WAS FOOTBALL EVER HONEST? by Pensionerbhoy

A recent post by JasCam, “Time To Leave Rangers Tax Case To Them”, highlighted the growing fury, and I am convinced this is not too strong a word, at the decisions reached by Scottish Football‘s governing bodies over the long drawn out saga of Rangers administration and its various  consequences.  Combined with the investigation into irregularities, the implementation of automatic corollaries, the definition of potential penalties if required along with the wavering and submissive handling of the continuing issues of the new football club that replaced old Rangers, their general management and decision making has been nothing short of, at best, unprofessional and incompetent and, at worst, suspicious and deceitful.  If there were as many sidesteps, swerves and diversions in a game of snakes and ladders the snakes would be on Pluto before reaching the top of the board.  While mulling all these things in my mind, I got to thinking if football was ever truly honest.
I suppose one has to look at such an issue from various points of view.  First of all, can competition be totally free from ruse.  By its very nature it entices the participants to use every possible means to succeed.  To some extent one might claim that tactics themselves challenge the purity of human endeavour.  There has regularly been debate, for example, about whether a defensive approach is in the true spirit of football which was meant to provide entertainment both for the protagonists and the spectators alike by endeavouring to win primarily through attack.  The tactic of blocking a goalkeeper at corners and free kicks into the penalty box, for example, is one of many moves that seem to defy the spirit of the game and incites much debate among supporters.  But gaining advantage has stretched beyond even simple playing tactics to the use or abuse of  dress, boots and balls.  The great Jock Stein introduced numbers on the bottom of the legs of football shorts to improve passing because that was the part of the body most directly in the line of sight of a player on the ball.  He also mixed up shirt numbers in the days when there were recognised numbers for each position, to cause confusion among the opposition in the initial moments of a match.  Could this be regarded as at least “slightly dishonest” or merely using all means at his disposal?
However, there is no doubt that the covers have come off the interpretation of “gaining an advantage” in football in recent years.  Now, what once was “gaining of an advantage” hardly stops short of cheating.  For fear of boring the reader with the obvious and familiarly extensive list of abuses, I shall uncover but a few more blatant and regularly used deceptions.  Diving and writhing after tackles to get opponents sent off or penalties awarded are about the most insidious newcomers.  To seek to win at the expense of another is, for me, the lowest form of sporting fraud.  However, some of the lesser “tactics” are no less odious.  Shirt pulling and double blocking to stop a potential advantage, now seemingly all part of the game, at the very least go against the spirit of the game.  I leave it to the reader to add the numerous other offensive but now seemingly accepted forms of behaviour that bring the authenticity of football into question.
If the underhandedness on the field from participants is objectionable, how much more so must be the deviousness of officials both on and off the field.  Football is littered with the records of intrigue that has taken place in the football world at both club, international and administrative levels. It is well known that under the table deals have taken place with the likes of referees’ bribes or football transfer back-handers.  Nearer to home it has been more the cliquish agreements in secret behind closed doors.  The corruption that can exist at this level is frighteningly threatening as the whole football world can be brought down by it.  Even if we restrict our observations to our domestic game we can reel off dozens of examples where referees and other officials have acted fraudulently, dishonestly and in a biased manner.  In a previous blog by of one the regular contributors to The Celtic Network, Blogger highlighted and listed several suspicious happenings with referees.  He exposes, through a radio interview with ex referee Charlie Richmond, how there is an old boy network among Scottish referees and officials that dictates and controls the refereeing agenda in Scottish football.  It has established methods of promotion and ranking by means of who rather than what is known.  It has secretly advised that certain advantages and disadvantages be considered in relation to specific Scottish teams.  We have heard, read about and witnessed all or some of this type of corruption over the years.  Even those least inclined to make comment have hinted that all is not right in many levels of Scottish officialdom.
And, the governing bodies of the Scottish game have, in the minds of many, been complicit in the underhand manipulations among officials.  It is hard to forget Jim Farry’s ignominious attempt to disadvantage Celtic by hiding the registration of Jorge Cadete in a drawer to prevent him taking part in a Celtic v Rangers game.  Much fresher in the mind are the recent events surrounding “Dougiegate” which involve a whole list of officials at every level of the game.  JasCam recently reminded us, if it were needed, of the shenanigans around the whole Rangers fiasco.  Were such events a mere culmination of a growing deterioration in the integrity of the game of football world wide?  Yes, I am convinced to some extent they were given the financial corruption exposed but brushed aside by the highest authorities in the sport and their often partial decision making.  That there were narrower and specific agendas at play in Scotland, I am certain.  No matter, though, the question still remains as to whether these recent exposures are a new phenomena or merely a gross culmination of the desire for glory at any cost which has existed since time began.
Scottish football supporters have always had their suspicions about the governing bodies and officials of football.  But, in spite of their feelings towards international corruption, it has been the domestic scene that has drawn their attention and probably rightly so.  Celtic supporters have not been alone in their accusations and condemnations but they have undoubtedly been to the fore.  On the whole, even in the face of proven wrongdoings, they have been labelled paranoid.  But then, abusive attack and stonewall defence have oft been secure protectors of the evil doer.  There is nought so effective when faced with serious accusations as the turning of tables.  Scottish football has exercised this tactic wonderfully well over decades.  It has forbidden criticism by those who might have some influence and has simply ignored or counter accused, with or without basis, those who have levelled the charges at them.
Of course, having the media on side is a major advantage in these disputes and Scottish football officialdom has long ensured its buttered bread in that regard.  Rather than challenging questionable behaviour, the Scottish media, especially the press, has wallowed in the easy and comfortable task of bypassing the root problems and concentrated their efforts on putting down  supporters.  This has allowed a bogus game, a disingenuous administration and a secretive, biased and agenda ridden officialdom to develop a corrupt football structure that is very much in danger of destroying for ever what was once for the vast majority the sport of sports.  I believe football’s children at every level have learned to develop a cheating mentality forced irresistibly upon them by the desire and the pressure to win.
But,  does that mean we can only stand and stare at its destructive force?  Surely we, as true and committed supporters, are obliged, for the future of those same children, to act decisively to change the game.  The internet is the ballista, the catapult, the battering ram that can breach the ramparts of officialdom.  Once through the outer fortifications taking on the administrators and officials should be a relatively easy task.  As for their great allies, the press, I am convinced their days are numbered even without further attack.  The bampots have already assured victory on that score.  So even if you adhere to my proposition that because of the element of contest sport has inevitably invited corruption, surely it is still no reason to sit back and accept it.

