Armageddon Averted

urlYou know, sometimes writing for this website is a pleasure and at other times it really does seem like a chore. Lately it’s been the former, but yeah, at times I’ve approached the keyboard with a sigh.

I try to avoid getting into arguments on here these days because they tend to go no place, mostly because those from Planet Sevco who want to engage in them must be disconnected from reality to be coming on with the points they’re making.

The Victim Myth is simply the latest manifestation of this. That was not the first, and I suspect it won’t be the last, peculiar default of logic we’ll hear around these parts.

I want to lay to rest a couple of things here. Why am I bothering, I hear some of you ask? You know, it’s not clear to me either, but as a smarter person than me once said, the beautiful thing about a conversation like this is that you only need to have it once.

Sevco Rangers fans don’t like to debate when you introduce reality into your argument, and since that’s exactly what most of us do they’ve evolved a number of defence mechanisms for dealing with us. Depending on who you’re talking to you’ll get a variation on one or two themes.

These themes are so intellectually hollow it barely seems worth going over them, but I think we have to, so we can drive the wrecking ball through them once and for all.

The first of these is that we are “obsessed” with their club. This line takes a number of different forms, with some of their fans opting simply to use the word itself, offering no elaboration. This is not just lazy, it’s dumb with a capital D, taking “debate” down to the level of the schoolyard, although admittedly, this is better than the level of the gutter, where many of them, sadly, want to drag it.

A recent “evolution” of this argument is that some now ask us why we are so “obsessed” if their club is supposed to be dead. I fail to understand the logic in that one and I don’t even pretend to know where they’re coming from when they deploy it. Usually it’s Sevco Rangers itself we’re discussing, and not the former club, so the basis of the argument is fundamentally flawed from the start, even if the “obsessed” line itself were not puerile.

The crisis that destroyed Rangers brought Scottish football to the brink of anarchy, if not outright ruination, and it was not the “Armageddon” Doncaster and others predicted that nearly did it but the solution they proposed to avert that. Had Sevco Rangers been given an SPL berth the backlash would have been horrendous. The Scottish game would have been wrecked. Fans were not bluffing when they talked about staying away from the sport.

Sevco fans say this was club’s being led by bigots in their support, that it was based on jealousy and hate. You really need to have water on the brain to see it that way. The very nature of sport itself depends on a level playing field, and the idea that a brand new club should be able to enter the league structure at the top level would have made an absolute nonsense of any notion of integrity in the game.

Hate is a language a large number of their supporters understands well, so I’ll leave it to them to pontificate on that, as they’re the real experts on the subject, but jealousy is one that just won’t stand up to scrutiny I’m afraid.

I’ve always looked at their trophy haul and seen it as something for my own club to aspire to beat. Besides, when you consider the taint that’s stuck to much of it, it lacks the shine you might otherwise expect. I know too that there’s not a single Sevco fan who, whether he or she really believes in this nutty notion of continuing the history of a dead club or not, wouldn’t trade at least ten of their titles and any number of their cups to have, in their possession, the big one we brought back from Lisbon. Any jealousy is on the other side of this divide.

Scottish football acted out of necessity, and fairness, and justice. Nothing more.

Let me be clear; if hate and jealousy had motivated the clubs, Sevco would have been playing in the top flight, because there was no legal avenue for “relegating” Rangers from the SPL because of debt.

It did not happen that way. What we all objected to was a brand new club skipping the queue and being granted a league place based on nothing but the size of their support and their stadium, and some bluster about this being needed for the “good of the game.”

The reason myself and others write so much on this subject is because the NewCo is headed the same way as the previous tenants of Ibrox, and some of us are, justifiably, concerned that the authorities will try the same thing all over again if it ends in total meltdown, as it very well might considering the shambles over there right now.

Some of us care about the game. Some of us are interested in more than just what goes on with our own clubs. The Sevco situation is a volcano waiting to erupt, and those of us who want what is best for football in Scotland don’t want to wait until this situation is upon us again before we start organising against it.

Added to that is the fact we’re scrutinising it because no-one else wants to. The press would rather spoon feed the Sevco supporters fantasies about saviors from South Africa or elsewhere, or pander to the barmy wing who think speeding their club towards the graveyard is the way to help it.

This is not obsession at all. It’s self-defence.

