Sky Sports Scotland Insults Scottish Football With Talk Of Rangers’ “Demotion”

3Gduepif0T1UGY8H4yMDoxOjBzMTtyGkSky Sports Scotland has had a bad reputation for a while now. This section of the broadcasting monolith has an almost pathological fixation with what’s going on at Sevco, sometimes to the detriment of the rest of the sport.

Regular viewers can pick their own examples, but the ones that come most to mind for me and for others are Jim White’s fawning over Charles Green in his “deathbed confession”, his lickspittle interview in South Africa with Dodgy Dave King and Charles Patterson and Luke Shanley spending so much time standing outside Ibrox and Murray Park that they might as well have opened a special Sevco broadcasting unit and put beds in there for them.

Today Sky Sports Scotland hit a new low, when they decided to open their coverage for the season at Ibrox, and to include in the press release a scandalous statement about how the club was “demoted” for “financial irregularities.”

I agree with the second bit, in a conceptual sense.

It is as close to suggesting that what happened to Rangers was an act of fraud as they think they can get away with, although it hasn’t stopped myself and others from calling it exactly that, and in those very words. It was an act of fraud, as Sevco’s continuing to trade without the funds to complete a season is.

But Sevco is a new club, which started at the bottom as every new club should.

Sky’s press release insults every Scottish football fan, including a large number of their own subscribers. They may as well have slapped a advert for Android boxes on the bottom of the piece, as that’s exactly how many people will choose to “enjoy” their coverage from now on. This is one of many reasons why people would rather buy dodgy gear than give money to people who’s penchant for slabbering on Sevco is known and who’s relationship with the truth appears fleeting at best.

There was, of course, no demotion.

It’s one of the most absurd statements I’ve seen published on their website in many moons. It’s a concept so discredited you barely see it anywhere except on the more lunatic Sevco fan forums and blogs. There, I don’t mind it. Demented people believe in crazy things. I resent seeing it where people might take it seriously, where it might promote a distorted image of our game.

This isn’t even pandering; it’s flat out lying.

There are people who ask when Scottish football is going to “get past this” stuff. There’s no getting past this until people are honest about exactly what’s taken place here. A lot of us would be happy to move on, but this constant bullshitting isn’t going to be allowed to stand and it isn’t just Celtic supporters who are furious about this garbage.

None of this does them any favours. None of this does Sevco any favours. That club is stuck in the mud by a blind refusal to accept its actual status; not that of a giant in the game but that of a perennial struggler, skint and powerless but still with friends where they think they can have an influence. The longer they cling to this illusion of superiority and supremacy – the very last trait they should have ported over from DeadCo – the tougher ahead the road will be.

Celtic is moving forward with purpose, with a brilliant new manager and what look to be exciting signing targets. Yet Sky has decided we’re the sideshow, that the curtain raiser for the new season shouldn’t be the champions against the team that finished third, but a newly promoted club which has spent the summer scrambling around the bargain basement of free transfers and has-beens whilst its manager sulked on the other side of the Atlantic.

Such are the priorities of the broadcaster. Such is the way it views the Scottish game, and all this feeds into the demented egos of fans who simply have not adjusted to the reality of their actual position. That reality is coming soon, and it’s going to hurt a lot. Many of us are looking forward to seeing how fact and fantasy collide.

Sky clearly isn’t interesting in facts. They would rather live with, and in, the fantasy and the growing contempt in which the media is held in Scotland and beyond only grows greater with every single instance of something like this.

The truth is known to everyone. It was an article of faith before Charles Green scooped up the assets of the dead club that failing to get a CVA meant death. There was no demotion here. I cannot say that often enough, and it makes those who push this line look utterly ridiculous. Still, they continue to push it like a drug and those addicted to this WATP crap lap it up like Pavlov’s slabbering dogs. It defies belief, but it will no longer go unchallenged.

Are the Internet Bampots the only people in this damned country who are prepared to speak the truth on this issue?

Are we the only ones who care?

Sooner or later, the narrative is going to be scrubbed clean of all these lies.

There are those in a position to do it, and it becomes increasingly difficult to understand their reluctance to.

At a time when the mainstream media can’t even be trusted to cover the biggest sports story in the history of this island sites like this one are more important than ever. If you are able to, and you want to help real Scottish football journalism, and not the sort you get in the tabloids, you can make a donation by clicking the link below.

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Resolution 12 Campaign Leaves Sevco Facing A European Ban

1939633_w2This is an article that was almost written last week, but then the need for it was removed at a stroke by a late Hibs goal at Hampden.

Amidst the mayhem that followed that goal, this story was put on the back burner. Events have moved forward this weekend.

For the last couple of years, a group of dedicated Celtic supporters has been working away, diligently, on the matter we call Resolution 12. Much is at stake; the credibility of the game here in Scotland, SFA reform and exposing the truth about some of what was going on during that period.

Yet Celtic fans, and those of other clubs, still appear largely ignorant of the real scale of what’s up for grabs here.

Celtic supporters have long wondered whether or not getting to the roots of this will do much more than embarrass Stewart Regan and his cohort at Hampden.

This was never about embarrassing people.

One of the consequences of it will be removing them from office entirely.

If it’s found that the SFA helped Rangers to deliberately conceal tax payables owed during the UEFA licensing process then that’s the ball game for everyone involved in that matter. They are gone.

But there’s always been another side to this, and some of the Resolution 12 guys have been wholly aware of it for a while, and their legal reps and those at the SFA most certainly are.

Celtic is well aware of it too, and it’s one of the reasons for their reticence in making a public statement. I am glad to be able to make that clear, and it’s something that only came to my own attention in the last weeks.

Let me make something else clear; Celtic has no interest in this beyond establishing the facts. Our club doesn’t want blood here. It’s not the reason the club or fans are pursuing this matter and you know this because at no time have the guys behind Resolution 12 presented demands for that in a public forum, as a stated objective of the campaign.

But it’s always been accepted that if their case is proved that there will be consequences for people.

So what are these consequences and what do they mean for us?

Well I can tell you now that one of them will be Sevco facing a lengthy European football ban.

Yesterday, the Offshore Game published an addendum to their stunning report into these issues, a document which clarified certain issues. But it also mentioned the UEFA disciplinary committee and its remit to punish clubs after the fact.

I’d heard that might be a possibility in this case a week or two ago. I had been planning to write a piece on the day after the cup final, if Sevco had won, but of course that game went far better than many of us had expected.

But the issue is now starting to come to light anyway. People are beginning to open their eyes to the true consequences should Celtic fans and the club manage to compel a UEFA inquiry into these matters.

This explains a few things about the last week, and in particular the reason Sevco is going on the offensive over the level of “hate” they have to endure. For these things are all connected, all entwined, and people at Ibrox are laying the groundwork for a fresh PR campaign in the event their club is hauled before the beaks.

It will be the most important PR offensive in their history.

Over the last couple of years I’ve written extensively on what we refer to as The Victim Myth, but never more so than over the last few days.

That myth has been allowed to grow to monstrous proportions and at the centre of it is the notion that all of Scotland is determined to hurt their club and that we all played a role in the destruction of the OldCo and would happily send the NewCo the same way.

In the last week I’ve written numerous pieces in response to these fantastic and paranoid claims, but as I wrote every word I knew there was more to them than simple self pity.

When you consider that at the same time as this wailing is going on in the background, that board members have been telling the press that the game has to “move on” you see more to their bitching than might at first be plain.

Go ever further, consider that King himself actually openly criticised the Resolution 12 guys earlier this month, accusing them of having an agenda. Why would he say that, if these issues were not able to impact Sevco?

It’s here that you start to see the outlines of what’s really going on behind the scenes.

People at Sevco are worried about this campaign.

Aside from the Victim Myth, the other toxic issue at the centre of Scottish football is that other great lie on which so much of our game is built; the Survival Myth.

Anyone familiar with these issues knows this one is a real article of faith for many of them. In fact, some of them have accused those of us who scotch it of using “dehumanising language” to refer to them.

I call them Sevconians. They object to that word. Others call them zombies. They object to that even more strongly. One demented article from yesterday appeared to compare the atmosphere in Scottish football to that in Nazi Germany with the Sevconians in the role of the Jews.

It’s an offensive idea, and not just because of how over the top and crass it is. After all, there’s only one club in this country who’s fans stand accused of having used the hated salute of Hitler’s despotic regime; I’ll give you a clue. It isn’t Dundee.

These sort of articles are intended to wed the Victim and Survival Myths, and fuse them into one, and they are a recent addition to the Sevco PR arsenal.

Believe me when I tell you that’s not a coincidence.

Until this week, when the Victim Myth was hyper-charged, I had believed the Survival Myth to be far and away the more damaging and corrupting of the two. In some ways it still is, but it’s not as dangerous to wider society as this notion that their support are social pariahs, “denied their human rights” as that hysterical piece yesterday alleged.

The Survival Myth is hateful not only because it denies reality but it places our game in mortal peril. If this is idea is followed to its natural conclusion clubs which overspend will know they can dump debts, reform and carry on as before.

It will allow guys like Whyte to come and go as they please, looting clubs like a business at the centre of a Mafia style “planned bankruptcy” before walking away knowing the football authorities will barely blink an eye.

It would be open season for con artists, charlatans, even organised crime groups, to come in and use Scottish football for all manner of schemes and scams, and we can’t survive the damage that would do.

Yet at the heart of the Survival Myth and its inherent contradictions, I always believed there were dangers for the club itself.

When Mike Ashley’s loans were all that was keeping their lights on and he seemed as if he might get the whole thing in his grip I wrote that the Survival Myth and this daft idea the holding company and the club were two separate things had created a deadly possibility; that the holding company might well end up in the hands of someone who made a similar distinction. With no ownership over its own stadium, image rights, intellectual property or merchandising the club would be no more than animals in a circus, there to provide the entertainment to a dwindling band of followers, with the company cutting accordingly.

I still think it’s the most stupid – and potentially deadly – separation of a football club and the people who run it that I’ve ever heard of.

How close did Sevco come to ending up just like that? At one point Ashley had an iron grip on nearly the lot of it but ironically the club itself was too unsure about its own hold over the stadium to grant it to him as loan security.

What underpins the Survival Myth is the Five Way Agreement and it’s here the current problems for Sevco exist and present the gravest danger should Celtic fans succeed and UEFA open an investigation into the granting of the European license for 2011-12.

