Suicide Kings

23697645So, it’s going to happen after all. I can barely believe it, but here we go. The Sevco Rangers supporters, not satisfied with watching their club flirt with Death, have decided the dance is over. They are wedding themselves to the man in black.

They are voluntarily dancing to the edge, and stepping out into the darkness. In all my years watching football, and writing about the Beautiful Game, I’ve never seen anything that’s so blatantly going to end ugly.

For weeks now, as I’ve pondered their goose-step towards the abyss, I’ve wondered why the board of directors don’t just bite down on the strap and wait for someone to turn on the juice. There is no spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. A little shock therapy is what’s required here and there is no wonderland when they come out on the other side. There is only the numbed awareness that their reality is pain, for the foreseeable future.

If this club goes into administration now, before the season ends, they have options for going forward.

They will probably still win the league, they will probably still be promoted. It will clear the decks, allow them to make a full disclosure to the fans and allow a new plan to be put in place. If all goes well, they will start the new season on a sound footing, and with a little luck they can make a challenge for promotion. It won’t solve every problem they have – that is a task that’s going to take years – but they’ll be on the right road.

This is more than simply the sensible option. It’s the rational option, indeed it’s the only sane option on the table. Nothing else will work. Disaster, on one front or another, is certain. The most acute danger lies in the coming summer, of course, and if the bomb drops during it the next 12 months are going to be a rollercoaster ride down into the bowels of the Earth. There is no good way that ends.

A twenty five point penalty and a weakened squad means you can kiss farewell to any prospect that they will be promoted to the SPL. Coupled with McCoist’s inability to win games with anything less than a 300 to 1 wages advantage, and depending on how severe the cuts he has to live with are, and I’d question their ability to stay up in the Championship, where they will no longer be playing against the joiners and carpet fitters they’ve struggled at times to beat this year.

Full-time seasoned pros will be a much tougher prospect, and McCoist knows it and that’s why his hair is receding faster than Vladimir Putin’s chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He’s more and more coming to resemble the caricature fat man on a tread mill, and I very much doubt he has enough in the tank to get them through the slog that would lie ahead.

This is a guy so disconnected from reality that he’s talking about wanting to make signings at a time when the club has had to go for a crisis loan. It is beyond parody. His excuse for not resoundingly beating Albion Rovers last weekend was staggering, and contemptible. There is not a single Sevco Rangers fan who believes a word of it.

Yet, as much as I marvel at the madness in the boardroom and the lunacy running rampant in the boot room, it’s the insanity sweeping through the supporters that genuinely takes the breath away. They say people get the leaders they deserve, and boy but that rings out loud and clear when you look at the people the Sevco Rangers fans are pinning their hopes on, and appointing to do the talking for them. Some of them have backed every slick snake oil salesman we’ve seen troop on and off the stage in this long running farce.

Their support for Dave King appears to revolve around the belief that he, himself, will personally underwrite the next great era in the club’s history. They cling to this like a comfort blanket, despite the irrefutable fact that King himself has never said he’ll do this … and in fact, has publicly stated, on more than one occasion, that it’s the furthest thing from his mind!

King’s published statements make it quite clear who’ll be paying for the next big Save Rangers campaign. He’s not attempted to lie about it – which is to his credit anyway – and this is why I’m so amazed that their supporters seem to have missed it. They are the ones who’ll be shelling out the money to keep the club afloat under King’s plans.

Note that he’s not asking for a season ticket boycott, as many seem to think. The fans will still be paying their money down. It just won’t be going to the club at first. Barmy. No-one in the media appears keen to explore this idea, so let me see if I’ve got it right.

Season ticket renewal forms come out, with prices restored to SPL levels, quite a jump considering they are being sold for a third of that at the moment. Fair enough. Everyone knows this. But what do the fans do with the forms? We know the “plan” is not to pay the money to Sevco Rangers but to stick it in a bank, there to wait for the club to see sense. Then what? What if the club never does? Do these people not realise that at that point they’ve got nothing? That they’ve effectively paid out £400 and upwards … and got nothing for it except a nice wee bank receipt?

What do you think’s going to happen? That the club will send you the season ticket anyway? Why would they? It’s more than likely that they’ll remove you from the waiting list.

What do you do then? Say your club gets enough money from those who are going to pay – and bear in mind they only need 10,000 fans still willing to do so in order to be roughly where they are now, because of the price rise. How long are you going to write off the money? How long until you want to know exactly what it’s bought you?

