An Actual Wasteland

wasteland01byeverliteYesterday, Keith Jackson published one of the most astonishingly inept, biased and contemptible pieces of journalism I’ve read in a very long time.

Entitled “Six men have six weeks to save Rangers and spare Scottish football another nightmare”, it is perhaps the most farcical thing written by any journalist in this country on the Sevco Rangers situation to date.

The article is a mess from top to bottom, not unlike the club it’s about. It contains assertions so banal a child could see through them and is written in a style – full of invective and spewing hate – that had they removed his name from it and published it anonymously I would have wondered when the intellectual lightweights at Vanguard Bears learned punctuation.

Yes, it is that bad.

Let’s start with the title itself. The six men in question, the current incumbents of the Sevco Rangers boardroom, include four in David Somers, Graham Wallace, Norman Crighton and Philip Nash about whom Jackson was once gushing like a burst sewage outflow.

Jackson has no shame. He shilled for Craig Whyte, even after the Internet Bampots had utterly discredited him. He applauded Charles Green like a seal hoping for a fish and he has hitched his wagon to the star of every half-witted scheme and half-baked plan that’s been floated in this crazy series of events no matter how unlikely, and no matter who was leading it.

Let’s not forget this; the man who is right now accusing the Sevco boardroom of being loaded from bow to stern with crooks and charlatans is currently flying the flag for a tax fraudster a judge labelled a “glib and shameless liar” who stayed out of jail only by pleading guilty to charges that could have bought him a sentence of 80 years. His hero, by the way, the man he thinks will be the hero of Sevco Rangers, has yet to invest a single penny of his own but has spent the last year destabilising the club, with unprecedented media backing.

The truth is, King and his media lackeys have done as much to wreck the finances at Ibrox than any man currently working inside the club, including Ally McCoist.

Perhaps this has escaped Jackson’s attention, or perhaps he just doesn’t care.

The Dave King led season ticket boycott, engineered to starve a club which couldn’t afford it, has helped accelerate them towards the edge, and it’s pretty clear to most of us watching that this has probably been part of King’s plan all along.

For Jackson to blame the current board for something he has helped to do is preposterous and a lot of the Sevco Rangers supporters know this, and it’s one of the reasons why they view Jackson, and his newspaper, with nothing but absolute contempt.

The contempt is clearly mutual. He obviously thinks that they, and everyone who reads his paper, is a mug. He thinks we’ve forgotten the slavish stories he wrote about these men and others beforehand. He is impossible to take seriously.

Nevertheless, it’s worth studying the rest of this insulting piece, because his next bizarre contention – indeed, one of the main thrusts of the piece – comes next when he talks of how “the future 
wellbeing of Scottish football depends on them.”

So there you have it. Jackson thinks the future wellbeing of Scottish football depends on these six men saving Sevco Rangers. Is there a more offensive notion about our national game than this one, this widely discredited joke assertion, which a couple of lines later even he admits we’ve heard before, and was proved a nonsense?

“Granted all the careless talk of Armageddon proved unfounded back in 2012 …” he says, in a throwaway fashion as if this was nothing. It is far from nothing. Those of us who cared about the game in this country said these claims were spurious nonsense, and so it proved. He goes on to defend them by referring to us living in a “nuclear winter”, another assertion that is utterly nonsensical and unsupported by a shred of proof.

In fact, it’s contrary to what we know. Club attendances have gone up. The standard of football at most of our sides has improved.

Yes, some of our competitions have yet to find a sponsor, but how dare this man, or anyone else, blame the fans for that. That is the fault and failure of the people running our game, who ran around sharing fantastical doom laden prophesies with halfwits like him, who reprinted it in every national paper of record, talking down our game and branding it worthless, even as key commercial contracts remained unsigned, sitting in desk drawers.

This rank incompetence is not the fault of the fans. Supporters up and down the land have done their part and then some. They’ve backed their teams and the game as a whole, all the while being told they were wrong to want to play a role in its running, whilst those who were in the key positions drove a wrecking ball through the organisations they were supposed to protect.

