Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rangers stiff signing for £75k

Good old Dave! Who says he’s tight with his money? After it was widely reported that Stephen Naismith had followed the growing trend of players donating a portion of their transfer payment to their old club – a very noble gesture – Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has set the record straight: “It is not true that Steven gave us £75,000. We have not received a donation from him.

“It is true that he waived the fee, but that was to help Rangers meet the price we had asked.”

After losing out on Derek Riordan and David Murray’s brash claims about excessive spending at Ibrox, it is interesting to note that such relatively small sums seem to make such a difference. Perhaps Rangers really are that cash-strapped or perhaps more plausibly the “£1.9m” Rangers were reported to have paid (remember they were adamant they would not pay Kilmarnock's price) actually became £1.925m with Naismith’s contribution allowing Murray and his friends in the media to claim Rangers were not swayed by lowly Killie who had demanded £2m all along.

What a great start to a professional relationship when a young footballer is expected to use his own money to save face for Dave.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

SPL should tackle St Mirren after Celtic abuse

Way back in November 2006, a St Mirren stadium announcer took it upon himself, without prior authorisation, to remark on "disgraceful chanting" by Celtic supporters at Love Street urging fans "to keep the good name of St Mirren intact by not responding to sectarian songs being sung at today's game".

At that time, St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour responded: "The comments were definitely off his own back but I thought it was fair comment. We certainly did not ask for it to be said. I have no problem with what [the announcer] said and I am glad to say this is not a problem we have at St Mirren."

Well, Mr Gilmour, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and anyone who witnessed the behaviour of St Mirren fans at their ground in the 5-1 thrashing by Celtic should be asking the club and the SPL to take a stance against the conduct of their own supporters.

The recent standards of unacceptable conduct as set out by the football authorities, specifically prohibit fans from abusing players by raising doubts about their sexuality. Yet Paul Hartley was continually abused by St Mirren fans with the chant “Paul Hartley is GAY”.

Therefore, unless the SPL match observer was deaf or only paying attention to Celtic fans, the rules in place now clearly demand an investigation into St Mirren.

It is amazing that the fans of Scotland’s other clubs continually sneer at the conduct of Celtic and Rangers fans when they are often rife with bigots of their own. But St Mirren chose to make themselves part of this story and now is the time to insist that they take their own responsibilities seriously.
A person present at or in the immediate environs of an Official Match engages in Unacceptable Conduct where their conduct is violent and/or disorderly.

Disorderly conduct includes (i) conduct which stirs up or sustains or is likely or designed to stir up or sustain, hatred or ill will against or towards a group of persons based on their membership or presumed membership of a group defined by reference to a category mentioned below or against an individual who is or is presumed to be a member of such group; (ii) using threatening, abusive or insulting words or conduct; or (iii) displaying any writing or other thing which is threatening, abusive or insulting.

“Presumed” means presumed by the person or persons engaged in the conduct.

The categories referred to above are:-
  • female or male gender;
  • colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin;
  • membership of a religious group or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation;
  • sexual orientation;
  • transgender identity; and disability.