Could an SFL2 Team Refuse Promotion If Two Visits By Rangers FC Was More Lucrative?

I will start by saying that the prospect I suggest in the heading is unlikely to happen, as I will discuss.

However, as we saw in the Olympics, and previously as example in the World Cup and in cricket’s Benson & Hedges Cup, the rules can be manipulated, within the letter, if not the spirit of the law.

2012 Olympic Badminton

As the BBC reported here:-

“Eight badminton players have been disqualified from the women’s doubles competition after being accused of “not using one’s best efforts to win”.

Two pairs from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia made a series of basic errors in Tuesday’s matches.

All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose, in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.

A South Korean appeal was rejected by the Badminton World Federation,  while Indonesia withdrew an appeal.

As well as the “not using best efforts” charge, the players were also accused of “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.

Because of the use of a round-robin group system, the players, all of whom had qualified for the knock-out round, could anticipate whom they would play if successful or defeated. It suited all four pairs to lose, and we were treated to the players deliberately hitting the shuttlecock into the net, time after time.

“You’re meant to hit it OVER the net…”

Was this within the technical rules? Possibly, although I have not analysed the regulations governing World badminton, but it went clearly against the spirit of sport, namely that one tries to win. (Although there are cases where a team or player might contest a match trying not to lose – the operative word is “trying”, I think.)

The players’ plans failed and all four pairs were eliminated.

1982 World Cup

Algeria’s football team was a revelation in the World Cup in Spain in 1982. The unheralded African team started off its tournament with a stunning 2-1 win over West Germany. I still recall the BBC commentator (John Motson, I think) shouting “Belloumi!!!” as the Algerian struck home the winning goal.

Lakhdar Belloumi – scorer of Algeria’s most famous goal, and possibly the country’s best ever player

After a defeat to Austria but a win over Chile, Algeria was poised to qualify from the group, unless the Germans beat Austria by one or two goals, in which case both West Germany and Austria would qualify, and the Algerians go home.

It should be noted that the final matches in each group, which are now played simultaneously because of this match, were played on different days. Both the Germans and the Austrians knew exactly what they had to do.

As the Guardian reported in a retrospective piece, which I would thoroughly commend to you:-

“In the 10th minute of that match Horst Hrubesch put the Germans in front. Then … nothing happened. Realising the scoreline suited both of them, Germany and Austria effectively stopped playing.

Horst Hrubesch – scorer of the winning goal in the most hotly contested World Cup match of all time…or not

In the ensuing 80 minutes there were no shots, and barely any tackles, crosses or sprints. The game was no longer a contest, it was a conspiracy. The teams’ cynicism provoked universal scorn.

A smattering of Algerian fans in the Gijón crowd burned peseta notes to show their suspicions of corruption, while most of the Spaniards in attendance waved hankies throughout the second half in a traditional display of disdain. The next day newspapers in Spain denounced “El Anschluss” and there was outrage in West Germany and Austria too. Eberhard Stanjek, commentating for the German channel ARD, almost sobbed during the match as he lamented: “What is happening here is disgraceful and has nothing to do with football. You can say what you like, but not every end justifies the means.” The Austrian commentator, meanwhile, told viewers to turn off their sets and refused to speak for the last half-hour. Former West German international Willi Schulz branded the German players “gangsters”.

Did the Algerian players take offence? Not at all, Merzekane says. “We weren’t angry, we were cool,” he says. “To see two big powers debasing themselves in order to eliminate us was a tribute to Algeria. They progressed with dishonour, we went out with our heads held high.”

From all over the world came calls for Fifa to punish the Europeans or stage a replay, but in the end all the world’s governing body did was rule that henceforth the last pair of games in every group must be played simultaneously. “Our performances forced Fifa to make that change, and that was even better than a victory,” Belloumi says. “It meant that Algeria left an indelible mark on football history.”

West Germany of course went on to reach the final where they were defeated by Italy. Perhaps justice was done?

Here again the round-robin system had provided the means for sporting advantage to be taken buy unsporting means.

Maybe if FIFA had charged both teams with “not using their best efforts” and of “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”, as happened to the badminton players, justice would have been done?

