In The Dark House

3Gduepif0T1UGY8H4xMDoxOjBrO-I4W8Today is my 38th birthday, and when I think about that it invokes a sigh. Two years until a big milestone. Two years until the big Four Oh, which as everyone knows stands for “Oh my God”.

Some say life begins at that age, but if they believe that they couldn’t have enjoyed their 20’s the way I enjoyed mine.

Still, I don’t consider myself to be “getting old”. To me, age is a number, and one that doesn’t really mean much until you qualify for the free bus pass.

Then it hits me. Ronny Deila is only a year older than me. Does that, actually, make me old? Or does it make him young? I don’t know the answer to that one. I’ll leave it for others to say. I don’t feel old, but I’m never going to don a white t-shirt and PT a bunch of professional footballers around Lennoxtown until they throw up. That tells its own story.

Remember when Ally was “young”? Remember when he took over and they compared him to Neil Lennon and said this was a battle between “two young up and coming managers”? They were half right anyway. One of them was certainly young, and certainly going places. The other was ten years older than I am right now, and if you think he was going grey and looking his age then, you haven’t seen him lately. He’s 52 now, and he’ll be getting that bus pass soon enough.

Neil Lennon, as we all know, has just taken the job at Bolton Wanderers. It’s his first foray into management south of the border, the first job he’s had since he left Celtic Park. Lenny is 43 now, after four turbulent years at Parkhead, four years in which he won trophies and suffered things that would make McCoist hide under the bed.

Neil just won his first game in charge, the first of many. I expect him to do well at Bolton, or as well as you can do at a provincial English club in one of the toughest leagues in world football. He didn’t get the recognition he deserved upon leaving Parkhead, but he’s operating on a difficult proving ground now, and I expect him to come on leaps and bounds and it’ll be a stepping stone job to something bigger, something in the EPL.

Ally, on the other hand, has publicly mused on whether he’ll ever manage another club after he leaves Ibrox behind. I would say the chances of it are somewhere between slim and none.

I never expect him to manage a top flight game again in his career.

He’s not going to get his club to the SPL, and that’ll mean his jotters. When clubs in England examine what he “achieved” they will not be impressed as much as aghast at how he went about it.

McCoist gets an easy ride here in Scotland. You only have to look at the nonsense Deila is being asked to swallow, a guy who’s literally just in the door at his club, a guy who’s trying to change not tactics or personnel but honest-to-god fundamentals, to compare and contrast with the way the media fawns all over everything “Coisty” says.

This isn’t just about having mates in the media, although that’s definitely part of it. Ally’s easy time feeds into the general desire the press has to paint everything that that happens at Sevco in the best possible light. The current “takeover talks” are a case in point.

Everyone who’s been following the Sevco story, either on this site or elsewhere, knows that the King over the water isn’t going to take the keys at Ibrox. The obstacles in the way would be too great even for a guy who didn’t simply like having his picture in the paper.

He wants to buy 51% of Sevco, say the papers. Oh yeah? Has no-one told him that if he does then he’s legally obligated to make a bid for the other 49%? Or did he miss class they day they were teaching that one at business school?

Does he realise that his plans would require 75% backing from the existing shareholders? Does he know Ashley himself owns 10% and can call on the same again from the Easdales? Does he realise that every single one of the shareholders would have to see their own share diluted – to no gain whatsoever – in order to make his pipedream a reality?

Does he know it would require a business plan? That it would require something more substantial than the “back of a napkin” nonsense he came up with the last time?

What was that again? Oh aye, give Ally a transfer war chest and pray they get into Europe.

Has no-one told him that if expenditure outstrips earnings by too much that the club will be skint again in short order, Europe or not? Did anyone think to remind him that UEFA financial fair play regulations are in force now, and they wouldn’t be allowed in under those circumstances? Has any of this been discussed? Even thought about?

I suspect not. I suspect that these are questions that strike too close to reality, the one thing Sevco Rangers fans, and those backing the King “bid”, would rather not come face to face with.

The club is a bottomless pit. Even if King wasn’t full of it, spending £30 million on the team would be a sticking plaster over what’s really wrong there.

The stadium is coming apart, needing an eight figure sum spent on it to bring it up to snuff, or there’s a very real risk of a safety certificate being refused somewhere down the line.

Don’t even kid yourself that this won’t happen … HSE regulations are written in stone. It’s a criminal offence to ignore them, and if the inspectors find faults they will shut the place down. Money will have to be spent on that, and a lot of money at that.

Their scouting network is non-existent. When Celtic has to sell players to stay in profit (Hell, even to break even, in a Champions League year) the fantasy that Sevco will be able to continue spending on signings ad infinitum is ridiculous.

