Strategic Review of
The way forward
Interim and summary findings
Part 2 Section 1 – The Gathering of the Clans
The laws of the game.
The Conduct of the game.
The Role of the Referees.
Involvement of the Supporters.
The minimisation of advantage gained through financial prosperity.
Much has been said about the restructuring of Scottish football in order to regain the glory years. Achieving that rebirth will be the main thrust for” Part 2 – section 2 – Culloden Avenged” of the report but it was felt by the Committee that urgent specific actions had to be taken to stem the shedding of supporters, the destruction of credibility, enhance the match-day experience and re-establish the connection between the SFA bank account and the supporters’ wallets.
This is the aim of “Part 2 Section 1 – The gathering of Clans”.
Adopting the proposals set out will put Scotland, Scottish football and our sponsors on the return path to the days when football Scottish style was the wellspring of new ideas, individualism, unrivalled skills and a culture that said to the rest of the world – “this is how it should be done”.
Like the Darien expedition before, we hope to stamp football with our very own mantra ….”Where we go, the rest will follow!” with the obvious exception that us hard-pressed administrators will continue to enjoy exclusive first class catering. We recognise that sentient beings will empathise with this necessity.
A quick reflection of days of yore demonstrates that nothing was impossible to the ambitious. Oh for the days when the ever-vigilant eyes and ears of administrators would detect the rumour of a new talent beavering away at the bottom of a mine-shaft, trying to earn a pittance to keep starvation at bay.
How humane was our actions and motives in removing the sweat and coal ingrained pick from their grasp and replacing it with the yoke of gratitude on their shoulders. We recognise that we need to take inspiration from those giants of the Victorian game and once again see the players return to that especially reserved niche under our jackboots where he, his wife and twenty kids can once more eke out an existence that reeks of ‘noblesse oblige’, pneumoconiosis and the early onset of emphysema.
All who have studied those times have rightly acknowledged that revolution as seminal days of greatness. Selfless sacrifice by all, despite the risks associated with mixing working and ruling classes, barefoot rapscallions and well shod pillars of society , gave historic rise to an evolution of the game that was exhilarating, inspirational and while many went to a paupers grave, it was with a sense of pride in their selfless donation to the upper classes prosperity.
Their sacrifices will not be forgotten.
Not to be forgotten are the supporters who quite rightly hanker for the grounds of old, devoid of roofs and toilets. Grounds where their miserable existence would be forgotten for a brief ninety minutes on a Saturday as they trekked through sheugh, stood in crap, wallowed in pish and watched through mascara –like newsprint as the heavenly torrents washed the headlines from their hastily assembled ‘Times’ or ‘Citizen’ umbrella, into their eyes.
We too miss those days and it is with some nostalgia that we remember watching them from the sterile atmosphere of the dry, warm, comfortable stand opposite.
Accordingly, it is in their honour that we have prepared this report “Part 2-Section 1 – the Gathering of Clans”.
However, while the report acknowledges the importance of players and supporters it also reflects the universally recognised view that undue attention to their narrow contribution to the game would be to the detriment to the wider and more influential needs of the essential hierarchy of administrators and referees representatives.
To ensure even-handedness in this matter we have agreed with a randomly selected supporters’ representative, a Mr George Peat, that we must adopt the SFA’s long held and proven principle of ‘to those according to their greed, from those according to their utter despair’.
Finally, we have taken great cognisance of the utterly critical role of the meejia in the future of this great game. Their ability to manipulate, communicate and entertain is fundamental and these capabilities allied to their essential function of providing employment for moribund careerists, laughable ex-SFA chief executives, nasally challenged and obese hacks and ‘Cowan and Cosgrove’ in times of famine, must entail suitable positions of influence in the new world.
We therefore feel that the findings of the committee will be adopted for the good of Scottish Football. Consequently, we expect their impact to be reflected in our wallets and in the installation of new soundproofing of Hampden Park offices while we stick our fingers in our ears and purchase new blindfolds to block out the true problems that face the game in our wee country.
