When I was a kid I was partial to the odd sweetie, certainly more sweeties than my parents deemed acceptable or could afford, and to feed my habit it wasn’t unknown for me to acquire any stray cash or sweep my mum’s purse or dad’s pockets. At this time my Granda ‘Pop’ used to stay with us and as it was only a two bedroom multi storey flat, and I had two sisters, he slept in the living room. I think you know where I’m going with this. One morning Pop caught me red handed getting myself ten bob from my mum’s purse, in the kitchen.
That was a packet of pacers, a caramac and can of irn-bru back in the day; certainly seemed worth the risk to this 6/7 year old.
Suffice to say when he cleared his throat yours truly absolutely sh*t it! That second before he spoke, waiting for the storm and him rousing my parents, felt like 100 years of terror.
Pop (in a quiet, steady voice): Sit down son
The lightening thief shuffles to a corner of the couch, the ten bob bit (50p) burning as he clutches it in his hand which is filling with a volume sweat that only those that have been truly caught in the act will believe is possible. His guilty conscience at last piqued is trying to break free in liquid form from the corners of his eyes.
Pop: Everybody thinks that they are smart, or tough, or they can get away with things…
Lightening thief: (is trying to sniff the snot form of his conscience back in, whilst unsuccessfully trying to stem the tears of guilt)
Pop: …and maybe some people can get away with things; like stealing. Maybe you’re one of those people. But I’ll tell you that the Man in the Mirror knows you and knows what you’ve done and this guy will never let you forget the wrongs you can’t right. Even when no one else is looking the Man in the Mirror is always watching.
The lightening thief who’s also known to be a bit of chatterbox says nothing, only sits there shaking with guilt, fear and embarrassment. His conscience is racing out of him as snot, sweat and tears and he is certainly not going to stop studying the tears staining his white 101s anytime soon.
Pop: I’m going to get cleaned up… you can head in after me.
After he left the room I managed to calm down, went back to the kitchen and put the money back. I told my mum and dad this story years after and he never told them. When they told me that I also realised he trusted me to do the right thing which was a bit of a bonus to the man I had become.
My point is, maybe I am paraphrasing what was said above, I still remember those few minutes of my life very clearly in terms of how I felt and what the lesson was. It was a very effective way to shock a kid in to taking responsibility for his own actions and accepting the authority and guidance of those with experience. My Granda is my Jiminy Cricket, my conscience, and has been ever since that day.
What has this got to do with Scottish football?
The biggest issue facing us as a sport, and maybe even as a wider community, is that there is very little or no conscience in the upper echelons; amongst those who should govern and guide.
The SFA should be the conscience of the SPFL and the clubs and if they can’t do it, if they don’t have their Man in the Mirror or as I suspect they all just avoid mirrors; then the media should be this.
The stories relating to Alfredo Morelos this week are a perfect example; mostly it is being laughed about and used as a way to mock the rangers and the sports media in Scotland. But this thing was picked up and broadcast on sky sports national news as if it was a genuine instead of manufactured speculation to pull the wool over the eyes of supporters.
It is hard to imagine how much cranial choreography is required to avoid running in to the blatant nature of the spin and facing up to the fact that you’re keeping it going.
And it is obvious that very few can be trusted to do the right thing whether it’s running nonsense transfer stories or creating backroom agreements to, as they may believe, preserve revenue and status or as I believe to trick the paying customers.
I did a review of as many fan websites / forums / blogs as I could this week. The Celtic based ones are mostly mocking rangers fans for going along with the current and long standing lack of transparency from their club or the SFA.
The rangers forums are mostly blaming timmy for any perceived wrongs and the other clubs are aiming their anger at the perceived big two.
So it seems as fans we are unable to be the man in the mirror either; as we are looking the wrong way.
I hope that can change and we all start to reflect back the failings and wrongdoings of the game’s custodians.