They will have to copy the so-called strategy at Celtic Park … except that this strategy misses as often as it hits, and in order to get our success ratio where it’s at right now, the costs were in the tens of millions and the timescale was measured in years.

This is reality. This is not the fantasy the media likes to indulge in.

Even if there was a mood amongst shareholders to dilute their own holdings, the cost of getting involved will run into the tens of millions easily, and will brush the outer limits of a nine figure commitment, lasting at least a decade, with the most unforgiving, selfish supporters in the world baying in his ear the whole time.

Ashley is in the driving seat. He can block King’s grandiose scheme, knowing he’ll take a little flack but there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If the club wants to survive, it will have to go to him with the begging bowl, and essentially give him whatever he wants. That bill is liable to be sky high. Ashley is going to give a first class demonstration of how you don’t need to be the majority shareholder to make everyone around the table dance to your tune.

All of this, the hardship this club is going to face over the next few years, is known to those of us who keep our eyes on what’s happening and don’t trust the media spin.

But you have to want to know.

You know who doesn’t know anything? Our friend Ally.

He was asked today about the King talks, and he pled utter ignorance. He was asked about Ashley and said he didn’t know. On the surface of it, he doesn’t want to dig too far, or delve too deep. He would, it seems, rather sit on the side-lines and wait to be handed money.

Yet, I suspect that’s not the full picture. I wonder how much those above him care about keeping him in the loop these days.

If I were his bosses I wouldn’t be in a great hurry to share anything with him, because the last few months have proved, yet again, that Ally is very adroit at looking out for number one, and he doesn’t mind the occasional flash of disloyalty to his employers if it keeps him in the good graces of the media, and in the eyes of some of the fans.

See, the media is Ally’s Praetorian Guard. If they gave him the same treatment they’re giving Deila, he would have been gone a long time before now.

Two weeks ago, when Ashley was calling for the heads of the Chief Executive and the Finance Officer (I don’t want to say we told you so, but we did kinda tell you so), McCoist was asked about Ashley’s plans for the club. He went on record to say he supported the idea of Ashley investing. He repeated that last week, with the ridiculous notion thrown in that he and King should get together.

Now maybe it’s just me, but where was the statement in support of the CEO? His board of directors has been undermined at every turn in the past year, and McCoist has, on nearly every occasion, supported those who were doing it.

He’s been one of the chief spokesmen for King all the way through, and in the week that Ashley wanted heads to roll above him, there was Ally, talking about how nice his money would be.

This is why today’s bout of head-scratching and “I don’t know anything” was unsurprising. McCoist, in trying to ride both sides of the fence last week with his notion of King and Ashley coming together (and neither camp seems to want Graham Wallace and Phil Nash), has pissed off everyone. If he was being kept informed, he now no longer is.

He’s not in the dog house as much as in the dark house.

Regular readers will know how little I think of him, as a manager and as a man. When he is not spinning conspiracy theories about everyone hating his club, when he isn’t making demands for the naming of names or for criminal investigations into guys in green hoody’s, when he’s not slithering about on the issue of his recompense even as he questions others for taking money out of Ibrox, he’s indulging in little battles against the people who are covering his back.

He is a slippery chancer who is in the final stages of his final job in football.

This time next year, when I’m “celebrating” being 39, he will no longer be working in the sport. I believe that implicitly. I would bet on it.

In the meantime, I suspect he’s living in the growing awareness of assassins in the shadows, of being all alone in that stadium, with few real friends.

A man in hard times needs to know who he can count on. A man who’s behaved as selfishly as he has can only really rely on one person. The man in the mirror.

Even if I was of a mind to show some sympathy for his position – which I am not – I only have to read the statement from the Cowdenbeath chairman last week, when he said McCoist’s ludicrous and cowardly, decision to postpone the match between the sides – and the SPFL’s corrupt endorsement of it even when it no longer had validity –had cost them £20,000 they could ill afford.

That’s chump change to Ally, so what does he care?

His time is running out, and I think he probably knows it.

Today, as I’m one year closer to 40 (and 50, and 60) I strongly suspect that I’m not alone in hearing that rather loud ticking in the background.

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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.

11 thoughts on “In The Dark House

  • 21 October, 2014 at 6:31 am

    He is one dispicable git. Hh

  • 21 October, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Many happy returns James.I once had the misfortune of meeting the whispering coward when I attended a crowded hospital A & E dept with my friend.He approached us and demanded my friend give up his seat,loudly stating the fact that he was Ally McCoist.As my friend rose to challenge him,I also stood up and told him he could have both of our seats.When he said that he only needed the one chair,I replied that if his arse was as big as his head he would need the both of them. His face was a picture as everyone in the area fell about laughing.Truly,he could walk under a rattlesnake wearing a top hat on his head.

