Humiliate your rivals in the Cup Final by putting five goals past them and, if you don’t pay the piper, you pay the consequences. Winning trophies while running up debts you cannot afford to pay is not a viable strategy. The consequences, if you are fortunate enough to survive, has to be painful, otherwise football removes the moral hazard of failure, making Hearts recent experience more likely to happen to other clubs.
Hearts season at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership is the cost of pouring millions of pounds creditors will not receive onto the Hampden Park pitch to hit five goals past a Hibs team, who live within their means. Many other teams were denied progress in the cups, or higher prize money in the league, while the fantasists were building to their 5-1 glory.
Billy Brown’s nonsense about rescinding a punishment for a club who are still in administration is yet another fantasy, but it was fostered in 2012, by the notion that Scottish football can change insolvency rules on the hoof to accommodate a failed club. If you want to change insolvency rules, knock yourself out, but there is near-uniform agreement that you cannot change rules when a favoured club falls foul, in order to benefit them.
This notion that because the rules were not changed to help Newco Rangers into top flight football, Scotland’s reigning Third Division champions would be outraged, is hardly news. The 11 top flight clubs, most of whom appear to be enjoying a competitive ‘Best of the Rest’ league race, and a whole clutch of lower league clubs, would also be outraged if Hearts were advantaged.
In October 2011, when Rangers fate was privately acknowledged, Craig Whyte, Neil Doncaster and SPL chairman, Ralph Topping, discussed this rule change ruse. It should have been a 30 second conversation; declined when first proposed. Instead, Scottish football was put through the real trauma of a fantasy fear of Armageddon. Now everyone who can’t pay their bills think they have the same entitlement to campaign for a rule change – and why shouldn’t they, the tabloids told everyone that changing the rules on the hoof was acceptable.
Hearts fans know this. They are heading for relegation, those I have spoken to have accepted the situation. For them, it’s all about ensuring the club survives and sorting things out for the long term, SPFL results don’t even register. I don’t know any who want to see their club go cap in hand for rule changes, the way Whyte, then Green, did. It’s demeaning and lacks dignity.
This is turning into my favourite domestic season yet. All the ‘They’ve suffered enough’ merchants better get their strategies sorted for the next episode.
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