FIFA did not.

The Benson and Hedges Cup

In 1979 Brian Rose was the captain of the Somerset County Cricket team. He had in his squad all time great players – Ian Botham, Sir Viv Richards and Joel Garner, backed up by a solid group of county professionals. In 1979 Somerset, as a team especially well suited to one-day cricket, went on to win the Gillette Cup. However, they did not win the B&H.

Botham, Richards and Garner – three all time greatr players playing at the same time for Somerset

That competition started with, prior to the knock out stages, a round robin group stage.

The rules stated that, if two teams finished level on points, the team with the higher scoring rate would have the advantage.

Somerset played Worcestershire in the last group match.

Rose realised that the only way Somerset would not qualify was with a heavy defeat. He realised though that, if he declared their innings closed after one over, they could not be overtaken on strike-rate.

Rose went as far as to check with the secretary of the Test & County Cricket Board whether the plan was legal. He was told that it was, but it was certainly against the spirit of the rules and that there would be “repercussions”.

Somerset batted, and after one over declared at 1 for 0. Worcestershire took 10 balls to win the game by ten wickets. The match was over in 18 minutes which included the 10-minute break between innings. It was an away game for Somerset – one assumes he would not have done this to his own members and paying spectators. The Man of the Match adjudicator decided it would be inappropriate to make an award.

Brian Rose said,” I had no alternative. The rules are laid down in black and white. If anybody wishes to complain, they should do it to the people who make them.”

Brian Rose, took advantage of the letter of the law, but nobbled by the spirit of it

As the great John Arlott wrote a couple of days later “Rose did not infringe the rules, he exploited them.”

As Cricinfo states:-

“Rose was the scapegoat, even though it was widely acknowledged that he had flagged his intentions with a number of people within the club and discussed the idea with his team, who had agreed. Somerset’s own committee immediately backed him, although making clear their displeasure at his actions. They also offered to replay the match, but the crowded schedule made that impractical.”

The TCCB acted, holding a vote on whether to expel Somerset from the competition. The vote was 17-1 in favour of expulsion. Bizarrely whilst Somerset voted in favour of its own removal from the competition, Derbyshire voted against, for no reason anyone has ever been able to work out!

Apart from the frequent involvement of round-robin group stages as causes of disquiet, as has also been seen in snooker, cricket and tennis, each of these examples shows a team or players looking to manipulate rules to competitive advantage. Which leads me to the following hypothetical example.

Could a Team Refuse Promotion from SFL2?

Picture the scene. Ayr United (chosen for this example as they have the biggest SFL2 ground) come to the end of season 2012-2013. On the last day of the league season they are away to Forfar. They need a point to secure the title, and with a last minute goal they do so.

Cue scenes of celebration by the hardy travelling support, already imagining trips to the delights of Airdrie, Partick and Dunfermline in SFL1. The trophy is presented – Ayr United – Champions of SFL2!

However Ayr United, like almost every lower division team in Scotland, is desperate for money. The board have watched Rangers FC make a triumphal procession round the grounds of Scotland in SFL3, filling every one, apart from Hampden, but Queens Park still had their highest gates for 100 years.

Every team which played Rangers FC got a huge financial boost.

It is a pity, muses the money man at the table, that being champions we won’t get to play Rangers FC in SFL2. Must we accept promotion, he ponders.

After all, if we were still in SFL2 we would have two visits from Rangers. We have a ground holding over 10,000 people. At £15 a ticket, we are looking at £300,000 gross coming into the coffers, which we would not achieve against anyone else in the league…

In terms of SFL Rule 94:-

“In the event of any club which gains promotion from the Second Division refusing to go into the First Division, or either of their grounds not being suitable, in the opinion of the Board, for the requirements of First Division games, then either or both of the two lowest clubs in the First Division shall remain in that Division.”

There is the answer! Ayr United can refuse promotion to SFL1 and stay, as champions, in SFL2 for another season, getting two matches against Rangers FC, with the hope of being second in the coming season, gaining promotion via the play-offs, and getting two more league games against Rangers FC the next season too!

