Day: July 10, 2012

The Battle for Control of Scottish Football

For the time being, this has pretty much ceased to be about Rangers. As the Scottish Football League prepares for its General Meeting on Friday, at which we may (or may not) get a final decision on their league placement for next season, Rangers themselves have assumed the position of bemused onlookers. Most polls now suggest they themselves want to be in the third division; manager Ally McCoist has suggested the same. And even new owner Charles Green, in a moment of uncharacteristic humility, indicated they would accept wherever the SFL thought best to put them, and – publically at least – he has made no effort to pressure them either way. Instead, the pressure is coming from the SFA, and the SPL on behalf of the other top flight clubs who are trying to minimise the actual or perceived financial damage to themselves following the Rangers collapse. It’s become a battle of wills for the future control of the Scottish game itself – and the fight has been getting increasingly dirty. I’ve already nailed my own colours to the mast in previous articles, but I will make it clear again that I believe Newco Rangers must start no higher than the third division. It is a fundamental tenet that all clubs must compete by the same rules and on a level playing field. That may be worth a little...

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Watford’s Big Picture Problems

The take-over of an English football club by the owner of an Italian club passed somewhat quietly on account of the European Championships but, as Paul Grech, writes Watfords tie-in with Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo might just end up having a significance that reaches some way beyond Vicarage Road. As the two nations’ teams faced each other in one of the lesser balanced games of Euro 2012’s quarter final line up, another piece of business involving English and Italian football went by practically unnoticed. By buying a majority stake in Watford, Italian Giampaolo Pozzo became the latest foreign owner of an English club and, in that respect, this piece of news merited the lack of attention that it received. What makes it remarkable is that Pozzo is also the owner of Serie A side Udinese. Pozzo’s achievements in Udine have been nothing short of remarkable. A team that was constantly yo-yoing between Serie A and B was transformed into one of the more stable sides at the top of Italian football; one capable of two consecutive Champions League qualification slots despite spending a fraction of what is available to the country’s traditional giants. This has been achieved through one of the finest scouting networks allied with a scatter-gun approach of signing promising players irrespective of their nationality (but as long as they don’t cost too much). It is a...

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