A half-empty Rugby Park – a sign of the times.
FROM the collapse of the television station Setanta Sports, to the ludicrous sacking of referee chief Hugh Dallas and constant questioning of referees by a certain club. Scottish football is certainly on the demise.
Kilmarnock Football Club have posted a loss of almost £500,000 for the year to 31 May 2010 – down from just under £1m from the previous year. The figure could have been up to three times worse, but former chairman Jamie Moffat wrote off a debt of £900,000.
Club chairman Michael Johnston said: “The collapse of TV company Setanta is continuing to be felt. Added to that, our 11th-place SPL finish and lack of cup success also resulted in a significant loss.”
“The low cup income and SPL prize money was off-set to a major extent by the generosity of former chairman Jamie Moffat in writing off £900,000 of his loan account, thus reducing the loss reported in the annual accounts,” explained Johnston.
“This magnitude of trading loss cannot be sustained. Steps have been taken in the current financial year to reduce the player wage bill – clearly without an adverse impact upon the quality of the first team’s performances on the pitch.”
Kilmarnock, who lie in sixth place and 17 points adrift of leaders Rangers, are doing well this season on the pitch and the hope is that Mixu Paatelainen’s fresh passing game mentality will help their financial situation.
Killie are just one example of the money problems in Scotland. Hearts are in a supposed debt of £30 million and right at the top, Rangers have a £22 million debt. You could say Rangers having that figure of repayments to make is sustainable, considering under the days of Dick Advocaat’s spending the number was nearer £80m.
But the point is, the lack of money up north is really worrying. The monopoly of the Premiership is ruining our game, with clubs like West Brom and Fulham having the ability to out-bid Rangers and Celtic in the transfer market, when comparing the clubs in terms of stature, history and fan base brings you to the conclusion that something is seriously wrong here.
Even if you are not good enough to play in England’s top flight and you are relegated, you are given a number of “parachute payments” to help you in the Championship.
It is getting to the stage where non-Old Firm teams are at the same stage as teams in League One and League Two. And don’t even start with what below the SPL is.
The money problems is obviously affecting the quality of our game. The Glasgow giants just aren’t the same as they used to be, there is no competition from outside the big two for the title, and the national team have failed to qualify for major finals since 1998.
A more British problem is the lack of proper coaching at grass roots level, with an approach more akin to rugby in terms of being physical and getting “in aboot them” than the technical ability of passing and moving that nations like Spain and Italy teach.
Something must be done to save our game. A new league structure, more funding from BSkyB, I do not know. But something. Football is turning into a joke up here.
Adding to the financial situation is the referees being constantly scrutinised, in particular from Celtic. So much so the referees participated in a strike last weekend, forcing most of the Scottish games to be postponed.
Scottish football is a laughing joke to the outside world and with a continuing failure to reach the big stage in the form of the national team adding to what this article has entailed, we are no longer thought of as a footballing power.
Think of a nation like Hungary. A once brilliant national team. Now, most would agree they don’t have a hugely successful league or national team and most don’t have a interest in it. That is what stage we are at now.
*no offence caused to Hungarian football supporters.