Home » Leckie: Prem League must deal with clubs as Scottish league did with Rangers

Leckie: Prem League must deal with clubs as Scottish league did with Rangers

NO ONE believed it could happen up here.

But it did.


Rangers under Craig Whyte went into administration in 2012Credit: EPA
Everton have been docked 10 points by the Premier League


Everton have been docked 10 points by the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty

One of our two biggest clubs, one half of the uneasy alliance we were told held Scottish football together, collapsed under the weight of its own ego, arrogance and flyness.

One minute Rangers were lifting the Premier League trophy, the next they were drawing their opening Division Three game at Peterhead.

A fall from grace that should this morning be sending shivers down the spine of everyone involved in the self-styled Greatest League In The World.

Because they should be coming to terms that it could happen to them, too.

All it takes is owners who work one financial flanker too many, a bank that stops indulging them, the Taxman’s head popping up like a meerkat and . . . well, we’ve all seen what happens next.

Everything can unravel in no time.

It just needs someone to stop letting them get away with it.

That’s what the Premier League did on Friday when they docked Everton ten points for flouting rules on how much money they’re allowed to lose.

And I take my hat off to them for showing such hefty cojones.

Best guess, it’s a punishment which will be reduced on appeal.

Although if not, they should still be good enough to survive in a season when four rivals are still in single figures after a dozen games.

However, I don’t think this is about Everton.

I think they just came into line of sight at the perfect time for the powers-that-be to send out a warning to the REALLY big players.

Manchester City, who face 115 charges of breaching financial fair play regulations.

-Chelsea, who are under the microscope over claims that previous sugar daddy Roman Abramovich funded their dominance of the game illegally.

Newcastle United, whose Saudi owners have been accused of trying punt a player to their homeland’s league for miles over the odds, then borrow someone back from it for buttons.


This shot across Everton’s bows is a warning to all of them and the rest that says: We’ve had enough — and we’re coming for you.

Now that they’ve made an example of one club, especially one whose only real crime is scandalously poor management, they surely can’t back down from going after the ones they fear may be guilty of downright cheating.

Question is, how far do they have the guts to go?

Up here, Rangers were first voted out of the top flight, then made to start again from the very bottom of the pile.

And whether you think that was right or wrong, no one can argue that it wasn’t properly decisive.

So just imagine if it happened to Manchester City or Chelsea?

If a club that powerful was punished by relegation?

The ructions would make the fallout from all that Super League nonsense seem like an argument over a game of dominoes.

Yet if Everton can lose ten points for going £20million over the losses permitted in rules they themselves signed up to, surely the scale of what we’re talking about in terms of the Etihad or Stamford Bridge would mean they’d HAVE to be consigned to the drop?

To the Championship? Maybe.

But say the 72 EFL clubs are of the same mindset as the SFL chairmen were back in 2012.

Say they decide that, Champions League winners or not, they’re to begin their community sentence at Newport and Barrow?

Now there’s a game-changer — and one that can’t be ruled out, not after what happened up here during that bizarre time of EBTs and administration, of liquidation and Craig Whyte and Sevco.

In short, by setting up an independent panel to sit in judgement over the money its clubs spend, the GLITW has let a genie out of the bottle that’s never going back in.

Look at what has happened since Friday’s punishment was announced.

Separate court papers, kept under wraps until this first ruling was made public, revealed Leeds, Leicester, Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Burnley all have a case for compensation on the basis that Everton gave themselves an unfair financial advantage in relegation scraps.

The bill for that could come to as much as £300m which, given Everton’s self-admittedly perilous financial position, could be enough to push them into administration, which would cost them another nine points . . . and there it is, that’s the speed of the potential unravelling.

Now multiply that level of compensation by any number you like if a City or a Chelsea were ever found guilty of financial irregularities.

Think how many clubs, at home and abroad, would want a payout for being denied trophies down the years.

It could change football at the top level forever and a day — and if you ask me, it might be the best thing that’s happened to the game in decades.

Anything that puts a handbrake on the obscene, unsustainable spending we’re witnessing today has to be a good thing.

Anything that makes even one owner realise how unsustainable it is to allow average salaries to reach £70,000 a week has to be a change for the better.

Modern football overflows with joyless, soul-less owners like Everton’s Farhad Moshiri and Chelsea’s overgrown college boy Todd Boehly.

Social climbers who don’t have a clue what it feels like to support a team, to suffer with them when times are tough and dine out for years when things finally go their way.

All they know is money. All they know is the bottom line.

Neither of them seems to have a clue about how to turn investment into success.

Yet even more than this, one thing absolutely baffles me about this looming hurricane of accusations and litigation.

Why the hell guys who are supposed to be business geniuses need to be threatened into not losing money.

Makes you wonder how they got rich in the first place.

IF Ian McCall didn’t know what he was letting himself in for as Clyde’s latest manager, he sure as hell found out within 90 minutes on Saturday.

A 4-0 doing at home to East Fife in his first game back in the dugout?

The poor guy must have had flashbacks to his time at Clydebank as they evaporated away towards oblivion.

Not that the Bully Wee’s situation is quite that perilous just yet.

They have bold plans to move back into Glasgow by taking over the Crownpoint sports centre on the other side of the river from Shawfield and rebranding themselves as a community club.

It would end close on 40 years of nomadic existence in Kirkintilloch, Maryhill, Cumbernauld and Hamilton — and I wish them every success in turning dreams into reality.

You just wonder whether, even if it does happen, it will be before 130-odd years of senior league football ends with the ignominy of joining Albion Rovers, Brechin, East Stirling, Berwick and Cowdenbeath in the next rung down of the pyramid.

In the wily McCall, they have a gaffer well capable of turning things around.

Then again, they had the same in Jim Duffy, Danny Lennon, Jim Chapman and more, only for the club itself to wear them down.

ABERDEEN have taken plenty stick for the ticketing blunder that saw Rangers fans infiltrate their ranks for next month’s Viaplay Cup final.
Rightly so, too.

They’ve openly admitted that putting a batch on general sale opened them up to trouble and was a daft idea.

But they’re still not a tenth as daft as the Bluenoses who bought those tickets.

I mean, what did they think was going to happen when they turned up at Hampden?

That the Red Army would applaud their cheek and offer to buy them a Bovril?

No, they’d have been battered, lifted, ejected, banned or possibly all of the above.

And they’d have deserved whatever came their way for taking a rivalry that’s already deeply unpleasant and inflaming it even more.

AN ARTICLE on the BBC News website the other day asked: “Why are Scotland games not on free-to-view TV.”

Good question.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

Now away and ask your own gaffers for an answer, seeing they’re the ones who gave up on the national team years ago.

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