Sevco, Dark Places & Alien Space Bats

Dave-King-XXX-high-resWe in Scottish football who’ve been following the Sevco story have had one heck of a day already, as we head into what might prove to be a defining week.

First up was the news that the Sevco shareholders have voted against Resolution 10 at their AGM, which was their only visible means of raising money in the short term.


And yet I am less than devastated.

Adrian Durham, who this website slated earlier this year, has written another bizarre article today saying Celtic fans miss a club called Rangers.

Does it sound like we do?

I’d like nothing more than to see Hibs catch them, forcing them into another play-off, and then failure.

You’d think Durham would learn from the slagging he took last time, but in he goes again like a kid who’s been burned once but insists on sticking his hand in the flames again.

There’s just one word for that; idiocy.

He’s not alone, of course. In the Scottish media, just writing nonsense is considered a masterful performance, worthy of awards.

In The Telegraph Roddy Forsyth has written another of his own barmy pieces trying to equate what Rangers did with the numerous legal tax avoidance mechanisms which individuals and companies all across the world exploit.

This comes days after The Evening Times ran a headline suggesting that Sevco’s financial position was “the envy of world football.”

At the same time, Celtic are being spun as in crisis because of a couple of tweets from a malcontented player.


From the ridiculous to the sublimely ludicrous.

These people live in a parallel universe, I swear to God they do. They believe in things that are so utterly out of step with reality you want to give them a good shake sometimes.

Someone asked me recently if I can see a way of forestalling another administration event at Ibrox.

Today this news about the share issue only reinforces what I’ve long believed; there’s only one possible solution to their ills.

Their fans enjoy alternative history; Hell, they practically live in one.

The Survival Myth, the Victim Myth, this notion of still being a huge club … it’s all unreal, all the stuff of Narnia, but they believe it.

See, part of the problem is the media that publishes this stuff. They’ve proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there’s still a market for “alternative history” fiction … and as most of their stuff appears to fall into this category they’ll understand me when I tell them what I think is the only thing that can save Sevco now.

It’s simple. Alien space bats.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s a phrase used in the alternative history genre to describe a plot point or event that is so implausible it almost breaks the narrative structure, as in “Sevco needs five million to see them through the season … they won’t get the money but they can conquer the Earth instead by using alien space bats …”

In other words, it’s going to take something out of left field, something ridiculous, an Arab billionaire with King Billy tattooed on his backside maybe.

Or Dave King finding money under the mattress … you know, large sums of undeclared South African Rand.

Other than that, I think they’re done for.

The Three Bears can loan them all the money they can get out of their pockets in the meantime, but finally that will run out … and then it’s all over.

King is the problem, of course, as most people are all too aware. The Scottish FA might love him, the Scottish media might idolise him, but business people don’t trust him and don’t want to be seen to be involved with a man of his background and reputation.

As long as he’s there, that’s not going to change.

Before Breaking Bad took the title of Greatest Television Show Ever Made, my favourite was a cop show with a difference; Shawn Ryan’s The Shield.

There’s a moment in Season 6 that always makes me laugh and I’ve been thinking about that moment lately in the context of Scottish football, the SFA and Dodgy Dave King.

In the scene, Vic Mackey, the main character, a dirty cop par excellence, is investigating the murder of a society girl. His objective is twofold; to catch the killer and to steer the investigation away from any inconvenient fact that will harm the reputation of her family and particularly her father, a man of some prominence and position.

Vic’s former boss, and candidate for high office, David Aceveda, comes to see him to ask how the investigation is proceeding.

“It’s getting to a dark place,” Vic tells him.

“Meaning?” Aceveda asks.

Vic gives it to him straight; the victim turns out to have been a drug addicted prostitute who paid for her stuff with sexual acts too graphic to go into …

“Other than that,” Vic says, “she was Pippi Longstocking …”

And that’s what we’re dealing with here; a football association which has allowed a criminal convicted on over 40 tax evasion counts, to take over one of its clubs.