All of this was done to benefit just one club out of the 42 who were members of our leagues. Now Jackson and others are gearing up to try and sell us the same sob story all over again; that we must help a club calling itself Rangers, that we must save it from itself, for our own good.

It was cobblers then, and it is cobblers now. That club and its victim mentality do not deserve saving. Their own arrogance and inability to adapt to reality is, more than anything, what has dragged them towards the edge of this abyss.

That’s why Jackson’s next lines, about the “frenzy of malice and bloodletting” when Rangers imploded are so scandalous. There was none of either. Fans around this country objected to a club which had spent its way to the grave being given a free pass for it. During the time Rangers was spending money it couldn’t afford each and every club in this country lost revenue, trophies and status. The playing field had not been level, and the governing bodies were perfectly willing to admit that, accept it, ask us to swallow it and then break their own rules and dismantle sporting integrity to put together a grubby backstreet deal which would have shattered the notion once and for all.

The only malice was directed at the handful of corrupt officials who were trying, desperately, to sell this idea and finally resorted to the most shameful arm twisting to get it over the line.

The blood-letting in this case was all on one side, as Rangers pulled a rusty sword from its own scabbard and committed ritual suicide right in front of us. One only has to look at the most lop-sided administration in corporate history to see that they continued to behave recklessly even when the writing was on the wall in letters 100 feet high. They admitted they’d run out of cash but still tried to sign a player, for God’s sake. Does it get more blatant than that?

The lessons of it still haven’t been learned today. The NewCo is skint. It’s been living on life support for nearly a year, and yet McCoist has been allowed to sign players and take the squad to high priced hotels and they retain all the infrastructure of a European competition team, in arrogant over-reach which is coming back to haunt them in spades.

It is shocking that Jackson tries to make that Scottish football’s problem. This was caused in one place and one place only. It was caused at Ibrox.

There are Sevco Rangers fans who actually realise all this, and they are embarrassed when their own supporters and members of the press look around for others to point the finger at. More of them ought to speak up, because until they do this fabricated version of what happened will continue to be pushed and, in some minds it will harden into what they call fact.

What’s happened over there has been blamed on crooks and con-men and dodgy geezers at HMRC, banking corporations, government bodies and even the halls of football itself. Jackson and others like him push these crazy myths like drugs into the scrabbling, scabby hands of addicts, not caring that it builds the level of hate in our game to mountainous levels, not caring that it inspires every crackpot and lunatic to start fantasising about revenge and making “enemies lists”, not giving a toss what the long term consequences of all this might be.

All the while, the truth goes unspoken, except on blogs like this one, CQN, the Scottish Football Monitor and elsewhere, and that truth is simply this:

Rangers did this to themselves, and they’re still doing it, unable to stop, unwilling to even learn humility or live within their means. The only “solution” offered to their current plight is not cutting costs or learning to do without … no. It’s hoping that some guy with oodles of money comes in and gives them another hit.

That club needs weaning off the tit. It needs an antidote to its own bullshit.

Jackson and others pushing the Victim Myth is pathetic and spineless.

If the job of the media is to educate and inform, these people are absolutely dreadful at it. They have become cheerleaders and partisans. They’ve become stenographers for PR companies, a windsock which moves with the prevailing breeze. They’ve made obfuscating, deflecting and spinning their stock in trade.

Indulging fantasists is now their profession. Denial of reality is their default position.

Still, Jackson presses on, making even more ridiculous claims.

He warns that Scottish football is becoming a barren landscape, that fans are no longer interested in the game. As this article is about Sevco Rangers, one can only assume he believes their absence from the top flight is why this is the case.

I’ve heard this nonsense before; lack of competition is putting fans off coming to games. I’m sure I don’t need to point out the arrogant nonsense tied up in this idea, but I’ll do it anyway, because Jackson and others might wind up reading this. You never know.

