Sevco: The Calm Before The Storm

mark-warburtonFor weeks now, Scottish football news has been dominated by two subjects; how close Celtic are to being knocked out of the Champions League and how wonderful everything is at Ibrox.

I’ll get to the Champions League tomorrow, before and after the game.

For now, let’s have a look at what’s happening across town.

In a previous article, I discussed the wonderful book A Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, as an analogy of life at Sevco.

Stormy seas. Water pouring over the sides.

Black clouds and thunder overhead.

Right now, everything about the club seems rosy and bright. They are, to use another shipping analogy, gliding through calm seas.

But if you know your history you’ll know this.

It was calm seas that sunk the Titanic.

Calm seas, flat seas, are a warning indicator.

They are one of the signs of nearby pack ice and as the night of the sinking was also moonless it made the icebergs much more difficult to spot than they’d otherwise have been, because aside from there being little light except that from the boat itself there were no “breaking waves” off the berg.

This is why when I hear talk of it being smooth sailing at Ibrox right now I want to laugh.

This is a club that has been mired in crisis and scandal for the last few years, and something tells me we’ve not seen the last of it just yet.

I find a lot of the euphoria over there fascinating.

The fans appear to believe six wins on the bounce against mostly part time sides is cause for celebration.

They think Warburton is some kind of managerial guru.

It’s a lot like the response Stuart McCall got last season … for a while.

Then there are the accolades being poured onto certain players, as if they’ve gone out and brought in an undiscovered genius.

They don’t appear to understand football very much; the scouting systems these days are so fool-proof that there’s no such thing.

James Tavernier is a former Newcastle youth player who’s had eight clubs – count that, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 clubs – in four years.

He actually started his career at Farsley Celtic, where Leeds United spotted him (he had spent a year playing in goal) and snapped him up before he went to Newcastle. There, he might have been expected to develop if there was something to him, but it was the start of a period which involved more packing of bags than pulling on football boots.

In 2011 alone he was farmed out to Gateshead, Carlisle United and Sheffield Wednesday.

The following year he was off to the MK Dons.

A year later, he was at Shrewsbury.

Followed by Rotherham.

Followed by Wigan.

Followed by Bristol City … and then Sevco.

If you listen to Warburton – and I do, because I find him interesting too – this is one of the players they are counting on being able to sell in years to come, along with Martyn Waghorn, the striker they signed in the same deal.

He, too, has had a career of adventure, having played for six clubs so far, including Milwall, Hull, Leicester and Charlton.

They evidently believe they will amass huge transfer fees for these players … when no other club they’ve been with has managed it thus far.

Am I saying these guys won’t do well for them?

No, I’m saying that they aren’t world beaters.

I’m saying they aren’t going to lead Sevco to the top of the SPL.

I’m saying they won’t bring in big money when the club finally moves them on.

It’s a fantasy, but it’s got to be an encouraging, pleasant fantasy for those who follow the club.

There have been no negative headlines for a while now.

It helps, of course, when you have PR people making sure there is a steady stream of good news to write about.

It helps too when there isn’t a faction standing on the side-lines stirring the soup and causing chaos at every opportunity.

See, much of the last two years’ chaos was a direct consequence of King and his people causing as much trouble as they could from the outside.

Now they’re on the inside, is it a coincidence that things have calmed down a little?

The issues that faced the club then face it now though.

They haven’t gone away. Not even close.

There’s not enough money in the bank to get them through the rest of the season; serious structural problems continue to plague it.

They’ve gotten lucky that the gamble on Warburton hasn’t already blown up in their faces; if it had, and the team was not playing well, there would be hard questions from every quarter, except the press.

Performances on the park – and a couple of them have been very decent – have led to big crowds too, but this nonsense about their fans outspending ours would still be ridiculous if they were packing them in like sardines every second week.

Even if the club had sold every available seat, and every one a season ticket, they’d still have the same set of problems they have now and those problems won’t recede no matter how many magic hats the fans wear.

Dave King, in the meantime, continues to get his free ride from the Scottish sporting press.

The Scotsman, in the run up to the Hibs match at the weekend, actually said Sevco’s argument with the Edinburgh side over the Scott Allan transfer was brought about by the Ibrox clubs “spending power”; a quite ridiculous assessment of things considering they were outbid for their number one target of the summer and have spent almost nothing.

The broken promises will be forgotten as long as part time teams continue to swoon before the blue jerseys; a habit most of them had gotten out of but now appear to be falling into all over again.

But that odd myopia will only last as long as it takes for other sides to find out that Sevco isn’t unbeatable, that this patchwork team of lower league footballers aren’t on their way to being world beaters.

The name “Rangers” still carries some talismanic ability to intimidate, that and an entire media industry telling everyone how great they are.

But come winter, come the bad weather, when all Scotland’s pitches have become quagmires … well, sexy football has a habit of coming undone and when it goes the Sevco fans will quickly realise that all the lovely editorials of today are simply the chip wrappers of the rainy season.

You just watch what happens then.

When calls for the transfer war chest start for real, at a time when the club has to actively go out and ask the supporters for more money.

That’s going to be fun and games, for sure.

King and his people are on the board now, and they’re running the show.

There is nobody out there on the horizon, battering war drums, because no-one outside of Scottish football has the remotest interest in a provincial second tier club.

There’s not going to be another takeover bid, so more boardroom battles seem unlikely unless some of those around King get sick carrying the water. Don’t rule that out, but it won’t be until after the New Year.

This club is still riding a train bound for nowhere.

The money to sustain it simply is not there.

There are problems just below the surface of these smooth seas alright.

Or to put it another way, and to use another mariners term, it’s the calm before the storm.

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16 comments on “Sevco: The Calm Before The Storm
  1. You are right on almost every issue.

    But one of the most annoying writers I’ve ever come across.

    Why not use proper paragraphs?

    It isn’t that difficult.

    Is it?

  2. Vaughan you are correct he hits it out of the park every time. I think it is laid out for easy reading on a mobile, says me sitting in Santa Ponsa reading it on my phone 🙂

  3. Wow so much effort for a supposedly new team. In all honesty WHY do you care?. If Rangers will be bust by (insert month) why are you still frothing?.
    Is it because The Rangers are on the up and The PIGS are hiding cash (LOLZ) till the REAL
    kings of Scottish Football are back at the TOP.

  4. Hmmm…a long winded group of sentences posting as paragraphs with absolutely zero substance to any of it. Just a lot of wait and see…very similar to ill Ph\’ills Patience my child…but perhaps slightly less creepy. Although, funnily enough you end it the same way as his… With the begging bowl out. Tisk tisk

  5. world beaters against part timers eg joiners electricians etc..
    Really toiled against a poor Hibs first team.
    wouldnt get a kick against ABERDEEN..
    and as for CFC TRFC aren’t remotely on their radar .
    u r right James we are now all seeing clear as a bell the constant hyping and BS coverage that the old one got and the now new club gets ..
    It is actually quite funny now we can all see thru it

  6. B2B What are you on…oh well no harm in dreaming,after all the only loser’s will be you,and your fellow supporters.
    They still don’t believe you James,but they will when it all comes crumbling down.

  7. Kings of scottish football BACK2BEYOND?

    That made me laugh. Next you will be telling us all how LOYAL the NUHS are.

    Dont mention the 80s though when Ibrox had 3 ends full of Celtic fans

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