Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide
“I therefore intend to explore measures to mandate greater fan engagement, and in particular measures that will seek to provide for fan consultation on key issues”
Perhaps the most important words ever written about British football almost slipped us all by this week, almost.
The above was part of a seven page letter which can be viewed via the link below, sent by Tracy Crouch MP who is heading up an independent review into football governance. Seven pages can be too much at times but some of the snippets cut straight to the bone, address the issues full on, and make this document HUGE in footballing terms.
The McLeish report was ignored during a more innocent period, some saw the writing on the wall but the actual events needed to kick-start real action hadn’t taken place. Events such as liquidation hitting one of the nations giants leading to the rule book being flung out the window.
Modernization of the game is needed nowhere more than Bonnie Scotland.
At long last a voice with some authority has cottoned onto the fact that unchecked power will usually lead to disaster, Enron and the banking crisis two perfect examples. Before their spectacular collapses, both shunned regulatory oversight , fighting tooth and nail for their independence as it was much more profitable. It’s too late to turn back the clock on the above crises, but football is still there to be saved,,and although it may resist, the lessons of not forcing through regulations are too recent to ignore.
With Barca in financial dire straights, and our rivals self imploding, some of the games premier derbies are truly at risk of disappearing, which might be a case of getting your comeuppance but would surely be a loss for the sport overall.
The Superleague proposal may have been a desperate power grab by clubs losing money year on year, but perhaps it’s most important feature was a 70 percent salary cap. That’s almost an admission from the biggest clubs that help is required on the financial front, that things shouldn’t continue as they are. Given this, those at the top of the pyramid should be open to outside assistance aimed at fixing the sports many problems.
Opening the game up to the people alongside stringent regulations would offer a level of security most welcome in many sector’s. Not only for owners and shareholders of clubs themselves who should no longer be the subject of wrath when 70 % max of turnover spending caps are introduced, but those who rely on the sport most for livelihood could breathe a huge sigh of relief. Bars, restaurants, takeaways, merchandise sellers and all associated staff in any given town up and down the land were all one catastrophic decision away from losing their most precious business asset, the foot traffic associated with stadium attendance.
While some talked of jelly and ice-cream upon a certain club’s death, many jobs were risked, no laughing matter at all.
Providing ordinary folk continued employment may actually be just about the best thing to emerge from that entire episode. A newfound determination to police the national sport better should have emerged but didn’t.
Down south is different however. The recent threat of Superleague was met with real fury and much boycott chatter, which as mentioned usually hurts the common people most, ie the voters.
‘Saving football’ may be the correct thing to do but of course it’s also a vote winner.
Keeping those constituents in long term secure employment should win votes, keeping the tax revenue from the biggest league in the world secure should win votes, and helping football fans have a real say in their clubs affairs should win votes.
There’s more than just the sports affairs on the line here, England would take steps to keep it’s golden goose healthy, and tethered down.
If England takes these steps Scotland must follow. The national sport desperately needs restructuring, a strong but fair guiding hand, and must act when the opportunity presents itself. Our southern neighbours can establish the framework, it needs only to be transplanted elsewhere.
It must, there’s no other choice, bar slow death.
Should clubs below the border truly get their house in order with tangible buy-in for supporters, the impetus falls fully on the domestic clubs to align or be left behind.
And left behind they would be for many a football fan is seeking what is being proposed in that letter.
The lobbying would be intense from the full spectrum of those involved, with many a vote there to be retained by backing the bill or lost by not.
This is an issue every single one of us could get behind, could help push through via every and any means necessary, then together reap the rewards.
An Independent Regulator may just also help make scenes like the yearly George Square trashing and eventual Police baiting, a thing of the past.
Our club of choice has an open goal here, for strongly and vocally backing the adoption off the fresh proposals mentioned could go a long way to help put ourselves at the front of the pack full stop, while offering hope to those disillusioned by the last decades events via a properly run game from this point onwards, scouts honour.
Our rivals might not like the fact they couldn’t run on debt under the new rules, but having gone through one death you would imagine their fans would force the issue.
Once these proposals are tabled in Parliament, not one but two leagues better get ready for major change.
Once this genie is out of the bottle, Scottish football will literally have nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide.