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Banks must invest trust in Scottish clubs

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Jim Spence | 21:39 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

Scottish football needs help from the banks - and it should be given. But there has to be a cost.

With Dundee United the latest club to admit that they need help from the bank, the plight of the full-time clubs in particular is grievous. However, the debt problem afflicts clubs of every shape and size.

Many have been paring back their expenditure for a few seasons now and are trying hard to live within their means.

They've been caught cold, though, with the collapse of Setanta.

Having budgeted for income that has suddenly been withdrawn, they are struggling to pay off debts rashly accumulated in a period of fiscal insanity a few years back.

That has a cascading effect right through the game and down to the lower leagues.

The banks have had substantial taxpayers' assistance themselves and many of them have shown greater profligacy than our football clubs. So it would be rich of them, having been saved by taxpayers money, to tighten the noose and threaten clubs that are the focal point of communities all over Scotland.gersdunutd295.jpg

Football needs a break just like every other business needs a break. The banks are in a position to give them that break. The quid pro quo for the game, though, has to be the solemn and binding promise that it will live within its means from now on.

And the bulk of clubs have been trying to do exactly that in recent times.

Fans have a huge part to play in the new reality that Scottish football must grasp.

There needs to be a more realistic view when it comes to demands for new and big signings - and a bit more patience as managers try to build squads instead of calling for the manager's head after few bad results. All that does is cost their clubs money that could be better spent elsewhere rather than on compensation.

But some managers and directors too have to be braver. Clubs have to give youth a chance and directors have to give managers who give youth a chance a chance themselves.

The worst financial mistakes are hopefully behind the game. It would be ironic but also very dangerous for any bank to put clubs under unbearable financial pressure while honest attempts are being made to sort out their problems.

Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, has made representations to the bank over the financial problems presently facing Rangers. He needs to knock heads together, call for a meeting of all concerned parties and make sure that all of Scotland's clubs are given a fresh chance of a fresh start.

With former First Minister Henry McLeish's new and reportedly radical proposals to reshape the Scottish game due in January, this is the perfect time to save and then reinvent our national sport as fit for purpose in the years ahead.


  • Comment number 1.

    Totally agree Jim.

    As a united fan I was concerned when I seen leveins latest comments but one thing that doesn't make sense to me is that if a club has assets i.e players, on the pitch that are potentially worth more than the debt they owe then surely the debt isn't a problem?

  • Comment number 2.

    When the banks wont lend money to my small to medium sized business (and I'm making a reasonable annual profit) why should they lend to Scottish football?
    Instead of taking the begging bowl out to the public the SFA should reinvent itself and remarket Scottish football. Too often companies (not unlike the SFA) get themselves into the financial mire and then blame everyone else but themselves, approaching the banks citing themselves as an extra special case for altruistic type charity.
    If Scottish football really is dead on its feet then its time to do something drastic which will catch the publics imagination and turn flagging accounts around.
    The key to this is already on the table with the possibilty of joining other leagues. However, why not go further and invigorate football over a wider area?
    A "North Atlantic" League perhaps with the Irish, Icelandic and Scandinavian teams formaind a Superleague would work in my view. Whether the 'OLd Firm' join too would not be pivotal as the huge interest that this is likely to generate (to say nothing of the novelty of home ans away ties against unfamiliar foes) enough initial revenue to have this league riding the crest of a wave of enthusiasm for some years to come.

  • Comment number 3.

    @2. I have to agree with myself..

    With a fixture list of:

    Raith Rovers v Norkopping
    Dundee Utd v FC Copenhagen.
    Linfield v Aberdeen
    Keflavik v Hibernian

    Works for me.......and people laughed at Darwin...

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree with 2's first comment - the banks 'should' do a lot of things, but why should they invest in something financially unviable, like Scottish football? It's the stance of the Aberdeen football fan with Stewart Milne, actually. "Hey, he's got money, why won't he chuck a few million into a deep dark profit free hole and write it off?" Because why should he write off substantial chunks of money?

    The North Atlantic gimmick is interesting but expensive (how many United fans would pay to regularly fly to Denmark for 90 minutes of football, for example)? The idea is right though in that the SFA and SPL need to start 'out the box' thinking about the future of Scottish football.

    As an Arab, I also don't get the specifics of the United story - it all sounds very general, and hasn't been covered in either of the Dundee papers. Is Levein saying we're struggling to pay the wages? Doesn't sound that way as we're within the (presumably reduced) wages budget. Anyway, he could have helped out there by picking a team that could have beaten St Johnstone on Tuesday!!

