When is the right decision the wrong one?
Feature by Stuart Gillespie
Updated Sunday, 15th July 2012
A few days ago the SFL clubs correctly decided that newco Rangers should start life in the third division. However, if you're Saints chairman Stewart Gilmour it was the wrong answer.
The other week the SPL clubs finally had their long awaited vote on whether to let newco Rangers into the top flight. The resounding no wasn't a surprise as numerous clubs had come out beforehand saying they would be rejecting the application. Saints were one - jumping on the bandwagon after just about everyone else had declared their intentions. After the vote Gilmour released a statement saying it was now up to the SFL and SFA to decide what happened. The statement included the line: "Those organisations will make their decision in due course without any pressure from the SPL or its member clubs and we will fully respect whatever decision they make."
"Unless they decide to vote them into the third division" it didn't add, but probably should have done. By now you'll probably be aware that Gilmour is less than pleased with how the SFL clubs have voted. Apparently it is catastrophic, will lead to clubs - including our own - going into administration, will lead to redundancies and a whole host of other disastrous things. And it's all the SFL's fault because they didn't give in to all the bullying from the powers that be and the media.
Well, no. They had a decision to make - same as the SPL clubs did. They made a choice, which many people think is the correct one, to put Rangers into the third division. They were free to make whatever decision they wanted. The fact it could cause problems for other clubs is not their fault. If Saints and the rest of the SPL were so worried about the consequences then they shouldn't have voted no to Rangers being allowed into the SPL.
If we are caused problems because zombie Rangers are in division three, so be it. That is our problem to deal with - not the SFL clubs. To come out and blame them for listening to their fans and making a decision when that is exactly what the SPL clubs did is disgraceful. Apparently it is OK for the big clubs to make a vote and leave others to deal with the consequences but not for the wee diddy teams.
It would be interesting to know what way Gilmour would have voted if we had been an SFL club. In fact, it would be interesting to know what way he would have voted had it not been clear that the SFA would not approve Rangers being allowed to stay in the SPL. It has become increasingly clear that was their stance and Gilmour is now saying that a deal had been agreed but the SFL clubs had rejected it. Presumably that deal was for Rangers to go into the first division. Would the no vote have been so forthcoming if that hadn't been in place?
Are some games being played with this in a bid to force through a takeover? We've already seen Ken McGeoch chased away with ridiculous scare stories that no doubt helped the cause of 10000Hours CIC. Is this talk of administration an attempt to give the CIC a kick up the backside – or perhaps an excuse to get them out? Maybe it's a bid to make a takeover by a mystery foreigner seem more palatable. It won't be objected to if the only alternative is administration.
This is not the end of the saga. SPL clubs meet tomorrow and it is almost certain the prospect of an SPL 2, or Rangers being allowed into the SPL, will be discussed. If that happens then that is the real catastrophe - not the SFL clubs deciding to make a decision that was right on every level.
On Wednesday the Saints board are due to meet to decide the way forward. It'll be interesting to know what they decide, but if harsh cutbacks have to be made they should remember that this problem was not caused by SFL clubs deciding to make a choice that didn't suit what the big boys wanted.
It is our problem now and we have to deal with it - not try to play the blame game and moan at clubs who made a decision they were fully entitled to make.
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