Sevco Statements & Charlie Cheswick’s Cigarettes

7110692_origImagine a world where the loudest guy in the room always got his way. Imagine a world where logic, rationality, civilised debate and basic human decency played second place, always, to those who could make the biggest nuisance of themselves.

Do you know what a world like that would look like? I think it would look a little bit like Scotland and a lot like Scottish football. I blame many people for that, but I blame the media most of all.

I can already hear Jackson and Keevins and English and others decry that statement, saying that it’s not fair. I care about their poor hurt feelings like I care how a rabid dog feels in the moment it’s being put down. If it stings a little, too damned bad.

Last night, as everyone who follows Scottish football will be aware, Sevco’s official press office released one of the most astonishing and irrational statements ever put out by a major organisation in this country. Vindictive, spiteful, illogical, hateful, bitter, almost rabid itself, this dragged the club into the dark ages, pandering to their worst elements.

Imagine Celtic behaved like this? Imagine our board has released such an inflammatory communique?

Do you remember when we actually made the first efforts at tackling sectarianism? Before Rangers did the same? Our board was criticised just for the name, with one hack suggesting Bhoys Against Bigotry was a bad choice because of the “provocative H.”

Celtic would have been crucified for something as deranged as this.

A major Scottish organisation, one which calls itself an institution, excused the deplorable behaviour of its own followers. It suggested that the rest of Scotland’s football followers are as mad and demented as they are. It elevated paranoia to staggering heights.

It made a mockery of the very idea that those running things there care a jot for the greater good of the sport. If one positive came out of it, and I am clutching at straws here because a statement like that has profound consequences for society, it’s that Stewart Robertson will never be elected to the SFA board whilst others at Ibrox are literally foaming at the mouth.

They will say that proves no-one likes them, but in fact it’ll be for the same reason no-one wants to sit beside the guy on the bus who stinks of old booze and mutters profanities to himself under his breath. Getting too close to madness makes you feel unclean, as if it’s catching, as if it’s infective and you’ll come away from the experience with the bug.

Such was the content of their statement even I expected the Scottish media to hammer them for it today. I should have known better.

I guess my old man’s cynicism was justified. He told me the second the statement was read to him that the media would either ignore it or endorse whole chunks of it. They did both, deciding not to confront the parts that just contained lies whilst making headlines out of the parts that were simply unhinged. It didn’t matter that it specifically targeted some of them, named individuals right out of Jim Traynor’s Wee Black Book Of Guys Who Stole My Parking Place. After all, this was like a crazy woman throwing her shit. It just went everywhere.

The media never rallies around its own and most of them don’t deserve it anyway, as prone as some are to throwing their own colleagues under the bus when it suits.

I know Stuart Cosgrove won’t tolerate this guff and won’t bend. The others? Gutless to a man, with Tom English already furiously backtracking on his balanced comments of earlier when he spread the blame beyond just Hibs fans.

Jackson and the brand of decorative bog roll for which he works went even further, and put outright lies on the front page, lies which were proven to be that within minutes of the first tweet when Kenny Miller’s own wife publicly scotched them.

The claim that not a single Sevco player made it up the tunnel unhurt was a base lie disproved simply by watching the footage. He claimed he got it from a “dressing room source.”

Either his dressing room source is a liar (and the media is not supposed to protect sources who do that, are they?) or Jackson himself is making it up as he goes along; either way, that the story was ever run without the most basic fact checking tells you everything you’ll ever need to know about him and the rag he’s employed by.

It is unconscionable that a national newspaper behaves like this, giving credence and credibility not only to lies but to dangerous lies.

Our media is filled to the rafters with people who commit fraud every time they collect their wages under the auspices of journalism. I object to that, as someone who wants to live in an informed country where facts are important.

But last night, more than I ever have before, I got honestly angry at their conduct, because it went beyond bending facts till the elastic snapped, or pandering in exchange for an easy life. They gave license to lunatics. They endorsed lies that could get someone killed. We’re all supposed to be angry about that. Because that’s important.

That’s too much. This is where we ought to draw the line.

In not offering blanket criticism to that statement last night the media is helping to fuel the Victim Myth which, this weekend, has scaled dangerous heights. Sevco’s statement excused and justified the violent behaviour of its own supporters and no right thinking person in Scotland should be anything but appalled and sickened by that and in doing this they’ve given not simply a nod and wink to the nutcase element of their own support – which needs no encouragement – but they’ve raised a flag for going on the offensive.

Mark my words, this will end up with people hurt, perhaps even dead.

I am going to blame the Sevco board and Keith Jackson and Tom English and others if that happens, every bit as much as I’m going to blame the psychopath holding the knife or the blade or the bludgeon.

The people who gave the go-ahead for that statement, the institutionally hysterical idiot who wrote it and the hacks whose newspapers covered it without wholeheartedly condemning it will have blood on their hands; it’s as simple as that.

