When you are engaged in a war, it is not always possible to choose your allies.
A smart leader knows that. During the run-up to the Second World War Hitler allied himself with the Soviet Union, shocking the world, as everyone understood they were his principle enemy.
When he invaded the Soviet Union the Allies didn’t hang around; they offered the Soviets their full support and they overlooked their own ideological issues with Communism.
When asked to justify this stance, Churchill nailed it with a quick response. “If Hitler invaded Hell,” he said, “I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”
Last night, someone sent me a video of Craig Levein furiously condemning a referee in the aftermath of a game against Rangers. I remember the match well. What I hadn’t remembered was that he left nothing out of his outburst after the game.
God, he was furious and he didn’t hide his belief that the performance of the referee was blatantly biased. I am certain that he got punished for this.
Am I comparing Craig Levein with Churchill? Hitler? The Devil himself?
No, I’m just saying that I don’t like this guy, and that I think he spends much of his time trolling our club.
He’s a terrible manager, and was responsible for setting his own club back years.
When I had watched that video I went back over Levein’s career.
It was not the first time he’d blasted referees and it was not the last. Levein spoke out earlier this year to talk about how he knows for a fact that some officials are biased. He admits to his own biases. He discusses it all openly. He knows full well that some refs have made corrupt decisions.
The question is; why hasn’t Levein done more?
Why doesn’t he name other managers who know this?
Why hasn’t he led the charge for reform?
We have an ally in this guy, on this particular fight. When refs made bad decisions – the inexplicable, inexcusable ones – he should be using every platform available to him to highlight these biases.
Levein is a former national coach. When he claims that refs are biased and that he knows this for a fact his is the first name we should throw at those who tell us that this stuff just doesn’t happen. What’s more, he puts it in a very common sense way.
He doesn’t talk about conspiracies or anything like that, he talks about basic human nature.
As I said on this site a few weeks ago, there doesn’t even have to be bias for us to want to examine refereeing decisions.
There are other possibilities and in some ways some of them are even worse than basic favouritism.
You can at least restrict the games that a biased referee gets and still use him as a Grade One official.
Levein has also spoken out against the ridiculous protections that referees get, and in this he has hit onto one of the biggest problems, the one which opens the doors to corrupt purposes and even match fixing.
Managers are sanctioned for speaking out against decisions which put their jobs under pressure and which potentially cost their clubs a lot of money.
Levein knows that shouldn’t happen.
He knows that none of this should be happening.
When I looked back over his comments it is clear that nobody in the top flight has ever gone as far as he has in directing the criticism where it belongs. He is not worth listening to on everything, but on this subject he has been solid. He has also been courageous.
That’s worth highlighting. So is his obvious anger at some of what has gone down over the years.
It will be interesting to see if he continues to vent it in the future.