A Scotland State of Mind

In a previous article I referred to The Tartan Army as individuals who specialise in supporting mediocrity; a mediocre team that has not qualified for any World Cup Finals or European Championships since France 1998.

There was a sea change in Scottish football in 1988. David Murray paid a $1m cash bribe to Lawrence Marlborough and then set about destroying the game that we once held in high esteem.

He leaned on his cronies at The Bank of Rangers to put Celtic out of business in 1994. When McCann resuscitated the failing club he introduced two tax dodges to cheat his way to seventeen titles.

During this period of unprecedentedly tainted success, was there any ancillary benefits to the national side? No. Murray Inherited the spine of The England team and peppered his squad with players who earned their caps in other European countries.

The National team traditionally drew the majority of its players from those who turned up in light blue and green hoops on any given Saturday. They were augmented by the cream from Aberdeen and Dundee United, and those players such as Dalglish, Gemmell, Souness and Strachan who earned a better living in England.

Murray changed this tradition. Can one lay the blame solely at his door? No, there are other factors to consider when assessing a 19 years absence from the finals of major tournaments. One should also consider the gutless fraud that is Stewart Regan; a square cricket peg in a round football hole. Having expended the majority of his time creating a Frankenstein club, Rangers Lite, his creation bit the hand that fed with the recruitment of a motley crew of second tier foreign national journeymen. There is not one Rangers Lite player in Strachan’s squad that will face Lithuania and Malta.

The absence of the WhatsApp group from Primark Pedro’s caravan park in Auchenhowie came as no surprise, but I found Strachan’s decision not to call up players from Scotland’s second club, Aberdeen, somewhat puzzling. Aberdeen are on fine form with four wins out of four. They are scoring goals for fun. He might also rue his decision not to call up Callum McGregor who is playing his finest football under the tutelage of Rodgers. Rodgers has the Midas touch. He can make good players great.

Of my four teams that traditionally formed the core of the National squad only Celtic, with six call-ups, are represented. I would play five of these in my starting team, with Forrest coming off the bench to twist the tired blood of the defenders.

This squad will not qualify for the 2018 World Cup Finals. I do not want the inconsequential bounce game against Malta to be a sell-out. I want Regan, McRae and Petrie to squirm on their well-upholstered fundaments as the boos ring out on another ‘glorious failure.’ If Scotland lose to Lithuania, or the game fizzles out to a scoreless draw, it will be game over for the latest campaign of glorious failure. The budding mathematicians in our midst will grasp at sufficient strands to resolve Herzog–Schönheim conjecture, but the sinking feeling will be inevitable.

To gain the measure of Regan, one can revert to the 0-1 reverse to Georgia. There were eighteen seats on the contract hire plane with extra leg room.They should have been allocated to the first team. Regan was having none of it. He insisted that he required extra leg room.

To compound matters, the players were duly checked out from their hotel on the afternoon before the game. When news came through that their plane would be delayed until dawn, Regan checked back into his sumptuous suite and dressed for some fine dining with a large cognac as a night cap. He and his core cabal were then taken by limousine to the airport to stretch out on the superior seats.

The players’ bus by contrast dumped the players off at the airport leaving them to sleep on the floor. They had no choice but to eat at Burger King which was the only food outlet that was open.

Regan thinks that he is the ‘talent.’ Having cheated Celtic out of their rightful place in the 2011 UEFA qualifiers, Regan turned up at the CL Group Stage Draw in Monte Carlo last week to bask in the reflected glory of a team that he had cheated. This gutless fraud has no shame

The cloud of a Lithuanian reverse will have a silver lining. A critical mass will develop to demand that Regan is dismissed. He should be pensioned off to watch cricket.

On a final note one wonders whether Stuart Campbell, who writes Wings Over Scotland from his Georgian pile in Bath, is suitably buoyed by the resignation of his nemesis, Kezia Dugdale? She will be a loss to Scottish politics. Now that Campbell has been exposed as an Anglophile who has resided in England for the majority of Scotland’s two decades of glorious failure, will he remember to cheer for Scotland and not for his adopted country?

Dugdale may not have been a Corbynista. However she was not a fraud like Campbell.



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18 thoughts on “A Scotland State of Mind”

  1. Salut for expanding the narrative into consequential impacts. I hope it’s not the last if such – maybe the spending patterns of other clubs, string of financial disasters in football and mediocre foreign mercenaries up and down the leagues will get an airing.

    If there’s one thing that David Murray was a visionary at, it was ‘sugar daddy’ use of a football club to bolster status and influence before it became trendy. Something tells me he won’t be able to keep up with arabs in the current fad for customised jumbo jets though. Even at football it was all bluster and sleight of hand.

  2. How on earth did we end up with the joint winners of the worlds worst football administrators trophy, some guy called Warner is flying into Glasgow to present the award at the weekend………..

    During his playing days Regan made the cricket starting X1 as he was an outstanding Silly Point……. If ND ever gets round to sponsoring his towns womens team they will need to change their name to Doncaster Belle-Ends.

    Poor old Cam of Random Thoughts Days, with TRFC signing all these Declans, Antonio’s, Carlosses, it was awesome when ‘ the gardener’ was having all that trouble in Alloa with Benedictus scoring winners for fun and Cam spent the next week painting the Alloa Chapel ‘Blue’ in fustration…….

  3. JJ, whilst Murray was definitely part of the problem, my theory is that our decline started with the end of schools football. Teachers used to give up their free time to run the very healthy school leagues around Scotland. Basically schools provided the grass roots environment that fed our senior clubs whilst the SFA…. well, did SFA. Thatcher changed the world, not fir the better, and teachers were one of her targets. The unions of the day brought in a work to rule policy over pay freezes and performance targets and, as a result, extracurricular activities ended almost overnight. It took nearly 20years for school leagues to resume and, by that time, all the great amateur coaches in the schools had moved on, without transferring their knowledge to younger teacher-coaches.
    I know this as I was a reasonable Schools fitba player at the time, without a team. We had great coaches who were instructed to not do anything unpaid when they werent being paid enough for their work hours. We then lost a couple of generations of players and an unrecoverable amount of coaching talent. The result is, sadly now, all too evident.