Because that document, whilst giving Sevco a “no title stripping” guarantee, also forced them to accept certain things. The key one was that it should assume responsibility for any “football penalties” the SFA chose to levy.

In the end a dirty, grubby deal was done and those penalties amounted to nothing … but it’s in there, in black and white, and nothing anyone does can change it now.

One of the funniest things in all of football is listening to a Sevco fan or journalist try to square the circle of liquidation and death and the “continuation of history.”

The current club is always trying to distance itself from the old one did, but they want all the good bits for themselves.

The SFA tried to ride the middle of the road on the issue too and it still sits uneasily on the perch where they placed it.

The Resolution 12 guys can blow that all to Hell.

If UEFA opens an investigation into these events – as looks increasingly likely – they will ask for all the information that’s in the public domain and a lot more besides. If they conclude that people with-held information from them there will be sanctions.

Some of those sanctions will fall on the SFA, as the licensing body. Associations have been heavily fined by UEFA for their failures to get to the bottom of licensing disclosures.

But UEFA will also punish the club, and that’s where life becomes interesting.

Because they’ll ask the SFA whether it stands by the claim that Sevco and Rangers are one in the same. What the SFA says in response will dictate whether the Survival Myth is reversed or whether its tenants are upheld.

UEFA do not make the club – company distinction, and they never have, but in handing down a punishment they will be guided by SFA conventions. One of the big issues the SFA will face is the legally binding “Five Way Agreement” wherein whatever they argue, they and the club will still be bound by its numerous clauses, one of which is that Sevco will accept any “football punishment” levied on Rangers.

And then there’s the Survival Myth itself. The SFA cannot escape a choice on that and if they uphold the Survival Myth UEFA will drop the hammer on Ibrox and there’s simply no way anyone can mount an argument against it.

The NewCo will be banned from European competition from anywhere between one and three years. There will be little prospect of an appeal, because the only defence Sevco and the SFA will have is the one they have been busily destroying for the past few years, that these actions were carried out by another club.

Just making that argument will burn the Survival Myth to the ground once and for all and fully vindicate all we’ve said these past few years, which is why the SFA and Sevco are going to have no choice but to stick to their guns on this, to pretend the Ibrox club is still Rangers and take whatever’s coming their way. For either organisation to reverse course on this issue now would be devastating for them.

Had Sevco won the Scottish Cup this would have been looming in front of them all summer long. As it is, the issue remains but it’s no longer one that will disrupt anyone’s passport application process.

Yet I fully expect that before next season starts Europe’s governing body will be well on the way to a decision in this matter and that decision may well have horrendous consequences for the Dodgy Dave King business plan, which is heavily reliant on European footballing income for the club’s very survival.

This coming season will be Year 5 away from that stage. It is not inconceivable that Sevco might spend its first decade without ever playing a game on the continental stage, still paying the price for what its predecessor club did.

I personally don’t think that’s fair.

From the beginning I’ve argued that footballing sanctions shouldn’t be applied to Sevco, that it’s a perversion of natural justice to punish one for the sins of the other just because they play out of the same stadium and wear the same jersey … but through all that time I’ve been told that I’m wrong, that I’m motivated by hate, that the clubs are one and the same. The press and the SFA have backed that line to the hilt.

In the bed they’ve made, now let them lie.

A reckoning is coming, as many of us suspected it would.

The Resolution 12 guys didn’t know this when they opened the can of worms.

It wasn’t even on their radar, far less an objective of the campaign.

But Celtic grasped it quickly and part of their low-key public response was based on that. The SFA and Sevco understood it just as fast, which is why the stonewall strategy came first and now the elevation of the Victim Myth goes into high gear, and with it one last plea for people to “forget the past” and move on.

In this case, the past is like a murder victim, lying in a shallow unmarked grave. Sooner or later someone was always going to stumble over it, and then an investigation would start. Whatever evidence there is out there will find its way to the right place and when people in positions of authority start to piece it together we’re going to see a show.

Then punishment will follow, like night follows day.

At a time when the mainstream media can’t even be trusted to cover the biggest sports story in the history of this island sites like this one are more important than ever. If you are able to, and you want to help real Scottish football journalism, and not the sort you get in the tabloids, you can make a donation by clicking the link below.

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Daily Record Forced To Retract Rangers Liquidation Lies

Editor says to journalist: 'I'm looking for a reporter who is imaginative. I did just say 'investigative', didn't I?'Today, The Daily Record was forced into a humiliating climb-down when it printed a correction to a piece that ran in the paper on 25 September.

That piece was originally about Charles Green, but one paragraph in the story caught the eye of some in Celtic cyberspace, and was the subject of a couple of excellent blogs from The Clumpany, where he mocked The Record mercilessly for it.

The offending paragraph read “The club went into administration and subsequent forced liquidation by HMRC over a “phantom” £80million tax bill. The club were later cleared of having ever owed the taxman.”

I’m sure you’ll agree reading it that this is pure and simple garbage, without even the remotest connection at all with reality, but then I credit most of this sites readers as being of above average intelligence anyway, which rules out buying The Record in the first place.

We weren’t the intended audience for this piece of fantasy fluff, of course. That was the Sevco support, and the section of it which subscribes to the Victim Myth.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the Victim Myth. Indeed, it was the focus of my last piece here, where I laid out the consequences to the club if all the principals now standing trial in connection to the twin takeovers are found guilty of those offences.

The club itself will not benefit one iota from those verdicts; indeed, the best thing that could happen to all the current shareholders is for Whyte, Green and others to be cleared on all counts.

Yet where the Victim Myth most commonly manifests itself – and the media is even guiltier of this than the Sevco support – lies in the distorted version of reality involving the administration and liquidation of the OldCo, with some, even now, unable to grasp the facts.

Everyone involved in this has been blamed for what happened except those actually responsible; Rangers’ board of directors (including Dave King and Paul Murray) and the supporters. HMRC are convenient scapegoats, as are the banks, Ticketus and others, with Craig Whyte the ultimate bogeyman. But Rangers crashed due to the setup of the club itself.

Recently I’ve gotten into the excellent TV show Deadliest Catch, which is about the fishermen who go hunting for crab in the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast. As reality shows go there are few better; their job is appallingly dangerous, averaging about a half dozen deaths annually and a slew of injuries almost beyond counting, and the physical and psychological toll that it takes on the fishermen is enormous.

The sea itself is unpredictable, and no matter how well crews prepare there are things that can’t be legislated for, but in Season 1 a boat goes down and we watch the mostly futile rescue attempts.

We later discover, due to changes in legislation governing the fishing season, that one of the reasons it sunk was that it left port “top heavy”, overloaded with more crab pots than advised, and thus unable to manoeuvre in rough seas.

No-one was to blame; other ships frequently leave harbour “top heavy” and we see others do it during the show. It’s the way things happen in the industry, much as clubs running up debt happens in football.

Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them … until it does.

Rangers Football Club was “top heavy” for a long, long time and no-one involved in running it had focussed overmuch on efforts to limit the problems. Indeed, as long as they had HBOS standing behind them, pumping money into them via MIH, they might have continued along, running up debts and then rescaling, until the cows came home.

But in 2008 a storm front hit, HBOS was engulfed and Lloyds, a far more conservative company, found itself holding the balance sheet.

From that moment on, the club was under pressure to live within its means … but it continued playing the odds, hauling more weight than it could reasonably cope with in event of disaster, and in August 2011 that’s exactly what came along, when they were knocked out of the Champions League and then what was the UEFA Cup.

This is still difficult for their fans to grasp, but simple arithmetic is all it requires.

Those defeats left a hole in the balance sheet of some £10 million plus.

The banks had already been chased by then, so they did nothing wrong. They saw the writing on the wall and were not prepared to lend the club a single red cent. No bank is willing to do so today.

HMRC only got involved in administration proceedings when the club stopped paying PAYE. What else were they supposed to do? Ignore that? They were legally obliged to go after it and their own charter expressly says that they refuse all efforts at a CVA when deliberate with-holding of tax revenues is alleged. There was no grand conspiracy.

Whyte could have paid the PAYE, but the hammer would still have fallen, because that £10 million plus hole had to be plugged .

Whyte inherited a bankrupt business. The clue was in the sale price; how else do you pick up a company with tens of millions in assets for £1? The only circumstances in which it has ever happened have been in an asset sale when a company hits the skids or in those where liabilities are so enormous that those involved in the selling know it’s only a matter of time.

Only a matter of time, okay?

I understand why they have difficulty swallowing this; it’s reality and it’s hard to take, and it’s scary because it not only explains how the past happened but points to the likely future.

Without external funding their new club, which is running at a loss, will sooner or later no longer have the cash to keep the lights on and pay its bills as they come due.

That’s a fact of financial life. It’s how things work. It’s the ruthless equation every business in the land, from crab boats to internet blogs, deals with every day of the week.

There’s no such thing as “too big to fail.” Global financial giants have been swallowed in black holes of debt. Even countries – nation states, okay? – like Greece know this by experience.

The talismanic word “Rangers” has no magical properties when it comes to dealing with economic reality; the Victim Myth is predicated on a lie, just as the Survival Myth is.

What’s simply inexcusable is when those lies are regurgitated by national newspapers, by journalists who know better and simply choose to distort facts.

Today The Daily Record has offered a half-hearted apology for “misleading its readers.”

It has fewer and fewer of them every year, because whether it’s in headlines comparing Fergus to Saddam, calling Celtic players “thugs and thieves”, giving Rangers fans wet dreams about the “Motherwell born billionaire”, stirring up hate against Neil Lennon, lauding the genius of Charles Green or going to bat for a convicted tax cheat like Dave King, people now know that “misleading the readers” is this newspaper’s stock in trade and have acted accordingly.

Today’s apology is, therefore, a little bit like being on a crab boat in the middle of the Bering Sea, shouting out at the distant horizon, where only the plankton are listening.

Nevertheless, it’s humiliating for them to have to write the truth for once.

(This site relies on your support, my friends. If every reader was able to make a donation that would keep the site going strong well into the future. Many thanks in advance.)

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Arrested Development: The Fans At Ibrox Just Never Learn

Former-Rangers-owner-Craig-Whyte-541404Last week I was away for a few days, taking a break from the madness and the insanity and unplugging myself from the blogosphere. My mistake was in staying connected to the internet at all, and therefore I was not unaware of events at Ibrox.

