The Facts Of Life … And Death

liquidation2So the battle for the soul of New Rangers is finally getting underway. I’ve got to admit, I’ve not been bored by the developments.

Yesterday I posted a very cheeky article. Today I’m going back down the more sombre road. The club is a shambles. The sense of crisis is palpable. They are in big bother, the kind that shuts football clubs down. The kind you don’t come back from.

How the Hell did we end up here? A combination of things, really. A media which didn’t want to dig too deep, and was content to print PR instead of news. A support enclosed in a bubble for the last twenty odd years, into believing there would always be someone else to pick up the tab. A group of chancers seeing the opportunity to make a quick buck out of the loyalty of football fans, and a bunch of freeloaders and “legneds” who’s self interest was always going to overshadow any other consideration.

Combine that with a certain institutional arrogance, and the cowardice and complicity of those charged with overseeing the game here, and you have the perfect storm.

No-one can say they weren’t warned. They just didn’t like the people doing the warning. The press thinks it can dodge responsibility here because they’re now raining down opprobrium on Green, but that doesn’t get them off.

They are butchering him now for the things they were praising him for just a few months ago, and don’t think we’ve forgotten it.

The hacks have been a disgrace throughout this whole process, as they were last time, and the time before that and the time before that. Their sudden interest in these events isn’t even worthy of commendation because it’s only come about because a brand new band of men on white chargers needs the Rangers fans on board with the idea that they are riding to the rescue, and the media has clambered a-horse and are now spinning for them instead. These are not newsmen. They’re a windsock.

They have nothing to feel proud about.

Anyone who listens to a word these people say, or believes a word they write, is a mug, a fool, and you know what they say about those. There’s one born every minute, and they’re very soon parted with their money.

The media in this country are a despicable fraud.

If only I believed, if only I truly believed, that the genuine football fans who follow Rangers could still act and save what they love. Alas, I don’t. When this blog and others were screaming from the rafters, months ago, that Green and Ahmed and Stockbridge and the rest were in it for themselves, when we predicted that Walter Smith could not be relied on, when we said McCoist only stays because he is, frankly, unemployable as a manager on anything like his present salary terms, when we warned that the sums did not add up, that Rangers fans were being conned, that the share issue was nothing more than smoke and mirrors, when we said that Whyte had not gone, that there were structural problems on and off the park … who was listening to us?

Easy answer to that one, friends. Nobody was listening.

But the Rangers fans, and the rest of Scottish football, is wide awake now. Oh yes.

Way, way, way, way too late. All the spivs had to do was offer Walter a wee emeritus position, with a nice stipend, and keep him in place just long enough to allay your fears, and take your money, and that was it. Job done. Thank you fellas, been a pleasure doing business with you.

Once the season ticket money was bagged, the gloves came off, the knuckle dusters slipped on and the war is now raging, and all you can do is stand and watch.

You’ve been done up like a Yankee tourist buying Nelson’s Column for a tenner. I pity some of you. Those who were smart enough not to buy shares, but still wanted to show loyalty to the team. I have none for those numpties who were smart enough to dig for the dirt, but didn’t want to give the Tim’s the satisfaction of knowing they were right.

Here’s the hard truth; we didn’t need you to tell us we were right. We knew we were. We’ve been sitting, waiting, for the crash since the day these people took control. You know all that stuff in the papers? The “news”.

Well, catch up already. We were way ahead of them.

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Look at what you’ve allowed to happen here. For Gods sakes, you didn’t wise up in time to stop it, but at least acknowledge it now, learn from it and start to adapt to how your world is about to change. And not for the better. The party is over.

The days of spending millions, the days of being a contender, those big Champions League nights in front of a packed Ibrox, with a galaxy of stars in your blue jerseys, they are absolutely over with and done.

Whether you accept your club died, or cling to the fiction that it survived, is, to me, irrelevant at this point. The club you knew is no more, regardless. The one that you’re pledged to is a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of what was.

You will never again be the biggest club in Scotland, far less set your sights on more distant horizons. The damage that’s been done to you is permanent, irrevocable, beyond all hope of recovery. There is no way back.

