Blue Monday: How Does It Feel? – A Guest Post by North West by Fife

May 7, 2012, was a Monday and it was sad. Not as sad as the day I travelled all the way to Inverness to see Dunfermline Athletic relegated, but sad nevertheless. Obviously it was localised sadness, isolated around these parts of West Fife mostly, and perhaps a few outposts where Pars fans have found homes in far-flung places. Nothing major, just football. Not even good football – Scottish football! Still, I was sad. Hibs had gone 3-0 up after only 15 minutes. Relegation was confirmed.

Oddly, although not surprisingly, less than a month later and the likelihood of relegation being revoked is growing. Rangers, who entered administration in February, are sliding deeper into trouble.

It’s difficult to know where to start when describing Rangers’ problems or which threat is most likely to relegate or liquidate the Gers first. Right now, after Rangers going to the Court of Session to oppose a one-year transfer embargo, the news is of FIFA discussing sanctions with the SFA. Reports suggest that FIFA’s preferred punishment when a club defies a ruling from a member association and seeks redress in law is relegation. If the transfer embargo is set aside, as ordered by the judge, the replacement punishment could see Rangers suspended or expelled.

Long story short, should the conspiracy to save Rangers fail, for any reason – enforced relegation, liquidation, suspension or expulsion – Dunfermline could be reinstated back into the Scottish Premier League.

Would I be happy? Yes, absolutely, I always want to see my local team in the top flight; however I suspect Pars fans are actually divided on the subject.

Many Pars fans are actually looking forward to dropping down into the First Division next season, especially with local derbies to be had against Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath and Falkirk. For me, local derbies are a good consolation, but nothing more. Beating Falkirk is fantastic and putting one over on the wee team from Kirkcaldy is good too. The derby games during Dunfermline’s title-winning First Division campaign 2010/11 will never be forgotten, particularly Martin Hardie’s crucial free kick at a packed East End Park. There was humour too, none more so than when the dedicated Pars mascot, Sammy the Tammy, appeared in a cardboard tank to “open fire” on the Rovers fans in the away end. Unfortunately, not everyone saw the funny side. Still, Pars fan wouldn’t be Pars fans without arguing with each other about something daft. Overall though, I favour top-flight football to local derbies. Anyway, Hearts and Hibs and even St. Johnstone aren’t too far away, in Edinburgh, Leith and Perth respectively, and I’ve always enjoyed a trip to Tannadice, even if it is located in Dundee – only joking, I love Dundee really.

There’s also a huge financial benefit should the Pars stay up. Dunfermline chairman, John Yorkston, has been a little more outspoken and much more in tune with the bulk of non-Rangers fans than most Scottish chairmen – something which I think is increasingly becoming a source of pride for Pars fans – and, although it’s easy to accuse Yorkston of financial self-interest when Dunfermline stand to gain, I’m absolutely convinced he is not motivated by money. I’m not saying he doesn’t want his club to prosper (or perhaps, given the debt and cash flow difficulties, I should say survive), but he is clearly very interested in the well-being of the game as a whole.

Perhaps that’s more than can be said for SPL chief executive, Neil Doncaster, who can’t or won’t see the bigger picture. The SPL Fans Survey results collated on April 23, 2012, provided an interesting insight. Out of 16,527 responses, 15,782 (over 95%) said a liquidated Rangers reformed as a new company (newco), should not be allowed immediate re-entry into the SPL. Not only that but, in the event of a newco being allowed direct entry to the SPL, a majority of 8,630 (52%) said they would not attend any SPL fixtures at all, and only 1,957 (11%) said they would continue to attend SPL fixtures as normal.

Maybe Doncaster doesn’t believe these numbers, however, in any case, I suspect it’s not the fans who say they’ll boycott that Doncaster needs to worry about. It’s the ones who genuinely lose interest in a meaningless product, with or without a notion to boycott, that’ll cost the SPL. Boycotting probably means the person is interested. Not boycotting, but not going to as many games is much worse. That’s apathy, and it’ll kill the game very quickly. If Doncaster, the SPL, the SFA, and club chairmen can’t spot the real dangers, then Scottish football will suffer. The real dangers being loss of sporting integrity, loss of interest in the Scottish game and loss of valuable goodwill.

As far as I can see the choice is simple:

1. Sporting integrity = short-term loss, long-term recovery

2. No sporting integrity = short-term loss, long-term decline

SPL clubs face a cost for sporting integrity either way:

1. Sporting integrity = Rangers/newco fans not attending SPL games

2. No sporting integrity = other SPL clubs’ own fans potentially boycotting or losing interest

I also suspect that if the Pars had deliberately failed to pay their own employees’ PAYE and NIC for a year, failed to submit accounts by 31st March, and refused for two months to provide contractual details for an important investigation, as Rangers have done, they’d be in the Third Division, suspended or expelled by now.

