If I was to sit here and ask you “where did it all go wrong?”, I’m sure your first thought would be that I was talking about East Fife’s season.
It could be. Or it could also be about Scotland on the international stage, or Scottish clubs in Europe, or what happens to all the promising youngster that we produce in this country, or why don’t we produce players like the old days?
Sadly it could be a seemingly endless list that a one pager in an East Fife programme could in no way even begin to address.
For the sake of this week’s blog though, I’m talking about the general state of the game in Scotland, which can also encompass all of the above anyway.
Watching from afar, this season just seems to have lurched from one shambles to another, with many that are entrusted to lead the game in Scotland seemingly out of touch with the average fan and apparently clueless in what needs to be done to take the game here by the scruff of the neck and give it the kicking it needs to not just survive, but to thrive.
From the Rangers debacle that dominated the close season, to more failure by our “top” club sides in Europe, to Scotland’s shambolic World Cup campaign, to the constant talk about league reconstruction that have gone nowhere. It’s been a depressing season all round that shows little signs of easing up.
The two latest pieces of this annus horribilis are the current plight of Dunfermline Athletic and the never ending saga about how the league set up will look next season.
Even to consider adding Old Firm colt teams to the League set up ahead of teams like Cove Rangers and Spartans. Seriously SFL?
We can add a third in Tuesday night’s draw against Albion Rovers if you want, as that’s left us deep in the brown stuff with eight games remaining. Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts.
The Pars plight is both shocking but not exactly surprising at the same time.
Now let’s preface this with the usual no-one wants to see any club go bust, etc etc, BUT at some point it is going to take a middle-sized club to go to the wall to get other clubs acting correctly.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking, because you know what, will some of them ever change or is the lure of spending beyond their means to reach the promised land of the SPL just too much?
We’ve covered this before but when you look back to East Fife in the increasingly distant past and look to who our peers were, Dunfermline were in the division below us. Then something went right for them and they rose the league and were somewhat Premier mainstays for a bit, then a yoyo club between the top two divisions.
So how did they get there? And is that what has them in their current mess? Could that have been us if we hadn’t lost Davie Clarke and our top players to Falkirk in the mid 80s and instead spent to strengthen the squad? Or how about if we’d taken Steve Archibald’s advice and gone full time in the mid 90’s.
We’ll never know. Other clubs, like Ross County, seem to be well run, worked hard to get to the top and are doing well, albeit with some debt I would guess.
How does a football club allow itself to get to the stage where they are running up debts into six figures and not paying the taxman? Why at no point did someone say, you know what, we’re not heading to a good place here, until it was too late.
At the time of writing this, they look doomed. Maybe a saviour will come along at the last minute, but will that really be better for them than doing a Sevco? Only in so much that the little local businesses may at least see the money that they so badly need for them to survive.
Chin up Pars fans. We’ll see you in the Third next season. Fife derbies again. Woo!