Some have suggested that the scheme involves buying individual match-tickets instead of season tickets. That’s a logistical nightmare, and it makes me laugh to imagine them trying to implement it. It would also cost them more over the season.

Then there’s administering the fund. Who’s running that? Will the fund be “locked” or will it be spendable? PR materials, PR firms if necessary, cost money. A major campaign, lasting months, could be an expensive undertaking. You want to see people dipping into it? Who decides who has that access? Who’s in charge of the bank account?

How much do the Sevco Rangers fans trust each other?

Now, let’s say that this all works out. Let’s say that Sevco Rangers gives the fans these undertakings, that it hands the stadium and the training ground over to the fans. Do you have any idea what removing the assets from “the business” will do to the balance sheet? The share price will drop like a stone, with everyone making a loss. Without the key property assets in “the business” good luck trying to recapitalise it in the inevitable share issue to follow. Forget “institutional investors.” Every penny is going to have to come from the supporters.

What are the odds on the fans having the money to pay for season tickets and a raft of new shares? How do you go to a guy who bought shares last time and get him to “invest” again, when the very act of doing it this time around invalidates the value of what you bought last time? At some point, don’t you start to balk? Don’t you start wondering when this ends?

Going down this road, it never does. Because if you do what King wants and you put the cash on the table to make this happen, and he gives it to McCoist, the spiralling wage costs, coupled with no discernible increase in profitability (why does everyone thing playing in the SPL will turn the finances around? Look at the facts. Look at the prize structure. It won’t) and the club will be right back here again in a year’s time, or less.

The present cost structure at Ibrox is the reason they’ve struggled to get through up until now. There is a drastic need to slash and burn those costs, to get them down to a level where the club can survive, living within its means. Rather than accept this, they cling to the usual fantasy of sugar daddies and “competing with Celtic”, instead of accepting that it’s over.

King is leading a revolution, so he says, and the line-up of “influential supporters” standing behind him would have some credibility if they hadn’t stood behind Whyte, behind Green, if they weren’t, a few weeks ago, standing behind Graham Wallace, who’s become Public Enemy Number One because he’s doing the review he promised the fans. This is a support that needs some hard truth telling to it. One way or another, disaster is on its way.

I say accept that fact. Deal with it now. Accept the limitations that your past behaviour has placed on you. Start downsizing to the point where it might save you. You’ve got the money to get through the season, so the close season has to see some changes. Take the medicine. Live with the consequences and stop trying to be a big club again. It will happen, in time, if you start building. But the building hasn’t begun yet. Until it does, catching Celtic is just a fantasy.

With the current rate of spending at Ibrox, a season ticket boycott will bring the club to its knees, and that is not speculation, it’s a simple statement of fact. The board of directors will not move an inch. The institutional investors will not shift at all. They have £50 million in assets, they have shares, they have money tied up in this thing. They can place the whole club in administration and make the most dramatic cuts imaginable, then do a sale and lease back to keep on the lights.

Rangers fans are guaranteeing the very thing this “plan” of King’s is supposed to be trying to stop. The people who supported every charlatan who’s walked through the door in the past four years are pinning their hopes to a convicted criminal who has so far ruled out putting in his own money, and who’s “plan” has more holes than Swiss cheese. Understand this … the people King is going up against really don’t do walking away, not with their investment so far.

In the final extremis they can threaten to close the whole thing down, and keep it closed past the start of next season, meaning there will be no Rangers in the league. If you think hedge funds care about the state of Scottish football, dream on.

Rangers fans are being asked to choose between a drastically smaller version of the club and going for broke in the hope they can somehow stop the inexorable march towards ten in a row. They have decided to pick up the dice and take an epochal risk, with no prospect of success.

In all my time watching football I have never seen anything as reckless and stupid.

This, finally, is the apogee of all the crises of the last few years; Sevco Rangers fans, not content with seeing their club die once … are willing to kill its reincarnation in the pursuit of short term success.

And they claim this is an act of love. For so long warped by hate, I suspect they’ve forgotten what the word actually means.

This is suicide, and they are embracing it, rushing towards it with open arms.

There really are no words to adequately describe how … ridiculous that its.

[calameo code=001382993c21aafe16e49 width=550 height=356 view=book page=6 mode=viewer]

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.

41 thoughts on “Suicide Kings

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    a stupid biast post from a stupid biast man
    sevco as you call us are RANGERS just like sellik are PACIFIC SHELF

    now go away you silly little green monster

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Lol the day starts with a blast! Thanks for that! Made my afternoon already!