This guy is due in court over the next day or two, charged with breaching a high court injunction, and he’s already on a suspended sentence for contempt in the country he calls home.

He’s also a congenital liar, as esteemed law lords in that nation can attest and he has one hand in the pockets of his fellow directors and another in the hands of his club’s own fans … without ever having put one in his own.

Other than that, he’s a perfectly fit and proper person.

And Brutus too is an honourable man …

In the meantime, BDO has announced their intention to appeal the Big Tax decision, which has a lot of people banging drums and celebrating wildly, as well as pointing their fingers at the Internet Bampots as if this decision somehow means the central thrust of what we’ve been saying for the past few years was wrong.

So this saga still has a ways to run. Scottish football’s governors, who are frantically trading manoeuvring space for time, like Soviet soldiers during the Great Patriotic War, have themselves a little room to breathe. No decision on title stripping is imminent, unless the Supreme Court tells BDO to chase themselves, which it well might.

But this delay is a disaster for football governance here.

It’s put off a series of decisions that, sooner or later, absolutely have to be made if we’re going to move the game forward. I don’t believe for one second that the Supreme Court, even if it hears the case, will over-turn this verdict, and that simply means that these issues will be waiting to confront the sport at another time.

In the meantime, chaos reigns.

Later this week, Dave King will face Mike Ashley in court. One suspects yesterday’s appeal decision may well be the best news day Sevco will have for quite a while. The ground ahead looks rocky at best, and they can cling to nonsense stories like Warburton rejecting a possible move to Fulham all they like; this is a club running into big trouble.

The SFA is, sooner or later, going to have to account for why they’ve allowed a guy like King to get his hands on the club. I have a sneaking feeling they know that quite well and they’re getting themselves ready for doing what has to be done.

Want my view on it? I think King will have left the Ibrox boardroom by March.

This guy is now simply a millstone around people’s necks.

With him in charge, Ashley will continue trying to tie them in knots. He’s also got one eye on the SFA now, and they’ve got to be having collective heart failure at Hampden as a consequence of that. The man from Sports Direct knows neither the club nor the association has the cash to fight a series of battles with him in the courts.

King doesn’t even live in this country, so his presence around the club is negligible, and when he does touch down on these shores he has brought trouble with him, and he multiplies it every time he talks to the press. His ego is far bigger than his brain but not quite as big as his mouth.

The only reason to keep King around, at all, was the so-called financial muscle he had at his disposal, but that’s turned out to be a busted flush.

So, I ask you, with the walls closing in on all sides what is the merit in keeping him around, either for Sevco or the association? The SFA must now wish he’d never been granted “fit and proper person” status, and they might even view this week as an opportunity to get rid, and hope that it satisfies Ashley enough to make him go away.

The very worst outcome here, for them, would be for the courts this week to do little or nothing, to slap King on the wrist and tell him not to be a naughty boy. That would leave this thing in flux, and only give Ashley an incentive to drum up trouble elsewhere.

At the same time, it’s become increasingly hard to shake the notion that King himself would love to leave all this behind, that whatever motivated him to get involved has been replaced by the dread certainty that this is all too much for him, that he’s better off away.

I can think of no better scenario for him than for the SFA to change its mind now, and do what it ought to have done in the first place. He can walk away from that clean, blaming all around him, and keeping his “reputation” in the eyes of the dopier Sevco supporters.

Whatever his end game was it’s over now. All that’s left to decide is the manner in which he finally leaves Ibrox behind once and for all.

We live in interesting times.

As Vic Mackey might have said, we’re “getting to a dark place.”

For the SFA and the Ibrox operation, the need for some Alien Space Bats has never been more acute.

The next few weeks are going to be … busy.

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17 comments on “Sevco, Dark Places & Alien Space Bats
  1. James – excellent piece as always and from the evidence out there, pretty damn close to the truth.
    I hope to hell you\’re planning for a future book with the Sevco story- or even a screenplay?
    This \”story\” would put some of your film & book choices you use as reference and quotes to shame methinks.

