For some of us, football is everything. We can’t understand why others don’t appreciate what we consider to be the greatest game on the planet. Labour MSP James Kelly and SNP MSP David Torrance are well aware of the sometimes bad, but also brilliant, that Scottish football can bring.

Football is the working man’s game

“I think there’s certainly a problem with some elements of the government and some civil servants in not understanding the scale of football in the country and also the positive contribution football makes. Last season for example, there were four million turnstile clicks through the major divisions in Scotland,” revealed Kelly, speaking exclusively to NTOF.

Grassroots ‘fitba’ should be encouraged. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

“But it’s not just that, if you look at a lot of smaller towns in Scotland will have football teams. So, for example, in Rutherglen you’ve got Rutherglen Glencairn. In Cambuslang, you’ve got Cambuslang Rangers. In Blantyre, you’ve got Blantyre Victoria so as well as some people supporting the bigger teams in those three areas, they’ll support junior football so it’s very much part of local communities as well as something that people are interested in in the bigger clubs.”

Massive off the park as well as on it

“I think the other thing they’ve failed to recognise is the contribution that football makes. A lot of clubs will have foodbank collections, Hibs have done that recently, Celtic have done it and you’ll see some positive campaigns that have spun off from football involvement.

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“Recently, it was the On The Ball campaign in terms of getting sanitary products in grounds, not just in Scotland but throughout England so there are a lot of really positive aspects.

Liverpool and Everton are two of the more high-profile British clubs that support foodbanks. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“And also just the contribution to the economy and I think there are elements of the civil service and the SNP government that are blinded to that and some of them have a downer on football fans and a mindset that treats football fans like second class citizens.”

“I know how big it is”

David Torrance is an SNP MSP but he disagrees.

“As somebody who has followed football all their life, I’m a season ticket holder at a football club, I know how big it is. But, football is there to provide entertainment for a family and a family atmosphere to be there,” the Health and Sport Committee member began.

(photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“Nobody should feel intimidated. Nobody should sit at a Scottish Cup semi-final and listen to chants behind them and for them to be broadcast around the world. The whole world could see that, what image does that give of Scottish football? So, at the end of the day, we should be there to stop that.”

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