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  • Writer's pictureAndrew D Duffy

14-14-14 And The League 2 U-Turn

League 2 Championed 14-14-14 In April, but seem dead against it in May. What Gives?

Aye okay so, 14-14-14 suits Airdrie quite nicely, I would think.

We'd join the Second Tier of Scottish Football and find ourselves in a league against Dundee, Ayr United, Arbroath, Dunfermline, Morton, Alloa, Queen Of The South, Partick Thistle, Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Montrose, East Fife and Montrose.

I'd fancy a shot at that.

Indeed, when it was first mooted as a possibility when the doomed Reconstruction Task Force was set up upon the calling of the lower Leagues after the Good Friday vote 2020, it seemed to get a lot of support.

Two League 2 chairmen went onto BBC Scotland's Sportsound and said the ten lower league sides, including Cove Rangers, the Champions who would be denying themselves promotion out of the bottom tier (but also securing a place in the third tier, as it happens) would vote for this and only this. That, despite it not being ideal, they would back it and block anything else.

Then the Premiership clubs came together, had a chat and killed that idea dead. 'Now Is Not The Time', came the Theresa May-esque mantra.

Then came the 18th of May, the calling of the Premiership in Scotland, the crowning of Celtic as champions and the relegation (or as they insisted on calling it down Gorgie way, expulsion) of Heart of Midlothian. Weirdly, though, it had become clear two days prior that news of reconstructions demise had been greatly exaggerated and Ann Budge, Chairwoman of Hearts, would get another crack at it after-all.

And the form of this proposed temporary restructure? Why, 14-14-14, of course.

So why would this be anything but a dead duck, given it was already rejected by Premiership clubs? Well, Aberdeen came out and backed it, as apparently do Celtic and Rangers. Inverness will support it, presumably, as it promotes them to the Premiership promised land.

That would not be enough, of course, as they need 11 out of 12 premiership clubs to vote for the proposal, should it reach a vote, as well as eight of 10 in the Championship and 15 of 20 in the bottom two tiers.

The loudest noises of discontent at the moment, though, are coming from the lower leagues. In particular, League 2. Yes, the league that insisted it would only vote for 14-14-14 and nothing else now seems to be coming out in droves against... 14-14-14.

Ah, Scottish Fitba'. Never change.

I've listened to the Stenhousemuir Chairman Iain McMenemy call it a 'Budge Fudge', and he actually seemed genuinely pleased with that bit of 'word-play', which is rather adorable. This is the same Iain McMenemy who made the original claim that League 2 would vote as a block for 14-14-14 in the first place.

He was backed up in that by Elgin City's Graham Tatters, who has had a similar Damascene conversion and who now vows he will vote against the proposal, that discussing reconstruction is "a waste of time", and he can't see why teams in the lower leagues would back the plan.

Maybe because you said all of them bottom ten would a month ago, Graham?

To be fair to Tatters, he did seem to be agreeing with a great degree of reluctance at the time, saying they didn't really want it but were agreeing to go along with their colleagues in League 2.

But McMenemy?

"It feels as if the lower leagues don't exist but if they don't take us seriously there is a collective of 10 votes sitting there who want to be listened to or else nothing will go through."

"We've tried to come to a consensus. We're willing to concede things among ourselves and come together."

That's him on the radio. So's this-

"There are winners and losers in there. Cove would not be moving out of the bottom league, for example, and it wasn't my first choice either but there are times when you have to give."

So what gave, Inconsistent Iain? (He'll love that).

He also agreed with Michael Stewart, live on BBC Radio, that a compromise position of accepting a temporary rejig was an agreeable halfway house that was worthy of consideration and better than nothing at all, which rather flies in the face of recent revelations.

So whilst questions remain about why the Premiership Clubs are allowing this resurrection in the first place, answers also ought to be sought from the League 2 clubs who were zealots for the 14-14-14 cause at the end of April but now find themselves entrenched against the very idea they themselves championed.

Airdrie For The Cup. Whit Cup? Any Cup;


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