You may – just may – climb back to the SPL, but you have been reduced to the level of a Hearts, or a Dundee Utd, but with a bigger stadium. Which you might not even own for much longer. It is an epochal disaster. If it’s not fatal it’s the equivalent of one of those suicide attempts that leaves the person still alive, in a persistent vegetative state.

In other words, you’re going to wish there’d been a funeral.

This is as bad as it gets, and that is no exaggeration. Had a version of the club not been exhumed and reanimated last year, like something from a bad sci-fi movie, everyone connected with it would have had a chance to go through the grief process and move on. Some would have gravitated to new clubs, perhaps. Some would have chosen to ditch football altogether, and the upsurge in DIY sales would have put the national economy back on an even keel. And I would imagine the membership rolls of a number of far-right organisations would be a lot more healthy, and politics in Scotland a lot less healthy as a direct result. No matter. It didn’t happen.

Instead of a short, sharp shock, a period of grieving, followed by a new equilibrium, the future now looks black, like a desert road in the dead of night. In my book of short stories, Fragments, there’s a story where one character tells another that “life is pain. That’s all it is.” Pretty soon, you’re going to understand exactly what that means.

In Stephen King’s wonderful horror tour-de-force Pet Semetary, there’s a scene where one character tells another that “sometimes death is better.” Oh boy, as much as you might not believe that, you’re going to find out that one is pretty much on the money too. Because if “life is pain” then death might not seem so bad.

There’s a theory called “creeping normalcy” which believes that a gradual, negative change can be processed, no matter how awful the decline ends up. Think about our current economic situation for a sterling example. Because it’s happened slowly, because it’s a steady erosion rather than a sweeping, sudden shift, people’s realisation of just how bad things are is tempered by our tendency to base our frame of reference on a very short time frame. Over the larger period, the decline would be more marked, more obvious. But day to day, it becomes … normal.

I used a “creeping normalcy” analogy a number of years ago, in an article I wrote on E-Tims. It, too, was about a spiralling crisis at Ibrox. Put a frog in a pot of boiling water, and he will immediately leap out. Yet put him in a pot of cold water, and then turn up the heat and you end up with frog soup.

In other words, over time, you may get used to things as they’re going to be. You may even start to love it a little, the way fans of small clubs do, enjoying football again as something fun, as an adventure, without great expectation attached to it. “Creeping normalcy” isn’t something you’d wish for, but in a sense it wouldn’t be so … bad.

That’s one school of thought anyway. Tell it to the frogs. There’s another term that better describes the process you’re about to go through. See if this one doesn’t keep you awake at night, in a cold sweat. This one comes from Imperial China.

They call it “slow slicing”, but it has a far more common (and far more horrific) name, The Death of a Thousand Cuts.

Think on that for a while. Ponder it. Watching your club struggle, week in, week out, with no end in sight. Watching as it goes through cycles of crisis, where bad things are never really behind you, only on the other side of the wheel, coming around again.

Hearts fans rallied, and tonight we’ve learned that they saved their football club. St Mirren fans mounted a buyout attempt at theirs, as did Motherwell.

Dunfermline fans actually snatched theirs out of the jaws of death, and that’s a miracle, and a credit to them.

Your club died. And the Newco is in a perilous, and permanent, decline.

How does that feel? You are the Peepil.

Believe me when I say I am not gloating. Gloating is so … yesterday.

I simply cannot believe things have come this far.

And you can now do nothing but watch, and wait, and hope … in vain.

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Comments on The Facts Of Life … And Death

  • Graffiti on the wall

    That’s called cruelty James 🙂 .well they can’t say they were never warned.

    Tiochfaid harla

  • Chris

    Superb piece of writing one which even the most defiant of Newco fans will have a hard slow time digesting. Well done James.

  • paulsatim

    Great article but need to correct one statement you made. You said “winsock”, really it should read “wanksock”!

  • auchinstarry

    Another fine article James. Ruthless and to the point. The followers of the ex club are blind and intoxicated with hatred. The great unteachables, interested only in the next piece of putrid bile they can create. “No-one likes us, we dont care”. What irony in a statement like that.
    The people now in charge of what they support are the lowest form of scavengers. The Corpse has rotted, the carcass bare. The scavengers are eating each other.

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