Who are our masters?

Congratulations to all the clubs who have made it this far into the Scottish Cup. You will all be rewarded so long as you continue to eat from the hands that feed you.

After seeing the fixtures the SFA have released for the Scottish Cup we felt it would be a miss if we never put our feelings across.

First we have the replay, Albion Rovers v Rangers. The tie will take place at New Douglas Park on Monday 17th March 19:45. Considering both teams have games 2 days prior wouldn’t it make sense to have the match midweek? Allowing for both teams to ensure match fitness, after all this is the world-famous Scottish Cup!

No.

Due to European games begin played that week it would mean the game would not be televised if played on Tue, Wed or Thur.  We all know how much more important it is to televise the game, whatever the cost, than giving both teams a chance to field their strongest eleven.

Then we have the Semi-finals.

They have already announced the St Johnstone v Aberdeen game will be a 12:45 kick off on Sunday 13th April. According to the SFA official twitter feed both teams had agreed to the date and time of kick off with the broadcaster. We don’t want our game clashing with any of the Super Sunday games obviously. I always wonder just how much say the teams get at these ‘negotiations’.

You notice they haven’t even gave a kick off time for the other Semi? Do you think the broadcaster is waiting to see which team gets through?  Are these games already within the contract of the broadcaster or do they have to pay extra for the cup games? Will the SFA be looking to sell it to the highest bidder?

Take a look at the English FA cup Semi Final games, both on the Saturday and both kicking off at 15:00. What a novel idea!

At what point do you think that our FA stopped thinking about the fans? The ones that follow their teams blindly wherever they go. The ones who have to earn the money to pay the high ticket prices. The ones who have to arrange all their own transport, at times to get games moved due to broadcasters. When did it stop being about the fans and start becoming about the money?

It seems that TV is taking more out of Scottish football than it is putting in. Apart from making our league uncompetitive in wage terms TV fills pubs and sofas and must be having an impact on the Scottish football culture of going to a match on a Saturday, if matches are not on a Saturday. The following from Soccernomics published in 2009 so drawing on data from previous season says this about us.

“The Scots are among the European spectating elite, if not at the very top. Fig 9.3 shows the European countries whose inhabitants , according to www.european-football-statistics.co.uk are most inclined to watch professional soccer.

Total spectator average as percentage of population.

1.      Cyprus  4.8%

2.      Iceland 4.4%

3.      Scotland 3.9%

4.      Norway 3.7%”

It goes on to say “People in these countries watch in astonishing numbers given how poor their leagues are.”

Remember the end game on The Crystal Maze? Whenever I hear about the SFA, and you can include the SPFL, talking about TV deals and sponsorships I just imagine them in their little bubble grasping for any scrap of money that these companies will feed them, ignorant of the possibility they are assisting a cultural suicide . Not even willing to promote the product they are trying to sell, just happy to sit back and take whatever they can get and on whatever terms these ‘sponsors’ want. Us fans, on the other hand, are expected to sit down, shut up and be thankful that they are running our game.