They do not have to forfeit the title of Champions. Of course the second bottom team in SFL1 is publicly delighted that it has not been relegated, but secretly fuming that the Rangers FC windfall will not benefit them.

Would the fans accept refusing to go up a level?

Would the Honest Men of Ayr pass up promotion to get more games with Rangers?

Would they like to see their team again winning most of its SFL2 matches, as opposed to losing most of its SFL1 games?

As Ayr, like other clubs, is not a going concern, and only operates thanks to the support of the directors, the fans would surely appreciate that taking this step would secure their position for a couple of years at least. In effect they have secured two cup ties at Somerset Park with a giant, and get to keep all the gate receipts!

All of the above is entirely within the letter of the rules.

It would not appear to be in the spirit, but, as was discussed in the Express newspaper at the weekend, and mentioned by me here there are alleged to be discussions within Ibrox abut refusing promotion to the SPL when the time comes.

Indeed the fact that the rules specifically address the possibility of a side refusing promotion suggests that, in certain circumstances, which are not specified, it is legitimate.

It might seem to go against the spirit of “sporting integrity” but if it made the difference between financial survival and insolvency, who could blame a club for doing so?

I have picked Ayr as having the largest SFL2 ground at present. Therefore the financial calculations are starker with them than with anyone else. However, I suspect that other teams might at least consider this as a possibility, if only to rule it out.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, I do not think this will happen.

However, it is far more legitimate than the courses taken by the badminton players, Somerset County Cricket Club or the West Germans and Austrians.

It would also be welcomed, I imagine, by Rangers FC fans who would see this, and rightly, as a sign of their continuing influence and importance in Scottish football.

Maybe the team which gains promotion from SFL2 will not need the money; maybe Rangers FC will not achieve promotion from SFL3 (or as is more likely, maybe I will run faster than Usain Bolt); or maybe football league reconstruction will be effected over the coming year rendering this scenario redundant.

But, if you were the Finance Director of the SFL2 champions in May 2013, wouldn’t you give this plan even a little thought?

Posted by “Riverboat Gambler” Paul McConville

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38 Comments

Filed under Cricket, Football, History

38 responses to “Could an SFL2 Team Refuse Promotion If Two Visits By Rangers FC Was More Lucrative?

  1. I’m not sure you’re comparing like for like. The examples you gave exploited the rules for sporting benefit, to win. The Ayr example is for financial gain – I do not think any club would ever chose financial gain over promotion and I do not think their fans would allow them to do so if they considered it.

    • Stuart

      In 1992-93, Olympique de Marseille, who topped the French first division were found guilty of match fixing and were stripped of the title, relegated to division 2, and barred from the following season’s Champion’s League. Their place in the Champion’s League was taken by AS Monaco.

      The odd thing about that is that Monaco hadn’t finished second to Marseille in the table. They had finished third. The second placed club had been Paris St Germain who, having won the Coupe de France, went on to participate in the European Cup Winners’ Cup
      instead.

      I’m not aware that an official explanation was ever given of why PSG declined to take up the Champion’s League place when Marseille were banned, but it was strongly suggested at the time that they already had a lucrative sponsorship deal in place specifically tied to their Cup Winner’s Cup campaign and that it would cost too much to renegotiate the deal if they swapped competitions. Big money does talk.

      • John M.

        PSG at the time was owned by Canal+, which also held broadcast rights to Ligue 1. The Canal+ executives were reputedly concerned about offending the sensibilities of OM fans (given the fierce rivalry between the two), and so refused the title.

  2. Robert

    I was speaking to someone from Stranraer and they felt that Stranraer FC being promoted to 2nd, as a result of what happened, was perhaps a bad thing as they were not prepared for life in the 2nd and probably come straight down again. As a consequence they would lose out on the Rangers bonus.

    However, I do not believe that any team in Scotland will turn down promotion or play not to get promotion.

  3. jim62

    You could also have the scenario of clubs at the bottom of SFL1 deliberately trying to get relegated to obtain that “financial boost”??….any club in bottom half by hafway could effectively just chuck it for the rest of the season…could see a record number of own goals????