Comments

  1. A great blog Pensionerbhoy
    You have articulated very well just what we ‘paranoid’ Celtic supporters have always believed. You touched on the fact that we seemed to be the only ones speaking out against this blatant administrative corruption. That has been mainy because, to date, we have been the club who predominately has most to lose. But this has all changed since the ‘midgie rakers’ have gone bust and left the stadium. From this season onwards there have been many more teams vying for the top [or second spot] in Scotland now that they are off trying to rebuild their club in the nether regiond of the SFL.
    This will be mean that over the next 3 [or more] years, clubs will get used to this new competitive regime. They and their fans will get used to being ‘up there’ competing for a shot at the Champions League and the cups. When Sevco get back in to the top flight these clubs and their supporters will see the dark forces rising again and blatant biase re-emerging. Young Dallas will be the top referee at Southfork by then. So watch out for that one.
    Its at that point we will hear more fans protesting and articulating their distrust of the men in the blazers that run our game.
    Only when you taste the medicine do you know what the cure is.
    HH

  2. A great blog Pensionerbhoy
    You have articulated very well just what we ‘paranoid’ Celtic supporters have always believed. You touched on the fact that we seemed to be the only ones speaking out against this blatant administrative corruption. That has been mainy because, to date, we have been the club who predominately has most to lose. But this has all changed since the ‘midgie rakers’ have gone bust and left the stadium. From this season onwards there have been many more teams vying for the top [or second spot] in Scotland now that they are off trying to rebuild their club in the nether regiond of the SFL.
    This will be mean that over the next 3 [or more] years, clubs will get used to this new competitive regime. They and their fans will get used to being ‘up there’ competing for a shot at the Champions League and the cups. When Sevco get back in to the top flight these clubs and their supporters will see the dark forces rising again and blatant biase re-emerging. Young Dallas will be the top referee at Southfork by then. So watch out for that one.
    Its at that point we will hear more fans protesting and articulating their distrust of the men in the blazers that run our game.
    Only when you taste the medicine do you know what the cure is.
    HH

