We have been accused of paranoia now and then by some of our readers, that we look for agendas that aren’t there and perpetuate them.
But today’s announcement by the Eredivisie that an entire matchday of Dutch fixtures will be cancelled in order to give Champions League semi-finalists Ajax extra preparation time for their clash with Spurs only reminds us of events in 2008 when Rangers made the final of the-then Uefa Cup and were denied the same privilege by the SPL on grounds of ‘Sporting Integrity’.
If nothing else defines the petty, hate-filled anti-Rangers spite in Scotland it’s that. Any other team in that final, be it Celtic or… ok Celtic, and we know fine well the authorities would have bent over to accommodate them.
But Rangers? Scotland? Pure spite, and the Dutch FA supporting their own side and doing everything they can to help their team make it to the final only highlights the vitriolic direction Scottish football has been going in for well over a decade.
It’s just not paranoia – it’s absolute fact. That the SPL (and Celtic) would rather Rangers fail than Scotland benefits. Hell, we’ve been known to reluctantly appreciate some of the decent European work Celtic did in the past which benefited Rangers and gave Scotland a better co-efficient.
But when it came to a real chance for Scotland to earn a rare European trophy, Celtic did everything to hurt Rangers’ chances.
And the SFA and SPFL backed them.
Then look again at the Eredivisie – for those who don’t know, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord have some brutally intense rivalries – maybe not quite at Old Firm poison levels, but not a world away. And yet these clubs and the Dutch FA put all of that away and look to the benefit of their nation by ensuring one of their sides in the latter stages of an elite European competition will have the best standing to do as well as they can.
No ‘sporting integrity’ over there.
No, since around 2008 and the end of the Eck regime with the NT and the run to Manchester, Scotland has been increasingly anti-Rangers with less and less attempt to hide it.
And the conduct of the Dutch FA is only one real world example of how pathetic our authorities and how petty the hate really is.