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  1. I've listened to her interview carefully twice and the one thing that strikes me is how she is attempting to control the media with this. The interview its self sounds to me to be one that the two of them have gone through everything first, rather than it being one where she's confronted with questions she doesn't have prepared answers to. Brian McLaughlin seems little more than a bit part for an Ann Budge monologue, to make her pitch look slightly more credible. In regard to this possible money from philanthropists, she complains about things not happening quickly enough and says she's been asked by the SPFL (direct quote): "could you put it down in writing, could you tell us exactly what's on offer" What exactly is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. From the SPFL's perspective, it seems entirely responsible to want to know this, yet the whole discussion afterwards was a group of angry men saying with fake incredulity 'put in a paper!' I'm fairly sure she's spoken to her pet 'journalist' Tom English prior to it being aired as well. She doesn't mention that it's money from people who have put money into Hearts, but English does. Both McLauchlin and English are, completely unsurprisingly, not questioning in the slightest, and both make great play over how people at the SPFL simply need to make phone contact and give the very one-sided impresion that the SPFL are being really slow. Also, nicely sneaked into the interview without being the main thrust of it, but knowing perfectly well that it was going to be the main discussion topic afterwards. It seems an incredibly cynical tactic, and it just entrenches me in my stance that Budge can go f**k herself.
  2. Paton did a more than decent job for us overall and in normal circumstances I wouldn't have had any problem with him getting another year. Really the only player we had that was good at the dirty side of the game, and a great player to have in your side when you're trying to see a game out with a one-goal lead. Joe Thomson showed plenty before his injury and was a big loss at that time as he'd been our best player for a number of weeks. Never really looked on it after coming back though and I don't think I'd have kept him. Every chance he'll go on to have a good season with another club in this division. Tom Beadling is a strange one. A lot of folk seemed to like him but I didn't see much in him and I don't think I ever came home thinking he'd had a really good game. Games just seemed to pass him by. I should say though that I missed most of our good run to take 4th spot in the second half of 17/18 season, when he ws getting great reviews. That seems to be have been his best time with us, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to keep him.
  3. Do the perceived risks really need spelled out? Because it's not entirely certain whether extending contracts with no prospect of renewal after the scheme ends will be deemed as misuse, there is a risk that HMRC might be due the money back at a later date, maybe with penalties on top. It doesn't seem an especially difficult concept. How likely it is that HMRC will try to recover the money is difficult to say, but the probability is more than 0%.
  4. For those who take the view that the morally superior position is to retain players on short contracts, would you say that if this was (or might later be found to be) a breach of the rules of the scheme? As I was saying earlier, I see ethical issues in extending contracts artifically when players have no realistic prospect of being retained when the scheme ends. If HMRC in future decide that this is not just ethically dubious but also an abuse of the scheme, that potentially creates big liabilities for all who have been found to have misused it. If your potential liability is not all that big and you see the probability of being chased for the money as being small, you might well be tempted to go with it, knowing that if it came to the worst you could make the repayment. If you have a lot of players affected and your potential liability is large, it would be understandable if you just didn't want to take that chance. The more I've thought about it today, the harder I find it to criticise my own club for the decision taken. Same of course for the others who go the same way this coming week.
  5. I take your point, but still don't really feel comfortable with it being used in those circumstances. If people are re-hired without any prospect of working in the same place when the scheme ends, then it isn't really a job retention scheme at all. I'm not arguing especially hard in either direction - I genuinely think it's a really tough one for all clubs and I'm pulled both ways by what the 'least wrong' thing to do is. It'll be interesting to find out this week what the other clubs decide to do.
  6. I'm sure that has indeed happened, but only really backs up my point about the kind of thing we're discussing being ethically dubious. The kind of things you're on about are more extreme examples than player contracts being extended, but if someone has already handed in their notice then it's blatant abuse. Surely we're not saying that kind of behaviour is OK?
  7. I'm really not sure why some deem it classless to bring your manager back to work to be involved in giving the bad news to the players. It's obvioulsy a crap job for anyone to do but, if you have to be given bad news in a work-related context, getting it from your immediate manager who you know and have developed a working relationship with over the last year is surely more appropriate than getting it from a director who you maybe see on a home match day and hardly any other time. Sorry, don't understand that criticism at all. On the issue of doing it at all, the ethics of it are difficult and it's not black and white. On one side, it's horrible for players to end up out of work with no prospect of finding another club soon, especially when there was a way of postponing that. On the other side, retaining players you'd otherwise let go on one-month contracts certainly seems to go against the spirit of the furlough scheme, whether or not it would constitute an abuse in law as per the quoted section above. Its intent was to keep people employed rather than have mass redundancies and ensure there were jobs for people to go back to, therefore, if you use it keep people who have no realistic prospect of a job once the scheme ends, that too is ethically dubious.
