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 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 12:28 GMT
Falkirk must wait

They're only Bairns, bless them, so you can't really expect them to fully understand.

Falkirk are hell-bent on massaging the Premier League rules, which state you must meet the criteria of an all-seated 10,000 stadium if you want to play in the big boys' playground.

This of course has everything to do with the club's expectations that, before spring is in its glorious full bloom, they will be declared champions of the First Division.

Good luck to them and, in their position, I too might mock the top league ruling they are currently failing to meet and indeed have no intention of trying to do so.

And furthermore they may have a point.

Given average attendances throughout the nation then perhaps a lower limit of 7,500 is a more realistic figure.

Certainly I can understand their decision to put that kind of limit on their new home - if and when it is built. But you will excuse my cynicism.

Falkirk boss Ian McCall
Falkirk boss Ian McCall is on course for the SPL
I am delighted that, at long last, a club that has been promising a flitting for seemingly decades is at last on the threshold of hiring the removal men.

But just because they are moving the goalposts literally, it doesn't give them licence to do it figuratively.

In short the SPL regulation getting right up their collective nose has been in force since the first day of the season and every team who sought promotion knew exactly what price they would have to pay.

That has always been a major mump from boardrooms around the country. Falkirk, to be honest, are not the most popular club with those who play around them.

They have been a victim of mismanagement at director level for a long time and the machinations of those who have pulled the strings at the club have been very difficult to comprehend.

If I repeated the whispers of allegations of what has gone on there, I suspect I might need the assistance of a team of the country's finest legal eagles.

But on the stadium issue you can understand why those who play against them have a chip on their shoulder over all of this.

Partick Thistle had to get their house in order - literally - last season and St Mirren the term before that.

Falkirk were happy meanwhile to romp in the dump that is Brockville and invest in new players.

Falkirk defender Kevin James
Falkirk have attracted players like Kevin James
Not millions of course...but they were guilty of attracting and paying wages to experienced performers that other clubs could not even speak to because of budget demands made by stadium reconstruction.

Suddenly the top 12 is within their grasp and panic has set in. So they want the rules changed. Now.

Well, tough, I say. It didn't happen for the others so it shouldn't happen for them.

What should happen is that the SPL board should make a decision to reduce the capacity for any club entering the league from the start of 2004-2005, by which time that dream home of Falkirk might actually have become reality.

And if they win the First Division then they should be made most welcome.

In the meantime the Bairns should remember that it was only the demise of Airdrie that gave them any right at all to be in a promotion race. Or at least one that involves talk of the SPL.

Had justice been done they would, at best, currently be battling to get out of the Second Division...but clearly they have short memories at Brockville.

See also:

28 Dec 02 | Scot Div 1
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