Saints to vote no - but will it matter?
Feature by Stuart Gillespie
Updated Friday, 29th June 2012
Saints will vote against the newco Rangers being admitted to the SPL next season but developments in the last few days mean the top flight future of the Ibrox club is no longer the major issue facing Scottish football.
In the last week or so a number of SPL clubs have announced they will be voting against Charles Green's application to have newco Rangers admitted to the SPL. Enough had publicly said as much by the start of the week to ensure that Wednesday's vote will see Rangers told where to go. Saints were added to the growing list yesterday when Stewart Gilmour confirmed he had told Green, Rangers boss Ally McCoist and other Ibrox representatives last week that he would be voting no.
This was rather odd because last Friday it was announced members of the 10000Hours community interest company would be asked to vote on what the club should decide to do about zombie Rangers, with the results then helping to influence the board's ultimate stance. Gilmour's comments suggest a decision had already been made so the vote was a complete waste of time. 10000Hours have today released a statement claiming they knew nothing about this at the time of the meeting - despite the fact two of their leading lights are also on the board.
Putting this to one side the fact so many clubs, including Saints, are voting against newco Rangers being allowed to waltz into the top flight is a good thing. However, it would appear that there was actually an ulterior motive for so many clubs standing up and saying no, claiming they were listening to their fans and paying attention to sporting integrity. It seems that a deal was being struck behind closed doors to see Rangers allowed to start in the first division, rather than the third.
All 30 SFL clubs have been sent a document outlining proposals for overhauling the game, which will be discussed next week. It is a piece of blatant scaremongering and can be seen at http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/108463-in-full-document-sent-to-sfl-clubs-to-put-rangers-into-the-first-division/ It would seem that the SFL clubs are being told to allow Rangers into the first division or face having to deal with a breakaway league known as SPL 2, which will be a closed shop to second and third division clubs.
This is just ridiculous. Yes we want changes to the game but they should not be tied in with zombie Rangers and certainly not used in a bid to ensure they're only out of the SPL for one year. A pyramid system, better distribution of revenue and the like would be fantastic, but they will count for nothing if Rangers end up in the second tier. They should have to start at the bottom - be it of the current league set up or a reconstructed one.
Today, Gilmour issued a statement which confirmed the club will be voting no to zombie Rangers but didn't exactly distance himself from the stuff about league reconstruction. Instead he talks about the benefits of a 16 team league using the Belgian set-up (which makes the split look simple), a pyramid and other things. In fairness he doesn't talk about Rangers starting off in the first division - but he doesn't deny it's a possibility. The full statement - which also talks of a signing ban and possible staffing cuts - can be read at http://www.saintmirren.net/pages/?p=13398
Interestingly, the club have also announced two meetings for next week. Monday will see season ticket holders head to Greenhill Road, with season ticket holders and other fans going along the following day. The two meetings start at 7pm and may well be a reaction to people annoyed that only 10000Hours members were asked to vote last week. Sadly I'm unable to attend but there may well be fireworks, with suggestions the meetings will be held in the stands themselves rather than a function suite.
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