I remember when football was all about what happened on the park and the only subterfuge we needed to worry about wore a black shirt. Then came Jim Farry, Scottish Football League boss and then SFA boss.
Sure, the SFA tried to hammer Celtic for flying the Irish flag in 1952 and they promoted referees from a well-curated list, but that was the end of it. Farry was a visionary. He understood his predecessors in charge at the SFA were not thinking clearly enough. Farry would change that.
Celtic signed Jorge Cadete from Sporting Lisbon in February 1996 but Jim Farry delayed processing the registration. The player was not able to make his Celtic debut until April, missing crucial league games and a Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers. Celtic complained, Farry was sacked, and we got to see what many of us knew all along. The shock was the sacking.
Football has come a long way in the subsequent 25 years. The real power in the game now rest with the SPFL, who consumed the Scottish Football League and see more control sit with top tier clubs. For 12 years, the SPFL has been led by a former solicitor from Devon with no skin in the parochial nature of Scottish football. Neil Doncaster supports Norwich, although he’s not even that bothered about them.
SPFL board meetings are chaired by former media executive, Murdoch MacLennan. The curious thing about MacLennan and Doncaster is that neither favoured either Oldco or Newco versions of Rangers. This irritates Newco no end, who would like both removed from office.
With 10 of the 12 Premiership clubs asking for games to be postponed instead of proceeding behind closed doors, we should be grateful for a firm hand on the executive tiller. The executive will seek to implement the wish of the majority of affected clubs. Power in our game was not always impartial and may not be so again one day.
Let’s hope for a positive result on and off the park today.