Tomorrow afternoon the “official” response of the SPFL to Celtic’s call for a fresh inquiry into a decade of systematic cheating at Ibrox will be presented to the public. Everyone involved knows this is a sham before it’s even issued. The result of it was pre-determined. The media knew the result of it when Ann Budge was still standing on the Hampden steps telling them that nothing had been decided. The whole exercise stinks to high heaven.
Clubs want this to go away, perhaps every single one of them.
It is not going to go away.
Over on Sevco’s sites their fans are celebrating this as if it closes the book. They thought the same after the LNS verdict, and five years on we’re still here and louder and more determined than ever. LNS was a scandal. We know now that it was constructed to exclude information, with a focus so narrow it was never going to get to the bottom of this, that it allowed the appellate body to give evidence and essentially steer the verdict, that the Ibrox board of that time did not co-operate and that the potential punishment had already been set aside beforehand with a shabby agreement which guaranteed nothing would come of it.
Clubs may not want to hear this, but the further down the road they try to push this matter the more trouble they store up for themselves. Nobody really believes this matter will be left to die, until there is a resolution to these concerns, so just what do clubs think they are doing here and what do they think will be achieved by doing it?
They are guaranteeing a full season of conflict with their own fans and those of other clubs. Over 70,000 Scottish football fans have already joined the new fans organisation and the vast majority of them want change in the game … that’s enough to fill Celtic Park with every season ticket holder and then the Hydro on top of it. Who really thinks this position can be sustained? Very few of that number I would wager.
This policy is suicidal. It is also cowardly.
Several supporters associations have made their feelings on this crystal clear and in ignoring that the clubs have shown the utter contempt in which they hold supporters. That will be remembered long after the rest of these issues are resolved. Fans have longer memories than clubs appear to think. If the directors don’t care about sporting integrity and the well-being of the game then all they care about is money, right? And that tells fans all they need to know.
Everything will be sacrificed in the pursuit of cash. People like Ann Budge, who were supposed to represent fresh ideas and come in and wipe the slate clean, have climbed between dirty sheets with the people who shit the bed; I can’t put it more brutally than that.
Football in Scotland will enter a dark place tomorrow. It may not emerge from it for years, if it emerges from it at all. Clubs have failed. Fan power is all that’s left. Anyone who underestimates that is a bigger mug than those who cheered Craig Whyte into Ibrox.