Alex Staff does some much needed investigative journalism and has produced this new QnA with Murdoch MacLennan.
As we all know, Murdoch MacLennan is a forward-thinking, impartial, popular chairman of the SPFL who has the backing of 80% of the clubs in Scotland. Recent events have led to his tenure and leadership being questioned, and it was felt in the interest of honesty and transparency that Mr MacLennan should be available for questioning.
As such, it was only fair that Mr MacLennan, being as awesome at everything as he is, was the person to ask Mr MacLennan the hard-hitting questions. After all, who can better challenge his views than the man himself?
What you are about to read will prove that Mr MacLennan is not only right, but also impartial and has the backing of 80% of the clubs in Scotland. That means everything he does is absolutely spot on.
When the proposal first put forward by Rangers, supported by other clubs you fail to mention by name at any point, suggested that the SPFL release prize money and then discuss the footballing side of things, why have you decided to focus on the loans in your contrived Q&A?
Well, it’s easier, ya know? We get to make sure no one really focuses on what’s actually happening here. We need Rangers to be the scapegoats for our continued failings over the past decade.
In the open letter, the SPFL board mentioned that it was a time for togetherness and contrition. Is there actually an understanding of what those words mean?
What’s the point in an open letter if you can’t just say whatever you want? Remember, we’re asking the questions here, so do as your told.
Your Q&A has zero follow up on your answers, and you won’t make yourself available for said questions. Any particular reason for that?
We’d get ripped apart, and I need weeks to come up with what I want to say.
When you make the rules, and can seemingly change them on a whim as has been evidenced numerous times over the years, why is it the case that the resolution you proposed was “the only realistic option”?
Look, you’re asking us to do some work for our money there, stop being so selfish.
Should it be the role of others to suggest viable alternatives then?
Of course. We’re here to make a complete mess of the game in Scotland. It’s not like we’ve wavered from that course any time recently.
You’ve described the process as one where expert medical, scientific, legal and governmental advice was sought over several weeks of intensive work. The medical and scientific advice available to the government at the time when games in Scotland were stopped was inconsistent, at best. The current lockdown measures started on the 23rd of March, and your resolution was presented to the clubs in early April, with a reduced timeline to respond suggested but not mandatory. Was that really enough time to gather all the information you required?
We’re an efficient bunch here at the SPFL.
In the decade starting in 2000, Scottish football had clubs making European finals. Nowadays, they have to deal with numerous qualifiers to even get to the group stages. Is it fair to say the game has went backwards in this country?
It absolutely has, and that’s been a gradual descent from the minute we decided to come up with management boards and stupid structures to run the game. Ultimately, what happens on the park is the fault of the clubs. We don’t really care, in truth.
So at a time when the game in Scotland is at its lowest ebb, do the wage rises of Neil Doncaster represent value for money?
Definitely. He’s negotiated a TV deal the likes of which countries of the might of San Marino and Malta could only dream of. It’s a whole £1m more than the highest deal we got back when we chose Setanta and no one paid for it. The fact almost £400k of said deal goes to his wage is absolutely justified.
He’s not just a money man either. Tell me you don’t feel a warm, secure glow every time his face shows up on TV? He inspires confidence and leadership like no one else I know.
Rangers asked that you clarify one way or another the comments attributed to you about them in a Private Eye article. Do you have any comment there?
Shoosh. I’m asking the questions here. They cu-erm, I mean, Rangers, can just wait.
The rules of the vote on the resolution would allow clubs to reverse a No vote, but no mechanism was available to change a vote in support of it. Why was that?
We knew fine well how most clubs were going to vote, despite what I said earlier. We couldn’t allow a viable, reasonable alternative to come along and scupper everything when we’d spent so much energy forcing our resolution through.
What will the SPFL be doing to follow up the resolution and help clubs further?
We’re waiting on the Scottish Government – good guys and girls there, they really are – telling us no football can be played until August, so that means we can end the Premiership season and get the title handed out. Despite the clear agenda of Rangers who wish games to be played or at least have a discussion about the whole situation if that’s not possible, we’d rather go with the agendas of others clubs, because we always consider agendas when we make decisions. We’ll only highlight that when it’s one we don’t like.
You make quite a lot of noise about it being over 80% of the clubs who voted for the resolution. Do you believe the majority is always right?
That’s self-evident. The only people who don’t hate Rangers are Rangers fans. They’re clearly outnumbered, so they’re clearly wrong, no matter what they say. When they called for VAR to help our referees, it was wrong. When they questioned the process of appealing red cards or issues dealt with by our impartial, efficient, hard-working Compliance Officer, they were wrong. Clearly, they’re wrong here as well.
Rangers highlighted key issues they’d like to see covered in an independent investigation. You’ve described that as “without definded boundaries”. Would it not be the case that boundaries would be discussed when an investigation was requisitioned?
Maybe. I don’t know, we don’t really do things like this.
Are Rangers right to withhold evidence at this stage when you’re keen to avoid discussion of any type in the first place?
They’re not, no. They should be releasing all of that right now so we have enough time to make sure the correct emails are deleted, and the right people booted out of the WhatsApp chats. How can they expect us to hide everything when they won’t tell us what they know?
And lastly, you say you see nothing wrong with board members encouraging a club to adopt a stance on the resolution, and then create a process where the stance which you don’t agree with could be changed through time, as per the Dundee example, but not the acceptance of it. How would you react to accusations of abusing power?
We’re in charge here. It may be the case that our wages, our jobs and our responsibilities aren’t under the sort of threat the clubs currently face, but that doesn’t mean a single thing. We must be impartial because people voted for the current SPFL board, and Neil and I have proven over our time in our roles that we’re excellent at what we do. The media, the pundits, and the majority of the clubs agree with us. That’s not abusing power, that’s a clear sign what we do must be right.
The noisy, inconvenient and soon-to-be-silenced minority are never worth listening to. I’m sure they have a point somewhere, but we don’t care to hear it. For the sake of Scottish football, they should shut up, do as they’re told, and let the professionals run the game into the ground in the manner which we see fit. We’ve worked tirelessly in these trying times to get what we want. There’s no way I’m allowing anyone to ruin that.