I pondered long and hard on what I wanted to write as regards these latest developments. There are, after all, legal considerations to take into account.

As such, I decided what this particular article was going to be about pretty early on. Others will certainly follow it; I want to look at these matters from a variety of different angles, but before I get to those more important matters I need to go over some old ground.

The Sevco fans’ reaction to Whyte and Green being arrested is extraordinary for a number of reasons, not least amongst them is the sheer mental gymnastics it must take to blame those men for the annihilation of their football clubs.

Way back in July last year, I wrote a piece on this site called The Club That Debt Built where I hammered across the point that Whyte was not the guilty party here. He had his hands on the steering wheel when the car crashed, but that was only because the previous driver bailed out when he saw the brick wall approaching.

The banking crisis was the moment Rangers started the long slow slide into the abyss.

This site wasn’t around then, but I was writing for E-Tims and Cybertims on that very subject and Paul Brennan of CQN had been doing much the same thing, and for far longer. In fact, it’s probably not unfair to say he was the guy who saw this coming before anyone else.

My first major article on the subject, entitled The End of Rangers? was published in 2008, and Phil McGiollabhain wrote his seminal article The Fall of the House of Murray in 2009.

These pieces, which explored the consequences for Rangers should Murray no longer be able to support them, as well as Paul Brennan’s own extensive writing on the subject, were amongst the very first to paint a dire picture for the Rangers fans … and, of course, we were completely ignored.

Part of it was simply that too many people in Scotland were believers in the concept of Rangers as “too big to fail”, in the same way that Titanic was once too good a ship to sink.

That historical precedents existed for this collapse wasn’t deemed relevant; the vast, vast majority of their fans, and all of the hacks, simply refused to entertain the idea of it.

I’m not saying this to bang our drum. I’m saying it because it demonstrates, clearly, that four years before the tsunami engulfed them people were predicting just such a thing.

This didn’t come out of a clear blue sky, and it wasn’t the fault of the Motherwell Born Billionaire.

This was being driven by financial reality, and forces over which the Scottish media and the Rangers fans had no control.

In short, it was inevitable and the only thing that might have stopped it would have been if Whyte was the guy they all hoped he was.

We had no crystal ball. We were simply willing to look at things objectively.

When you stripped away emotion, nostalgia, when you looked at Rangers as not a football club but a business struggling with the realities of that time it was pretty clear what was coming.

Empires fall, as I said in another piece for this site, and if that can happen then it should have come as no surprise to anyone that a Scottish based football club could too.

This is one that overspent, that relied for years on sugar daddy wealth and the largesse of a bank, that resorted to diverting money from the taxman when it was no longer able to compete and which continued to spend more than it earned even after Lloyds tried applying the brakes.

It was never going to have a bright and shining future when the crash turned into a recession.

Whyte had certain plans for Rangers, but it’s not clear that they involved an administration event at first, although he knew that might be the one way they could get the HMRC “big tax case” out of their hair. I do believe he had fully intended to run the club on a “break even” basis until he could resolve that, but doing so relied on European income and a share issue.

He was to be robbed of the share plan because the European money was snatched away by the ineptitude of his manager.

I’ve long argued that what Rangers fan blame Whyte for – all they can blame him for – is not being as wealthy as the press had said he was. He is being judged not for something he actually did but for what he was unable to do; keeping them afloat with his own money.

Rangers’ fans had believed all the billionaire and war chest hype. They welcomed him with open arms because they accepted, without question, these ridiculous assertions, which Celtic fans were questioning from the first.

It was this continuing belief that he had “off the scale wealth” which blinded them to the very real danger of administration past the point where it had become impossible to ignore.

They maintained their belief in those fantasises – and some were defending Whyte fulsomely – until as late as January 2012, when the transfer window opened to wild anticipation about real money being spent on the team … in spite of all the information at their disposal.

By the time that window closed, a lot of expectations and assumptions had already smashed against the rocks of hard reality, and this is what makes their apparent, and genuine, shock about what happened just a month later all the harder to understand.

It’s not as if they weren’t warned that it was coming.

We gave them the early heads-up that this guy was a dodgy geezer without the funds to carry them forward.

The very people who stood outside the police station the other day, like a baying mob (more on that later in the week) were telling us then to piss off, accusing of us running scared.

They did the same thing when we told them not to believe a single word that came out of Charles Green’s mouth, and we’ve been repeating that mantra over and over as regards the string of broken promises already from Dave King.

They’re doing the same again.

They’ve learned nothing.

They’d rather live in ignorance than face facts, and especially from us.

No matter which way they dress this up, no matter how much they might want to point the finger at Whyte and Green and the spivs, the simple truth is that their club was brought down by decades of overspending and a collective inability to confront that, and act accordingly, when the banks stopped indulging their madness.

The Rangers they knew was built on credit, and brought down by debts.

They ought to have cut spending. They could have sold key players. The playing squad would have suffered, and they’d have had to accept a period when success wasn’t likely … but that would have been small beer compared to the years they’ve spent since, following a newco as it clawed its way up through the ranks of the Scottish game.

Above all else, their club would have survived. It would not have been comfortable – indeed, the scale of the cuts would have scared the Hell out of their fans – but they would not have suffered the catastrophic effects of liquidation.

There was no grand conspiracy here.

The truth they’re going to have to grasp is that there was no need for one.

All Celtic and others had to do was follow Napoleon’s old maxim about not interrupting an enemy whilst he was making a mistake, and wait for the walls to come tumbling down.

We didn’t need to intervene. We simply had to bide our time.

The same thing applies today.

I’m going to explore the full consequences of last week’s actions later this week, but one of those is that any new share issue proposal is dead already. Even if the stock market was willing to allow a company to trade shares which are the subject of a police inquiry, who in God’s name is going to buy them? The fans? They haven’t before … I see no evidence at all that they will carry the water for King when his own grandiose promises are still fresh in the mind.

The point is moot.

There are now so many obstacles in the way of the club being able to get a new share flotation that it’s simply the stuff of fantasy.

Without it, they’re going to have one Hell of a job getting through the season.

All the hopes riding on the shoulders of Mark Warburton are largely dependent on him getting a clear run at things, without worrying about off the field matters.

That now looks like a forlorn hope, as some of us suggested that it might be.

Oh there may not be a group of agitators on the side-lines this time (they are now in the boardroom), but there are enough issues bubbling away under the surface, including the immoveable Mike Ashley and his contracts, to provide us with entertainment far into the future.

In due course, even their most avid fans are going to have to come to terms with the simple truth that whether they believe in the Survival Myth or not that the party is over.

The club playing out of Ibrox is going to have to cut its cloth to suit, and that means that the days of big spending and top players are gone and gone for good and the best thing Dave King could have done for them is to have levelled with them about that instead of promising them moonbeams.

No club’s supporters have ever been in more need of honesty from their own board, the kind of honesty that hurts but in the same way cauterising a wound does.

These people cling to fantasy like a comfort blanket, and for their own good it ought to be snatched away from them.

Craig Whyte did not destroy Rangers.

Sevco was not brought to the brink by Charles Green.

Overspending destroyed the first, and the stupidity of the supporters was the key contributing factor in the success enjoyed by the Yorkshireman with the big hands.

I mean, the guy told them – he actually said it in straight, plain language – that those hands were for grabbing money … and they loved him because he played the old “Rangersitus” card.

To watch their fans in the news footage last week, howling at the door of a police station like vigilantes, was appalling.

Their self-absorption remains total, and it’s their defining characteristic.

They won’t like reading this, and I expect the usual howling at the moon from them as a result.

But that anger largely comes from their internal knowledge that if they’d listened to us in the first place this might have been avoided.

I fully understand why they struggle with this.

But on the surface, they refuse to acknowledge how they got here or accept that it was partly their own fault.

As a consequence, they are headed down the same road and they will not change course.

That’s why the next administration event is not a matter of if but when.

You can bank on it.

(Writing is my full time job friends and neighbours, and the support of my readers is vital. If you want to support it, 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.)

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An Open Letter To Adrian Durham

Ad angryAaaaah, Adrian ….

I really used to love TalkSport you know.

I remember Christmas 2002, when I was stuck in student digs over the holiday period with a new computer, Command & Conquer Generals and TalkSport.

Everyone else on my floor had gone home for a fortnight. I was there on my jack jones, but I enjoyed much of that time.

The show has gone downhill since then, with people like yourself trying to carve themselves out celebrity careers.

We had our own Shock Jock up here for a wee while – Scotty McClue he called himself, the on-air persona of a guy named Colin Lamont. The difference is that his IQ is off the scale and he’s got a real devotion to creative endeavours.

A lot of his stuff was said to make a point.

Not sure I can say the same about you.

You come across as a troll mate.

Indeed, The Guardian called you exactly that once upon a time, after one of your self-aggrandising rants.

Do you believe half of what you say?

Like when you said Italy didn’t deserve their four World Cups and that the Arsenal team that finished a league season unbeaten was over-rated?

Man oh man, those aren’t opinions as much as attention seeking squealing.

That’s just if you ask me, of course.

Everyone’s entitled to their view.

You probably know why I’m writing this, coming, as it does, from what’s percieved to be a Celtic blog.

This won’t be the first time you’ve sparked a response from Celtic fans; on this you are, at least, consistent.

You’ve been talking utter pish about this club for a long time.

You’ve also talked some amount of garbage about the one across the city, and that’s where you and I are going to have a wee falling out, I think.

Because as smart as you are – as you clearly are – you’re also institutionally stupid to be stepping into the minefield you just did, writing the arrant nonsense that is running in Britain’s Favourite Brand of Toilet Paper today.

The thing is, normally I wouldn’t care what you wrote or said or where you chose to say it, because it’s pretty clear many of your “views” are so ridiculous they can’t be more than ratings chasing guff, and that’s alright as far as it goes.

But it’s not something I particularly want to listen to, so I don’t.

As a consequence, I’m not phoning your show and giving it even one hit.

I’m not posting this where the article was run, doing your paymasters a service they don’t deserve for commissioning this crap.

I’m putting it here, where I’m sure it’ll find its way to you somehow … you can give me the hits, and let our guys post replies that don’t line your pocket.

I’m not out to make a name though, or create controversy.

