Money has always been an issue in Scottish football, there is never enough to satisfy demand for what seems to be needed. Previously, the requirements have been formidable: safe stadiums, but more often they have been less pressing: better players.
The modern training facilities Celtic and many others enjoy would be marvelled by all clubs as recently as 20 years ago. Then there are playing surfaces. Look back at old videos and you will see just how poor pitches were and how far many clubs have come.
All-seater stadiums, pitches with artificial lighting, which allow water to drain and remain mostly green throughout the winter, training facilities with dressing rooms within a miles walk of the pitch have cost the game an unimaginable amount of money in a relatively short space of time.
If you were around when the Taylor Report, released in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster, mandated almost all top-flight clubs to rebuild their stadiums, you will remember the game itself seemed in jeopardy, needing to spend money it never had.
A causal look at any Premiership club’s accounts will convince you that there is no money for Video Assistant Referees (VAR), but like the stadiums, the pitches and the training facilities, money has to be found. Society is on a trajectory where greater levels of customer service and administrative governance are expected. What we put up with in the past is no longer tolerable. Soon, we will not tolerate freezing our bums off for two hours with a roof providing only partial shelter from the elements.
Premiership managers met with referees and the SFA yesterday and agreed that VAR was needed, no chief executives were harmed at the meeting. This would be one step towards better the governance we all now expect.
Celtic Charity Football Talk, Xavier Centre, Carfin
Saturday 19 January, 8pm
I am joining Tom Boyd and George McCluskey after the game tomorrow night for a question and answer in Carfin. We are raising money for Vision of a Blind Golfer, to assist George’s son, Barry.
Tickets are £7 each, call Mick on 07827 975271 to book. See you there.