GLF 52: Gavin sets the scene.
Amid all the bizarre ground-sharing deals being struck before the last SPL meeting, it suddenly became more apparent how close Motherwell were to going down - and possibly bust - last summer.When you look back at the major events in the history of the club, a certain board meeting at Brockville may be one of the most important.The one where the Falkirk directors decided that their best bet would be to shelve the initial negotiations with Dunfermline and bid to share with Airdrie.
It appears we were saved from relegation last season simply because Falkirk chose the wrong ground to shareAny decision to move to Airdrie is surely a crazy one, but that one may just have saved Motherwell from going down the tubes. There was obviously going to be a problem with their guarantees of having a lease given that their deal was with a financial outfit that hadn't secured the purchase of the ground from North Lanarkshire Council.The Council I'm sure were under pressure to oppose the deal and offered no guarantees that Falkirk would be able to fulfill their fixtures.
Less than a year later Falkirk are theoretically allowed to share with the Pars and Clyde agree to share with Kilmarnock.What a ridiculous situation the 10,000-seat rule is when you consider that, next season, Clyde's all - seated ground could be sitting unused while they play at Rugby Park, a journey longer not only for their fans but for the opposition fans and one which could financially cripple them.I know the rule is tied in with the Taylor Report and the SPL inherited it - although they should have tried to publicise this fact before the other week - but to make sides install seats that will only be in use three times a season is ridiculous.
There has to be some sort of rule that protects the clubs, like Motherwell, who invested in their all-seated stadium while others, like Falkirk, failed to act.
But there has to be a less stringent criteria than a 10,000 capacity stadium, especially when you consider that Rangers and Celtic fans will be able to watch their heroes, and Frank de Boer, on the TV whenever their teams are away from home now anyway.
There also has to be some consideration of the clubs involved. When the Taylor Report came out, its rules differentiated between clubs in the top division and the lower leagues. So why should part - time Queen of the South face having to build a 10,000 seat stadium given their history ?The whole point of having a number of divisions is that there is a prospect of teams moving up and down, teams are rewarded. Without rewards there is no real point in continuing to strive for the First Division title, and while there is no real threat to clubs in the SPL ( can anyone see Clyde surviving if they do go up ? ), the league is in danger of going stale .
Obviously I'm glad Falkirk made the wrong choice last season, and because it was Falkirk, who were in the Premier League 10 years ago and should have sorted their stadium out, I don't think Motherwell had any reason to feel guilty. But the SPL, the SFL and the SFA should really take a look at their inability to address the problems facing the Scottish game and consult with clubs to come to an agreement over stadiums which is fair.
The shocking injustice of football's disciplinary system couldn't have been
more apparent in the past couple of months.John Kennedy was deliberately maimed by a fellow professional minutes into his Scotland debut, yet what happened to the perpretator ?Nothing, at least nothing yet.
Playerswho raise their arms, no matter how aggressively,get hauled before a committee of men in suits, yet the Romanian Ganea has had no such citation.I was sitting just yards away from the incident and you could clearly see Ganea was out to hurt Kennedy because he had the temerity to lauch into a robust - but fair - tackle.
Anyone who puts in a challenge like Ganea's should be banned for however
long his victim is on the sidelines.It's easy to tell a tackle that is late but a genuine attempt to play the ball - and a deliberate assault like that.Ihope Celtic do go ahead with legal action against him - the SFA should have made more of it though. But what consolation will financial compensation be to Kennedy, who was just about to make a big name for himself.
Apart from McFadden's brilliant goal and display, there wasn't much to cheer on the night and that incident left a bitter taste. Scotland needs all the good players it can get for the national team to rediscover its ability to qualify for World Cups and European Championships.Weeks later Fifa docked six points from Cameroon's World Cup qualifying total because they wore the wrong kit.So who's punished there ?Players who should be playing at World Cup finals, fans who should be seeing their country there.All because Nike or whoever came to an agreement with some officials.
Negotiations will more than likely still be taking place between the club and the out-of-contract players at Fir Park.Surely the priority is to get Keith Lasley signed up andhopefully we'll be seeing him in the middle of the park in the future.He can do a good job out wide, but he really gels the play together in the middle of the park, when
the pitch allows that is.
Hopefully Derek Adams will sign too as he works his butt off for the club and I'd like to see Leitch back for another season if his body holds out.Unless I'm wrong Gary Bollan was signed on an 18-month deal which is quite bizarre seeing the shape of him. At least he can look forward to landing a role in a Bad Manners tribute band if all else fails.Jason Dair has done okay, but he's failed to totally convince me.He looks like he needs a rocket up his arse, too content to stay on the fringes of the game, he should be prepared to make more runs and make himself available when he's playing wide midfield.He might keep improving though, he wasn't getting a game at all at Dunfermline before he came here.Unless players go down south or the Old Firm take Hammell or Clarkson, I can't see any leaving for more bucks.Every Scottish side is in the position we are in, cutting costs.The Bank of Scotland have been told by Halifax to stop bankrolling the clubs, and apparently Aberdeen are closest to following Dundee and Livi into the dreaded administration.So I can't see them tempting Adams with cash - but he might fancy playing for his local team.
Just how pointless are Livingston ?Formed from Meadowbank Thistle, who nobody really went to see, who were themselves formed from a works team.They reach theirfirst cup final - and are supported by a maximum of 7,000 fans.They take about 100 fans to away games, doing other clubs out of money, and their home support is almost matched by away fans - at least sometimes when Motherwell visit.So how did a club like this achieve their status as cup winners, as an established top-league side, as European qualifiers ?
By using the Bank of Scotland's money to pay a host of foreign players. Fantastic. As far as I'm concerned they are depriving a proper club of a place in the SPL and depriving other teams of the revenue of decent away supports.And depriving Scottish players from making it.I know Motherwell's finances were much the same, but our fall was precipitated by a man who wanted to do something for his local club, and he has suffered the vast majority of the losses.
What a waste of a 10,000 seated stadium too.
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