About the club itself I’ve said about as much as I intend to say, except that when someone on CQN last night suggested that the article bore all the hallmarks of Chris Graham I wrote, without thinking on it, that it bore all the hallmarks of Charlie Cheswick.

It was only when I took some time to think about it properly that I realised just how apt the analogy actually is.

I had already written, yesterday, that whereas they used to sing “no-one likes us we don’t care” they now wail and whine and wallow in self pity over the same.

But dig a little deeper and you find the reason why.

They were taken apart at times on Saturday.

They are grossly unprepared for life in the SPL, and they actually realise this.

Celtic’s appointment of Brendan Rodgers only makes that more acute. In fact, if you’re looking for a real trigger for the way their fans behaved as the Hibs supporters entered the field, you’re probably going to have to go back a day.

It was the Rodgers appointment that tipped them over the edge. The idea that Celtic was mired in crisis was their fondest wish. The way that was erased in a single announcement clearly drove them past the point of rationality.

But it’s more than that.

Their anger and their outpouring of victimhood is actually self-loathing because what gets to them most isn’t that no-one likes them, it’s that no-one fears them anymore. No-one would pay them any mind but for their constant displays of irrational behaviour.

Celtic has had bad days. When Rangers was winning nine in a row we didn’t have the proverbial pot to pee in or a window to throw it out. Under the Kelly’s and the White’s we were skint and the suffering seemed it would never end. Parkhead had a funereal atmosphere for some games. At others, do you remember what our response to adveristy was?

We sang “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”

Our fans weren’t sitting in grubby backstreet boozers poring over “enemies lists” and fantasising about a great dark conspiracy that was holding us back from being all we could be. All that kept us from that was a weak, incompetent board without a business plan. Fergus sorted the place out in under five years, and the good times were rolling again.

Celtic fans, for all we were accused of paranoia, never embraced it the way these people have. We never wore the coat and knitted the sweater to go with it. These people are in a class of their own, and the Victim Myth hangs over Scottish football like a noxious fume.

And they call Celtic fans “obsessed” for pointing this out, and their lack of self awareness has blossomed to the point where they actually believe this, where they do believe that scrutiny is a form of jealousy.

I’ve repeatedly said this, but it bears saying once more; people are always mesmerised by the freak show, by the sight of a drunk guy who’s shit his pants and doesn’t even know it. People slow down to look at car wrecks. The two headed cat is too fascinating to look away from, no matter how it makes your skin crawl and your mind throb.

Charlie Cheswick, from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, played in the movie by the late, great, Sydney Lassick, has a complete emotional breakdown at a group discussion when he brings up the rationing of his cigarettes, which the institution has imposed because he and the other inmates were losing them all to Jack Nicholson’s McMurphy.

He asks for his back, and he starts out pretty calm, even keeping it civil, but before long his request has become a demand, his demand has become a tirade and his tirade has become a full-on screaming fit at the peak of which he’s shrieking over and over again “I want something done! I want something done! I want something done!”

At the heart of his frustration and his madness is his sub-zero self-image and his complete lack of emotional growth or self-restraint flows from that. In that moment, what tips him over the edge is the knowledge that he’s powerless, unable to get what he wants. His screaming tantrum is that of a five year old child who can’t bend the will of a parent, and so erupts in frustration.

A better-rounded individual would have kept calm, confronting the Big Nurse with the reality of her own psychological tic, which is the need, always, to seem in control but he can’t grasp that concept and even if he could he’s not hard-wired to keep cool and thus retain the high ground.

At Sevco all they had to do was act with some dignity and class.

They had the moral high ground, or a big part of it anyway and had they condemned the behaviour of their own fans, had they behaved semi-rationally, had they treated the rest of the game with respect instead of taking a great big piss on all of it last night, they might even have kept some of it.

Instead they started shrieking, and they did it because they feel powerless and alone and stripped of the pomp and swagger they once had. Their own insanity is based on arrogance and this notion that they are superior. The overwhelming tone of that lunatic screed was entitlement. A sense that the world owed them more than they’d got.

They’ve still not even bothered to offer their congratulations to Hibs.

I ask again; imagine that Celtic had acted this way? You suspect the press coverage would have been very, very different.

What a disreputable shower they are.

And that’s what people will remember.

What they don’t seem to realise is that this diminishes them every bit as much as the skelping the Hibs players gave them during the 90 minutes of football. It reduces them further in the eyes of every normal person, and whilst the media might have collectively shit its pants over this the people running the other clubs have had an almighty wake up call, especially with elections coming.

They now know that the team playing out of Ibrox is run by crazy people, by a board that in the cold half-light of the dawning season has the look of twitching, bug-eyed, shaven headed ghouls in a 16th century tavern, men who’ve been out robbing graves all night.

No-one wants to sit next to men who look like that.

At a time when the mainstream media can’t even be trusted to cover the biggest sports story in the history of this island sites like this one are more important than ever. If you are able to, and you want to help real Scottish football journalism, and not the sort you get in the tabloids, you can make a donation by clicking the link below.