  • Comment number 5.

    VonStoobing wrote:
    The North Atlantic gimmick is interesting but expensive (how many United fans would pay to regularly fly to Denmark for 90 minutes of football, for example)?

    Well that's the point. I'm sure there wouldnt be too many travelling fans but the home support is what makes clubs money.

    By substantially increasing home gates in this way and therefore increasing replica shirt sales etc, the extra revenue would pull a lot of teams bank balances into the black.

  • Comment number 6.

    There are far greater priorities for the banks than football clubs, which would you rather, they gave the money to the firm you work for and the inevitable redundancy is averted, or they give your money to your club who waste the money on vastly over paid useless Scottish footballers.

    Its not much of a choice really, until such time the clubs invest there money in proper kids coaching, and teach kids technique then all money given would be better of thrown down the toilet.

    Money lent would have to come with very strict guidelines and top of that list would be a complete embargo on buying Scottish dross.

    I watched the under 17's game the other night and the only player in the entire Scottish team that could control the ball was the Somalian boy who plays for Celtic, and why was that ? Its simple he learned his skill in Somalia not HERE, my fear is that Scottish football will ruin thus boys future in double quick time.

    Scottish football = dross = no money from banks.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's a wonderfully, uniquely Scottish attitude that's on display here.

    Why would we want to help to guarantee the future of the national game which touches so many lives and which (excluding certain unwelcome factions) has such a positive role to play in Scottish communities? Why would we want to ensure that such an historic and important part of Scottish culture doesn't go down the drain? Why would we want to make certain that the next generation of football fans has the same opportunities to get involved as we do? Hmm...

    There is no doubt that there has been fiscal mismanagement in Scottish football, but there is absolutely no call to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, things need to change, but the process has started. Compare for instance United's wage bill to that of Hearts - we're certainly not throwing money around willy nilly.

    The fact is that the banks received an enormous amount of public money to help prevent them folding. When such a large proportion of that same public has such a passion for football, it takes a particularly shortsighted person to argue that the banks shouldn't return the favour.

    As for the "they won't help my business out" argument, with the greatest respect, I'd be surprised if your business affects a fraction of the number of people who find enjoyment, community, fulfillment and passion in football.

  • Comment number 8.

    No.1 - you are correct in that sense. The problem is the servicing of that debt. You've agreed to pay x back over y period or to pay interest arising on it. So you need cash to do that. Your 'assets' have a value but they do not necessarily produce cash and with banks not lending then cash is king, as you can only run out of cash once.

    I'm not sure why the banks are being battered over this though. Is it because everything else gets battered in Scotland anyway :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    Football has been sucking dry the finances of all sport for years. It now accounts for almost 80% of all money available and at a sport we are not very good at, have too many teams and for which we expect Governments and banks to fund. We are better internationally at most other top level sports yet they get almost no money, no coverage and never complain. Any sensible businessman would be mad to invest in football. Very few have made it pay. Perhaps football needs to get back to the days of playing for the jersey, instead of playing for the money, then we might get better teams and better football and other sports might benefit.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry Jim,

    Can't agree with you. Clubs ceased to the focal point of communities a long time ago. The only real example I can think of is 'Queen of the South', who seem to get the same (relatively large) crowds no matter what division they're in. The rest of the clubs outwith the large SPL ones are simply followed by older people, their grandkids (when forced along by the aforementioned older people), students who think it's a bit of a laugh to mix with the proles (witness Firhill most weekends), and attention seekers who would be lost in the larger crowds of bigger clubs.

    I'm with poster #6 on this. Why should football clubs be given priority? They are a luxury in most people's lives. To romanticise it as something bigger is a bad joke. Football clubs have lived beyond their means, and should face the same consequences that a normal business would.

    In fact, if anything , the banks are forcing the very reshaping that you're after by being more than generous. Rangers should cease to be right now, but thanks to a lenient bank they are still a going concern with the proviso that they cut their cloth according to their material - the very outcome that you're asking for.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nothing divides yet nothing unites quite like football. The value to the community is too much for banks to not repay the bailout favour. I'm English but I for one would hate to see Scottish football go down the pan.

  • Comment number 12.

