Happenin’ All Over Again

356389256Rangers fans could well adopt Lonnie Gordon’s 1990 smash hit “Happenin’ All Over Again” as their new club anthem.

Because it is.

I firmly believe that there is an “insolvency event” around the corner. It may be months, it may be a year, but it’s coming.

Although there are reassurances emanating from the NewCo board, the figures don’t seem to stack up.

Losses of £14m and wage bills that would frankly choke a horse must surely have the fans asking where it’s all going and what is the strategy? Where’s the business plan for the next 5 years? Fergus McCann had a five year plan when he took over at Celtic. He stuck to it religiously, letting nothing get in the way, and he swept the changes.

Money was afforded to the correct projects, namely the stadium re-development and the arduous task of re-building a team in shadows of Rangers. 

What the blue half of Glasgow tend to forget is that we, as Celtic fans, suffered dark days then, and they watched it all with what was at first mockery, and then wariness. You might say they had an obsession with Celtic back then, and we were told on a daily basis of how rotten the team was and how we were beggars. 

Yet, unknown to us, Rangers were paying their players EBT all the time; an enticement to the Scottish game, without which these players would not have crossed any borders.

Their over-spending in pursuit of success cost them dearly and it’s happening all over again. Why in God’s name would you pay SPL wages in the third tier of Scottish Footbal?

Is the strategy to accrue enough points that they can still go up, even if the insolvency event happens this year? But what price the team then? They’d need to rebuild from scratch again next season. It is a crazy strategy, if that’s what it is.

Let’s face it – Rangers will coast this division by a silly amount of points. There are no plaudits to be gained here. However well you dress it up, it’s buying a title. If the current Celtic team was put in that division, I’d expect the second string to win every game.

And the man who, until last week, was Scotland’s richest football manager, is receiving every bit of credit for it.

No wonder Ally’s not walking away. It looks like he’s taken a drop of around 50%. which if reports are correct, would still put him on a comparable salary with Neil Lennon at Celtic, who has masterminded Celtic’s path to the Champions League two season’s running. If I was Lennon I’d  be chapping Lawwell’s door on Monday morning.

Let’s not kid ourselves about what’s really going on at Rangers. The fan’s season ticket money is not financing the race back to the top. Right now, the club’s financial welfare is being put a risk to fund the reputation of Ally McCoist.

Forget for a moment his own wages. No manager in Scotland’s third tier needs a wage bill of nearly £8 million per annum. There are plenty of managers out there who would have felt perfectly comfortable taking on these teams with a tenth of that figure. McCoist is trying to protect his own job. He’s trying to fireproof himself from criticism by building a team so expensive they could win the league going through the motions.

For sure, this doesn’t benefit the club. He talked some months ago about building a team which could compete with SPL clubs right away, and he was granted the latitutde to do exactly that, except now he’s saying that the team will have to be rebuilt again next year, at even greater cost, so they can “compete with Celtic” in their first season back in the top flight, should they make it.

Looking at Celtic’s wage bill, and expenditure overall, one can see how insane the level of spending would need to be at Ibrox to support this “ambition.”

In all of this, the Rangers fans are being spoon-fed huge amounts of bullshit by the incumbent Ibrox board, sometimes on a daily basis. Some of it is sugar-coated to appeal to the masses, but If anyone, with any form of intelligence, believes the spin that the cheeky chappy and all round good guy Ally McCoist took a pay cut for “the good of the club” then I have a bag of beanstalk beans to sell them.

McCoist is a wide-boy. He’s well known for his love of money. He’s driven by it; as are most footballers and managers. What makes him different is that he continues to profess his love for his “beloved” Rangers. He doesn’t do walking away. No-one would for that kind of money, money a man of his limited talents will not get anywhere else.

Be honest; can you see this man employed by any other football club after this debacle? Cancelling the Dunfermline game because three first team players are on international duty stinks of fear, from a man who knows that this is it for him, this is his shot, and who deep down understands he’s not got what it takes.

Yet McCoist, we can at least understand. He did what any one of us might have done in the same circumstances. Others have to answer the question as to why it was allowed.

Now, McCoist was allegedly on a temporary contract before administration and liquidation wied the old club away, so therefore under TUPE law his contract didn’t need to be transfered as was. It could have been re-negotiated.

So who, in their infinite wisdom, awarded a “rookie” manager the princely sum of £825,000 per annum plus bonuses?