I just want to set you, and the record, straight and tackle not only some of the more fanciful (i.e. ludicrous) parts of what you wrote … but to correct the more dangerous bits.

Oh yes, dangerous bits.

See, nothing better demonstrates how stupid this intervention was than the way in which it promotes certain myths that Scottish football is better off without.

There’s just no way I was letting you away with that.

Let’s start from the top shall we?

First, you’ve mentioned how “embarrassing” it was for us to crash out of the Champions League before the Groups.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who thinks that a guy who’s bread and butter job is commenting on the most over-hyped league in the world talking about European football embarrassment is a bit rich.

Two EPL clubs, for all that hype, for all that wealth, for all the spending, are already out of Europe altogether.

The ease with which the top clubs are routinely beaten by the Barcelona’s, Real Madrid’s and Bayern Munich’s of this world should shock you and be cause for taking stock. Instead, you’re writing about the SPL.

The record of the Premiership collective last season was horrific … just horrific when you consider the status of that league.

For all the dough sloshing around, for all the over-paid foreign players (oh yes, the one profession where all of England is united in embracing the immigrant) those clubs can field … they’re just not at the races.

We’re a Scottish club, with a Scottish club’s budget.

Where should we be aiming to get? Quarter finals? The semis? Please ….

That said, I won’t hide behind that.

We were well capable of beating Malmo and we should have done.

We’re a better team than Malmo.

But there are things going on at Celtic right now which few of us are qualified to properly understand, not being there on a daily basis.

Is it a problem with the manager and his tactics?

Maybe, yes.

Is it an issue with just not having the right type of players to fit into his system?

That could be it too.

But stop kidding yourself on that you can jolt us with your inspired realisation that we’re not a Champions League team right now.

Most of us sussed that out a while back.

I smiled reading those lines just the same, because in them you wistfully (sarcastically) looked back on our Champions League run of just three years ago, as many of us do.

You have rightly called it a memorable and wonderful night, but if you were there on that evening you must have been eating a whole cement mixer of humble pie (I’ve had to do it myself during the last few weeks) as Tony Watt put the ball in the back of the net.

Cause only a year before you’d said Neil Lennon was a failure.

Yeah … it’s those “expert opinions” that keep the punters coming back for more.

Your next assertion is completely facetious.

That somehow our decline as a club is due to the absence of a great domestic rival.

That’s one of the areas where I’m having trouble with your content, although you do get partial points for stating (at that point) what happened to that rival … “sunk into liquidation before resurfacing in the Third Division.”

(I hear that you actually changed the article to read that, having previously wrote that they had been “demoted.” Someone, it seems, has already been setting you straight on the facts.)

So liquidation, yes, but I’ll correct you on the “resurfacing” bit.

That still sort of suggests that it was the same entity which appeared overnight like a particularly virulent form of the runs.

It wasn’t.

Here in Scotland neutrals call them Sevco; the name under which the new club was formed.

If you’re going to wrie about this stuff it’s best to have your facts right.

You then describe our policy as being about “weakening the other Scottish sides” to assure our claim on the SPL title.

First up, what would it matter if we hadn’t?

What if we’d left Mackay Steven, Armstrong, Christie and others with their respective clubs?

Would they have suddenly attainted superpower status and pushed us all the way?

You said only one club was “capable” of doing that … and it wasn’t one from the north of Scotland or the East coast.

So, I’m a little baffled as to what you’re suggesting.

If these clubs were already much weaker than ours, it seems a bizarre strategy to spend our resources just to weaken them further.

Is that the business we’re in?

Playing schoolyard games?

Should big clubs no longer sign domestic based players?

Is it an embarrassment when clubs in your own league do the same thing?

Maybe you missed Chelsea’s summer pursuit of John Stones. Or the way Man City splashed out on Raheem Sterling from Liverpool. Or Manchester United going and getting Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. These signings make three of the top four stronger at the expense of other clubs in England. Do you think that was the over-riding factor in those deals?

Does that make the EPL an embarrasment?

Your point is sheer nonsense.

You then launch into a gushing praise of Sevco and their new manager.

Dear oh dear, what were you drinking when you wrote this?

You do realise that their great start to the season – the one the media up here is hyping like it’s Arsenal on their famous unbeaten run (the one you don’t rate) … was achieved by a team playing part-time players for the most part?

A team with a wage budget some 20 times bigger than any other side in the league?

Your praise of James Tavernier as a “sensationally good player” is hilarious as it only makes sense to those who’re unaware that he’s had eight clubs in four years and is plying in his trade now in a league which is even less prestigious, or likely to produce an European class team, than the one the first half of your article makes out to be a joke.

The Ibrox club is only doing this year what a club with those resources should have been doing from the start.

This is all very nice, as far it goes … but it doesn’t go very far.

You mentioned their “winning mentality”, which again I find kind of unusual in an article which is hypercritical of a perceived failure at Celtic Park.

Do you know what our record is this season?

In terms of matches played, and wins?

We’ve lost once … to Malmo.

We’ve drawn two fixtures, including one of our European ties.

We’ve won the rest.

Five wins in the league. Four in Europe, for nine in total, against full time teams, with resources and means.

But I guess there’s no “winning mentality” to be had in doing that.

That was where your article lurched from being slightly daft to be plain barmy.

It’s the next bit that prompted me to write this article.

“Celtic will face a Rangers side with momentum, angry and fired up for revenge for what that club and its fans have been through …”

First, let’s get this straight; what that club has “been through” is purely a consequence of stupidity.

That of its own supporters in believing a rogues gallery of people taking them for a ride – in spite of warnings from a whole lot of websites and blogs, including this one; check the archives if you think I’m kidding – and third rate hacks like you, writing baseless, fantasy-land nonsense about how the future was going to be glorious and bright.

Maybe I’ve read this wrong, but having started out with the truth about their liquidation you seem awfully close to embracing the paranoid “Victim Myth” that is so prevalent amongst their supporters, and which even now won’t let them enjoy the sunshine of the present day but has them thinking about crap like “revenge.”

Revenge for exactly what?

Your radio station seems awfully keen to embrace the nut-job reality presented it, and your listeners, by hacks like Keith Jackson, who I’ve heard on there pushing this nonsense like a drug.

Some of you ought to know better than to listen to a discredited joke like him, but clearly there’s something slipping past you, so I’ll fill you in.

If you think the standard of our football is bad up here, you ought to take a moment and check out the standard of the journalism. It makes you and the other contributors at The Mail like look Woodward and Bernstein.

It was this media, asleep at the wheel or too craven or in the pockets of the Ibrox club to speak out, who sold the fans on “Motherwell born billionaire” (a quote from Mr Jackson himself) Craig Whyte when he bought Rangers from then owner David Murray for £1.

A quid Adrian.

For “the second biggest Scottish institution after the church.”

(Murray’s own words that time, which no-one in our media even thought to argue with.)

Money that if you dropped it you wouldn’t even bother to bend down to pick it up again.

That club was so scandalously run and financially doped to the gills that it had, effectively, been cheating the rest of Scottish football for years, buying players it couldn’t afford due to the largesse of a bank that nearly collapsed entirely and is still the subject of one of the largest corporate fraud investigations ever launched in the UK.

Although their squad was made up of expensive footballers, in August 2011, shortly after you’d criticised Neil Lennon for failure (at a time, when our rival club was alive and well and we had the challenger you claim is necessary to give our success validity; in retrospect you just sound like a guy who doesn’t like Celtic very much) they were beaten twice in successive European competitions – ironically by Malmo first, and then by Maribor.

With no bank funding to bail them out, and no sugar daddy to take them forward, they collapsed because of their rampant debts and shortly thereafter they were gone.

No-one harassed them to the grave.

No-one was vindictive or punitive.

HMRC refused a CVA because of outstanding tax bills and a pending legal case (as is their stated policy, and which only came as a seismic shock to Rangers supporters because the media had spent months telling the fans that it wouldn’t happen) and when no-one came forward to take on the debts and assume responsibility for saving them liquidation followed.

As it had at Gretna, at Airdrie and at a host of other clubs around the world.

Sevco, which arose from the wreckage, a new entity entirely and which had to be granted a temporary SFA license to play its first game (unparalleled before or since) then made a cheeky effort to assume Rangers’ former place in the top flight, and for a while the authorities had been willing to go right along with that until supporters lobbied their clubs for fairness and sporting integrity to have its day.

In short, Sevco started life where all new clubs do – at the bottom – and even then the rules were actually bent in their favour as the whole club licensing and membership application process was turned upside down to get them into the league setup as fast as possible.

What the Victim Myth does is promotes an unhealthy concept, one of some great crime against Rangers and its fans.

It never happened.

I call it a myth because it has gained some kind of following, and people believe it.

But in point of fact, what we’re dealing with, what we’re really dealing with here, is a media and PR firm inspired lie, designed to give the new club some historical and psychological grounding with mug punters who would only buy season tickets if they believed they were following the same team.

We call that The Survival Myth and with The Victim Myth it makes a noxious combination which has the potential to do enormous harm to the Scottish game, above and beyond that which its governing bodies and the press actually did in 2012 when they tried to put Sevco in the top flight.

You know something about Lennon, I’d presume. You know what he went through up here.

You know there’s a lunatic element on the margins that thrives on this victimhood crap.

And you’re giving them legitimacy.

Will you take responsibility if they act on that?

I suspect not.

Like the hacks up here who do the same, I have a sneaky feeling that down deep you’re actually gutless.

You’re all too ready to stir the soup but you’d run – not walk – away from pot the second it started to bubble.

I expect this from the Scottish press, which has its own historical leanings and other reasons for wanting to push these ideas.

But from a journalist based down south, this reeks of laziness and bad research, that and listening to all the wrong people.

Some of us do know the limitations of the current Celtic side, and the running of the club, and we’ve been writing about it and not just in relation to one bad result.

Some of us know what actually went on at Ibrox, and were trying to warn our rival fans – yes, warn them, as odd as that might sound to you – about the people they and the hacks were embracing as saviours long before the wheels fell off for them.

Some of us do care about Scottish football, and see it as more than just a two club game and don’t particularly relish the prospect of seeing a duopoly again.

Furthermore, and I speak for a lot of fans here, I think that you and Jackson and the rest sound like arrogant arses when you blithely dismiss Aberdeen, Dundee Utd, Hearts and others from having any say in whether or not that will establish itself.

