I have been castigated for introducing my politics to this site. Readers should note that I do not allow politics to undermine my objectivity. I have no problem in reproducing an article in today’s The National. The following text has not been edited:
“THIS column from the outset has sought to solicit the views of Scottish football fans about the state of the game. Too often nowadays those views are expressed via befuddled internet websites, some of which are notorious for vitriol, bigotry, sectarianism and downright hatred.
An exception has been the Scottish Football Monitor (SFM), while the johnjames WordPress blog has been interesting, to say the least – probably the best single-issue sporting blog since the Rangers Tax Case was produced by a well-connected anonymous author, though that blogger saw the “omen”, so to speak, and discontinued operations before the sequel…
Both these current sites and many others enjoy the luxury of having the time to look into things which their operators find interesting. Believe me, a lot of sport writers found them interesting long before the bloggers got to them, but either they don’t have the time to chase up these items, or have lawyers standing over them saying “No you can’t write that”.
Bloggers have a freedom that the sporting media just does not enjoy – ask Chris McLaughlin of the BBC, disgracefully banned from Ibrox, about press freedom.
Yet the best of the bloggers have a legitimate point of view, as do all those fans’ websites and blogs which keep matters to football and kick out any charlatans and trolls.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that the latest blog on SFM followed up on the johnjame site, is a lulu. It appears that SFM blogger John Clark got an interview with two very senior SFA figures. The meeting was entirely about the status of Rangers, and the issue boils down to whether the club is actually a new entity called Sevco founded by Charles Green or the club which was formed in 1872.
For legal reasons not unconnected with a forthcoming trial, some of the matters reported on his blog by John Clark cannot be published in a newspaper – the contempt of court laws are pretty strict, and you can take it The National’s lawyer has checked this column.
The substantive point in the blog can be printed: “I (Clark) further made the point that many sports administrative bodies had come under the spotlight in current times and people were naturally concerned that the governance of football should be above suspicion: and that substantial numbers feel that the Football Authorities have been at fault, in permitting a new club to claim to be an old club and pretend to the honours and titles etc etc.”
The SFA two’s reply can be summarised as follows: they wouldn’t discuss the matter, and felt “the future would show whether Scottish football supporters were really concerned about the old club/new club debate, if huge numbers turned their backs on the game,” in Clark’s words.
Clark’s views are shared by many fans, even some Rangers fans. If his account is accurate, there must surely be some club in membership of the SFA who will take up this matter, if only for the attitude its representatives displayed.
If his account is wrong, then the SFA have to take the matter up with SFM. We await the outcome with interest.”