Platt: City won’t ease off
Falkirk’s chairman is afraid the Scottish Premier League’s ‘no’
vote on reform means Scottish football will never get the change it
Opposition from St Mirren and Ross County at Monday’s Hampden
Park meeting left the SPL without the 11-1 majority required to
pass proposals including a merger with the Scottish Football League
and a new 12-12-18 league structure.
The result means SFL clubs, including First Division Falkirk,
will not even get to vote on the plans.
Chairman Martin Ritchie said: “I am now concerned that there
will never be a proposal that can gain approval of 11 SPL clubs and
23 SFL clubs.
“It looks like a stalemate where the game will stagnate in its
current form until someone breaks the deadlock.
“Perhaps it is already time for the Scottish Football
Association, as the governing body for football in Scotland, to
step in and take control.”
An official club statement read: “The board at Falkirk FC is
very disappointed at the outcome of the SPL meeting on Monday.
“We had hoped that the package of proposals would have started a
process of change in Scottish football.
“The First Division clubs now need to take stock of the
situation and wait to see what emerges from the SPL and the SFL
over the next few days.”
SK Brann starlet Finne is regarded as one of the best young
prospects to emerge from Scandinavia in recent years.
The 18-year-old burst onto the scene last season with Brann,
scoring four goals in nine appearances for the Norwegian side.
Finne is also a regular in the Norway youth sides and is tipped
for a call-up to the senior squad in the near future.
The exciting forward’s performances have not gone unnoticed,
with clubs across Europe keeping tabs on his progress.
All the Premier League’s top guns, including Manchester United,
Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are all thought to
have watched Finne in action over the last year.
Clubs from Germany, Italy and France are also thought to be
keeping a watching brief on Finne as Brann face a fight to keep
hold of their prize asset.
Finne’s current contract expires in December, but Brann are
bracing themselves for bids for the player this summer when his
suitors would only have to pay a minimal compensation fee for his
City are all but out of contention to win the Barclays Premier
League but have a firm grip on second place and could be tempted to
ease up before facing Wigan at Wembley next month.
But aside from the fact the runners-up spot is not guaranteed,
City feel they have standards to maintain and having finally hit
top form, they do not want to let up.
City are back in Premier League action three days after their
energy-sapping cup semi-final win over Chelsea as they host
relegation-threatened Wigan in a final dress rehearsal at the
Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Platt said: “Rather than dramatising the situation, it is about
finishing the season as strongly as we can do.
“You would probably put money on us finishing second now and
hopefully we will win the FA Cup.
“But we still have to play a good team and anything can happen
in the final.
“We have our own expectations and our own expectations are very
City went into their semi-final on the back of an impressive and
psychologically important derby win over Premier League leaders
Manchester United at Old Trafford. Prior to that they demolished
There is a feeling that since conceding defeat to United in the
title race – they currently trail by 15 points – they have started
playing without pressure.
But Platt said: “I don’t think it is a case of that, the
pressure is still on to win football games.”
City were certainly at their best for the first hour of their
semi-final win, dominating in all departments to claim a 2-0
Chelsea responded and forced Roberto Mancini’s men to defend
resolutely in the closing third but City came through 2-1.
Platt said: “It is a big result.
“You set off every season playing for the trophies you are
involved in. You want to win them all.
“There is nothing like an FA Cup final in England. It stands the
test of time despite all the euphoria around the Champions League
and Premier League, which are the big prizes, let’s not be silly
“The FA Cup final has got its own status in this country. We
would like to be in it.”
Mancini continued with his cup policy of playing back-up
goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon in place of Joe Hart in the
The Romanian had not conceded a goal in any of the previous
rounds but his selection ahead of England first choice Hart was
still a minor surprise.
However, after Pantilimon justified his place in the second
half, it may not raise eyebrows if the 26-year-old plays again in
Platt said: “Your goalkeeper that backs up the number one has a
thankless task. He is always away in the hotels, he sits on the
bench – when does he ever get on? When does he ever get a game?
“It is important he plays big games so that he is ready for
“That is what Robbie has done over the years. He has allocated
domestic cup competitions to that goalkeeper.
“I think it would have been unfair to Costel to change the
“If he keeps his place the final will be a different game, a
different choice, but I don’t think he has done anything wrong to
warrant not playing in that final.”
City are unlikely to risk playmaker David Silva against Wigan as
he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Micah Richards,
Maicon and Jack Rodwell are all back in contention after lengthy
lay-offs as Mancini considers changes.
Sergio Aguero has been at the centre of controversy since the
semi-final following a two-footed challenge on David Luiz in the
closing stages, but he will not face retrospective action.
With referee Chris Foy having awarded a free-kick, the Football
Association feels there is no scope to review the matter.
Platt said: “It is a situation that has gone. I am not surprised
he has got off. They are the rules, the officials saw it.”
Platt is not expecting to get many cup final clues from Wigan
He said: “Each team has four or five games before then.
“It is not a case of because we are playing them tomorrow we
will know how to play them in the cup final. I don’t think it has
any correlation whatsoever.”