So, over the last 24 hours I’ve found an email inbox filling with invective and abuse, and allegations that myself and other Celtic fans are “running scared” of Dave King and what he might bring to Ibrox.
I find the suggestion laughable, and so are the people making it.
See, this is a familiar rap. I heard it before when Whyte took over. Then when the Newco was picked up by Charles Green people like Chris Graham and Keith Jackson were telling us that this “no nonsense Yorkshireman” would rebuild the club.
When he was bounced out the door and Graham Wallace came in we were told this was the moment that transformed Sevco into a powerhouse, because he had previously been at Man City. Likewise when Ashley appeared on the scene, and Sevco fan sites were filled with giddy, delighted fans believing he’d pour millions into the Black Hole of Ibrox.
Through all of it, sites like this one did more to moderate the hysterical expectation of the fans than anyone.
They didn’t listen, of course, even when we were proved right time and again.
They always said it was motivated by hate, but that’s nonsense as they actually deep down know. Had they listened to us in the first place they’d have saved themselves a monumental amount of grief. No-one can say we didn’t try to warn them.
They really are the most ungrateful people in the world, and they complain endlessly, and bitterly, and their proclivity for making unrealistic demands, and the sense of entitlement that goes with them, are the most dangerous elements at play as their club goes forward.
I firmly believe that. They are their own worst enemies, pure and simple.
It numbs the mind when you consider what they’ve allowed to happen at their club, and their lack of understanding about it all only adds to the mess.
Let’s take this assertion of theirs that the club has been looted in the last three years.
It is patently false at least in terms of the numbers they’re talking about – £70 million upwards if you believe some of the more hysterical claims.
I’ll enlighten them on where the money went.
There’s no question that some people left with their pockets bulging, and that some continue to skim off the cream in a way you could say has been ethically questionable … but only if you believe (and in this case I don’t) that the great card player Canada Bill Jones was wrong when he famous said “It’s immoral to let a sucker keep his money.”
The suckers have been lined up round the block these past few years. They even boast about it; “we don’t do walking away.”
Idiocy on a grand scale. No wonder the spivs have hung around so long.
Still, as I said before, that’s not where the cash went although it’s suited a lot of people to say otherwise.
See, when you have annual running costs of £17 million before you pay a single footballer, when you are trying to run the infrastructure of a Champions League team playing in a league of part timers and cutting your season ticket prices to suit, you are humped before you start. It’s as simple as that, and when you add a football budget costing another £12 million on top of that – including the salaries of a management team who remain on the books to this day – you start to lose money like Ian Black in a betting shop.
You know what else has sucked money away? The constant battles in the courtroom. How many cases have they had to settle? How many millions have gone out the door, never to return? How much have they spent on endless fueds with PR companies?
Setting up the share issue which brought in £20 million cost nearly a quarter of that total. Think on that for a moment. Nearly £5 million of that cash was gone, spent, lost to them forever, before it was even banked.
Where did that cash go? Well there were administrative costs and fees, whatever they had to pay out for the feasibility study in the first place … and then there was Cheeky Charlie’s cut, paid out in bonuses for the success of the thing.
A true professional, Green, and he rewarded himself handsomely as a consequence.
I’m serious here by the way. Can you imagine the showmanship it must have taken to approach the money men in the City of London and ask them to invest money in a Scottish football club which was playing in the bottom tier? Jesus, that he accomplished anything at all is a minor miracle, but to have gotten an eight figure sum? He deserved every penny he got from it.
Sadly, very little of what was left was invested in those areas of the club where they were supposed to go, but by then it was too late for that anyway. The cash was swallowed up on running costs and that football budget increased exponentially.
Who got the blame for that? Ally did, but it was only because the fans were clamouring for better players and harbouring ludicrous ambitions of winning a major cup competition. They screamed so loud that Ally knew his job depended on it. He sanctioned ridiculous signings and the gap between earnings and outgoings started to rise like a Who Hates Jim Murphy? opinion poll spike.
That’s when the real trouble started, where the supporters showed up their ignorance in spades, by, on one hand, screaming “where did the money go?” and on the other demanding more “investment” in the club.
Of course, what they were really asking for was that some group of rich men came along and poured their own millions in, without hope of getting anything back … and it does no good to try to tell them that there is a word for that kind of person and it isn’t investor … it’s “mug.”
There are very few mugs out there with tens of millions of pounds.
Even David Murray, let’s not forget, only pursued the dream because someone else was picking up the tab, and a lot of people have forgotten that King didn’t “gift” £20 million to Rangers in the first place … he put it into the club at a time when he thought there was a realistic prospect of getting a return on it. David Murray was nothing if not a good salesman. He encouraged other wealthy individuals to back him at that time, including Joe Lewis of ENIC, who lost more than King did.
It was Fagan from Oliver Twist who sang “you’ve got to pick a pocket or two”, but he only provided the inpsiration. It was the Artful Dodger’s light fingers that did all the slippery stuff. The great thing about Murray and, to a lesser extent, Green were that they could multi-task like mad. They excelled at both, and I have no doubt at all that King is very familiar with only one half of the skillset.
See, there’s no brains behind this operation, no over-arching plan. That should scare Sevco fans to death, but they just don’t see it yet, the holes in this, the complete lack of an underlying structure. Fergus, with whom the media seems determined to compare the joker from South Africa, didn’t arrive in this country with just a suitcase full of bunnets and ten pound notes; he knew what he was going to do before he got on the plane. His “five year plan” was so well concieved he had the stadium blueprints already drawn up and ready to go.
King has talked a lot about more Real Rangers Men being out there, people willing to throw good money after bad out of a love of the jersey; I would be shocked if those people existed, because they’ve done nothing at all up until now, and nor do I buy into his assertion that they were just waiting for the “right people” to be in charge.
