Remember when I wrote my article on Hustle? Remember what I said is at the heart of every con? You cannot cheat an honest man. It’s not a statement of moral principle, it’s a statement of fact because the con relies on greed. It relies on people who can’t see past their own narrow interest, and who therefore might be willing to take stupid risks.
For a few months now, and even longer, it has been obvious to me that those who are dead set on pushing this European Super League nonsense know exactly what they are doing. Their PR campaign has been relentless, and at every step of the way they have picked up a handful of mugs. Many of those mugs are right here in Scotland, amongst our media.
They have swallowed every single PR line that those behind this competition have put into the public domain. They have accepted every nonsensical claim as fact, even when it was blindly obvious that these people were running a scam.
The richest clubs in football kicked this off when they threatened to break away from UEFA and form their own closed shop league. They were only brought to heel by the threat of force. Now they claim to speak for the forgotten clubs of the continent, and there are fools who actually believe that they mean it. What they’re actually trying to do is rally enough stupid and greedy chairman at these clubs to do their dirty work for them and plunge UEFA into crisis.
The idea that any setup with these people at the top would somehow be fairer and more equitable than that which currently exists is almost too ludicrous for words, and yet the same hacks here in Scotland keep on running with subtly different versions of this story.
But yesterday they were suckered by an entirely different mad-skull tale, that of the “breakaway” Union Of European Clubs, which is set to go head to head with the European Club Association. And apparently the Record – and that other dire rag, The Sun – believes that they will invite Celtic and the club across the city to join as we are “outside the elite.”
Yet we might be outside the elite in terms of wealth, but Lawwell sits on the ECA board. The first club from Ibrox were one of the founding members of the organisation. There is virtually no chance whatsoever of either club ditching the ECA to join up with this rag-bag mob being organised to oppose another fundamental part of the UEFA structure.
Now, I personally think the ECA has been corrupted by the larger clubs and turned into their personal lobbying group, but the guy responsible for this breakaway plan is Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga … and what this represents to him is a personal feud with the guys who control the ECA and with the two top clubs in his own association, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Just like many others who are claiming here to speak for the small and forgotten clubs, this guy has his own agenda and his own schemes in motion and we should have nothing to do with it.
Like the Super League organisers, this is a guy looking for allies whilst he goes to war with the English Premier League and the current heads at UEFA. It’s a power grab, that’s all it is, and he wants foot soldiers and thinks that our game is populated by mugs.
And maybe there are a handful of chairmen who would be seduced by these smoke and mirrors, but it will not be the guy currently sitting at the top of Celtic. I don’t know whether Ibrox might do something mad but I know that we certainly won’t.
The ECA is the only body representing clubs which is recognised by UEFA. Any other organisation which pops up to speak as some kind of lobbying group won’t have the slightest legitimacy or power in the halls of Nyon, but as per usual our tabloids are filled with people drooling at the prospect that there might be some scraps thrown the way of Ibrox.
These people have spent years fantasising about magical solutions to Ibrox’s cash-flow problems, and they’ve promoted this guff through the prism of helping the game here as a whole, but they have no real interest in that at all any more than the people who are pushing these “reforms” and “breakaways” care about the forgotten clubs of Holland, Belgium, Scotland and elsewhere.
The rest of us know a con when we see it.