What you characterise as a “worthless” three years has seen St Johnstone and Inverness both win the Scottish Cup. It has seen St Mirren and Aberdeen triumph in the League Cup. Aberdeen and Motherwell had finished in the top three twice apiece, and St Johnstone and Inverness once each. Attendances have gone up at almost every top flight club.

Tell their supporters that the last three years have been “worthless.”

You really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

Finally, you’ve suggested that Celtic fans be somehow worried about the makeshift sides of Championship players and loanees which is currently beating part time teams in Scotland’s second tier.

Believe me when I say we’re not.

We’re more aware than you clearly are about the underlying flaws in the Ibrox superstructure.

Some of us have spent years looking into this.

We also know that Chairman Dave – Dodgy Dave King – doesn’t have the wealth to back up his grandiose claims, those on which you and others are basing this notion of them as a superpower.

Rangers was a club built on debt. That’s all.

Today banks and investors are much less tolerant of throwing good money after bad.

Why do you think my own club hasn’t come close to breaking its own transfer record – of £6 million – since we signed Chris Sutton fifteen years ago?  Whatever else I might say about them, our board has some appreciation for how insane it would be to chase unicorns, and without that kind of spending Sevco is going to find us awfully hard to catch,

Maybe you know all of this. Maybe your article is just click-bait.

Or maybe you really are as ill-informed and stupid as it appears to suggest.

Either way, the radio is probably the best place for you.

I would say stick to what you’re good at … although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remember just what that is.

(Writing is my full time job friends and neighbours, and the support of my readers is vital. If you want to support it, 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.)

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A Voice In The Wilderness

_46279870_jim_spence_512Scottish journalism is in a wretched state.

It doesn’t matter which particular aspect of it you are looking at; from politics to football it’s all the same. Awful, almost beyond belief.

Over the last couple of years, the circulation figures for the mainstream press have been in a nosedive the likes of which the industry has never seen.

I follow this through the research other people are doing on the matter, particularly Winning Captains over on CQN, who has been keeping a running score on this for as long as I’ve known him.

The year-by-year drop has been precipitous and looks irreversible.

This is due in no small part to us, of course, but it’s also due to the staggering lack of integrity amongst the hacks.

One of the few exceptions to that is Jim Spence, who’s leaving the BBC after 20 odd years at Radio Scotland.

That depresses me.

Before I get to Jim, I’m going to talk for a minute about the Internet Bampots, and this is partly relevent to Jim’s leaving and the way in which he will be rememberd by us all.

I hear and read a lot of nonsense written about bloggers and blogging.

For one thing, a lot of the hacks castigate us for being lazy with the facts and for not putting real time or effort into our musings.

They have a bastard cheek.

The average newspaper article, which these clowns labour to produce, averages about 500 words.

I can’t speak for others, but my own daily average, whether I’m doing blogs, magazine articles or writing fiction rarely falls below 6,000.

Our hacks would go into convulsions if they had to produce that.

They accuse us of making stuff up too.

I find that especially hilarious as a friend of mine, Colin Paterson, has just started his own blog because, as he put it recently, when you’ve spent your time tweeting fake, ridiculous headlines and people can no longer tell the difference between your spoofs and some of the stuff the hacks actually write then that particular game is up.

I often hear about how we don’t have to work with the pressures the mainstream press do, how we don’t have to get the facts right, how we can just write what we want without fear of the consequences.

This one always bugs me because it is so plainly cobblers.

Blogs and bloggers don’t operate in a parallel universe for God’s sake.

Our work is published, in public, where everyone can see it.

Many of them have faced legal threats.

Others have launched their own legal actions, like the one last year where Wings Over Scotland took on The Scotsman in court and sued them.

We are often accused of being cowards too, of hiding behind pseudonyms.

Which in some ways would be valid, except that any number of us, like Phil and myself, publish under our own names and Paul67 has appeared on TV and the radio so often no-one doesn’t know his full name is Paul Brennan.

Other people use pseudonyms because the alternative is often disgusting abuse and smears, like those which Angela Haggerty had to face after she appeared on a late night news show and committed the awful crime of telling the truth.

My own inbox overflows with bile and invective every other day.

Last year there was even a death threat in there, in contrast to most days where there are only threats of violence.

Don’t tell me the bloggers have it easy. It’s crap.

Don’t tell me we have some secret protection which the media doesn’t.

The difference between me and a hack like Jackson is that if something I write offends somebody enough to sue, I don’t have the legal resources of a national newspaper behind me.

We, who take this seriously, have to be more careful than the media, not less.

The reverence we bloggers have for those in the mainstream press who have crawled out on this limb with us is all the more real for those truths, and even here in Scotland there are many more of them than you might at first think.

Our political writers include real gems like Alex Massie, who is about as far to the right as it’s possible for a man to get without a skinhead but whose work is poetic, brilliant and incisive even when he’s absolutely wrong. On the left is the consistently marvellous Kevin McKenna, who I would read even if he was writing about bus timetables.

Oddly enough, in our sporting press the very best are the guys with no allegiances to Glasgow (although I have always admired Graham Spiers, even if you wouldn’t always know it to read this blog!).

They are guys like Stuart Cosgrove (a St Johnstone fan), Tam Cowan (who’s Motherwell credentials are real, and not put on garbage), Richard Gordon (an Aberdeen supporter) and, of course, Jim Spence himself, who’s love of Dundee United is undisguised and passionate.

Yeah, his leaving the BBC isn’t good news, either for the standard of journalism here or for those of us who like a little truth and fact of a Saturday afternoon.

Because Jim is one of the Good Guys, a man who told the truth even when it was inconvenient, at a time when a media who had been united in accepting that Rangers was gone forever were suddenly back peddling furiously, for reasons that have never fully been explained or explored, and denying the reality they themselves had spent months highlighting.

For telling it like it is, like Angela Haggerty and some of the bloggers who have been vilified and abused almost beyond belief, Jim suffered.

He even had to call in the police to deal with the situation.

Yet he never wavered, and why should he?

Rangers “the club that died” didn’t find life again just because the rest of the team at the BBC ludicrously failed to stand by their man, one mealy mouthed press release aside.

Indeed, it made the corporation look small, and weak.

It did our man no harm at all.

Jim Spence has been in the game for years, and his good sense and total lack of bias is one of many things that endeared him to so many of us.

To hear John Brown accuse him recently (in the aftermath of Sevco’s defeat at Motherwell) of being an accomplice to his own sacking, saying the journalist was motivated by anti-Dundee hate, was hilarious because it was so obviously barking mad.

You could almost hear Brown dribbling on his own foaming mouth as he was levelling the charge.

Scottish football can’t afford to lose guys like Jim Spence, those who talk straight, who don’t try to be sensationalists, who aren’t out to bolster their own egos or carve out careers.

His departure will leave a gaping hole that I can’t imagine many of the next generation being able to fill.

He, as much as anyone at the BBC, loved the game itself and he knew his profession owed it more than weasel words or sitting on the fence when the gravest crisis in its history was still reverberating through the air of our stadiums.

Which is why he broke ranks in 2013.

The BBC announced that it was standing by him in the face of the threats, and the BBC Trust “cleared him” after a ridiculous Sevco fan inspired investigation, but the truth is that his colleagues, by and large left him twisting in the wind.

His was a lone voice in the wilderness, even as the abuse piled up.

Not one of them pointed out that all he’d done was state a fact.

None took to the airwaves to call out the cowards and gutter rats who had abused him.

What makes it especially cowardly is that any number of them know this as well as he does.

That it’s an open secret in newsrooms across the country that what they are pushing is a pure and simple fiction – what we here call The Survival Myth – for which they claim an altruistic motive; “marketing Scottish football.”

Aaaah … the greatest lies are those we tell ourselves, eah?

I have not always agreed with Jim Spence, but then I wouldn’t expect to.

When he’s been critical of Celtic I’ve not always liked it.

But then I wouldn’t want to.

If I wanted biased coverage of my club I would watch its own media channel CelticTV which really can produce the most sycophantic nonsense at times.

When I wanted analysis and opinion, Jim Spence was one of the few I trusted to give it.

He brought balance and common sense to shows and debates which had little or none.

To sit, week in week out, whilst Chick Young, a “St Mirren fan” who could barely remember the team line up from one game to the next, defended, often without even the hint of rationale, whoever was running things at Ibrox on any particular day must have been frustrating to say the very least.

To have anchored alongside Jim Traynor, an arrogant preening halfwit, who’s one shining moment was dissecting Gordon Smith on air when he was defending Rangers fans sectarian singing … well that must have made him nauseous.

For that, alone, he deserves the BBC equivalent of a meritorious service medal.

But the reason, as much as any other, why I’ll always love Jim Spence is that he got, early doors, what we’re trying to do here in the blogosphere.

He was promoting our efforts when people like Traynor were sneering at us as an irrelevance.

(Presumably before his famous dummy-spitting resignation article where he blamed us for everything except smallpox.)

Jim understood, and he still understands, what we are all about.

He gets that we labour away on these things, that we take risks publishing them, that we often suffer for it.

He knows exactly what motivates our searching articles and our probing questions.

Indeed, he spoke up for the bloggers on many occasions, and he picked out articles and asked some of the questions we had been trying to get into the public conversation.

With that in mind, I’ve always thought he must have felt the same disdain for many of his colleagues that we did, but he was a professional and never made that public although he often called them out when they were talking obvious nonsense.

He was, and still is, a reader and promoter (in his own quiet way) of much of what we are up to.

It would not terribly surprise me if, in the future, he agreed to appear on podcasts and chipped in with the occasional piece of commentary for some of the blogs.

If he does, his contributions will be as welcome as they’ve always been.

This blog has given the media a kicking over the last three years, and every single bit of it is richly deserved.

Myself and others follow the sporting press here in Scotland almost obsessively, and we write critically (often scathingly) of those who dine on the finest succulent lamb and are happy to get in line for the Kool Aid stand.

Few of them have escaped our acid pens.

Jim Spence is one of the few.

Because he is honest and forthright and decent and was never anything less than impartial and at the top of his game.

I can think of no greater compliment to pay him than this:

He told it like it is.

In an age when few in his profession still remember the fundamentals, he never wavered from that at all.

Thank you for your service Jim.

