Singing The Blues

19884888Derek Johnstone is a funny guy sometimes.

As far as I am concerned, he should be on the telly, with his own show, like Rory Bremner.

I find it particularly hilarious when he’s pretending to be a journalist or when he’s pretending to be impartial or especially pretending to be a football expert.

He is none of these things of course, and nor is his impersonation of them up to much, but it’s funny watching him try.

He tries to do funny too, on occasion, but when he’s doing that he sounds likes the worst end-of-pier hack you can imagine.

If you’ve ever listened to Radio Clyde when he’s on you’ll know what I mean. That his fellow panellists appear to find him hilarious is a sure sign of their own intellectual prowess. I can actually feel myself lose IQ points listening to that show.

Johnstone’s recent Evening Times column is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen from him in ages though. His demands for apologies, for contrition (from everyone; the press, the clubs, the bloggers, the tax office, the bank, the BBC, everyone, indeed, but those at Rangers who dropped their club into the abyss and almost took Scottish football with them) and his exhortation that the enemies of the club will never be forgotten or forgiven was the kind of petulant rant Jim Traynor himself might have balked at publishing under his own name.

Equally hilarious, of course, was Keith Jackson, raining down opprobrium on Craig Whyte, calling him every name under the sun. Remember the first thing he called Whytey? A billionaire with “wealth off the radar” wasn’t it? For this they give out journalism awards. Those ceremonial evenings must end with the self-congratulation of a group of down and outs who’ve won prizes for the nicest boxes under a bridge. And they sneer at the bloggers …

I understand why Sevco Rangers fans are singing the blues. They’ve seen their club die. They’ve seen its resurrected corpse appropriated by men you wouldn’t buy a musical doorbell from. They’ve got a manager who’s frankly useless but is too expensive to sack, heading into the most important season in their short history, one with epochal consequences for failure and they are dependent on the only over-thirties strike-force in history that’s got to have improved with age. Their current custodians are people they pray don’t have the courage of their “convictions”, their “white knight” has his own history on the wrong side of the law and their fans are divided, their spokesman either cardboard cut-outs or worse, self-promoters who’ve backed every spiv who’s got his hands on the front door keys. Yes, I understand how hard all that must be.

Their world has been torn asunder. Their notion of superiority has been ripped apart. Their bully boy tactics didn’t frighten the bank or the tax authorities. They didn’t dissuade Whyte from burning it all down and Charles Green left with his pockets bulging and his big Yorkshire hands still able to grab more. The chairmen who voted No to the NewCo don’t preside over shattered clubs in a shattered league but one that will be in rude health if Sevco make it over the line to join them at the top table.

I understand why Sevco fans feel frustration and fear. They planned to grow the best crop of youngsters in the country, arriving in the top league with a settled side, a club that was healed and with money in the bank. Instead they’re a basket case, financially shot and depending on an ever revolving door of share issues to “grow the business”, structuring their plans around the very same “depend on European income” strategy that killed the OldCo stone dead and kidding themselves on that there are two more years in McCulloch, that three years of playing against part time players has made Ian Black a top midfielder and that Kenny Miller will one day score goals for them in Champions League. When he’s forty maybe.

They have good reason to be angry, and to be afraid. Let’s face it, when you look at their leaders you can see they were never the sharpest tools in the box either. All Whytey had to do was learn the words of The Sash My Father Wore and the whole thing was his for a pound. All Green had to do was claim to have Rangersitus and make himself a Naked Video parody for a Christmas message and he could empty their wallets to his hearts content.

The fans, at least, can be excused their wailing and their gnashing of teeth.

What excuse does the media have for writing such utter cobblers? What the Hell are they doing, feeding these people and their paranoia? Enemies lists, for God’s sake? They might as well be painting targets on people’s backs. The bombers and the bullet senders must be beavering away in their skivvies as I write this, dreaming of revenge.

We have a media in this country that elevates irresponsibility to an art form. For all the bloggers are accused of spreading hate, our readerships are small fry compared to the media which frequently stirs the soup and appeals to the lowest common denominator. In the last few days I have read Rangers sites which have asked their own club’s fans to move on, but the writers of these pieces don’t get themselves on the news, although their message is sensible, and measured, and most definitely for the good of their club and the game as a whole.