  4. Some may say a bit contrived Paul, but I think it’s quite an interesting hypothesis, particularly given the weekend’s attendances (Ibrox v the Rest). And don’t be so certain that a situation like that is never, ever going to come up.

    There are other considerations that bigger clubs tend to forget about. I used to train with Clydebank FC in the ’80s, and I heard it discussed on many occasions (not least by members of the family who owned the former club) that their best outcome each year was to just miss promotion to the top flight. The reason given was the extra costs – and chief among them, by far, was the potentially crippling policing costs for when either of the Old Firm clubs visited Kilbowie.

    Now. we can argue all we want about the morals etc, but this was the true reality of running a football club in those days, and I’m pretty sure things have not become any easier since.

    Then again, maybe your hypothetical conundrum helps to show just how ludicrously out of step with reality the modern game is, and/or just how much the Scottish game has been virtually ruined by the top clubs over the last 20 years. Of course, I haven’t a clue what the solution is.

  5. easyJambo

    These sporting “rules” are regularly abused without sanction.

    Just to add to the conspiracy theory on the Austria v West Germany match. Who was the referee?

    ………. none other than our own Bob Valentine :-)

    Scottish referees seem to have a penchant for getting involved in such things as Craig Thomson was the ref when Alonso and Ramos deliberately got themselves yellow cards for Real Madrid in a CL game against Ajax which ruled them out of a subsequent meaningless match, thus ensuring their availability later in the tournament.

  6. This is a situation that i have, albeit pedantically,been peddling for some time.

    I agree with most that the situation is unlikely, but if – as you mention- we introduce a real possibility (hypothetically) of a life or death situation, then perhaps i may not be particularly far off the mark.

    As mentioned by ‘Kenny’ above, there is a stark reality to running football clubs as a business entity that many fans will never grasp. Correctly so, as it is their own hard earned money that funds the club and they have every right to expect relative success should it come their way. As someone that has worked in football clubs i know very well the harsh reality. I remember a certain club chairman preying to draw ‘Celtic away’ in a cup game due to the split gate receipts even although it would more than likely involve his club going out of the cup.

  7. michael

    If reports are correct about the robin van persie transfer to man utd that arsenal will receive additional monies if utd win the league in the next few years, then that immediately compromises arsenal. They have an interest in seeing that utd win rather than any other team. The deal should not be allowed.

  8. Robert

    This raises the interesting question of what Queen’s Park FC are going to do with the money that comes in when they are at home to Rangers?

    Not only do they have a capacity of 52,063, as they play at Hampden, but they are the only only amateur team in the SFL. They say on their website “with no Queen’s Park player ever having received a wage from the club”.

    An interesting fact about Queen’s Park is that they are the only Scottish club to play in the FA Cup Final, which they did twice.

    • Old mate of mine played for Queen’s Park when they won their league and they were rewarded by being taken to the Spain 82 World Cup – he said it was that squad who were standing around Jimmy Hill at the end of the Brazil game when the chinful one had to apologize, tartan scarf round his neck, for calling David Narey’s brilliant goal a ‘toe poke’.

      Of course, there are many ways to ‘reward’ players…

      • Glazert Tim

        Perhaps teams could consider a mechanism like EBT’s for instance.

        Not sure if there is a precedent in Scottish football though.

  9. Glazert Tim

    Paul
    When I first read the story, I thought someone had left the lid of your Tippex and you had been overcome by the fumes.

    However I was quite surprised that there seems from your article, to be rules in place to deal with such a scenario, however fantastic it may be. It is quite amusing that these exist but rules dealing with the ‘I can’t believe it’s not Rangers’ lunacy seemed to be lacking and vague.

    I bet if we looked long enough there is probably a rule that states if an offside goal is scored whilst the fourth official is being anally probed by an alien, it probably stands. It wouldn’t surprise me with the overly vague where important but overly detailed where irrelevant rules we have in place.

    As unlikely as it seems, refusing promotion that is, not anally probed fourth officials, there are clear financial benefits to refusal and engineered relegation. However, as the third division adventure has come about as a result of sporting integrity shining through the gloom, such shennanigans would fly in the face of that.