McCoist is quoted as saying “I just signed it”. Of course he did. He probably couldn’t believe his luck, and it’s emblematic of a club which has learned nothing from recent history. At Ibrox they purely and simply do not get it, everyone from the men in the boardroom to the supporter in the stands.

The days of big signings are over. Probably forever. If Celtic is run even semi-competently the chances of the Ibrox club catching them in the next decade is somewhere between slim and none, barring a sugar daddy waltzing into the picture, a man with pockets as deep as the Pacific Ocean, and no interest in recieving a penny of it back. These men are in short supply as it is. When you attach pre-requisites like being a “Rangers man” and with a love of militarism and Britishness, the potential saviour pool begins to dwindle to the point where you could hold the annual meeting of potential investors in a phone box.

If the Rangers fans are gullible enough to believe that the last two years have not happened, that things can return to the way they were before, then they need a huge kick up the arse to get them to pull their heads out of the sand.

Craig Mather’s consistently defends Rangers against accusations of financial profligacy on with an all too familiar sound blast.:

“We have money in the bank and we are debt-free.”

There is absolutely no credence to what he says. None.

Rangers are debt-free not by choice but by necessity, and as part of the administration/liquidation process that saw them fold like a house of cards.

And it appears they are building a similar model, only with a new deck.

They have no credit line available and are operating without it, because no bank would give them one. Do you think these numbers make it more, or less, likely that that’s going to change any time soon? The club is operating on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Basically they are dipping into their savings (IPO, season ticket money etc.,) which is fundamentally flawed. They will only have so much funding for so long.

It’s akin to losing your job and claiming dole money, but knowing full well you have a few quid in the bank to see you through a few months, and so continuing to live like it’s not really happened. But it’s what happens as those few months draws to a close that makes car crash telvision. Most people in that situation would tighten their belts. They’ll buy supermarket own brand Cornflakes before feasting on Kellogg’s.

Not at Ibrox. The spending goes on, just like before.

The present accounts published were to June 2013. It’s now October and the money in the bank will have depreciated over that time. How many ex-SPL players are on £7k a week?

Let’s say it’s four. That’s just under £30k a week, or £120k a month. This is on just four players who form part of a squad of around 28.

No-one who can use a calculator can believe this  is sustainable.

Mather also failed the Rangers fans by papering over ludicrous salaries to Charles Green (just under £1m) and Brian Stockbridge (more than £400,000) and, of course, the astonishing £825,000 to the Cheeky Chappy (surely this irks the Rangers crowd).

McCoist will wriggle out of this one. He plays the persona of the unwitting innocent victim to a tee . From the demand to know names of SFA committees that were already open to his club to “I just signed it”, no-one gets an easier ride in the press than this guy.

Frankly – he’s played on his legendary status as a player and kidded the Ibrox faithful for years now, and his media friends have gone right along with it.

Let’s put it into perspective. He’s been awarded more in remuneration than Alex McLeish, who was taking on Martin O’Neill in his pomp.

The best bit in all of this is that some have actually praised McCoist and Stockbridge for “helping” out the club by taking these cuts. That’s like stealing the last tenner out of your old dear’s purse (someone you profess to love no doubt), going to the pub and putting the change back. Meanwhile, she’s scraping to put dinner on the table.

Rangers biggest problem is that they want to pretend they’re the Rangers of “bygone days of yore”  when the grim reality is that they’re a lower league club founded only a year ago.

I have no sympathy. There has never been any real contrition shown. They’ve stuck to the “We Are The People” ethos and believe they are immortal. You’re not. You only live once and the re-incarnation looks doomed due to the financial mismanagement that’s been unleashed in the pursuit of Allys managerial rep. The arrogance knows no bounds.

Whatever happened to learning to walk before you run? They’re dancing about like a Bambi on rollerskates with the fans watching through their fingers, hoping they don’t fall.

But they will. Because they’ve learned nothing.

It’s happening all over again.

[calameo code=00138299366196942c5ec width=550 height=356]

Gavin McCann

A dipsomaniac funambulist steadying himself on life’s tightrope through the medium of writing. I “suffer” from diphallic terata with mild polyorchidity. Like a dug wi’ two dicks.

20 thoughts on “Happenin’ All Over Again

  • 7 October, 2013 at 2:37 pm
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    Spot on. Their heads are in the sand and no amount of bullishness is going to save them this time!!

  • 7 October, 2013 at 3:14 pm
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    But we have the Army , Royal Navy and Royal Air Force on our side this cannot be allowed to happen !

