What is the point in rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, when no one is fixing the Hull??

So where do Rangers really stand, where does league reconstruction take us and where is Scottish Football really going?

It has been a long time since I have written anything on this page. At present, I am far too busy to write anything other than my own research – something that sadly falls out with the walls of Scottish Football. However, as my concentration has completely gone I felt I may as well talk about some recent developments in Scottish Football.

First of all, let us address Hearts and their situation as this is clearly the biggest story in Scottish Football at present. Sadly it does not look good for Hearts at this present time. The club may owe a debt to HMRC that could see them facing imminent administration but for me, that is nothing short of the tip on a very large iceberg. The club owe sums of money in the region of £30 million to Romanov’s parent company. To be rather blunt, that is the debt that Hearts fans should be more worried about.

It is true that the Hearts fans could potentially rally round and settle the half million pounds debt to HMRC by filling the ground etc. The problem is that this is nothing more than a delaying tactic. The club will never be able to reduce its debt to Romanov in the current way that it is run. It is my opinion that Mr Romanov, with security over assets et al at the club – may not be too concerned with their demise. Indeed, I would argue that for Mr Romanov to receive the greatest return on his debt – liquidation would be the only way to go. Unlike the situation at Rangers, the owner of Hearts would hold the key to any CVA proposal etc that would concur with any Administration procedure but i personally feel that it may be in his best interests to follow through with liquidation by rejecting a CVA. This sort of situation may have been beneficial to Motherwell FC in their days of administration, as John Boyle effectively wrote off the debt Motherwell FC owed to him, but I would suggest that it is unlikely Mr Romanov would be so keen to support Hearts in the same way.

I have no idea the total value of Hearts nor would I like to guess. I would doubt that it would be enough to fulfil their debts to Mr Romanovs Company and on that basis – I would personally suggest that the days of Hearts are rather numbered.

On one hand I sympathise with the Hearts support but on the other I am rather happy to see the club find itself in the dire straits that Rangers found themselves in. My reason for saying that is not out of bitterness before anyone should suggest so. No, instead – the Hearts fans must learn to fall on their own sword in much the same way as the Rangers fans did for their years of complacent support of the clubs owners. I remember the days before Romanov came to Hearts – the previous board had announced that the club would be soon facing dark financial days and for the future of the club they would need to make vast cuts and tighten the budget. The hearts fans did not accept this remit in the slightest and instead paraded Mr Romanov as the king of kings when he walked down the Georgie Road. Hearts fans sold their whole clubs future of a few years of ‘glory’…. Now where have we heard that before?

Anyway enough on Hearts; how about Rangers?

Well, there is an imminent share issue that I do not really know all that much about, nor do I care all that much about either so I will refrain from talking about it all that much.

On the Park, looks like Rangers, sounds like Rangers….its Rangers. Now, I know that statement might upset some people that will desperately like to throw facts and figures about company numbers, liquidation, history blah blah who really cares. Rangers are playing football – not particularly good football, not particularly exciting football but they are playing football, in blue shirts, at Ibrox stadium and with all the fanfare of Rangers past. Rangers are Rangers, cry and scream about it all you like but the simple fact is the Rangers that everyone said would ‘die’ upon liquidation are still going strong. Call them phoenix, zombie, Sevco or whatever the hell you like because it will fall upon rather tired, bored and deaf ears.

In the same way as Rangers death didn’t happen – either did Armageddon in the SPL. Ok, so Hearts have their problems and a few other clubs are contemplating part-time football but realistically all of those problems were either historical or in the pipeline, they had nothing to do with Rangers. Everyone said that Celtic would have the league won by Christmas ( for avoidance of doubt Celtic will still win the league by a distance I am sure) but as it stands only a handful of points separate the top 6 teams – including Hibs at the top.

We heard stories of how attendances would drop. Now, I also said this would happen because at present the economic situation does not bode well for entertainment industries such as football – overpriced and to be frank, not very entertaining.

The fact is, Aberdeen and Hibs along with Dundee United have seen slight increases in attendance. Now, I am sure that has more to do with their current performance than anything else but it is not the end of days scenario that was suggested by the demise of Rangers, far from.