I’m friends with football fans from many, many clubs across this country, and I have the utmost respect for them and for the sides they follow. That same respect is not shared by our media, most of it run out of the West of Scotland and built around two teams, one comfortably living within its means and the other dead, who’s resurrected corpse is unable to.

The myopic attitude of the West of Scotland media is not dissimilar to that which the London press shows towards this country, and it’s one of the reasons they’ve all been caught short by the results of the latest opinion polls on the independence referendum.

So, I’ll forgive it this one time and I’ll clue them in on something they perhaps don’t know.

The average St Johnstone, Aberdeen, Motherwell, Dundee Utd, Hearts, Hibs, St Mirren fan doesn’t give a good goddamn whether a club called Rangers exists in the league or not. They follow their own clubs, and they do so for their own reasons. They do not care about a club playing out of Ibrox in the context of competition because before that club died the only club it was competing with was Celtic, and they don’t care about Celtic either. Competition doesn’t factor into it now because Sevco Rangers in its present state will be cannon fodder for any well organised side.

The removal of one of the twin powers which dominated this game for the last 20 odd years was something almost all other Scottish football supporters entirely welcomed, and if they have one fond wish above all others it’s that the second great totem of our national sport finds its own way to get out and leave them in peace.

That way the competition would be real, and between they and their fellow clubs, and not skewed hopelessly against them.

Do you think they long for the days when there were two sides miles out in front of them? Of course not. The odds might not be in their favour, but they are not now hopelessly out of sight. The absence of a strong club calling itself Rangers has been to their immeasurable benefit in terms of European places, prize money and trophies.

This is why attendances have been steadily going up, and why teams like Aberdeen, Dundee Utd, St Mirren and others are blooding their kids properly now, and giving youth the chance that Sevco Rangers in particular won’t. Some of them, like Dundee Utd in taking young Charlie Telfer, have even gone on to capitalise on the weaknesses and blindness of the Ibrox club.

None of their supporters is staying away from football because they are missing Rangers. On the contrary, more of them are going to games than have in quite some time.

The idea that Rangers are “needed” to sustain their clubs insults them. It offends them.

To believe in this nonsense is not a misunderstanding of how these fans feel as much as it resembles a cheap wine and glue induced total incomprehension at their lack of giving a shit.

Scottish football will not die if Sevco Rangers does not find money for the meter. Only Sevco Rangers will die. Scottish football fans will not stop going to games, because there’s no longer anything left to see. That will only apply to those whose club plays out of Ibrox Stadium.

The future of the game here does not depend on the existence of that team. It depends on those running our national sport to get their bloody act together, and it would be materially stronger if we had a media who took its responsibilities seriously or was even remotely up to the job.

Jackson’s headline says those six men have six weeks to save Sevco. Even this is erroneous. They now have little over a week, because if the share issue fails, as looks likely, administration will be a hairs breath away. They don’t have anywhere near six weeks if that scheme is not fully subscribed. Without vast cost cutting, asset sales or a crisis loan they won’t make it to the end of the month.

Jackson thinks their total collapse will usher in a period of darkness for the whole of our national sport. It will do no such thing. The game will survive unless its governing body embarks on another suicidal course of action like they did in 2012 when they threatened the integrity that the sport, indeed all sport, is founded on.

I was going to say there will be no wasteland unless they create it, but of course a wasteland already exists in Scottish football.

It is the wasteland that was once our informed, and informing, media.

Where we once had names like Bob Crampsey, Jim Rodger, Archie McPherson and Hugh McIlvanney, great writers who knew the craft and could illuminate any sports event, bringing it into your living room or work canteen as if you were there watching it live, writing with insight and occasionally wit, brave journalists who were not afraid of telling “truth to power”, we now have lickspittle hacks who distort facts, make up nonsense on the hoof, who sneer at their readers even as circulations plummet and who’ve brought shame and dishonour to what was a once proud profession.

They are killing their industry as surely as the scavengers are picking the scraps off the bones of what was once Rangers Football Club.

