Keith Jackson & A Corpse By The Road

c84ac210c673e30ec0698dad83800a2fFor those of you out there who enjoy nothing more than settling down with a loved one for a Saturday night movie, there are certain genres best avoided and within those genres a number of movies which stand out as to be definitely left alone.

One of them is an American “made for TV” film called The Day After. It’s an internationally acclaimed piece of cinema, despite its birth-place on the small screen. That’s because of the subject matter, which no Hollywood studio would touch or ever has.

The movie’s about the consequences of a full-on nuclear strike against the US.

You can imagine this film, without having seen it.

The reality of watching it is much worse (and the British version, Threads, is even worse than that … a searing, harrowing, horrendous, nightmare inducing experience like nothing you’ll ever watch); it’s a film for making you genuinely despair about where we might be headed as a species.

At the end of the movie, Jason Robards is travelling to Kansas City, where he’s from, to see his home one last time before he dies. He hitches a ride with a National Guard unit and in the back of the truck he embarks on a tour of Hell itself.

Yet he barely sees the corpses by the road.

By that point, no-one really does anymore.

Scottish football was supposed to look a little bit like that today.

At the weekend, when Aberdeen came back from a goal down with ten men to win three points at Ross County it was another one of those moments when you marvelled at how good the Scottish game might become again.

But Aberdeen was supposed to be like Hearts, Motherwell, St Johnstone, Kilmarnock and Inverness by this time; a hollowed out shell.

Nothing but a corpse by the road.

How different the picture is to the “Armageddon” they presupposed.

Today Keith Jackson has written a piece about how Scottish football is, as he puts it, emerging from a “long winter.”

I don’t know that he’s thinking about the nuclear sort, but I suspect he is. Because one of the foremost traits our media and the governing bodies have is that when it comes to Armageddon none has ever admitted just how wrong they got it.

Over the last four years, most of our senior clubs have wiped out their debts.

Another thing that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Those debts were supposed to have wiped out them.

The trophies have been spread around.

I don’t like it much, and would rather we’d won the lot of them, but it’s given other teams a taste of glory that has spurred them on.

Attendances are up almost across the boards; the one notable exception is at Celtic Park, where there are reasons a lot of fans are staying away that have nothing to do with “no Rangers in the league” … I would bet that only a mere handful of fans gave up their tickets with that specific scenario in mind.

Our issues go deeper than that.

The game itself is alive, vibrant, healthy … but that’s not how Jackson and others see it.

Apparently we’re only now emerging from a dark period during which “the national sport has been effectively neutered and robbed of its own self-esteem.”

What arrogant, sanctimonious, Sevconian bollocks.

We all know what would have destroyed Scottish Football’s self-esteem.

It was the course of action Jackson and others were urging on the game in 2012; that we allow a brand new club built from the ashes of scandal and disgrace to assume a place in the top flight of our sport – automatically – simply because it bore the name “Rangers.”

Jackson hasn’t noticed that the game has rolled on quite nicely without the Ibrox club, because in his own mind (you can hear it, rattling, in there like a pea in a tin cup) he actually does see the wreckage, the shattered wasteland, the corpses piled up like firewood, the rubble of what was once our national game, twisted and broken.

He sees these things because he has tunnel vision and because he just can’t focus beyond the boundaries of Ibrox, where there really has been Armageddon, and where that wreckage can be seen clearly.

No other club has failed to adapt to the new shape of football like Sevco, still clinging to a corpse, still struggling to accept the new reality, which is that not only did no-one mourn them, but no-one missed them either.

There, there really has been a “neutering” and a “loss of self-esteem”; the end of financial doping on the scale Rangers once pioneered.

The humiliations which have pounded Sevco relentlessly in the past four years were all made within its own walls, and the next crisis to engulf them will, likewise, come from there. These are the profound consequences of their having built a club with a superiority complex that bore no relationship to its place in the real world.

The dark winter there isn’t even close to being over yet.

Jackson has talked, today, about how that club is now entering a “period of normality” again.

I agree with him.

With convicted criminals on the board, looming court cases, allegations of tapping, unsettling players at other clubs, soft loans to keep on the lights, sources of short term funding with decidedly dodgy backgrounds, non-payment of bills, a swelling egotism and the typical fawning of the media, things there are about as “normal” as they can be.

Other clubs might regard all this as decidedly abnormal, but this is Sevco, and of course Sevco is different, operating in a different reality and playing by very different rules.

The more things change around here, the more they stay the same. The media obsession with this club continues unabated and the re-writing of history goes hand in hand with reframing the present into whatever shapes suits the Ibrox club the best.