So, that concludes the draw on Rangers.

Next up Celtic, Neil Lennon and Celebrity Football fans:

First of all I would like to congratulate Celtic on their 125th year, I would like to congratulate the Green Brigade and their fans for a wonderful display and their team for giving a little credibility back to Scottish football at this time.

The display before the game at home to Barcelona was fantastic and anyone that disagrees clearly has too many mental issues of their own to overcome to be expected to have a reasonable opinion on matters.

I have been part of some fantastic displays at Ibrox – poppy displays and others of the ilk before champion’s league displays. I have always loved to be a part of them and I always thought it was amazing to see all those sheets of cardboard held up creating a large picture. I am not sure what the Celtic display was made of – but I know that it wasn’t card; it looked like some form of material to me. What I will say is that it worked very very well, much more vibrant in colour than displays made of card. It looked very impressive, was done on the most impressive stage of them all in the Champions League and really was a credit to the club and a fitting way to celebrate their anniversary.


On the park, call it anti-football call it park the bus call it whatever you like – Celtic beat Barcelona. Now I could sit here for a while and criticise Barcelona for the way that they played and their lack of a plan B etc. But I won’t – and I won’t because to do so would be a discredit to Celtic and their performance. Yes, Celtic did have little possession of the ball against Barcelona but the little position they did have attained them two goals and the last time that I checked goals won matches – not possession. Celtic showed to the world that if you keep men behind the ball, attack on the break, hustle your opponents and never give them space or time then it does not matter how wonderful the players are – they cannot cope with it. The Celtic players played their heart out against Barcelona and no matter what people want to say about them in terms of ‘luck’ or style of football then stuff them – stuff them all. Celtic got 3 points and deserved them.

As a little aside to that – Neil Lennon for me has turned into a whole new manager. At first he was naive, a bit raw and to be honest – could easily have been shown the exit door at Parkhead for poor results and behaviour unbecoming of a Celtic manager. He could have, but he wasn’t. Instead – Neil Lennon has been allowed to blossom in the Celtic Hot seat. No longer do we see a man on the verge of exploding – we see a calculated gaffer at the side of the park that has proved himself as shrewd in the transfer market and not afraid to change his tactics – even if those tactics may not fit in with the ‘Celtic way’ of flair and guile. If anything, the team performance of stubborn hard graft against Barcelona proved that. If Celtic had gone out to play Barcelona wide open trying to knock the ball about in the same way Barcelona do then I have no doubt in my mind they could have suffered a heavy defeat. Instead, Neil Lennon used his head and set him team a task – one they completely very well and one they deserve the credit for.

As for Neil Lennon I think he deserves credit for a few other things. Radio Phone in’s and the like have been full of Celtic fans over the past few seasons lambasting Lennon for keeping players like Samaras at Celtic Park or Frazer Foster – that big haddy of a goalkeeper from Newcastle that wasn’t ‘worth a fuck’ never mind the goalkeeper jersey at Celtic.

Well, the last time I checked Samaras was a Celtic mainstay and Foster should be in the England squad. Says a lot about the man to keep his faith in these players and then reap the rewards.

Frazer Foster in my opinion should easily make his way into the England set-up. One, and first and foremost, he is good enough. Secondly, England does not have an abundance of good goalkeepers. Indeed, it is perhaps ironic that given the state of the Scottish game of the Three England Goalkeepers that I would say merit a place in the squad; both have been loan moved to the SPL: Frazer Forster and John Ruddy. Both are now cemented number 1’s in their own right but both had to leave England for Scotland for a chance in the game. I still think that Joe Hart is the correct England number 1 but I feel that Foster deserves his chance on recent displays. One argument that always upsets me was he plays in a lower league. Well, to be honest – saving shots is a rather universal still; in a way that perhaps playing outfield is not. Also, Forster has performed best in the Champions League this season – you don’t get much higher than that.

So what about league re-construction?

