I’m back in time for the Russia away match. I have to say, my prediction of losing 0-2 and 0-3 (Actual results: 1-2 and 0-4) wasn't all that bad, barring a couple of goals. At least I got the results right. I still say that Russia will beat us in the upcoming match 5-0. (If the pattern of an extra goal being scored continues then it’ll be 6-0)
The football international rankings is a bottomless pit, and with the help of the SFA, the Scotland team are sinking to lower and lower depths.
The SFA don't care about the Scotland football team, the managers, the players or the fans. They never have. They have a history of blatant disregard to anything regarding the Scotland national team if it means them investing money and effort. It's not a new thing, the SFA have been treating Scotland managers, players and fans with contempt for as long as they've been in existence:
During the World Cup in 1954 we were allowed a squad of 18 players, but we took 13 (two were goalkeepers), the rest of the plane was taken up by SFA committee members and their wives. Our boots and strips were from the 30’s. The tops were so heavy that Tommy Docherty said that he lost a couple of stone during the national anthem, the players were sweating that much.
During the World Cup in ’78 our players were holed in a hotel was wasn’t 100% built, the swimming pool wasn’t filled with water and the training ground resembled a tennis hard-court. Not only that, but when Willie Johnston got hauled over the coals and sent home for “drug abuse” (He took Reactivan, a hayfever medication) Instead of sticking by him, fighting tooth and nail and insisting that it was all an honest mix-up, and threatening FIFA with an ultimatum of “If Johnston goes home, we all do”, the SFA just watched from afar as Johnston was fed to the wolves and treated like a common criminal.
I was watching the documentary “Scotland 78: A love Story (I recorded it on TiVo a few months ago) -
The drop in standard of players from that era to now isn't worth thinking about, unless you want exasperation and depression to be on the menu. It's frightening.
Looking at club football. Why the hell is there four leagues? What is the point of having three leagues of ten and one league of twelve? For the life of me I'll never understand why our leagues are so small. If a league is small it pretty much makes every single match a must-win (Unless you're Celtic or Rangers), even for the likes of Aberdeen, three or four defeats in a row and you'll find yourself in a relegation battle. In such a pressure cooker environment managers are forced to look towards the lower English leagues for seasoned professionals rather than blooding untested and raw kids from their youth system. If leagues were bigger this would give managers more scope to bring kids through and give them game-time as not every match would be a six-pointer.
In Scottish football there should be a homegrown rule. Many other countries have one, it's typical of Scottish football that we're last in the queue. There should also be a limit of how many foreign players in match squads. I've debated this a while back and someone said that it was against the law and that it was discriminatory, etc. It's not against the law. It would only be against discriminatory law if zero foreigners were allowed in a match day squad. That isn't the case. Teams would be able to buy as many foreigners as they like, but they'd be obliged to play a limited amount. Again, not against the law. In the early-mid 90s there was a three foreigner rule in the European Cup, it wasn't abolished because of law, it was abolished because the bigger teams in Europe weren't happy with being handicapped by being restricted to playing a certain amount of foreign players.
The blame doesn't entirely fall at the door of the SFA, though. The clubs in Scotland have an odd philosophy. It’s like they’re living each day as it comes, irrespective of what tomorrow brings. If clubs in Scotland really invested in youth development it could be a goldmine. Just look at Ajax, in the 19/20 season they’ve brought in £185.1m from selling playing that have come through their youth system. Scottish teams have the capacity of doing this, if they work with their respective council, etc, they could quite easily follow the Ajax template. Hell, Celtic are loaded, they have the capacity and resources to be able to build their own facilities without the help of a council’s financial aid.
But no, that would require progressive thinking and patience. “Why wait 10+ years to produce a player worth £50+m when we can bring in a player for £3m-£7m now”.
