Three SPL clubs – it’s not yet known who they were – are amongst those who have voted down league reconstruction this morning, dooming Hearts to their deserved fate in the Scottish Championship.
We’ll now find out whether Ann Budge and her club were just posturing or if they are truly determined to take this matter to the courts, and accept the sanctions that go with it.
This is not unexpected. This site and others predicted right at the start of this that any move towards league reconstruction this summer was doomed to fail. You didn’t have to be a genius to work this out; reconstruction efforts are proposed almost every year and invariably always come to naught.
Why was this going to be different?
The global health crisis actually made it less, not more, likely that clubs would vote out of self-interest, and that was always likely to be the kiss of death.
On top of that, there was no merit to this idea except in that it would have made last season essentially consequences free, an utter nonsense in terms of what it does to sporting integrity.
This matter has finally be laid to rest, although some at Hearts were still trying to scare clubs as late as last night, with a nonsensical suggestion that as much as £8 million could be ring-fenced by the league in order to pay potential compensation.
Does anyone really believe that the rest of Scottish football would ever forgive Hearts if they pressed ahead with this, delaying the next campaign, perhaps even dooming some of our clubs? Does anyone think those club representatives would go easy on the Tynecastle club when it came to imposing the sanctions that UEFA would demand the game level at them?
At the extreme end of those sanctions is the suspension of the club’s license; it is easy to say that would never happen, but if other clubs die because of their reckless and self-serving behaviour would you actually bet against it?
The thing is, as I’ve said here, although I personally don’t agree with reconstruction to save Hearts and others in this window, I do believe that some temporary measure could have gotten the requisite number of votes had it been pitched right.
There is a lot of sympathy out there for the likes of Partick Thistle and others who have suffered as a result of the season’s premature close.
But the SPFL foolishly – or perhaps knowingly – allowed Hearts to take the lead here, which meant that Ann Budge herself was the public face of it … and she’s spent the whole summer so far insulting people and making cheap threats.
From the moment I heard she was in charge of this endeavour I thought that any residual chance of it had gone.
She has worked tremendously hard to wreck every opportunity that came her way.
And now, today, the book is closed. That three SPL clubs were amongst those who voted “no” to the proposals is only surprising in that it’s a lower number than I anticipated. I don’t know what the breakdown of votes was like in other leagues.
Hearts now have a decision to make.
I won’t be surprised at all if they get this wrong like they’ve gotten everything else wrong in the past few years. You only had to listen to Craig Levein’s ridiculous press interview last week, which Michael Stewart quite correctly mocked without mercy, to realise how dysfunctional that club still is.
Only the unprofessionalism at Sevco stops them from being Britain’s most dreadfully run football club.
They don’t get half the scrutiny the Ibrox operation does from our blogs, but it’s not because we don’t know how dreadful is the state they are in. It’s because Hearts is so bizarrely led that we don’t even consider them a worthy opponent at the present time.
The Championship is where they belong right now, and they may just be there for a while.
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