The debate has started on what the new structure of Scottish football should be, and as usual there are voices raised that say the big clubs should hold all the cards.
This is sheer nonsense.
If Celtic are going to be leaders in the game it will be because other clubs wanted us to take that role. It will not be because we are the biggest club in the land.
Democracy is important. The idea that those who run the “smaller clubs” are not fit to be involved in deciding its future is already being adopted by all the usual voices. Their version of leadership would have wrecked our sport. They must never again decide its future.
Democracy is vital to a reformed SFA. It protects the game.
The scandals that hit Ibrox and Hampden would never have happened had the game been in the hands of people who saw it as being about more than two clubs. The attitudes that almost sunk us were born in the idea that the two Glasgow clubs were “too big to fail” – although I often wonder what would have happened had it been us who failed and not them.
The idea that those two clubs – really just one of them back then – ought to hold all the influence directly led to the grubby deal that almost wrecked the game, and would have had these “smaller club” not saved it. They did the right thing back then and I think they will continue to do the right thing if allowed the opportunity. They will usually think of the greater good.
Scottish football is not about two clubs or a handful at the top. Those who mock the SFA for the fact Alan McRae is from one of the clubs has missed the point; his rise was nothing to do with the clubs, he was a product of the old “blazer” system that rewarded “service” and assured that only a handful of people could ever be elected to high office in the association. That system is at an end.
The previous President was Ogilvie; a product of two top flight clubs, and nobody has to be reminded of the mess he made when he reached the top job.
A representative of a “big club” is just as likely to make a mess of things as someone from a smaller team, and there is a greater risk of them putting their own club first.
Celtic is right to want a wholescale reform of the game, but if our club attempts to go down the road of creating another self-interested cabal, whether involving only the top flight clubs or by creating an even smaller group than that which runs everything we should be calling bullshit on it.
That’s the kind of thinking that caused this mess in the first place.
No reform will be legitimate unless it includes input and influence from the smaller clubs and I know there are a lot of our own fans, including some of the bloggers, who do not believe that.
It should not dissuade those of us who do from saying so.
Their issue with real democracy is that our club will have to leave something on the table, and whilst we should be highly resistant to those who want to impose handicaps on us for our success, we ought to be willing to make certain sacrifices for the greater good.
We have nothing to fear from financial fair play, full transparency, robust regulations and open processes. We have no reason to be concerned by reforms which promote an equitable distribution of power.
Any scenario which concentrates power in fewer hands would be disastrous. Because things change, and you never know who those hands will belong to in the future.