Sunday 13 January 2008

Frost Affects the Have Nots

Ok there has long been an argument that outwith the SPL there is very little money and tightening of purse strings for other football clubs; yesterday was a great illustration of this.

It was fourth round of the Scottish Cup the day the big boys come into the competition. Seven games were postponed due to unplayable pitches due to a heavy, yet predicted frost, overnight. None of these games involved SPL grounds but three did involve grounds which meet the SPL requirement for undersoil heating. McDiarmid Park, Firhill and Almondvale homes of St Johnstone, Partick Thistle and my own Livingston.

While Partick blame the SRU (Scottish Rugby Union) groundsman who was looking after the Glasgow Warriors. However, seeing as the Warriors were over in Italy on Friday night I have no idea why the SRU groundsman would have control of the ground and the undersoil heating at that time.

What is far more likely is the widening gap in wealth between the top 12 and the rest of Scottish football. Already Livingston have not produced a Match Day Programme for their previous home cup ties against Ayr in the CIS cup and Alloa in the last round of the Scottish Cup, the same was to apply to yesterday's game against Cowdenbeath. The reason being cited is due to the smaller print run the normal special price would not apply and therefore it would run at a loss. It is a shame that many fans myself included are looking at a gap in out programme collections for this season. If we get through and host First Division in the shape of either Partick or Dunfermline will this policy change and give us possibly our first home Cup MTP on the 4th time of asking this season, as we would have been and will be producing them for these teams league visits to our ground.

The fact that three grounds that have adequate undersoil heating were unable to stage games last night is not a reason to have a winter break as across Glasgow from Firhill, Celtic pitch was playable with undersoil heating turned on, and nearby Falkirk, Hearts and Hibernian hosted a game while Livingston could not, and the weather was hardly any better in Edinburgh than West Lothian as I sampled both. Now it is probably purely down to money and cast saving that these games were off. The SPL can fine clubs for postponement but the SFA cannot due to the disparagee in facilities. For example Huntly and Cove Rangers in the Highland League can not be expected to be up to the same standard of pitch as the SPL sides.

The SPL has long been nicknamed the Self Preservation League here in Scotland and with just cause. Only one team from twelve each year will ever be relegated from this cash machine, whereas the ten team SFL leagues have one automatic relegation spot plus the perils of playoffs for the team just above. Needing to come through two 2-legged ties to remain in the same flight the following season. The financing of the leagues outwith the top flight is clearly what needs to be looked at more than rearranging season dates, of course the Turkeys in the SPL will never vote for a more egalitarian Christmas for everyone.

Thursday 10 January 2008

Tesco and the Green Points Mystery

Now I'm all Tesco trying to encourage its customers recycling or using reusable bags by offering green points on their loyalty card scheme.

However, I'm sure I'm not alone in constantly having to traipse over to the customer service desk after making my purchases to get these points added on to the scheme because my cashier/s have not added them on at the point of sale. Now I'm not exactly inconspicous in using by bag. It is a big black thing with the words 'use this bag to earn green clubcard points' written on it. I also have it on the bagging area when I hand over my clubcard. So why can't the cashier add these green points on at the time my card is swiped as the bag is clearly getting filled and used.

In my last dozen trips my green points have been added at the till only once. I can tell this my the number of double reciepts, wasting paper and energy from using a second till, to add these on. Now I'm contimplating asking the cashiers have they added my green points before I hand over my cash, but that shouldn't be up to me.

I doubt my experiences in my local Tescos are isolated, and therefore I wonder just how productive this scheme is? I also wonder if Tesco do an audit to show that customers clearly are not recycling bags, because of the number of incorrectly logged transactions?

Saturday 5 January 2008

That's More Like It

9th October 2001 was the last time before today. As I wasn't that frequent an attender at Almondvale then let alone a trip to Pittodrie which is where Livingston last scored 6 in a match.

One player appeared on both occasions. Scott McCulloch came on as a sub for Livi back in 2001 but was today again wearing yellow this time that of Morton's change strip.

I know I started a chant for 6 goals a couple of weeks ago, but somehow my chant of 'six nil we're gonna win six nil' had less effect today, thankfully. It probably would have been 6-0 as well except for a late penalty decision that confounded all the home fans none of whom saw the alledged handball that led to Morton's third chance on goal.

However, our cheeky shouts of we want six deserved a cheeky third goal which came courtesy of Leigh Griffiths one of the under 19 stars. Who broke the last defender with a somewaht lucky rebound off the defenders knee to his thigh then charging down on the keeper who came out but was smoothly rounded. The calmly slotted the ball in te ball into the onion bag.

My Jekyll and Hyde football team produced the good Doctor today after a somewhat disillusional festive period. Hope this leads to another run of good form, although some players have left and others are leaving.

Friday 4 January 2008

Iowa - So What?

Of the last new incumbants of the White House three, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush and Bill Clinton, failed to win the Iowa Caucus. And before that Jimmy Carter was beaten into second by uncommitted Democrats in 1976, whe then polled more than Barak Obama did yesterday.

So While Hillary may have come third on 29.5 percent she is still 26 percent better off than when her husband first contested a primary for a national election. Mind you even taking out Iowa Senator Tom Harkin from the 1992 version the Clinton's only topped in Iowa when unopposed in 1996.

However, both she and John Edwards find themselves about 8 points behind the Democrat victor Barak Obama. Which puts Edwards further back than this time 4 years ago than he was on Kerry on a similar level of support. But both are about 10 points ahead of where Howard Dean was before he imploded with his scream at a rally. So for the Democrats while there may be disappointment in the result it doesn't spell the end of the road.

For the Replubicans Mike Huckabee can hold up the fact that every winner of the Republican Causus in Iowa since 1976 has been a Republican candidate for the White House. Though not necessarily in the triumphant year.

Mitt Romney who came second for the Republicans acually polled more than the current Presidents father, from a more crowded 2008 field and is closer to the leader than the then Vice President was before he stormed to the White House.

As racers know it ain't necessarily how you come out of the blocks or gate but how you finish the race that is important. So early days yet but still too early to tell who will be the two choices come November.