    Scottish football needs money to keep it going because the wrong decisions were made at the wrong time and those in charge of clubs and the game in general should be held to account for those decisions. It started with Rangers and their signings in the late 80's and entire 90's then every club bought players with exotic names in a bid to keep up - bggest mistake ever and its now costing us as a nation at all levels of our game. All that money that went into expensive signings should have been put into youth development and facilities. Scotland has become a footballing backwater because of that period in time and its only now that clubs, i'd say with the exception of Hibs who have a good record of producing talent of late, are being forced to take the youth option. How long is going to take before the standards rise?? I'd say at least 10 years but realistically 15 to 20 before its of genuine quality, even then it will be a struggle with those numpties at the SFA who still cant see the problems with the youth setup. If ALL of Scottish football had listened back in the 80's to what some were saying then we could be talking about something entirely different but then hindsight is always a great thing. As a Rangers fan I'm going to look on the positive side of the turmoil going on at the club and that positive is we are going to be FORCED into producing players from Murray Park. So far it has been nothing more than a trickle of players but that is going to change hopefully. We are constantly told there is a good number of young players coming through but they never materialise until all of a sudden there is no cash and 4 get chucked onto the field against Dundee in the CIS cup. If Smith had that bottle in his first tenure then the situation today could be oh so different, his problem though is he thought it better to go with the experience route and to an extent it worked but financially its been a disaster. Thing is though it is a problem within in the vast majority of Scottish clubs, if Alex Ferguson and Wenger are willing to chuck kids into the fold in the most competitive league in the World, why are managers in the SPL so afraid to do it???

  • Comment number 13.

    This is all very well that some clubs are in financial trouble and they have my sympathy but, as a Hibs fan, when we "overspent" (for thats what it is) the no-one came to our aid and we have had to put up with 10 years of austerity and prudence. Our rival clubs, when negotiating contracts with free agents, could outbid us using money they didn't have and now expect some for of assistance now things are tough? Give me a break. People are losing their jobs and being evicted and I am supposed to back subsidising Dundee Utd. Kilmarnock, Rangers et all? Ehh....That's a NO!. Perhaps if they run their clubs as efficiently as we have (which has hampered our ability to compete) then they wouldn't be in this mess.

  • Comment number 14.

  • Comment number 15.

    Right so the general scope of this blog is that the banks should help Scottish Football?

    People can hardly afford to live, pay their mortgages, bring up children and put food on their table, but the banks should help Scottish Football!

    How sick are some people!

    Bail out Rangers and Celtic - no thank you! They have gotten themselves into this mess now let them get out or foreclose!!

    Just a s a matter of interest, this money which would bail out 'Scottish Football' just who would benefit from it? most likely Rangers and Celtic to aid in their escape plan and our custodians at the SFA/SPL/SFL in order to let them have their wee glass of champagne!! again no thank you!

    The banks should be helping people who are living in poverty through no fault of their own while ensuring that the teams who were not prudent nor pragmatic in their approach to finances are made to pay back or go into default like all mortgage owners out there....


    Too much of peoples hard earned money ends up at football clubs who have made it near impossible for the average fan to attend matches and then...tell them they are moving to the EPL! again pathetic!

    Scottish Football is a backwater and the sick man of world football and all you need do is look at the greed on display by: Rangers, Celtic, the SFA/SPL/SFL and reinforced by the completely biased and sycophantic tendencies displayed by the Glasgow based media who, by the way, do not represent real Scottish football fans!!

    Absolutely and completely PATHETIC!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    adma67 - i'll tell you what's pathetic: Bitter anti-oldfirm fans whining about how the Old Firm are still better than them, even though they are as bad as they have ever been. If your team had any ambition, this would be their oppertunity to catch-up, no? Fact is you need the Old Firm to survive financially and you'd be part-time without our crowds and media coverage.

    What i don't understand is how the banks are quite happy to bail out sides like Liverpool, who have debts far bigger than even Rangers - even allowing them to spend £18 million on a right-back! Yet they threaten Rangers with administration???

    Why doesn't the Scottish media/ banks / business invest and support it's national sport?

  • Comment number 17.

    Adma67, Where are Celtic looking for Banks to bail them out? They're turning [smallish] Profits year on year.
    And where were the Banks just waiting to bail them out 15 Years ago? Celtic were rescued from going bust by their own fans, they didn't go round pleading to banks to bail them out.

  • Comment number 18.

    Kaiser1692 - spot on there.

