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Charles Bannerman

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Charles Bannerman last won the day on May 3 2019

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  1. When I spotted that Scotty had been good enough to give me a name check and decided to reply, I realised that I had been in "read only" mode for a long time so hadn't been logged in. Yes, I've been analysing a lot of Covid statistics, and in Highland we have really got off lightly, although suddenly rather less so since 21st December. We had spent most of this second wave sitting at 5-15% of the case levels Scotland had - eg typically if Scotland was at 150/100K population, we would be at 15. For many weeks a rule of thumb applied that you would have to attend half a dozen games with (a different) 300 at each before you were likely to have been in the same stadium as one infected person. Highland has the lowest death rate in mainland Scotland, and there have been just 3 Covid confirmed deaths since mid May. As recently as December 4 there were as few as four people among 64,000 in Inverness who had been diagnosed with Covid during the entire previous week. Although we were allocated to what I call "Tier 1.5" (the original Tier 1, but with the original promise of limited indoor contact withdrawn) we did seem to qualify for Tier 0 but never got it. On Dec 20, our incidence was 14.9, around 15% of the Scottish figure (it had been just 9.3 on Dec 8 ) but suddenly things started to go wrong more quickly in Highland than in the country as a whole because today our incidence is 62.8, or round 40% of the Scottish figure (which in turn is around 40% of the UK figure). Test positivity had been 0.5% but it's now 3.1%, although low Christmas test numbers aimed at the most urgent cases will influence that. In the first wave we never got higher than 30% of the Scottish case figure although if our first wave cases had been diagnosed using the second wave testing regime, incidence might have reached around 85/100K. So in Highland we have suddenly made a very rapid transition from being almost a Covid free zone to a rather worse place in just a week and indeed the areas which have suffered worst here do seem to be the ones which had been doing best before that - eg also Moray and Dumfries and Galloway. One major caveat with these statistics, though - there are so many variables that people can sometimes make them appear to say whatever they what them to say and I do believe that the media, various Governments and some scientific interests have been guilty of that. My own view is that a better strategy would be not to try to scare the hell out of people to get them to comply to often over-vicious restrictions but to control the disease better by more stringent enforcement of less rigorous constraints.
  2. Even this long lapsed former contributor feels motivated to return briefly to respond, having belatedly watched the video after learning of the decision and reading Scott Gardiner’s excellent statement. A more obvious instance of a push than by the Rangers player is difficult to imagine, and how anyone outwith the Orange Lodge and capable of regarding that as a dive is allowed to referee at any level at all is one of life’s great mysteries. Then you have to start worrying very seriously about the competence of any governing body which can find not just one but three individuals gormless enough to agreewith this enormous howler. The next part of the narrative is more difficult to make stand up because it is easy to deny. However it is abundantly clear that the overwhelming presence of decisions of all kinds made by Scottish football’s governing bodies and favouring the Old Firm place that allegation well beyond doubt. Add in the frequency of complaints about referees and even take a chunk off to allow for managerial paranoia😆 and the competence of Scottish officiating must be added to these charges of institutionalised Old Firm bias and governing body ineptitude. However I have a feeling that even something as outrageous as this will still be ignored by the Scottish football establishment which will carry on regardless as the game it is ruining continues to spiral into the ground.
  3. I don’t think the issue is how many people who play football don’t get paid, because that is common across all sports. The issue is the extremely and uniquely large number who do get paid for playing football - where it’s possible to receive a regular wage, never mind simply payment by results, at remarkably low levels of competence, fitness and commitment compared with other sports. And below the top tiers, I don’t really think popularity is an overwhelming factor because there are plenty of teams paying players to perform in front of quite small crowds in relation to their wage bills. This is something often made possible firstly by the willingness of wealthy people to subsidise these clubs with large donations, often in return for perceived prestige..... and secondly due to the clubs supporting their excessive wage bills by charging the kind of ticket prices which the Original Post was about and which fans frequently find burdensome. .
  4. Are you perhaps being a little generous, because the degree of athleticism I’ve seen within many parts of paid football has been woeful in the extreme? ? I was at a shinty event yesterday and, in conversation with two “top end” players, the point was made that it actually costs them money to play. Both are based within 50 miles of Fort William, so the issue of “the documentary” inevitably arose, and the fact that these guys were actually getting paid £20 a week to be as abysmal as they were. Then you similarly consider the unpaid players of Highland Rugby Club, just started in Scottish club rugby’s second tier, National 1. I write this from an hotel room in Stirling where my daughter is running in tomorrow’s Scottish 10K championships. One of many, this is actually one of the cheaper trips away to a race which will cost her about £80. She has a full time job, trains six days a week and buys all her own kit. The only opportunity of reducing her costs is to win a race or take a top three finish, in which case there may be a prize, usually in the ballpark of £50 (or maybe just vouchers). This is the scenario for someone pretty near the top end, with a number of Scotland selections to her name. Others slightly further down the pecking order, but still decent club runners, won’t even have the prize opportunities she has. And it’s all in complete contrast with the scenario wynthank15 describes where, for instance, in the Highland League there are hundreds of pounds a week paid, win, lose or draw, to play fifth tier football and - often begrudgingly - train twice a week. PS - I do also note that the papers in their headlines also often apply the term “footballer” to guys who play in their local amateur leagues etc and who find themselves in court for whatever reason.?