Instead we see assorted half-wits and nut-jobs pushing the stab-in-the-back myth on a support who are looking for a distraction after another year of self-inflicted wounds, appalling stories, setbacks and evidence of incompetence and greed.

The media has no interest in the voices of moderation. That’s not newsworthy. They are like schoolyard monitors who, instead of looking out for all the kids, pay attention only to those with the shrillest screams. They, themselves, are the biggest pushers of the fear drug and the hate drug, the biggest peddlers of the Armageddon myth and the “enemies of Rangers” lie.

They do it because it sells. They operate on division. They exist on it. They are the ones who, for far too long, pushed the Old Firm brand because it was their bread and butter, even more than it was for the clubs. It was a phrase almost universally detested by the Celtic fans, and I suspect that Rangers fans too wanted nothing to do with it, but our journalists depended on it because by associating themselves with a rivalry famous throughout the game it made them more credible when they mixed with real writers, those who actually work for a living as opposed to regurgitating press statements and writing spin on behalf of their pals.

When Rangers fans blame sections of the media for what happened to them they are on to something, but it’s not those who tried to expose the truth, like Mark Daley and Alex Thomson, who they should be singling out for the abuse. They should be focussed on the hack-pack who were either too lazy or too conflicted to chase facts, who ignored evidence, who were too busy turning PR copy into articles and who, in the first place and without a single bit of research to back up their claims, lauded Whyte, Green, Stockbridge, Murray, Ahmed, Easdale, Wallace and others, every single one of whom was exposed, early, on the blogs, as being full of it.

Rangers fans can never, ever say they weren’t warned or kept informed, because they were. They just didn’t like the people who were telling them all this … but we gave them what the media never did, and can never be relied on to do. We gave them the truth.

I am sorry they didn’t like what they heard. Sometimes, when someone tells you the facts, you don’t like it, and that is all we did, and we didn’t do it to destabilise them, because their club was in the hands of people so without a clue, so without a plan, so without a care as to what happened to Rangers, that the very best thing we could have done, if we wanted to cause the maximum trouble, the maximum damage, was do nothing at all. To keep silent. To let things run their course.

If you think they are crying the blues now, imagine how much worse the psychological damage to them would have been had we not laid the groundwork for them accepting the bad news when it came. They looked for agendas, and they still do, but I cannot understand how they can see twisted motives in our efforts to warn them about the kind of people they had in charge, at a time when they might still have done something about it.

To those Sevco fans who occasionally post on this blog, who accuse me of peddling hate, who have said I am a bigot because I persist in using the Sevco name instead of merely calling their club Rangers, which in all fairness I cannot do because the club they want me to refer to is dead, I would ask that they point out one instance of “peddling hate” on this blog.

I freely admit to detesting a section of their support, the section that will not engage with the rest of the world, the section that wallows in hate, that preaches supremacy, that glorifies war, the section that promotes a “culture” it barely understands and which sees “enemies” everywhere, except inside the club’s own walls …

But I would stipulate that any rational person would despise these people, and that following Celtic is not a pre-requisite for that.

Indeed, I know full well that my feelings are echoed in the stands at Ibrox, by people who feel every bit as much loathing for those folk as I do myself. I understand their reluctance to speak up, but want them to know that they have friends and supporters at other clubs who will be there if they ever make their voices heard and claim their club from the degenerate elements who play such a role in keeping it a backward looking mess.

I do not hate Rangers, and I never have. Indeed, a healthy Sevco Rangers would be a positive force in the Scottish game, if it were rid of its sectarian baggage and its ideologues, if it embraced multiculturalism and internationalism instead of retreating behind the Union Jack and if it put aside this nonsensical and divisive embrace of militarism and war.

Once upon a time Rangers was a working class club, with its roots in its community, instead of one that swore allegiance to a hereditary monarchy, embraced the mentality of an age-old empire and seemed more interested in hating enemies than it is with making friends.

Whilst they were on top, Rangers preyed on the weakness of other Scottish sides, taking their players for nominal fees and even sending one club, Airdrie, to the grave over an unpaid debt with a sneer and barely a moment for pause. They bent the rules and corrupted the institutions that govern the game. They were not averse to pulling players out of Scotland squads when it suited them, or to nicking a national coach. They were prone to wailing every time they were taken to task for something and they, long before Neil Lennon moaned about referees, were pointing out officials with Irish surnames and stoking conspiracy theories.

