Trying to Make Sense of Things – Part 1: Football

Well, there are a number of things to talk about this time so let me begin with…

Football – Scottish

Let’s start with Scottish football and the absolute state that it’s in at the moment.  It generally is in a state but after the vote to end the league season due to the coronavirus pandemic it’s clear that several people have completely lost the plot.

Hearts – Now, this is how I understand it.  When the SPFL asked the clubs to vote to end the season or not – Hearts voted to conclude the season as it stood.  That meant that as their league position was twelve and they were in the automatic relegation place they would go down and Dundee United, having won the Championship, would automatically come up.

Not difficult.

You’d think.  Since then Hearts – well, Ann Budge, – have completely flipped.  Now they’re not willing to accept that they are relegated they are now in the process of taking legal action against the leagues (along Partick Thistle) as they think they are entitled to £8 million (Thistle £2 million) in compo because they’ve been relegated.

This is, of course, after a couple of attempts at trying to force league reconstruction and a benefactor willing to chuck a bung at the SPFL.  It all failed, as it should have, but it’s left them in some sort tizz whereby they now think they are going to win in a court case.

However, they forgot that they should have taken their complaint to the SFA first.  Now the SFA have written to Hearts and Partick to point this out.  As I understand it if the SFA feels there is something to uphold there then both teams could, at the worst, be expelled from the SPFL.  It’s extreme but the SFA would be in their rights to take that road.

Add to that another twist in the tale.  Part of Hearts and Partick’s petition is that they should not be relegated and neither should Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers be promoted.  I’ve heard of brass neck but that really does take the biscuit in cliche land.  I assume Cove Rangers voted against them or something because what the heck Cove’s promotion from League 2 to League 1 has to with any of this is beyond me (please comment and explain) because it doesn’t affect Hearts, Partick, Dundee United or Raith Rovers and Cove actually coasted League 2.  As did Dundee United the Championship.

It’s at this part I have to announce that my head is mince.  Nothing is ever straight forward in Scottish football.

It’s here I should point out that Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers are lawyering up, as they should, and will fight it.  As they should.  Hearts have no right to hold the SPFL to ransom.  Thirty games had been completed before lockdown and they had won four.  They were four points behind Hamilton, who had won six, therefore Hearts would have had to win two games to go above them, providing they didn’t win their games.  Their form was shocking for most of the season and no one was seeing any improvement.  They really just have to take their medicine and start again or they are going to waste money on this petition and fighting the cases that are going to be brought against them.

Meanwhile, what does this mean for the average fan? Probably a delay in the start of the new season.  Thanks to the vote to end the season it meant that with a few changes we could actually have got going on time, albeit without fans in the stadium.  Now the start looks like it might be delayed with all the legal toss-pottery that Hearts and Partick Thistle have started.

I’ve tried to understand where Hearts are coming from, it’s only fair to do so, but I don’t get it.  I put Hibs in the same position but I couldn’t have looked myself in the mirror and said that we shouldn’t have gone down in the same circumstances.  The relegation of Hearts isn’t based on a vote to end the league, it was based on how terrible they had been ALL season.  Thirty games in we were when the end of football happened, not five or ten, thirty.  I think that’s enough to get a picture of how well or bad a team performed.

Take your medicine Hearts, you weren’t good enough.

Down South

The EPL is back and it’s…underwhelming at best.  At first anyway, when Sky Sports couldn’t quite get the crowd noise right but it’s got better.  People are complaining but what we all have to remember is that everyone has had three months off from football and, aside from injuries, the players rarely if ever get that off.  It’s hard to come back from.

It is good to have it back though although it feels not quite like the Premier League.  It feels a bit more like an external competition like the Euros or something (although with league teams – aha!).

There is something else I am concerned with and that’s the FA not abiding by its own rules.  Players shouldn’t be wearing anything political on their kits or displaying anything political but they are doing both.  This is a bigger discussion but the FA claim all players agreed to do this.  Really? 100% agreement? I think not.