  5. I think the root cause is to be found in that old chestnut which is football's adoption of the Economics of the Madhouse - specifically in this case there being more full time football in Scotland than the market can comfortably sustain, alongside the sport's willingness to pay players over generously in relation to their ability and input. In order to pay 20-odd guys full time wages to perform an activity which only earns money for the business for 90 minutes approximately once a week in front of modest crowds, Championship clubs (most of them full time) really have to push the boat out as far as possible in terms of earnings. In many cases (including ICT) they also rely on donations and subsidies from wealthy individuals and concerns.... and still sometimes sail perilously close to the wind in terms of administration and insolvency. This has at least two negative implications for their customers - the fans. Firstly, clubs have to maximise ticket income and presumably various boards have concluded that the level which maximises that income (number of admissions x price) is in the £17 - £24 range. Many fans doubtless, and understandably, feel this is pretty expensive for a 90 minute event where a guarantee of customer satisfaction is a lot less certain than, for instance, in the theatre. However, fan loyalty to the product means that boards know that the normal parameters of price elasticity of demand also don't fully apply in football. To some extent that loyalty is therefore exploited by boards and translated into excessively generous player wages. Another major down side for fans is inconvenient kick off times - such as tonight's in Inverness, which appears, understandably, not to have gone down well with Morton supporters. However, such is the need to earn TV money, principally to pay players, that this supporter goodwill is again taken for granted when these concessions are made to TV companies. I'll also indulge in a bit of Devil's Advocacy (please note!) and ask - "Would fans accept a poorer standard of play through lower full time wages or part time status in return for a substantial reduction in ticket prices?" or.... "If it's too expensive, why do you keep paying?" It has long been my view that football's Achilles heel is the payment of excess wages and the presumption that players will be paid for a very low level of performance and input. For this you need look no further than the Highland League where the "moneybags" clubs are paying totally silly sums and even Fort William were paying £20 a week for guys to concede 7 goals a game. This also in return for what, in the grander scheme of things, is little more than "kick and rush" fifth tier Scottish football. Many people in other sports - especially those who are out of pocket in order to be high performers - don't know whether to laugh or cry at the sense of entitlement in return for very little which is institutionalised within football. However the bottom line (yes.... it's here at last - I'm just making up for lost time in this one-off return on a subject which interests me!) is that it's football fans' pockets and convenience which, in part at least, pay for the widespread remuneration of players above their realistic market value.
  6. Not a chance. I've already made this year's contribution, so am content to leave IHE to his Senior Citizen's Inverness football fantasy, apparently inspired by some bizarre Faustian relationship with flares, male perms, dodgy stamps and gallons of Scotsmac in the Howden End. The world has moved on a long way since an argument that was settled before the turn of the millennium. Over, and well and truly out.
  7. I'm making just my second contribution here in a year of self-imposed purdah because I feel strongly enough about this to want to back up Scotty's effort to put the record straight about David Sutherland. Sutherland's, and hence Tulloch's involvement with the club began right at the start of 2000 and their contributions have AT LEAST amounted to the following:- * When the club's debt hit around 2.3M late in 1999 DS, as Tulloch Chairman, arranged for the company to spirit that debt away; otherwise Administration or worse would have been inevitable. That happened in conjunction with the stadium and lease transferring by a complex route to Tulloch. These have recently been largely gifted back to the club to the its great additional benefit. Coincidentally the book value of that gift is also quoted as 2.3M so that huge debt has gone at the expense only of Tulloch retaining much of the car park. * In order to ensure working capital to enable progress to the SPL in 2004, Tulloch/Sutherland also initially put in 0.5M, and other supplements made them the owners of these 729,500 shares which were more recently donated back to the ICT Trust. Tulloch has therefore voluntarily relinquished its former position as largest shareholder. * In order to ensure an escape from an unsustainable lease at Pittodrie in 2004/05, Tulloch/Sutherland ensured that funding was put in place for the North and South stands and built these themselves, within the required very tight 7 week timescale. These stands are also part of that gift back to the club. Surely even the hungriest of supporters could not expect a totally free lunch from this, so there was indeed a rent involved. * There also were various other day to day assistances such as the free secondment of Tulloch staff to work at the club which constitute a further benefit. * In recent years the club's need for its expenditure vastly to exceed its earnings has been largely sustained by loans and donations from wealthy individuals with its best interests at heart - including David Sutherland. It is estimated that Tulloch's investment, instigated and implemented by David Sutherland has, over the years, come to approaching 6 million, before you include his recent personal donations. It's all very well for Inverness fans to point to Roy MacGregor as a major benefactor of Ross County but it always seems to be forgotten that ICT has also benefited in a major way from handouts from interested parties, principally Tulloch. Without these the club would at best have been playing part time football for years with never a sniff of the SPL, Europe or the Scottish Cup... or at worst gone into liquidation at some point during 2000 or 2001. The biggest irony of all, however, is that on the one hand there seems to be this expectation within football that wealthy individuals will bankroll the game's economics of the madhouse... but on the other, the far too frequent vilification of these individuals for their contributions is likely to act as a major disincentive to others to follow suit. Talking about kicking a gift horse in the mouth..... Over and out.