As stated earlier, In order to expedite the implementation of the proposals we prefer not to wait for the publication of the main strategic report that will deal with the longer term and institutional change to how we lead the world down a new path to a bright hallucinogenic sunlit future (Part 2 Section 2 – Culloden avenged – to be published next week),
This document is a precursor tactical plan and deals exclusively with immediate actions including minor but critical procedural and functional alterations.
We believe in our collective wisdom that by applying these to our own game, we will once more allow Scottish Football to shine like a beacon and resound like a battle-cry reminding the world that Scotland, Scotsmen and Scottish football wait for ‘no man’ in our quest for perfection.
As a by-product of the production of this report, we expect that its review and redrafting will take around two years. This will ensure that the current committee, the SFA administration, their extended families (legitimate and otherwise) and particularly helpful third party suppliers (jobsfortheboys.co.uk) of favours and benefits in kind will continue to soak every brass farthing out of the gullible supporters, while enjoying a life of utter decadence.
For ease of reading, absorption and generation of utter amazement at the intellectual rigor and talents of the committee, the report is broken into easy readable bits and bobs :
- The Challenge
- The laws of the game.
- The conduct of a match
- The role of the referees
- Involvement of the supporters
- The minimisation of advantage gained through financial prosperity
As a final point we recognise that some or all of these recommendations may not actually be accepted or implemented. We have ensured that should this be the case then we will be available to undertake another review with either the same or different terms of reference, or anything else that will keep the supporters dosh flowing into our ravenous coffers.
The only stipulation should this occur is that the office of the Chief executive and President of the SFA once again dictate exactly what our findings should be before we commit to the timetable.
It makes things a lot easier and after all that’s what everyone wants.
And so to the report.
Scottish football is dying and the status, ego, perks and privileges of those who run it are greatly endangered. This is undoubtedly a by-product of the desertion of the game by faithless supporters skee-daddling in their droves and thus threatening our ability to send our weans to suitable schools, attend overseas functions, live a life of decadence and security and perform the daily ritual of not only kissing each others’ arses but importantly complimenting each other on the taste.
A prime factor behind this mass exodus is undoubtedly the inability of the working class schools, council estates and prisons to produce the necessary desperate raw talent. This dereliction of duty, resulting in our opinion from the increase of the school leaving age to 16, the banning of weans going up chimneys, the widespread use of electricity and the creation of the health service has resulted in a seemingly never ending stream of managers and coaches who have cow-towed and The objective of this report is to derive simple and expedient alterations to the laws of the game such that the decline into an open and honest culture is avoided at all cost.
The Laws of the Game
Football has always evolved. Like Darwin and the natural selection of those organisms most suited to survival, it is clear that change and progress must go hand in hand if the new future is to be realised. So the following law changes must be implemented with immediate effect
- At first we considered outlawing the goalkeepers’ use of gloves. On reflection we felt such a proposal would prove no more than lip-service to our terms of reference. Therefore with immediate effect, goalkeepers will no longer be allowed to use their hands. In fact, to prevent transgression of this law, all goalkeepers will from now on have their hands cuffed behind their backs for the duration of the match. They will still be allowed to head the ball. There are already, as we know many clubs whose goaltenders find great difficulty in catching the ball anyway; this law change will lead to a levelling of the playing field, more goals and high scoring matches. (Should they have an uncontrollable itch, they can either use the goal post or get the trainer on for a quick scratch).
- The ball (see below for further change) – two options are being considered here.
OPTION 1 -The ball’s dimensions will be altered with immediate effect to the size of a tennis-ball. For years we produced the best players who had been brought up playing with one of these. Continuity will thus be achieved all the way from weans’ street games to professional football.
