Tom English is reliable. He can always be counted on.
Whenever there is a serious situation in Scottish football he is the veritable go-to-guy if what you want is utter cobblers, fudging or ideas so half-baked that Gordon Ramsey would have sent him out of the kitchen and home without even giving him the chance to pack his bags.
Tonight he has attacked Neil Lennon for daring to say what is surely obvious to every sane and sentient person; if the league season ends with things as they stand then Celtic should be crowned champions and everything else decided on as an “as you are” basis.
This is the solution that is surely the most obvious and the most consistent.
Yet it is almost certainly the one that would meet the gravest resistance.
I am going to look at the “options” tomorrow in a length article exploring why what Lennon said today is right on the money.
But English has his own counter proposal, which doesn’t even count as one of those being considered. It’s just a mish-mash of his own, demonstrating his lack of strategic thinking, his cluelessness about how football works and his pig ignorance of what sponsors, fans and UEFA itself would even countenance.
His solution is to “play the season to the end whenever possible.” He offers a way that it could be done; to either “truncate” next season – to shorten it so we don’t have to shorten this one – or to “lose the league cup” or give up the winter break.
This is so dense, so stone stupid, it feels kind of redundant to go over it all, but it needs to be done because clearly this eejit deserves to have those ideas parsed.
Let’s consider the first part of this nonsense; play the league to its conclusion “whenever.”
Aren’t you glad this clown is on the case?
His proposal is so specific, so scientific, so grounded in … well, not reality, really.
As I’ve pointed out, this thing is going to go on for months.
So how many months should we put this on hold until we know when we can play games?
English is clearly prepared for this to run into the start of next season, so here’s the first big question I’d ask him, if he had the guts to put himself forward to have this idea interrogated; if this season runs into the start of next season how are we supposed to fit these games in around European qualifiers?
And whilst he struggles to answer that, let me ask another; do you think UEFA would put those qualifiers on hold until we sorted this out?
Because until we did there would be no Scottish clubs in any position to go on to play in them.
Last questions in relation to his “play whenever” point … what about players who are out of contract? Players who were on loan? What if teams have signed new players? Are they eligible to play? Is any of this making sense?
Of course not.
So the basic premise on which the rest of his point is based is, itself, as nutty as the proverbial fruitcake.
But let’s imagine that somehow European football could still be played, that it wouldn’t have to compete with eight league matches and two cup rounds.
Let’s for a moment consider the next point; his first option for making it fit.
Truncate next season’s league race.
How? In what way?
Reduce the size of the league?
Ha! So instead of playing to see which teams are getting relegated as it stands right now, why don’t we just tell Hearts and the others that, in fact, they are all probably going down as the league needs to lose another couple of teams.
Abandon the SPL split?
Good luck selling teams on the idea of 33 games, with an uneven split between home and away games.
Good luck telling every side in the country that on top of the momentous disruption from this season that they are going to lose five matches, with as many as three at home, from the next campaign as well.
How many would be able to survive it?
To get it through would require a vote. How many votes do you think it would get?
His second suggestion is that we could just do away with the League Cup.
Even if the League Cup was ten games instead of four, for top flight clubs getting to the final, is the League going to willingly trade away its domestic competition for a season or perhaps more? Because if we can do without that cup next season what happens if Celtic and Sevco and other sides decide it’s a nuisance that we can dispense with entirely, all the better to let them focus on their European runs? Because as it stands it interferes with those.
What would the costs to the league be, in terms of TV revenues, games at Hampden and everything else if we simply said “let’s not have that competition next season”?
His third solution is laughable; to cut the winter break.
Yeah, because maybe we could squeeze ten extra games into that timeframe but you know what? Clubs would not stand for it, players would be collapsing in exhaustion, and we’d be going from what would effectively be a 46 game league campaign into the likelihood of the 2021 Euros …
It sounds great if you don’t, personally, have to get off your fat arse and play through the schedule.
As if all this isn’t enough, as if the point he’s made wasn’t absolutely gob-smacking and ludicrous, and dumb beyond belief, his snarking tweet in which he says Lennon is wrong about what should happen if the league season ends early actually blatantly ignores the fact that our manager sees it as the least palatable option.
Lennon is not advocating giving Celtic the title right now.
He wants the season played through to the end like everyone else.
English is having a dig for the sake of it, not because Lennon said anything particularly controversial. Lennon talked nothing but sense, and if you read his full statement, which is available on the official Celtic site, it is filled with compassion and caring and understanding and decency.
To take a cheap shot like this, laced with spite, and so profoundly stupid … well, it shows up English as a bitter hack completely out of touch with reality. Lennon, on the other hand, looks a class act. What a puffed up joke English is.
He is an embarrassment to even himself now.