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Frankie S

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Frankie S last won the day on August 25

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  1. Not remotely surprised that Hickey has pulled out tbh. He was almost certainly put under pressure by his club to do so. I’m sure they’d have released him for the full squad but understandably question the benefit of Hickey appearing for a Scottish Under 21 side that have been utterly lamentable for years, at a standard that would represent a significant drop down from his club football, coached by someone as clueless as Scot Gemmill. Not sure what the net benefit is here for Bologna, or even for Hickey. Presumably Hickey is meant to show some supplication to the national team set-up (and fans) at a level patently below his capabilities to put himself in contention for a call-up to a senior squad that he’s already demonstrably worthy of inclusion in. Not surprised if Bologna are of the opinion that no such kow-towing is necessary for one of their established first team players. As an aside, reading John Carver’s comments about how Johnny Russell and Ryan Gauld are in the manager’s thoughts and need to keep scoring (not sure Russell can do much more than his recent record-breaking 12 in 12, somehow I don’t think that run of form is replicable let alone surpassable) to keep themselves in contention, and one day it might even lead to Carver being able to take a North American holiday to watch them in action, the thought occurs to me that this Scotland set-up is exuding a particularly parochial attitude, which is possibly the flip-side of the much-lauded Steve Clarke ‘loyalty’ factor. I seem to recall, not so many years ago, Scottish football was collectively bemoaning the fact that so few of our promising young players took the difficult career route to go abroad, learn the language, expand their horizons, and play in a more technical footballing environment, and that so many took the easy route of a relatively lucrative transfer to a mid-table English Championship team, with associated ease of cultural assimilation and a familiar brand of fast and physical football. It seems that such narrowed horizons and limited ambitions are actually more likely to be productive in terms of selection for the national team at the moment, while players that have gone abroad and carved out reasonably successful careers (Hickey, Gauld, Henderson et al.) have never even got a sniff of a full team call up (and only now a few belated and patronising words from a member of Steve Clarke’s backroom staff). I can remember the time when we used to bemoan not having any Scots playing in Serie A. Now we finally have a couple (perhaps a few if we include Binks), it’s out of sight, out of mind, or the threat of being coached by Scot Gemmill at best.
  2. The proposed extension of the inherently flawed vaccine passport scheme throughout the hospitality industry, if it comes to pass, will be the final straw for many small businesses. The entire industry is currently suffering from huge issues relating to staffing, Including recruitment and retention, greatly exacerbated by Brexit and the continuing Pingdemic. Asking every pub and hospitality outlet to check for vaccine passports on entry adds yet another layer in terms of staffing, when the vast majority of outlets can’t fill their existing staff rotas. Speaking from the perspective of my Edinburgh city centre business, we’re working on a day to day basis, hoping that we can patch together a staffing rota from amongst the remaining (non-pinged, or those recording a subsequent negative LFT or PCR result amongst the pinged contingent) regular staff, temporary staff, freelancers, friends, family and former employees before deciding whether we can actually open the doors on any given afternoon. In terms of enforcing the vaccine passport scheme, nightclubs generally employ door staff, most pubs don’t, other than the busier city centre pubs at weekends. There is already an industry-wide shortage of properly accredited door staff, with training courses having been adversely affected by the pandemic, so increasing the numbers of stewards required exponentially by extending the vaccine passport system to all hospitality outlets, seven days a week, seems to me to be a logistical impossibility. The staff simply aren’t there, and they can’t be summoned into existence by wishful thinking and good intentions. The Scottish government clearly has no idea how stretched and utterly demoralised the hospitality industry in Scotland is right now, or worse, if it does know, then it simply doesn’t care. Given Scot Gov’s consistent scapegoating of the industry since the start of the pandemic, the latter wouldn’t remotely surprise me, but ascribing to them sufficient competence and/or engagement with the industry to assume that they do know what the f**k is going on inside Scottish businesses ATM seems laughable, given their track record to date. So, on balance, I’ll charge them with reckless ineptitude rather than wilful vandalism. FWIW, both my wife and I tested positive for Covid-19 this week, both double vaccinated, both with vaccine passports. The first person to test positive in the family was our 12-year-old son. Wonder where he got the virus from? More vaccine passports though, that’s clearly what’s needed.