Which brings me to their intellectual dishonesty in pushing this line about the “survival” of their club, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Ah, they will say, but a number of other organisations have confirmed that they “live”. They will list these organisations for you and then smugly wait for you to choke on your words. It always makes me smile when they do this, because it reminds me of the moment in Orwell’s 1984 when Winston Smith debates rationality and sanity with O’Brien, concluding that these things are not a matter of statistics.

2 plus 2 equals 4 however many people say otherwise, and that equation does not change even if you are the only person saying it.

Of course the SFA agrees Rangers did not die. These were the people who told us the game was facing Armageddon and the nation “social unrest” if the club was allowed to collapse. They believe the game needs Rangers, something I’ve always disputed and will continue to dispute all the way up to the moment the plug is pulled on the life support machine which is keeping the current incumbents of Ibrox going.

The fact is, they did collapse and die, and what rose in their place was a Frankenstein’s Football Club which it’s in some people’s interests to pretend is the same one as before.

Just because people choose to promote this nonsense, and others believe it with the fanaticism of a religious convert, it does not alter the simple facts.

The company and the club were one and when the company died the club went with it. What emerged in its place was a brand new entity, as evidenced by a new company number. The very people at the SFA who are promoting the notion of the club’s survival issued a new SFA membership to this one, and tried to secure an SPL share for them. Had the club survived, as they maintain, it would already have had one of those.

The same applied to the license they vacated. The one Sevco has is brand new, and we know this because they were granted the first “temporary” one in the history of our sport before they got it.

I could go on and talk about the mysterious Club 12, the Scottish Cup seeding they didn’t get, I could point to all the press releases out of Ibrox at the time that made it clear what not getting a CVA meant, to the players who were allowed to leave (they were, apparently, contracted to a company, not a club … funny that, eah?) and what nearly every newspaper hack in the country wrote, including Jim Traynor who ended up on the opposite side of his own statements when he started taking their money … but you get the point.

I’ve even, on occasion, asked their fans what happened to Gretna if clubs in Scotland don’t die, and I was given the amusing answer that Gretna weren’t saved because no-one would take on their debts. It takes some mental gymnastics to argue that one, when the whole purpose of the Sevco vehicle in the first place was to make sure Rangers own debts went to the grave with the club.

Gretna could have done exactly what Sevco did if this nonsense about clubs not dying had any basis in reality at all. Why didn’t they? They’d have had to reapply to join the league, start from the bottom and rebuild the team … but surely those things were better than the alternative, right?

Wrong. Gretna died and their fans acknowledged that simple fact and got on with it. They didn’t reapply to join the league setup. Those amongst their supporters who wanted to continue watching a team bearing that name now follow a local club called Gretna 2008, in the full understanding that it’s a NewCo with no connection to the old one at all.

Hearts fans were bracing themselves for death not long ago. Dunfermline fans saw their own side flirting briefly with the Reaper before pulling back from the brink. It’s almost happened to Dundee, to Motherwell, to Hamilton, to Morton and a host of other clubs, and what galls the Sevco fans so much is not what happened to their team at all, because ultimately they’ve embraced this “continuation of history” nonsense like a comfort blanket, but the fact they’re one of only a handful of clubs in this fair land who’ve ever fallen off that cliff.

In that, their auspicious place in our football history is up there with Airdrie, Gretna, Third Lanark and those others who headed into the darkness of administration and never came out on the other side. Their argument that they didn’t die means those other clubs must live on somewhere, but like many others I’ve made the pilgrimage to Scottish football’s most famous graveyard at Cathkin Park and, believe me, no-one is playing football there save for the ghosts.

It galls them that this could happen to them, with their notions of supremacy and of being something special. Too big to fail, they proudly boast … except that they did. Tell it to the guys at Lehman Brothers, folks. They thought the same thing and their own history came to a shuddering, juddering and final stop.

They were the most successful club in world football. That’s another one you hear a lot, as though this was, in itself, a talisman. I would direct them to an article I wrote last year for a full answer to that point, but for those who can’t be bothered looking for it I’ll sum it up in its title and a few additional words.

Empires fall. It happened to Athens, to Carthage, to Rome, to imperial France, to the Soviet Union and there was even a day when Britain’s own stretched from Australia to America. Where is that now? The wispy trails of it can be found in Glasgow at this moment, in the remnants of The Commonwealth, but as Alex Salmond reminded a London based hack who thought he’d try using the existence of that as a stick to beat the Yes campaign with, those countries are all independent now anyway and some of them wanted it badly enough to fight for it.