They spent money they didn’t have on players they couldn’t afford. They hid those contracts from the authorities and when they were caught red handed they escaped all punishment for that, even as the governing body was expelling teams from the Scottish Cup for failing to sign one piece of paper, and imposing draconian fines which could have closed those clubs down.

They had a media which made excuses for them in the face of sectarian songs, which blamed others for riots and outbreaks of disorder and which was willing to argue the finer points of whether The Billy Boys was really a sectarian song.

Rangers as “victims” is a notion that’s a little hard to stomach. When they were on top they lorded it over the game with a breath-taking arrogance, and even in death they learned no lessons and found no humility … and they wonder why the Sevco NewCo is not greeted with open arms and respect everywhere it goes, and in everything it does.

The media is helping to push the line that we owe that club an apology.

No, no and thrice no. They owe Scottish football an apology, but most of us long since stopped waiting for it. We’d settle, instead, for a period of self-imposed silence … but we’re not going to get that either, are we?

They’re singing the blues again.

I wish they’d change this tune, and I wish the media would stop teaching the next generation the words.

Their irresponsibility is mind-numbing, and even when it comes from Derek Johnstone it’s more dangerous than it is funny.

These people are a disgrace to a once proud profession.

In pushing the “victim” myth they are rewriting history from the gutter.

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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.

18 thoughts on “Singing The Blues

  • 12 July, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Spot on again, james. And isnt the greatest tragedy that, when scotland has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for self determination, the lunatics are still running the asylum.

    Scotland has 2 great cities infected by bigots who are excused and comforted rather than condemned by the country’s leaders

  • 12 July, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I read his “column” yesterday.

    It’s full of anomalies and half truths. Twisted to suit BFDJ’s agenda.

    Did he once mention any of the Rangers greats if they had paid their EBTs back?

    If not, why not?

  • 12 July, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Hit the bullseye James. Hh

  • 12 July, 2014 at 9:36 am

    James, the hatred they have for the ‘enemies’ is palpable.

    Interesting, though, is the attitude towards the ‘saviours,’ that constant stream of ‘Rangers’ men who could have saved them, but have let them down so spectacularly.

    While they are ranting about Lawell, Thomson, SFA, etc, hardly a word about the ‘saviour supreme.’ You would have thought vitriol would be pouring out of their websites, but hardly anything.

    The ‘King over the water’ is still seen as their saviour, although he seems to have disappeared into the svelte without a trace.

    Funny that.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 11:11 am

    SECTARIAN SCUM THEN, SECTARIAN SCUM NOW AND SECTARIAN SCUM IN THE FUTURE!! I wish nothing but pain and sorrow on everything and everybody connected with the newco zombies… HAIL HAIL, 126 YEARS OF UNBROKEN HISTORY+

  • 12 July, 2014 at 11:18 am

    a happy and glorious Twelfth to all Sevconians wherever you are!

    Hail! Hail!

  • 12 July, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I like what you said about them making enemies and I think it is one of the major differences between us and them, we try to be as open as possible to all and have a global support who can connect and feel part of our club whereas they just hate, hate and hate some more and like you said some of their own decent supporters are too scared to speak out against them.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Ewan, I remember one reading one prominent Rangers website, years ago, where they were openly sneering at our relationship with Villareal. The writer of the article asked why we were bothering to make friends abroad when the purpose of playing them was to beat them. I remember thinking then that if the guy didn’t understand it there was no point in trying to explain it to him, or to those who commented on it, many of them telling him we were mugs who “feel the need to be loved.” Some of them prefer to be hated.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    There is a group in the Scottish Media who have much to answer for in stoking division in Scottish society and it is time they were called out by Scottish society.

    We need a charter for responsible journalism even if only in the reporting of football matters, because it is a strong thread in the fabric of Scottish society.
    The message of social responsibility in this article needs to be conveyed far and wide in a year when Scottish society could be in a position to start to govern itself.
    Media behaviour should be a top policy in the Independence agenda on both sides as it can be a force for cohesion rather than division.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Brilliant piece again, I remember constantly being told by the snide mob on the tranny that Celtic were ten to fifteen years behind the manglers, to wake up and smell the coffee, look over govan way to see how a club should be run blah blah feckin blah feckin blah, liars then and liars now. Surely there’s a law against peddling hate, oh wait there is……..

