Shooting The Messenger

stock-footage-a-man-in-a-fedora-typing-on-a-vintage-manual-typewriter-film-noirThere are things you get used to when you do this sort of thing.

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.

(I’m a full time writer and the support of my readers is what keeps me goingr. If you like what I do, and are able, and want to support the work the site does, you can make a donation at the link. If every reader was able to donate just £5 a year that would keep the site going strong well into the future. Many thanks in advance.)


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.

26 thoughts on “Shooting The Messenger

  • 9 July, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I think most of the criticism by Celtic supporters ignores the fact that many Rangers fans simply love their Club. In that sense, they are not significantly different from Celtic supporters. Most Scottish football fans support their Club because of locality. For Celtic and Rangers fans, there is also a `cultural` involvement. That is what makes them different from all the other Clubs and, at the same time as they are `the same as each other` , they are polar opposites in their beliefs.
    I am a ST holder at Celtic Park and I believe that, had we gone down the same road as the Old Rangers and made the same kind of resurrection as the New Rangers, many of our fans would believe just as the current Rangers` fans do. We, too, would be blind to reason so maybe we should steer away from the opinion that only the Rangers fans suffer from Love is Blind syndrome.
    I could, of course, talk of how the Scottish media have behaved compared to their glee when Celtic were in dire straits but that is another topic.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Well, you certainly did not miss and hit the wall !

  • 9 July, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    great article James you know them better than they know themselves sometimes i pity them but then i go on one of their forums and think hell mend the fools

  • 9 July, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I really don\’t want to read their message boards. I did once but came away thinking i might be dyslexic and had to keep washing to get the feeling of filth off

  • 9 July, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Spot on once more. The first thing I learned as a Celtic supporter was, never let ‘them’ seeing you are hurting. They are trying to live with the mantra that ignorance is bliss, but we all know at the back of their subconscious, they know your right. We all know they got caught cheating and haven’t put their hands up to it yet, so long may their suffering continue. Not even to mention their ‘tainted’ nine in a row. We’re coming up for five, then there will be, only five to go. HH

  • 9 July, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Brilliant article,tells it like it is,well done t you.never give into bigots.I was gonna say “No *********”” ” but i stopped myself.mammy daddy.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    James,that was one of your best posts yet…keep up the sterling work mate HAIL HAIL!

  • 9 July, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I do wish guys like you, Phil and grudgingly mcmurdo and johnjames would stop pointing out the obvious to these deluded halfwits.
    They might actually start to take notice and do something to try and save the ethereal entity.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Just about sums it all up James.

    In the context of their unwillingness to stand corrected I think a history of being uncorrected has something to do with it.

    When you get away with unacceptable behaviour for generations how do you know it’s unacceptable?

    It’s consequences that provide correction but like a spoiled child being handed a lollipop after a tantrum when did correction arrive before 2008?

    Is it any wonder that when reality bit and asserted itself they have been unable to recognise it for what it is?

    Then the sheer unwillingness or is it inability to own up not just to wrong doing but the scale of it?

    Why is that? Does confession somehow jar as a concept that many of us recognise is indeed good for the soul?

    Or is it fear of the lack of mercy of they do own up?

    There is a book in there somewhere to investigate the pysche at play.

    I could go on and on but 1. That is your job James 😉
    2. My phone is almost out of juice.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    While I agree with most of what James Barr says I don\’t believe for one minute we would have been allowed the same \’Resurrection\’.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I think you\’ve hit the nail on the head as far as the \’mess that is Scottish football is concerned\’. I keep hearing that we\’re at our lowest ebb football-wise from the media…… and yet that doesn\’t bear any relation to what I witness.

    As far as I, and millions of other fans, are concerned, Scottish football is in the middle of a renaissance period, not seen since the mid-80\’s. (And I say that as a Clyde fan, despite our less than overwhelming performances of late)

    Average crowds for teams are up (a lot of the Ibrox mob can\’t get their head around the fact that the average crowd for the top division being lower than 2011 doesn\’t mean that the average crowd per team is lower, and that\’s all that matters to teams), there\’s a variety of clubs winning trophies, clubs are on a stable footing financially (with one obvious exception), Scottish players are once more being traded between teams, with the money staying in Scotland.

    Hell, even the general standard of football is better now than it was ten years ago. Outside of the OF, it used to be a \’who can kick the ball highest\’ competition. These days, virtually all teams are playing passing, technical football. Alright, it\’s never going to be tika-taka, but anyone watching Caley Thistle, or even Motherwell in the play off game, couldn\’t help but be entertained.

    In fact, the only team that seems to be suffering, if you can call it that, from a lack of a Rangers (any Rangers!) is Celtic.

    I live in England these days, and got fed up with people telling me that Scottish football was just Rangers and Celtic. What I didn\’t realise was that, until the events of 2012 proved it beyond doubt, the SFA and SPFL thought the same thing.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 6:05 pm


    Celtic would have been resurrected before you could say ‘Trigger’s Broom’. The difference is that the papers would have been all over it like a rash.

    In 1994, Celtic were no longer a power in Scottish football, thanks to their own self inflicted decline. It would have been a major blow if they’d died, but it wouldn’t have sunk the game – Aberdeen, Motherwell and Rangers were the main sides at that time.

    The difference is that by 2012, our game had been completely geared towards Rangers and Celtic, to the detriment of every other side in the division. You only have to look at the distribution of the league position money, and the make up of the SKY TV deal where every single Celtic and Rangers away game would be shown, as well as the Old Firm home games. If you were a fan of either, then you’d get 21 games a season to watch. If you were a fan of a ‘diddy team’, why would you even bother? If you were lucky, you’d get to see your team 4 times on the TV (when they played home games against the Old Firm), and if you were an attending fan, you’d be at those games anyway.

    When Rangers died, the only thing the authorities could see was their OF cash cow disappearing, and that is, I believe, the main driver behind the pretence about Rangers not pegging it. The same accommodation would have been made to ‘The Celtic’ were it to ever (somehow!) come to that, but you can bet you wouldn’t have got various Celtic no marks getting wheeled out in the press to go ‘In my opinion, it’s the same team, with the same history’ over and over and over again.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I totally agree with you.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    I wish to stop my sky subscribtion , imlooking for advice here whats the steps we do i hate given sky money to give to epl and now the american football more than scottish football

  • 9 July, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Oh by the way a good read as norm

  • 9 July, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Another fantastic post James, keep up the good work. They have been in zombie land for so long i don’t think they’ll ever recover, so there should be plenty more “amo” for future posts, can’t wait.

  • 9 July, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    James, Well presented and crafted article – a cracking read. For me, one short sentences sums it all up “Their problems won’t go away.”

  • 10 July, 2015 at 12:28 am

    James Barr, I don’t think so mate, and I mean that in all sincerity, there is no way the media or our football custodians would have given us the backing or falsehoods that have been lavished on them, to be honest with you, we would have just got on with it and there would have been very little made of it, except of course the bits about robbing her maj, the soldiers being killed through lack of equipment, the polis who are very well behaved and the NHS… etc, etc, etc….. how they would have loved that you think?

  • 10 July, 2015 at 7:53 am


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