It wasn’t as explosive as yesterday’s, but it was instructive nonetheless.
The headline story from it will be that Sevco hasn’t actually paid back the £5 million Sports Direct loan, as their legal counsel claimed in court yesterday; in fact, according to them, they’re still trying to get the money together to do so.
They’re £500,000 short … what Ashley would regard as petty cash.
I laughed reading that, partly at my own naivety in so readily accepting that claim yesterday. This was, after all, made at the same hearing where King claimed to have amnesia on so many issues I would not have been surprised if he’d momentarily forgotten his own name.
But all that is to digress. The reason for this piece is the dollops of abuse being heaped on the freelance journalist James Doleman, who’s covering the story from the courtroom, and tweeting back to all those who’re interested.
And for that, he’s being singled out. He’s being labelled a hater.
He’s also being called out for the crowd-funding campaign he ran in order to cover his expenses. I’m going to talk about that briefly for a minute before I go on, and I hope you’ll bear with me.
It may shock some of these people to realise this, but what James Doleman does, what I do, what Paul67 does, what Phil does, it’s time consuming and it’s difficult. This is my day job; it’s not a hobby that I spend an occasional five minutes on.
Yesterday, I wrote and published four different blogs, an article for a magazine, a third of a chapter of a novel and started re-designing a digital magazine. This is a full-time gig, and James is the same, a freelance journalist and blogger of some repute.
Neither he nor myself, or any of the other bloggers with Donate buttons on their sites, is asking for charity. If people like what we do they can support it, or not.
The notion that this is rattling the tin cup is ludicrous, and I don’t feel any sense of embarrassment about it.
I know what rattling the tin cup looks like.
It’s a football club that claims its finances are the “envy of world football” asking its own fans if they can carry out maintenance work at the stadium to save the club money, and the attendant consequences when bits of the roof are falling off.
It’s King going to his own directors for soft loans to keep on the lights.
It’s the club going cap in hand to the supporter’s own “Fighting Fund” singing a chorus of “Brother, can you spare a dime?”
It’s organising a football match for charity, then sloughing off part of the proceeds to pay the bills and feeling no sense of shame at all about it.
I’m surprised they don’t recognise it themselves.
So yes, James asked for help meeting his costs, and I’ve done the same and my own work depends on the steady trickle of support I get from good people who like what I do. So we have Donate buttons and fund raising appeals … and every penny is declared to HMRC.
But let’s be clear; we’re not putting up paywalls and asking for subscription fees. There are a few sites which have online shops, but none of us is making a living selling, for example, unbranded tat ostensibly in an effort to screw a major retailer.
James is a big boy, and he’s batted back easily enough at those who’ve labelled him as some kind of scrounger. It’s those who’ve tried to label him a hater that I want to talk about.
This guy has been working as a freelance court reporter for years. I’ve been following his stuff for a while. His blog is interesting and engaging and he knows what he’s talking about. He covers any matter he thinks there’s a public interest in, and say what you like about Sevco but it’s a circus that never ends and is the subject of much attention inside and outside Scotland.
James is probably not used to the abuse he’s had in the last week, not like some of us are, but the Goon Squad now have him firmly in their sights and I fear he’ll have to tolerate it a while.
An example of the garbage he’s had to put up with:
One tweet called him a “bead rattler”. James threatened to block the guy.
And what response did he get for that?
More abuse, and the guy calling him a bigot.
How do you even begin to respond to that?
Where do you start?
You’re not dealing with ordinary, well-formed individuals here; you’re conversing with the institutionally stupid, people so dense light bends around them.
Their favourite refrain, of course, is to say we’re “obsessed.” James got that one thrown at him more than a few times in the last week. Today he posted a link to his blog to demonstrate the extent of this “obsession” … and I’m sure you can guess what it reveals.
I know why they use that word so frequently, and I’ve blogged on it several times in the past; this is their self-image talking, this idea that the reason they’re still “current” is that they’re a massive football club with wealth and power, and not an impoverished wreck still floundering in the lower leagues. They’re missing the big picture, because all they see is their own narrow view.
And in the big picture they’re nowhere.
All this attention we’re paying to events there isn’t even wholly about them; the larger issue is the governance of Scottish football. The Ibrox freak show is amusement for some, schadenfreude for others and simply banter for more. But to those of us who take the game seriously, and care about it, events at Ibrox are a microcosm of a wider problem; the cancer eating away at our national sport, rotting it from within.
But there’s more. Their attitude stinks not just because it’s the product of unbelievable – and grossly misplaced – arrogance, but because it’s fundamentally unappreciative.
At the helm of their club is a notorious liar, a man who has no qualms about gilding the lily whenever he pleases, a man a judge in his homeland says will alter his narrative to suit whatever audience he’s in front of at any given time.
Yesterday he sat in a courtroom and feigned amnesia for most of the proceeding. Then, in violation of a judge’s orders, he went outside and told a subservient media that he had won some great victory, when, in fact, he had simply avoided jail.
To me, that seems like it ought to be an occasion for relief.
For this guy it’s business as usual, and that ought to trouble these people more than it does.
The media, which today proclaimed his great win, are not going to dig deep into what’s really going on at their club.
They never have before.
Theirs is now a cut-and-paste profession; every major story they’ve “broken” in the last five years was on the forums and blogs first.
They contributed nothing to the cause of “saving Rangers” and their habit of jumping into bed with anyone who claims to want to “invest” and give a manager a “war chest” long ago ceased to be embarrassing and has been a major factor in creating the circumstances that let men like Whyte and Green in there.
King is no better than those men, and I would have thought Sevco fans would have had a great deal of interest in those proceedings yesterdays and those still to come.
But their intolerance keeps getting in the way of their common sense. James Doleman now joins the ranks of “the enemy” when all he, and others, have done is try to keep them informed about events surrounding something they claim to love.
Yes, but he’s just “an obsessed Tim with an agenda.”
If more of them had given a damn, if more of them had focussed their own meagre intellects on events at Ibrox they might not be in such a godawful state.
And they know it. And they hate it.
And that’s why they’re so pissed off all the time.
Nevertheless, their behaviour and ingratitude is shameful.
It says a lot about who they are.
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