Why Would Inverness’ CEO Have Burned Down Scottish Football To Deny Celtic The Title?

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In one of the finest monologues in the history of cinema, Mr X – in real life a former US intelligence agent named Fletcher J. Prouty – meets Jim Garrison in Washington D.C., within sight of the White House. Garrison is investigating the Kennedy assassination, and has inadvertently stumbled onto the real issue, the one at the centre of it all.

“Is that why?” he asks, having heard Mr X go through a list of the changes that JFK and his administration were planning to make.

X looks at him in amusement. “Well, that’s the real question isn’t it?”

And in that question lies the answer as to “who”.

Because if you know the why, you can start to think about who gained from it, and from there who has the ability to keep it all hidden. Then the culprits are much easier to track and trace. So it was for Jim Garrison, who from that moment on was at least looking in the right places and asking all the right questions.

There is no mystery here when it comes to the SPFL vote, and in terms of who is on the opposing side, it’s pretty clear that Scott Gardener would have burned down the game in order to pursue null and void. The question of who, therefore, doesn’t arise any more than it does with Ann Budge or Douglas Park.

To quote George W Bush (and you all know how much I hate to do that) “we know who the “they” are”.

The question, in his case, is why.

Sevco and Hearts are facing existential peril from their respective plights; we already know that.

Neither club can be guaranteed to survive what’s coming.

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In the 1951/52 season, SFA chairman George Graham tried to stop Celtic from flying the Irish tricolour flag over Celtic Park, leading to a bitter stand off between him and the club. Which Scottish club backed Graham over his stance?

Null and void would have helped Hearts in that it would have erased a dreadful campaign.

It would certainly have given Sevco fans their post-season ticket sales lift, which might have pushed the really hard choices a little farther down the road.

But it’s just not clear how it would have helped Inverness.

Gardiner’s conduct is the oddest part of all this, aside from the dire spectacle of a board at Pittodrie once more climbing into the same bed as the one at Ibrox.

That’s something their own fans need to be taking a look at.

But Gardiner’s behaviour, and that of his club, is beyond strange.

Null and void would have cost Inverness.

It might have devastated them.

So what exactly was the endgame there? What was he hoping to get?

There is speculation. There are rumours. There are theories.

Gardiner was offered the CEO’s job at Ibrox once before, with the media describing it as his “dream” gig.

He turned it down because he wanted more control than the King board was willing to give him.

But things have changed over there and King is no longer at the club.

Stewart Robertson’s handling of this whole affair means that he’s pretty much outlived his usefulness to Sevco.

One website suggested that Gardiner was being offered if not Robertson’s job then certainly one at Ibrox that would have put him bang in the frame for it in the future. Without wanting to indulge in the business of speculation to that extent, there is clearly more going on here than a guy trying to look after his current employers; null and void would not have helped Inverness in any way, shape or form. Indeed, as I’ve pointed out it would have had the opposite effect.

Aside from the calamitous financial consequences for every club in the land, the most obvious result of null and voiding the leagues would have been to deny those teams at the top of their respective divisions from being crowned champions; in our case that would have voided 30 matches and erased a hard-won and deserved 13-point lead, preventing nine in a row.

In spite of knowing “who”, we are forced to question the “why” in this case.

Gardiner has been held up as some kind of paragon of virtue by some in the media who are well aware that there’s more to his stance here than meets the eye.

The likes of Tom English have been promoting him whilst clearly he has questions to answer about his own behaviour.

If there’s to be an inquiry here perhaps we’re focussing on the wrong issues.

Why would a club CEO go out of his way to cast doubt on a process which had actually prevented damage to the very organisation he represents? The obvious answer which comes to mind is that he wasn’t actually representing them at all but either his own interests or those elsewhere.

And that does raise questions which do require further examination.

As Scottish football goes through the current crisis it is important to keep up with developments and the key issues. We are determined to do so, and to keep you informed as well. Please subscribe to the blog.

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