Eternal Sunshine Of The Sevco Mind

JS56038833It was Alanis Morissette who once asked “What part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?”

The song was called Hands Clean.

The album was called Under Rug Swept.

Tonight, all that seems peculiarly apt.

As we get nearer to a denouement in the Sevco situation, it becomes ever clearer that many people have a lot they’d like to sweep under the rug.

Few involved in this continuing saga have clean hands.

When it comes to selective memory, there’s no-one in this land of ours who can compare with those who inhabit the Ibrox universe, whether that’s the fans or the media or those inside the walls. They have elevated doublethink to an art form.

Last week, over on The CelticBlog, I mourned a media culture that thinks a routine training ground bust up merits front page stories and large tracts of the sports section.

Was it a slow news day, I wondered?

No, because there was a lot going on in the wider world and in football.

It was simply a chance to pile pressure on my club, with the added benefit that it stopped questions being asked elsewhere.

No sooner had I posted the article, than a truly extraordinary media conference took place, when Mark Warburton reversed himself completely on the subject of making new signings in January.

He had initially said he wanted five.

Now, just days later, on Friday, he told the media that such a policy would be disrespectful to his team. No-one in the press pack thought to ask what had changed in the intervening time, but to some of us it was pretty obvious.

The media accepted his explanation although it was transparent nonsense. He had made it clear what he believed the team needed, and the press had been breathlessly reporting it for days. He didn’t want squad fillers. He wanted “stars”, players who would walk into the first team and take them to the level required to challenge Celtic.

His statements to that effect had been unambiguous.

Something – or someone – had compelled him to get in front of the hack pack with a “clarification”, and as per usual the Ibrox manager got away with a blatant, and humiliating, climb-down as if it was nothing.

King had “jetted in” to meet with him in the days before.

It seemed pretty clear that he’d told Warburton there was no money, and to get in front of the press and tell them he’d misspoken when he’d talked about making January signings.

Only hours later we got confirmation of all we had suspected, and straight from the Blue Room itself, when someone cynically issued a late night press release out of the club to clear things up for those who were still in denial.

Before I go into that, a confession; part of me wants to express admiration for the way this was handled.

Any political organisation would have been proud of that.

As a former activist I know the value of the Friday night press release. It gets lost in the weekend, drawing no scrutiny or comment. Even huge stories have been largely left alone when “taken out with the trash” between the close of business Friday and mid-Monday.

Just because Sevco has had to cut back on the PR it doesn’t mean they don’t still get good advice.

They knew what they were doing with that one alright.

Yet it amazes me that more hasn’t been made of that statement, because in it lies the confirmation of everything this site and others have been saying for months. Even our intrepid hacks can’t deny that it’s news – and big news.

This is Sevco’s press team admitting that the central problems we identified months ago are now acute, and without realistic solutions.

The statement admits that a new share issue is impossible at the current time.

It admits that this would have been the preferred fund raising option for the club at a time when, it now acknowledges, it needs cash badly.

It admits that this cash will have to come from the current directors, or those who don’t live in South Africa anyway.

And it confirms that there is no money in a transfer kitty for the manager, that any signings will have to be sold to the board, funded by soft loans, and only on a case-by-case basis.

It’s a statement that contradicts all King’s bombast when he took over, and as I said in my second to last piece on this site confirms that they are stuck in the mud and in no better a position than they were in before the Great Revolution.

The club is all over the place; the statement makes that clear, coached as it is in a “don’t worry, be happy” tone.

It also says that a couple of million will get them “comfortably” through the rest of the season; a claim so ridiculous it’s simply begging to be challenged.

Most importantly, the statement makes it clear there’s no real prospect of the directors who loan the club money being paid back anytime soon, and it proposes what is essentially a “debt for equity” style arrangement; the loanees – all current shareholders – will get more shares in exchange for the cash.

This is perfectly valid and they don’t need a share issue to do it. But it essentially dilutes the value and voting power of every other person who owns a piece of the club.

All those supporter organisations and individual fans who’ve “invested” risk seeing the value of what they hold reduced to virtual worthlessness.

All the work the Supporters Trust at Ibrox, all the efforts of Rangers First, it’s all going to be for nothing if this goes through.

Getting it passed requires 75% shareholder approval.

That presents problems on its own.

Ashley and his people certainly won’t vote for it.

Whatever is left of the “institutional investor” organisations will certainly oppose it.

The ordinary fans have no incentive to support it whilst King is yet to put his hands in his own pockets, but the man has the nuclear threat, of course, if he’s willing to use it; that without this influx of money there might well not be a club left to support this time next year.

That might well be the most honest thing he ever says to them.

All of this is news, and what looms over all of it is the unspoken truth that King is trying to raise money just to keep on the lights.

This isn’t investment in their future; this is to assure that the future itself lasts past January.

