Yesterday I wrote about Celtic’s responsibilities and how the board has failed them in light of the news coming out of Ibrox of more losses, huge losses. There is no question that the chief responsibility for allowing this lies with us. That cannot be escaped.
But of course, we’re not the only team in this league.
There are ten other sides aside from us and the club doing all this overspending.
You have to wonder what their directors make of it.
These people are being cheated just as we are. Their clubs are being endangered, just as ours is. There is simply no getting away from that, and I cannot understand why they don’t act. A lot of us have lobbied Celtic hard on this for years.
What exactly have the fans at those teams done in the same cause? They have even more influence at their clubs than we do in ours, ruled as we are by arrogant individuals who have the votes sewn up and who don’t even pretend to be listening to us.
Those fan groups could bring their boards down in short order; what have they done to protect sporting integrity?
I ask because three of the top flight clubs are actually owned by the fans; St Mirren, Motherwell and Hearts.
Aberdeen has just been bought by new owners and are in the process of building a stadium which will give them the ability to raise more and thus spend more. They could be a real force in the game here if the playing field was level.
Each of these clubs has been done over by what Ibrox gets away with.
Before the financial doping over there went into overdrive, Aberdeen already had a claim of being Scotland’s second biggest team.
They had worked hard for that, and in no time at all it was gone.
Did Ibrox achieve its dominance over them fairly? No, they didn’t. They spent obscene amounts of money to do it, money they didn’t bring in through the gate. Aberdeen’s new owners have bought a club which is routinely outgunned by a club on financial steroids.
If their chairman had bought racehorses and found out that the competition was doping, would he be silent about it?
Would he just let it happen?
He is letting his football club be cheated in a very similar way except for one crucial point; what Ibrox is doing is not against the rules because Scottish football has no rules on this stuff. But he can change that.
All these clubs can change that.
St Mirren are being targeted by Ibrox right now. Fire back. Propose FFP, build a coalition and change the way things work here.
We all know it would strike a blow at one club only.
We all know who benefits from these lax regulations.
There’s one other thing I need to point out … it’s not impossible that these regulations would be broadly welcomed inside Ibrox itself.
Do you think their board enjoys spending all this money, pandering to the whims of those fans?
If they were offered a cast iron way of dodging that responsibility, I strongly suspect they would jump at it. It is not impossible that these regulations would pass without any opposition from their quarter at all.
Until that day comes, the over-spending at Ibrox is a clear and present danger to every other club in the top flight.
Say they lose in the Ashley case, at the final hurdle?
Say the SPFL loses the cinch deal and takes Ibrox to court?
What happens if their club can’t find the money and enters administration or goes to the wall?
Cinch will consider it a lucky escape; you’ll never see them back on the scene again.
TV companies will desert at the first break in the contracts. Certainly, the value of them will plummet forevermore. It is hard enough to get advertisers interested in the game at the moment. Another Ibrox collapse could do momentous damage to every commercial deal the game has. The whiff of scandal because Scottish football allowed this would be choking.
It doesn’t matter how well the boards at St Mirren, Motherwell and Hearts run their clubs.
It doesn’t matter that Hibs fans and their club have reached an accommodation with the idea that they will be run in a financially sound way … the club at Ibrox could blow all of it to smithereens and they don’t appear to care at all that this is a possibility.
What is the point in behaving responsibility if there are no guardrails against others who might not want to do the same? I use the term “guardrails” very specifically; it does not matter how careful you are behind the wheel.
If all the rules of the road were abolished, and others were allowed to speed or drive drunk you would be at risk whether you were following the old regulations or not. You would be in mortal danger every time you started the engine.
Whether they care about the sporting side of it or not, the current regulations and the gaps in them put their clubs in peril.
Celtic fans have been constant on this issue for years.
I have no idea where some of these others fans are, especially those who now sit at the top of their institutions and act as their custodians.
They need to shape up, and speak up.