So said Friedrich Nietzsche, anyway.
I’ve always liked the quote.
What it means (to me) is simple enough, I guess; the first part says you have to be careful when you dedicate yourself to a struggle against something you consider evil that you don’t convince yourself that the ends justify the means and that you have the moral right to cross the line.
The second part, connected to the first, is that once you stray over that line, even if you convince yourself that your reasons are right, that you risk lose yourself completely because (I’ve always believed anyway) that we are all born half in the darkness and our lives are a constant struggle to stop that from defining us. Surrender to it at all, and you risk being overwhelmed.
Now the Championship playoff final isn’t done yet. The teams are halfway through a 180 minute game, but tonight, as I watch as McCall and King and the rest of the Ibrox cohort step up to their own personal Grand Canyon and look down I am delighted beyond measure, and I wonder to myself; does that make me a bad person? Is it a character flaw?
And then I remember.
I didn’t do this.
You didn’t do it.
We didn’t do it.
Oh we might be sitting here tonight getting ready to order in a year’s supply of Haagen-Dazs, but we bear not one iota of responsibility for the disaster that looms in front of Sevco and threatens to plunge them into the Ninth Circle of Hell.
Did we give history a nudge?
Yes, I think we did. We emphasised every calamity that befell them, ramping up the crisis level to Condition Red, every chance we got.
We mocked every bad decision and we gleefully celebrated every major defeat.
Our highlighting of every scandal and screw up even moved the press at times.
We made heroes of men like Whyte. We made icons out of guys like Charles Green. We may well be the only fans in British football who have a soft spot for Mike Ashley, even those of us who think he’s a loathsome bastard running a company built on zero hour contracts and slave wages. Somehow, he and this club are a perfect fit, tied to each other and imperilled.
And because of all this we kept morale amongst their fans at rock bottom.
But I repeat; none of this is our fault. We reacted (jovially) but we did not cause this.
They did this to themselves. Everything that happened was caused inside their own walls. It was caused by hubris, by greed, by their own blindness and their inability to change.
Before the game started tonight they were gleefully singing “We Are The People”, their anthem of superiority, a song that sums up every reason the OldCo collapsed and was buried three years ago.
See, this club was cloned from the DNA of the dead one, but one of the problems with cloning is that whatever genetic defects afflicted the source carry over … and the moment the press and the NewCo’s owners started to push the Survival Myth that was it.
Some flaws are in the genes, it’s as simple as that. The sins of the fathers were always going to lead to the sons singing Folsom Prison Blues.
Tonight, as King contemplates having to fund this shambles for another year in the Championship and ponders the devastating effects that will have on his “plans” I believe Scottish football will be the prime beneficiary if this is what comes to pass.
Because in a sense it was the game itself that was on the edge of the abyss tonight. The club that plays out of Ibrox is breaking and bending every rule. The governing bodies are letting them away with murder. You’d think the OldCo was still with us.
They’ve spent three years trying to claw their way up Scottish football’s league system and it’s been hilarious at times as their hubris grew like a pearl, only to crash against the rocks of reality. This year, in particular, has been a multi-layer calamity but the talk out of Ibrox wasn’t tempered by any of that but swelled with pride to predict that they would sweep aside every other club but Celtic, and be challenging them within a couple of years.
And how was this to be done? Debt. Overspending. Running at a loss.
Like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
The SFA knows this of course, and they are happy to promote it and excuse it and look the other way. No rules have been passed to put the blockers on it, like the financial fair play regulations that would end the scandal of financial doping here forever so that no owner or club could ever do what Murray did again, plunging the whole game into crisis when the crash came.
And they have the cheek to offer criticism of Sepp Blatter tonight, as though our game was a paragon of virtuous behaviour and the highest of corporate standards.
Tonight at Ibrox a convicted tax cheat sat in the stand alongside another director who shouldn’t be on the board of a Scottish football club. The Association is run by a guy who was involved in a gigantic tax scam which violated his organisation’s own rules. And he was elected, unopposed, with all that hanging over him.
The SFA presided over one of the biggest scandals in the history of our sport. What a laugh to be lectured by this mob. No wonder Blatter thinks he can survive.
Come Sunday night, we’ll know whether Sevco has staged a fight back and completed their journey from the lowest tier. But tonight ought to be a humbling, chastening experience for them and the media which never tires of telling us how great they are, how important they are, how necessary it is for all of us that they are playing in the top flight.
Motherwell were written off here before a ball was even kicked. None of this was in the script tonight and you can read the shock in the faces of the commentators and the fans and the Sevco players and their backroom team.
Nobody amongst our media class saw this coming, although all the signs were there and have been all season and for the last three years.
Those pushing the Survival Myth are their own worst enemies because all of that should have been left behind and buried, because only then did this club stand a chance to be better, to be more, to have a future that didn’t too closely resemble the recent past.
Because whether or not you subscribe to the “continuation of history” – and it is patent nonsense, and I will keep on saying it no matter what FIFA bloggers (but not FIFA) write in their opinion pieces – it matters not in the Grand Scheme of Things.
Those of us who grew up watching Rangers sign Gascoigne’s and Laudrup’s will never see days like it again in our lives. The club that died with Davis, Naismith, McGregor, Edu, Lafferty, Whittaker and others still on its books is gone forever. The one that crawled out of the grave was comprised of free transfers, out of shape has-beens and a bunch of never were’s.
And that is their future if this result is not overturned in the second leg.
In short, the Rangers we grew up viewing as our implacable foe is dead and gone, whatever the status of the club that currently bears its name.
Tonight bears out the totality of what happened in the summer of 2012.
It strips bare the pretensions of the entity that shambled out of the darkened graveyard and slipped into Mother’s clothes and parked a fat arse in her chair by the window. Norman Bates FC. Keeping alive the illusion that something gone forever is still there.
It matters not.
Tonight they stare into the abyss, and the abyss stares back.
I did not do this.
You did not do this.
We did not do this.
And even if we had, I cannot bring myself to feel bad for them.
Tonight I don’t care what people think that makes me.
I’m a happy Celtic supporter and Scottish football fan.
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