How would I feel about that? Probably far worse than the trip to Inverness or the more recent defeat at Easter Road. In fact, probably far worse than any Dunfermline Athletic relegation I’ve ever witnessed. Relegation for football reasons feels bad. The relegation-decider hurts. I imagine dropping out the top flight without a relegation-decider would be much worse though. Rangers’ Blue Monday could arrive any day now, Monday or not, and it’ll no doubt be bluer than anything I’ve experienced watching football. The air will be blue for one thing, and beyond that, who knows? I dread to think.

Amongst all this twists and turns in this Rangers scandal, there are a few points I can’t ignore. Points which maybe don’t bode well for the Gers.

The idea that a club can exist as a separate entity from its debts is daft and corrupt. Clubs win together, lose together, cheat together, and go bust together. Doing a “phoenix” on a company (avoiding debts via a newco) is a well-known dirty trick in business. It’s barely legal and completely unethical. In sport, it’s known as financial doping and it’s cheating. In sport, cheating gets you banned.

Finally, for anyone who doesn’t know, Blue Monday is a song by New Order.

All the best

NBWF

—————————————–

Thanks NWBF for letting me reproduce your piece here. You will be able to find more from him in his Dunfermline base, in due course, here.

And if you want to contribute to the blog, please feel free to email me at scotslawthoughts@aol.com.

No payment sadly, but my thanks!

 

Paul

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11 Comments

Filed under Dunfermline Athletic, Football, Football Governance, Guest Posts, Rangers, SPL

11 responses to “Blue Monday: How Does It Feel? – A Guest Post by North West by Fife

  1. Sandro

    Very well spoken from a true football fan. (couldn’t say it better). Many thanks

  2. timerocket

    How does it feel , to treat me like you do(Blue Monday , New Order)
    very apt for all other scottish clubs me-thinks

  3. An excellent summary of the viewpoint which is shared by decent football supporters everywhere.

  4. Drew Adamson

    In my opinion, Blue Monday by Fats Domino, has more appropriate lyrics.

  5. Thank you, for that piece. It gets to the heart of what a lot of us feel.

    My first experience of Scottish football was a Scottish League Cup game on August 22nd, 1964 between Aberdeen and Rangers at Pittodrie. I did not particularly support either team, but it was exciting for me as a young boy on the terraces watching the goals go in, one after the other. The final score was Aberdeen 3 Rangers 4. So for me, Rangers was one of the teams that introduced me to the excitement of Scottish Football which I became a supporter of. I could congratulate any team if it did well, and commiserate with any team that did badly. What mattered was the game as played on the pitch. yes, I would look at their history, and yes I would acknowledge greatness, so I could acknowledge Old Firm performances in Europe, and the greatness of managers and players.

    But, today, Rangers’ actions run the risk of killing my love of the top game, the SPL, and sadly of the actions of the SFA do not help. Already my eyes are looking elsewhere. The man who wants to get you wants to keep your history, but for every tainted year that he gets to keep, and for every tainted match, for every tainted competition, let him remember that it is as a knife-wound in the body of Scottish football. Is that what he wants? It is certainly not what I want, and I can have no sympathy for anybody that would be complicit in his getting it.

    I know that that is what some Rangers fans have said that that is what they would like to see, and some have said that they would then head south to the dizzy heights of English football, but is that what Charles Green wants to do? The only way Rangers might be able to get in to the FA structure would be if FIFA decided to kill off the SFA and ask for the creation of a British FA, but would this British FA want a tainted brand? I think not.

  6. mick

    the whole of scotland feels sick by the cheating .A feel its time we ask ourself what has all the cheaters got in common funny handshake come to mind.If this is the sporting wing of the secret handshake crew what are they doing in business .are the south of england bankers all from the same order it seems to me its dog eat dog out there and the worker is being shafted at every turn even sport this opens up a can of worms contracts all over scotland have to be reviewed due to the state of play also the handshake mob have to be exposed .ma m8 a plumber a good 1 starts his own we company 2 year later starts back at the company hes a good rangers man but not in any orders he swears blind thats how the contracts did not go his way and was not able to do brown envolopes so hes back on the tools sad but true so even rangers fans that are loyal are failing because of the handshake crew wanting all the wealth they cheat at sport so whats the script throw week with them in business its time they published names and positions of all people in orders so we can keep tabs on there pals acts

  7. mick

    you are being robbed blind by the orders wake up and smell the napam .if this is what they do in sport what they like throw week in business is salmond a mason murry walter traynor neil doncaster dallas and every1 in the media and of power in scottish football the refs we want to know have all of these people created there own orders whats the sp on the orders the glasgow celtic workies want these people outed so our kids dont have to suffer injustice in the job market like we did ah wit school did you go to

  8. mick

    a was at a job before and all the lads were west coast rangers am celtic we were chatting and we were talking about how did you get your job a said the jobcenter most of the gers was throw mates and pals handshake crew a manager pointed out a was the only person there that got there job on merit if you hold a position give things on merit its ment to be its what you know and not how you know

  9. mick

    it seems the west coast handsake mob are the most bent in the uk.who are these people we want to know there names and postions they hold .the glasgow fire men retire and collect 100,000 odds then get there job back handshake or what so they are in the services then !!!!!!

  10. mick

    who are these people we need to know there names and there roles in the employment market

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