Sevco is spiralling downward, and it’s not surprising that our intrepid media doesn’t want to focus on that. They’d rather look at Celtic, of course, a club sitting top of the SPL by six points and chasing a domestic treble.

Is everything inside Celtic Park as it should be?

No, of course it’s not and a few good results don’t change that.

I think the manager’s tactical inflexibility will hurt us whenever we venture onto the European stage, and sure as Hell The Strategy will continue to strangle our ability to even aspire to that level.

These things don’t need to be; they aren’t inevitable.

They are the result of choices consciously made, and there are other choices and other options that could have been explored but weren’t.

I still harbour doubts, and they are real and won’t be erased quickly or easily.

I have written about all of those doubts.

Our supporters have debated and discussed – and they continue to debate and discuss – what Celtic is, what it’s doing and what it should be aiming to do better in the future. That’s not unhealthy; quite the opposite.

This is scrutiny. This is how it ought to work.

The Scottish sporting press doesn’t do “scrutiny.” They stir the soup. They do the bidding of PR firms who aren’t our friends.

The media’s “scrutiny” of Celtic would be more palatable to many of us if they gave Sevco occasional harsh examination.

That they so rarely do tells you what the nature of their attention to us is about.

The media leaves Sevco to its own devices, never questioning a thing unless it suits an agenda.

The last board got criticism because the media narrative was structured around getting The Real Rangers Men into office.

That has been achieved, and now these people have no alibis left but those the press is willing to allow, but it’s not the media these people will have to answer to when – not if, but when – the wheels fall off the bandwagon.

The title of this article comes from a movie of course, one in which the pain of a bad breakup leads the two main characters to have their memories of one another erased.

Yet it opens with them meeting on a train, after the fact, and it ends with them falling for one another again.

What’s the moral?

That some things are pre-determined?

If that’s true then we know their future before it starts; another bad breakup.

Regardless, they decide to try anyway, leading me to wonder if the real moral is that people just don’t learn anything.

At Sevco, and in the media that constantly tries to deflect from trouble there, we can see the shadows of what brought Rangers low.

Ibrox is haunted.

It’s haunted because for all the supporters and those on the board claim to have kept the history, they’ve chosen to erase the parts of it that they’d rather not face up to, the lessons of what brought Rangers low and which now threaten to destroy what’s left of the reanimated corpse.

That history stalks Sevco like a horror movie monster.

It’s going to catch up to them.

(I’m a full time writer and the support of my readers is what keeps me goingr. If you like what I do, and are able, and want to support the work the site does, you can make a donation at the link.)


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.

9 thoughts on “Eternal Sunshine Of The Sevco Mind

  • 2 November, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I’m doubtful that Rangers 2 will make it to the end of the season, but if they somehow do, I don’t think they’ll win promotion. They have a small squad, which is already beginning to flag, some of their players are loans and others are out of contract in January. Warburton’s tactics are looking one dimensional and rivals are figuring them out. The dropped points will mount up through the winter.

  • 3 November, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Sevco have 11/12 players out of contract in January will they make it to then ? Bookies have hibs at 10/1 for the title – from 16s some have cut it even lower smart money would be going on Hibernian administration is at least 15 points mmmm?

  • 3 November, 2015 at 12:37 am

    The coverage by the media is shameful but not surprising.
    That’s the way it’s always been but this time when the brown stuff starts flying, amazingly to the surprise of the gullible, the media stand accused of aiding, abetting and bigging up every positive bit of news they could find to paint a pretty picture that turns out to be a mirage.

    They propagate the big lie…..NC=OC.

    They blatantly make up stories that don’t stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    Barefaced lies, billionaire and off the radar wealth being one of the biggest, and the paper and journalist responsible are a figure of fun to most observers.

    Liquidation is a word seldom seen next to Rangers in print, no we get stories of how the holding company was liquidated, not the club, and as a result the club were put down to the lowest division.

    These guys know what they are writing/saying because they know what their target audience wants to hear or read.

    Without the Bears uptake the red tops would be finished in Scotland.

    There’s no doubt that things are hotting up and events are moving apace.

    Ashley appears to be on the march, Green’s hearing re his legal costs is just around the corner.

    The latest statements coming out of Ibrox smack of desperation.

    Only weeks after King stated that the club was comfortably funded for the next 6 months he’s talking about soft loans to see them through till June 2016.

    No one in the media has questioned this.

    Radar himself has come up with a figure of £2m to cover the shortfall and see them through till June.

    Who is he kidding?

    The accounts are to be published this week which will be indicative of the improvement or otherwise in the club’s financial performance.

    It appears that the directors have confirmed to the auditors that they will make up any shortfall between now and next June………….that figure will be well in excess of Radar’s £2m, considerably in excess.