    Perhaps a fortnight in the lower leagues has given The Rangers (Green et al)) some sporting integrity by osmosis and extending their penance in the SFL as per yesterdays ‘minty lamb’ offerings. Then again, the whole refusal bollocks might be more flannel from Green who is like the proverbial barber’s cat, brimful of his own wind and pish and (according to him today), is ‘always a victim’……..possibly even of alien anal probing.

  10. flump

    Don’t lose sight of the wood for the trees which this one has.

  11. Jimmy S

    in both scenarios (SFL2 team refusing promotion or SFL1 team getting deliberately relegated) there could be a financial bonus for two seasons if they find themselves in SFL1 the following season.

    and conversely Ayr could really harm themselves by getting promoted from SFL2 if they then got relegated from SFL1 which they’d probably be among the favourites to do so,

    so some lower league team could easily end up missing out on any season with Sevco in their league.

  12. So, a post discussing the possibilities of what could potentially happen due to financial ‘greed’ all of a sudden reverts into talk of EBT’s. Interesting.

    Should any team ever attempt to engineer the promotion or relegation positions for their own financial gain then it will be their own downfall, especially among their own fans.

    If anything, and as mentioned by others above – this is yet another example where the rules governing Scottish football are or at least should be, redundant.

    Time to rip the rule book up and introduce clean and concise rules for the modern day taking heed of all the lessons that should have been learned from the Rangers situation.

    • TheBlackKnight

      Can’t see that happening.

      Would it be to change all the ‘precedents’ set, so that no-one else can ‘benefit’ from these “relaxations” to the current rules?

      The rules as they stand already don’t apply to Rangers/ Sevco/ *The Rangers, so why change them?

      • nah, it should be to make sure that this situation never arises again and that any further weaknesses in the rules become strong, matter of fact, situations as opposed to the flowery duplicity that currently exists.

        But as you say, i can’t see it happening either…….

      • Ernesider

        And why are rules/laws intricate, ambiguous and obscure? Because they are drawn up by lawyers of course. So they can make lots of lolly interpreting them, with lots of lucrative appeals etc.

        And who do you think will draw up the new easily understood straightforward sets of rules or codes of conduct, which will turn out to be even more esoteric than their predecessors?

  13. I know Paul’s post was purely hypothetical, but some of the subsequent comments suggest that there is a possibility that clubs might try to manipulate their position in the league either through refusing promotion, or intentionally getting relegated. I find such comments rather derogatory and distasteful.

    Remember, it was the SFL clubs that showed integrity at a time when the SPL clubs (via their board) were doing all the could to minimise the financial impact of the SevCo mess. These clubs are typically well run and the owners are not in it for the money.

  14. JimBhoy

    @AliM with all due respect the problem created by Rangers Oldco was fuelled by the football governing bodies’ lack of fit and proper action. There should never have been such a vote by the SPL teams, there should have been a decision made by the SFA/SPL/SFL chiefs based on their rules and with respect to the issue at hand, no debate.
    Live scandalously beyond your financial means, crash and die, throwing all of Scottish football into chaos, take the consequences, restart at the bottom is surely the only sensible decision. Plus the majority of the Rangers fans also wanted that outcome to spite the SPL…
    Lastly your statement – “Remember, it was the SFL clubs that showed integrity at a time when the SPL clubs (via their board) were doing all the could to minimise the financial impact of the SevCo mess. These clubs are typically well run and the owners are not in it for the money.”, is complete tosh as they voted unanimously for Rangers to go down to SFL3 and not SFL1. So why aren’t the knives out for all those SFL clubs who voted Rangers to the bottom of the pile…?
    Selective irrational discrimination by Rangers and they have a man running the club now who seems to epitomise that theory to the detriment of his club’s general standing in football. He knows how to manipulate a desperate support and is playing that game very well in this short term.

  15. Jimmy S

    re: Lastly your statement – “Remember, it was the SFL clubs that showed integrity at a time when the SPL clubs (via their board) were doing all the could to minimise the financial impact of the SevCo mess. These clubs are typically well run and the owners are not in it for the money.”, is complete tosh as they voted unanimously for Rangers to go down to SFL3 and not SFL1. So why aren’t the knives out for all those SFL clubs who voted Rangers to the bottom of the pile…?

    why is it tosh?

    they didn’t vote sevco to the bottom of the pile purely on financial considerations, they simply refused to make an exception and bend/break the rules as the SPL wanted.

    surely an example of sporting integrity. rangers were lucky they were allowed back in at all.