Well, the idea that I seen tonight on the BBC didn’t fill me with much hope. The one thing that worries me is that all the proposals concern changing the format of the league rather than the fundamentals. Pricing, bringing people through the gates, incentives, promoting the game – these are the major issues that need to be addressed. Not who plays who and when. The game is in financial turmoil – I think we all agree to that. They said Rangers couldn’t go under – they were too big, well they probably said that about the Dinosaurs too and look what happened to them.     Now we have the third biggest club in the land – Hearts, on the edge of closure. I am not suggesting that the rest will automatically follow but what I am saying is that the time for drastic action is now, yesterday – not for discussion further down the line. Yes, Celtic are performing well – I am sure their Champions league exploits will more or less leave them debt free at the end of this season and in a strong position. Well done to them for that but one swallow never did make a full summer. Celtic need teams to play – so those teams need to get themselves on a strong financial footing before they all find themselves in the position of Hearts. I know many clubs are looking to achieve that – United are reducing their debts as are Aberdeen and Killy. Promising signs.

I suppose what I am trying to say with regards this league reconstruction: it is all very well re-arranging the deck-chairs on the titanic, but what’s the point when no one is fixing the hull??

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6 Comments on “What is the point in rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, when no one is fixing the Hull??”

  1. eddie rice Says:

    Great blog as always Garry, missed you while you were away. Hope there are more in the pipeline.

  2. Steff Says:

    The hull will never get fixed as long as clubs are allowed to ditch £124m of debt. Because if Rangers didn’t die, then the only thing that did die was its debt.

    Either a new club started up or your club owes every taxpayer in Britain.

    Thinking of paying off your debt sometime soon? Didn’t think so. Rangers are dead.

  3. faza2010 Says:

    Gary, great stuff if a little slanted.

    We all know how it should be in the SPL and who should be in it…… but you’ve got to take your medicine.

    Pinch your nose and swallow son, if you don’t then it spreads to epidemic proportions and subsequently everyone’s at it.

    We really do not want that, do we?

    By the way, I’m all for Steff’s post (if you did not get my drift already mate).

  4. Gerry Says:

    Well done mate. Totally refreshing to read a balanced view. I am from the other side of the divide from you but your blog has renewed my faith in football fans. All the best

  5. jimlarkin Says:

    i’m not sure if you are trying to convince yourself as much as your readers that it is the same ‘rangers’.

    i read somewhere about – only fools n horses, where trigger was telling everybody that he had had his trusty old broom for 20(?) years.
    in that time it had had various replacement heads and handles, and it still looked like his broom.
    and what about the debt?
    were woolworths comet et al, allowed to dump their debt and carry on as though nothing had happened?

    and why are they not allowed to do that?
    but ‘rangers’ can !?

    the sfa are not fit for purpose.
    there are 2 types of membership of the sfa – full and associate.
    yet, the sfa ‘created’ a 3rd – temporary [membership].
    why was this?
    to allow the brand new ‘rangers’, who had no accounts – a licence to play in a ramsdens cup match, which meant the players were not “properly” registered.
    there was a-5-way stitch up, which we have never seen published.
    that 5-way agreement, was to shoehorn a team with the name
    [the]rangers into the sfl to prevent any civil unrest.

    it has been proven that it is the most competative spl for all the other clubs competing against celtic, for many years, not to mention the cup games…even the ramsdens cup for the sfl teams.

    most people assume that your rangers will attain consecutive promotions to reach the spl asap, but that assumption may be wrong.
    [it’s not a case of then ‘getting back’ to the spl, as the rangers have never ever played in the spl].

    the only other thing is the celtic goalkeeper, i think the name is forster.
    [billy dodds seems to think it’s foster too]

    good luck to celtic tonight. get the co-efficient points too.

    • “were woolworths comet et al, allowed to dump their debt and carry on as though nothing had happened?”

      They would be, yes – should the circumstances of the Rangers situation be repeated.

      I have given a much further analysis in my latest blog surrounding ‘Rangers being Rangers’ and the arguments around that particular subject.

      As for Frazer FoRster i would apologise. It is a simple mistake to make and one that often happens to me when people spell my name ‘Gary’ as opposed to ‘Garry’ or ‘McInnes’ as opposed to ‘MacInnes’.

      The point on Mr Forster remains the same, without the need for hair splitting.

      Finally, yes – good luck to Celtic tonight. it will be a tough game but i think they have proved so far in this yeas competition that they are more than capable of getting the job done.

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