It was people like Jackson, cruising along on the expense account as they turned their job into nothing more than a cut-and-paste profession and a repository for PR guff, who helped it to happen, who let the spivs in the door unimpeded, who allowed them to work and create this god-awful mess, and who even now are telling us to forget all that. Scottish football needs a strong Rangers. Even if it were true, few have done more to destroy that club than these people who were asleep at the wheel.

The rest of Scottish football should not be held accountable, nor made to suffer, for that gross incompetence, laziness and craven self-interest.

(On Fields of Green appreciates your support. This website would not exist without you. If you want to help us, or if you just like what we do, you can make a donation at the top or bottom of your screen, depending on your particular device. Everyone who does will get something for it … we’re almost there with making good on that promise to you!)

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.

20 thoughts on “An Actual Wasteland

  • 9 September, 2014 at 2:40 am
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    James daft keith is to be pitied iwhen he got a job scribbing for the rectum the interview must have been doon the ludge laugh at them ha ha

  • 9 September, 2014 at 5:18 am
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    a taxi driver told me tonight the scribbler is called keef the beast in dignified society doon the ludge if you didnae laugh you would cry ha ha

  • 9 September, 2014 at 7:19 am
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    When this rancid tribute act of a football club is finally lowered into it’s paupers grave,let us all hope,not just for the sake of Scottish football but forScottish society as a whole that they are buried face down so that if they ever come back to life they will have to scratch and scrape their way to the other side of the world before they see the light of day.Perhaps they might re-appear in South Africa and save the lying(sic) king the air fare back to the west of Scotland.If they were to set up shop in that corner of the world i don’t think their arrogant,cheating ways would be embraced/tolerated in the same way it has been here.Perhaps they might even find themselves the recipients of a nice “necklace.”That would certainly save them the expense of a cremation!

  • 9 September, 2014 at 7:30 am
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    Nail on head but think you have a typo when you talk about a windsock. Predictive text!!!

  • 9 September, 2014 at 8:56 am
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    Well written / well analysed article James. Like many a good book that I’ve read, I was sorry to reach the end of it. You have a way with words that I envy. If ever I should be summoned to court, I’ll employ as my lawyer, 🙂

  • 9 September, 2014 at 9:42 am
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    A great piece of writing and a refreshing insight into the train crash that is Ibrox / journalism.
    First we had Traynor now we have Jackson. Coincidence? No chance! They both take their orders from the Orange Lodge of Scottish delusion. Myopic scribbles from hacks that could never get a real journalists job in a real newspaper even if their creepy smelly little lives depended on it.
    They are the peaodophiles of journalism and they will be out on their arse when Scotland becomes Independent.

  • 9 September, 2014 at 12:08 pm
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    The hacks who are caught in the web they have spun regarding the beautifiul game have been found out by the fans of all the clubs including Ibrox fans.The fairy tales and lies so obvious no wonder their sales have plummeted.

  • 9 September, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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    I don’t normally read the Record but when I saw “and Scottish football” I just could not resist.

    It made me laugh out loud so much my throat hurt!

    D’ya ‘hink mibees he’s Traynor in disguise?

  • 9 September, 2014 at 1:21 pm
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    James
    How is it possible that Jackson et al are STILL in denial re the Rangers implosion and the imminent Sevco implosion?
    Of course they read your blog and TSFM and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and the blog of the late,great,much mourned and missed Paul Mc Conville.Despite all the available facts therein they still spout this claptrap.blaming everyone except those responsible.
    Was it Goebels ( I’ll have to check) who said ” Tell a lie often enough and people will come to believe it”
    This is their M.O.James,make no mistake. It’s a sort of collective denial,fingers in ears,while singing aloud in an effort to drown out the tsunami of angst heading their way.They can’t quite believe that their new darling “trading as Rangers” is about to go the same way as their first and lost love. Bloody great,isn’t it ? AND it’s all self inflicted,which is even better.
    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ( this one I definitely know to be exact 🙂 ) “To lose one club may be regarded as a misfortune,but to lose another looks like carelessness”
    The terrible twins of Hubris and Karma are wreaking their revenge on the denizens of Govan.