  3. Better performance from Scotland today, but Davey was a big miss. Evans and Wheal in particular leaked far too many runs, and Leask turning his arm over isn’t really a great option against the better sides. Just don’t get it with Ali Evans - he’s never international standard. Bowls far too short and far too many wides. You’ve no chance in T20 when one of your bowlers is bowling 8 balls an over. Also Calum MacLeod is really starting to annoy me with all his fancy flicks and reverse sweeps. Just hit the bloody ball properly.
  4. At least we had a few goals in the team last season, even if our defence was terrible. We’re absolutely toothless this season.
  5. Having been contacted by the SFA by email today to let me know that additional tickets had been released for Scotland v Denmark at Hampden next month, and not having purchased tickets for the match last time round, I thought, ‘oh why not, might as well grab myself a couple.’ Presented with a time-limited window for purchasing tickets from the SFA website, I found to my dismay that my BOS debit card was declined, not once but twice, and I was unable to purchase the tickets I'd held in my basket. Having sufficient funds in my account, I contacted the Bank to establish the reason for the card being declined. I was told that the SFA have not updated their anti-fraud protections on their website - they are apparently not yet using SCA (strong customer authentication) - and the existing protections on the site are not sufficient to meet the Bank's new security protocols. I was advised to contact the SFA to request that they update their anti-fraud protections (as if that’s my responsibility), and arrange payment by another method (not possible given the limited availability and time frame). Quite something that the Bank of Scotland won't approve debit and credit card payments to the Scottish Football Association. The adjective 'tinpot' barely covers it..
  6. As an alternative to the ill-informed twaddle being peddled by people with absolutely no involvement in the nightclub sector, I’ll provide some actual data from the front line. Here are the stats from the nightclub I own: Friday 22nd Oct - combined door and bar take down 30.45% on the equivalent Friday last month (Fri 24.09.21). Down 28.78% on the average Friday take this month (October). Saturday 23rd Oct - combined door and bar take down 35.61% on the equivalent Saturday last month (Sat 25.09.21). Down 35.17% on the average Saturday take this month (October). Btw, 35% down translates to over 150 people on a Saturday night for us alone, rather than the ‘1 or 2’ that has been speculated upthread. And bear in mind, the 35% drop isn’t wholly attributable to people actually knocked back at the door for not having proper certification, it’s also comprised of those who didn’t bother going out as they knew they wouldn’t get in (the vaccine passport scheme is hardly a well kept secret), and those who simply went somewhere they knew the enforcement would be laxer. So, broadly in line with the figures reported (albeit at the lower end) by the Music Venues Trust survey of nightclubs, live music venues (and other hospitality outlets affected by vaccine passport regulations), which estimates the average drop in trade across the industry as 39% (with 59% of membership reporting so far). A similar survey by the NTIA (Night-Time Industries Association), the one that has been widely reported in the media, found a 40% reduction in trade this weekend, remarkably consistent with MVT’s figures. So, for an industry that has been decimated by closure for the majority of the last 19 months, and is now just trying to find its feet again, with the withdrawal of furlough and the termination of all other forms of government support, in the context of catastrophic staffing and supply issues (greatly exacerbated by Brexit), losing almost 40% of their trade overnight due to the Scottish government’s introduction of the Covid Passport scheme is, as you can imagine, the very last thing the sector needs right now. Unlike football clubs, who seem to have secured governmental approval of spot checks for vaccine passports, nightclubs are expected to check ALL customers for proof of double vaccination, a hugely onerous burden. As ever, it is Scottish businesses that are picking up the economic cost of the Scottish Government’s draconian restrictions, and not the Scottish government. It is Scottish businesses that are picking up the tab for the Scottish government’s avowed policy of incentivising the younger generation to get vaccinated, even as the evidence suggests that cases are actually falling among the club-age demographic (despite nightclubs, live music venues etc. operating without Covid passports for 2 and half months now) and recent U.K. spikes are mainly attributable to school age children and their immediate families. There is, as it stands, no financial assistance whatsoever for those sectors adversely impacted by the Covid passport scheme, and as ever, those outlets that are most diligent in enforcing the policy will suffer the most, with custom inevitably gravitating towards outlets that enforce the regulations less diligently. This is the paradox of the scheme - the Scottish government want the sector to buy into, and strictly enforce, a regulatory regime that will dramatically reduce their footfall and completely eliminate their profit margins, without any financial support whatsoever. The only incentive to enforce the scheme is the fear of legal sanctions, with Sturgeon’s oft-stated threat of the closure of the entire sector hovering above our heads like the sword of Damocles. The Scottish government hasn’t even bothered to hide its absolute contempt for the nighttime economy throughout the last nineteen months, and it has emphatically failed to engage with the sector at every turn. We can safely assume that, irrespective of the cost to businesses and jobs, Scot Gov will continue to punish, penalise, scapegoat and arbitrarily regulate the sector to within an inch of its life, as that has been its modus operandi throughout the pandemic.
