Friday, March 7, 2008

Suddenly, Scotland!

This week, Taking a look up the kilt of Scottish football

The majority of the Scotland-centric articles I have put up on this site over the last few months have been dry recitations of the game within Scotland itself. In fact, until this week, none of them have really had the special UF flavor. You know what I'm talking about--the deliciously bad decisions that footballers, managers and executives make that we pounce upon with aplomb. Well, it seems that my persistence in writing about the country has paid off because they Scots have rewarded me with three fine stories for today. Inside find out about:
  • The club that could be shut down for not paying for its office supplies
  • The club that will shut down because its financier no longer feels like paying
  • The National Team on the verge of signing up to play a friendly in what would be a politically sensitive situation, something of a trend for the team.

First off, Hearts are in the news today, as The Guardian is reporting that they have been given notice that they may be shut down if they do not pay for office supplies they purchased from Lynch McQueen. Heart's bill? $27,000, give or take. I implore you to look at the Lynch McQueen site. Nothing says "modern web-professional" like citing purchasing statistics from 1999.

Anyway, Hearts spent $20 million on wages last season, and are undergoing $100 million worth of renovations on their home ground, Tynecastle. Their Lithuanian owner, Vladimir Romanov, has a fortune estimated to be around $500 million, so I don't think Hearts are in danger. Still, let this be a lesson to you all. Pay your debts on time, or else the Brits will shut you down.

One team that definitely looks to be shutting down is Gretna. I wrote about their imminent double relegation on Tuesday, but now their future looks much more grim. For the third time this season, Gretna have established a new SPL low for paying fans at a match. 501 punters showed up for their thrice-rescheduled match against Dundee United. After the match, interim manager Mick Wadsworth had some disturbing information to share.

Wadsworth admitted that the club will possibly fold, and may have to do so before the end of the season. Gretna has had some financial problems, but these were supposed to clear up when owner Brooks Mileson left the hospital. Well, he's out and people still are not getting paid. It appears that he is no longer interested in the club and is willing to just see them off. It's a sad state of affairs in the wedding capital of southern Scotland, where it looks like Mileson is getting an annulment from the deathbed club.

Finally, the Scottish National Team has been considering an offer to play their hosts in Tehran, Iran in May. At this point, it's improbable, but it would be a good bookend for another trip Scotland took 30 years ago. This article in the Telegraph highlights another dubious away game decision Scotland made. In 1977, Scotland undertook a South American tour. They played in Santiago, Chile, in the national stadium. This was the same stadium used under Pinochet to house political dissidents before they were killed. Quite often, the killing was done on the pitch itself. The trip at the time was seen as a validation for Pinochet from the Scots. I believe that any game in Tehran will be used in the same manner by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though with less bloodshed.

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