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  1. Latest Entry

    By Scotty,

    blog-0405028001338573590.jpgI mentioned in our last blog that we would be updating the rules/terms/privacy/copyright and cookie policies that we use .... and we now have !!!!

    The rules, as well as our privacy and cookie policies are now posted and active and can be accessed by clicking on one of the links at the bottom right of the page.

    We have done away with the lengthy rule set that tried to cover every eventuality that happened on the site over the last 18 years, or may happen in the future because not only were they unwieldy and unwelcoming for new users, but they were also like a lightning rod for the tiny minority of users

    whose sole function on the planet seems to be a desire to create chaos or discord or to try and get one over the mods by finding something we hadnt covered ... Those guys can continue to play their games somewhere else, but the vast majority of users are not going to be subjected to a huge rule set just on their behalf. We're not playing that game anymore.

    The new rules are about as generic as we can make them and although we have added a few specific examples based on things that have happened on the boards and which required moderator or admin intervention over the years, we are pulling back a bit and putting the onus on users to police their own behaviour somewhat.

    Lets face it, most of you know what is appropriate or inappropriate in terms of the words, images or links that you post or the attitude you display. If you have to wonder whether you will get away with something you post, or the tone in which you post it then maybe you need to think again ? Thats all we are asking !!!

    I know some folk will read this and not bother to click on the link, so for those users, here's a list of a few specific things that will bring you to the attention of the mods. Its not the full list - read the rules for that - but just enough to fill this blog post !

    1. Personal Abuse / Agressive Behaviour: As we note in the new rules, we do have a minority of users who seem to delight in this and in making everything personal. We will continue to take a dim view of this and those who want to carry on doing it will soon find out how the new points system works. Its fine to disagree or discuss and debate the issues with someone, thats what forums are about, but you should be able to do it without making it personal or aggressive. We would also include passive aggressive behaviour in this such as posting snidey comments that denigrate someone for starting a topic you dont like. If you dont like a topic, ignore it and dont post in it rather than again making things personal ....

    2. Inappropriate Posting / Swearing etc: Its a football forum with a primary demographic of male users of a certain age range. there's going to be swearing and there's going to be things that are perhaps not totally "PC". We are not going to get our underwear in a knot if someone lets the odd profanity go, or there is the odd image or link that gets close to the edge, but be aware of where that edge is. We have an audience that ranges from teenage to 80+ so bear that in mind when posting.

    3. Illegal Content: There is nobody who likes to see ICT on the telly over here more than me, and yes I have partaken of 'dodgy feeds' to get that fix, but please dont post those links in open forum. Also, please try to refrain from posting copyrighted material if you dont have permission. We're not saying this to be assholes, we're saying it to protect the site from even the vaguest hint of action from various organisations or the authorities. We have developed good relations over the years with the club, with photographers, with the likes of the BBC or other media, and with people within the SPL/SFL/SFA and we still work closely with a lot of those folks ... it allows us to post things other sites may not get, or just to get verifiable info and such like. We wont allow anyone to jeopardise that.

    4. Topic Hijacking: Topic Hijacking is not to be confused with going a little "off topic". We can all go a little off-topic here and there and thats to be expected and wont get you in the bad books unless you do it all the time and all over the place. Topic hijacking is where you purposely try to bring the topic around to your own different and unrelated agenda by changing the topic entirely rather than drifting into off topic territory ... and is usually quite recognisable as it is done on multiple threads if the poster feels strongly enough about a subject or wants to get a topic across. This is tantamount to bully boy tactics and wont be allowed. You want a topic on your subject, then start its own one ... if its of concern or interest to site users it will gather its own momentum.

    So thats my personal top 4 .... like I said, there are a few more in the actual rules, but its basically all just common sense stuff .....

    With regards to the privacy policy, we didnt change anything there other than making sure you could get to it from the link at the bottom of the page, and adding an additional portion to the end detailing the cookie policy.

    The next post in this blog will be details of our re-vamped Verbal/Yellow Card/Red Card warning points system, but this will probably be next week now as the mods are still going over the finer points of it ... we want it to be fair, transparent and consistent and I think it will be ...

  2. Broadcasting deals for Scotttish football have received a lot of bad press in the last 12 months. Some off it quite rightly warranted, however a great deal of iit was anywhere between misguided to just plain wrong.

    The facts are there are 2 types on sport: sport with a TV presence and amatuer sport watched by 2 men annd a dog. Some people are too quick to judge the negative aspects of broadcast contracts without acknowleging the overwhelming positives. And they are overwhelming, so let's look at just of few of them.