    The auditors will of course have asked for proof of funds and that the overall quantum required to keep the lights on is available as and when required.

    Given the accounts will show a loss for the 3rd year running one must admire the courage of the directors in stepping up to the plate.

    How the other shareholders react to having their investment diluted to a fraction of the original cost is another matter and who knows may well result in another visit to the courts.

    Ah those pesky legal costs just won’t go away.

    The media reporting on the coming trials will be fascinating.

    Years of feeding the gullible fairy tales will have to be replaced by reporting facts as led in evidence, not the fiction which is their usual currency.

    Shockeroony all round, bring it on, let’s get it all out there and see where it leads us…….5 way agreement, OC/NC, European licence, whatever.

    Has he learned nothing from his billionaire Whyte story, it would seem not.

  • 3 November, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Go Santa!

  • 3 November, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Took a wee while for the penny to drop but it appears that a recently departed NED is filling the PR spot at Sevco recently vacated by Level 5.
    Is the club so short of funds that it has to use a wholly discredited character to get it’s message out there?

    I suppose this is payback from the current regime to those who played their part in the destabilising and stigmatising of the previous board.

    But Chris Graham…….your having a ????

  • 3 November, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Guarantee you when they go into administration they will only get a 15 point penalty because they will say this is a new holding company which had nothing to do with the last one…….and they will still spout the same club pish to keep the zombies semi happy.

    Once they do go into administration it should be demanded that the secret 5 way agreement be exposed.

  • 3 November, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Top of the league.

    You have an upcoming home fixture against the team 2nd bottom.

    Fixture is scheduled on the weekend set aside for international matches.

    5 of your squad are called up for duty by their respective countries…….all at lower age levels.

    None of the 5 started against Hibs, none.

    Your club is short of cash.

    What do you do?

    Cancel the fixture and move it to a Tuesday in December.

    Some of your fans have already laid out for travel and accomodation.

    Tough luck apparently.

    Your manager has just made a big issue of not bringing in 5/6 new players in January as it may impact on moral in the dressing room .

    How will the squad players who might otherwise have made the bench feel…………….the manager obviously doesn’t trust his subs bench to do a job on lowly Dumbarton at home!

    Now that’s a real kick in the go olives.

    Hibs will also have the opportunity to close the gap to 2 points.

    If this policy persists on future international weekends Sevco could be chasing Hibs, not the other way round.

    Reaction in the media…..None, not a squeak.

    Change the manager’s name to Ronny and the club name to Celtic…………….can you imagine the stick that would be flying and quite rightly.

    Our media are cowards and in the pocket of a club barely alive.

    Over the next few weeks they will find that they have backed the wrong horse again….big time.

    In light of the horsesh*t being fed to Joe public through the media, in even greater quantities since the Hat’s annointment, I hope Celtic review their dealings with these charlatans and act accordingly. Many of them can’t wait to put the boot in at every opportunity.

    But postpone a game against Dumbarton, with no first team starters missing…………sound thinking by the hat!

    Now if it had been Real Madrid……..?

    Of course if it had been Madrid that would mean that the glory days had returned and participation in the group stages of the Champions League was underway.

    We are a Champions League club says the hat!

    Moving all the crap to one side that’ s it in a nutshell.

    All their financial worries will vanish when they reach the Group stages again.

    Let’s look on the bright side…’s a minimum of 3 season’s away and to get there real money will have to be spent on transfer fees and wages, with only ST monies to cover the bills, albeit there will be a slight increase in income when back in the SPFL.
    So King and the 3 Bears, by my understanding, will have to fork out a minimum of £30m over that period and that’s excluding paying back any of the loans……or gifts as DJ would describe them.
    Ashley’s on the march, Green’s knocking on the door for his legal fees……….yet the media is still spinning a story that belies belief.
    The accounts are due out this week, probably without a going concern note, if King and the 3 Bears have put their necks on the line to cover any shortfall.
    That’s all very well but where’s the plan to stem the losses………apart from Champions League group stage qualification in 3 years time, there is none.
    Ashley holds the IP, there are no assets left to give as security against future loans………

  • 3 November, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Oh things are really hotting up.

    If the Daily Radar headline is to be believed then King could be in the clink before any of his predecessors…….the irony of all ironies.

    If a cease and desist order has been ignored then he, and the club, are in big trouble.

    It’s part Panto, part Ealing comedy gold, it just keeps giving.

    I do really wonder what the ordinary Rangers fan thinks when he sees a headline like this morning after being fed bullsh*t and being indoctrinated with good news stories since the coup d’etat.

    King has run rings round Big Mike over the last few months and gave him a bloody nose say the Bears bloggers…………as we say in Glasgow, Aye Right!

  • 3 November, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Tick Tock, Tick Tock. A great read again – thank you !

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