Today’s article suggests that Celtic have missed a club calling itself Rangers in their league, but then ponders why we would loan a player to Hibs who might stand in the way of them getting there, as though this is really a mystery and not the confirmation of everything Celtic supporters and our board have been telling these people for years now.

We do not want a team from Ibrox playing in the top flight.

We’re not remotely interested in the media-hyped, hate-fuelled “rivalry” that is so necessary to the survival of the Sevco operation.

We hated that warped creation even when it was partly grounded in history, that of Rangers; we have zero intention of getting behind a Frankenstein’s Monster version of it founded on all the old hatreds the game here is better leaving behind, but turbo charged by the twin engines of the Survival and Victim Myth’s that are so prevalent in the excretal articles Jackson and others have produced and are still producing to this day.

This disconnect from reality is more greatly expressed in Jackson’s closing paragraphs, where he says Sevco will complete two signings this week (on no greater information than Mark Warburton suggested it at the weekend), that of Michael O’Halloran (who St Johnstone are saying won’t be allowed to leave for the current, derisory, offer) and a Brentford midfielder who’s own club is less than pleased at how Sevco have gone about their business.

But of course, the Ibrox club will “get their men” without “being held to ransom”, as if it was the two other clubs who were somehow at fault for not wanting to part with their own players for insulting sums.

This is the type of language that flows out of Ibrox; this is the type of language the media uses to frame the terms of the debate.

Jackson says these signings will “cost the guts of £1m in transfer fees”; the biggest piece of artificial inflating since Jordan went in for her last boob job. It will, he goes on to say, “provide solid proof Dave King and his board are not just cleansing their club but also have the wherewithal to properly fund Mark Warburton’s rebuild.”

I don’t know which part of that I found most hilarious, or a bigger insult to our collective intelligence; the notion that a convicted crook who’s keeping on the lights by the non-payment of bills and taking soft loans from other dodgy geezers is “cleansing” the place or that it proves King has “the wherewithal” to fund a series of major transfers.

Neither of those things is remotely true.

I often marvel at the ability our media has to distort reality and see only the parts of history that suit them whilst ignoring the rest.

Today, Scottish football is in the best health it’s been in for a long time.

Four years of work at the clubs has produced real reasons to be optimistic.

Jackson is right about that.

But he conflates these things with “the rise” of Sevco in sheer ignorance of the fact that our top flight is thriving without them in it, that it will continue to thrive if they fail to get promotion … and that all of this flies in the face of what we were told to expect.

When it comes right down to it, Jackson and others still see the destruction as if it actually happened.

That’s what they wanted and it’s what they expected.

What the rest of us see are cool blue waters reaching out from white sandy beaches.

If there’s a corpse by the road, somewhere up there beyond the dunes, it’s that of Rangers itself.

Across from us, down here on the sands, though, are two guys walking on either side of a dead body, supporting it in a despereate effort to pretend it’s still a living person, waving the arms, nodding the head, trying to make the bizarre and illogical seem … normal.

This isn’t The Day After.

It’s Weekend At Bernie’s.

And the joke is on Jackson and those who refuse to see that simple truth.

(Writing these blogs is my full time job, and I couldn’t do it without the support of my readers. If you like what I do you can make a donation at the below link. Thanks to those who have.)


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.

6 thoughts on “Keith Jackson & A Corpse By The Road

  • 18 January, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Mr Forrest I can only assume your drunk. You continually refer to this “brand new club” yet are unable to explain why every football authority or indeed anyone who’s views actually matter disagree with you. The SPFL website disagrees with you,the ASA twice disagreed with you,and that after consulting both UEFA and the SFA,the ECA gave Rangers associate membership because the club was founding members in 2008 (not bad for a brand new club formed in 2012),The SPFL Chief Executive and Lord’s Nimmo Smith and Glennie disagree with you,and UEFA have only two days ago updated Rangers current squad on the so called “old Rangers” UEFA page and now have the club’s last match listed as 2015 (not 2012) UEFA as I’m sure you know don’t report on lower league games.
    Can you tell us why in your opinion the views of yourself or any other Celtic fan should be taken over the viewpoint of all of the above? Seem’s a bit bonkers to me. And as for Scottish football thriving lol I watched the “highlights” last night,swathes of empty seats,a league that can only be won by one club,a pittance in sponsorship,your own club embarrassed again in Europe by mediocre sides,and constant downsizing. The bitterness of the celtic support is blinding you to the reality.May I log off by quoting you your own majority shareholder (a man who I think knows a tad more about it than yourself,including Rangers being the same club): “Rangers is a fantastic club with a great history” he said. “With the support that they have they will come back. They will,in not to long a time,be back in the SPL. I have no doubt about that. They’re needed for Scottish football because of their following and the size of the club and especially their history”. Amazing the sense one can talk when not blinded by bitterness.

