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Scottish Football Needs To Stick Together

Date: 3rd April 2020

It’s important, especially in tough times like these, that football clubs and associations realise that the closer they stick to their fans and their communities then the better it will be for everyone in the long run. 

I’ve been disappointed by reports in England that suggest mega-wealthy Premier League clubs are willing to furlough everyday member s of staff, while still paying footballers their full wage. That simply isn’t good enough. We need remember that football is for everyone, not just the rich!

Thankfully we seem to be seeing a much more measured and responsible approach in Scotland.

That doesn’t mean that we aren’t suffering. 

Hearts have said that their current financial model is unsustainable and have been discussing with their players about taking wage cuts or potential deferrals. Ann Budge has stated this could be the best way to help avoid making redundancies at the club.

Jambos captain Steven Naismith has already said that he’s willing to take a 50% wage cut to help the club pay members of staff that will need their wage more than he does:

“My family and I feel that, through a long career, football has been very good to us,”  

“Therefore, I personally feel that I can and should accept the 50% reduction in wages.”

“I hope this can contribute in some way to the long-term survival of the club at a challenging time and save jobs, especially those that are the lowest earners and hence those who will be struggling the most at this time.”

Hibs have recently announced that they will be furloughing the majority of their staff, including players. It has also been reported that Hibee stars will be taking wage deferraks.

Highland side Ross County have taken up the governments job retention shceme and that will see them also furloughing their squad. 

Livingston chairman Robert Wilson has pledged to create a six figure contingency fund. That should guarantee wages for all staff for the foreseeable future. 

Even the SFA and SPFL are feeling the current pinch. Those that head the organisations are taking sizeable pay-cuts including national team boss Steve Clarke. Other staff have also been furloughed. 

Smaller clubs are also doing their bit with Maryhill FC announcing that all their valuable committee members taking a 75% wage cut during this crisis in their bid to keep the club going.

Scottish football clubs are having to find ways in handling this unique situation. But at least they haven’t lost sight of the fact that everyone is in this together. They aren’t looking after the rich and robbing the poor. Football clubs can’t survive without everyday employees and volunteers and that has been recognised. 

Football clubs up here seem to have a better understanding that communities make our sport the heartbeat and they respect that. 

St Johnstone have had their manager and players phoning vulnerable fans and checking in on them. Celtic and their foundation have been helping much valued community projects. The Rangers Charity and the Steven Gerrard Foundation donated a fairly substantial sum to a food charity in Govan. 

In closing, I want to dedicate this post to Franny McNeill

Franny enjoyed a playing career in the Junior leagues. After that finished, he would return to former club Pollok FC where he would join various club committees. In the years between 1992 to 2019he would become the club’s match secretary.

Pollok have called Franny McNeill a giant of a man and I’m sure he’ll be missed by everyone at that club and beyond. His dedication to football, especially after his playing career should show us all just why football can be the heartbeat to our community and why we need to stick together at this difficult time! 

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