  7. So frustrating watching this Queens team. Like the Ayr game last week, we’ve made a number of very good chances (without playing particularly well today so far tbh), but we’re completely blunt up front. Connelly apart, there just seems to be very few goals in this team. Seems like we have to create at least half a dozen good chances to take one. Not sure how Cameron missed his chance, looked easier to score. Keep on thinking we’ll eventually start taking some of our chances, but being so profligate in front of goal, we’re always vulnerable to a sucker punch.
  8. Well done to the Scotland national cricket team for winning their preliminarily group in the T20 World Cup in Oman, with dominant victories over Bangladesh, PNG and hosts Oman. Deprived of almost any meaningful cricket for the last few years, left to beg for the crumbs from the table as the ICC awarded full member status to rivals Ireland and Afghanistan, scrabbling around trying (mostly in vain) to persuade nations touring England to deign to afford us occasional warm up matches, and getting the square root of bugger all from the England and Wales Cricket Board, which has consistently ignored bids for a Scottish franchise to compete in their lucrative T20 and The Hundred competitions, Scotland has done it the hard way, on its own, against all odds and the vested interests that monopolise top level cricket. Well done Scotland!
  9. According to Cricinfo 121 takes us through on NRR, and they’re usually reliable.
  10. Stephen Dobbie (the greatest player I’ve ever seen play for Queens, by a wide margin). Tommy O’Hara (absolute quality, a joy to watch, should have played at a higher level). Bobby Parker (imperious centre back, absolutely strolled through games even at the tail end of his career. At his peak for Carlisle, who I occasionally watched back then, he was brilliant). Honourable mentions: Andy Thomson (very unlucky to miss out, an absolutely fantastic player and goalscorer for Queens, but not sure we’d need him and Dobbie in the same team, and Dobbie was better). Alan Ball (also unlucky to miss out, excellent keeper, great servant to the club, and his heroics at Ayr United in the Scottish Cup will never be forgotten by those who witnessed them). Steve Tosh, Jimmy Robertson, Jim Donald, Chris Balderstone, Peter Dickson (who was electrifying in that halcyon period just after he signed, though his career petered our after being converted to a full back), and I wish we had the Lyndon Dykes of now, rather than the Lyndon Dykes of then - he’s improved massively since he left (though his qualities weren’t completely opaque then). Ted McMinn was another supremely gifted player, and another who improved after he left the club. I was always a fan of John O’Neill too. On the subject of players who improved after they left Palmerston - Middlesborough hero and Republic of Ireland internationalist Bernie Slaven takes some beating. I remember seeing him play up front under the lights at Palmerston at one midweek fixture, and the next moment he was gone. At his peak I reckon he might have been able to do a job for us!
  11. Stephen Dobbie never led Scotland’s attack - he was never capped at international level, more’s the pity. Given some of the no-marks who did win full Scotland caps over the years, he would have been far from the least talented striker to win a cap if he had. Of the forwards who played for Queens in the 2018-19 season, when Dobbie scored 43 goals in all competitions, I doubt many Queens fans (even his admirers) would have predicted that it would be Lyndon Dykes that went on to win Scotland caps. None of that is to diminish Dykes’ considerable improvement and meteoric career trajectory, but Dobbie at his peak was different class. In that game against the Faroes in 2002, it was journeyman Scott Dobie who led Scotland’s attack alongside Kyle, neither of whom were remotely in Stephen Dobbie’s class.
