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.
(This site needs your help. You can show your support by making a donation at the PayPal link at the top or the bottom of your page, depending on which device you are using. Those donations are vital to us – they literally let us keep the web-hosting up – so we created our magazine All In The Game, so that everyone who makes a donation gets something for it. Issue 2 is out now, and you can view the details at the newly added page on this site.)
[calameo code=0013829930fff7293e6eb mode=viewer page=01 clicktarget=_self width=420 height=272 ]