    Hibs have been run on a good solid financial footing for a while now.

    During that time clubs like rangers have taken advantage of the fact we've been unwilling to pay out money we don't have.

    For these clubs to be bailed out now would be a bit rich.

    rangers (and probably most of the other clubs) could get themselves out of the financial mess by selling off all their best players, putting a frugal wage cap in place and relying on youth players to put a team out.

    *exactly* what Hibs did in other words.

    They're not prepared to do this as they would suffer on the pitch so why should they be bailed out?

    Given this, i'll happily raise a glass when they go to the wall.

  • Comment number 19.

    Souness and Matt.

    Try to see the bigger picture here! those tinted specs are doing you no good!

    Scottish football do not need rangers and celtic and right now it is the other way around!

    Talking about ambition surely ambition got rangers into this mess in the first place! Both of the old firm will always be sick teams until the realise that money doesn't buy success - maybe in Scotland it did when both of your teams sucked the life blood out of others just to maintain their postions as EURO wannabes - no I'm not whinging just saying it like it is!

    Like it or lump it PATHETIC!!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Let them all go bust. No one cares if my business goes bust so shy should I care if Alloa, Brechin, or whoever go bust... Or even the whole lot. The best thing that could happen to football everywhere is that all the clubs that can't pay their way go bust- players contracts ripped up and the whole industry will self correct- throwing money at failing clubs is not the way forward!

  • Comment number 21.

    Just a word to Jim Spence, I believe golf is our national sport not football as he has stated. The whole crux of the matter in Scottish football is the fact that the SFA have misread the signs as far away back as 1955/57 ? when Europe started. It was only a matter of time before Europe with its mass population would engulf football and only the countries with a big population would succeed. Scottish population 5.5m ?. There has to be a Eoropean league for countries with under 10m population for Scottish football to survive, we are in the same position as the Scandinsvians and other Baltic countries.

  • Comment number 22.

    Asking banks to bail out badly run Scottish Clubs is exactly what we SHOULDN'T be doing. Right up until the 1980's Scotland was producing a crop of world class players every generation. With perhaps the exception of John Collins, the last real batch was Dalglish, Souness, Hansen and Strachan. We produced that many because all the clubs were doing their best to bring through young talent. Much of this talent then headed south for the English top flight but not before Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers had all won European trophies and Dundee Utd had come pretty close. The Old Firm still dominated things, but not in the way they have done in the last 15 years. Hibs, Hearts, Dundee Utd and Aberdeen all had seasons where they challenged the duopoly succesfully. The financial problems of the SPL are a golden opportunity for clubs to get back to their roots and invest in youth. I am of course rather biased, Hibs have been running the club prudently for years now and suffering a little because of it, as other clubs consistently paid higher wages. However the work that Hibs have put in is now bearing fruit and the number of young players that have come through the hibs ranks in recent years is testament to the success of their Youth development. In the last few years Hibs have produced, Garry O'Conner, Steven Whittaker, Scott Brown and Derek Riordan all of whom have stepped up to international level. Now if their were five or 6 clubs producing that much young talent, the national side would be in a much stronger position and the SPL would have a fairer spread of talent.
    Forget begging from the banks, run the clubs properly, invest in youth and let's see Scottish Football re-born.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'll go against most of my fellow posters here and say that I agree with you Jim.
    I think we all accept that football clubs need to live within their means as best possible. I'm a DFC fan so know that more than most. I do think the banks have an obligation to support the clubs, but support them on a sustainable business model. Clubs are important to the community, no matter how small they be. If the BBC gave a deal to show all Scottish Football highlights and not just the SPL, and Formula One and Rugby also, then the smaller clubs would be in a better position. I actually do feel strongly about that one. Fans of lower league teams should be able to see the highlights, but then I am just a license payer. Jim sort it oot so I can see the DFC highlights when they are away from home and when I can't get to a game because fo work.
    Anyway, Celtic and Rangers and the other clubs need to get to a point where they are bringing through young players, maybe then we will start to climb the euro ladder again. But it is not just the clubs, the SFA need to get the finger out and do something worth while for a change . That would be to actually act in the best interests of the game, bigger leagues, two teams up to the SPL or at least a playoff, summer football for younger age ranges, better facilities etc etc.
    But anyway, given the banks happily took some of my tax money, then I expect them to support the clubs through these difficult times, even Dundee Utd ( although I could make an exception lol ).