  • 12 July, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    A good piece once again James. However, in the interests of accuracy is it not the case that it was Murray International Metals that sent Airdrie to the grave rather than Rangers FC. That they shared the same chairman is irrelevant in a business sense. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    The schadenfreude that most of Scottish football feels at the demise of a club too caught up in it’s own mentally challenged hubris is a given. For some of the followers of this weird club, the sending of bullets and bombs to an opposing manager was seen as a sort of martyrdom. A call to arms if you like, and it had nothing to do with football, but race and religeon. We are now hearing that Rangers (in their former life) did nothing wrong, that they were ganged up against and they are the victims. Tell that to all of the creditors owed money still. Tell that to clued up Gers fans who know the score. The BBC didn’t make up their documentary and neither did Channel 4, reporting the truth ought not be a reason to hate the truth.
    Spivs and speculators have been warmly welcomed into the bosom of Ibrox despite warnings on this site and others, but of course, the media did their usual unquestioning bowing and scraping to whomever went to the cess pit that is Ibrox. Old guys like Johnstone, who was a good player for them continue to give oxygen to the idea that somehow they still exist. They don’t. They claim the history, the cups, the medals, just not the debts….

  • 12 July, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I rekon this column today has justified the reason why the sevco 2012 chaps reinvented themselves after her majesty, s financial custodians got fed up waiting on the original oldco 1872 to honour their debts , so del lardo hunstone is blaming everyone bar the management of oldco who blatantly were disloyal to the crown and country by refusing to cough up taxes which most other working people pay without really having the luxury of choice ? Oldco had the choice but decided to deny the crown all debts due by law , so as mr meerkat says “”it, s seempleeze “” by refusing to pay their massive debt they effectively killed the oldco by means of financial suicide , so the facts speak loudly and the newco 2012 would be wise to look no further than edmunster drive if they are looking to blame anyone ?? The chickens have came home to roost “”””

  • 12 July, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Heard McCoist being interviewed on TV nearly choked on my Weekend cake,calling out everyone,his day of reckoning will come,not to quickly mind you,but it will come. H H

  • 12 July, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Yeah big DJ knows nothing about Football I mean what would a guy who’s won a European trophy,scored in old firm game at 16, played for Scotland,been in a World Cup squad and played in the English premier know about Football?

    Anyway on to the rest of your blog which is pretty much just a copy and paste of everything you’ve ever written a million times before.

    1) If Rangers are a supposably new club with no history and no links at all to Celtic then why spend so much time ranting about them? I find that rather bizarre.

    2) Can you proved me a link to any official body that states Rangers are not the same club? And I don’t mean a Daily record headline or a he said this or he said that quote either but something official.

    3) You continue with the usual nonsense about dumping baggage. You really want to look closer to home. Your team had to ban an entire section of it’s own fans and they have been fined by Uefa a number of times over the last few years. Pot,kettle,black.

    4) Have Celtic never signed a player from another Scottish club for a nominal fee? What hypocrisy!

    5) Rangers did not kill Airdrie they were in huge financial trouble years before Carnegie Sports owned by David Murray froze 30k of the clubs money. All clubs that have been forced into insolvency in Scotland have been forced to pay Football debts over the last 10 years so what makes Airdrie any different?

    6) Your constant lies about Rangers breaking rules are ridiculous.

    – EBT’s were 100% legal proved twice now.

    – Rangers were fined by LNS for administration errors nothing more. Nothing Rangers did changed the results of ANY games no matter how much you want to mope about it. You want to blame an EBT for Motherwell scoring 2 late goals against Celtic in 2005 then so be it.

    – It was Rangers who informed HMRC of the small tax case and agreed to pay this money back pre-Whyte not the other way round. Whyte signed a legal document saying he would pay the bill but never did it’s his debt not the clubs.

    – Colleyer Bristow this week agreed to pay £25m to the creditors pot for the actions of the firm while involved at Rangers this combined with the winning of the tax case plus the Ticketus win against Whyte in court makes the actual amount of money owed by RFC PLC 2012 less than Hearts owed and with more legal action to follow the debt will go down.