    1. Broadcast agreements are not just free advertising, they actually pay to advertise football. Now if someone can to my business and said they would pay me to advertise my product I would be deighted. TV showcases football and it is up to the foootball authorities to ensure the product they are pedallng is up to scratch and it is up to the Clubs to recognise the additional benefits of TV besides direct income . This leads nicely into...

    2. ...that old myth that televised games leads to reduced crowds. This myth is perpetuated by clubs receiving additional revenue from TV for live games due to a reduction in the expected crowd. So what football clubs are doing is telling their fans to stay home and watch the game on TV because we don't need you because of the TV cash. All it would take is a change of attitude from clubs to break the back of this myth. It astounds me because all the evidence around world sport suggests the exact opposite is true. Closer to Scotland I don't so attendances in the EPL dropping signifiicantly because of live coverage. In fact the 2 biggest football codes in Australia have enjoyed record TV ratings and attendance. So why is it different? Because nothing beats the match day experience at the ground.

    Sure I am looking at this through rose coloured glasses and I understand the limitations of the current broadcast agreements. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the current broadcast agreement is that the football authorities have also fallen for rvenue bottom line. I guarantee that things would have been commpletly different if the SPL had agreed a deal with the BBC all those years ago.

    By giving into Setanta/Sky et al they gave up the thing they really needed the most - access to fans. If games were on the BBC then the potential audience reach would be much higher, access for fans is much cheaper and easier.

    So, in summary, blaming broadcast agreements for all the illls achieves nothing, focusing on the match day experience is everything.

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    Well, what a difference a festive break and a little confidence can do to a team, hey? Eight weeks have passed since the last edition of Gringo's Gossip and there's certainly a lot to catch up on. What better place to start than our current form and league standing...

    Eight weeks ago, our team was sitting in 9th in the league, having previously spent the entire start of the campaign rooted to the bottom. Despite being tenth at the moment, the gap between ourselves and bottom side Dunfermline has grown to 9 points. More importantly, with results continuing to go our way, ICT now sit just 3 points (and 7 goals) of a top 6 place - of which is currently occupied by Aberdeen, who have also played a game more.

    The festive period had indeed been kind to Caley Thistle, and that 'panic button' which was ever present at the start of the season has since been gathering dust in the ICT boot room. An away day at Ibrox was the last time we suffered defeat, and even then the team was unlucky to end the game without a single point following a late strike by Kyle Lafferty. Since then the team have advanced to the 5th round of the Scottish Cup after a replay with Dunfermline, kept three clean sheets in as many league games, and have also seen their first 0-0 draw since an away day in Motherwell just over 12 month ago.

    Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad, summed up by the horrific injury that Chris Hogg suffered in our December fixture against the Arabs. Following a challenge with Dundee United's Gary Mackay-Steven and former ICT loanee, David Davis, Chirs Hogg suffered a serious knee injury and was stretchered from the field of play after just 15 minutes of play. Guarenteed to be out for the remainder of the season, Hogg started an online blog called The Fightback, which can be seen here- - It's well worth a read, and all credit to Chris for putting his experiences into words as he goes through rehabilitaion. We all wish him well and welcome the fact he has been offered a new contract.

    The month of January throws up many an issue for clubs as the transfer window begins. Already ICT have lost David Davis; Loaned out to ICT from Wolves in August, Davis made good of his time here after a slow start and was an asset in the midfield, and Aiden Chippendale; A Huddersfield loan signing who rarely featured during his time at the Tulloch Caledonian Staduim, mostly because of injury. Now it looks like Lee Cox, somewhat a fans favorite who signed from Leicester in 2009, seems likely to be heading South to Paulo Di Canio's Swindon Town. (Since inititally typing this out, Cox has indeed signed for Swindon, noted in the Highland News as being a figure in the region of £50,000)

    Coming up to ply their trade at TCS are two loan signings in the form of Claude Gnakpa (from Walsall) and Sam Winnell (from Wolves). Two strikers who, judging by their debuts against St Mirren recently, could add a little extra spice to our current strike force.

    With the transfer window comes transfer rumours, and no rumour has been more talked about around Inverness than that of Johnny Hayes to Celtic. It must be something to do with him being Irish?

    Johnny has been magnificent for Caley Thistle since his return from injury, culminating in gaining the captains armband for our away fixture against Motherwell. A game from which we captured our first clean sheet of the season by securing a 1-0 win thanks to a fantastic Gregory Tade effort.

    I personally can't see Johnny Hayes going anywhere, and the fact the Terry Butcher has started talks of an extension to his current deal can only suggest Hayes is going nowhere. Let's hope that's the case!