Yes, empires fall and only a madman thinks a Scottish football club can resist the tide of history and the kind of forces which determine the fate of nations.

Lately I’ve heard another odd piece of rationalising, and it’s that our scrutiny and “obsession” is a product of fear. This is the most laughable of all.

First, what exactly are we to be afraid of? I’ve said before that it doesn’t really matter whether this is a new club or a bizarre continuation of the old one. The consequence, in terms of football in this country, is exactly the same. The Rangers we grew up with is gone, and it’s gone forever. There will be no more Laudrup’s or Gazza’s. The days when they could spend money with reckless abandon, always believing someone else would pick up the tab … they are over with.

McCoist might still act like Posh Spice on cocaine with a gold Amex card, yet even this has limitations which make my point for me. He’s not spending it in Harrods here, not even M&S. He’s haggling down at the 99p shop instead and this isn’t an anomaly or the result of them playing in a lower league. It’s something their supporters had better get used to because it’s the way it’s going to be for them for the foreseeable future.

I ask you, in all seriousness, is being afraid usually accompanied by frequent outbursts of laughter? Does it always come with ice cream and jelly? Does fearing a team usually entail praying you get them in a cup competition, so you can inflict a beating their grandkids (who will be Celtic fans) will still be giggling about in fifty years?

Are we supposed to be worried that Graham “120 day review” Wallace will suddenly find skills he’s never had in his career before? There might not seem to be many comparisons between Man City and Sevco, but his performance at both clubs was strikingly similar in that he presided over huge rises in the level of debt. Does he sound like a guy who’s going to turn things around?

Should we be concerned about moves to appoint a fans board? What exactly are Dingwall, Graham and the rest of The Brains Trust going to do that should scare us? Do they have a plan for attracting investment and getting Messi on board with lower league football in Scotland?

Are we meant to be worried about Ally? The only time I would be afraid of something McCoist might do is if I was in front of him in Greggs and I snapped up the last of the chocolate donuts.

Is it Dave King we’re supposed to fear? The man who’s passed up so many chances to “invest” in the club he purports to love that they should fit a revolving door at Ibrox just for him? Should we fear the return of Walter and his consortium? Malcolm Murray, and his pals? Should we be afraid of another takeover panel from Ulster, or more signs of interest from Russian mobsters? Is Club 8 Sport still waiting in the wings, bored of second division ice hockey?

Sevco doesn’t scare me, or any Celtic fan I know, but what’s more I know for a fact that Aberdeen fans, Dundee Utd fans, Motherwell fans, St Mirren fans and the supporters of the other SPL clubs are equally unafraid. Hearts and Hibs fans are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking their revamped sides to Ibrox and turning them over.

It is not fear, it is not hate, it is not obsession. We enjoyed watching The Peepil sitting on the side-lines as their club sunk like a stone, and we’re enjoying the shambles as those same people try to save its pale imitation without the first clue as to how to do it.

The truth is, Armageddon never happened. Scottish football is in as good a shape as it’s been for years, as Aberdeen and St Johnstone’s good results in Europe last week demonstrate quite well. Even Celtic’s abject failure to do better in the cup competitions these last few years has worked out rather nicely for everyone else in the game, as it’s given a taste of success to clubs that haven’t had it for years, and in St Johnstone a club that hadn’t had it before. Those clubs are not simply going to abandon all hope because Sevco fans are engaging in their usual bluster. They’re going to keep on improving and building on what they’ve already done.

Look, for example, at Dundee Utd, who bagged a small fortune for Gauld and might be about to bag another right few quid for Armstrong. There is not a player in the whole of the Sevco Rangers squad who could have come close to commanding the fee Utd got for the teenage winger, and Armstrong’s value is probably greater than half their squad combined. When did you ever know that to be the case? When did you ever know Hibs to snatch a player from under Rangers’ nose, yet Scott Allan will be lining up for them, instead of Sevco.

Stripped bare of all their bluster, Sevco Rangers fans are lashing out in every direction for someone to blame for all this when the answer is looking at them in the mirror. They are responsible for this mess because they didn’t give affairs at their club even half the scrutiny we did.

When Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster predicted Armageddon they were talking about something devastating that befell every club in Scotland, as a consequence of not helping Sevco get on their feet. Scottish football said no. Armageddon didn’t happen.

Armageddon was averted. Everywhere except at Ibrox.

Ain’t irony a bitch?

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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.

