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Where are we heading?

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:50 pm
by Alan McCabe
So how long must we wait now for our leading clubs to entirely distance themselves from their Scottish heritage? With Rab Douglas and Jackie McNamara off-loaded at Parkhead and Maurice Ross dispensed with at Ibrox, a Scottish internationalist amongst the Old Firm flock will be an even rarer bird to spot next season! With Pearson, Thompson and Gavin Rae all likely to become bit-part players in time, if they're not that already, our national hopes are hardly being aided by the combined mindset of those running our two biggest clubs.
And with Romanov having openly stated his dream of seeing the entire Lithuanian national side line-up in the guise of Heart of Midlothian, this disease is unfortunately not limited to the west only.
Such collective short-termism is critically damaging our game and making the national manager's job nigh-on impossible. What about Murray Park and, in time, Heriot-Watt & Lennox Castle ? Will they deliver more than a modicum of talented youngsters that will require to ply their trades elsewhere due to the summer sales bringing in overpaid and over-rated foreigners annually? I seriously doubt it!
If the horrid SPL wanted to finally deliver a truly innovative ruling on the running of our top-league (remembering their catalogue of abandoned improvements thus far!), they could do worse than imposing a 5 Non-Scots per match criteria for all top-flight games. While I am sure both members of the OF would immediately object (and some other 'leading' clubs as well), the benefit for the future of our national sport would be immeasurable.
The usual Treaty of Rome nonsense will be floated as will EU Employment Laws but ultimately it should be our football administrators and not trumped-up bureaucrats who decide the way ahead. And we may even have a very unlikely ally in the shape of FIFA, Sepp Blatter having stated on more than one occasion the damage that is being inflicted on youth development in some of Europe's smaller countries due to foreign imports.
Happily the news is not all gloom and doom as both Motherwell and Hibernian specifically have shown the way ahead for Scottish football in the recent past as they regularly list line-ups filled with Scots. Most provincial clubs will have little choice but follow suit as finance will dictate strategy.
I am a neutral fan of our great game and have shouted for all those clubs which have represented our nation in the past, irrespective of race, creed or religion. Alas, I may find my unilateral support diminish this coming season if our leading clubs continue with their present mass-importation!

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:22 pm
by bobby s
France have a system whereby they are only allowed 19 over 20 year old players, no?

That would be a good way of getting round legislation, would it not?

The thing that I really like about French football is the "league tied" bit. That is you can't play for two sides in the same division in the same season.

Cracking idea.

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:07 pm
by Scottish
Happily the news is not all gloom and doom as both Motherwell and Hibernian specifically have shown the way ahead for Scottish football in the recent past as they regularly list line-ups filled with Scots.
There were several occasions last season when every single player, including subs, in the Killie line-up were all Scots and with the departure of Freddie Dindeleux the only non-Scot likely feature regularly next season is Danny Invincibile - Rhian Dodds is frequently described as Canadian but was born in Irvine.

The problem goes beyond the OF and Hearts. For decades we bemoaned the fact that so many of our best players went to England. Well, there's hardly any in the top flight there now and a fat lot of good it's done us.

Ideally, as well as domestic clubs, we need to get back to the situation which prevailed as recently as the late 1980s. That is a good number of Scottish players in the English top flight and a smattering in France, Germany etc.

The Denmarks and Norways don't rely solely on their domestic leagues but on a mix of domestic and exported players. Admittedly they don't have clubs the size of the OF but they should still be the model for the future rather than say the ROI which has had a decent team for the past two decades but club football at what we would call 1st division level.

We can forget about the OF. Look at this quote from McLeish about the Argentinian he's just signed ""He is young and not a seasoned campaigner. So, right away, we are bringing in an unknown quantity.

"We have seen sufficient footage of him and done background checks and believe he can be a very good prospect."

Brilliant! What message does this send out to young Scots. Stick a vowel on the end of your name? More pertinently where does it leave Thompson in the batting order?

They said much the same when they signed Arteta - that he would be handy to make up the numbers to meet the U-21 rule for the bench.

There is the attitude of one of our biggest clubs. They won't even take a chance on a Scottish lad being one of their subs.

Where are we heading?

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:24 pm
by Alan McCabe
I inadvertantly forgot about all the good work currently going on at Rugby Park. I am sure that most of our larger provincial clubs will be following this kind of model. You won't be surprised to know that I whole-heartedly agree with your view on Rangers' recent recruit. All we seem to read on the back pages are incessant stories linking a multitude of foreigners with our 'big two'. I await the news that a new generation of future first-team regulars has graduated from Murray Park. I may have a very long wait.
What do Rangers or Celtic fans feel about this? Have the supporters of these clubs followed the direction of their boardroom masters and truly abandoned all faith in homegrown talent? If things progress at this rate both OF clubs will soon retain only a tenuous link to this country....they will compete in a Scottish competition.....and nothing much more! Our awful tabloid media hardly help either....witness the back-page headlines & accompanying pictures on Thursday - a Welsh internationalist signing for an English League club! Please tell me, other than this individual's recent loan spell at Celtic, precisely what this has got to do with Scottish Football? A two-line footnote within the 'Other News' section is the most it meritted! I continue to ask 'Where are we heading?'.

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:59 pm
by bobby s
Hibs squad is quite interesting, and never contained even an approaching all scottish contingent.

This is because we had the Frenchman Beuzelin, the Irishmen Shiels, Morrow, Murdock and the Englishmen Murphy, McDonald, Hogg, Antonio Murray, Craig Rocastle, Mark Venus and Simon Brown.

Throw in the Frenchman Konte, and the Austrian Orman and it's a cosmopolitan staff!

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:34 pm
by Gersman
Point taken about tabloid coverage. The days are gone when we signed a Gazza or a Laudrup when it was justified to scream it out in 72-point type. It's a bit embarrassing to see the same space given to guys I've never heard of when the English papers are talking about Gerrard, Owen & Beckham or Chelski's latest buy.

But the bottom line is success.
Do I want to see Rangers successful? Yes
Do I want to see Scotland successful? Yes
Do I want to see a Rangers team packed with Scottish players? Yes

The problem is they aren't there. No good blaming the Old Firm. Which players have come through the ranks of the 'diddy' teams in the past ten years that could be compared to those of the past?

McFadden maybe. Riordan possibly. Who else?

You've got a point about Murray Park. It should have been opened a lot earlier. This was a failure of foresight on behalf of Rangers management and board (i.e. D Murray). if it was obvious to many fans that we couldn't sustain the import of top players for ever (realistically the only way we could persuade them to pick Scotland over England Spain ir Italy was money) it should have been obvious to the management. Murray Park should have been opened a decade ago. Hell, before that even.

Still it's there now and its way in advance of anybody else in Scotland and many in England. The time to judge it is five years from now.

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:50 pm
by Scottish
After a week away and just looking at the headlines it's clear where we're heading. Hearts after a Czech, Aberdeen want a Pole (and not to fly flags from either), Celtic after both Japanese and Chinese players, Rangers have brought in an Algerian, Hibs wasted a week with a 32-year-old Cameroon player before deciding he doesn't 'Bilong.'

For me the best signing is Forfar's capture of Jon Voigt :D Reminds me of the 'Seinfeld' episode where George buys a car that used to belong to Jon Voight but not THAT Jon Voight