Of course they were. Now that the club is in the hands of a mouthy tax cheat they’ll be queuing up to give their cash away.
Things haven’t changed at Ibrox. That’s the solid fact of it. There’s a new board of directors, but I seem to recall us being here before. Paul Murray is now in the chairman’s seat, keeping it warm until King gets clearance from the courts, if he does.
So what? I’m having trouble working out the earth-shattering significance of these things.
This club has had a half dozen different people “running things” since the day Green walked in through the doors, including two Real Rangers Men in the office Murray temporarily holds; Walter Smith and Malcolm Murray. How did they get on again? David Somers was being lauded before he was being pilloried. The less said about Sandy Easdale the better, but I know there were Sevco fans who’s first question was “well what’s his net worth?” and who were busy calculating how much he could “afford to give them.”
Madness, madness on top of madness, piled high like the millions they’re going to need.
The press, of course, is feeding this lunacy, with guys like Jackson supping from the old poisoned chalice, paving the ground for the next embarrasing climb-down when it all goes tits up, as it certainly will.
Everything here hinges on money, of course. The Sevco fans who hollered and wailed for the last board to be ousted are only supporting this one because they believe this lot have a plan and that it will make them what they once were.
When, when, when will they get with reality and accept that those days are done?
King fought a long battle with the South African courts to hold on to his money, and he parted company with a considerable chunk of it only because the alternative was a jail sentence of 80 years. He allowed the club to drift into the hands of Mike Ashley before he bought a single share because this is a guy who will not spend a bean unless he has to.
King has already said that he’ll only put in what other people do, and this is very convenient, as if his colleagues decide not to chip in the kind of money the fans expect he doesn’t have to either. That leaves only the poor supporters themselves and we, in Celtic cyberspace, have long suspected that it would be them who put in the lions share of the dough.
How expensive will it be for them? Well if this club isn’t in the SPL next season there will be a cash shortfall that would give George Soros a nosebleed. In those circumstances there will be a very real need for King and others to dust off their Canada Bill Jones playbook.
If they decide to raise the money through a share issue, what effect will that have on current shareholders? I can see Rangers First being happy; all that effort accumulating a stake, only to have it liquidated to near worthlessness.
Then there’s Iron Mike. Ashley is still there, with his 10%, and he doubtless still has allies.
He only needs 25% of the votes to block any new fund raising moves.
See, this is what the media never talks about and is content to ignore. This battle isn’t even half done yet, and if you’re wondering why Ashley hasn’t blown these people out of the water it’s because he knows this full well. He is betting on these people not putting their hands in their own pockets. He’s counting on them needing to find alternative funding sources.
If the money isn’t coming from a share issue and they’re not going to fund the revolution on their own, who pays for the rebuilding of the squad, and the stadium and everything? A Sevco bond issue? Debentures?
How many times can you sell the fans on Buy A Brick? Are they any left to buy?
Do they re-open the Crossbar Challenge Hotline?
How much money can that bring in?
Not enough. Not nearly enough.
It’s not inconceivable that they might yet end up crawling, on all fours, back to Ashley himself, and after the way they’ve treated him and his guys one can only imagine how much he will make them bleed for every single penny he throws their way.
Sevco fans can kid themselves on all they like that we Celtic supporters are running scared. The truth is, we’re not even slightly concerned about the Return of the King. He and his colleagues are, by now, up to speed on the size of the job and rumours abound that a number of them already deeply regret becoming involved in this shambles, knowing what it will mean for them.
They are dealing with the most unreasonable, unrealistic, unforgiving fans in football.
Hell mend them. This is a perfect marriage of selfishness and ego, and they are going to collide like two drivers playing chicken and who are too stupid, or invested in the win, to actually move the wheel.
For Sevco to even start scaling the mountain, it will cost them many tens of millions of pounds.
If they can even raise it in the first place, and that money is spent wisely, then they might be in a position to challenge Celtic in five years.
If, but, maybe, in the event of …
In truth we know it will be squandered on over-paid players to chase the dream.
As was the case with the Oldco, when they reach a certain level (and it could take longer than they think) they will bet the lot on the dodgiest of income – European football cash – and perennially be one bad result away from disaster. As a result, they will flirt with death on and off all the way through, rolling from crisis to crisis, learning nothing along the way, as they’ve learned nothing thus far.
Sevco fans are engaged in one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of our sport, and it’s a trick against themselves.
They don’t half believe in some guff.
I never cease to be amused by it because along with the Survival Myth and the Victim Myth they also believe in the Global Brand Myth, the Celtic State Aid Myth and the Sugar Daddy With The King Billy Tattoo one.
Now they’ve added the Celtic Fans Are Worried Myth to the growing collection of fantasies in which they evidently place great store.
Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, peepil.
Doubtless, reading this, many of them will indulge themselves in an orgy of warped self-love as they bask in that other great article of faith they all hold on to like a comfort blanket, the It’s All About The Rangers Myth … the one which ends in them calling us “obsessed.”
I love that line, because it’s so desperate, so weak, so pitiful. There was a time when they would have unleashed a string of swear words and sectarian insults, and some of them still do, but most now throw that soft ball at you and expect you to flinch from it.
I’ll say again what I have many times; people slow down to look at road accidents too.
The freak show always draws a crowd, and so does the drunk guy who’s passed the point of having any self awareness at all and has pissed and shit himself and is trying to stick a needle in an electric socket to see if it really does give you a shock.
Well, I can definitely guarantee that the shock is on its way.
But they won’t listen to me, right? Cause what do I know anyway?
In the meantime, Fagan is preparing his little crew of Artful Dodgers for some bloody good sport.
Guess who’s pockets they’re going to pick?
I’ll give you a clue; they’re not going to be mine.
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