A Grenade Under The Table

article-2019117-0D2D2D4A00000578-9_634x341There’s a poignant moment in the Cracker episode entitled “Someday A Lemming Will Fly.” Fitz has gone to see the mother of a boy found hanging in the woods. Fitz has been at the coroners, who told him what he already suspected; this was not a suicide. It was murder.

He goes to her home, and he tells her this, being as gentle as he can be, and she thanks him.

“I knew it wasn’t suicide,” she tells him. He nods his understanding.

“He loved you. You knew he wouldn’t do that to you. Because suicide is a grenade under the kitchen table. The whole family cut to pieces.”

She gets it. Dave King doesn’t get it. He is, of course, living in his own fictional universe, but in that one a grenade under the table is perfectly permissible. He thinks it’s a negotiating tactic. Obliterating the very thing he claims to care for is … collateral damage. He wants something out of this, and it isn’t a healthy, well-run football club.

In order to get whatever it is, he’s willing to burn the whole thing to the ground. That’s the most curious act of love I’ve ever heard of.

What kind of person does this on the eve of what some websites were claiming was their biggest game in two years? (I am assuming they mean since their inaugural match). If The Grand Conspiracy did exist, if that old Unseen Fenian Hand really was pulling all the strings and influencing events from afar (as far as Celtic Park anyway) the shadowy men behind it could not have conceived of a better time to ignite civil war between fans and club than this weekend.

Am I saying he was responsible for today’s crash and burn? Of course not. Today was on the cards because of the Dud in the Dugout, whose team building strategy is right out of the Football Manager first-timers playbook. Assemble a big squad on high wages and then put them in any old position, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Sometimes it’ll work. At other times you’ll get pumped.

King’s actions on the eve of the match didn’t affect the result. They didn’t even affect the performance. They took the focus away from what was happening on the pitch, though, and they put it on more boardroom squabbling. He got himself another day of headlines, and plunged the support into more despair.

What exactly does this guy bring to the table, except trouble? We’ve gone over this on this site a hundred times already. He isn’t putting up money. He expects the fans to pay for everything. He’s got no business plan except “get into Europe”. How can you take that seriously?

Yet the board at Ibrox has to take him seriously, as long as a certain percentage of the supporters are doing the same. He can do epochal damage to the club, and he’s shown in his actions over the last 24 hours that he’s quite prepared to.

I was curious to check the reactions of the fans to last night’s announcement. Those who are backing King appear to be on his side because of a “broken promise” by the board that they would publish the 120 day review once it was complete. I want to talk about that for a wee minute.

A business review is a complex affair, but I’ve said already that taking 120 days to do one on a company the size of Sevco Rangers is a nonsense. Nevertheless, the review has been set, the timeframe has been decided and it will run its course.

Dave King has been involved in business reviews. I have no doubt of this. No-one, therefore, should have to tell him how they work. The period of review might end next week, but it doesn’t mean – and it never did mean – that the report would be published the same day.

The findings of the review need to be written up, conclusions drawn, plans put in place.

That process will take weeks, and it was always going to take weeks, and he knows that because despite acting – especially in relation to how a company takeover works – like someone who slept through the business part of business school, he does actually know what he’s doing, and how these things are done.

In my view, he’s chosen to focus on a complete non-issue, going back on his word of only a week or so ago, fabricating a “crisis” out of thin air, to accomplish God knows what and throw the whole club back into a state of flux. To “lead a call” for fans to boycott their own club, and to think that his voice is the only one anyone should be listening to, is an appalling act of self-indulgence with no clear motive. It attempts to drive a wrecking ball into the side of Ibrox.

The club doesn’t need it, because King is not the only person with connections to Sevco Rangers who is prepared to derail forward progress on a whim. It’s not the first time McCoist has done it, and it won’t be the last time, unless he’s clearing out his desk by the close of business today.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it; no individual, not even Craig Whyte or David Murray, is more responsible for the cataclysm that engulfed Rangers and its supporters than was Ally McCoist. The hole in the balance sheet that brought the Craig Whyte operation down can be traced all the way back to his door and the twin shockwaves of those European defeats.

The financial crisis that’s erupted around the NewCo is partly because of his sheer profligacy, springing from his need to over-compensate for his failings as a manager by outspending his league rivals by as much as 20 times, and he too has not been shy about throwing a grenade under the table in pursuit of his own goals.

No-one at Ibrox has been any doubt as to the need for cuts for at least two years. He has steadfastly resisted that, and even gone to the media to backdoor his employers when he’s had to. His decision, on the eve of the AGM, to give his shareholding to a supporters club that backed the requisitioners was a shocking display of disloyalty to the people who are sanctioning one of the biggest managerial salaries in Britain.