    Away from the teams highs and lows of the past 2 months, there have been a few happenings off the park that perhaps deserve a mention. Firstly the new look CTO website, which came live shortly after the last edition of Gringos Gossip was published. Credit must go to CaleyD and Scotty for their continuous hard work behind the scenes, and also to the rest of the monderation team for their efforts in keeping the site fresh and well managed.

    I'd also like to say a well done to my step-son, Marc Hurst, who raffled off his signed Ryan Esson shirt and gloves (given to him by Ryan on the final day of our Chamionship winning season) to raise funds for the Archie Foundation just before Christmas. I know how much I love and enjoy my own memorabilia and how hard it would be to part with it, so credit to Marc for parting with his prized posessions to help a very worth cause.

    With Caley Thistle having to play Celtic twice in as many weeks, both in the League and the Scottish Cup, as well as Rangers at the back end of February, it'll be very hard to maintain the unbeaten run that we currently see ourselves on. I guess it's probably too soon to be taking about the unbeaten run of 2010, but even so, it's nice to dream. Who know's, with the spirit and momentum the team has at the moment, it's probably a dream that could well become a reality...we'll see

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    blog-0891453001328648252.pngGot into a discussion with a Rangers supporting (Scottish) workmate earlier today about Rangers' financial woes, The Celtic fan spitting on a steward at the TCS at the weekend, and the general malaise surrounding Scottish Football. We didnt have time to really mention the stabbing that also happened at this weekend's game, but it would just have been the cherry on top ...

    It got me thinking, and I sent him back a fairly lengthy email about where I thought Scottish Football was going wrong, where I think it still has its head up its ar*e, and where it may even be possible that Major League Soccer in the USA and Canada may be getting things right and where the Scottish game could learn from it !!!

    It pains me to say it, but Scottish Football is indeed dying on its feet ... or perhaps on its knees whereas the often sneered about "Major League Soccer" is slowly but surely building its brand and developing as a major player in a continent obsessed with "Pointy Ball" (American Football / NFL), Baseball (MLB), Basketball (NBA), and Ice Hockey (NHL) ... the last one being obsessive for Canadians at least, but maybe less so for our friends south of the border. In Canada of course there is also Lacrosse (the official national sport) as well as CFL Football (like NFL but 3 downs instead of 4) to contend with ....

    so here is the email I sent him ......

    The biggest problem for me is that the powers that be at some clubs and certainly within the SFA/SPL still think the Scottish game is up there with the top leagues in Europe …. It’s not, and has not been for years. Both halves of the OF have tried to cling on for years, spending money they don’t really have to maybe get a good run in Europe every once in a while, but even if they are successful one year, they have to stand by and watch how even mediocre teams in England get £10s of millions in sponsorship the following year just by being the best in the championship or even the worst in the premiership … not an even playing field.

    We simply cannot compete with the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, or any of the other big, or even moderately sized leagues. The interest, and therefore the sponsorship is just not there. I don’t want to see any team go bust or into administration, but the whole thing needs torn up and rebuilt ! I know you probably won’t like this, nor would anyone of the green persuasion, but maybe financial hardship (as opposed to administration, which benefits no-one, and certainly not the big two) could be a good thing for Scottish football…. It will force Celtic and Rangers to cut their cloth to suit, it will allow other teams to be more competitive against them, it will force more Scottish teams to try and build from youth, and in the end it could turn the downward spiral on its head …..

    I have always been an advocate for expanding the SPL. I don’t buy the argument that it should be 10 or 12, it puts way too much pressure on the teams at the bottom who are trying to avoid relegation from day 1, means games are no longer anticipated when you know you will play the same team 3, 4, or even 5 or more times a season if you draw them in the cups, and it stifles youth development as teams are scared to go with youth …. That lack of interest, and relegation avoidance tactics makes for a turgid game and an unexciting league (for most).

    When we were relegated, SFL division 1 was a refreshing return to excitement where there were 8 or 9 good teams, all of whom had been in the top flight, and all of whom on their day could get a result against the other, and none of whom would look totally out of place in the SPL …. To my mind, it should be 16 minimum, in fact the Scottish leagues should be 3 leagues of 16 …. The 42 existing teams plus the 6 most ambitious teams from the Juniors, South/East of Scotland or Highland leagues. 2 up 2 down in each division with relegation to/from the bottom league to allow non-league teams a chance to progress and the perpetual under achievers to find their true level. Caley Thistle and Ross County are good examples of what can be achieved by letting in ambitious non-league teams even if Peterhead, Elgin and Gretna are not !

