Hearts have dropped a very big hint that they are going to vote against any plans to give away fans a minimum tickets guarantee.
They claim that it would be “folly” not to put their own fans first and have boasted on the size of their waiting list.
When those fans are sick of turning up every week to watch second rate football from a third-rate managerial hire, we’ll see how long their waiting list is.
Hearts are a club with a low ambition board of directors whose managerial picks have veered from crazy to disastrous in recent years.
They haven’t won a major honour since 2012.
In that time, Hibs and Inverness have won the Scottish Cup. St Johnstone have two.
In addition, Inverness, Ross County, Kilmarnock, St Mirren and St Johnstone have won League Cups.
I’m not saying they are underachievers or anything – you tell me where Aberdeen is in on that list – but as the self-advertised third biggest club in the country that is dire.
Hearts have had nine managers since they last won a major competition.
In just over ten years.
That would make an Ibrox director embarrassed.
I’m not saying they are badly run or anything, but to go through that many of them only demonstrates what this blog has said over and over again; directors terminate managers largely to cover their own backs, because they are the ones who hire these guys in the first place and that’s a shocking number of them to go through.
I’m not running down Hearts fans here.
They have stomached a lot more than most fans would in following that team, but there’s a colossal failure here to hold the club to account and I don’t know how long they intend to continue watching this form of mediocrity.
The board’s dismissal of this idea is a stunt, a crowd-pleaser at a time when they are wondering if Steven Naismith’s head should join all the others on the spikey railings.
“Standing up for our fans” with some pitiful posturing is a hell of a lot easier than putting a winning team on the park.
They could sign that minimum fan guarantee and their away supporters would benefit from it. There are probably only three clubs who would ever take the full away ticket allocation, and one of them already gets a full stand … and you know, that’s where their position on this is revealed for the utter fraud that it is.
Because the one game that they are willing to give their fans less tickets for is the one against their biggest rivals, Hibs.
That’s the incoherence of their position, and about what you expect from a board that would struggle to identify a strategic thought if you got Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz to deliver the lectures personally.
This is why UEFA doesn’t allow clubs to get away with it.
Hearts clearly do not care if they play an active role in killing the away fan experience completely … and the governing bodies really don’t care either.
That this has been allowed to drag on as long as it has is frankly disgusting. That one club has already said it will act out of utter self interest instead of for the good of the game is abhorrent, and I think it’s high time that Celtic retaliated and exposed this for the nonsense that it is.
When it comes time to give Hearts tickets for Celtic Park, we should offer them ten.
Ten tickets in total.
And there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about that if we chose to.
Tell them we also are prioritising our own supporters; there’s a ten thousand waiting list at Celtic Park and every one of those tickets would go on the same day if we put them up for sale. We all know it’s true.
If clubs don’t want to play ball then they better realise that the bare minimum of tickets is what they’ll get and it’s all they’ll get and without a floor on how low that number can go, they can explain to their away fans how “prioritising them” has turned out.
Just call the bluff of these people and stop messing about, Celtic.
Ibrox fans will be banned from Celtic Park because their club has made their ground unsafe for us to visit.
I could make the same argument about Tynecastle, and we’d be justified in treating their club the same way and refusing our own allocation and banning them altogether.
If the SFA and the SPFL don’t want to act and don’t want to govern then it’s anarchy, isn’t it? If clubs are going to act out of self interest on this then there’s no real hope for ever making progress in the game and it’s a free for all.
There is a part of me which believes that Hearts is acting out of spite.
Spite for the league shutdown due to COVID when they were relegated.
But they weren’t relegated because of the rest of Scottish football, they were relegated because their directors can’t pick a manager any better than the Ibrox ones can, and because their team was like something from Comedy Central.
There is too much of that in the Scottish game, too many ancient grudges and festering hatreds and its become ridiculous.
With Hearts taking this decision I think it’s almost certain that other clubs are going to vote the same way and so this crisis is going to drag on and on and on and once this vote has come and gone there’s no chance of resolving it quickly.
That leaves a show of force.
And we’re the biggest club in the country.
I wonder how many different ways we can come up with to make life hard for the teams that want to “put their fans first”? I wonder how many different things we can do to inconvenience them? What do they need from the SPFL? What do they want in terms of support from their fellow chairman?
Where can we cause them some discomfort?
Because if they don’t want to act in the best interests of football as a whole in this little corner of the game, maybe it’s time we found out.