You will be missed.

Good luck with your next endeavours.

(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.)

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A Moment Of Clarity?

Neil-DoncasterWell, the New Year has barely begun and already Neil Doncaster is demonstrating to the world his total ineptitude and unsuitability for the job he holds.

Today, completely unprompted, he gave an interview to the BBC Sports hack Chris McLaughlin, where he flat out said that Sevco and Rangers are the same club. Although McLaughlin asked him to repeat the assertion, to get it properly on the record, he did not challenge Doncaster on it.

As it stands then, it is now the official position of the SPFL to support the Survival Myth, in spite of the numerous contradictions inherent within it and regardless of the reputational damage it does to our league competitions, and the sport as a whole.

Already the statements are being condemned on websites such as Video Celts. The CQN Facebook page is asking for an official statement from Celtic, and even the politics blog Wings Over Scotland has jumped into the debate.

Stuart Campbell has chosen to focus on McLaughlin’s failure to tackle what is a blatant lie, and to echo sentiments I have on this site and others before; that the way in which the media bows to power, and helps to maintain cushy relationships, including those which are harmful, even dangerous, is absolutely scandalous. He is right to do so, and his article lays out a cogent argument against Doncaster’s nonsense.

I, of course, want to concentrate on the footballing aspect of it.

Doncaster spoke today in his role as the head of the SPFL and so this goes way beyond McLaughlin’s failure to highlight the contradictions in what he has said. If those remarks are not disavowed, then the game in this country is now unmistakably run by men who have no problem with corruption being allowed to flourish.

Doncaster’s comments go much further than merely getting his facts wrong. Today he has legitimised debt dumping and fraud, and because his role is that of the figurehead for all the member clubs he has spoken for them and tied them to this statement, which is precisely why the CQN Facebook moderators are so concerned. And they are right to be.

For the part three years, this matter has been the subject of much discussion and debate, but the governing bodies have resisted comment, and this has been a deliberate policy and one that has allowed the issue to go unresolved, at least officially.

The people running our governing bodies are weak, and they were too afraid of the Ibrox club and its reach. They believed their own nonsense about Rangers being “too big to fail”.

They decided that the supporters of that club would never accept the truth, although there was a point when every sports writer in Scotland, and even people within the club itself, were stating, for the record, that if the club failed to gain a CVA that liquidation would mean the end.

Every decision that was taken in the aftermath of that, from the members making them start from the bottom, to the decision to place Sevco in preliminary rounds in the cup competitions instead of seeding them as should have been the case (seeding is based on the prior year’s league position, not on the current one), as well as UEFA’s three year ban, not to mention giving oldco Rangers a vote on which league the newco played in– it all pointed to the clear truth, that the club which plays out of Ibrox is a different entity to that which did before.

The whole notion that football clubs “cannot die” has been disproved again and again and again, from Ireland to the former Eastern Bloc countries.

It is a nonsense, and it insults the intelligence of fans to pretend otherwise. Ask Gretna supporters how they feel about it. Ask the fans of Hearts, who fought like tigers to prevent their own club sliding into the abyss. Why did they bother?

Doncaster has gone on the record and made a highly contentious set of statements today, which are legally dicey and procedurally nonsensical, and he has stated that these are the official positions of the organisations he represents. If that’s the case then the clubs should have no problem standing behind them when supporters start emailing to ask, right?

I’d like to see the official minutes where this issue was discussed and the vote on it was taken.

When did it become fact that clubs are separate from the companies that own them?

If it’s true, how was it legal for virtually every member of the Rangers first team squad to leave their contracts and go and play somewhere else?

Where is the piece of paper, where is the agreement from the clubs he is there to represent, on which he is basing these spurious, contemptible claims?

Was it passed with a big majority? A small one? Was legal opinion sought?

Doncaster is saying that football clubs in Scotland are immune from paying what they owe. He’s saying they can run up huge debts, liquidate and start again. This isn’t a small matter. This is fundamental to the way our sport is run, and on what basis clubs exist.

He is not mandated to take a decision like that on his own … so I repeat, if he is not simply giving his own opinion – and one would think doing so in this way is a sacking offence – then when did this become fact?

The decision to make Sevco start in the lower leagues is solely based on them being a new football club, one which starts at the bottom because that’s how it has to be. Without that, there was no legal basis for what happened to them.

Is that what he’s claiming? That what the SPL and then the SFL did was illegal?

Because that, too, is surely a sacking offence unless he’s clarified it with the clubs.

It also feeds into the Victim Myth, which, as we all know, is one of the most divisive and pervasive, dangerous falsehoods currently running riot in the game. He is legitmising the views of the lunatic fringe of the Rangers support who claim the rest of Scottish football acted out of spite and hate. Does he have any idea what that does to the image of our game? Does he care?

Doncaster says that the issue was “put to bed” by the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission, which itself is completely discredited in the way it arrived at its decisions, and ought to be the subject of a review and possible re-sit based on the evidence the guys on The Scottish Football Monitor, in particular Auldheid, uncovered, and which I summarised on this site in the article Justice Undone.

Yet even if the Lord Nimmo Smith commissions were still regarded as credible by the vast majority of football fans, Doncaster has actually misrepresented its stated position, and I am sure he’s done so quite wilfully.

Page 32 of the Smith Commission report makes it quite clear where they stand.

“We see no room or need for separate findings of breaches by Rangers FC, which was not a separate legal entity and was then part (although clearly in football and financial terms the key part) of the undertaking of Oldco.”

Doncaster is not only stating, as fact, a change in policy he is not authorised to make but he is doing so hiding behind a report who’s words he has twisted into the very opposite of what they say.

Are we really going to stand for this?

Are we really going to let this stay on the record, as the “official position” of one of the governing bodies of our game?

The clubs make up the membership of that body, and the fans are the lifeblood of the clubs. We are entitled to answers on this issue and I would hope that every supporter in Scotland is writing to his or her club in order to get them.

Today’s interview was an attempt to justify the catastrophic failures of governance in our top flight, which had led to the leagues not having a sponsor. It’s been over a year since the SPFL was founded, and to have not gotten the job done in that time is disgraceful.

What exactly are the clubs waiting for before they convene a meeting and chase this guy? Only in Scottish football could we continue to put up with rank incompetence on this level, allowing a halfwit like this to make such statements unchallenged on a day when he should be getting raked over the coals for the magnitude of his own mistakes.

McLaughlin even gave him an out, seeking to put the blame for Doncaster’s failures on the “uncertainty at Rangers”.

I might accuse the Sevco board of many things, but I will not accuse them of that. Our leagues do not have a sponsor because no-one will negotiate terms with a man who is on the record as having said the product he’s selling is worthless.

When is the media going to get off the fence when it comes to this guy and Regan and call them what they are?

In order to do it, of course, the media would have to come to terms with its own failings.

At one point in the interview Doncaster said “”It’s vital for everyone within the game – clubs, the league, the association, the media – to help talk the game up as best we can.”

I laughed listening to that, at the sheer brass neck of it, and it’s even more amazing to me that McLaughlin didn’t see the irony in his own question, the kind of question that perpetuates the falsehood that the prosperity of the game here is dependent on a club calling itself Rangers.

We are three years down the line, and the success stories we’re seeing everywhere in our sport have happened with the Ibrox NewCo in free-fall. The one club that has been affected – Celtic – is still posting record profits, albeit suffering slightly on the park.

It’s time this ridiculous and dangerous notion was put to bed once and for all.

There’s one other thing that bothers me about these statements today and it’s this; if you watched the interview or read the transcript it is quite clear that Doncaster was not asked a direct question on the issue of the NewCo-OldCo debate. He very deliberately steered the discussion in that direction himself, with no prompting at all.

I find that extremely suspicious, and I worry about why he did that.

It looks to me as if Doncaster has been tipped the wink about what is coming next at Ibrox. Is he laying the tracks for Sevco II? I would urge everyone reading this article to think very carefully about that, and to consider what it might mean.

If Doncaster is right, and the position of the SPFL is that clubs do not die, then there is no legal basis on which a liquidated team which started up again could be denied its place in the league … which is what brought us to the edge the last time.

There is nothing in the rule book covering this. I cannot articulate that enough.

It is at the “discretion of the SPFL Board” what to do with a phoenix club now; the decision will not be left to the members. Despite lengthy debates on what to do with clubs which enter administration, and despite a very clear need to actually put down in writing what will happen to phoenix clubs, the governing bodies has dithered and nothing has been set in stone.

I wrote at some length in a previous piece about how the SPFL and the SFA had automatic relegation for clubs in administration voted down … and this is an even bigger issue than that. That piece was a warning against complaceny, and yet here we are, sleepwalking into it, and having the people who failed us last time dictating the terms of the debate.

Neil Doncaster’s comments today have started 2015 by lobbing a hand grenade into the room. He either doesn’t realise that – in which case he’s too incompetent to stay – or he knew exactly what he was doing and there’s an agenda being pursued.

Either way, how much longer are our clubs going to put up with it?

Or to ask a different question … is he, after all, speaking for them too?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(This site depends on you. You can help us out by making a donation at the PayPal link at the top or the bottom of your page, depending on which device you are using. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart friends, and I hope you all had a Happy New Year.)

The Coming Decision

stewart-regan_2277088bScottish football is approaching yet another crossroads.

You can already tell that’s it going to be even more contentious than the last one.

You cannot have watched Sevco recently and not realise they are floundering on the pitch as much as they are off it. How bad are things in both theatres?

One word. Alloa. The performance was shambolic, but more shambolic by far is the unseemly scrambling that’s gone on in the aftermath.

The fact McCoist has not already paid for that debacle with his job is revealing, for it’s hard to believe any other manager in this country would have survived being nine points behind in the league as well as a reversal like that.

So a complete mess, on all fronts, as you’re all doubtless aware.

The board is at war with the fans. They want rid of the manager, but have no money to sack him. He knows he’s not wanted by either the supporters or his bosses, and he knows he’s in over his head.

He also knows the longer he stays the more his reputation swirls down the drain. But he’s arrogant and selfish, and he likes the money and knows there’ll be nothing like it again.

They’re all stuck with each other, and as the ship heads towards the rocks we’re going to see all aboard begin to gouge one another’s eyes out.