  • Comment number 24.

    What representations did Jim Murphy make to the banks when Clydebank/Airdrie/Livingston were going to the wall? Rangers have spent way beyond their means for years, in search of titles & success. Why should they be bailed out? Does that mean we can all spend millions & then ask the banks to save us. Oh, sorry, just re-read my first sentence.
    Hibs have lost a team of internationals over the past few years, helping to ensure the books balanced. No-one is saying that Scottish football is in good shape, but suggesting that one of the main reasons for that should be treated as some sort of special case, that a team who have helped maintain the league's imbalance by spending money they didn't have, is bonkers, not to say insulting.

  • Comment number 25.

    Interesting article Jim, however, I actually feel that it's a good thing for Scottish Football to go through a bit of a financial crisis, as it levels the playing field a bit - so to speak.

    Smaller clubs have had to survive on smaller budgets for years and it's about time the Old Firm had to too. Whereas they would simply have bought their way out of trouble in the past, now they are unable to do so. This means that they must, like all the other clubs, focus on youth development and canny, safe transfer targets. Just look at how much more exciting the SPL is this year. If Dundee United win their game in hand over Rangers, they'll be joint third, meaning a mere six points separates 1st from 5th place after 10 games. It also means that Scottish youngsters get a chance at a higher level, thus benefitting the national side in the long run.

  • Comment number 26.

    First I want to say in many ways you are all correct but remember football is geographic so the importance of say Hearts to Edinburgh may not be as fundamental to the area as Ross County is to Sutherland. We all know change is needed but how to go about it. Change must be positive, not an excuse to preserve the current status quo i.e. lack of genuine competition across a wide group with the old firm cleaning up and everyone else scrapping for what’s left. It’s a decreasing circle, it’s proved not to work and long term is unsustainable.
    In my view & to get debate going.
    1 Scrap the SFA / SFL & SPL, One new body to run professional football and its leagues on a pyramid format.
    2 Create a new youth body the Scottish Youth Football Association responsible for all Youth footie to a certain age say 20, all prof clubs pay a levy to the SYFA and it taps into Central sports and after school government funding.
    3 Introduce a contracted apprenticeship programme for Youth footballers age 16 to 20 supervised by the SYFA & all clubs must have minimum 1 apprentice for every five seniors. Apprentices attend higher education colleges or Uni and play for the collage team. Then the SYFA can have an inter collage league.
    4 For Clubs introduce a squad size restriction of 21 and a wage cap. Genuine competition beats a pre ordained outcome any time. If the old firm leave let them! I’d rather consistently increase the crowds across 30 competing than just 9 SPL clubs.
    5 Summer football increase crowds and make it more fun. Only the really committed want to pay to watch in ice, rain and wind open your market to families and friends make it fun.
    6 Smarter people than me would need to devise a way to allocate apprentices to clubs, possibly on the American draft system and include a performance rating so if they are rubbish at bringing on the youth then they get last pick.
    7 Get the jounalists off their lazy behinds and out to see football outside the Glasgow bubble, if a Div 1 game is not played within 10 miles of Glasgow centre they don't bother - they might just find something worthwhile to write about.

  • Comment number 27.

    Now if i missed this suggested strategy when DFC, Livvy, Kilmarnock, Falkirk were all in a similar boat with HBOS then I apologise unreservedly. Clubs with debts to banks should have to service the debt, repay the debt and if that means selling players then that's what needs to be done.

    It's ironic that DUFC signed Scott Robertson from Dundee due to DFC having had to reduce it's costs to pay back HBOS. Now DUFC could be in the same boat.

    And for all tax payers who are not worried about vacuous football teams/managers/chairman and players and are more worried about jobs/mortgages/pensions then Football and it's serried ranks of pundits need to come into the real world!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Scottish clubs need to do more to help themselves. Perhaps, if they tried playing attractive, interesting, exciting football and giving young Scottish players their break, they might attract sponsorship and money for the tv rights to broadcast exciting meaningful football rather than the dross being offered up in the guise of Scottish football when each team fields only a few Scots. How can we expect the banks to keep bailing them out when we, the taxpayers, have to bail out the banks?

  • Comment number 29.

    IMO you Hibees are taking the moral high ground with no foundation.