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.

15 thoughts on “Sevco Statements & Charlie Cheswick’s Cigarettes

  • 23 May, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I tweeted just before you posted this that the Government need to act on the malicious reporting before someone gets killed.
    They are a disgrace & extremely dangerous, the lies they are reporting is inciting Sectarianism & must also be covered by the OBFA.
    What they are doing is criminal. Keith Jackson is now a proven liar and should be sacked immediately.
    The Government need to act now.

  • 23 May, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    James, as someone living in Ireland and so to an extent slightly apart from the SMSM, why doesn’t someone, anyone from the other clubs make a stand and tell it like it is and dissect and destroy that statement? The statement was both laughable but extremely dangerous and inflammatory. Has Ibrox got that much power and influence that nobody will step in and decide enough is enough? The intimidation of Angela Haggerty, the deplorable treatment of Spiers by the Herald earlier this year and the silence over the Offshore Game’s report just beggars belief from this side of the water that they just seem to be exempt from proper scrutiny, accountability and as a result, punishment. That club is truly vile and disgusting.

  • 23 May, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    The “article ” is clearly inflammatory and should be taken too task about it.

  • 23 May, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Hibs should state that they will not be lectured to by a club whose supporters have a long and inglorious record of public disorder and riot. The media must be livid they can’t somehow implicate us in it

  • 23 May, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Have Sevco asked for a UN war crimes commision yet?

  • 23 May, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Season ticket sales down as a result of cup dereat. I know a way to male up for it. Cynical ba—– s

  • 23 May, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Scottish football is, and always has been, corrupt.

  • 23 May, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    …and Neil Lennon gets a six game ban.
    Stop buying their rags and tell everyone you know to do the same. Watch Channel 4 news to learn the news at it’s least biased.
    What was that phrase ?
    ‘ Scotland will never be free until the last minister is strangled with the last copy of the SundayPost ‘ (insert msm) I think this may have been attributed to Manny Shinwell.

  • 24 May, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Unbelievably, I’ve read today that the Vanguard nutters are crowdfunding to raise money for anyone arrested on the park…. nutters crowdfunding other nutters….. Jack Nicolson will play Chris Graham in the upcoming movie…

  • 24 May, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Phelim 1.23 am..
    Sevco and the Scottish Football Association are run by the OO. I can say that freely without contradiction because this fact was stated by none other than an ex-member of the Ibrox board.

  • 24 May, 2016 at 11:33 am

    James,like you i was fool enough to believe that this abomination of a statement would be a step too far even for the SMSM. More fool me! The fact that two of “their own” were named (and thus had a large target marked on their backs) should have been enough ammunition to hold Sevco to account. Add their justification for the abhorrent behaviour of some of their support on Saturday,and the green light for more of the same in the future,it simply beggars belief that the SMSM have not taken them to task for this extremely belligerent and downright dangerous statement. I agree they will have blood on their hands by their disgusting subservience to this warped mindset. Is this the wake up call for the rest of Scottish football to say enough is enough? I won’t hold my breath on that. SOMEONE in authority must stand up to this madness,or next season will see carnage visited upon our football grounds,and towns and cities,all fully sanctioned by the Sevco board. We’ve seen the response in SMSM to the vile sectarian attacks on Neil Lennon “he brought it on himself” apparently,what with him being an Irish catholic and all ! Don’t know where we go from here,but this really could lead to Armageddon,but the blood stained hands of the SMSM will be all over it. SHAME on them all.

  • 24 May, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    What a nonsensical article! So, apparently it’s now acceptable for fans to invade the pitch at the end of a game and attack rival players and officials. I would love to have seen the statement that Celtic issued if this had happened to their personnel, it would have made Rangers statement look restrained in comparison.

  • 24 May, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    There’s no way they could put Hibs out of Europe,it wouldn’t be allowed to happen,just so THEY could get in & keep the lights on a little bit longer,there would be anarchy & there would be 2 seats in the Lisbon Lions upper going a begging,managed through PayPal James,cheers HH

  • 24 May, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I hear the SFA will ban Hibs from Europe, strip them of this year’s cup and the 1902 one, and bar their home fans from very ground in the country for 50 years. Meanwhile, they will award Rangers (sic) the Premier League title in advance and give them Celtic’s place in the Champions League to compensate for their hurt. The game is in good hands.

  • 25 May, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    James I would have thought you well able
    To see Lynton Crosby`s dead cat on the table’
    And as a Forrest ,with ease,
    separate wood from the trees
    and not run after this fable

    For you know it has ever been thus
    To the scribblers the problem is us
    Now they have all got a hard on
    When they think Joey Barton
    will put us to the back of the bus

    So they rattle with fierce indignation
    At the moral decline of the nation
    When the Huns lose at Hampdem
    The press acts in tandem
    To furnish a diversionary sensation

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