Stranraer not yet ready to concede SPFL relegation is inevitable

Stranraer are continuing to “explore every avenue” in their efforts to right the perceived wrong of their relegation to League Two.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 8:14 am
Stair Park looks set to host bottom tier football when sport eventually comes out of lockdown.

The Blues’ hopes of being saved by reconstruction were sunk last week when the Task Force set up by the SPFL to look at possible options failed to reach any agreement.

But club chairman Iain Dougan said this week that the club are not yet ready to accept their fate as inevitable.

He said: “I’ve heard calls that it’s time to move on and put it behind us for the greater good of Scottish football and to heal wounds.

“That’s easy to say if you’re not one of the affected clubs or you don’t feel wronged by the decisions made.

“From our point of view we still feel very much affected, both financially and from a sporting point of view.

“When the resolution was taken Partick Thistle and Stranraer were the only teams in Europe to be officially relegated because of the pandemic.

“Since then France has called their league and has unofficially relegated clubs, but there has been intervention from the French government to push for this to be reversed because they feel it is wrong.

“For two clubs in Scotland to be the only ones currently affected with automatic relegation, it feels wrong to me.

“We’re in talks with other like-minded clubs to see where we go from here - I’m not great at lying down and shutting up and being told what is happening.

“All avenues will be explored to see if there is anything further we can do.”

The Stranraer chairman admitted he wasn’t particularly surprised the task force talks had collapsed.

He said: “I would have thought that before a task force was put together, there would have been at least a green light or a nod from the Premiership clubs, who ultimately could be the ones to scupper any plans, that reconstruction would have been palatable.

“It’s them that would be most affected with extra clubs going into [the Premiership] and revenues going out to other clubs.

“If these soundings weren’t taken, what was the point of it? Without the backing of the SPL, which effectively didn’t come, it was scuppered and the people who had joined the task force were basically giving up their time for nothing.”

Stranraer were also thwarted in their bid to help force an independent inquiry into the decision to call the lower league season when the resolution they supported - put forward by Rangers at Tuesday’s egm - was defeated 27-13, with two abstentions.

But Mr Dougan said the vote showed there was still considerable dissatisfaction among a significant number of clubs.

He said: “I don’t think we were ever under the impression that we would get sufficient votes.

“Probably the most disappointing thing was the amount of Championship clubs that didn’t go with the resolution. The only one was Inverness Caley Thistle - Partick Thistle were counted as a First Division club.

“I didn’t anticipate that. I thought with the failure of reconstruction there might be a few more.

“Ultimately the resolution failed, but it’s still roughly a third of the clubs are not satisfied with the way Scottish football is governed, so we make no apologies about joining with Rangers and Hearts.

“It wasn’t a case of loyalty to Rangers or anybody else, we were just in complete agreement with them.”