Jul 6 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
QUEENS chairman Billy Hewitson has slammed the “terrible position” that SFL clubs have been dropped into by the ongoing Rangers crisis.
As attempts by the SFA and SPL to parachute a newco Rangers into the first division continue, Mr Hewitson warned that Scottish football could be “thrown back 10 to 15 years” if the wrong decision is made.
This comes as Queens fans continue their calls on the club to vote against any move to allow Rangers into Scotland’s second tier.
The club has been inundated with supporters’ letters and e-mails opposing the move.
The Palmerston supremo said: “We find ourselves in a position that we simply shouldn’t be facing.
“We must make a decision based on what is best for Queen of the South and Scottish football overall.
“Voting against these proposals, which could be arguably be morally right, could throw Scottish football back ten to 15 years and force a number of clubs against the wall.
“We have listened to all of the options and quite frankly we don’t like any of them.
“It’s a terrible situation that we, along with many other clubs, find ourselves in and the SFA must take leadership on this situation.”
The chairman was joined by Queens vice-chairman Craig Paterson at a meeting of all 30 Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs at Hampden on Tuesday to discuss the Rangers crisis.
They were presented with five options, which included Rangers playing in the first division amid wider changes to the structure of the game, entry into third division and no admittance at all.
If Rangers are granted first division entry, the national governing bodies would be amalgamated, a play-off system between the SPL and first division would be introduced and a £1million payment would be made to the SFL to broadcast Gers games.
SFL clubs were also told that dumping Rangers into the third division would take £16 million out of the Scottish game, forcing a number of clubs to the brink of administration.
And a document outlining the various options open to lower league chairmen suggested “financial meltdown” would occur if Charles Green’s newco was refused entry into the SFL at any level.
Mr Hewitson added: “The meeting was a non-event as far as we are concerned.
“We were told of these five options but at the end of the day you are left with the impression that the powers that be are really looking at one option, and that is for Rangers in the first division.
“The benefit for the rest of us with this option would be the amalgamation of the governing bodies and the re-structuring of the game, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“They are saying that the SFL would be given this £1million television money but that is little more than a sweetener.
“At the end of the day we are being placed between a rock and a hard place, and none of this has been the SFL clubs’ making.”
A vote on the proposals, which would involve Dumfries and Galloway’s other members clubs, Annan Athletic and Stranraer, will take place at Hampden Park next Thursday.
This comes after it was confirmed on Wednesday that the top flight clubs had voted “overwhelmingly” against the Gers’ SPL entry.
A number of SFL clubs, including Raith Rovers, Partick Thistle, East Fife and Clyde, have already stated their opposition to any move that would allow the crisis-hit Gers into Scotland’s second tier.
Queens have yet to publicly confirm which way the Doonhamers will vote next week, while the club has been flooded with correspondence from supporters this week.
On the “Board Blog”, which is run by Palmerston director Mark Robertson, David Templeman wrote: “I would just like to add my belief that any newco Rangers must apply to play in the Scottish Third Division. That is the only way the integrity of the game can be upheld.”
Callum Murdoch said: “I can honestly say that if Queens were to vote in favour of this happening that I wouldn’t ever put another penny into the club I love knowing that we sold our soul to make a deal with the devil.”
Stuart McWilliam said: “Any Rangers newco must apply for admittance to the third division. It is scandalous to even contemplate them being allowed to enter the Scottish Football League at first division level.”
Iain Crosbie added: “I believe that the existing SFL rules should be upheld by Queen of the South FC and that any newco football club should be asked to apply for SFL membership by applying to join division three in the normal way.”
The Queens Trust has also been canvassing supporters’ opinion on the proposals, and will present their findings to the Palmerston club.
Mr Hewitson added: “We are well aware of the strong public opinion on this situation and we will make the decision that is best for Queen of the South FC.”