  8. I never find Dick Campbell to be the most endearing character, though that's entirely based on interviews I've heard rather than any personal conversation with him. Every time I hear him I'm struck by how bitter and self-absorbed he seems. About a year ago he was on the 'Off the Ball' teatime programme. I was on the way home from an away game (I think it was the shambles at Palmerston) and mentioned to my pal that when Campbell speaks, everything is always about him. By the end of it, he agreed with me on that, as it was exactly the same as other times I'd heard Campbell speak. This was at a time when Arbroath had just had a brilliant season and won their league ahead of Raith Rovers - you might reasonably expect most managers to talk a lot about the players, how well they'd played over the season and what a job they'd done to see Arbroath win the league with games to spare. But no, it just seemed to be all about Campbell himself and what he'd done. In that 99/00 season, a lot of what's been said is true to some extent. There was a bit of a big-time attitude among many fans and I clearly remember the team being booed off after beating Ayr 2-1 at home, quite early in the season. We certainly hadn't played well and Ayr were unlucky not to come back from 2-0 to get a point, but that's the only time in 30 years I can ever remember a team getting that treatment after winning a game. However, there was a feeling that we weren't playing well generally and it was probably true. St Mirren absolutely played us off the park at East End in a game we sneaked a completely undeserved draw from - it might have been the one game in which Junior Mendes looked fantastic. There was also an iffy home display against Morton and losing a 2-0 lead at Stark's Park, probably among others that I don't have strong memories of. Campbell was sacked after losing at Love Street. He certainly had some right to be angered by it as it was the first league loss of the season, but there was certainly a mood that things were not going well. Some bitterness about that is understandable but it's a shame that he still holds it, 20 years on, along with equally obvious bitterness about being sacked by Forfar in 2015. And maybe that's why all his talk is about him rather than his teams - he might well feel he'snever been given the credti he deserves for what he's done as a manager. It would be understandable to some degree if that is the case but, as I say, I don't find it to a very endearing character trait of his.
  9. We probably have enough signed for next year to field a team, though many of them are youth players who haven't been near the first team yet. Unfortunate timing really, as we didn't have many on 2-year contracts until quite recently. I agree about how shite it would be having games without fans and I don't think I have much appetite for watching games in empty grounds via internet streaming either. To me it just has a feel of 'what's the point?' The whole attraction of watching a pishy wee team at our level is that I can go to see my team play whenever I want and because they're my team that I can go and see often, I really care. Take that away and I think I'd feel quite differently about it all. Closed door or no football for a year - difficult to say without being in the situation, but I'd likely see the two options as not that different from each other.
  10. I think skipping next season really needs to be given proper thought right now as well. The stuff yesterday about preparing to start again in July seems a bit silly to me. Like the decisions we've recetly been through, it'll be near-impossible to find something all clubs can agree on, but shutting down for a year does seem a plausible outcome. A widspread invoking of Clause 12 in contracts would be utterly terrible for players but genuinely might be the only way that clubs can survive until summer 2021. It would be nce if we could get back to games before then, but it looks difficult to me to find a way of allowing that to happen. Finding a way to have a full-year suspension needs to be considered as a serious option.
  11. The last sentence of that Tom English 'article', is hilarious. For him (and Barry Hearn as well, actually) to complain of anyone or any institution being stuck up their own arse is nuts after the nonsense he's been coming out with. Maybe he's just fallen to such a level where he's now only looking for a reaction rather than making any kind of serious points.
  12. Thanks for that, those two photos in particular. The second one is pretty much how I remember it before the two end stands were built, but when I look at those I'm surprised how far back from the pitch the away end terracing was - genuinely didn't remember that at all. Definitely hadn't seen the covered terrace on the railway side before. I've been in all 4 sides of Stark's (as well as East End), 3 of them to watch the Pars. We had the enclosure in front of the stand for a Scottish Cup game against Cowdenbeath in the early 90s.
  13. No bother. Wasn't completely certain either, but was fairly sure I stood there, uncovered, in the big derby game at the end of 94/95 (9000 at the game I think) which would have been the last time we were at Starks before redevelopment. Any idea when the home end of the railway stand was built? I can't really remember it not being there but I was quite young when I was first in the ground in the late 80s. It's the one part of the ground there seems to be very few old photos of as well - I've seen plenty of the partially covered terraces at both ends and the unusual shape of the main stand means there are plenty of that as well, but I don't think I've ever seen a photo showing the railway side with terracing all the way along.
  14. I'm fairly sure the away end of what is now the railway stand was never covered when it was terracing. The home end had seats for quite a while before the big redevelopment in the late 90s and might even have been there before I first went there in 1989, but I'm fairly sure I remember standing on the uncovered away terrace a couple of times.
  15. I've had a bit more sympathy for Partick Thistle than any of the others affected by it, but that moaning statement is quite funny. It also seems little short of moronic to publish a letter that includes this paragraph:
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