  12. Just to say that lifelong Queens (and AFC Wimbledon) fan and occasional P&B poster KingfaetheSooth (Callum to his pals) passed away on Monday after a two-year long battle with cancer. He was the best man at my wedding, and I was glad to share some great times with him - trips to Copenhagen for the UEFA Cup match against F.C. Nordsjaelland and France to follow Scotland in the 1998 World Cup, and I was at Wembley with him in 1988 when Wimbledon beat Liverpool to lift the F.A. Cup. Rest in peace my good friend. x
  13. Was just about to login and purchase the stream. Checked the starting XI on BBC Sport website and decided to save the £15.00. Ryder Cup for me, even though it’s an absolute procession for the Yanks. Probably a better contest than the Queens game will be tbh.
  14. Scot Gov’s absolute contempt for Scottish businesses has been evident throughout the pandemic. At every turn Scot Gov has made Scottish businesses bear the economic cost of their dogmatic fixation with enforcing significantly tighter (yet often completely arbitrary, contradictory and ineffective) restrictions (often unsubstantiated by anything resembling actual science, and too frequently unresponsive to the data cited as their justification) than the ‘reckless Tories’, just to ensure that no- one could possibly doubt that Nicola and the SNP ‘care more’ than Boris and Westminster. Scotland might have the highest Covid infection rates in the U.K., suggesting that our tougher restrictions have been largely ineffective, and the extra damage to our economy largely self-inflicted, but at least we’re the most conspicuously virtue-signalling Covid cesspit of Europe. Now that furlough is ending, and our southern counterparts have seemingly accepted that Covid is transitioning from pandemic to endemic status, Scot Gov’s continuing fixation with differentiating ourselves from England by rolling on needlessly tighter restrictions (e.g. Covid passports, which will punitively burden the already beleaguered nightclub, live music and events sectors, still struggling to recover after almost 18 months of closure; and now the Scottish travel sector, which has been at breaking point for ages, with barely a hint of the relaxation of restrictions that other sectors have enjoyed, seems set to be burdened with the continuance of onerous testing requirements for the fully vaccinated that are about to be jettisoned down south) is seemingly no longer the government’s financial responsibility. It won’t be the Scottish government that picks up the tab for the ongoing restrictions on business - it will be Scottish businesses, as our direct equivalents down south prosper by comparison. Not that Scot Gov ever really did pick up the tab for their draconian restrictions: three of my businesses - a nightclub, an events production company and a concert promotions company - remained closed throughout the bulk of the last 18 months due to government restrictions, but the last two picked up a paltry 20k each in total in government grants (excluding furlough), despite seeing their entire turnover decimated and substantial six figure annual contributions to the Exchequer wiped out. Even at the height of the pandemic and the restrictions, Scot Gov only subsidised a fraction of business losses and a selective number of businesses, often through competitive and hugely oversubscribed funds, allocating limited amounts of cash (often on ‘merit’ - which tended to mean the same snouts monopolising the same troughs, allocated by the same funding bodies, or prioritising support to firms that were most in danger of becoming insolvent, which might on the face of it seem reasonable, but is an essentially speculative method of supporting the economy - gambling on the businesses that are most likely to fail, while denying funding to prudently run businesses that were deemed able to carry the traumatic cost of the government’s restrictions entirely from their own painstakingly accumulated reserves). Scot Gov has since day one of the pandemic been fixated with levelling down - penalising and demoralising successful businesses and entrepreneurs; artificially propping up barely solvent and fly by night businesses and rewarding the usual suspects (with all the potential for fraud and rigging the system that entails). Scot has never, at any stage, shown the remotest interest in fairly and transparently distributing on an equitable basis the funds it has been allocated from Westminster for Covid business support (let alone dip into the Barnett Formula allocation / Independence campaign treasure trove). Hospitality businesses will never forget how strategic framework funding (the raison d’etre of which was to compensate businesses that were closed or otherwise adversely affected by government restrictions) was withdrawn well before punitive restrictions on businesses were lifted. Indeed strategic framework support was withdrawn from nightclubs long before they were even allowed to reopen, an utterly scandalous policy that has been compounded by the mandating of Covid passports for the sector. And now that furlough is ending, with all other funding channels