Of all the stupid arguments I’ve heard from people in the game on the other side of the SPFL debate, the worst one is that the game has some moral responsibility to clubs who have found themselves adversely impacted as the season faces being brought to an end.
I would not have supported league reconstruction; in that, I’m in a minority amongst the bloggers and many people in the game.
I am actually batting against Celtic on this in that the club statement from the other day makes it clear they were broadly supportive of the concept.
Most folk are. Ann Budge had a shot at getting what she wanted, but only if she’d been willing to step back from leading the campaign for it.
Her behaviour is what snookered it.
From my own standpoint, this is much simpler; the leagues have been settled.
It does not matter that they have not been settled as advertised. This is a black and white issue to me where the paramount consideration is the integrity of the sport as a competitive endeavour. For football to matter at all then the victors must get their due and their losers pay the price.
The argument that all the games are yet to be played is, I’m afraid, ludicrous nonsense.
All the games have been played which can be. This is not something any of us would have chosen, but the SPFL guidelines are clear that the season can be brought to a close before the regulated number of games and that all positions will be considered settled.
Now, it might be that an “average points” system comes into play; that may save some clubs and damn others. I don’t like it personally, but some think it’s fairer than the alternative, which is to settle things as they are even when clubs have played less games than their rivals.
Whatever way it is done though, Steven Thompson is banging on about it being “morally wrong” to relegate certain clubs. I cannot even understand that, far less agree with it. The man is talking the most rank nonsense as far as I’m concerned.
This is how football is supposed to work.
No-one can say that the clubs are not where they deserve to be at the moment. It is unfortunate that they will not get the chance to recover their positions, and in particular where there are only a handful of points separating them from other clubs, but every season ends that way one way or another.
A lot of factors go into deciding a league race. You could argue that on those years when titles have been won by a single point that bad officiating, or individual mistakes, or simple bad luck, have decided the outcome as much as anything … we have been on the end of some of them.
Nobody has ever argued for us or any other club the Gods have punished in such a way. Nobody ever says it was “morally wrong” although if you wanted to make an argument for them I am sure you could sit down and put one together. Nobody would care.
And you know what? I think a lot of this moralising is as fake as The Hitler Diaries.
I don’t believe, not even for one second, that some of the people who are arguing that this is somehow an indefensible outcome would be quite so concerned if the flip-side of it didn’t involve Celtic’s being confirmed as nine-in-a-row champions.
Most of those folk could not care about the plight of Hearts or Thistle or Stranraer or Inverness or any of the other clubs they couldn’t even find on a map.
They have one objective; to paint Celtic’s triumph as in some way “tainted” and they will dragoon the other clubs and their situation into their case because they think it makes it somehow stronger.
But it does not and it never has. I did not support league reconstruction because I believed it was a ridiculous fudge that would have given credibility to the idea that Celtic’s title decision had been reached by bribery instead of being the fair and right thing to do.
Celtic has won this title on merit. We are so far clear nobody can realistically argue we would have been caught, but the truth is I’d have felt the same way if the deficit were a single point or even a single goal; the league is over, and this is how things stand.
I am glad reconstruction failed, for that very reason.
As far as I’m concerned the integrity of our national sport has been maintained by the decision to confirm all the positions on the “as-is” basis and to go on from there. Celtic win the league, Dundee Utd get promoted and down go Hearts; this is the way the tables stand at the end.
That is the very definition of the meritocracy principle working as it should.
It is the essence of all competition.
Nothing could be fairer than that.
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