Earlier this evening I read the SFA’s independent report into the events of the Scottish Cup Final.
I found it to be a particularly bloodless piece of work; there was nothing in it that one would regard as being remotely controversial or worthy of further comment. In many ways it was a disappointing piece of work, but it did establish a proper timeline of events (which I’ll talk about more in another article) and discussed stewarding and policing.
I found it all a little tame, if I’m being honest.
Imagine my surprise, then, when Sevco released a statement shortly after its publication in which they demanded to meet Regan, the SFA compliance officer and the report’s author, Sheriff Principal Edward Bowen.
Their wailing press release mentions “inaccuracies and contradictions”, but if they are in there they had to be buried deep because I failed to spot them.
The report has cleared Hibs fans in the main, except for the small number who approached the Sevco supporters to taunt them.
This is clearly part of what pisses off the Ibrox club; they are determined to push this idiotic line that the pitch invasion was motivated not by the joy of winning the first Scottish Cup in over 100 years but by “hate”, specifically hatred of their club.
It takes a profound, deep-seated arrogance to think the whole world revolves around you like that. The idea that thousands of Hibs fans went on the pitch with nothing on their minds but hating Sevco … that can only have been dreamed up in a warped mind.
But warped minds are obviously present in large numbers over there, because they really do believe this.
The report also made sure that the blame was spread out to include those Sevco fans who ran onto the pitch. Sherriff Principal Bowen ignores the stupendously distorted idea, put out there by the club in the aftermath of the game, that their fans were engaged in some kind of rescue operation, which I think is one of the most perverse suggestions ever mooted in the history of our game. He makes it quite plain that a number of their fans reacted to provocation and went onto the park looking for a fight.
This is not some staggering finding, it’s what every person outside of Ibrox already knew.
Furthermore, in the one and only passage in the report which I thought might be worthy of further comment, Sherriff Principal Bowen pointed out that the Hibs fans were well behaved all through the match and that the only cause for concern came from the “west stand supporters” who engaged in “the use of pyrotechnics and sectarian singing”.
Once again, not something with which a single person can argue, unless he’s the managing director (and soon to be SFA board member) of Sevco, who said the sectarian singing was provoked, although as it had been happening from kick off he’s never bothered to explain what it was provoked by. A lot of green jerseys and tricolours maybe.
Those things aside, none of which are reaching, all of which are simple statements of fact, the report contained no new information, no controversial proposals and clears both clubs, the association and the police of any blame for the pitch invasion itself.
Yet Sevco are complaining anyway. Their demand for meetings and explanations is redolent of McCoist’s petty incitement to nutcases and neds some years ago. This is a club that will not allow even the smallest, tiniest, criticism of them, no matter how deserving. They refuse to accept what the rest of us view as objective reality; their own version of it is all that matters on any given day. They’ve already banned supporters for their thuggish behaviour, so they’ve accepted the basic premise of the report, which is that their own fans were partly to blame.
If you want to look for contradiction and inaccuracy you only have to look at their own club’s statements in the aftermath of the game, their actions since and this press release today and you will see those things aplenty.
I can’t help but think their statement has more to do with deflecting attention from their self-inflicted crisis with their commercial partners and sponsors, and an effort to get back on side those fans who reacted in screaming disbelief last week when the banning letters went on, than it’s concerned with the report itself.
But you know, there’s something more to their moaning today.
There are a lot of lies still in circulation over that game.
This report takes us a step closer to putting some of them to bed once and for all.
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