    Well done you started cutting your cloth accordingly at the beginning of this decade. So did most other clubs in Scotland, with the exception of 1 or 2 all clubs in Scotland started this process around the same time. The difference is that you got extremely lucky in that the Youth Scout/Coach you hired (was it Donald Park?) did a prticularly stunning job for you. Dundee united, Falkirk, Aberdeen, Kille, Hamilton etc etc all started playing the same amount of kids at around the same time as you did. If it wasnt for selling kids like Brown, O'Connor, Whittaker, Thompson and Fletcher etc you would be in even worse financial straites than most other SPL clubs. You got lucky that your kids turned out excellent players whereas the kids other teams were producing werent as good. So give us all a break about having better financial management than all the other clubs, you got lucky with a batch of talented kids.

    As for everybody else, please re-read the blog from Spencey and see if the penny drops. NOWHERE has he asked for the banks to pump in millions or write of millions of pounds of debt. Not once did he beg for hand outs from anywhere. When you read what is written and not what you want it to read is that despite the clubs bringing this upon themselves they need help from the bank in terms of not tightening the noose. I.e the clubs were given a severe blow to the tune of around £700k per year with the collapse of Setanta and that the banks will have to show some patience to the clubs in respect of repayments and not throw them into Administration as has been the rumours. I think Spencey is suggesting that the banks allow clubs to restructure the repayment terms not the amount that has to be paid back eventually. Im not a finance expert but surely it makes sense for the banks to keep clubs going and get repayments each month for however long than take the quick option of recouping certain amounts of money way below the amount owed by throwing clubs into Admin.

  • Comment number 30.

    #1. I don't clearly understand your statement: "if a club has assets i.e players, on the pitch that are potentially worth more than the debt they owe then surely the debt isn't a problem?"

    What is your point? It's sort of vague.

    #2. I agree, why should banks lend them money (when they have rich owners) when they dont lend to a small business with little money to deal with. But I think you simplify the creation of an Atlantic league. There are a lot of problems like some of you have named, traveling fans, the organization of such a league etc. The creation of such a league might be devastating even further other clubs that arent the Old Firm.

  • Comment number 31.

    Also clubs value their ground at replacement and not open market values. Hence they're overinflated and even worse now home to loss making, cash hungry businesses. Rangers have their ground at circa £40M and even DUFC have had their ground on the books at £6-£7M for years. This allowed trading well beyond it's actual real capability.

    I know as it happend to DFC with a £7M ground valuation, which was reduced to £700k after 5 years of every asset being sold to pay back the bank who'd lent a eye watering spectacularly unbelievable £13M to a club that had not made a trading profit 2 years in succession for over 30 years!

    In essence many, many SPL clubs are insolvent and have been for years. They'll now have to cut their cloth

  • Comment number 32.


    Got lucky?
    Utter nonsense.

    We have a good youth policy.

    Yes, Park was an important figure in that but he's not the only good youth coach around.

    We certainly haven't monopolised young talent and, obviously, we haven't overpaid for it.

    The total amount we've sold players for over the last 5-10 years is above average for what you'd expect from a club prepared to sell their young talent and who have a vaguely competent youth set up.

    I'd also make the point that the fees were significantly improved due to the club being well run as we had no need to let players go on the cheap due to financial desparation (as your club seem to have to do).

    Rather than categorising us as lucky perhaps you should look at why your own club have been inept at running their youth system, blooding young players and running your club well enough to hold out for decent fees for the scraps of talent you do produce.

    As for the Hibs players you name:
    Brown, O'Connor, Whittaker, Thompson and Fletcher

    All but O'Connor were sold after we were pretty much debt free.

    The selling of Brown, Whittaker, Thompson and Fletcher has been used to finance bigger wages and bigger transfer fees.

    The sale of these players is not the reason we're not in debt (and certainly not the reason we're not in "even worse financial straites than most other SPL clubs" as you laughably claim).

    It's how you run a business well - pay out what you can afford to and expand when you have greater incomings.

    This is a rule you'd do well to bear in mind when you reform in the amateur leagues after you go into administration.

  • Comment number 33.

