Today, after a period of silence, Neil Doncaster came out swinging.
Every regular reader knows full well that I do not want to lionise a man who’s head I would have had rolling down the Hampden steps back in 2011 and many times since. But we should, at the very least, acknowledge that in the last few months he was one of the targets of a vicious smear campaign designed to overhaul the leadership of the SPFL and put it in the hands of people who, to put it mildly, are no friends of our football club.
Aside from those in Sevconia who have been pushing the utter fiction that some kind of Celtic-led conspiracy is what shut the campaign down, there are hollering maniacs in the media who see us as some kind of sick man of Europe; they talk about other leagues which are already up and running, and opine that ours could have been too.
Even the arch-moron, Keith Jackson, half acknowledges that it was the Scottish Government who made the decision; he doesn’t agree with it, but at least isn’t blaming the governing bodies for it any longer. Maybe repeated slaps from the bloggers have hammered some sense into him, but he does still persist in believing it’s all un-necessary.
It is people like this – and the Sevconut conspiracy theorists – who Doncaster has been punching back at today, in an interview where he confirms that the winter break is cancelled and accepts that even so there are likely to be over-runs and the need to play four games in a week at some stage.
It is not great news for the players at any club.
Nevertheless, it is a dose of realism that many in the game are still highly resistant to.
On the day when the fixture list is published, and new conspiracy theories emerge, it was important that someone at the top of the SPFL communicated this stuff clearly. Give Doncaster his due on this stuff; he is never afraid to get in front of the cameras.
“None of this is of anyone’s making,” he said. “(The virus) has come along, the suspension of the game in Scotland started on March 13 and we have not been able to play any games since then, there has been a complete shutdown of football … It was only last week we were allowed to return to full contact training so anyone who is suggesting there was an alternative, that somehow we could have set up games and got them played before the start of the season is just not real.”
This is the crucial segment of the interview. He has laid it out there.
What these people were asking for was impossible, and most of them did actually know that at the very time they were talking their obvious nonsense. Doncaster is right to call them out.
There was one last sting in the tail … he reminded people – as this interview pointed out the other day – that if Hearts and Thistle are successful of claiming compensation that the funds will come out of the pockets of every club in the country.
Every club, including those whose fans are cheering this on from the side-lines as if it doesn’t affect them at all.
Hard truth is dawning across Scottish football … and it is good to see that the SPFL are leading for once, and making sure everyone knows how necessary their actions were.
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