There are people who have succeeded in life far beyond any skills they actually possess, and their move up through the ranks of their chosen profession baffles those who are seasoned watchers of those industries.
I am sure that Jim White is a talented guy, and not only in the sense that he can do a tough, high pressured job in front of the cameras every night.
To get a job like that you need a certain charm, a certain smoothness, a certain ability to be ingratiating and probing at the same time.
You need to be a superb networker, and ambitious enough to push yourself.
White has skills, and that’s clear and it’s without question.
Unfortunately White also comes across sometimes as hopelessly sycophantic and arse-kissing.
As a celebrity in his own right, albeit a C-List one, he ought not to get star-struck, and indeed I’ve seen him interview top players and managers and equate himself well.
Yet White has a tendency to get all gooey-eyed and flaky whenever he comes across certain people, representing one particular football club. Regular readers on this blog will not need three guesses to suss which one it is.
I think that’s a very bad thing in a journalist because it destroys impartiality at a stroke and makes you vulnerable to people serving you up big steaming helpings of BS.
White has fallen victim to that before, on a couple of occasions, and he’s also been on the wrong end of the laughs for two pretty memorable interviews where his effusive gushing over the subject (Brian Laudrup in the first and Charles Green in the second) earned him derision.
Last night, I incredulously watched another of them, a performance so bad, so lickspittle awful, that I confidently predict it will, in time, become the “succulent lamb” piece of the broadcast media.
Everything about it was horrendous, from the awed tones when White pulled up to the house to the way in which King showed off his (largely) criminal gains, boasting about having sunk more money into Rangers than anyone in its history.
The piece was not simply amateur hour in its tone.
White, who appears to have swallowed an entire Level 5 Dave King profile whole, actually opened up with the ridiculous (and shockingly easy to disprove) assertion that the convicted tax cheat recently appeared on a list of the ten richest men in South Africa.
I actually expressed my disgust at this quite vocally as I watched it, unable to believe that White put that on the record without remotely examining the claim.
To give you the facts; King was nowhere near the top 10, or even the top 20.
His daughter got into the top 30 on one poorly researched list, as a consequence of being the senior named director of the family’s biggest company (worth a reputed £30 million) … but daddy was nowhere to be seen.
I found that particular comment interesting for more than just its lack of truth.
White was standing on the grounds of a mansion, but someone felt the need to gild the lily.
Was it White himself?
It’s hard to believe he plucked that claim out of thin air … more likely, he was fed it by someone, and told to push it.
What purpose did it serve?
Well, for one thing it kept alive this notion of King being a man with the means to transform the lower league Newco into something more.
It also made him sound like a man who’d worked hard and achieved tremendous success, rather than a predator capitalist who acquired much of whatever wealth he has in a share pump-and-dump and aggressive tax avoidance.
White sat all through King’s statements nodding his head.
There were no serious, journalistic, questions, simply softballs which were designed to make the South African sound like a guy who had a plan, even if he didn’t lay out many of the details.
It’s the one detail he did outline that I’m sure we all found fascinating.
Since the hour of King’s takeover this website and others have been expressly, explicitly, warning the Sevco fans that this was not a sugar-daddy who was going to come in and pour his own millions into Ibrox.
Indeed, this site has gone even further and enquired as to whether he has the means to do so even if he was so inclined (which he hasn’t, and isn’t anyway.)
We have been saying, from the start, that even the most basic examination of King’s statements reveals backtracking, obfuscation and occasionally outright cobblers.
The words of a South African judge about King being a “glib and shameless liar” are often quoted, but I find other parts of that statement to be just as instructive.
After watching him give testimony for four days, the presiding judge said that he and his cohorts were ““unanimous in finding that he is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue unless it is supported by documents and other objective evidence”.
Whose evidence should not be supported on any issue.
Any issue, okay?
Not simply those relevant to the case or the matter at hand.
They were saying that this is a guy for whom dishonesty is routine.
And the statement went even further, and commented on his general demeanour.
“It was remarkable that King showed no sign of embarrassment or any emotion when he conceded that he had lied …”
There is quite literally nothing I could write that is more damning than that.
That’s who runs Sevco now.
That’s the man so many of them trust.
And so it was that last night the man who said he had a NOMAD lined up and hasn’t got one yet, who had started out promising to spend “whatever it takes”, who talked of quadrupling the wage bill and then denied he had, who then moderated his initial comments to say he would invest as much as £30 million, before altering that to promise an unspecified sum on a £ for £ basis with “other investors”, has, at last, got to the truth, at least in part.
He and his people will “make up the shortfall.”
In other words, they will carry the clubs short term debts for a while.
But beyond that, he’s made it abundantly clear who will be paying for the revolution he and others are talking about.