  3. An excellent blog PB, and I hope you are fully recovered. You have hit on many interesting points, and posed many teasers, but I may get back to some later,(busy day). I will highlight the referees role in cheating for now. In the distant days when I kicked a ba’, cheating never happened! Diving was looked upon with such disdain that there was a pride in “taking” a tackle and staying upright. A contentious goal in net, post and crossbar free goals, was easily decided and sportingly (though sometimes grudgingly) agreed on. Off-side was never a problem, because goal line poachers were chased up the park by defenders, or chastised by team mates to get back and defend(not always politely!). Everybody knew when it was a foul, everyone knew when it was a shy, corner, etc. We had NO referee, or somebodies da at best! The game ran freely, the best team won, and the search parties found us to go home because it was pitch black! Those days of simple pleasures are lost now, but they are the roots of our love! We forget those rules of pride, passion, and EQUITY, at our peril. Our sport has been hi-jacked by corporations(where lies money lies corruption), with targets, and growth markets, and graphs. Our game(for that’s what it is) needs more pleasure, fun, and banter, (not sabre rattling and the genuine ill will so prelevant today). It also needs a right good clear out! Get rid of parasitic 3 year contract politicians, and replace them with One guy at the VERY top. A guy who cherrishes the game, knows it from top to bottom, A guy for whom job satisfaction will over ride any corrupt temptations. Not on a get rich quick, 3year contract, but a massively long term reconstruction task. I could do worse than nominate WGS for this modern day, clean up Gotham City type role. Oh! And Fucking ban referees!

  4. An excellent blog PB, and I hope you are fully recovered. You have hit on many interesting points, and posed many teasers, but I may get back to some later,(busy day). I will highlight the referees role in cheating for now. In the distant days when I kicked a ba’, cheating never happened! Diving was looked upon with such disdain that there was a pride in “taking” a tackle and staying upright. A contentious goal in net, post and crossbar free goals, was easily decided and sportingly (though sometimes grudgingly) agreed on. Off-side was never a problem, because goal line poachers were chased up the park by defenders, or chastised by team mates to get back and defend(not always politely!). Everybody knew when it was a foul, everyone knew when it was a shy, corner, etc. We had NO referee, or somebodies da at best! The game ran freely, the best team won, and the search parties found us to go home because it was pitch black! Those days of simple pleasures are lost now, but they are the roots of our love! We forget those rules of pride, passion, and EQUITY, at our peril. Our sport has been hi-jacked by corporations(where lies money lies corruption), with targets, and growth markets, and graphs. Our game(for that’s what it is) needs more pleasure, fun, and banter, (not sabre rattling and the genuine ill will so prelevant today). It also needs a right good clear out! Get rid of parasitic 3 year contract politicians, and replace them with One guy at the VERY top. A guy who cherrishes the game, knows it from top to bottom, A guy for whom job satisfaction will over ride any corrupt temptations. Not on a get rich quick, 3year contract, but a massively long term reconstruction task. I could do worse than nominate WGS for this modern day, clean up Gotham City type role. Oh! And Fucking ban referees!

  5. Really enjoyable read. I speak to lads who played pro in the 50s and 60s from time to time, they tell me the game changes more than they ever thought. From my view point even in my short time in football, watching football, the adding of Agents killed the game as a working mans sport. Sure working men still go, but for anyone to go now with a family takes away a lot of income. so that side of the game has changed, for the worse.
    As for cheating, I believe there is a fine line between diving and making the most of a clumsy challenge on you. I would never tell a player to go down, but if hands go in his back at a corner, or he is through on goal and he feels a tug or a foot, to make the most of it. Sadly this is “New Football” Sometimes its a case of, “if you can’t beat them, join them” In this blog here http://www.thecelticnetwork.com/2013/01/28/the-charlie-richmond-story-referee-lies/ Pensionerbhoy I posted a few video’s to show how this has become a big part of our game. You know my thought on the people who run our game and their motives, as Celtic fans we had to take this for decades.
    In the Celtic team we have a few who make the most of a bad challenge, Hooper and Samaras come to mind, Hooper is Superb at it, takes the ball in, back to goal, and wins many free kicks 25 yards from goal, Stan Petrov was also brilliant at making the most of a clumsy challenge, he won a lot of free kicks. Remember this goal here?

