10 November 2012

Hearts' quest for survival, and the the inconvenient truth of the Rangers precedent

by Shane Nicholson | CRO Executive Editor

If you've not read the latest from Graham MacLaren over at The Rangers Standard you may want to before moving forward. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Right, so you got that, yeah? I appreciate the positive sentiment and good will toward Rangers that helping Hearts could create, and the story of the 13 brave Hearts boys and the 16th Batallion is one of the greats in the annals of football history.

The thing is, I still don't give a shit. Their fans - like every other set of SPL supporters who are yet to face the music - knew the likely result of our ejection from the league. Their chairmen and boards told them, we've seen the minutes and releases from those meetings.

Yet these fans, armed with a wealth of information and a gun pointed to their heads still decided to pull the trigger, and for whatever reason their chairmen listened.

Look, there's one respect in which I feel some sympathy or maybe just kind of bad for all of them. The people at the helm of their respective clubs should've said, “Yes, thank you for your opinions. However we really can't stress enough that our business will collapse if we follow through with this insane plan spawned from the depths of Perkheed.” They were let down by the boardroom, even if they were the ones baying for blood.

Whatever the case, their chairmen didn't do what was best for their clubs and thereby their companies. They are perhaps criminal in their actions, which we've discussed before, as are the higher ups in Neil Doncaster's Skint Posse Love-in, ft. Peter Lawwell on drums.

If they needed more of a warning shot that their fans would not accept the challenge they were getting set to lay before them the 15-or-so brave souls that showed up at Hampden for the NO to Newco rally in late June should've been enough to seal the deal. The bell was sounded and no one answered.

But they pressed forward, and they will pay the consequences, and so will their supporters for falling in line behind a bitter hate-filled minority screaming for Rangers to be pillared no matter the cost. 

Remember this? Of course you do.
They had assurances from the high lords of Scottish fitba who had engineered this master plan with the steepest degree of ineptitude that Rangers' fall to SFL3 was not in the cards. That the SFL would welcome us into their first division with open arms, and they had Sporting Integrity to cite to every half-assed journo looking for a sound bite.

So here's Hearts, the first of what I assume will be many dominoes to fall. The part that seems to be escaping people is there's a very distinct possibility that Mad Vlad knows exactly what he's doing and is anticipating a Newco Hearts to be placed in the fourth division debt free and ready to climb the ladder, whatever the mechanism necessary to get him there. (Or maybe he just wants to tear down Tynecastle and put up some flats. Who knows?)

That should be the ultimate shot across the brow for those waiting on a restructured SPL to emerge from the ashes. Your league is broke, literally and figuratively. You have spineless horribly inpet leadership calling the plays, and no money. The SFL, Rangers included, will be the last one standing in this mess.

Romanov just may be on the cutting edge here, jumping ship before it sinks around him and his club. A presumably debt-free Hearts in a new and improved Scottish football setup is a promising proposition, as out of the seating capacity-challenged SPL sides they are the ones who put people in those seats the best, for what that's worth.

So no, no help from here. No empathy, no sympathy, nothing. We have responded as a fan base to the failure of our owners. It's going to be up to SPL fans to do the same, especially since they were the ones pushing for this fate to befall them in the first place.

Shane is the founder of the CRO. He can be found on twitter at @ofvoid and via email: shane@thecoplandroad.org