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John MacBeth


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Rangers "got away lightly" with recent sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute – well that’s what former Scottish FA president John McBeth thinks anyway.

In a recent interview with BBC Scotland, Mr. MacBeth said: ''Rangers got away lightly with their transfer embargo'', and MacBeth believes that the SFA could - and probably should - impose a much harsher punishment on the club.

MacBeth said, ''The SFA should go away and look at their books to determine what their next step should be. They could throw them out of the league.''

Well that’s a new one. Where have you been for the past few months John?

Don’t you know that we’ve already suffered a 10 point deduction, which effectively scuppered our SPL title challenge, and a whopping £160,000 fine? It seems you have joined the long, and disreputable, line of those who believe we have not been punished enough.

Mr. MacBeth also claimed that SPL clubs could survive in a league without Rangers. ''Football would survive without Rangers, maybe not at the same level, and the game would maybe lose some fans - but so be it,'' he said.

“Maybe lose some fans.” You're a master of understatement John. The SPL would lose around 47 – 50,000 every Rangers home game, and approximately 5 – 6,000 when we’re away from home! Small beer eh!

Do your homework John and you’ll discover very quickly that Rangers fans increase the attendances at most SPL grounds by between 40 and 50% when they visit. Where will the fans come from if we’re no longer around? Can the SPL afford to lose fans on that scale with attendances falling and stadiums barely half full? But that’s not a problem John - the SPL can deal with that, can’t it?

Well, no John it can’t actually! Haven’t you been following the statements from Sky Sports and ESPN recently? Don’t you know that the Sky/ESPN contract states that the Old Firm games are essential? Don’t you know that the TV deal is WHOLLY CONTINGENT upon the four Old Firm games?

Clearly not!

But in a moment of homespun wisdom John MacBeth reckons that, "If you look after the sport the money will follow you, if you look after the money you'll kill the sport.''

What utter nonsense!

If the ailing and failing SFA and SPL didn’t “look after the money” from TV and other commercial rights – income that they rely upon almost entirely - then the game in Scotland would be in an even bigger mess than it is now – perhaps even a terminal one.

The money will only follow when you have a product that people want to buy – a product that is saleable around the globe. Like it or not John, the Rangers product is essential to the very life-blood and vitality of the game in Scotland. Keep your homespun wisdom to yourself John, it epitomises the thinking of your fellow travellers who control the SFA now.

Like so many other so-called football experts who have dipped their respective toes in the Scottish football waters, you have clearly failed to grasp the reality of the situation. No Old Firm, no SPL.

You are a former President of the SFA John, and I do hope that remains the case.

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But I know - I would swear to it in court - that John McBeth is not a racist. I know also from many private conversations with him that he is absorbed by the nature of cause and effect in human affairs.

This is a man, after all, whose preferred reading on Scotland team flights was The Tablet, weekly journal of the Roman Catholic church in Britain. In John McBeth's world view, it is not surprising that those who have been exploited will usually respond in kind when the opportunity arises.

The above extract from The Telegraph in 2007, may hold a clue to McBeths viewpoint

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