  • 7 October, 2013 at 3:18 pm
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    Insolvency #2 around the corner.

    Who is to get stiffed this time?

    Another 5 way agreement?

    Will it be THE The Rangers for the next SFA shoe in?

    Roll it on!

  • 7 October, 2013 at 3:37 pm
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    Thus is the biggest pile of shit I’ve read of yours mate, just a regurgitation of everything that has been said for ages, I know you like to think of Rangers fans as idiots and to be fair there are quite a few that are, but we know fine well that ally is a terrible manager and I for one didn’t want him in the first place.
    We also know our board is full of shit , we know we are spending money we don’t need too. Have you seen the protest of fans wanting the board out and wanting to know are the mystery owners behind these clowns running us. And exactly how many times can we apoligise for the shit that happened before we are left alone, daft question because nothing will ever be good enough for guys like you on that massive horse you are on. and one other thing, you said neil lennon masterminded celtic into the champions league two years running, gies piece mate, a halfwit with that team could have got there well except ally hed have fucked that up!

  • 7 October, 2013 at 3:43 pm
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    Couple things …

    First, I didn’t write this one, this is Gavin’s.

    Secondly, it’s not a regurgitation at all. This is topical. We’ve just found out that the club is bleeding money away again at a staggering rate, and even if McCoist is cutting his wages in half, he’s still grossly overpaid.

    Third, individual fans have apoloigsed for what happened, even individual board members, when they wanted something. The new club never has. Its wants all the perks of being Rangers without the responsibilities. Stuck in the same old mindset, this is the result.

    Fourth, you know I’m not Lennon’s biggest fan. But to denigrate his achievements in getting to the Champions League groups is a nonsense. Especially this season, when his team was weaker in every qualifying round than it was in the one before. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

  • 7 October, 2013 at 4:18 pm
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    justafan you are all in denial every one of you,even guys like yourself who grudgingly admit (something went wrong).Sevco are a new club ! 1 year old ……Start there and perhaps there may be light at the end of the tunnel.The spivs who are running the “Clumpany”have their hands in the till and they are staying……….As a fan base you have to get critical,get constructive,get organised,get real.Good luck with that,sevco 2 is probably 1sh year off and I await with great relish it,s been great fun,but not nice knowing your team……..tic-toc.

  • 7 October, 2013 at 9:31 pm
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    HahaHaha, chug chug rangers

  • 7 October, 2013 at 11:12 pm
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    And in the words of Lauren Cooper “Am I bovvered?”. Naw – not anymore. Whilst I would admit to having held a degree of sympathy for the plight of the fans, I have, by and large, lost any real interest in the almost farcical shenanigans over Ibrox way. Mainly because, by virtue of being Scottish football’s newest club, they do not have any affect on my team, Celtic, anymore than Stenhousemuir would. Or Elgin. Or Arbroath. Or any other team who are multiple-divisions below us.

    Whilst the team on the park holds no interest, the ‘team’ in the boardroom does. I am intrigued as to what is actually going on in there, from a business sense. The business strategy appears to be based on the ‘get-to-the-top-league-in-three-seasons’ plan – which for a club of this size must surely be a given. Other than that…what? Who knows! A year ago they strenuously denied the rumours that they had no money and would need to raise cash/working capital from an IPO. The recently published accounts now prove those rumours to be true, and that the IPO funded their 1st year in existence. And now with that genie out of the bottle, the question is: How will they fund their 2nd year without a similar injection of cash?

    As I have said before, what that club needs is it’s very own ‘Man wi’ a Plan’, like our own Fergus McCann. His was a robust 5yr plan, which admittedly caused the fans frustration and anguish when, at times, he appeared to be more parsimonious than those he deposed. But that parsimony paid-off and took Celtic back to where it belongs: at the top of Scottish football; winning trophies year-in-year-out; and competing at the very top of European competition.

    That’s what is so evidently lacking at the New Rangers, and to be fair to justafan, he acknowledges the failings of the board. The greatest being, in my opinion, the amount of money they are paying themselves in wages, benefits and bonuses. This, again, is where they differ to wee Fergus. If my memory serves me correctly, in his 5yrs as Chairman and Chief Executive, Fergus didn’t take a wage. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. He came with a clear 5yr plan, after which his payday would come from selling-up for a profit on his original investment. And profit he did – handsomely at that…but not at the expense of the fans, but of the individual and institutional investors who took up his shares.

