Yesterday, Keith Jackson, of the Daily Record, sat down with Neil Doncaster of the SPFL, to discuss the league’s brand new sponsorship deal, with Ladbrokes.
In the course of the meeting, the Record’s resident sports hack brought up the matter of league reconstruction, and he told that it was a no-go by the under-fire administrator, who just a few months ago was clinging onto his job by his fingernails in the aftermath of the shambolic (and later reversed) decision to play the final game of the season, between Hearts and Sevco, a day after all the other league games in the Championship were done, handing the Ibrox club a possible advantage in the play-off race.
Despite being told that no reconstruction of the leagues was on the table, or up for discussion, Jackson penned a piece this morning, as an accompaniment to the interview, where he stated that it was on the agenda, and that it might even be rushed through in time for next season.
All wishful thinking aside, Doncaster made it clear that it’s not going to happen.
What we’re left with is a somewhat unusual scenario wherein a national newspaper tried, and failed, to bounce an association official into starting a fresh round of reconstruction talks and then simply twisted his quotes to suggest it was going to happen anyway.
And it moves me to wonder.
Does the Daily Record really think it has the authority to decide stuff like that?
Don’t bother considering the clubs, or the fans, or people who are sick and tired of tinkering with the system and simply want a period where football itself takes precedence over the backroom politics. No, to Hell with them. Let’s keep changing things until we get a result that suits the press, and, of course, realises their ambition of seeing the despised “Old Firm” duopoly restored.
It is contemptible.
What makes this particular episode particularly nauseating is Jackson’s efforts to get Doncaster to agree that some form of reconstruction could happen before next season, which is a practical impossibility considering that the present system is set and can only be changed next summer, if it’s changed at all.
Doncaster correctly pointed these facts out to him.
Nevertheless, the paper is now pushing for reconstruction to happen as well as promoting a summer football scheme and changes to the League Cup, which Doncaster was asked about and expressly denied were being talked about by clubs.
This is expressly why few people in this country trust the media.
In the past seven days alone Ronny Deila has complained about the press twisting his words, they’ve taken comments by Virgil Van Dijk completely out of context and now they’re actually turning an entire interview on its head to make it appear Neil Doncaster confirmed things he never did.
As it stands, those who worried that Sevco’s plight might see the league bodies consider some form of league change which would see them promoted automatically, without having to go through the trauma of further play-off games, can now rest assured; the matter has been definitively put to bed and denied.
It will simply not happen.
Last night, on the radio, a number of journalists tried, and failed, to get Doncaster to confirm that the new sponsorships deal with the SPFL is, likewise, subject to improvement based on Sevco being in the SPL.
Doncaster shot that one down, making it abundantly clear that the deal, in no way, concerns itself with where the NewCo is playing its football.
This site, and this writer, have been highly critical of Doncaster over his general performance on the job over these last few years.
I still have no confidence in his ability to take the game forward.
But he has now secured a sponsorship package which is not dependent in any way on a rigged game or a certain team playing in a certain league.
This is how it has to be done in future.
Let what happens on the pitch occur without it having any impact on our commercial relationships.
In the meantime, the Daily Record ought to be slammed for misrepresenting the SPFL Chief Executive and his comments.
They, not the clubs, not the fans, not the CEO himself, but the paper, acting alone, tried to get the SPFL chief to put league reconstruction back on the table yesterday.
He told them, politely, but without a great deal of equivocation, where they could go.
Fair play to him for that.