And don’t talk to me about Celtic producing Forrest, McGregor, Tierney. Those players, in today’s market, would probably fetch £65m between them? Ajax produce £65+m players.
instead of coaching their own, and creating a conveyor belt of superstars the other ten clubs would rather pay wages to some veteran from English league two, etc. And Celtic would rather spend tens of millions on foreign kids, because they don’t have the time to bring through their own, and besides, it’s beneath them… they once won the European Cup, you know.... Yep. Bringing through their own is own is good enough for Barcelona and Ajax, etc, but it’s beneath Celtic and Rangers. And yes, not leaving Rangers out of the narrative. Spending £7m on a player who Liverpool deem not good enough for them, that’s a shrewd piece of business.
The ONLY thing that the SFA have gotten right in their entire existence has been to introduce the performance schools. If the stories are true and they scrap them, I’m afraid it’s time to turn off the lights and lock the door. If they do close those Schools then I hope it would prompt the Tartan Army, en mass, to completely turn their backs on attending matches and purchasing merchandise. (I was going to say "completely turn their back on the Scotland national team, but no matter how bad it gets, I'll still support the team and the manager) The only way to get our message across and to show them how angry we are is by hitting them in the pocket. After attending matches since I was 14 years old I've decided that enough is enough. I'm not going to line the pockets of suits that don't care if we win, lose or draw.
The SFA have to go. What we need to do is create a footballing equivalent of Extinction rebellion and storm Hampden. Would it shut down Scottish football? Yes, but the end justifies the means. Who even cares about Scottish football anyway? I don't even bother to watch Sportscene anymore, never mind attending matches or watching matches on the TV. I'm done feeding the corrupt monsters of the SPL and the SFA. You could slip into a coma at the start of the SPL season, wake up at the end, and you'd know who wins the league. That isn't sport. Knowing the result of a sporting even before it begins is the defining of corruption. People will probably through "loyalty" at me for a reason why they attend matches. There's a thin line between being loyal and being a mug. And no, I'm not a "glory hunter", either. A glory hunting Scotland fan is a misnomer.
The suits who haunt Hampden should be sacked. Replaced by football people, a mix of people who have spent their lives in football and also progressive people.
If some sort of change doesn't happen at the top, very soon, we're going to get worse. In football there is no bottomless pit, it just keeps dropping and dropping and dropping….
With all due respect to players like Forrest and Mulgrew and Jack and McGregor, etc, they are limited players and if everything was rosy, and the SFA actually did there job in the 90s, we'd be flush with top players and the aforementioned four wouldn't even make the bench. I'm not even going to mention calling up Gallagher and Shankland and looking at Dykes. But that's where we are. We've hit the lowest level that we've ever hit. It's gotten to the point where I'm expecting us to ship at least five against Russia and as far as San Marino go... I wouldn't be surprised if we draw it.
The SFA and Scottish domestic clubs have put their own self-interest before their fans. They've robbed this generation an opportunity of seeing Scotland participate at a top European or a World football event, as well as the Scotland fans who have passed away having never seen us compete in the most recent eleven tournaments. They've lost a generation of football fans, a generation who are either apathetic of the Scotland football team or they're just embarrassed by it.
I consider myself a part of the last generation of Scotland fans who will have witnessed (and be proud of) the Scotland national team compete at a European Championships and a World Cup. I was one of the lucky ones. I grew up and went to School during the years of Euro 96 and France 98. I feel for the younger generation of Scotland fan who have never experienced us go toe-to-toe with the likes of Brazil and England and Holland at a major football event and compete against them. I genuinely feel sorry the younger generation as they'll never, ever, see Scotland compete at the very top level. The fault lays squarely on the shoulders of the SFA and the domestic clubs.
In the past I've been accused of being negative. I'm not negative. I'm honest. Our domestic game is a joke, so much so that one of our most regular annual game is "Which tiny European team, that no one has heard of, will knock our teams out of the Qualifying stages for European football this year?". The SPL is a national disgrace, just this weekend Livingston played Celtic and played Rangers. The current market value of Livingston's players is £2.7m, opposed to the £57.3m of Celtic. Hamilton have a market value of £2m and Rangers have a value of £19.8. This imbalance is making Scottish football crumble.
The death of Scottish football is nigh.