Linlithgow Rose boss Brown Ferguson: Scottish football suffering from clubs' self interest

Linlithgow Rose manager Brown Ferguson has criticised how Scottish football’s hierarchy is running our national sport during the coronavirus crisis.
Linlithgow Rose manager Brown FergusonLinlithgow Rose manager Brown Ferguson
Linlithgow Rose manager Brown Ferguson

Whilst not wishing to publicly single out individuals at the SPFL’s summit, the Falkirk-born Prestonfield gaffer lambasted the overall make-up of an authority which has controversially decided to ‘call’ the Championship, League 1 and League 2 on an average points basis, meaning promotion and relegation were decided despite all 2019-20 league matches not having been played.

At an EGM on Tuesday, 27 senior clubs voted down Rangers’ resolution to investigate the conduct of SPFL bosses including chief executive Neil Doncaster during a decision making progress which has also paved the way for Celtic to be declared Premiership champions and Hearts to be relegated.

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“The structure of the governance is not fit for purpose,” Ferguson told the Journal and Gazette.

“I don’t feel as if there is a clear group or body that is driving change forward here.

“I don’t think the way it’s constitutionally set up in terms of the voting rights and how people are actually voting is for the good of the game.

“It’s for self interest, which I can completely understand why that’s the case but it’s not helping us as a country.

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“The current situation is a huge example of how in this country we don’t make decisions that benefit the good of the game.

“Our decisions are led by self interest with lack of clear direction from anybody making decisions to benefit the game as a whole.

“You’ve now got teams getting in championships, teams getting promoted, teams getting relegated, teams not getting relegated, teams not getting promoted. You’ve got no consistency across any of the divisions.

“There’s always going to be people who will do well out of this situation, others that won’t. I understand that but my problem is I look at this and don’t think there’s a clear understanding from people within the game who are making the decisions.”

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Ferguson said that – unlike the current ‘closed shop’ way of coming to decisions – Scottish football would be better led by an independent body consulting with clubs.

He added: “If I was to ask anybody: ‘Who is in charge of our game?’ nobody could give me a clear answer.

“Fundamentally that’s the biggest issue, we don’t know.

“For me it’s a complete and utter mess. Ideally we need a panel independent of clubs.

“I don’t see how a chairman of a club can be sitting on one of these SPFL boards and making decisions for the good of the game and not making decisions for their club.

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“I think there needs to be a neutrality in terms of people who understand the game, who understand sport, who understand systems and are actually looking at things to benefit the game from the top level all the way down.

“My biggest gripe until now was about youth development and how any time Scottish football had a bad run of games, the spotlight was pointed at youth coaches, schools or Playstations. It was never looked at in terms of the top end of the game which is where for me the problems are.”

Ferguson said the continuing uncertainty in Scottish football was in stark contrast to Holland, where bosses decisively cancelled the season back on April 24 with leaders Ajax denied the title, no relegation from the Eredivisie and no promotion from the second tier.

“If I look at what happened in Holland for me that’s the perfect way we should be governed,” he added. “Whether they like or don’t like the decision that’s not for me to debate.

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“But they’ve made a quick decision. We know exactly who’s making the decisions.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be consulting with the clubs, absolutely, but they’re not hiding behind the votes of the clubs, they’re not hiding behind different bodies.

“It’s one body making a decision they believe is right for the good of the game and they move forward quickly.”