One of them is the criticism of those who’s closed minds don’t want exposure to the truth, the kind of people who would rather live in ignorance than confront reality.
There are a lot of them in Scottish football.
The last article this site published – on Dave King and why his fortune might not be as large or readily available to Sevco as many of their fans, and our media, seem to believe – was extraordinarily well received, at least in terms of the number of hits it generated.
A lot of those who read it were the supporters of the Ibrox club, and it’s fair to say not all of them liked it.
I understand that. But shooting the messenger … that’s harder to comprehend.
I have a long history with these people taking pot shots at me.
Phil has the same issue, and Paul67 too.
Forget that we’ve been right on the money far more often than we’ve been wrong.
Forget that King has behaved exactly as we predicted up until now – putting not one penny of his own cash into the club.
They don’t want to hear any of it.
Especially not from us.
Check out their forums if you don’t believe it.
The second they realise that a challenging article came from a “Celtic site” they shut down at once.
This marries bigotry with stupidity in a way that makes me want to gawp in amazement.
In truth, though, any blogger who consistently tries to paint a picture of the real world for these people – and I include some of their own; McMurdo has been required reading in the last few months, as one of the very few who won’t touch the Kool Aid – is branded an idiot automatically.
I can take being tagged like that.
What I won’t take is being called a bigot myself.
It’s a charge I refute utterly and anyone who throws it around better be prepared for consequences; I’ve threatened to sue for that in the past and I repeat that threat to anyone who’s game enough.
Simply put, myself and others are going to keep telling these people what they don’t want to hear.
And they’re going to continue resisting that.
Because the truth hurts … and the truth is all I have for them.
Why do we do this so much?
People ask me that all the time.
There are a few reasons.
For one, they are sheer entertainment in a way that has nothing to do with sport, or football itself.
To me, now, they’ve become the ultimate cautionary tale, the example future football fans will come to study in order to learn what not to do as a support, in much the same way as business school students will study the bank who let them, and Murray, live it large only to be brought down when things took a turn for the worse.
I think the Rangers fans will make an excellent case study.
I find it fascinating that so many people can wilfully unplug themselves from facts, logic and even common sense and go on believing that the world is what they wish it were, rather than focus on what it is.
I find it incredible that they can ignore clear evidence and wrap themselves in the comfort blanket of fairy tale ideas as if they were little children who still believe in Santa.
For what is a sugar daddy owner to football supporters but Father Christmas himself, in a good suit?
First it was Murray they believed in, then Whyte, followed by Green and now, finally, they’ve arrived at King.
Along the way they’ve destabilised their club to the point where a man of genuine means, who could play Santa until the cows come home, has become their implacable foe instead.
And this, in itself, is an achievement, of course.
They’ve turned an honest-to-God “nothing personal, strictly business” type into a guy who might well shoot them just to watch them die.
I have the luxury – we have the luxury – of being able to indulge in this guilty pleasure, because we do so from a secure vantage point.
We are the biggest club in Scotland, without dispute, and liable to be that for a long time to come.
There’s no escaping from that fact for them, no matter how much they might wish it were otherwise, and we’re comfortable enough with our position going forward that the occasional diversion to check out the parlous state of the club that kids on it’s our greatest rival is something we can easily afford.
If our position were not so strong, would we be focussing so much attention on them?
Of course we wouldn’t.
We’re not like them, gazing around, looking to pick fights, when we should be trying to drag ourselves up.
Their club is in a chaotic state.
Instead of focussing on that, some of their fans are still chasing dreams of “nailing Celtic” in a discredited “case” over land.
I mean … seriously?
We do this because we can, because our own club, well run (for the most part) and with a plan (whether we like it or not) can navigate whatever troubles come its way. We’re not constantly dealing with crisis at every turn.
They are worthy of our study because of the sheer lunacy of their behaviour.
We’re trying to find method in the madness, perhaps, and we can afford to take time out to look.
That’s the first reason.
The second reason we do it is that we like it.
There it is. I confess. We enjoy their suffering, and why not?
They sure as Hell enjoyed ours.
I rememeber their nine in a row. It’s what made stopping the ten so thoroughly satisfying, and these last few years into something almost blissful.
That’s an unpalatable truth though, one that’s hard to take because it makes me wonder if we’re any better than gawkers at the scene of a car crash, which is undoubtedly the best representation of them I can think of.
They are a car crash, happening in slow motion.
They can hide behind that pitiful “obsessed” nonsense too, and for as long as they like, but we’re no more obsessed by them than we are at the circus freak shows which once drew a crowd.
There is something in human nature that makes you slow you own vehicle down when you see emergency service lights on the motorway, surrounding a hunk of twisted metal.
Maybe we’re sadists.
Watching them flail around these last couple of years has definitely been fun.
Why else do they think a lot of us have OD’d on jelly and ice cream?
The hint is in the stuff itself.
It’s party food, but it’s kids party food, which should tell them how seriously we really view them in our lives.
I am amazed more of them don’t get that.
The final reason I do this so much is that this mind-set of theirs has been truly damaging for Scottish football.
If the only effects of it were to their own club then they would be justified in telling us to butt out and mind our own business.