OPTION 2 – Re-introduction of the Mitre Mouldmaster. The English and Continental influence of breeding namby-pamby wimps who have never felt the smack of a stone cold frozen mitre cannonball on the inside of their thigh, or the permanent abrasion of lost scalp and hair from a mistimed sclaffed header has to come to an end. The Mitre mould-master would see the return of real men to the game.
The above two options will now be opened to input from the general public who may wish to also consider the resurrection of razor sharp black ash, red blaze pitches and no showers or toilets as a further deterrent to those ‘big girl’s blouses’ to roll around in mock agony when they break a fingernail. Believe me the agony will not be ‘mock’!!
The Conduct of the game
The game itself needs to be altered slightly to encourage the unexpected, heighten the excitement, encourage tactical innovation and to bring out of the players skills and abilities that they didn’t even know they had.
We considered introducing something along the lines of Shinty/Hurling/Gaelic Football and Australian Rules where shots just missing the post or just going over the bar were allocated additional points. To effect this change we originally envisaged the current goal being framed by a larger one, perhaps wider and higher by a yard. Attempts on goal entering the gap would accrue the status of mini-goals, a bit like mini-rolls compared to a fully-fledged City Bakers Jam roll. However having changed the rule to outlaw the use of the goalkeeper’s hands we decided that this wouldn’t really achieve our desired outcome. Our solution however is I am sure you will agree equally stunning (and as is our wont in two parts) and is as follows:
- Two new goals, the same dimensions as the current goals with the same sized penalty areas are to be introduced immediately. These will be positioned facing each other at opposite ends of the half way line. This action will double the options and opportunity for players throughout the park to get on the score-sheet. (we will allow an additional goalkeeper per team).The offside law will NOT apply to these goal areas but all other rules and infringement conditions will apply. This may appear difficult to envisage, after all how do you set up to attack more than one goal, or defend more than one penalty area? The solution is simple….
- As of next season the game will be played with two balls, (using either the re-introduced mitre or the tennis ball). We feel that the challenge of playing and managing this revolutionary concept will see Scottish football once more become the envy of the world. Both teams will kick off; only when both balls go out of play will the game be stopped. Restarts will be as now with a combination of shies, fouls, dropped balls, bye kicks and post-score kick-offs.
It has been mentioned that this could cause severe problems for referees and linesmen. In our deliberations we did recognise this and therefore propose the following changes to the umpiring laws.
The Role of the Referees
- With immediate effect all referees and linesman will be dispensed with. The laws of the game, the conduct of the match, stoppages, additional time, everything including penalties and all that stuff will be controlled by the commentators and pundits in the media box, or if they can’t make the game, by satellite link from their hotel bedroom while they enjoy a late breakfast or an early livener.
By using current technology, decisions will be flashed up on the electronic scoreboard thus keeping the fans involved and informed of the whys and wherefores of decisions. This should lead to an even greater empathy between expert and supporter; more even than exists now.
To ensure that players do not take unfair advantage of this seemingly “at arms’ length” arbitration, they (the players) will be fitted with two small electrical terminals. In the event of any ‘law’ transgression the media observer(s) will transmit a short sharp shock as a quick reminder of the ethos within which the game should be played. Yellow and red cards will no longer be needed as additional transgressions will see the current increased accordingly. We feel that this will bring a degree of fit between punishment and crime that is all too sadly lacking in today’s game. We also feel that due to the high regard in which both commentators and expert interjectors are held, arguments by supporters over the correctness of the decisions are unlikely to arise.
- As a minor but important aside, in order to minimise the dilution of the game’s roots and keep it cosy within the Scottish family, ALL commentators and contributors to things like papers and blogs will hereby refrain from using the terms goal-kicks, free-kicks, and throw-ins. These events will WITHOUT EXCEPTION be given their true and historic descriptive of ‘Bye-kicks, fouls and Shies.
Involvement of the Supporters
Critical to the success of these proposals is the involvement of the paying supporter and we recognise that the more they pay the better. It is further recognised that it is better for them to be ripped off by a benevolent SFA rather than for them in their proletarian dissolute tendencies to fritter their money away on drink and junk food .
