An Open Letter to Gordon Smith

Dear Gordon Smith,

            Thank you! Thank you for making following my national team an arduous and frustrating task. This may not be your fault directly but you are the figure head of the SFA and so with you the responsibility surely lies. The clock has now clicked past 10.30am and yet I find myself still staring at the web page of doom ‘WE ARE SORRY THE SITE IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE PLEASE TRY AGAIN LATER’. I don’t ask for much as a Scotland fan: a chance for a good time, perhaps a good result every now and again and maybe just maybe qualifying for a major tournament again. Perhaps my only real demand is that when it comes to ticket time I get a fair crack at getting them. Once again SFA you have failed me and now I find myself with just a few questions:

  1. Why were you not prepared? You sent an email out two weeks previous to the opening of the website on the 12th April 2010 advising us that there were roughly 7,000 places left for about 20,000 applicants. You then suggested making sure you have all your details ready for quick and efficient application, I did so. I even made sure I had breakfast to make sure I was fully alert to get everything right first time. What you failed to do is make sure you are prepared for this. You already knew the numbers that would be streaming to the website for this, so why were you not prepared?

 

  1. Who is in charge of this operation? The reason I ask this is that I am sure that the old excuses will get wheeled out, it’s not our responsibility we sub contracted it to another company who assured us that…blah,blah,blah…. It is your responsibility you hired them to deal with what you knew would be an extremely busy day on the SFA website. Lines about how great we are for all being so keen to follow Craig Levein and his team will not wash, I don’t want pandered to, I want answers.

 

  1. Why did you choose the internet as a method of registering to join? I understand its safe, its now one of the most easily accessible forms of communication in the world. I couldn’t imagine my world without it but it also has some very telling flaws when denmand is greater than supply. For example not being able to get on the site, just so you are keeping record it is now 10.44am. I got a little bit excited when I got on the homepage only to hit the click through and get sent hurtling back to an error page. Personally I don’t see what would have been an issue with the old postal system, send in an application form with all the relevant details. No system crashes just a few extra letters in a Postie’s bag, any issues with that suggestion let me hear your case. Why not just let people apply by secure email? If you are that insistent on using technology. By doing this you would also negate the risk of a website crashing all around you as a surge of people try to get online.

 

  1. What about the fans? Some fans that will not get to be members, and that was to be expected. The demand was far higher than the availability but there will no doubt be thousands of fans just like myself wondering if there is anything going to be done for those of us that are not fortunate enough to get through. I’m not going to waste words on how this is a poor way to treat fans. I’m sure you know this already, but people have taken days off work, sat indoors with the sun blazing, probably got a warning or two for misuse of company equipment and in general have lost an hour or two of there lives. So it would be nice to hear how you are going to compensate. As a Scotland fan I will follow blindly, through Vogts and Burley I was there, through Smith and McLeish I was there and through Levein I hope to be there.

 

  1. 5.                  What about preventing these incidents in the future? So we have gone through another debacle when it comes to the SFA and ticketing. That maybe harsh but that is certainly the case. I imagine nothing will be changed, we will get all the right noises about preparation at my end and yours but I expect the same thing to happen over and over again. I understand this is a unique event but that is not an excuse for the way that this has been organised and executed by yourselves. What steps will be made to prevent this happening again?

 

 

I don’t think anything I have queried is unreasonable, in fact some of these questions I would expect an answer for without any prompting. I love my country and I love supporting it from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs. I’ve been on this earth for more than 24 years and for each and every one of those years I have a memory of the Tartan Army that I will remember forever. Whether it be a McCoist screamer against the Swiss at Euro 96 to James McFadden and that goal in Paris.

 

If you are just going to send out a generic response don’t bother wasting your time the photocopy of your signature at the bottom will tell it all. However I feel safe in the knowledge that will you read this, take it on board and get back to me, because as the chief executive of the SFA you would want me as a fan of the Scottish National Team to be happy that efforts are being made to make all fans lives easier when it comes to following our team. Our Nation.

 

Thank you for your time and your decency in reading this letter, I hope that my words have been viewed as they are intended as constructive as opposed to destructive. I will follow through deserts and mountains, in rain, sunshine and snow, from Riga to Paris, whether getting beat 2-0 by Moldova or holding Germany at Hampden; but why do you have to make it so hard for us? I would like to have written more eloquently but sometimes fancy words and hyperbole do not get across a message and an emotion.

 

It’s 11.18am now and still no joy…….

 

Just finished editing its 11.55am and still no joy….. if I get through I’ll let you know.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Chris Marshall

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