23 thoughts on “Armageddon Averted

  • 29 July, 2014 at 6:20 pm
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    Our obsession of there club, if you want to put it the way thems say, was warning them of Craig Whyte, Charles Green, and the rest of the spives who are still there as we speak, their lack of obsession for the old club is why it no longer exists, self inflicted, I would love to think we had a hand in it but I’m afraid we didn’t, they are left with the smoking gun, karma.

  • 29 July, 2014 at 6:25 pm
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    James, back to your best, great truthful writing.I long for Sevco’s FIRST administration and indeed hope it will be fatal.
    If you were a betting man (and you may well be) do you think one of the Edinburgh sides can beat them to the SPFL 1 title ?
    A further year in a lower division would be good news for Scotland and the whole of scottish football.
    YNWA

  • 29 July, 2014 at 6:51 pm
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    Quality, I know we as CELTIC fans have had to explain on many occasions to Sevco fans exactly what killed their oldco and what is going to kill their newco but there comes a time when you just get sick of giving them a heads up. When you don’t have the intelligence or ability to learn from your mistakes then no amount of educational discussions can help. In What ever shape or form they do manage to get back in the top league they will at best be a mid table team, often flirting with relegation and occasionally achieving it and at worst a whipping boy and total laughing stock for a generation, either way their finished in every way that oldco dominated/ cheated ALL of Scottish football… HAIL HAIL, KTF+

  • 29 July, 2014 at 6:54 pm
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    Brilliant article again James had a wee chortle at your “fear” summation as I had an experience few weeks back.Out for a drink with 3 fellow celts and Sevco friend of ours appeared – normally we don’t comment on matters Sevco – however he started with the usual that they were murder to watch etc but then conversation changed to us and the “fear” we had of them – he directly asked me and I replied the only fear I had if they made the top league was that the cheating would start again.Obviously he wasn’t amused at my reply so he asked me why we hated them – then answered my question for me that they were the great Glasgow Rangers and they’d be back – I asked him did he really want to know and he said yes.So I told him I hated them because of their supremacist attitude, their sense of entitlement and this ” we are the peepul ” thing -where did this sit in modern day Scotland ? At this he stood up ,pint in hand and said “we are the peepul” and walked out the pub !!! Sums them up really.

  • 29 July, 2014 at 7:17 pm
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    I am sorry that these delusional fools think Celtic or any other team or its fans had a hand in their ‘Downfall’ And by sorry I mean I don’t give a f*ck. They could have saved their club as I am sure there are a great deal of very wealthy bluenoses out there especially in South Africa or maybe not. Obsessed with what a lower league club aye nae bother pal. No like you I am worried it is going to happen all over again and the SFA will attempt to shoehorn them in to the league once more. Goodbye and get tae f*ck soon hopefully.

  • 29 July, 2014 at 8:32 pm
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    They will not be reasoned with. They will not accept any blame for what happened to their club/company and they sure as hell will not enter into a debate about it. Its called denial.complete and utter denial. Only when they move on from this denial will some light come into their world.Until then you, me, Celtic FC, my sister, her dug and al its fleas are to blame.

  • 29 July, 2014 at 8:33 pm
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    Been reading your posts for a good while James ,got to say this is right up there, always look forward to the next one

  • 29 July, 2014 at 9:20 pm
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    General Macathurs” I shall return” to the Philipines during the second world war,is well known,”The Gib and shameless liar ” from SA aint returning thats for sure,the well has dried up,.and with that happening,the people are hurting bad.long may it continue.quick story,wifes family are of the Sevco kind,her cousin now avoids me like Ive got the plague,after a family new year party,where I put him right on the peoples 11,his talk was of King returning with loads of cash,they would be again the top team in Scotland,champions,League success,me I told him it would not happen,must have been the drink,his not mine……… H H

  • 29 July, 2014 at 9:59 pm
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    What worries me are the refs, can anything be done about them, you mark my words, penalties, sending offs early bookings, this will happen, because as form shows they will -play their part

  • 29 July, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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    I hope you’re not thinking this article will persuade the Ibrox hordes from doing an about turn on the NewClub/OldClub issue, James.

    Your opinions are based on researching the facts, using common sense and reaching a conclusion.

    The DeadCo Tribute Act fans start from the assumption ‘We Are The People’ and go from there.

    When the stories of Rangers being in deep doo doo first saw the light of day online, it was not taken seriously by their fans.