None of that is the story. Oh I’ll cover every blood stained detail of it, but it won’t be the really important thing. The really important part will be the campaign to save them, in which the media will play its role, and in which the governing bodies will do their bit.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, because the campaign is already getting geared up. You can see it in the growing number of articles which remind us “how much our game needs them”. You can hear it in Hugh Keevins’ voice when he utters nonsense like “Scottish football cannot afford for them not to be in the SPL.”

Mark my words, the last time we were facing this issue, well it was cake compared to how tough this one will be. When this happened before, Rangers was already dead. Sevco had been born, and was already pretending to be the same club.

When the vote had to be taken, it was about where the club would play. If the roof collapses completely this time, the actual existence of a club calling itself Rangers may depend on how it goes … or so they’ll tell us anyway.

If they do, it will be a lie. But I still expect them to chance their arm.

The vote, of course, will be on what we can do to help save Sevco and, as they will not tire of telling us, how in doing it we can save ourselves.

It could come down to league reconstruction. It might be a vote to let the next NewCo stay put in the Championship, instead of starting from the bottom. It might be amnesty. It might letting them go straight to the SPL by right. Anything is possible in the game here.

What I know – what we all know – is that it’s coming.

The first moves have already been made.

For starters, did you know that it’s the SPFL board who will decide whether a second NewCo starts at the bottom or not? Do you realise that? That they got so spooked last time that they actually changed the rules, and took this decision out of the hands of the clubs? There’s no way in Hell they are putting their trust in the members this time.

If we’re not watching, and putting the pressure on, this matter will be decided in a stinking backroom deal that will reek the house out.

We better have our arguments lined up in advance, because they’ve already got theirs in play. The first is the Victim Myth, the notion that the club itself did nothing wrong, that it has been used and abused by Bad People, that all its wealth has been looted.

Let’s try, for a wee second, to imagine the world these people live in where they think you can separate the club from the people who run it.

It’s a little like trying to separate the club from the business that runs it, but let’s not forget that they think they have actually done that successfully.

It makes your head hurt, doesn’t it?

It confuses you no less than when you consider that this is precisely the system the SFA allows. They make the clubs responsible for proper disclosure, with the understanding that if they are caught lying or bucking the system that they’ll get punished.

The punishments are pitiful. They didn’t even accept a motion that clubs who go into administration face automatic relegation. The one measure that would actually have done some good, have made some impact, have given clubs an incentive to get their act together … and it was voted down. And what excuse did they offer?

It would be too complicated to enforce it. No joke, that’s what they said.

What happens, they asked, when a club has already been promoted? Does it get relegated instead? What happens when a club has already been relegated? Do we relegate them twice?

These are the two allegedly complex questions which buried automatic relegation, the only effective punishment on the table.

Am I the only one who thinks they both speak for themselves? A club that enters administration after winning promotion doesn’t win promotion. A club that’s already been relegated and then goes into administration … well, that club has serious problems and they’re probably not going to get out of them any time soon. A transfer embargo and a points deduction for the following season will do just fine.

There you go. Easy. But apparently too difficult for the governing bodies.

This rule change was voted down at a point where only one club looked in imminent danger of running into the brick wall. We know who that club is. They are still the only club rolling towards that particular disaster.

I absolutely believe the people who took this decision had one eye on Sevco’s dire financial situation, and so we’ve already seen one major decision on imposing financial sanity on our game fumbled because of how it will affect that club.

Be under no illusions; if they believe a deal can be stitched up they’ll try it, and they won’t care what the fans think because they won’t give us a chance to put our views out there.

They would turn Scottish football into a rigged game, and we know that because they would have done it the last time. They have no shame about it.

What’s worse is they still believe that was the right decision, and to top it off they are perfectly willing to point to their own commercial failures, their own rank incompetence – like being unable to find sponsors for our major tournaments – as proof that they were correct.

Amazing, isn’t it? Barry Hearn’s feet hadn’t even crossed the Hampden threshold to the outside world the other day but the spin had started. The product was impossible to sell without Sevco in the top flight. That was the excuse.

None of our hacks thought to ask if the product became impossible to sell the second they, and the governing bodies, got together in an orgy of self-destructive briefing two years ago, to tell the whole world that our game was worthless without the Ibrox monstrosity in it.

They are the ones who spent an entire summer telling the world – with a megaphone – that Scottish football is no more than a two team game, without which it’s a backwater.

Heads should have rolled. Barry Hearn was right on that one. None did, and so the very same people who lacked the imagination, and the balls, to act appropriately then are still in office today, and they see the vindication of their own idiocy in their continuing failures since.

Only Scottish football would tolerate this. We aren’t a backwater, but by God do we act like it sometimes because somewhere a whole region of villages are missing their idiots, and we have the media and the football associations to prove it.

So we have the commercial damage that has already been wrought on the SPFL as a business. We have the Ibrox fans and the Victim Myth. Tied to this we have this notion of trying to separate what the board does from the club it governs.

We have no actual rule on relegation after administration, so no worries there, and we have left it up to the SPFL board to decide what to do with a NewCo. Add to this the complication (one the SFA most assuredly brought on themselves) regarding Ashley and we have one almighty mess.

Let me give you the outlines of what a god-forsaken shambles this is, and why the stakes are so high for the people at Ibrox.

Imagine the Good Ship Sevco goes down. Imagine for a moment Ashley says “no more funding this mess in its current form. Let it crash.”

Now, Ashley can’t take over the club. He’s out. Because if he does he first has to get rid of a club that plays in the EPL and makes him tens of millions, and gives him the global audience he won’t get at Ibrox if he runs the club for 100 years.

If he wanted to take over – a big if, he’s not an idiot – the SFA would simply have to turn him down because of dual ownership rules.

Or they could acquiese. Hell, why not? Why not start work on creating the next big confrontation, the next big crisis, right from the start?

Because, of course, the “change in the corporate structure” would assure that, as far as UEFA was concerned, Rangers Version III would be banned from Europe for a further three years anyway … so no problems with Newcastle there, but at the same time, there goes the business plan.

Dave King would be unable to come in, not that he’s shown any real willingness to anyway. The SFA regulations are clear, and he’s in violation of at least two of them. He can’t be a director after one incarnation of the club has already detonated on his watch, and he can’t be a director because he has a criminal conviction – for fraud nonetheless – on his record in the last ten years.

The same clause will bar all the current directors. And everyone who served on the old Rangers board. So none of them will be involved with the new company either.

Apart from the fact that there should be mass resignations at the SFA and the SPFL, after letting two clubs out of the same stadium go down in three years despite a mountain of publicly available information that could have prevented it (as could the application of the goddamned rules as they are written down), there would be no way around making sure that whoever bought the assets for the next adventure had a rock solid business plan based on spending matching earnings.

So bang goes Walter and any of the other “Rangers men” who think the answer is to come in and spend money (other people’s money) chasing dreams. They should be told to go away, lie down in a cold, dark room and come back when they are making sense.

So once you’ve removed from the list of prospective owners all those who had a hand in this disaster and everyone who wants to run it based on the Walter Smith Big Book of Football Business, once your governing bodies have decided, at the third time of asking (hey! Maybe a little late, but welcome to the party) to do actual due diligence instead of leaving it up to crooks to reveal what they are to your oversight board, what’s left?

Well, sadly, for the supporters of the club that would have just died, for the SFA governors and especially for the media, that leaves only business people. Real business people. The kind who see the club as an enterprise from which they can make money, if it’s run right.

Provided these people can be found – and don’t count on it – what does that mean?

That means a low cost base. That means putting trophies and success on the pitch aside for a while, until the balance sheet can justify an increase in the football budget. During the first three years there will be no European football, whether the club is in the SPL or not, so you can forget any kind of proper funds being available for the manager to spend.

Forget banks doing business with them. Pretending to be a continuation of a continuation makes them the dodgiest bet of all dodgy bets for people who lend money. HMRC would be perfectly entitled to worry too, and they’d be justified in asking them for advances on taxes, as they often do with phoenix companies.

As for going to the City for investment later on; forget it. That well is poisoned now and forevermore for football clubs hailing from this fair land, so whoever was running this ship of fools would need to be clear that only direct income would be available for living the dream.

Unless Sevco can find cash in the mattress, or Mike Ashley decides, for the first time in his life, to throw good money after bad, then the chances of all this coming to pass are about 75-25, which is a higher probability that I would have assigned to Craig Whyte’s actions leading to the liquidation last time.

This is not a club heading for administration, a short-sharp-shock and then the out the other side. This is a company that’s going to the wall. It has no leadership, no business plan, expenses through the roof and no visible means of raising money.

Administration itself would come with a 25 point penalty (how’s that for “this is the same club” lads and lassies?), which condemns the club to at least another year in the second tier, and would surely see their squad stripped to the point where a challenge next season is improbable at best.

In short; they are almost certainly screwed.

Once you accept that – and you pretty much have to – you need to start thinking about what comes next and what the governing bodies might do to prevent it.

The clock is ticking, and the other side already has its arguments lined up in a row.

In my view, it’s time we started to do the same.

The lobbying of clubs has to start at once. Celtic is already on the record as being opposed to the restructuring of the leagues, and that is a welcome announcement, but as this article shows is not the only issue here.

NewCo II or Rangers III or whatever else it’s being called must not be allowed to take the place of Sevco in the league.

The relegation regulation was not voted through … but in the end we’re not talking about a relegation anyway. We’re talking, again, about a brand new club, and that’s too big a decision to be left to the SPFL board, with commercial interests coming first.

None of us wants to spend another summer on this. We didn’t want it last time. Yet, the grotesque mismanagement of our game, and the reckless, uncontrolled behaviour of the Ibrox club, has brought us here once more.

Despite the Armageddon prophesies, and the catastrophic talking down of our sport, with all the commercial consequences that came with it, the game here has survived and some of our clubs are thriving as never before.

Financial Fair Play regulations are said to be on their way.

Sanity is being restored, slowly but surely.

The wrong decision here will not only undo everything good, but it will obliterate trust between fans, their clubs, the governing bodies … the whole bit.

Scottish football would not survive that, and I simply do not trust these people to do it right.

The future of our sport is, once again, in the hands of the fans.

Get ready for this. It’s coming.

The Ones To Blame

2643054111I’m getting this one in before the full-scale re-write of history.

I am getting this one in because it has to be done.

I am getting this one in because already the revisionists have started to sharpen their pencils, and I can’t bear their baloney for even two seconds.

