Today will go down in history as an important day for Scottish football.
Forget all the nonsense about armageddon and slow deaths, Scottish football will be given a rebirth today.
After years of being ignored by the money men that have ruined our game for too long, the heart and soul of the game in Scotland will finally have the voice they have been deprived of for many a year.
And they need to continue to use that voice long after today to force through the reconstruction and changes that are badly needed in the game in this country.
The ‘Rangers’ debacle has done something that I never thought possible in the Scottish game. It has united the fans of smaller and lower league teams like never before.
As East Fife fans, we find ourselves standing proudly shoulder to shoulder with our Fife rivals of Raith, Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath, and other teams across Scotland.
The animosity and rivalries are put on the back burner for the common good.
The message is clear. We will no longer be pushed around as an afterthought and the Scottish football authorities will ignore that at their peril.
We’ve been threatened. We’ve been bullied. We have nonsense spouted at us on a daily basis of how not admitting Servco to Division One will be the end of Scottish football and millions of pounds will leave the country.
Football is not, and should never be, about money.
The game in Scotland has been in terminal decline for years under the current regime. When we’re at the lowest ebb that we’ve ever been, how can we go any lower? Change can only be good.
Scotland have not qualified for a major international tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
A whole generation have grown up not knowing what it’s like to watch their country on the world’s stage.
Every season Scotland’s “top” clubs crash out of Europe at embarrassingly early stages.
We can’t compete with sides from eastern Europe that wouldn’t have been fit to lace the boots of our teams in the 70’s and 80’s.
Attendances are falling dramatically. Fans are turned off with the game and the ever increasing costs to attend. Why head out in the cold at 6am to travel to a game when you can watch your team kick off at noon in the comfort of your living room?
How is this the way forward and how has this helped the game in Scotland one bit?
There is no slow death. We’re already there and this is the chance for a resurrection.
How removed are the vast majority of Scottish clubs from what goes on in Glasgow?
But if the TV and sponsor money were to leave the game, clubs will go to the wall we’re told.
If the top clubs can’t cope without ‘Rangers’, what would they have done once they pissed off to another League like they would have done if given the chance?
But ‘Rangers’ are an institution.
So what. So was Woolworths. They went bust, closed down and now we all get our pick ‘n’ mix elsewhere and don’t give them a second thought.
Whole cities in the US are filing for bankruptcy.
If a football club cannot be a viable business concern due to relying on either one other team or Sky money, then you have to ask about how they actually operate. It’s dysfunctional, it’s not right and it should not be allowed to continue.
That’s what’s killing the game in this country.
Such clubs deserve to fail as they haven’t followed proper business practices and have clearly spent beyond their means. They will get no sympathy from me.
My club has no debt. No overdraft.
No success too you may say. True, but at least I have a football club to support and when the success does come, like last year’s League Cup run, it tastes all the sweeter.
For years, lower league clubs have struggled to survive because buses leave every town to go and watch the Old Firm. Any promising talent form anyone outwith the Old Firm was snapped up, so that the team they were playing for couldn’t prosper and challenge their power.
Remember when Aberdeen were winning European trophies? Dundee United too.
Remember how we all united as a country and cheered them on for Scottish glory?
This is our chance to slowly build back to days like that. Teams like that. Proper Scottish football from when we were good. From when we were a force in the world game.
If the SFA were to punish Clubs that vote against ‘Rangers’ and force a SPL2 without them, you know what? We’d be left in a cracking League with local derbies and top fixtures every week.
It would pack the lower divisions and add an excitement we’ve not had in years.
I almost want them to go down that road. We’d soon see who was thriving and who was dying.
With the Servco decision day finally having come around, I am proud to be a supporter of a football club that has come forward and challenged all that is wrong with the game in this country.
East Fife have played their part in bringing the issues to the fore but the stars of our battle have undoubtedly been Raith Rovers and Clyde.
Both clubs have not pulled their punches and laid it out as it is in recent days. Their fans should be proud of the men behind their team.
The American poet Robert Frost wrote: “Freedom comes from being bold”.
If those that run the lower reaches of Scottish football are bold today, then all of us lower league fans will get the freedom from the shackles of the money men we’ve been crying out for, but only if we keep the pressure on for change.
This is the chance for a rebirth of the Scottish game. Let’s hope we take it.
The death of Scottish football? Far from it. Today is the chance for it to flourish and get the game back to what it used to be – local, not global.