St Mirren chairman, Stewart Gilmour, last week suggested the SPL’s 11-1 protected voting rule, which in the past enabled Celtic and Rangers to block changes against their interests, was a reason for him to oppose Scottish football’s league reorganisation plan.
Today, with Rangers consigned to history, Celtic chief executive, Peter Lawwell, proposed a change in voting rules, replacing the requirement to have an 11-1 majority with a 9-3 majority, which Aberdeen chairman, Stuart Milne, called a “major concession”.
This was not linked to the league reorganisation vote, but Stewart Gilmour voted against this change, despite using this voting rule as an excuse for his reluctance to allow reorganisation. So we now know St Mirren’s objection is nothing to do with voting rules, the brought Aberdeen’s Milne to say on his way out of Hampden, “You need to ask what [St Mirren’s] agenda is”.
After the SFL’s chef exec, David Longmuir, came under pressure from First Division clubs for opposing reorganisation plans, Newco Rangers’ chief executive, Charles Green, was a guest of Gilmour’s at St Mirren’s recent game against Celtic. Green has been a vocal opponent of the league reconstruction proposals and right on cue, Newco released a statement offering support to Gilmour and Ross County, the other objectors.
For those who like their irony straight from the mouths of the stupid, Newco even suggested St Mirren and Ross County “should not be singled out for criticism. They stood up for what they and their fans believe”. Just like all those clubs who were criticised bitterly by Newco for voting as their fans wanted a year ago.
Milne added, “St Mirren FC have really got to pose themselves the question qhy are they prepared to put Scottish football in jeopardy for their own selfish interests, which they have been unable to do today.”
Some people have a belief that there will now be an invitation-only SPL II with Newco being invited. I can tell you with absolute certainty this will not happen. There will be no Newco in the second tier of Scottish football next season.
Instead what has happened is attitudes have hardened against such moves. It would not be at all surprising if 10 SPL clubs declined tickets for their visits to St Mirren Park next season – the anger is that serious. The status quo will be maintained, St Mirren have lost enormous goodwill above and below them, First Division clubs have failed to secure a significant boost in income and the SPL will get on with business.
All of which brings us back to Stuart Milne’s question, what is St Mirren’s real agenda? I know fine well what it is, but they have not damaged Celtic, they have not assisted Newco in any way and the poor St Mirren fans will inherit the collateral damage.
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