Saturday, 4 July 2009

Saving Our Lions?

Well I've just come out of what can only be described as a heated meeting at Almondvale Stadium called by Angelo Massone. There were tantrums., there were walkouts, there was some getting at the facts and some talking about talks to get a way forward.

I Tweeted earlier that Angelo himself turned up late joking that it was like other things. I believe he genuinely wants to put that behind him and move on. Whether that is moving out or not depends on other investment in the club.

From what was outlined there is a plan on the table to pay back the outstanding rent at Premier League prices to the council over the next season and willingness to pay the newly negotiated rate in advance this month. Something that both Massone and Neil Rankine were under the impression that the council executive members who had talks with the two were going to propose instead of this court action.

Non-of the executives of the council where in attendance under legal advisement, nor were any of the councillors. However, SNP MSP Angela Constance was and after admitting that with her father spending Saturday afternoons watching the Wrestling and Speedway she was less well versed in the nuance of football and football clubs than she liked in this situation. However, I think she proved in her summing up at the end of the two hour meeting that she caught up fast with the nuance of Livi. She also found herself co-opted as Chair of a gathering of the factions.

At one point Massone's Latin temperament came to fore and The Livi for Life Supporters Trust Officers walked out en masse. Working as I do with a Portuguese colleague this was something I'm used to on a daily basis. But by walking out on a meeting that we were finally getting to the bottom of the level of debt we are in, without putting forward to the meeting any concrete proposals of their own beyond Massone must go and now I don't think the Trust have any great idea of the way forward.

Those who stayed tried to get out of Rankine what he had in mind with his new model. Community ownership was mentioned. Fans buying shares in the clubs, fans offering services to the club so that we could cope, so that we could survive. So that money could go to paying the overheads, the debts and the players. There are also assurances that HRC have agreed a repayment plan. We were getting real figures out of this meeting for the first time from a Chairman for 5 years.

I did contribute. Asking before I did so to confirm that Massone had written to the Council outlaying his proposed repayment plan. The downside of which is that the Council would get nothing and have an empty stadium on their hands. Then encouraged everyone to write to their councillors I reckon we can cover all 32 in the 9 wards if everyone does. The voice of the people, the voice of the fans has to be heard. If WLC are determined to do what is best to retain senior football in West Lothian they had better give a little extra time to get this money together.

I then gave a little personal advise to the Chairman that if he really wanted everyone on board he'd have to tether that Latin temperament just a little. He later in one of his comments referred to me as 'our friend'. Eek that wasn't were I was when I left the flat this morning.

Is there hope? Is there life in the club yet? I certainly hope so. Angela Constance may have her work cut out in the short term acting as referee but she will have my full support in trying to broker a peace.


  1. I'm happy to write to my councillors to ask them to intervene, but only if I can be sure that this presents the best chance of the Council getting its money.

    Am I right in thinking that if the club just disappears now, the Council will get tuppepnce ha'penny of the over quarter of a million pounds it's owed?

    Is the repayment plan offered by Massone a) sustainable and b) not subject to change whenever he has a tantrum.

    I have some sympathy with the people who want him to go. Do yo think he is listening to the many voices against him?

  2. Neil Rankine has persuaded him at the Midnight hoour last night that his own position is untenable. There is the basis of a deal in place. Massone is the last creditor that will be getting paid but he has admitted he was in error.

    I think he is listening to voices that are being constructive though those that only barrack are getting him down.

  3. Good report, but sounds like you have your work cut out. If angela constance's biggest challenge at this 11th hour is holding the factions together it don't sound too promissing. But good luck.

    Im just not convinced Massone can be part of any solution - the bottom line is the Council doesnt seem to trust him, nor do half the fans it appears

  4. AWC I have to agree to that in the medium term. But he has the money and a plan to pay the council that in the short term. It will just require 3 months not 12 days.

    If he does go immediately we need a sugar daddy with some rather deep pockets in the next two weeks, that is the problem.