    • JimBhoy

      I didn’t say they did (vote on a financial principle), read my post again, we are on the same page… What is tosh, is that the blogger above suggests the SFL showed integrity that the SPL did not… That was my point if not clear my apologies… Both SPL and SFL voted in a similar fashion on the Rangers issue, at the time the only real mention of anything Fiscal came from the press following the lead of Reagan and Doncaster (financial armageddon).. I cannot disagree with your last statement. :)

  16. Cregganduff

    Jimmy S

    “they didn’t vote sevco to the bottom of the pile purely on financial considerations, they simply refused to make an exception and bend/break the rules as the SPL wanted.

    surely an example of sporting integrity. rangers were lucky they were allowed back in at all.”

    Agree with you Jimmy.

  17. Robert

    Kenny McCaffery in response to my post in which I mentioned amateur team Queen’s Park said

    “Of course, there are many ways to ‘reward’ players…”

    This raises the interesting question, for professional and amateur players, as to what these “many ways” actually are (I am assuming that Kenny was hinting at something more than just EBTs)?

  18. Jacko.

    For teams settling for results without trying to win look no further than Scotland, season 2004-05. Old rangers were perfectly entitled to score a goal and sit back before anyone jumps on this as anti-Old rangers. Aberdeen would disagree though. However what do we make of Hibs effectively tacitly agreeing to accept a 1-0 defeat so long as Old rangers did not pursue more goals. Avoiding a heavy defeat allowed Hibs to qualify for Europe ahead of Aberdeen. Yes, Old-rangers were entitled to do as they did and I don’t see any law to stop Hibs doing what they did. But wasn’t that our equivalent of W. Germany v Austria ? If you stay on your side of the halfway line we’ll stay on ours. You don’t try to score and we won’t try to score. Now before I am seen as a paranoid CFC fan Celtic lost the league that day due to their own stupidity. They had it in their own hands and threw it away. Much as Hearts had the league in their own hands in ’85. But from Aberdeen’s perspective they could reasonably expect both teams to compete and if a 4-0 resulted then good for Aberdeen. Aberdeen needed the teams on the pitch to compete and hopefully a result in their favour would be the outcome. Celtic just had to handle their own business. The two teams effectively said this suits us both so let’s stop trying.

    And before this results in whatabouteries over teams fielding weakened teams much as often occurs in the last round of games in the CL leagues. Those teams are free to do so to protect their squad. That is why they have a squad. They are under no obligation to play player X or Y in any game. But if they play player A or B you expect full commitment to the game at hand. Hibs could not have fielded a weakened team for fear of losing heavily. They fielded their best team and they simply sat back at 1-0. Or whatabout a team leading 3-0 from the first leg and sitting back so as not to lose heavily in the second leg. Well in that scenario the opponents are trying to score 4 goals. We do not have two teams settling for a mutually acceptable result. Was that match fixing ?

    Aberdeen were the true victims of that scenario, not Celtic.

    But then that season was in the midst of the EBT scandal so perhaps there may be more to be written on that chapter of Scottish football history.

    Jacko.

    • Was it match fixing? To be honest, yes it bloody well was. Similar to the Olympic Badminton farce that we had only a few weeks ago. The biggest problem with football in all of the above situations that you have mentioned is proving it. Don’t get me wrong, we all KNOW it is happening and we have all seen it with our own eyes but actually proving it is a remarkably difficult thing to do.

      In my opinion,and in the midst of this sporting integrity’ row that has taken over Scottish Football in recent times – i think it makes an absolute mockery of the sporting spectacle and therefore removes any integrity. Football is a sport,and although i agree that this strategy can be viewed as tactical formality it kinda turns the game into a farce, especially for those paying to watch it.