To encourage them to invest in Scottish football and the continued well-being of maegalomaniacal millionaires and wannabees running the clubs, we propose as of next season that all teams replace half-time draws etc with a ‘supporter’s pick’. During the pre-match warm up a random draw of season book numbers will be made. The two supporters drawn for each team will play for their team for the whole game. They will also be paid the salary of the highest paid participant (of their team) that day. If in the case of Albion Rovers, East Stirlingshire or Aberdeen the selected supporters happen to be the highest paid players, they will instead be entitled to a free pie and Bovril. This opportunity will be open to all sexes, ages and abilities. It will of course revive that age old Scottish custom of ‘taking my boots to the game ……just in case’ and may go some way towards verifying the eternal claim that ‘ma granny could have scored that’!
Supporters will of course not go away empty handed. They are of course the life blood of our prosperity and they will be entitled to buy the shirt they wear on the pitch for a 20% discount (once they pay for cleaning fees).
We feel that this will be treasured possession for many to look back in years to come and say ‘I was there’!
The minimisation of advantage gained through financial prosperity
It is of course recognised by the committee that all of the above will undoubtedly be copied by the world at large and while we may gain a slight advantage by being ‘first mover’ it will prove almost certainly to be no more than temporary. The curse that is ‘money’ will see the self styled elite once more corrupt the game to their advantage. Therefore the final proposal is undoubtedly the key change that will see the game flourish only in Scotland (and with selected partners) for at least the next hundred years.
As we know, in the late 19th century the game of football, while popular was pretty haphazard and disorganised until like a new enlightenment the Scottish game brought forward the revolutionary idea of ‘passing the ball’.
At the time the true power of this innovation was not realised nor capitalised upon. Now we need to right that wrong.
With immediate effect we propose to patent the concept of ‘passing the ball’ and no other country (unless with our specific assent) will be allowed to utilise it in their own version of the game of football. Many clubs will of course see no difference to their game while in Scotland many will wonder at just how they are going to make use of this newfound opportunity. Patience will be required but it is the committee’s view that even in Scotland, the exclusive use of ‘passing’ should lead to a massive advantage over the opposition. (It should be explained here that the idea is to pass to someone wearing the same coloured shirt!)
We only have to look at the last 40 years to see the advantage that competitors had over us by the illegal use of our invention while we ignorantly adhered to kick and chase.
With this one change we believe the Scottish revolution will be finally complete and we can look forward to overtaking Brazil in the World Cup acquisition stakes. A suitable space has been allocated at Hampden Park for the trophy when it is awarded in perpetuity.
There are of course the doubters who think that possibly the world may not follow our lead and Scotland will be left isolated as the only participants in their own minority-of-one version of football.
There are even some who believe that this committee, its efforts and its terms of reference are no more than another attempt to line their pockets while paying lip-service to the beating heart of the professional game – the supporter.
We can say in almost all honesty (wee white fibs are ok), that we would suffer the outrages of the bad fire if such a thought ever entered our mind (while our fingers weren’t crossed). Anyway being extremely practical people it is clear that even if that was an unexpected consequence of our efforts it is in the fact no worse than where we currently find ourselves.
The supporters have been getting ripped off for years; they know it; they accept it and even if their requirements had been part of our criteria we are sure that they recognise that the SFA is not in existence for their convenience.
To cater of course for all possibilities and any undeserved adverse reaction the committee have already a detailed plan in hand to cater for this unlikely event. This will be the subject of ‘Part 2 Section 2– Culloden Avenged’.
The committee in commending this report to the Nation would like to emphasise that seek no financial reward or adulation for the herculean efforts that were applied in developing the above approach.
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
(Although we wouldn’t say ‘no’ tae another bottle of Buckie and a free ticket to the next Rod Stewart concert.)