He was once the Batman to the Gotham City of Scottish football, now he’s the Nick Clegg to the much-hated governance of Scottish football. Why has David Longmuir changed his tune when it comes to the future of the game north of the border?
By Scott Binnie – @SBinnie19
Chief Executive of the Scottish Football League, David Longmuir was one of the very few authority figures in Scottish football who ended last summer with his reputation intact and unsullied.
Longmuir was vocal, level-headed and lucid when dealing with the infamous Rangers saga and, when his supposed “betters” in the governance of the Scottish game, Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster of the SFA and SPL respectively, passed the buck to him and his organisation, not once did he shirk his responsibility.
Member clubs were told exactly what was on the table. What could happen, what teams could be giving up (promotion from whichever league Rangers were placed in) versus what teams would gain (two guaranteed full houses, two trips to a packed Ibrox), and so on. Like Nick Clegg in the run-in to the last General Election, the forgotten third bloke soon endeared himself to everybody and left his colleagues in a state of disarray. This week we saw Longmuir imitate Mr Clegg once again when he sold out everything he shouted about for a place at the table with the higher-ups.
After pushing ahead with the SFL plan for reconstruction of 16-10-16, it looks like the head honcho of that governing body has stabbed his underlings in the back and joined his voice to that of Regan and Doncaster, everyone’s favourite duo of duffers, in backing the largely hated 12-12-18 triple split format that has left fans suffering from stress headaches all over Scotland.
Four days ago, Longmuir stated that the SPL’s plan was convoluted and difficult to engage with, in comparison to the plan he himself previously advocated. Not two days later though, he was back in the papers telling us that the 12-12-18 was the way to go, it provided the best option for Scottish football, blah de blah de blah.
Why the change of tone, David? How has a man who spent the summer listening to the opinions of the Scottish football fans, the true foundation of the sport, so swiftly diverted his backing to a proposal that has been derided by nearly the entirety of the Scottish fan base? Some may say that it’s because there is an allowance for a trap-door into a non-league pyramid in this system (something we’ll all agree is needed, David included) or the incorporation of fairer financial distribution for lower league clubs (again, about bloody time).
Not me. For many, the last true voice in Scottish football has sold himself to Neil and Stewart for a place at the top table of the new merged governing body, the SPFLDXTYM34 or whatever the acronym will be. If this plan receives backing from the SFL clubs, which I personally doubt very much, it will be revealed that Longmuir will be appointed Super Vice-President Assistant of the league body’s new board alongside Ray-gun and Donkey.
After viewing David Longmuir as the Batman to Scottish football’s ailing Gotham City until very recently, I can’t help but see him now as a bigger traitor than Petyr Baelish in Game of Thrones (he betrayed Sean Bean’s trust and caused his death, it was very sad).
Perhaps he has simply fallen afoul of the type of bullying he fought off in the summer, reneging to Ray-gun and Donkey’s nonsense, but Longmuir has been a massive let-down for me and the most well-positioned saviour of Scottish football has done us on this one.
Why has David Longmuir changed his mind? Who is left to challenge the hierarchy now? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.