Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | Dunfermline

The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.

Today we speak to Alistair McLeod. Alistair is currently enjoying the heady heights at the top of the Scottish First Division.  Follow Alistair on twitter @doelcmila.

What team do you support?

Dunfermline Athletic.

How often to you go to watch your team?

All home games, occasional away games to more local sides.

What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?

As a young teenager going with my mates, standing on the terraces amongst a few hundred fans watching (old) 2nd division football.

What do you think of entrance prices at football?

Prices have certainly increased whereas quality has not – i don’t find it too expensive, but i can see how a family going along would find it so.

What’s your average spend on match days?

I rarely buy anything at the match – used to buy match programs but not any more. Rarely buy any food/snacks/drinks.

Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?

Not personally – i support the club, but don’t define myself by it and therefore don’t feel inclined to wears its colours outwith the football context. I’ve had a few things as gifts before, or bought individual items for, e.g., a cup final occasion, but not as a general thing.

Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?

I think most clubs could, but there’s no easy solution. When clubs say “we need to connect with fans” they actually mean “we need to get more money from fans”. When fans say the same, they want to be more involved, know whats going on, feel the club is part of the community.

Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums?

Definitely – there’s no denying that such an area can introduce more atmosphere to the game – something which is often lacking even at some of the bigger supported matches.

Do you play at any level?

I played Sunday league in my younger years but now too old for that. Now play in a 7-a-side league team and a couple of other 5-a-side games each week.

If so what do you think of the cost of playing?

It’s ok – typically £3-5 per game.

Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?

I don’t but is always something i’d thought about but don’t think i’d have the time.

If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?

I was hoping you’d ask this.

My major bug-bear with the game is diving and, in particular, diving to get penalties. I have a master plan to fix this, and it’d change the way “last man” red-cards and penalties are given. I find the current situation arbitrary and unfair – having a man sent off and a penalty is too much of a punishment, particularly since some players are so adept at conning the referee. My plan:

  • I’d no longer give an automatic penalty if a foul is done in the box. I’d change it so that a penalty is only given if it was a goal scoring opportunity. Others would be a direct free kick as per outside the box.
  • I’d no longer automatically red-card a player for stopping a goal-scoring opportunity (unless it was violent conduct etc) – a penalty is enough for the other team. A yellow card would be given if deserved, as per outside the box.
  • I’d give a penalty for stopping a goal opportunity outside of the box.

Effectively, the penalty box is not longer a penalty box, but the goalkeepers box. Stopping a goal-scoring opportunity results in a penalty and, other than that, anything that happens in the box uses the same rules as outside of the box.

 The benefits:

  • We’d put a stop to this player running away from the goal, running into the keepers outstretched arms and getting an undeserved penalty.
  • It’d remove the arbitrary last-man-on-goal and keeper fouls him inside/outside the box decisions where there is a huge discrepancy between a penalty and a free kick outside the box.
  • It’d remove the double-punishment of a penalty and a last card for a goal-scoring opportunity stopped in the box.
  • Players might be more likely to stay on their feet in the box.

Favourite moment following your team?

First time we were promoted to the SPL.

Favourite football moment not featuring your team?

Archie Gemmel goal against Argentina (I can just about remember it).

If you could have been at any game in history what would it be?

Dunfermline winning the 1968 cup final.

The thing that annoys you most about football?

As above, diving, cheating, feigning injury, trying to get other players booked. The sports media in general who are there to sell papers, not report and are too afraid to say anything that might lose them readers.

What makes your club so special?

Sammy the Tammy.

Anything else you want to say?

Please contact FIFA, UEFA and the SFA and get my last-man-no-red-card-penalty rule implemented.


Living proof that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said “all men are created equal” although considering Thomas Jefferson also said an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000 why should anyone listen to him? Bryan has a passion for Celtic, a love of football and a tendency to make completely absurd statements in such a way that you might actually agree with them. Follow on twitter @bryanmcmanus


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