It was back to the eighties at Fir Park, Motherwell, last Saturday. No, it wasn’t a retro disco night featuring Kajagoogoo, shoulder pads, and men with snoods wearing too much eyeshadow. Aberdeen manager Craig Brown and Motherwell chairman John Boyle recreated a classic 80s hooligan scene: the top boys from Aberdeen’s Soccer Crew and Motherwell’s Saturday Service facing off against each other.
Across Scotland, the 1980s vibe seems to be in full swing. Down at SPL headquarters, Neil Doncaster is still pushing for an 80s-vintage ten-team top league, and Rangers soon won’t be owned by David Murray. It’s even gone across the water to Northern Ireland, where some eejit is trying to restart the Troubles by way of mail bombs to Neil Lennon.
First to Fir Park. At the end of Saturday’s match, home team chairman John Boyle – dressed in a white Ellesse top and navy Farah trousers – squared up to the Tacchini-tracksuit wearing Aberdeen manager Craig Brown, grabbing his neck and whispering something in his ear (“Only poofs wear Tacchini,” Boyle might have said).
Brown subsequently chased Boyle down the tunnel and engaged in what police said was “minor pushing”, but which an elated Brown on the train back north described as “running that so-called top man Boyle”.
Both men face disciplinary charges, and possible punishment, from the SFA. Brown says he will “fight it vigorously”. I’m sure he regrets that choice of words.
Meanwhile in Glasgow, SPL supremo Neil Doncaster’s masterplan to return Scotland’s top league to competitiveness – by making it the same size as it was when someone outside the Old Firm won the league – has been delayed further. In an Orwellian move, the April 18 vote on the proposal to cull the SPL from 12 teams to ten has been delayed because not enough teams were going to vote yes. The SPL clubs will still meet on the 18th, but only to discuss his plan – for a fourth time.
“The status quo is not an option,” Doncaster told the Scotsman, although I think he’s confused: Status Quo’s best years were in the 70s, not the 80s. Or is he suggesting a return to 18 teams in the top league, as we had when Rossi and Parfitt were in their youthful prime?
Still on the south side of Glasgow, but a few miles away from SPL HQ, Craig Whyte’s bean counters are hunting high and low for lost legumes at Ibrox so a deal can be struck with David Murray for control of the debt-addled club. Chairman Alastair Johnston – who must be elated to see his step-daughter is Tiger Woods’ latest conquest – said on Friday a deal would be done or called off within a couple of days, but his foresight proved to be as accurate as Woods’ recent golf: we’re all still waiting.
It didn’t help that a fresh £2.8m tax bill was revealed in Rangers’ interim accounts, published last Friday, with Vladimir Weiss appearing to know as much about the charge as Rangers management (i.e. nothing). Potential chairman Craig Whyte isn’t quite so clueless though: he’s not going to foot the bill.
On Tuesday, Sky Sports reported a deal was imminent, but along with the SPL reconstruction saga, expect this one to run.
Just like the Motherwell Saturday Service, if Craig Brown is to be believed.