long closed off, Scottish businesses are expected to pick up the tab for enforcing onerous vaccine passport entrance requirements when Scot Gov, in typically incompetent style, has barely introduced a functioning QR code system for the fully vaccinated, let alone an effective app. Business owners are tearing what’s left of their hair out in frustration. As usual there is absolutely no clarity to in terms of how this system will operate, or how we’re expected to enforce it. Scot Gov seems to think that business owners will suddenly get on board with enforcing a regulatory regime (that even the government don’t understand) which, if properly enforced, will drastically reduce their footfall and profit margins, all without any financial support or compensation whatsoever. Cloud fucking Cuckoo Land.. I’ve been active in the business community for over 30 years, and have extensive contacts and colleagues in many sectors of Scotland’s traumatised economy (including hairdressing, which you so blithely dismiss - my wife is a salon director, in a company that is about to lose a second outlet due to the financial effects of Covid). And it’s not just hairdressers, gym owners and nail salon operators that I know - we have a good friend in the travel industry who has been trying to keep her business afloat during uniquely challenging times, with little or no assistance from the Scottish government, and has recently had to give up the lease on her Edinburgh shop. I know many people throughout the hospitality, live music, events, arts and culture sectors (some of them are even quite bright - though clearly not Jason Leitch and Linda Bauld level intellects obviously) and the general feeling is that the Scottish government has failed them. These sectors have been scapegoated, penalised, punished, marginalised, under-funded and undermined by a Scottish government that is now viewed as not just laughably incompetent, not just ‘not business-friendly’, but as a clear and present danger to Scottish business. Alienating and undermining huge sectors of the Scottish business community seems to me to be a huge gamble on the part of the Scottish government. The Scottish economy is on life support, and the businesses and people that drive it and generate tax revenues are demoralised and angry. Given that Scotland’s economy is already hamstrung by a higher level of welfare dependency than most comparable European countries, I’d have thought stimulating and energising our moribund economy would be at the forefront of the Scottish government’s priorities as we emerge from the pandemic, but apparently not. It’ll be fascinating to see how the the SNP can cobble together a convincing economic case for independence from the remnants of our shattered economy…
  15. As we all knew, the suggestion that the Tories would introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs, concerts and sporting events in England was just a rouse to incentivise the younger generation to get vaccinated. And to the surprise of exactly no-one, Sturgeon and the Scottish government, ably backed by Patrick Harvie and his cronies, who are lodged so far up Sturgeon’s arse you’d need a proctologist to find them, took this at face value, and, confronted with the prospect of being seen to be less cautious than the ‘reckless Tories’, u-turned on their high-minded (and entirely accurate) pronouncements about the essential illiberalism and discriminatory nature of vaccine passports and simply passed the economic burden of incentivising vaccine take-up amongst the young squarely onto the business community, as usual. Making Scottish businesses carry the can for the failure of government policy is par for the course for this administration. No arbitrary and punitive restrictions on selected business sectors without compensation should be the mantra in a free society, but isn’t in Scotland, as Sturgeon has already characterised nightclubs, the events sector and the live music industry as ‘less essential’ than other sectors of the economy. Presumably the jobs of the hundreds of thousands of (mainly young) people employed by these sectors are ‘less essential’ too. In other words, ‘furlough is ending, we don’t have any more money, and we’re making you carry the can, so suck it up.’ Vaccine passports are simply another example of the stigmatisation of the young and their leisure pursuits as reckless and irresponsible; another example of a dismally incompetent government scapegoating and disproportionately punishing the younger generation, and the businesses that cater to them and overwhelmingly employ them. The advent of illiberalism; the casual curtailment of civil liberties; the arbitrary restriction and marginalisation of businesses; the relentless mission creep of the new authoritarianism; the seemingly endless perpetuation and normalisation of ‘emergency’ governmental powers, all emanating largely from the self-styled ‘progressive’ end of the Scottish political spectrum, seems to be the abiding residue of the pandemic. This is the deeply dystopian reality of Scotland’s ‘new normal’.
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