  • 18 January, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Lol your post is hilarious on so many levels.

    Sevco IS a brand new club, and that’s a self evident fact to anyone who isn’t either 1) A fan of what was once Rangers or 2) Someone on glue.

    The SPL chief executive’s “personal opinion” carries not one bit of weight with any person who has already given up their glue habit. He is a discredited joke, any Sevco fans know this as well as anything. I choose not to believe a word he says on ANY subject. Sevco fans choose not to believe a word he says on any subject EXCEPT THIS … who is the mug around here?

    Lord Nimmo Smith says nothing of the sort, as you’d know if you read the ACTUAL REPORT rather than on what certain websites and newspapers claim it did. Your post is proof that the Age of Innocence is not yet over, that a lot of people still believe the bollocks they read in the Old Media … part of which this very article was taking apart.

    I also couldn’t give a damn what my own club’s absentee landlord thinks. He’d do better to address what you, rightly, call out as our own decline.

    But once again, you sneer at that on one hand and then praise him on the other … a clear case of selective thinking.

    It’s not bitterness to tell the truth, and nor do I need to convince you of any of this.

    Live in denial. Live in sheer stupidity. Live in a Narnia or whatever lets you sleep at night.

    But I remember reading the editorials and statements in the press and from your own supporters in 2012; they were ALL very clear that liquidation meant death.

    Nothing about that changed except the stubborn idiotic refusal of people to accept it.

    According to the Kübler-Ross model, the five stages of grief are “Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”

    Maybe we should all be glad you lot haven’t yet got past denial.

  • 18 January, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    But the ASA…
    You’re expertise in denial is beyond doubt.

  • 18 January, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Edingal, I won’t bother refuting your tired old arguments, you’ll find them answered in plenty of other places if you can be bothered to look but I would like an answer to a question of my own.

    If the “New Company, same club” idea is really the case why did it take so long for anyone to realise?

    The earliest mention I’ve come across of this notion is from June 2012 (although I admit I’ve not researched it in any detail).

    Why, when Rangers went into administration and there was confusion about what the future held, did nobody with any knowledge or experience of these matters step forward to clarify that the company might be in trouble but the club would continue?

    Why, on the day the CVA was rejected and liquidation became inevitable, didn’t anyone from Rangers appear on the steps at Ibrox to point out that while this was a sad day for the company, the club would remain essentially unaffected? (I’m sure all the tearful bears we saw on telly would have taken great comfort and reassurance from such an announcement.)

    And why, when the Herald, the Daily Record and the rest produced their “RFC RIP” headlines and front page pictures of coffins in graves, was there no angry response from Ibrox and the Rangers fans pointing out the truth of the matter followed by hurried retractions and profuse apologies by the media the next day?

    The fact is that liquidation = death. Rangers died and the survival myth is just that; a fiction, concocted by a charlatan and seized upon by a support and a compliant media desperate to avoid facing the end of all their old certainties, not to mention the supply of succulent lamb.

    You’re Not Rangers Any More!

    Live with it!!

  • 21 January, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    “Attendances are up across the board.” Where is the evidence for this? I don’t have much interest in Scottish football, but looking at the attendance figures in the papers a number of clubs struggle to break the 3,000 barrier, which is heading towards Irish League level. Looking at the figures on weekends when Celtic are away from home, the attendance at the home games of the club which no longer exists, usually outnumbers the combined attendance at all the top division matches. If the top division is thriving perhaps I’ve imagined the statements from various chairmen/chief executives of clubs in that division calling for league re-organisation/expansion.
    As to Celtic people not wanting Rangers back in the top flight, this clearly doesn’t apply to the chief executive, or majority share holder of that club, who would clearly welcome them back with open arms.
    All in all, a rather hysterical piece.

  • 14 February, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Ia0don’t agree with your comments at all. Celtic will just have to esurne they win the title at homea0 annually. This time on a fair basis as opposed to cheating the tax man and in the process competeing with an unfair financial advantage for the last 15 years ( tacitly approved by the SPL and SFA) over every other SPL team. They deserve all the shame thats coming their way. In the meantime hopefully another team (even better two) fills the vacuum and make it competative for Scottish football like Hearts did a few years ago. In the meantimea0Celtic can make European progress their real goal.

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