    1. Must agree with you there Gav, I was at secondary school from ’81-’87 and fell foul of this myself, my school team (featuring Mike Teasedale who went on to play for Dundee Utd and The Super Caley Go Ballistic team) simply stopped. The only sports team from my time there that carried on in any capacity was my rugby team who were coached by a volunteer from the local Rugby club.
      In addition to the Thatcher government though, I would also apportion some of the blame for the decline in our national team’s fortunes to another major political figure from the 80s. Up until the fall of the Soviet Union we went into qualifying rounds along with a team called “The USSR”, then along came Gorbachev with Glasnost and Perestroika and all of a sudden we were facing teams from Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia, Estonia et al, and qualifying suddenly became more of a challenge.
      Thatcher and Gorbachev, did a lot for world peace, but fucked the beautiful game in Scotland while they were at it…..

  4. A cursory glance at Wings Twitter feed on match days would show you that Stu Campbell does indeed support Scotland and appears to be a Dons supporter. I’m not sure how his place of residence impacts on his ability to cut through the lies and spin presented by the Scottish MSM when it comes to their SNP bashing or the constitutional debate, but there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that living in Bath has had no effect on him supporting the national team of his country of birth.

  5. Another fine read sir , I tip my hat to you , you call it as you see it and we are truly grateful that you write these articles but one wonders do the hierarchy of our game here in Scotland read your comments or take it another step up our Scottish Government

  6. Hi JJ, £30 Donation made for September Confirmation number: 5KE15839W5504xxxx
    I continue to enjoy your writing and at around £1 per day is great value.
    I do hope that those who all those who read frequently can find the funds and the generosity to pay their way.

    JJ: Very kind and thoughtful of you. Thank you.

  7. JJ I enjoy your articles immensely, however the final paragraph here questioning Stuart Campbell’s integrity is unfounded and sits at odds with me, given how meticulous you are in your pursuit for justice within Scottish football, your articles often give me great insight with great humour into characters that I neither know nor want to know of. I guess what I am trying to say is I trust your assessment JJ, but I have read Stuart’s articles for over 4 years now and my assessment of him is that he’s a million miles away from being fraudulent and wherever it is he lays his head at night is of no importance to me whatsoever. But hey, cant agree on everything eh? Good article on the McCanns and stay safe.
    Donation made.

    1. He is currently being investigated for cyber harassment. He was constantly on Dugdale’s case despite the fact that she diligently represented the poor and disadvantaged in Scottish society. If he feels so strongly about Scotland why does he not choose to live there? I would prefer Dugdale’s on the ground analysis to his remote view all day long and on a Sunday

      1. Mush as I enjoy the majority of your work JJ, I don’t agree with your take on the Wings / Dugdale matter. Up until now I hadn’t realised it was Dugdale who was the person at the heart of his arrest, but again, a cursory look through the Wings Twitter feed shows that all he does is call her out for half truths, mistruths and outright lies, all of which are diligently reported by the SMSM in the same way they transcribe verbatim every press release from level 5 without fact checking. While I agree that Campbell would likely be a complete and utter know it all pain in the arse in the pub, his website never publishes anything without relevant sources which contain the actual facts of the issue at hand. Go through his Twitter feed, nothing has been deleted, and there doesn’t appear to be anything even remotely threatening or slanderous stated, unlike Ms Dugdale, who used parliamentary privilege to,slander Campbell by calling him homophobic. If it is Kezia DugdLe who has made the complaint to the Police about him, I think it’s more likely to do with the defamation suit that Campbell is currently pursuing against her rather than any genuinely threatening or malicious tweets. If this is the case, then this is the same kind of whataboutery we see from supporters of the football team currently based at Ibrox stadium.

      2. No another woman has made a police complaint against Campbell. There is a lot of smoke here despite a tendency by SNP acolytes to deny an underlying fire. I have other fish to fry at the moment and I will not be writing a full article on this matter. Suffice to say would Nicola Sturgeon, who is a formidable standard bearer for the SNP, be as credible if she resided in Bath?

  8. Scotland would do well to look to New Zealand. Our sporting codes start at school level then the best represent zones. The cream then trial for the regional teams. These are picked up by the clubs and the elite play for eg Otago Christchurch or Wellington. The very best then play for the province and the very best then play for the All Blacks. The All Blacks are the best rugby team in the world. Yet our population is less than Scotland. All team sport in NZ is organised this way. Netball , league , golf, basketball or any sport. We do not play sport to get fit. We get fit in order to play sport. The last time our national football team the All Whites was at the World Cup we were the only undefeated team yet we only have one professional football club. The Scottish system of grooming stars is inferior to that of NZ and Australia. Will the SFA adapt or just accept mediocrity.

  9. Well before consultantspeakeasies like “age of discontinuity”, “catastrophe theory”, “disruptive technology” entered the language, the French coined a proverb which in translation says:
    “Napoleon, just before he died, he was alive”.
    I’m hoping there’s no let up from JJ, in the belief that the evil empire will run out of ground and go over the edge very suddenly.
    Morte Subite, House of Cards, Donald Campbell, Murray Car Crash.

  10. These Anglos that sit in England and agitate for independence are a joke. Are they selling up and moving here on day one of IScotland? Are they going to renounce their British passport and pension rights and invest their assets into Sturgeon Groats? Are they hell as like.

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