YOUR sports letters page last Monday (17 December) was filled with the ire of Hearts fans who seem not to understand why supporters of other clubs have little sympathy for their financial plight.
They appear to take the view that running the club well beyond its means until the inevitable implosion (which has reduced them to begging fans to keep them running day to day) has been a price worth paying for the trophies won. Douglas Turner writes that “bigger, better supported clubs have always paid more for players.” The point he overlooks is that Hearts have offered better salaries to players but they have regularly been unable to pay them on time. As a Dundee United supporter I would love to have seen Andy Webster retained, but he opted for a supposedly better deal at Tynecastle. Would he have been so happy to return there had he known that his deal would involve regularly finding his wages unpaid for weeks.
This is what sticks in the throat of other clubs’ fans – that our clubs have battled to maintain their debts at a manageable level over a number of years and have thus been restricted to a tight player budget, while Hearts have ridden roughshod over such considerations and now have the audacity to bleat about the dismal financial situation they find themselves in. The meek acceptance by both players and fans of the way custodians of their club have run matters at Tynecastle has long been a source of bewilderment to the rest of us. To see the mess Hearts are in now reminds me how glad I am that Vladimir Romanov’s interest in Dundee United went no further than it did. We may live hand to mouth as a club but our integrity is intact, not to mention a trophy-winning record superior to Hearts’ over the last 30 years!
Pro Rugby has failed to match amateur passion
David Ferguson does a good job reporting Scottish Rugby, and I suppose he has to be upbeat against a tide of despair! However, as a supporter for over 70 years now, I have seen Murrayfield as a place of tragic defeat and glorious victory.
The amateur days seemed to be the best, when we knew that win or lose we would see a good game, where every player on the pitch gave his all, and then a bit more.
The professional game has not come up with the goods and the SRU has not spent enough time studying the ethos of the new game.
Even David Ferguson writing today (Wednesday, 19 December) suggests that the lure of silverware, cups and medals, and places in the history books is the way to measure success. Success excites players. It always has and always will, at any level. That was true of the amateur game.
In the professional game it is money that gets the results, and the more money the better the results.
We had one of the best coaches in the world but he left in despair. But like all the other supporters that shout for Scotland I remain in hope that this coming year will see better rugby, winning rugby, great tries, fewer scrums and kicks, and as Ernie Anderson taught me as a boy, get the ball out to the wings!
McLaren hit nail on head with comment on ‘rugby grind’
I read with interest David Ferguson’s article on Scotland having only one team place available to them in the Heineken Cup.
I certainly don’t think that this would cure the nation’s rugby ills. David perhaps could have quoted the late great Bill McLaren who put things regarding Scottish rugby into perspective when he said: “Rugby used to be an escape from the daily grind, it has now become the daily grind.”