This will be the first of three articles I’ll publish today on a single subject; the ticket situation and how it has developed. The past few days have resulted in some of the stupidest commentary on this situation yet … and some of the most selfish.
I had to laugh the other day when I heard that Barry Ferguson had joined John Hartson in expressing his “regret” that Hearts had cut the allocations for ourselves and the Ibrox team.
Regret! Ha! There’s a lot of it going around, but most of us don’t combine it with guilt and a dose of hypocrisy.
Celtic fans who have suffered as a result of this have regrets. Other club’s fans have a growing sense of shock at what they helped to unleash.
Ferguson’s favourite club were the ones who opened these floodgates and his expressions of regret and sorrow are very difficult to take seriously.
He should have called them out instantly the moment they cut our ticket allocation for Ibrox and we might not be in this place. He is not alone in bearing some of the guilt, but he cannot comment and except us to keep a straight face.
John Hartson has been on the right side of this from the start, and when he spoke about the Hearts decision the other day he called it correct.
I am glad that Ferguson agrees with him on it, because when he points to Hearts and accuses them of cutting our tickets for no other reason than they think it gives them some sort of modest sporting advantage he’s on it.
That’s why the Ibrox club did it too. Not that it’s done them much good. Ferguson might be quick to accuse Hearts of that, but he has never, to the best of my knowledge, accused the club from Ibrox of it, although the motivation was obvious.
And this is why Hearts’ publicised stance on the vote on this issue is so abhorrent; they are clearly using the lax regulations to try to gain that sporting advantage and the governing bodies, instead of taking this decision at the Executive level, are giving it to the clubs themselves where selfishness will be allowed to rule the day instead of what’s in the common good.
That this vote will fail to achieve the protections that away fans require is virtually certain.
Yet this is precisely what the minimum fan guarantee is explicitly designed to prevent. In failing to nail down a specific number long before now, the SFA and the SPFL have been guilty of a grotesque failure of governance which is now coming back to haunt us all, and even faced with this and the almost inevitable death of the football away day in our game, they are unable to rouse themselves to action.
The result will be disastrous for all of us.
Hartson, at least, has maintained a consistent position on it throughout. He has called this exactly what it is. He has been slamming it as unfair from Day 1 and has never been shy about apportioning blame where it belongs.
If his colleagues in the media had only done the same we might not be here. Indeed, this journey might have ended the day it started.
Instead, we’re all on this road to nowhere, and I blame Ibrox for that but I blame those at Hampden as well, because they’re as much a part of this as the club across the city.