  2. WTF Is it with the SMSM and that handsome chap from talkcrap radio surely they can’t be all on jabbas payroll .Great article HH.

  3. Slightly losing the plot now ! Does this mean London courts will have a rangers/sevco end as well as scots courts and why aren’t there any Scottish journalists brave enough to print any facts that are out there ?good post @ rangerstaxcase .on Celticdiary

  4. Just wonder james how much level 5 have taken up till now? In fees and how much in brown envelopes went to roddy Forsyth etc ? Surely the game of pr propaganda is nearly up the money’s running out where’s the £2.5m to last to new year coming from?

  5. Roddy Forsyth was the first journo last week to put out a story that BDO would be appealing…..turned out it was no more than a rumour, but was good enough for Roddy.
    Now that BDO has asked for leave to appeal his headline screams that they are confident of getting a result.
    There is no direct quote from BDO and no indication that Roddy had spoken to them.
    His headline was more wishful thinking than fact.
    The point that all these useless hacks and Rangers apologists seem to miss is rather straight forward.
    Irrespective of the EBT’S being legal or illegal, tax evasion or tax avoidance, none of this matters.
    The failure to register the payments with the players contracts lodged with the SFA drives a bus through the rule book.
    This is not a signature missing on a form, not an incorrect or missing date, genuine errors that gave seen teams ejected from competitions.
    No, this is ten years and more of sustained lying and cheating which should result in every game where an EBT recipient played be in awarded as a 3-0 victory to the opposition.
    In simple terms every trophy should be stripped, it’s straightforward and can be done now . Any EBT appeal has absolutely no impact on the fact that the players were incorrectly registered, none at all.
    As we are all know high ranking officials at the SFA were fully aware of the rule breaking yet either decided to turn a blind eye or were instructed to do so.

    Our regulators are a joke, they are also cowards.

    Add that to the charges of collusion , corruption and being complicit in doing everything they can to protect their favourite club.

    The media is fully aware of the facts but they too are part of the problem.

    A very different dialogue will emerge over the course of the various court cases where witnesses are being questioned under oath. The blogger quote that we were not paranoid enough will be shown to be a massive understatement as the layers of collusion and corruption are stripped away.
    Some of those at the heart of the conspiracy will have more than saving their careers to worry about.
    Those involved in ensuring that the Euro licence for 2011 was granted to Rangers were involved in criminal fraud and for that they will pay the price.

  6. King’s share grab has blown up in his face.

    That was a nice touch from Level 5 however with the directors claiming that they were surprised at the level of support for Res 10, much greater than they anticipated.

    Yes, I’m sure TGASL must be delighted.

    They are goosed. Jackson ‘ s not learnt from his off the radar lies, he’s now claiming King has invested £8m of his own cash….more lies.

    Everyone, including Jackson, knows that King has borrowed the lot from the other Bears, yet he still comes out with this p*sh.

    Has the magical/mythical £5m hit the SD bank account yet. …someone really should ask them.

    When Ashley bursts a gut laughing at the conditions attached to King’s so called offer to repay the Loan, what then?

    Ah, that’s when the Big Bad Mike headlines start to ratchet up, King bursts into tears as he can’t understand Mike ‘ s intransigence, the mythical/magical payment never happens nor is ever mentioned in the media again.

    The upside of course is that The Magic Hat gets the £5m to add to the war chest promised by TGASL, everyone’s happy, and a couple of European standard players roll up to join the project.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  7. Breaking Bad and The Shield??

    High Octane stuff sure but do the characters remain true to themselves? Does the plot require them to act in ways they would never be allowed to and in ways that their colleagues and enemies would not allow?

    Only one show has the characters remaining true to life and still entertaining.

    A show with no peers- it is in a different stratosphere- The Wire.

    Well that AND The Sevco Show. Dave King is remaining true to his character depiction as written by that South African judge.

    P.S. Put me down for an early copy of the book you must write when all this finally goes down, James.

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