      It seems inevitable that these type of situations will always arise in the game, such is the nature of the beast. It is difficult to remove that element of ‘if it suits us both then lets roll with it’. It is the problem with league set-up football.

      It may not be corrupt match-fixing but it still does not sit well with me. Sport should be about excitement, not convenient politics.

  19. Tam Makondi

    How could 2 visits from a dodo team be more lucrative? When are people going to get it into their heads that r4ngers no longer exist?

  20. ecojon

    Celtic – ya dancer :)

    • ecojon

      Nice to see that the ire must have spread to the European Footballing Authorities as well since it appears there is no interest in the co-efficient – how sad. I predict that if Celtic get through to the Group Stages that we will hear a rousing speech from the Ibrox battlements warning they will turn their back on Euro competitions if they don’t stop ‘punishing’ Rangers. But what do I hear from the wings where the mystery shareholders lurk: ‘Oh no you don’t as we love Euro money’.

      So maybe the thumb’s down is just pure hatred or jealousy of Celtic – which is sad as well.

      Not just for the team but for fans of various teams who lose out seeing Euro competition when the co-efficient drops. I have always wished Rangers well in Euro competitions for that reason as it is good for Scottish Football. It seems that Scottish Football is only good for one team when it is winning by any method available.

  21. Robert

    The Scottish Cup, prior to the semi-finals and final, presents an interesting case where it may be more financially beneficial for a club to draw rather win as a draw would result in a replay.

    I have heard of occasions when the bonus, which I assume is determined primarily by those interested in the finances of the club, has been higher for a draw than for winning.

    • Althetim

      Robert, regarding Scottish Cup replays being financially beneficial, there is a belief that back in the early 1900′s Celtic & Rangers colluded to fix matches in order to derive extra income from replays and that this behaviour spawned the “Old Firm” tag in the first place

      Off topic but funny – the best definition of the “Old Firm” I can find is this:

      Scottish, meaning: Ingenious idiot-identification scheme which tags halfwits, criminals, thugs and assorted neerdowells voluntarily in blue or green-and-white garments, making them easier for the rest of us to avoid.

      (I’m a Celtic fan, but that is highly amusing)

    • ecojon

      @Robert

      I would think in this day and age with international football gambling rings particularly in the Far East being uncovered and all the spot-bet fixing which seems to be hitting various sports that any football club that pays a bigger bonus for a draw would suffer serious retribution from Scottish footballing authorities for bringing the game into disrepute by not trying their hardest on the field of play.

      Of course players would need to have some integrity and refuse to accept this and if they feel unable to step forward then they either report the matter to their union or become a whistleblower even anonymously.

  22. ecojon

    @Althetim

    You might need to change the definition as I think when Sports Direct takes over we will see a new orange and blue strip just to show they are like Green totally in tune with the fans so to speak.

    I also think that adding the word ‘minority’ is required as we should never forget that it is a minority of both supports and I doubt that many in that minority have football as their main interest.

    I was fascinated on the darkside recently with all the people claiming to have bought tickets that didn’t know how to get to Ibrox and didn’t know where best to park or what public transport was available.

    Being charitable I thought this was just an element of the vigorous PR campaign being mounted. The latest move and I can’t figure out if this is PR related but there are moves afoot to set-up a new Rangers website with all sorts of feeds from the official site being talked about but with a freedoom to report things from the fans’ point of few in a way that the official site can’t. I shudder to think what will be said on the site but I suppose it will be a test of Green’s apparently open-arms welcome to Ibrox fans and possibly the other boys in blue who will no doubt be scrutinising the content.

    • ecojon

      I agree with you but this wasn’t my definition – I am merely copying a quote from someone possessing a sharper wit than me.

      I still think it’s funny.

      Reports of the new Ibrox faithful requiring directions to Mordor are even funnier. Who are these people? I demand to know!

  23. listentoyerda

    C,mon Who is Really interested if Ayr or who ever refuse promotion? or if The Rangers new team wear orange or blue strips. the Old team have already done it! I,m just happy we won,t see That team in the same league as us for at least another 4 seasons! Now we can say without contradiction We Are In a Different League! It also looks like we are stepping up to the Champions League as well! A different League Indeed! Luvin It!

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