NOTHING against the man, but, I have never been an Archie Macpherson fan – I was, and still am, an Arthur Montford man. Having endured a lot of teacher bullying at my approved school, Cumnock Academy, I have a wee mistrust of the pedagogue, and, Archie to me, should always have appeared clad in mortar board and goonie, like the teacher he was.
Archie Macpherson - a cracking quote on Off the Ball
But, fair's fair, the bold Archie produced the crack of the weekend for me, when, appearing on the wonderful 'Off the Ball' on Saturday, Stuart Cosgrove asked him his opinion on that cringe-worthy Rangers' statement on Derek McInnes, and, in particular, who he thought had written it.
Big Erchie's response was wonderfully measured: “Well – concomitant is a very Glasgow Herald word,” was all he said. Thereby pointing directly at the man “The Donegal Blogger” likes to label: “A Level 5 inter-galactic PR guru,” Mr James Traynor.
I don't know – I might expect John Traynor, James's more-talented elder brother, to come away with that one, John is, after all, an intellectual, it seems a wee-bit over the top for “Jabba the Hun” to me.
But, I can see “Jabba's” finger prints all over a piece by-lined Chris Jack, in Monday's Herald. Young Chris may have the by-line, but, to me the whole piece was dictated to him by the younger Traynor; as it sets-out to undo the damage last week's wee rant has done to that soccer ship named Dignity.
The whole McInnes saga has seriously damaged Rangers, with “Real Rainjurrz Men” turning on each other in their anger and disgust. The club is in a hole, perhaps they ought to stop digging. This saga, however, will run and run.
It is eerily reminiscent of the last days of the Four Families – except, there isn't a quiet, wee, inoffensive-looking accountant, who wears a bunnet and has an inner core of steel, waiting to come to the rescue of a Chairman and a board whose principal objective just now seems to be self-preservation.
JUST in time to take some of the heat off Rangers, the msm has once more, decided to write about Hampden, and the chance the SFA might be about to pull the plug on the Old Lady and take their big games elsewhere.
Hampden Park - no longer cuts it, according to a huge majority of the Tartan Army
It goes without saying, there are two member clubs, with stadiums which hold upwards of 50,000 fans. These clubs, let's call them the Corleonis and the Sopranos are both convinced, they get a raw deal in Scottish football, and, for a small consideration, each would be willing to take the stresses and strains of organising and hosting major cup semi-finals and finals, and international matches, off the governing body.
Add to this the interest of the “suits” who run the Ruffians' Game Played By Gentlemen”, from their well-appointed, ultra-modern 67,500 capacity stadium in Edinburgh, in taking over the show-piece games in the Gentlemen's Game Played by Ruffians, and, you have a whole different agenda.
Mark Dodson and Dominic McKay, as respectively Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, the main men in driving the SRU's interest in hosting big football matches, are two of the smartest cookies in their field in Scottish sport. They will offer the SFA a good deal, but, it will be a deal which will suit the SRU.
Against this, there is – history, and what a history the third Hampden Park, even in its current diminished state has. There is that staple of Scottish sport: Aye Beenism – major football has aye been played at Hampden, and, the Scots, being a conservative nation (note the deliberate small c) will be loath to take the big games elsewhere.
BT Murrayfield is emerging as a definite alternative
Also, between their administrative offices, on the sixth floor, and the Hampden Museum and Sports Clinic, there is a lot of national infrastructure located down Somervill Drive, moving would be a major decision, not to say major job.
But, the truth cannot be evaded. Hampden is far from ideal. The sight lines are poor, the re-design from the old 135,000-capacity stadium was to today's 52,000-capacity all-seated stadium was a botched job. It was under-funded, it was done peace-meal, it was a compromise in too-many ways. Hampden is almost-certainly not fit for purpose.
This view has this week been endorsed by the fans, who, in response to a survey on the National Stadium, voted by an overwhelming margin,that the current stadium does not cut it.
The ideal would, as I have long maintained, a purpose-built, truly national stadium, on a green-field site, with good road and rail connections, built somewhere in the central belt outside Glasgow and Edinburgh.
But, as I have again said, frequently. That will not happen until Scotland is independent, and, even then, only after other more-urgent priorities, have been dealt with. So, like the Rangers Saga – the Hampden Story will run and run.