The fans will.
He admitted it last night, finally, after this website and others had been hollering this at the Sevco fans for over a year.
He did, of course, try to sugar the pill, but how he did that tells you everything you need to know about how he intends to run things.
He told the fans that the club had been successful because they (the supporters) had traditionally outspent Celtic supporters … and that would be the means for getting them back to the top.
Now, if I had said that everything King has said prior to this was lies, and this would turn out being put onto the Sevco fans, and that they would have to outspend Celtic fans in order to make their club into challengers, my inbox would have overflowed with their unhappy Peepil abusing me and assuring me that King would do his bit.
Now it’s on the record, in his own words.
Of course, like everything else that comes from King you need to actually strip his comments down, and even look past them, to get to the greater truth, and I’ll examine the actual substance of his comments in a minute …
But there is no longer any bombast about he and his “investors” throwing money at this task.
He’s said that it’s the fans who will have to cough up and he’s added that unless they do the club will not be able to catch Celtic.
It’s the straightest he’s ever talked to them, and we can take him on his word this time because those words are, indeed, supported by facts and evidence, as we’ve gone over again and again and again.
But still we’re forced to strip it down.
What does it actually mean?
Well King still lives in South Africa and he’s making no move to change that.
He has gone out of his way to distance himself from the manager, who he hasn’t met and didn’t interview.
Failure in that department falls outside his remit.
He’s gone out of his way to distance himself from what his people on the board are telling the SPFL and the SFA.
Neil Doncaster said during the week that he and King haven’t met.
Now he is getting his alibi for failure in ahead of time with the supporters.
When this all goes wrong, it’ll be their fault and not his.
So … what exactly is he asking them to do?
Well even if you take his comments at face value – that his central point, that they’ve outspent us for “over a century” is true, and it’s not and nor is the suggestion that the fans built a “successful Rangers”; the banks he was so scathing at in the interview were the ones who actually did that, as he is doubtless well aware – what’s he suggesting?
Spend money on season tickets?
They’ve already done that for this year.
That requires a lot of legal framework that’s not in place and won’t be for months, at best.
Well, he’s also repeated his nonsense about “renegotiating” the deals with Sports Direct.
Perhaps he missed the pre-EGM statement Ashley’s people released saying they were happy with the terms as they stand, happy with the wording of the deals and saw no need to change them?
Perhaps he didn’t.
Perhaps he’s forgotten.
Either way, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of money coming from that angle.
How many bricks can fans buy?
How many pies sold would allow them to claim they were outspending the Celtic supporters?
Furthermore – and it bothered David Murray enormously – our stadium has 10,000 more seats.
If the clubs both filled the ground their tickets would have to be some 20% more pricey than our own, and that wouldn’t even be palatable to their supporters if both sides were playing in the same league.
Sevco fans are being asked to make up a tremendous financial shortfall out of their own pockets … but there’s nothing for them to spend that kind of money on, even if they were of a mind to.
King is setting them an impossible task, and he’s telling them that this is their only option.
Dave King is preparing his fans and his club for failure.
He’s appealing now to their most visceral motives, saying they can’t beat us on the park until the financial gap is bridged … hoping they won’t remember that he was brought to the club on the back of promises that he would bridge that gap out of his pocket.
White, of course, swallowed it all.
The most animated he got was when King took him down to the wine cellar.
It was one of the worst “interviews” I’ve ever seen, little more than a soft sofa PR piece, at the Sky subscriber’s expense, and packaged as King laying out a plan. He did no such thing.
Last night was as clear a demonstration as their fans could hope for that this is a guy who’s making it up as he goes along.
Nothing that he says can be trusted 100%, and even today’s derisory offer for a player Hibs can’t afford to sell to them looks designed to do little more than distract their fans from what they actually heard Dave King say, in plain speaking, last night.
But they better ponder on this; even with the a version of the truth now coming out, there’s still no sign of an overarching strategy.
Even now, when he’s reversed himself on every single promise he’s made, and he’s finally levelling with people on that score, he doesn’t know how in the Hell they are going to manage any of it.
What he will do, of course, along with Murray and the rest of his board is make sure they are all well compensated for taking the fans’ money and feeding them this crap, even as he prepares for another administration event, which is the only concievable outcome here.
His PR mate Traynor is already doing very nicely out of all this and he’ll have plenty of work to do in the coming year.
It is a truly amazing state of affairs, and watching him last night I realised that the South African tax cheat has made flesh that famous old aphorism.
SevcoLand is truly the Land of the Blind.
And in the Land of the Blind, the one eyed man is King.
He saw the Peepil coming a mile away.
Hell mend them.
They can’t say they weren’t warned.
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