McCoist has rebuilt the team twice in two years, at huge expense. He accused Charles Green of undermining the side last year, even as he was lobbying behind the scenes for the resources to replace almost every player in it. When he built this team at the start of the season he said he considered it good enough to take them back to the SPL and do well in that league.

He’s since dismissed it as not up to the job, and is lobbying for the third rebuilding job on the bounce. The media refuses to hold him accountable for the state of the finances, but who do you blame for the signing of a guy like Sorensen? His calamitous display today was entirely predictable. The guy has barely played a minute of football in a year. What we witnessed, that moment of grim hilarity at a crucial point in today’s match, was the direct consequence of the manager signing a player he didn’t need and then leaving him to rot on the bench.

God alone knows what he, and others, are costing in wages.

McCoist has made much, this week, of his team being up the challenge in this game, and of how much it hurt to lose to Raith Rovers last week. He is probably not feeling particularly good right now, and nor should he. His decision to have a pop at Charles Green last week was a typical moment of McCoist petulance overwhelming common sense. He left himself no alibi for failure, and failure is exactly what McCoist delivered on the day.

Green’s statement earlier in the season, that McCoist needed to deliver a major trophy to be considered a success, is one many fans were in full agreement with … and the manager was unable to accomplish it. He was not even able to secure the Ramsden’s Cup.

He can blame who he likes for that, but I would stipulate that even if he’d given the greatest team talk of the 21st century to his players before today’s game kicked off, he would have had to go far beyond that to erase from their minds his own public statements, going back months, that the current squad is not good enough to compete at that level.

He has personally undermined his own players, and cast doubts on their ability against top tier teams, time and time again in the last few months, doing to the footballing side what Dave King has repeatedly done to the business side.

That club is a shambles from top to bottom, and even as some of their supporters cast blame backward towards other clubs and governing bodies and look for proof that it was The Grand Conspiracy that sent them spiralling into death and has afflicted the reanimated corpse club with a million problems of its own, the truth is much simpler:

These wounds are self-inflicted. They are grenades under the table, tossed there by those who claim to have the club’s best interests at heart.

The fans need to consider that carefully, and they have to be careful about what they do next. But they should be in no doubt … it’s going to be their money that funds whatever’s coming.

I think they’ll be paying for a funeral. I see no way around that now.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

12 thoughts on “A Grenade Under The Table

  • 12 April, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Well said James !! Ally must stay 😉

  • 12 April, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    In Ally we trust…… To destroy there club

  • 12 April, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    First time poster James but followed your blog over last 2 years.Yet again a superb summation of 2 people who are culpable both pre admin/liquid to present date – one a previous director and the other a poor manager who has manipulated the hordes like no other.Theyve got away with murder due to the SMM and the most gullible support in Planet Fitba !!!

  • 13 April, 2014 at 3:37 am

    They, The Rangers, will get no sympathy from me. Would not care if we ever played them again.

  • 13 April, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Loving every torturous minute of it, karma pure karma, somebody described it as watching them die and now watching them burn in hell. James nail on the head as usual brilliant.
    Did anyone hear Pat Nevin last night medication required surely.

  • 13 April, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Super Salary must stay !!

  • 13 April, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    To be fair to this 2 year old club, it must be daunting to play a crack SPL outfit 2 whole leagues above you. Ally is a young manager working under trying circumstances. His team full of kids albeit on average 26 year old kids just need another decade to realise their potential. When that happens young Ally will only be 62 and all his players will be 36. Good days ahead for this exciting young Rangers team. Ma bawz.

  • 14 April, 2014 at 9:17 am

    James – great article and fully agree with every other comment and kudos to Alberto for the in-depth analytical predictions.

    “Oh the banter” 🙂

    Now stopwatch has started to see how long it takes Super Salary to resign or get bumped.

    Any bookies taking bets?

  • 14 April, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Good article but you seem a little to concerned that if King is partly successful in ringfencing season ticket money then it will be like taking a wrecking ball to Ipox, let it happen, and let it be soon and let it be a 1000 Times more painful than there first funeral.. by the way a sponge ball could bring the BIGOT DOME down never mind a wrecking ball.. HAIL HAIL, KTF

  • 16 April, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I noted the fat man,either last week,or the week before,talking his usual garbage in the papers.
    Now normally I just wouldn’t take any cognisance of anything he said,but in talking about the infamous “game of shame” he said: What people didn’t see was Neil and I having a beer together in his room afterwards. WHAT?????
    I’d love someone,anyone to ask Lenny if that’s true,in fact I’d put my last cent on it being one of Fatso’s “cheeky chappisms” designed to portray himself in a good light……” ****** ” Insert that word so beloved of guys everywhere,you know the one,rhymes with banker. 🙂

  • 16 April, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Oops sorry,meant to say,fantastic article James.

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