Who would have thought this time last year we would have had, in no particular order,
- A ref being caught telling un-truths and the SFA disciplinary committee basically giving him a slap on the wrist and the same ref resigning.
- A ref strike to this date no one can actually say with hand on heart what wasthe true reasons why they went on strike.
- The head of referee getting dismissed due to sending, well I will call it, inappropriate emails.
- Celtic players and manager being sent bullets in the post.
- Celtic manager and high profile fans allegedly being sent parcel bombs.
- Celtic Manager allegedly being attacked on the touch line.
- A Scottish club being fined not once but twice by UEFA due to there singing.
- A manager attacking an opposition official at a European game.
- A manager attacking a chairman of an opposition club.
- A summit being called due to fan/players/managers behaviour at a cup match ( anyone would have thought their was an election).
- Publishing of a report which is hoped will be the future of the Scottish game.
I am sure there might be some others that I have missed out but you get the drift,an eventful season both on and especially off the field. So to progress the debatessurrounding the Scottish game US , WE, ALL , need to try an progress the debate andarguments forward for the benefit not only of the game but in some cases society.
What people have to remember is that this season, to me reflects what ScottishSociety is like in general, warts and all. Or put it a more academic footing, Scottishsociety is a macro-cosm of football but Scottish Football is also micro-cosm ofScottish Society. Problems surrounding sectarianism, drinking and everything else you want to look out can be seen somewhere in Scottish Football over the previous season.
I accept that sending parcel bombs is unknown in Scotland, but the case still stands.My guess is that such threats went to this level as it might have seen out of some illogical fear of institutions of being under attack.
The future should be one of hope that is if the Thistle can be grasped not only bypoliticians, governing body, police but most importantly WE the fans. ALL FANS not just Livingstone fans, Motherwell fans, Ayr fans but ALL FANS from every single club in Scotland.
There are some interesting developments surrounding club ownership which shouldbe interesting to see progress and developed. St. Mirren being the obvious example of this at the present time and there is at least one organisation set up to help withfans who want to attempt to take over the running of their clubs. East Stirling being another example to watch out how the progress under fan ownership. But what of fanson other issues, which might affected them this coming season and for years ahead. Such things as ticket pricing, kick off times, policing etc.
To progress the whataboutery, fans need to unite with once voice in the future. Itis accepted that some issues still require addressing but unless we all know what the common ground is has fans how can the debate move on, I asked a question on twitter the other day basically along the lines, “if you had to draw up a 8 point plan for Scottish football fans what 8 points would you have”, check out #fans8plan on twitter (other replies where received which where notincluded within the hashtag).
From the answers received they can roughly be divided into to separate areas Can be put into the following:
1. fans experience including price, ticketing, kick off times, even % grass coverage, limited sell of alcohol at some match’s, safe standing etc.
2. football set up, included in this are things such as league reconstruction topleague of 16 seemed popular, pyramid system covering the full game inscotland and 1 governing body of all football in Scotland, (so no SFA, SPL orSFL etc.) With a transparent rule and procedures and code of conduct – signedup by all clubs and officials.
3. Development – all players etc to participate in “community work” every weeketc. Also players etc to undertake a refs course. One suggestion included anautomatic £2 levy on every ticket for youth development.
4. Financial transparency of all clubs, including financial fair play rules.
5. All fans to adhere to refraining from social-political chants/add on’s/songs etc, resulting breach’s of what would become know as a ‘ban list’ could result in punishments of up to and include closure of stands/stadiums.
Now you may notice there is not 8 points above, and the coverage of replies wheremostly from Celtic fans a few fans from other clubs participated. Not a finished list by any means but I do believe that yes fans have difference’s some of which, I would suggest socially, morally and out of human decency are unacceptable but the above list suggest there is more unites fans than divides. Yes there are discussion to be had over most aspects and especially point 5, put unless fans unite with a voice for the better of Scottish football the years ahead will be the usual, 12:30pm kick offs, over priced tickets played on at times substandard pitch’s in stadium that have somerestricted view etc you get the picture. Further discussion by ALL fans is required,an adult, mature unheated debate. I would even go as far as say what is required is something along the lines of a Football Supporters Federation, who represent football fans in England and who have successfully defended a number of fans for wrongful prosecution. They teamed up with the Liberty doing work surrounding the police’s use of Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. Watching Football is not a Crime.
The announcement last week of new legislation to tackle sectarianism is obviously welcomed.
Although I have a fear, and that fear can be summed up with some using phrase’ssuch as “sectarian displays”. I can see this is going to be a mine fined and will probably result in badly drafted legislation. The authorities will probably use sections of it, and if some of their previous interpretations of laws have anything to go by,wrongly which can only result in a number of wrongful arrests for misinterpretationof what is and what is not sectarian.
As far as I can see there is some ad hoc initiatives mainly on line such as Scotzine’scompiling a list of acceptable songs and chants and such like and this is the sortof things ALL fans should welcome. But I feel a more structured and formal organisation for ALL Scottish Football fans is required and if someone can point me in the direction of such an organisation represent ALL fans of the game in Scotland without fear or favour I am in.
Scotzine are building a dedicated list of Sectarian, Unacceptable and Acceptable songs on The Half Time Pie Football Forum. We need your help in updating our list. It is a working list in process, which we will be using in a documentary-style programme we will be shooting in July time. And we have added an 8 Point Plan thread on the Forum to discuss what you think are the important factors that need looked at within Scottish Football.
Written by Peter Cowan