  • 9 September, 2014 at 1:25 pm
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    PS I think the only thing Jackson didn’t regurgitate from the Armageddon “warning” of 2 years ago.was to mention the threat of “civil unrest”. He must be saving that for next week 🙂

  • 9 September, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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    When I read Jackson’s diatribe yesterday I was so incensed that I couldn’t find the words to describe my disgust.
    However thank God we have people like your goodself James in doing what you do. On a seperate note for Jackson to describe the claimant as “detestable” confirms for sure the pain he is in.
    More power to you James, KTF.

  • 9 September, 2014 at 4:03 pm
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    Hi James, great piece….

    Is it any wonder people stop buying papers when confronted with the ravings of these lunatics.? I stopped buying papers when every one of them toed the “same club” party line. These rags are not fit for purpose and like the Ibrox outfit (post and pre liquidation) the SFA and I’m sad to say the board of our own club who sat on their hands and did nothing when evidence of years of cheating and corruption by the former Rangers fc was made public, they belong to a bygone age..!! Scottish football is rotten to the core and always will be as long as our clubs tolerate those incompetents running our game and those with questionable agendas who report on it…!!

  • 9 September, 2014 at 4:12 pm
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    would love you to phone SSB and tell them all this.I myself have tried but tend to lose the plot a wee bit, would be great to hear them squirm when faced with an educated man who has a way with words..hope to hear it one day

  • 9 September, 2014 at 8:48 pm
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    @James
    Have you any indication where club chairmen sit with regards to the liquidation of this club and the imposition of a new club playing in the Championship, and taking over the points of the liquidated club?

    That is what I think is currently being planned.

    There will be no money to fund an administration.
    They will bypass administration and go straight to liquidation and then the real horse trading will start.

    I hope the clubs in the Championship, the Premiership, as well as all the other clubs are aware what is coming and stop this particular bandwagon in its tracks.

    This will be a club unable to fulfil its fixtures so where will it go?

    This will be a bigger problem than 2012 simply because it will happen in mid-season.

    Everyone better get ready to start lobbying there clubs again because the might fold under the pressure coming there way.

  • 9 September, 2014 at 8:54 pm
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    Great read James – insightful as usual. Twitter rumors last night that Jabba Traynor had been gifted 300K of those popular 1p shares but I haven’t seen anything further on it today – anyone know if there have been any developments with that rumor

  • 10 September, 2014 at 3:51 pm
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    The printed press is dead. Long live the Blog. It really is poetic justice, that the Zombie media helped kill off, the thing they profess to love for a couple of scraps of lamb. The longer this goes on, it really does look like one day, there will be no team playing in blue in Glasgow. Scottish football can then return to whatever club produces the best players, has the best chance of success. HH

  • 11 September, 2014 at 9:19 am
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    Where would we be without inputs like this to re-balance the lies printed and spoken by the media, especially in Scotland.
    Keep up the good work as you are providing a quality service in bringing the truth to light.
    The truth exists only falsehood has to be invented-Decartes.

  • 11 September, 2014 at 8:53 pm
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    Superbly well put, James. I was spitting blood reading that scandalous crap. I agree with many others that we will only see some kind of end to all this when Sevco finally dies, and there are no more reincarnations.

  • 12 September, 2014 at 9:24 am
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    ‘What is more difficult, to awaken one who sleeps or to awaken one who, awake, dreams that he is awake ? ‘ Kierkegaard.

  • 14 September, 2014 at 10:50 am
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    I think the lack of sponsors for Scottish football is a deliberate ploy by the governing bodies. It is inconceivable that no company wants to be associated with the national game, despite the disgraceful “Ratneresque” comments from Doncaster and Regan in 2012. I suspect that, in the event Sevco Rangers actually make the top flight, sponsors will appear from the woodwork thereby confirming the assertion that we need the Ibrox mob in order to prosper.

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