The least surprising news of the day is that Brendan has expressed his sympathy for Neil Lennon and said he has been the victim of some unusual decisions. Brendan is a considerate man, and this is not the first time he has come to the aid of a fellow boss.
It’s just like him to do something selfless, knowing it will put him in bad odour with the officials.
Brendan was not doing it to be kind though. Not only was it a show of solidarity with a guy who the media has targeted for reasons with which Brendan is all too familiar, but he has his own beefs with referees here and he wants what Neil does; reform.
It is past due.
Our country is so backward on this issue, as it is with many others.
Everyone agrees that the standard of refereeing stinks. We might dispute the reasons why this is so, but the fundamental truth of it is known to everyone and accepted.
Murty came out today and said our refs should be on professional contracts; the idea is too dumb to even debate.
This is him playing to a familiar gallery, trying, in vain, to show his club as one that acts with “dignity.”
It’s bollocks of course.
Why bother to seek reform and change in an area where you’re perfectly satisfied, after all?
Refs show no standards at all; these people are not getting paid more money, they frankly don’t deserve what they have now and only leveraged their way to it by manufacturing reasons for a strike, which they blamed on us.
If refs in Scotland are to be paid more, if they are to go full time as Murty suggests, then by all means let’s do something with that, but the process would need to start with clearing out the current ranks and hiring the best from abroad.
And if somehow some of our own home grown refs happen to meet the standard, and we’re going to pay those refs more money, then let’s get a few things out there, such as club affiliations. It works in England. Only in Scotland do we act like there’s something to fear.
Get it declared, and ban those guys from games involving the teams they support.
Mention this to one of the hacks and see what response you get; eye-rolling, sighs, dismissive waves, total unwillingness to engage.
Not one of them can offer a single legitimate reason why it shouldn’t happen, but they readily rule it out as if you had suggested lie detectors and background vetting.
Brendan knows that a lot of what he is watching happen with refs is highly irregular.
It may well be that he doesn’t suspect outright bias but he knows some decisions simply defy rational explanation and should be looked at by a body whose sole responsibility is to hold officials to account. It is still unbelievable to me that the very suggestion that they should be monitored is what prompted their petulant dummy spitting back in 2010, for which they enjoyed nearly unanimous media support. But when fans were polled on whether they agreed with the strike they were overwhelmingly hostile to it. When foreign refs were brought in they were greeting with almost total support. But the refs got what they wanted; a free ride.
The game has been suffering for it ever since.
Brendan was not just standing up for Neil today, he was standing up for the general principle of giving referees the scrutiny that every other person in the game has to endure. Why are they immune? It makes our country look backward. It makes it look like refs have got something to hide.
And you know what?
A lot of us believe that’s precisely the problem.
Because a lot of us are convinced that they do.