You have no idea how much I want to rant and rave about the Craig Thomson-related goings-on at Tynecastle in the last 24 hours. But I can’t. At least not yet.
Thankfully for my blood pressure I can sound off about the other stuff. And just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all, along comes Vlad the Mad to take conspiracy theorising to a whole new level. I’ve now read the statement from *the Directors* several times now and still barely comprehend a word of it. They speak in tongues, just not ones any right-thinking person might recognise:
“What’s happening with the club today is not a new thing. For almost 7 years we have been fighting to shield the club from crooks, criminals and thieves…Taking into account the facts that have been omitted by the media it can be presumed that each of these cases is not a coincidence, but the result of targeted actions of a mafia that wants to manipulate the club and the results.”
Nope, me neither.
But the statement does confirm, beyond doubt, that Vladimir Romanov is not a fit and proper person to be involved in running a football club. Supposedly there are rules covering such things, not so you’d notice though. Anyone with a bag of magic beans masquerading as hard cash gets to buy into and buy out football clubs. Not content with driving Hearts’ bank balance into the crimson red, now he has dragged the once-proud club’s reputation and standing in the community into the gutter. The weekend’s back pages and possibly the front ones too will be dominated by Heart of Midlothian, for all the wrong reasons.
And the football authorities of this country, namely the SPL and the SFA, will maintain an undignified silence – if they can get away with one – or play pass the parcel with responsibility. The very thing they are handsomely remunerated to do.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the Herald chose as Friday’s local sporting hero, a young man about to play in the European Deaf Football Championships for Great Britain. A promising youth player in the mainstream game, Phil Dolan reckons he was ignored by clubs, despite his obvious talent. The only reason he can fathom was his disability and it turned him away from the game for many years.
Bigotry in Scottish football. Who knew?
Now he’s back playing – and loving it – and it has boosted his self-esteem and confidence. But get this, to play in these championships meant raising £1500 to get himself there. Because the team gets no government funding. Previously, UK Deaf Sport received grant aid and would have supported the team but that funding has been redirected into the Olympic pot. Yep, over-preened, pampered elite athletes gain at the expense of those engaged at grassroots level, for whom sport is a leveller, somewhere they can allow their different ability to shine. Imagine the outcry there’d be if the Scotland national team was told to find their own airfares if they wanted to compete in Euro2012, supposing our under-performing *stars* manage to get there.
Can I tweak your injustice radar one more time? Not only has he emptied his savings, but Phil is unemployed. Discriminated on the pitch and off it.
But at least the story of Phil Dolan offers us an inspiring tale of sporting triumph overcoming despair. Something Scottish football is in dire need of right now.
For, last season, football proved conclusively that it can no longer be considered the beautiful game. Recent events have shown that it’s not a remotely funny one anymore.