    In the leadup to the wonder strike, Celtic player Jiri Jarosik went down, on a clumsy challenge, that was debated for weeks after the game. I was DELIGHTED Jiri made the most of the bad challenge, as Naka scored from the resulting free kick
    But there is a fine line. Gareth Bail dives, and there are many like him. Some of the Rangers stuff from the last few years was awful, I could go on, as you get the drift. But as a manager, I bet Lenny tells, asks his players to go down. This sad or not is modern day football, the stakes are too high, so people cross lines they maybe didn’t when £20M was at stake.
    Great blog, I could have been at it all day here, as this is my kind of topic. Going back to putting numbers on shorts, was it to gain an advantage? Did it win is the European Cup? If it was, and it did, would we moan? lol
    We won’t sit back and take corruption, as this blog and the one I posted, amoungst MANY others make sure it is high on the thoughts of Celtic fans. We just need to keep it on the agenda
    Great Blog
    Blogger

    1. Jas
      Can you fix that youtube link please, worked the last time. Cheers.
      Can still copy and paste. I was sure I could add a video into the body of a reply
      Blogger

  6. Really enjoyable read. I speak to lads who played pro in the 50s and 60s from time to time, they tell me the game changes more than they ever thought. From my view point even in my short time in football, watching football, the adding of Agents killed the game as a working mans sport. Sure working men still go, but for anyone to go now with a family takes away a lot of income. so that side of the game has changed, for the worse.
    As for cheating, I believe there is a fine line between diving and making the most of a clumsy challenge on you. I would never tell a player to go down, but if hands go in his back at a corner, or he is through on goal and he feels a tug or a foot, to make the most of it. Sadly this is “New Football” Sometimes its a case of, “if you can’t beat them, join them” In this blog here http://www.thecelticnetwork.com/2013/01/28/the-charlie-richmond-story-referee-lies/ Pensionerbhoy I posted a few video’s to show how this has become a big part of our game. You know my thought on the people who run our game and their motives, as Celtic fans we had to take this for decades.
    In the Celtic team we have a few who make the most of a bad challenge, Hooper and Samaras come to mind, Hooper is Superb at it, takes the ball in, back to goal, and wins many free kicks 25 yards from goal, Stan Petrov was also brilliant at making the most of a clumsy challenge, he won a lot of free kicks. Remember this goal here?

    In the leadup to the wonder strike, Celtic player Jiri Jarosik went down, on a clumsy challenge, that was debated for weeks after the game. I was DELIGHTED Jiri made the most of the bad challenge, as Naka scored from the resulting free kick
    But there is a fine line. Gareth Bail dives, and there are many like him. Some of the Rangers stuff from the last few years was awful, I could go on, as you get the drift. But as a manager, I bet Lenny tells, asks his players to go down. This sad or not is modern day football, the stakes are too high, so people cross lines they maybe didn’t when £20M was at stake.
    Great blog, I could have been at it all day here, as this is my kind of topic. Going back to putting numbers on shorts, was it to gain an advantage? Did it win is the European Cup? If it was, and it did, would we moan? lol
    We won’t sit back and take corruption, as this blog and the one I posted, amoungst MANY others make sure it is high on the thoughts of Celtic fans. We just need to keep it on the agenda
    Great Blog
    Blogger

    1. Jas
      Can you fix that youtube link please, worked the last time. Cheers.
      Can still copy and paste. I was sure I could add a video into the body of a reply
      Blogger