With the first arrests now being made, Sevco fans, people inside the club and sections of the media are already starting to wail.

The Victim Myth has grown wings, and is flapping around like a drunken seagull, knocking plates off the walls.

I am already sick of it.

Let’s get something straight; the destruction of Rangers Football Club started in one place, and one place only. It started at Ibrox.

The architects of it were not a bunch of spivs, people with no connection to, or love for, the club. They were the “Rangers men” the fans never seem to want to blame.

What happened there was not caused by greedy bankers, or unreasonable people at HMRC. It was not the result of bad luck or the act of bad people. The destiny of Rangers was written long ago, in the way the destiny of our planet is.

Somewhere, out there, in the deep reaches of space, one object hit another thousands of years ago, and put it on a collision course with Earth. So too it was with Rangers; there was a moment in their history when rationality deserted them – I like to think it was around the time Fergus opened the North Stand – and from there on it was only going to end one way.

No-one outside Ibrox caused what happened to them. It started inside the walls.

I feel the need to repeat that, to make sure it’s sinking in. I wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea.

Oh sure, for a long time Bank of Scotland poured money into them like a drunk being sick in a gutter, but it was never going to last.

2008 changed all that, when Murray International submitted a set of accounts that made even Gavin Masteron’s eyeballs bleed. There Murray and the bank were, sitting on a pile of worthless steel reserves and real estate which was plummeting in value.

The knighted Sir, honoured for “services to Scottish business” but who, actually, had spent his career multiplying his “wealth” by taking on larger and larger amounts of debt suddenly found he couldn’t borrow another penny, and so the long era of him carrying Rangers came to an end.

The club that had, for years, lived off the flabby tit of Masterton and the succulent lamb of Murray was suddenly forced to live within its means.

They had racked up tens of millions in debts before, but that was alright because someone else was picking up the cheque. Now, like a mob wife whose husband is in the slop shop, and whose crew is no longer prepared to pay down the Amex bill, they were on their own and when those debts started to pile up again, with new bank managers on the case, it all came tumbling down.

Lloyds were not prepared to finance either fantasies of Champions League finals or Walter’s slow walk towards his own peerage.

The Bank That Likes To Say Yes were not only saying No, they were asking “Where the Hell is our money?”

Some people have spent the last couple of years blaming Lloyds for everything that’s gone wrong at Ibrox, as if they’ve yet to discover that what banks do is they give you money on the condition that you pay them it back, and with interest.

As shocking, and as revolutionary, as this idea had to be for them, there was an even bigger shock just around the corner.

See, we live in a country where each person and business also pays tax. Taxes are not, as these people appear to believe, a voluntary thing. You pay them, or you pay the consequences.

What’s more, taxes are, as Oliver Wendell Holmes described, “the price of civilisation.”

We pay them because that money makes society better; it builds hospitals and schools. It pays for firemen and police officers, and the body armour our soldiers wear when they go off to combat zones. To refuse to pay your share is to dodge your social and moral responsibilities.

The people who’ve spent the last two years telling us that HMRC are to blame for all this, that they were engaged in some kind of anti-Rangers conspiracy, are insulting the millions of us who do positively contribute and believe that public services are more important than overpaying footballers to bring fleeting glory to the denizens of The Louden Tavern.

Those who think that our revulsion at the idea of Sevco Rangers taking on our well-run and socially responsible football club at Hampden in January comes from jealousy because they are “still alive” have a warped view of the world.

The truth is, it repels us to see them strutting, arrogantly, in the blue uniform of a company that racked up tens of millions in debts and then bailed on them, and is well on the road to having to do so again.

They just don’t get it, do they? Listen to them now, wailing because there’s no sugar daddy on the horizon, bitching about what Mike Ashley might take out of their precious Newco, and what others already have.

Why don’t they see the truth of what’s happened here?

That when it comes to directors recompense, and those “erroneous contracts” no laws have been broken, that things are working precisely as they’re meant to work.

What is it they say? The man who pays the piper calls the tune.

See, somewhere along the line they’ve missed the point … this is what happens in business, you imbeciles.

The man who puts something in is entitled to get something for it. All these years they talked about people “investing” in their club, what a great asset they were, how that “worldwide support” was worth millions to someone with the brains to see it … well Hell, friends, stop your whining. You were right! A whole slew of people saw it a mile away!

For years now they’ve screamed about a billionaire investing in them … and now one has! Mike Ashley has come along and found a way to make money from those who have Rangersitus. This is what they’ve been dreaming of. It’s what they’ve been hoping for.

But it always helps if those doing the praying actually understand what they’re wishing for … there’s nothing quite so demoralising as realising the crap your holding in your hand is exactly what you ordered on EBay, and that it’s precisely as described …

Or, as Oscar Wilde more eloquently put it; “When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”

So the businessman owner who built nothing but debts has been replaced by … actual, honest to God businessmen.

We have the bankers who behaved as if they were running a casino, and giving their mates unlimited house markers replaced by those who actually understand the concept of banking which is to, you know, make money …

And we have governing authorities actually behaving like they understand their own duties and wider responsibilities, as opposed to those like we have here in football, who ignore them or bend the rules to suit.

I understand why all of this looks slightly off-kilter to those who were used to a different way of doing things, and you don’t have to look too hard to see that the ego and arrogance that fueled the last bubble and burst is still going strong, and inflating the next one.

You know, in the criminal justice system – which is where a lot of the principals of this little chain of events are going to end up – the concept of rehabilitation grew out of the idea that when people make mistakes they should be able to get past them, once they’ve paid a penalty and shown remorse. Sevco fans have never shown remorse, and they’re not about to start now.

They really do believe they are the victims here, that their club was destroyed by Craig Whyte, when all he did was steer a car without brakes towards the inevitable wall.

This club was a basket case long before he pulled up to the kerb with his shiny pound coin and handed it to Murray who took it like a beggar in Argyle Street, shaking the Styrofoam cup.

What’s gone wrong at Ibrox in the last three years is that they learned no lessons from the last ten.

The notion of running their club on a break-even basis has never entered their darkest dreams and the concept of accepting limitations is not even broached, no matter how bad things might get.

Had they come to even the simplest realisation about how they got here they might yet have been able to save themselves from the fate that awaits them … but “we are Rangers, and we will behave like Rangers” is their mantra and to me it sounds like the rattling of bars in the insane asylum and the Peepil who log onto the Daily Record website every day, hoping for transfer rumours, are as divorced from reality as those who formed the lines for the Kool Aid in Jonestown.

Over the next few weeks, as the handcuffs tighten round wrists and the noose tightens round the whole club, we’re going to hear plenty of people squealing in perfect sync, in a key which demands sympathy and understanding.

Real understanding starts within, with honest to God self-analysis.

Rangers were like a Wall Street trader out of his mind on Quaalude’s who blew off his own balls with a Glock 9mm he bought from his drug dealer.

Now, instead of checking into rehab and sorting their shit out, they, and the media, with no interest in seeing them take personal responsibility, are blaming the culture that prompted that lifestyle, the people who sold them the drugs and the manufacturer who made the gun.

Anything not to look in the mirror. Anything to avoid their own share of the blame.

The supporters will say that they are the real victims in all this, but how dare they when they lived off the fat of the land, when they reveled in the obvious insanity, when they cheered on the lunatics who were running the asylum.

They are like a circus audience who watches the Fat Man having a heart attack and then bemoans his exploitation in the first place.

Yes, but only after they paid for their tickets and settled in to enjoy the show.

Forgive me if I cannot feel sympathy or compassion or understanding for people who promote the Survival Myth without accepting the financial obligations that it would entail.

Forgive me if I cannot make myself feel sad for the people who gloated over having “zero debt” like they’d simply pushed Ibrox through a car wash and come out clean on the other side.

For years their club lived like it was on steroids, doped up to the gills.

They watched it, they supported it, they made no demands on their board to change course.

Then the overdose came, and they went down like a punch-bag with the rope cut.

Who’s fault was that?

They wanted big money spent, in pursuit of unrealizable goals, and they got what they wished for.

When the banks tried to impose sanity, they opposed it and they protested and threatened and wailed and kicked and screamed until Lloyds were so keen to get out they forced Murray’s hand to take the first offer that came along.

Whose fault was that?

They wanted the bank gone, and they got what they wished for.

When Murray made it clear that he would no longer be writing them cheques they shrieked their anger from the rooftops as if the preceding years of plenty had never happened at all. They bitched and complained and pressurized him until he too was dying to leave it all behind, and when Whyte came along he dumped the whole thing in his lap.

Whose fault was that?

They wanted Murray out, and they got what they wished for.

When Whyte grabbed the club, they believed every lie the press told them.

They believed every PR release and every bit of propaganda.

Not their fault, in a sense, except that a different picture was emerging away from the mainstream, a truer picture, a more complete portrait of the man who had taken over.

When the Celtic bloggers offered them the facts on Whyte they refused even to look at them, out of nothing more than hate for those holding the information.

When the BBC launched their own investigation, and dug into his dodgy background, they had their chance to act, and perhaps remove him before things went too far.

Instead, they geared up behind the lunatics who wanted protests and campaigns and they made the national broadcaster their enemy, instead of focusing on the enemy within.

They didn’t want the truth. They preferred the lie. Then they accused the world of standing by and doing nothing whilst their club was destroyed from within.

Whose fault was that?

They wanted to live in ignorance, and they got what they wished for.

In the end, they have resorted to complaining about being made a special case, about receiving the kind of treatment no other club would have. They are correct, but not in the way they would have us believe.

The SFA bent over backwards for them, changing every regulation they could, acting with such gross disregard for the other clubs that the other clubs bit back.

The trouble is not that Sevco was treated differently from every other club in this instance … it’s that they were treated differently from every other club in every instance, and this was no exception.

Who’s fault was that?

Their fans wanted Scottish football to dance to their tune, and they got what they wished for.

In the end, they got everything they wanted.

Why is it now they don’t want everything they’ve got?

When they’re singing the blues in the next couple of weeks, try to bear all that in mind.

See, when it boils down to it, I don’t mind that they’re so blind.

I mind that they’re so goddamned ungrateful.

They got what they wanted. They always do.

When they’re apportioning blame they can dole it out as much as they like.

The lions share belong to the face in the mirror.

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