    As time passed and it started to dawn on the Teddy Bears that there was some truth in the stories, a little panic became the order of the day.

    The panic increased and threats were issued, violence was offered, and when that didn’t work there finally came despair.

    What to do?

    Their first response was denial, and eventually lies that could let them off the hook (they thought) of being the brunt of Celtic fans, and others, laughter and ridicule.

    Now they hide behind these lies in spite, in my opinion, the fact
    that they know their claims are lies.

    If they admit that DeadCo really is dead, it would bring their little sectarian world crashing down around them.

    For them the truth is neither here nor there.

    It never has.

    What matters is that the focus of their lives, hatred and bigotry, is invested in the rotten to the core DeadCo, so they can’t admit it’s dead.

    If they did they wouldn’t be The People anymore.

  • 29 July, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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    They have learned nothing. That is why their whole team and extras booked into Turnberry Hotel and Golf Course on their way to play Stranraer in the Third Division last season.They are the peepil!The real enemy is the S.F.A./S.P.L. who have been silent for so long while they watched Sevco ride roughshod over their rules and regulations. Until ‘Officialdom’ takes proper action,. Sevco will continue to survive with their help.
    P.S. Did anyone see a worse decision last season than their equalising goal against lowly Albion Rovers.? Plus ca change.!.

  • 30 July, 2014 at 12:59 am
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    Doomsday averted is almost always a good thing.

  • 30 July, 2014 at 2:44 am
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    oooo you are a poor man. with all your inane puerile drivel. Why do you care so much about Rangers. Get on with your life and support the game and shed all this bitter baggage that you harbour. Life is too short my friend and you really need to let it all go.

  • 30 July, 2014 at 2:51 am
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    quick question…..we cheated….did we really?…..all the celtic players were on the tax avoidance movie company dodge. Why do you never discuss this lads. Just as bad as EBTs if not worse. Should you therefore be stripped? Also we are Deid!! Like little kids you love to keep saying your deid your deid….grow up. Please remember your precious team was 10 minutes from being deid! If it wasnt for some guy from the other side of the world coming in with wads of cash you would infact be deid also. Think about it. So whats really all the fuss. Ok ok say it again it makes the big weans happy ….your deid your deid…sevco sevco….there do you all feel better now?

  • 30 July, 2014 at 9:34 am
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    Ross, you are the embodiment of the article you clearly did not read? Deluded doesn’t even come close to the issues you have if you truly believe James ‘cares’ about Rangers (who are dead btw) this is about sevco rangers, read the article, think about what James has written and view the situation through the eyes of all other football fans in Scotland. Not expecting you to do any that btw but one can but try!

    Another belter of an article James, always makes me smile when I get an email telling me you have a new post up.

    All there in black and white and not a single point made can be argued with. Most of my friends here in Melbourne are all Celtic fans, however when my mate first moved over he had a house warming party and funnily enough most of the guest were of the blue persuasion, not one of them thought the club survived, not one! I have continued to find that strange, all Scottish but all quite level headed about it and freely admitted the truth of the situation??

    I have met a few others down here that are as bitter as the rest back home, makes me laugh to hear their nonsense and even funnier is when my Aussie mates laugh at them and ask “how can you survive liquidation?” Anyway, keep up the great work mate!

    Heading home now to get an early night so I can get up at 4.30am to watch the legia game, hate the early rises but what you gonna do? HH COYBIG YNWA

  • 30 July, 2014 at 9:49 pm
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    Ha ha ha get it up you Legia Warsaw 4 euro trash 1.

    Enjoy playing your big games against Ross Co at home in front of 10,000 this season Timmy.

    Thank you Lawwell for being a spiv and spending millions your mob have made on pish like Criag Gordon and Delia while taking a huge bonus for yourself.

    Delia Must stay….oh yes he must…..

  • 31 July, 2014 at 4:37 pm
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    James, I am a Celtic fan. Have been since my Da took me me when I was four and a half.

    rangers died.

    Ex-rangers fans I work are non-plussed when I don’t react to the pish they spout..

    I’ve NEVER mentioned them since they went into LIQUIDATION.

    My work colleagues can’t quite grasp it.

    They’re finished.

    Finito.

    Stop giving them oxygen.

    MON THE HOOPS

  • 31 July, 2014 at 4:52 pm
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    ross,

    There’s a world of difference from being ten minutes away from being deid and actually dying.

    You know and I know it.

    Croy is not the other side of the world.

    I think you’ll find.

    HH

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