But when the governing bodies and the media try to bully other clubs into accepting the wholescale bending of the rules, when league reconstruction is constantly being mooted as an alternative to clubs reaching the top flight on merit, when the atmosphere at grounds is polluted by the most appalling, retrograde singing from a section of their support and whilst they continue to indulge in a re-write of history that excuses the most scandalous practices ever seen in Scottish football whilst they simultaneously play the “victim card”, telling the world they have been unfairly treated … well that is our business and no mistake.
All the calamities which have struck them in recent years, whether you’re talking about Sevco or those which obliterated Rangers, were self-inflicted. This constant casting about for people to blame not only damages our game but stops them learning the lessons of history.
They blame Craig Whyte for their demise, ignoring the fact that had they been in good financial health and able to meet their funding requirements as per every other club in the leagues that he wouldn’t have needed to take such drastic action when they were knocked out of Europe.
When you boil it down, their real complaint against Whyte isn’t that he was a bad man. It’s that he wasn’t a rich one, as their media friends had led them to believe. He didn’t have the cash to continue funding a playing squad the club could not afford.
They think we’re stupid, that we’ve forgotten that for a while they were gleeful at the prospect of “starting fresh” without debts.
They spent their first year as Sevco boasting about it, and King was still boasting about it last week, even as BDO continued to sift through the rubble out of which they crawled, blaming everybody else.
They are back in the courts this week too, as the Big Tax Case drags on, another area where they claim to have been the targets of unscrupulous people, as if the Unseen Fenian Hand has reached as far as HMRC and turned it against them.
You really have to take your hats off to them for the scope of what they allege.
It really is something.
In their world, officials at BOS and Lloyds colluded against them.
HMRC came after them out of hate.
Every club in Scottish football lashed out vindictively.
At the same time, numerous Scottish based public bodies were coming together to let Celtic have land on the cheap, and in violation of the law.
This is mind-boggling … a kind of multi-track, multi-agency, multi-level conspiracy involving political corruption, misuse of company funds and public resources, cover-ups and deceit which could send people to jail if true … based on jealousy of a football club.
That is the definition of paranoia.
And to think they used to call it “the Irish disease.”
What’s the truth about all this?
That the governing bodies of football, run by one of their former directors, one heavily implicated in their scandals, let them away with murder and continues to.
That the bank which gave their owner unlimited access to funds, with which he built their ego-stoked “glory days” and let them run up debts in the tens of millions before the financial crash of 2008 stopped all that in its tracks, was the same one that almost closed Celtic’s doors over a deficit of only £7 million.
That they get an easier ride from the newspapers than any other football club in the UK.
That we here in Scotland invented “the Internet Bampots” to counter that.
That we re-wrote the media lexicon to include the phrase “succulent lamb journalism” and were the nation whose press once sat in silence at a media conference after a calamitous result for Rangers because no-one wanted to ask a negative question and there were no positives to be had.
That the whole of our political and media class, as well as the governing bodies themselves, ignored sectarian singing for decades and a religious based signing policy which should have made them a pariah club across world football.
That even the scandalous behaviour of a section of their support, in numerous European cities, including Pamplona, Barcelona and Manchester, was excused – and even blamed on the fans of other clubs.
That they still claim HMRC had no basis to go after them in the first place, and have distorted the verdict in the case as it stands as “a victory” when, in fact, it highlighted numerous breaches of tax rules and revealed a pattern of concealment and dishonesty which is breath-taking.
I’ve long argued that I, personally, do not care what the final verdict in that case ends up because that will simply tell the world whether their smart lawyers dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s properly and so kept their tax scam “legal.”
I’m more interested in whether or not it was moral.
We know the answer to that one.
The consequences we see for society are pretty clear. It was anything but.
In only the second article for this site – “More Than A Sports Story” – I examined those consequences in terms of hard numbers and it still blows you away to go back and look over today.
Through all this, I’ve said, repeatedly, that I do not hate the club that plays out of Ibrox.
There is a section of their support, mired in sectarianism, fuelled by paranoia, wallowing in a superiority complex that is woefully misplaced, which I despise, and I make no secret about that.
You know the ones I mean; those who proclaim their patriotism by making the Nazi salute.
Those who “honour” their “culture” by reminding the world every single year how backward it is.
Those who think hiding behind abused children and even clambering onto the corpses of the dead, is a way to score cheap points.
It is impossible not to loathe such people.
They are uncivilised scum.
They are what we call the Huns.
Furthermore, I would argue that many of their “fellow fans” feel the same way about them.
I know they do.
I know for a fact they do.
I’m going to keep highlighting those people too, because the game (and their club) will be better off when they are rooted out of it.
All of this poisons our game here.
The scandals, the corruption, the rule bending, the bigotry, the Survival Myth and the Victim Myth.
They all feed into a perception, which our media is happy to promote, that our game is a mess; that we’re a basket case country instead of simply one with a single, renegade, basket case club which got “too big to fail” and then failed anyway, changing our perceptions of football reality overnight in a way a lot of people still don’t accept.
But of course, what it really did was introduced that reality to a world which had lived in denial of it long before the Internet Bampots got here.
The real problem they have with us is that we keep trying to make them confront that fact, and all the unpleasant truths that go with it.
They can shoot the messenger all they like.
Their problems won’t go away.
We won’t either.
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