    7) keep your apology frankly cause it ‘s only a matter of time before Rangers are back on top again and people like you have a nervous breakdown about it.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    WOW!! must say,excellent stuff,and truthful,thanks,still get angry with sevcos scant regard for the circumstances they find themselves in.and cheesed off with all their bleating.

  • 12 July, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

    Derek Johnstone knows how to kick a football. I know how to hold a pen. I do not give lectures on journalism, or on publishing, or pretend to be an expert in either of those fields, because there is more to them than being able to hold a pen. There is more to be an expert on the Beautiful Game than having kicked a ball. There are people who have been in the sport who should never be allowed to talk about the sport. Their only talent in the world is being able to kick a ball well. Ask them about tactics, about the dynamics of team building, about football finance, and they are clueless. Johnstone is clueless, but he’s your kind of clueless cause his ignorant nonsense is precisely the kind of ignorant nonsense that you want to hear.

    1) We aren’t ranting about Rangers. We are discussing Sevco Rangers. Hope I’ve been able to clear that up for you. I normally don’t speak ill of the dead, but your club died in shame and disgrace and the Frankenstein’s Monster you support is headed the exact same way. It’s a news story, which is why myself and others write about it. I can understand the confusion, as those who are paid to do this job never bothered.

    2) What you mean apart from FIFA and UEFA statutes and corporate law? Even if these things did not exist, there is common sense. Are you seriously trying to tell me that football clubs CANNOT DIE? How come the game’s history is littered with their corpses? Most fans ACCEPT THIS … not your lot. Too big to die? Too important to fail? Tell it to Lehman Brothers, jack.

    3) Our own supporters have been involved in some incidents as relates to UEFA’s “no politics in football stadiums” regulations, which are frankly hypocritical, unenforceable nonsense. Furthermore, the “banned supporters” are back at Parkhead where they belong and the club are happy with that. Their political identity is intact, furthermore. You seem to be suggesting that there is “baggage” in being provocative, and inspired, and politically minded. I consider those things a virtue, and I do not accept there is any correlation between people who want to make a political point inside a football ground and those who want to use football grounds as repositories for sectarian bile and the fighting of 300 year old wars. I make a distinction between the two, and one of the many differences between you and me is that you don’t or can’t.

    4) My point was a more general one than that, as I am absolutely sure you know. In the army they call what you just did “chickenshit”, focusing on minor things, small matters, trying to score little points. You have to do better than that. And by the way, a nominal fee is one thing … predatory weakening of potential opponents and rivals, just to leave players rotting in the reserves is egotistical arrogance which the DeadCo was guilty of for years. I could name a dozen players, from Alan Gow to Darius Adamcuk, but you won’t understand the point or choose to ignore it.

    5) You make a distinction between Murray’s companies and Rangers. I don’t. Who weeps for Airdrie? Nobody. Don’t even start with any attempt to lecture anyone on debt.

    6) You with-held contracts from the SFA and the SPL. You concealed the nature of EBT payments from the governing bodies. That broke the rules. You got off scot-free for it, but you did it, and it’s a disgrace that trophies were never stripped and titles taken away. It matters not. They will forever carry the taint … and besides … they belong to a dead club anyway. And your comment about debt is ludicrous. What about historic debt? Two huge wedges of it, shuffled from one place to another? I remember, even if you don’t, where that money wound up. As part of toxic bank assets bought by the tax payer. What your club did was not limited to EBT’s and it never was. You are now stripped of the financial steroids that allowed you to do it, and not before time. Your wailing is music to my ears.

    7) I didn’t make an apology and I have no intention of doing so, as I’ve said in the piece several times. As to having a nervous breakdown … ho-ho-ho my friend, you think I tremble at the possibility of 36 year old Kenny Miller and the midfield partnership of McCulloch and Black? How many whippings at the hands of SPL teams will you need before you realise that Celtic is a monster you don’t want to meet, probably ever again?

    Your post cheered up a gloomy evening though. Keep on reading, and keep on posting!

  • 14 July, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Good piece James. DJ is one of the thickest people I have ever listened to in my life. I can’t listen when he’s on the radio. He has to keep up with the same club theory because if he doesn’t he’ll not be useful in society.

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