeen to help get into the SPL.
Writing in this fanzine for almost fifteen years I still find it outrageous that the people who run our game can make decisions without thinking of their fans.
The SPL also seem to have ripped up the blueprint that we were sold at the outset, Under 21 League - gone, winter break - gone, top 6 split - almost gone! With the latest suggestion being that we play the top 6 split games before the rest of the season !!
So where doesthis leave us, back at square one as far as I can see with an uncompetitive 12 team league that's heading nowhere and no grand plan to take us forward. We now seem to have a reliance on a TV deal where the sums don't seem to add up, will we ever get enough to allow them make any money from the deal.Or will the whole deal bring down Setanta, who have put their whole business up as collateral, as well as the clubs who are skating on financial thin ice.It's a scary thought going forward......
Maybe one day my favourite hobby horse will actually happen and we'll go back to a League that is simple to understand,one with 16 teams in it playing each other twice, giving 30 games and no need to have problems with the fixture congestion that we have ended up with this season.
The argument against this is that there will be too many meaningless fixtures,well look at the games we have been playing this season-if you take away the false "excitement" of the top six there aren't many meaningful games this season.Even by the time we got to the split, the title was over, relegation was decided and third place was decided !!Leaving the last five games for EVERY team as meaningless, surely it couldn't get any worse if we moved to 16 teams..
Also loved the way they handled the last few fixtures before the split, after we went out of the Cup to ICT and Dunfermline went through it would surely not have been too difficult to come up with a new date for the SPL game between ourselves and the Pars.But even giving the SPL a month, it took them until the last minute to decide when it should be.
I guess they were hoping we could've sealed the top 6 spot earlier and they could've waited until after the spit.Then the Pars made it more confusing by not playing Hibs in the week running up to the semi -final.I can understand why they may have wanted to do this, as a win over Inverness would have ensured a European place, with them unlikely to catch Hearts in third.
Then, of course, the Pars choose to moan about the fixture pile up, despite the fact that they in part caused the problem. It makes me think that there needs to be a shake up at the top of the SPL and they should bring in people who are in touch with real fans.
They also made, in my opinion, a hash of releasing the fixtures for the last five games by waiting until the Monday to release them, when top and bottom six teams were known straight after our Dunfermline game.
Why not get them out into the public domain as soon as possible and let people like fanzine and programme editors get their plans in place......
BEST CHANT OF THE SEASON - with the Rangers game moved to the Sunday,I took the opportunity to make a trip to the Riverside again to see my English side Boro, Carling Cup Winners 2004, take on Cup Final opponents Bolton. Not long after the Boro went 2-0 up the locals started to taunt their visitors by starting to sing, "Stand Up If You Won the Cup..." Certainly seemed to upset the visiting fans..
DUNDEE - After proposing that they need to share with Dundee United to survive next season I had to laugh when I heard that a deal had been struck to allow them to stay at Dens Park for at least another season.I know that it probably makes sense for the Dundee fans, but sadly it looks as though they will be the people who pay for the privilege as their ticket prices are likely to rise by 25%.
This seems typical,it wasn't the fans that landed the club in financial difficulty but the people who run the club,but it's the fans that end up paying for the excesses of the men in charge.This, despite the fact that the Dee4Life campaign had already raised somewhere in the region of £160,000 for undersoil heating at Dens,they are now being asked for more.
It all sounds similar to the situation at Hibs where it's believed that the banks insist that they charge £21 for admission and as a result has driven many people away from Easter Road.The same thing could happen at Dens and it could have a negative effect rather than the positive one they are looking for.
This already seems strange when people are disappearing from the Stands every year in the SPL.Rather than trying to come up with a long term plan to bring people back into grounds the answer always seems to be put the prices up to compensate for the missing fans, but this could be a vicious circle that could be extremely hard to break.
RULES AND REGULATIONS - I am sure that I am not the only one who is getting
confused with the offside rules nowadays ( as well as a few other rules ).I believe strongly that one of the reasons that football is so popular is that the rules were simple making the game easy to play, watch and importantly officiate.
On offside I would go back to the idea that if you are in an offside position you are offside.The original ruling stated that you were offside if you were seek to gain an unfair advantage,for me if you were in an offside position you were gaining an unfair advantage, and if you weren't why were you there in the first place !!
Lets take the scenario of the attacker attempting to block a keeper's kick out, and then trotting back and is deemed not to be offside as he is running back.BUT he has gained an unfair advantage by trying to press the keeper,therefore I believe this should be seen as offside.
I also believe that the constant tinkering with the laws doesn't help the officials as they end with too much to think about.Let's get the rules back to basics and take some of the pressure off the officials-yes that was a supportive statement towards officials from me..
GOALKEEPER'S - I always find it funny the way a keeper gets slaughtered for one mistake in a game, particularly if it leads to a goal. In the Hearts game early in April Gordon Marshall wasn't too clever at the goal, and immediately a minority of Well fans were on his case. As usual these people don't see the mistakes made all over the park by other players, or the series of saves that kept us in the game before we got our equaliser.
It's almost as if a keeper has to be super human and make NO mistakes at all, but this will never happen. Within the week I saw Casillas of Real Madrid ( v Osasuna ) and Van Der Saar of Fulham ( v Amoruso's Blackburn Rovers ) make mistakes that led to goals, and I don't think that anybody would say they were poor keepers.
Maybe we just need to view a mistake by a keeper with a degree of realism and understand that these things will happen and in Marshall's case I think he has done more to keep us in games more often than not.
It'll be interesting to see what happens during the summer with squads likely to change at many of the clubs.Livi are already letting the " crown jewels " go, with Andrews already on his way to Ibrox.Dundee will lose more good players,Novo and Speroni possibly.What will Paterson do with Aberdeen having turned his squad round about three times already in just over 18 months - will he ever get it right ?
What team will come up and will they provide a challenge at all - Clyde are an ageing side with Andy Smith and Alan Kernaghan not likely to worry SPL teams, Inverness would struggle to hold out the way they have in cup ties for a full season in the SPL.
Hopefully if we hold on to most of our squad we will push on and build on our top six finish of this season and go for a UEFA Cup place.
OUT OF ADMINISTRATION - I'm not sure I really understand what the implication of us coming out of administration really means ! Listening to Terry Butcher ( and thinking logically) it means no change to the way the club is run. For every pound that comes in we can spend £0.99, this way we won't end up in trouble as we did before.
Although he did say it may be that we can possibly attract new sponsors and hopefully new players to the club.
On a final administration note, you can't leave the subject without saying a big thank you to two people. Firstly its to Bryan Jackson for his stewardship during this difficult time and secondly to John Boyle for writing off the debt that he had run up ( I know that some say he was the villain in the first place ).
Here's to the future, and guess what it's Claret and Amber...
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