BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for March 2011

Should Scottish football go back to go forward?

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Jim Spence | 10:29 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011

As Scotland prepare to meet Brazil, the country which produces arguably the finest and most gifted players on the planet, I found myself wondering whether we could ever again go some small way to producing players of the highest calibre, as we once did.

If not, who or what is to blame and do we need to reinvent the wheel to change things?

In recent weeks, two ex-professional footballers who played the game at the top level have said to me that we should scrap the current pro youth set-up in the Scottish game.

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Regan needs help in waging war on SFA red tape

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Jim Spence | 17:15 UK time, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan (pictured with George Peat) needs the help of everyone in the Scottish game.
He was only appointed in July but must often have felt that he was captaining the footballing equivalent of the titanic.
The SFA, according to Celtic QC Paul McBride, is "institutionally dysfunctional". Last week's written judgement by Lord Carloway in the matter of Neil Lennon's appeal against a six-match touchline ban, found that SFA president George Peat's presence while the Celtic manager's fate was being decided by the disciplinary committee was "contrary to British principles of fair play". 

A first-year law student would have known that, so why didn't the SFA?

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Romance of the Scottish Cup is still alive

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Jim Spence | 12:28 UK time, Sunday, 13 March 2011

Brechin's 2-2 Scottish Cup draw with St Johnstone was not just a great game of football, it also emphasised everything that is good about the Scottish game.

Firstly, referees don't get many plaudits, so hats off to Steve Conroy, who, despite understandable concerns over a pitch that was a mud-bath in places, let the game go ahead and handled it with real common sense.

And well done to Brechin and their volunteer army for getting the pitch playable after a night of snow and rain.

But, mainly, a huge well done to both sets of players who showed terrific skill and commitment in equal measure in extremely trying underfoot conditions amid driving rain.

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McGlynn leads the rise of the Rovers

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Jim Spence | 21:06 UK time, Friday, 11 March 2011

In the 1930s a crowd of 25,500 packed Stark's Park on a Wednesday afternoon for a Scottish Cup quarter-final replay between Raith Rovers and East Fife.

The first match had been watched by 19,000 at the old Bayview.

The treasurers of those two clubs, or indeed most others in Scotland, are unlikely to ever again witness crowds of that magnitude.

But at Rovers, things are looking brighter than they have done for some time.

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