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    its fans like you that cause trouble you should know better
    then again you being a tim

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Wait a second … let’s see if I’ve got this right … you’re accussing me of stirring up hate by pointing out that Dodgy Dave King is asking YOU to kill your own football club?

    Mr, you’re having a laugh, right? This is a wee joke … or you’re a Tim at the wind up!

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Allan….you made me guffaw heartily with that gem.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Well written post.

    I don’t miss Rangers and I’m not particularly keen on seeing them return to the SPL. Isn’t it amazing how all of a sudden, all of the shit that goes with football in Scotland suddenly vanished when they were relegated?

    I guess some may class their situation as ‘karma’,

    I would love to see us out of the SPL and be involved in a league that is far more competitive, but I accept that this will probably never happen.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:44 pm


    Another thoughtful article, really spells it out clearly for them. And for a minute or two I was going to tells you therein lies the problem.

    But, as clearly demonstrated by our man Allan, even when explained for them in black and white, the clowns just don’t want to listen! Still, they say the truth hurts. Never realised how much!

    Unbelievable? No really!

    Keep up the great work fella. Hail Hail

  • 15 March, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    FFS James………Shhhhhhhhhh

    There are some Sevconians who can read and understand what you say and may change their minds about King, lemmings will follow follow over dem cliffs.

    Let the tribute act die!

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Can Sevco naw just die quickly and quietly and give us all peace, no dignity in anything they do. GOD BLESS Craig Whyte, HAIL HAIL

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    What of the scenario of DK buying up the majority of shares ( if not all of them ) so that he is the owner of all things TRIFC? Possible? Investors get a return on their investment and DK ends up with all assets. Can a ” Sugar Daddy” be the end all of Sevco’s woes ?

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It obvious to anyone outside the Sevco bubble that Laxey or the Krays CANT hand over the assets to anyone while the contingent liability hangs over them simply because no one really knows who owns them ? King must already know this so why does he put an impossible demand on the table to start with ? the only reason i could see for this strategy is he simply wants to run the clumpany into the buffers and pick the bones of them up for buttons in a liquidation sale. no matter what happens Sevco are heading for years in the wilderness, there is no easy fix for them now, they should have lived within their means when the new club was founded in division 3 and they may have had a chance but had they done it properly Charles Green would’nt be living in a Castle in France now

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Alan, you say James blog is stupid, then you say he’s “biast”

    What exactly does it take to embarrass a supporter of The Rangers 2012?

    Maybe, if you, and your fellow supporters, had listened to some of the warnings from the Celtic supporting bloggers, you would have known all about Craig Whyte, and Charles Green.

    Instead, you ignored the warnings, and insulted the people who told you what these people were like. resulting in Rangers being liquidated, and Charles (Big Hands) Green taking you all to the cleaners.

    As James said, you got the leaders you deserved, and the Celtic suporters are all laughing at you, and your scabby, two bob, wee outfit.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    The report I saw on the BBC freeview ceefax type service last night indicated that King wanted the board to the ownership od Ibrokes into a fans type trust in lieu of the season ticket money.
    Ignoring the fact that Brother Whyte still has his claim on the deeds to Ibrokes outstanding, why would the board handover something that they own to a trust fund administered by a man who has neither bought shares in Sevco, nor invested any money in Sevco?

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    The sugar daddy era at Ibrox is over mate. To buy out the existing shareholders will cost upwards of £20 million. The club needs at least that invested in infrastructure, half as much again on scouting and that’s before you even look at buying a first team player. And even if someone was willing to carry all that cost, and the debt that would come, Financial Fair Play regulations mean they’ll never be allowed to play in Europe whilst all that was going on.

    They need to start dealing with reality, as painful as that is going to be.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Joe, easy answer that: some form of liquidation is exactly what King wants.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Andrew, in a nutshell mate. You’ve got it. He’s set the fans on a collision course with their own club over an impossible demand.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    And the truth is, they simply deserve it. HH

  • 15 March, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’ .
    Napoleon Boneparte.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    The disconnect between the King plan and basic reality was always out there, but I haven’t found a solid expression of it until reading your article.
    Of course there is a waiting list, and no matter how dense Rangers fans are they cannot fail to see that Kings plan has more holes than a container of Swiss cheese.
    If Sevco were a horse it would already have received humane treatment.

  • 15 March, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    If you sat 50 of Sevco’s chosen brightest down with a copy of the above article and asked them to highlight what was false or misleading, what would they come up with?

    Maybe Allen Kierzsden will kick off with something….

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