    Quite what the institutional investors make of this Rangers board, whose keenness for great self-reward would shame even a banker, can only be guessed at.

    But, as I said at the beginning, “Am I bovvered?”. It would seem I am – and a little bit more than I care to admit.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 3:35 am
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    Rangers International versus Airdrie United.
    2 teams stiffed by SDM

  • 8 October, 2013 at 6:42 am
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    another fine piece gavin. wish more (scottish media) would tell it as it is.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 11:09 am
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    1. I know you never wrote it james buddy, I don’t just read your stuff.
    2. You know fine well I never wanted McCoist, and £100 a week would be too much.
    3. We know the noard are at it and screwing us and there is guys trying to do something.
    4. Maybe I worded it wrong but I wasn’t deminishing Lennons achievement of getting you there just the phrase MASTERMINDED. AS I was getting at, it didn’t take a mastermind to do it as you have a pretty decent team.
    @Thomas what exactly am in denial about?

  • 8 October, 2013 at 11:15 am
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    And funnily enough its taken the worst at rangers board level for the majority of celtic fans to see what a crucial person the bunnet was to the future of celtic, and one more thing gonny gies a loan of liewell as much as I don’t like the guy imo hes done a fantastic job for celtic.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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    Fair play to you justafan.

    There appears to be a gung ho attitude to spending. Looks like no-one gives a shit about the ordinary fan to me.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 3:51 pm
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    Gung ho! My god man thats an understatment, I apologize for being rude mate about your piece. I know its just your opinion and your are entitled to make it.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 7:03 pm
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    No need to apologise.

    You see, the mainstream media berate us “internet bampots” and say we have no accountability. We do, that’s why there is a comments page. We’re open to criticism, good or bad.

    If it irks you – you should take James’ offer up of doing a piece from a Rangers fans perspective.

    He’ll publish it as long as it’s not overtly racist, sexist or bigoted.

    The invite is there.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 7:57 pm
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    justafan: Are you sure you’re a Rangers fan? And for the record, I have always appreciated The Bunnett – even if he did remind me of the tortoise from the Disney Classic, The Hare & The Bunnett. And as much as I hate to admit it, he was also bang-on about Dalglish.

  • 8 October, 2013 at 8:42 pm
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    @john yes mate I’m very sure, why do you ask?
    @ Gavin, I should mate I keep meaning to I shall get round to it, cheers

  • 8 October, 2013 at 8:54 pm
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    Any time. We are always looking for new writers. The Bhoy Davis needs to give it a whirl too!

  • 8 October, 2013 at 11:35 pm
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    Gavin, as you and James do such a good job with your articles I’ve been trying to come up with something a bit different. I was there a few weeks ago but got my off and on’s mixed-up when emailing it in. So, instead of “On Fields…” getting my wee sideways look on women’s football, it went to Tam Cowan at “Off the Ball”.

    It may still be OK to use as I’ve no’ heard him mention it on the show. That said, soon after I sent it, I’ve no’ heard him on the show, either.

  • 9 October, 2013 at 12:18 am
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    history being re-written again by sevconians – yes there was a lot of dissent about the bunnett, but it wasn’t all the fans and I doubt very much it was even the majority of fans. I was behind Fergus from the start.
    I boycotted CP when the Whites were in charge even though it hurt me to do so. I joined the protest groups and tried to get as many other fans on board as possible – what did the sevconians do?.
    Instead of sevconians boasting about their great attendance figures (which are rigged), they should have been boycotting the club until they were told the truth, shown the books / accounts and been satisfied that they had the right people in place to run the club. Instead they’ve thrown even more money at one spiv after another who has fed them tales of a return to the good old days – how many times can they be shafted before they say no more?
    Why have the fans not insisted on seeing the title deeds to who actually owns the fixtures & fittings – ibrox, murray park(is it still called that?), the car parks etc etc?
    How do they think they will survive until the end of the season without another cash injection – another share issue / Dave King’s money?
    I’ve got to admit to loving the soap opera that is being played out over at ibrox – it’s the gift that never seems to stop giving. I don’t want sevco back in any shape or form – I won’t be happy until they die completely.
    I don’t want their fans ever back at CP – I don’t want to ever hear their songs of hatred again – I don’t watch them on tv so the last time I heard their songbook was the last time they came to CP.
    The sooner they die, the sooner Scottish society can begin to join the 20th century (the 21st is too far a jump).

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