    Prices are another issue too ! Was speaking to a few friends recently and for 2 adults, 2 kids to go to a (non Old Firm) game was about £70, add on pies, programmes, and petrol and the day out cost them over £100 and that was before any of them had a few beers ! All of this to sit in a ground where new laws or rules have deemed standing is a capital offence, singing/chanting in even an innocuous fashion is frowned upon, and looking the wrong way at a steward or cop can get you a football banning order … its no longer fun, it’s “duty” !!!!!

    I actually enjoy (prefer) going to MLS games these days, and I think the SPL/SFA could learn from them … they (MLS) had their flame that burned bright in the 70s/80s and which fizzled out when they didn’t have the infrastructure to develop home grown talent, or the revenue to sustain the wages for players like Beckenbauer, Pele, Best etc ….. the “new” MLS formed as part of the agreement in getting the 94 world cup in the USA deems it mandatory for new sides to have an academy, has a wage cap to stop silly money being paid, and a few other squad/roster rules that help … It wants to develop the league, but it seems to have learned lessons from the past and is doing so slowly .. adding TFC in 2007, Vancouver in 2011, and Montreal this year as well as a few American teams in the other years too …. And better still, my season ticket, in the supporters section (cheap seats), where standing or chanting is encouraged rather than banned only costs me an average of about $20 a game.

    For me, however, the most exciting part is the academy. Toronto FC already has 5 young graduates in the main first team squad, some of whom have already been capped by Canada, and they are not there just to make up the numbers, these guys look pretty good … and there is more to come (Vukovic, the top scorer in CSL last year may make it into 2012 squad).

    The rules allow for some exciting designated players to come in (Frings, DeGuzman, Koevermans etc at TFC as well as the likes of Beckham and Henry in LA/NY, and a rumour of Michael Ballack to Montreal!) but rather than blindly follow the 70s/80s model of players coming over the pond for a last big paycheck, it also gives both the youth and college kids an avenue to progress …. and for the transfers to start going the other way (Edu from TFC to Rangers for example).

    I have no doubt that the Canadian national team will soon start to see the benefit of these policies, and this in turn will raise the profile of the game in Canada as they climb the FIFA rankings, and this will eventually trickle back to benefit the club sides …. A nice upwards spiral where development breeds improvement and improvement feeds further development. It’s a bit like a strong Scottish national team that used to qualify for all the world cups was able to showcase how Scotland produced players with heart and passion, and sometimes with skill, and which made the Scottish game good, or at least interesting, to watch and desirable for some to play in …… Oh to see another Scottish team produce a Dalglish, Souness, Bremner, Jordan, Cooper or even a McCoist !!! just not happening these days as we do everything we can to price the game out of the working man’s reach, do nothing to promote youth development, and allow jumped up traffic wardens to stifle what’s left of the enjoyment of it !

    So there you have it .... some points for discussion perhaps. You may agree with me, you may disagree but its my personal assessment from watching both Scottish Football and Major League 'Soccer' over the last few years .....

    Sneer all you want at "soccer" in (North) America, but its a league on the rise, a league that is fostering grass roots development as one of its core principles, a league that has put checks and balances in place to try and make sure it doesnt overstretch itself in terms of finances and one which embraces fan culture in an effort to encourage crowds to grow with the game in this continent .....

    there are plenty of little things about Major League Soccer that I dont like, or take issue with, and I may go into those in later blog entries, but as an organisation with a focus on development from the ground up, and with a keen sense of community development, there is plenty to look at and perhaps learn from them .....

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    I was watching a quiz show the other night when they asked the question "What is the most commonly used letter in the English language?". The answer given, and accepted as correct was the letter "E".

    But is it really? Even setting aside the ever increasing use of text speak and it's tendency to drop vowels the ever increasing use of social networking sites seems to have brought with it new habits which would might mean the statistics might need a little revision.

    For a start, the letter "X" which is currently ranked third from the bottom can be seen at the end of most communications...several times in some instances. Surely that would move the letter far further up the table than it is currently given credit for? Then you have "LOL" which seems to have a foot on both the TLA and Text Speak camps. Currently ranked mid table (11th place), you would think that the letter "L" must be due a promotion.

    These are just examples that spring immediately to mind, I am sure others also exist....but nothing I can think of would suggest that "E" deserves to be holding the crown for most commonly used letter....certainly not if you take a true reflection of how the English language is communicated in this day and age.

    I have no idea where the statistics are drawn from, but it would appear that currently used (and apparently accepted) tables are in need of a bit of revision.

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