  • 21 October, 2014 at 8:57 am

    James, can’t agree more. Lenny won the battle of the up and coming (young) managers and left Swally in his wake although a couple of trebles would have sealed the deal and his status as a Celtic legend.

    On the continuing humdrum SMSM coverage of all things Glib, your analysis is again spot on and it is disconcerting to watch our so called ‘journos’ ride roughshod over people’s intelligence by ignoring the workings of the stock market and rules governing compliance in trading shares. Apart from anything else there are so many people involved behind the scenes wanting to “feed on the carcass…again” that it beggars belief that Glib can just take 51% control without resistance. I was sitting idly at the airport the other day and wrote down all the names of the people reportedly involved just before and since liquidation. I counted around 35-40, including the Lebanese lawyer, Ratty Ritzi, two other well known fraudsters and assorted other muppets all taking money out of Sevco in some way shape or form. Some people would call this a ‘dripping roast’ and no one is walking away from that. Joining the dots on this lot will take years.

    A final point, I read your article the other day about the Rangers Standard’s “smoking gun” e-mails between Interpol’s most wanted and the Green Consortium. Surely we have now reached ‘tipping point’; which Malcolm Gladwell in his book of the same name describes as the “moment of critical mass…..the boiling point”……that suddenly causes Graham Spiers (used to be an objective journo) and others to return to writing something akin to the truth, or do you think that decent open journalism is dead in Scottish football??

  • 21 October, 2014 at 11:41 am


    I’ll never stop hoping for that day mate, but the total lack of any follow up by the straight press tells its own story, doesn’t it?

  • 21 October, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    your being a little harsh, he wasnt bad on a question of sport, because bullshit goes a long way on tv.

  • 21 October, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You are of course writing about such a low level of human being that it is simply impossible to grade him any lower, he is the luckiest “man” ever to pull on a pair of football boots. He turned down his beloved club for more money at sunderland, where he failed, this failure I believe is what turned him into the cowardly sleekit that he is today. This sorry excuse for a man just ended up in the right place at the right time, if that club had not been assigned to the rubbish bin of history that rat would’ve been fired after his first season, jeez, he must thank his lucky stars every single night, there is no way he would be at another club, I believe he will be terrified to try his hand at another club, never mind though, he’ll have his fat bank balance to look at every now and again, most likely whispering at it in a trance like state, “my precioussssss, my precioussssss” the Gollum of Scottish football, even so I believe his happiness will be short lived when he melts back into just a bad memory and super only exists in his own mind when everyone no longer needs to suck up to him and some even let it be known what an effin turd he truly was, loneliness and bitterness awaits this nasty piece of work, and I take no pleasure in saying this about anyone, its just the position he has and how he has totally abused it is unforgivable. Then again the new entity and him deserve each other and I have no doubt karma will take care of them, happy birthday James Hail Hail.

  • 21 October, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    the chubby fella canny manage his weight and the sychophantic laptop loyal get told what to write doon the ludge its the way things are in bigotland

  • 21 October, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    How does King get passed the SFA with 32 convictions for fraud

  • 21 October, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    James I said a week ago on this forum that the DK bail out was feasible despite the stumbling blocks, tonight the bailout looks even closer.


    I am of the opinion that Fat Sally will be in place long after RD has gone indeed I am joined in that opinion by thousands of Celtic fans

    There has to come this season what I call a Sevco tipping point when we pay less attention
    to the sewer rats and more to getting our own house in order.

    James, you know I’m right, we should be light years ahead of them but WE ARE NOT !

  • 21 October, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Unfortunately I think it will get even worse when he is eventually dismissed for gross (pun intended) misconduct, the likelyhood is he will become a Scottish TV pundit, can you imagine the gruesome twosome of fat Sally and that wee weasel McCann commenting on a Celtic game.

  • 24 October, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Easy target and, apart from the usual excellent insight into the ongoing mess and cover-up with sevco, SFA and now even the Herald, is a poor excuse for a rant, He is what he is ( remember his ‘ who cares’ comment on QoS ?) and venting your spleen against him in particular does us a disservice, Think he carried Tommy Burns coffin at one point which would have seriously pissed off many ludgers. You could argue that it made him look good but he didn’t need to do it. I hated Souness but the look on his face going down the tunnel in front of big Jock as he was being carried behind him dying couldn’t be faked. If you want assassination check out ‘No love, no joy’ on When Saturday Comes.

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