    To get back to the topic of Jim Spence's blog, why, particularly in the present financial climate should the banks bail out Scottish football? The average cost of a father and son attending an SPL game, including programme and half-time pie and bovril is around £60!! That is around 20% of the average guy's weekly wage! With club's going to the wall, who are the only one's making money from the game? The players! In SPL and 1st Division terms they are in general earning at least three or four times the wage of the average man and, by and large, the quality of the players is rubbish! And yet we want the banks to bail out the clubs? This comes after the average working man has forked out around £60 for his son and him to attend an SPL and AFTER he has contributed, through his taxes, to bail out the banks!! It would mean that Joe Soap would be paying for football twice over! Absolutely bloody ridiculous! If Scottish football cannot attract the money itself from business, commerce and enterprise then it is only right that it should go to the wall!! W'll be expecting the publicly bailed out banks to be subsidising snooker, darts and dominoes next!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    At a time of global hardship, businesses going to the wall right left and centre, families losing their homes, and taxpayers being forced to bail out the banks themselves, the LAST thing the banks should be investing in is bleedin football.

    Where does the money ploughed into football go? To struggling families, to the disadvantaged, to those sufferng extreme hardship & famine in the 3rd world? No, it goes into the pockets of ludicrously highly-paid footballers, some of whom earn more in a day than a working man does in a year.

    It would be a public disgrace if the banks started subsidising football.

    On the contrary - it's time to get much much tougher with football clubs.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Hand Of Hidden Forces,

    Couldn't agree with you more mate! At last someone with a sense of perspective and common sense. What is even more obscene is that from time to time these obscenely overpaid and highly under-achieving football players receive benefits or testimonials! Can you believe it? And what is even more unbelieveable is that the mugs who stump up for testimonials are the Joe Soaps who earn a fraction of what the testimonial-receiving football players earn! They've clearly no pride or shame in begging for charity! They have usually the nerve to make the case that football is a short career and they need a nestegg to cushion them. Good God if you or I had to give up a job we'd no doubt have to look for another to survive. Football players seem to think that they shouldn't have to. Let me remind them that there are plenty of jobs going at B&Q, Tesco, Asda etc as shelf-stackers but I doubt if many football players could pass the written test!

  • Comment number 36.

    Great blog Jim, but if Hibs, Hearts, United, in fact all the top clubs apart from the Old Firm, had listened to the lead Aberdeen tried to give, the old SKY deal would be in place & the picture would be a whole lot better. The Setanta model was built on fanciful numbers. In the north-east we contribute far more per head than the rest of Scotland to the coffers, but football needs to form a queue behind enterprises like Glencraft in Aberdeen.

  • Comment number 37.

    Jim, Hi Have been a Dundee fan through thick & thin for many many years and I was on the bus with no back window coming back from Hampden in 73 in the Snow we won the cup though beating the Celts 1-0. Why am I blabbering on about old history I will tell you. That was the last real glory DFC have had and it is very very sad that generations since have been denied success like my brief day of glory. Therefore on reading the report of the Derby friendly on Tuesday (DFC website)and particularly the crowd of nearly 8000 on a dreich night in November surely lies testimony that on a nice saturday in August and with a good competitive team "Dundee City" with a crowd of c.14,000 would be a force to be reckoned with more than Hibs/Hearts or Aberdeen have ever been to challenge the not now so strong old firm. In today's dire financial climate surely the time has finally arrived for an amalgamation of our city clubs that mean so much to both sets of fans, fans who give a fantastic support no matter if it is Blue or Tangerine. I am proud to say that when younger I would give my United mates stick when we won a derby and take stick in reverse, but it was all friendly stuff and we should all respect our previous history, however it is time to move on and create a one club city once and for all bury the hatchets and realise that we could win the league and cups regularly. Jim please re open the debate on this subject and quote this effort by me for a real discussion between Mr Steven Thomson & Mr Calum Melville to do the right thing and go down as legends themselves in history as the one's who finally did it. Of course the strip would be Dark Blue with Tangerine it would look fantastic. Cheers Tommy T

  • Comment number 38.

    tommy thomson,

    Yer on the wrong blog chum!

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.


    You may say I am on the wrong blog, however the point I make is valid re amalgamation and it is relevant to this blog ref to lack of cash and banks bailing out clubs. I agree it is a laugh, therefore my comment 'is' relevant to this blog and if the Dundee teams amalgamate one day they will survive and do well with or without the help of the banks who are only surviving because of all the bank charges the have applied against people like me. So glad to be on the other side of the planet and not paying taxes to subsidise those fat cats in the UK. By the way you comment elsewhere that you would accept scottish football going to the wall ! obviously not a passionate fan yourself then.Have you been to a game ? perhaps bowling is your thing complete with slippers yeh !! away the dees

  • Comment number 41.

    Ye wise, min?


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