BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for February 2010

How to alienate the men in black

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Jim Spence | 17:35 UK time, Friday, 26 February 2010

Although it was good work by my colleague Chris McLaughlin to break the story that Celtic were compiling a dossier on refereeing decisions against them for the Scottish Football Association, it seems like a neat bit of opportunism on the part of the Glasgow club.

The timing of the move ahead of the Old Firm game will heap extra pressure on Dougie McDonald, who will be under even more scrutiny now.

Given Celtic's faltering position behind Rangers in the title race, defeat will surely end their hopes on Sunday.

So the stakes are high and someone at Parkhead may have taken the calculated view that this issue needed raised so urgently that the week of the Old Firm fixture was the most prescient time to bring it up.

Fair enough, the game is big business and those pining for the days of a more Corinthian spirit are spitting into the wind.

Did Celtic take a calculated gamble that their leaked approach to the SFA would benefit them somehow? Draw your own conclusions dear reader.

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Three reasons to cheer new-look Scotland

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Jim Spence | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Craig Levein's first squad as Scotland manager should earn plaudits for the message of hope it sends out to all non-Old Firm players.

Every Scottish football fan should be delighted at the inclusion of the three Dundee United players: Andy Webster, Garry Kenneth and Paul Dixon.

Their selection is proof that, if players are playing at their best, it needn't matter that they don't ply their trade at Celtic or Rangers.

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Good fans can have a voice

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BBC Sport blog editor | 18:21 UK time, Friday, 19 February 2010

This is a story about how good football fans can have a voice and influence things.

A few weeks ago I broke the story that Derek Robertson had resigned from the Dundee United board.

Derek performed media duties for the club and was, by common agreement, very helpful and good at his job.

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Rangers fans need someone to "follow follow"

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Jim Spence | 23:49 UK time, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Rangers fans deserve better treatment than they are getting at the moment, and I'm not talking about on the field of play. There, at least, things are fine.

The Ibrox legions need a figurehead, a former well-respected player, to put his head above the parapet.

Gary Mackay did it at Hearts, when he voiced fans' concerns over the running of the Tynecastle outfit.

Now Rangers supporters need their very own hero to ask what on earth is going on at the Govan club on their behalf.

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The Dandies need to get their dander up

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Jim Spence | 00:52 UK time, Thursday, 18 February 2010

It was a painful sight watching Aberdeen hurtling out of the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night.

Raith Rovers were well worth their win, but Dons fans are witnessing what seems to me a crisis of confidence at a club which no longer seems sure of what its place is in the Scottish game.

The Dandies need to get their dander up more often.

The Dons are a very big club in Scottish terms, and in the good years can lay claim to being the third biggest in the country. But these days, what should realistic expectations be for Aberdeen FC?

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Ferguson should forget Scotland return

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Jim Spence | 10:04 UK time, Friday, 12 February 2010

Barry Ferguson divided the nation after being banned from playing for Scotland following his off-field activities on Scotland duty last year.

Now he's undecided on whether to make a comeback, after Scotland boss Craig Levein offered him the olive branch.

I think everyone deserves a second chance, but I don't believe it's always wise to take that second chance.

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Box office Keane is worth the wages

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Jim Spence | 20:20 UK time, Sunday, 7 February 2010

Robbie Keane lifted Celtic from mundane to magnificent in the second half of their Scottish Cup tie at Dunfermline, proving that if you want quality, you have to pay for it.

Keane's appearance electrified East End Park and created a cacaphony among the Celtic support.

The Republic of Ireland striker's massive wages are part of top-flight football.

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Who should qualify to play for Scotland?

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Jim Spence | 17:10 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

Andy Driver's decision to play for Scotland has driven me demented. I know I'm supposed to have an opinion on it, but I can't figure out where I stand on the issue of what should and should not qualify someone to play for Scotland.

Celtic's Aiden McGeady, and Wigan's James McCarthy, both Scots, have played for the Republic of Ireland and been treated disgracefully by some supporters for it, while Driver has now decided after being capped as an England Under-21 player, that his loyalties lie with Scotland, for whom he previously was capped at schoolboy level.

Indeed, Rangers' Nacho Novo has suggested that he would not be averse to wearing the Navy Blue of Scotland.

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Let's drink to the Old Firm sponsorship deal

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Jim Spence | 17:25 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Non Old Firm fans now know every time they drink a certain lager they're helping to ensure the continued dominance of the pair against their own sides. Such is the Faustian pact that Scottish football fans make when they quench their thirst.

On a serious note though, the sponsorship deal for Celtic and Rangers is a good one for them and hopefully for Scottish football as a whole.

Increasingly, sponsorship is the lifeblood of our game. Clubs would wither and die without the big and the small businesses who put their cash into the deals which then enable top players to be signed and retained.

It also indicates that hard-nosed business people recognise that there is life in the Scottish game yet, at a stage when some people are fearful for the future.

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