  7. Hi all
    I have been under armed guard for a few days as the wife demanded my opinion on some furnishings for a house renovation. I am not sure what house as I am perfectly happy with her attic and my six rooms. I know my opinion is simply to give her the excuse to contradict it. Anyhow, the outcome is that I have had practically no time to respond to your excellent comments.
    I must say, Blogger, I envy your willingness to do some proper research on the various topics on here. I am too lazy and rely purely on what is in my head, sawdust and all. So thank you very much for all the additional visual evidence to back my propositions. There seems to be a common opinion, and I have seen similar comment on other blogs, that the main problem is right at the very top of Scottish football administration. The other serious issue is the power that has filtered from the top through to the officials of the game. There appears to be a distinct umbilical link between the mentality and modus operandi at both levels. Another interesting negative element of the modern game recognised by most of you, is the transition of football from a working class sport to the plaything of the corporate world or the bored rich. Professional football seems to be appealing more and more to business men as a potential sales opportunity through the use of hospitality facilities than to the masses at whom it was originally aimed. This is a topic I am very interested in developing in a follow up blog. My overall conclusion is that many of us are fearful about the game’s future for a variety of reasons. Is it not time. therefore, to take some real action to stem the rot? It is not an appealing thought that our normal lives might be open to disruption if we are to take steps to truly influence what happens. I am convinced we have the muscle and the means to do so. I believe there is the potential for a power shift if we just grasp the moment. I am still of the opinion that this could be best achieved through pressure on chairs and boards. But we need to be prepared to have some physical participation too through good use of the internet and football associations and, above all, by simply refusing to be bulldozed into acceptance. The power brokers of the game have absolutely nothing if they do not have supporters. The will is certainly there. For me it is a question of putting some solid meat on the existing bones. The two sure things are that change is essential and we are the only ones to effect the right type.
    “This will mean that over the next 3 [or more] years, clubs will get used to this new competitive regime. They and their fans will get used to being ‘up there’ competing for a shot at the Champions League and the cups. When Sevco get back in to the top flight these clubs and their supporters will see the dark forces rising again and blatant biase re-emerging. Young Dallas will be the top referee at Southfork by then. So watch out for that one.
    Its at that point we will hear more fans protesting and articulating their distrust of the men in the blazers that run our game.
    Only when you taste the medicine do you know what the cure is.” McAllister of Ongar
    This may be so, but I question if we need to wait till then.
    Thanks for your kind words Barca. Your comments on the good old days with the “honest” kickabouts were a delight. I am realistic enough to know that such a set up is not possible at professional level. However, there is no reason why the attitude should not be the same even though independent refereeing of matches is practical. Perhaps the old punishment of a good kick or three up the rear end from your pals if you cheated, could be reintroduced. But then, football might not be the only area of of life we oldies would love to see that happen :).
    H H
    PS Trying to get this posted during half time today. First half has been a bit of a drag. Look forward to your summary later, Blogger.

  8. Hi all
    I have been under armed guard for a few days as the wife demanded my opinion on some furnishings for a house renovation. I am not sure what house as I am perfectly happy with her attic and my six rooms. I know my opinion is simply to give her the excuse to contradict it. Anyhow, the outcome is that I have had practically no time to respond to your excellent comments.
    I must say, Blogger, I envy your willingness to do some proper research on the various topics on here. I am too lazy and rely purely on what is in my head, sawdust and all. So thank you very much for all the additional visual evidence to back my propositions. There seems to be a common opinion, and I have seen similar comment on other blogs, that the main problem is right at the very top of Scottish football administration. The other serious issue is the power that has filtered from the top through to the officials of the game. There appears to be a distinct umbilical link between the mentality and modus operandi at both levels. Another interesting negative element of the modern game recognised by most of you, is the transition of football from a working class sport to the plaything of the corporate world or the bored rich. Professional football seems to be appealing more and more to business men as a potential sales opportunity through the use of hospitality facilities than to the masses at whom it was originally aimed. This is a topic I am very interested in developing in a follow up blog. My overall conclusion is that many of us are fearful about the game’s future for a variety of reasons. Is it not time. therefore, to take some real action to stem the rot? It is not an appealing thought that our normal lives might be open to disruption if we are to take steps to truly influence what happens. I am convinced we have the muscle and the means to do so. I believe there is the potential for a power shift if we just grasp the moment. I am still of the opinion that this could be best achieved through pressure on chairs and boards. But we need to be prepared to have some physical participation too through good use of the internet and football associations and, above all, by simply refusing to be bulldozed into acceptance. The power brokers of the game have absolutely nothing if they do not have supporters. The will is certainly there. For me it is a question of putting some solid meat on the existing bones. The two sure things are that change is essential and we are the only ones to effect the right type.
    “This will mean that over the next 3 [or more] years, clubs will get used to this new competitive regime. They and their fans will get used to being ‘up there’ competing for a shot at the Champions League and the cups. When Sevco get back in to the top flight these clubs and their supporters will see the dark forces rising again and blatant biase re-emerging. Young Dallas will be the top referee at Southfork by then. So watch out for that one.
    Its at that point we will hear more fans protesting and articulating their distrust of the men in the blazers that run our game.
    Only when you taste the medicine do you know what the cure is.” McAllister of Ongar
    This may be so, but I question if we need to wait till then.
    Thanks for your kind words Barca. Your comments on the good old days with the “honest” kickabouts were a delight. I am realistic enough to know that such a set up is not possible at professional level. However, there is no reason why the attitude should not be the same even though independent refereeing of matches is practical. Perhaps the old punishment of a good kick or three up the rear end from your pals if you cheated, could be reintroduced. But then, football might not be the only area of of life we oldies would love to see that happen :).
    H H
    PS Trying to get this posted during half time today. First half has been a bit of a drag. Look forward to your summary later, Blogger.

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