Craig Levein got a lot of ink earlier in the week. I couldn’t believe that his opinion on anything was still being sought by the press.
In any other football environment, Craig Levein would be treated as a joke. Not a single person of substance in the game would pay a blind bit of notice to a single word that he had to say. He is one of the most ignorant men in our sport.
The meandering interview touched on his hopes that one day “the Old Firm” would be gone from the game here and that other clubs would have a chance.
Yeah. But only up to a point.
Even allowing for the ridiculous idea that such a thing even exists, with one of the two clubs who once made it up is dead and gone, the point is woeful and wouldn’t have improved the fortunes of his club at all. Without Celtic and Sevco in the league last season his shambolic leadership at Hearts would have seen them finish tenth instead of twelfth.
Wow. Their fans would have been over the moon.
There is not a word in that article which is in any way creditable, except for the segment that some of the press put in the headline; that the absence of Glasgow’s clubs would create a “level playing field” for the rest.
As per usual, that contains a kernel of truth but only if the media is willing to look at it in the proper fashion.
The problem here is this Old Firm garbage in the first place, of course.
This is an idea that has haunted Scottish football for years and will continue to haunt it for many years to come.
It’s an idea that ought to have died before Rangers did and certainly should be dead now. It has created a kind of mental block in the minds of almost everybody in our sport, and that includes some of those who run our own club, and who somehow can’t get past it.
Levein’s comments stink for any number of reasons, but amongst them is this idea that other clubs can’t improve, and that they need to have Celtic, in particular, removed from the equation. This is loser thinking, the thinking of those who refuse to try and grow and develop.
Their solution is to have Scottish football limited to the size of their own imaginations.
And this is why the game never gets better, this rancid idea that the strong clubs should be nobbled or pushed out of the game entirely so that the weaker ones can “compete.”
Where is the “level playing field” there?
How long until an Aberdeen or Hibs, one of those well run clubs, breaks free of the rest?
How long until the calls for them to leave start to grow?
It’s a joke, and a joke that could only have come from Levein or someone equally thick.
On top of this is the loathsome suggestion that Scottish football should be glad to see the back of us but at the same time make us pay a toll before we’re allowed to depart. “I would love (to sign off on their move), absolutely. I would let them go,” he says.
Then he adds this; “They would have to pay a hefty price to go, mind.”
It’s such arrogance. If we’re holding back the game here then the game should pay us to seek pastures new, not the other way about. Clubs like his have leeched off our supporters for decades, charging us outrageously to attend their grounds and they have the cheek to sneer at us all the while. It really does piss me off, and he’s exemplified that attitude perfectly.
What really cheesed me off, of course, was the “level playing field” comment, and it’s here where in fact he spoke his only bit of sense but without even realising that he had.
Because that’s not a phrase which should be thrown about in the cavalier way he’s done it; that refers to fairness and honesty in the process, that everyone at the start begins at the same place and follows the same basic rules.
Football is not a game with a built-in handicap; some teams are better than others, but as long as everyone follows the regulations it’s fair.
But as long as people in our game believe in the “Old Firm” lie, and continue to promote it, we don’t have a level playing field.
As long as one club – the one at Ibrox – is allowed to bend reality and truth to suit themselves, as long as they can spend money they don’t have and upend the entire idea of fair play then Scottish football will continue to suffer and continue to stagnate.
One of the best ways to do this would have been to put financial fair play arrangements in place. But this clown sits atop one of the clubs which has benefited from not having those regulations. When he talks about a level playing field, it would be easier to take him and his club seriously if they weren’t relying on their own opaque sources of funding.
“Until both of the Old Firm teams leave and go down to England – with my best wishes – then we are not going to have a competitive league,” he said. I say that until people stop seeing Scottish football around the old discredited two club axis we’re not going to have a competitive league. As long as people at the top of the game continue to push lies and nonsense and pretend that a dead club has suddenly come back to life we’re not going to move forward.
The height of this tripe of course is this idea that Celtic and Sevco’s departure in whatever form would actually benefit the game here, and everyone knows – although it’s not exactly polite to say it – that it would reduce our national sport to the level of the League Of Ireland, and that would suit people like Levein in many ways I’m sure.
As a much better writer than me once put it, “He would see it all burn if he could be king of the ashes.”
It’s the only landscape in which this joker will ever be a serious figure, and worthy of respect.
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