  8. Logging in for the first time in nine months, I had almost forgotten how to do so - albeit only logging in to clarify that “full use of the free bar” amounted to two small glasses of Diet Coke from a supermarket bottle. Not perhaps an unreasonable return on 25th Anniversary weekend for the 70,000 words provided in the official account of the events in question all these years ago. And with that single observation, I will depart, even less likely now to return than I was last May..... given some of the contributions I have seen on my very occasional intervening “read only” visits.
  9. You know, I've taken half an hour to reflect - by no means for the first time in recent months, but today through the medium of this individual thread - on where CTO seems to be going, in particular since relegation. The unfortunate conclusion is that it simply isn't the same vibrant and constructive medium that it was when I first joined in the early 2000s, and in particular the feeling that everybody was in this journey together seems to have gone. This isn't a sudden observation on my part, but more a "next step" in an ongoing process. Consequently, and this is a conclusion come to at considerable length, not just this morning, I think I'm going to give contributing to CTO a miss from now on. Quite frankly, it's lost its allure for me and I'm sure I can find some other means of engaging with ICTFC.
  10. What seems to be going largely unremarked here is that many of the posts I am highlighting appear themselves to be personal in nature, in that they are consistently critical of just about every conceivable aspect of how the club is being run. I therefore feel obliged to respond to this constant undermining of the club’s governance - which was quite sudden in onset - by placing it in context.
  11. What is far more relevant is your clear view that - "Current Board (who no longer employ Caley D)... baaad.... previous board (who did employ Caley D).. perfect (as you told us for years... before relegation)".... after an even earlier period when they didn't employ Caley D during which they were absolutely deplorable. Let's be up front Donald. It really looks to me as if you are putting yourself right in there to become some kind of Hero of the Caley Thistle Workers' Conglomerate. Maybe one of the first things you need to do is to convince the people you need to vote for you in the forthcoming CJT Board election, that you are aren't simply in there in a personal attempt to throw the rattle out of the pram against the Board which no longer employs you - and that you hence become far more of a liability to this club than you ever were an asset. On the other hand, maybe we should welcome the fact that you have sufficiently extricated yourself from Kenny Cameron's backside to be able even to issue the lame inanities against the current board that you have managed to create.
  12. That is an assertion which is woefully short of rigour and alarmingly full of nebulous, wishful thinking. And all of that before you even consider that the game has somewhat moved on in 14 years. Smell the coffee, Donald, and maybe waken up to the reality that what looks like your latest objective - an influential role within CJT (if it perpetuates) - is less likely to materialise if you expose yourself as being hellbent on talking down and denigrating the board running the club of whose interests you claim to be Chief Cheerleader.
  13. Yes it does fit. The budget is being cut - end of. In order to run a squad of viable size under these circumstances, the decision has been taken to dispense with the services of a high earner given a long and well-remunerated contract by the previous regime which can no longer be afforded. What would you be proposing on the basis of your "quantity over quality" argument? James Forrest or similar, the ten young lads given contracts the other week, plus nobody on the bench? That is its ultimate extrapolation. It rather strikes me that this is another attempt to portray the current board as worse than the previous one - ironically by using a decision by the current board to dispense with a lengthy and expensive contract handed out under the previous board, but now no longer affordable as a result of the relegation also arrived at on the watch of that previous board.
  14. Mike is the fourth of five Crook brothers who lived over the road from me in Dalneigh when we were kids. In descending order - Ralph, Philip, Willie, Mike and Chris.
  15. I really don’t see the problem here. The bottom line is that if his contract needs to be honoured, it will be. But as part of a process of urgently necessary cost cutting, an alternative option is being sought. The financial reality is that each and every means of cutting costs has to be pursued. There is, unfortunately, no room for sentiment when the future of the club is at stake. I don’t know the intimate details of Gary’s current contract but would guess that it was, a la Foran, a fairly long one given under the previous boardroom and managerial regimes in the Premiership. We need to thank Gary for his huge contribution (for which he has been remunerated) and regret the earlier failure which has made it necessary to try to terminate his engagement.
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