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Author: Mark

The Power Of Discretion And Why Guidelines Are… King

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) decision to deem Dave King “fit and proper” to become a Rangers director has proved widely popular. It is popular with Rangers fans because they believe the South African-based businessman will help fund the club back to what they call its “rightful place.” And it is popular with other fans because they believe he can’t and/or won’t. At face value, the decision is disgraceful. SFA regulations identify specific criteria by which a putative director’s fitness and propriety can be gauged. One is whether “he has been convicted within the last 10 years of…an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over.” In August 2013, King received the world’s most famous 41 convictions for breaches of South African tax law, all of which were “liable to imprisonment of two years…” Another is whether “he has been a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the five-year period of such club having undergone an insolvency event.” Again, King fits this criteria like a glove, having been a Rangers non-executive director throughout the “five-year period” before it entered administration in February 2012. However, the SFA has “discretion as to whether or not such a person is fit and proper…after due consideration of all the relevant facts…in its possession and knowledge, including the undernoted list which is…illustrative and not exhaustive.” This gives the...

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How Scottish Football Journalism “Works,” Part Three

BBC Scotland sports journalist Tom English, one of the best of a much-maligned breed, tweeted a very good point this week: “Sunday was a great result for Neil Doncaster. With all this thunder about Steven McLean it almost seems like last Wednesday never happened.” English was referring to the aftermath of Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s 3-2 win over Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final and in particular the reported inability of three of the match’s officials, including referee McLean, to see a clear handball by Caley’s Josh Meekings. This aftermath has, momentarily at least, drowned out the outrage at SPFL...

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The Kingstonian Keeper Keeps It To Himself

Journalistic instinct. You just can’t buy it. Which is a pity. Because I could have done with some on February 23rd when Kingstonian goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey leapt momentarily into the gathering of Bognor Regis Town fans to “confront” one of them as they celebrated their 2-1 win. When it happened I was already striding purposefully away from the Ks’ Kingsmeadow Stadium, with my last direct bus home 15 minutes purposeful striding away and due in about 16. So, despite being in the press area almost throughout the game and yards from what was momentarily a national news story-ette thanks...

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Neil Doncaster: Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The Scottish Professional Football League’s CEO, Neil Doncaster, is either stupid, or thinks everyone is. This is the logical conclusion to draw from the SPFL’s breath-taking decisions on the Scottish Championship’s fixtures for Saturday May 2nd. At first glance, Sky TV televising Hearts v Rangers and moving the game from Saturday to Sunday is nothing unusual. Two of Scotland’s biggest club names, one receiving the Championship trophy that day, the other central to the battle for play-off places. However, May 2nd was the last day of the regular Championship season. And with final league positions still potentially up for...

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When Football Was Good, part 7 – David Speedie

DAVID SPEEDIE Born 20th February 1960, Glenrothes. Clubs: Barnsley (1978-1980); Darlington (1980-1982); Chelsea (1982-1987); Coventry City (1987-1991); Liverpool (1991); Blackburn Rovers (1991-1992); Southampton (1992-1993); Birmingham City (1992, loan); West Bromwich Albion (1992, loan); West Ham United (1993, loan); Leicester City (1993-1994).  514 career league appearances, 148 goals. Domestic honours: 1986 Full Member’s Cup; 1987 Charity Shield finallist. International honours: 10 Scotland caps (1985-1989). “Mummy, who’s that man leaping like a majestic salmon to head the winning goal?” Well, it could only have been David Speedie, the 5 feet 7 inch centre forward with the aerial presence of a man...

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