Thursday, 5 July 2012

A High Stakes Game Of Poker

While the “nation” has been involved with Euro 2012, the tennis and the upcoming Olympics, the Rangers situation rumbles on with yesterday’s vote only really confirming Newco Rangers non retention in the SPL – a situation that has evolved over the past couple of weeks.

Where this vote leaves Scottish football remains to be seen.  On Tuesday night, I and another 400 odd St Mirren fans gathered at Greenhill Road to hear the pre-vote thoughts from our Chairman, Stewart Gilmour.  What was discussed was starkly brutal as Gilmour essentially painted a bleak picture for Scottish Football as a picture was painted of the outcome for Scottish Football if Newco Rangers were to be asked to start off at the bottom of the Third division, Gilmour believes that while St Mirren are at their healthiest financial position in 20 years that the club would still be at risk of Administration alongside 5 or 6 other SPL clubs.  The root cause of this bleak picture was outlined as corporate sponsors and broadcasting companies taking flight from the Scottish game.

As Gilmour was speaking about losses in revenue of between £600,000 and £1.1 million (from last season) should Rangers be put into the lowest professional level and about season tickets being 300 down from last season (I suspect that the general economy has a part to play here, the Rangers situation may not be as big a factor), the thought entered my head that this is essentially a very large game of poker, with the future of Scottish Football at stake.

The contenders are thus: the fans (who watch the game week in and week out, who put the squeeze on their clubs in the first place) the SPL teams (who spoke yesterday), the SPL “management” (Neil Doncaster and his staff, who have only succeeded in representing the concerns of his corporate clients and not the clubs), The SFL, the SFA, the broadcasters and the corporate sponsors. Oh, and Newco Rangers.  All have their opinions on the best way forwards and all have their vested interests.

The biggest irony is that the majority of fans (even the Rangers fans) are in agreement, that Newco Rangers should start in Division three.  The roadblock to reform, so to speak, is the administrators, the sponsors and the broadcasters.

As I said at the start of this post, today only confirms what had been on the cards for some time.  The future of Newco Rangers – if it has a future – remains to be seen.  Crucially, that future is becoming more and more tied to the future of Scottish Football.  This game has a long time to go yet.

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