Day: December 15, 2010

The SPL Plot A Power-Grab

After all the fuss about the refereeing crisis, it’s time for Scottish football to return to some semblance of normality and get back to what it does best and spends most of its time doing – discussing league reconstruction. The second part of (former First Minister) Henry McLeish’s review of the Scottish game is due to be published tomorrow (Thursday), and is expected to make recommendations for the professional game and league set up. But the SPL, or at least their working group, have pre-empted this by leaking their own proposals, in advance of a full meeting this coming Monday (20th) where all twelve SPL clubs will get their first chance to look them over and discuss them. Proposals for league reconstruction are, of course, ten a penny, and the insistent demand for “change” or “reform”, apparently as an end in its own right, is becoming worse than the most tedious of general election campaigns. But this particular set of proposals, or the bits of them they’ve floated so far, are almost breathtaking in their audacity. Essentially, the SPL wants to take over the rest of Scottish football and organise everybody else to suit themselves. Let’s have a quick reminder of the SPL’s track record so far. They split off from the SFL in 1998, having seen the success of the English equivalent in the preceding few years. The...

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Cause For Concern At Blackburn?

I was surely not alone in thinking “Ha-ha-ha” when hearing of “Big” Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn departure. But unless there has been a master plan in place since day one (and Maradona’s unexpected appearance in England a few weeks back now has a new explanation), the decision appears the latest example of Venky’s – and in particular Anuradha Desai’s – utter ignorance of English club football, which is no laughing matter. All the questions about Venky’s true motivation for buying Blackburn have been aired. And a refreshingly large number of people have recognised that the deal is far more about Venky’s worldwide profile than Rovers’ Indian one. Not least because, as I mentioned the last time I wrote about Blackburn, Desai said so. Seemingly blissfully unaware that Indian newspaper interviews can be available in this country via the internet, she told the Economic Times of India on October 27th:  “Football is a global craze and as the VH Group globalizes, setting up feed plants and hatcheries around the world, we believe we can benefit from being owners of a major football club. IT will help build OUR brand.” (My emphasis). If you were being really picky, you could question her interpretation of the words “craze” and “major.” And she hasn’t stopped offering more head-in-the-hands moments than is good for the soul. Indeed, almost every time she has opened her mouth...

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