Scottish Football, Sevco

We Don’t Need No Stinking Trophies


Good Evening.

Minor but rewarding chuckles were to be found in the Evening Shark-Jump today, courtesy of this piece:

Graeme Murty: Rangers’ focus will be on progression rather than points at youth level

Yes that’s right, the new Sevco U-20s boss believes that his players gaining experience is more important than the results they achieve. And there was me thinking that football is a results-oriented game and that the ability to find a way to win and keep on winning is a highly-prized commodity. 

What’s more, I am sure I have previously read and heard vast quantities of Sevco reportage about how Ibrox clubs never settle for second best. It is all about winning winning winning, and welcoming Lorraine Chase. Or something…

Lorraine always receives a warm welcome at Ibrox

I wondered whether I had misunderstood Mr Murty’s argument. So The Clumpany did some digging, and it appears that The Warbmeister may have some sympathy with him:

Curiously enough, however, I struggled to find evidence of other ‘clubs’ openly expressing similar sentiments about Scotland’s U-20/ Development League set-up.

It is to be hoped that Sevco U-20s’ rivals don’t have a similar attitude otherwise our domestic youth games could end up being embarrassing exercises in folk milling about the pitch unconcerned about whether they win or not. What a spectacle that would be! In fact, The Clumpany can’t help but call to mind the famous Monty Python ‘Philosophers’ Football’ sketch. 

I am sure that Joey Barton would want to appear in a Philosophers’ XI. However, I fear he would ultimately fail to impress despite his pretentions. Which would be rather like his performances for Sevco to date… 

A sceptic might speculate that Sevco downplaying the importance of youth team success might be an exercise in ‘getting your excuses in early’, or indeed ‘addressing a troubling reality’. I couldn’t possibly comment on that. However, I will observe a couple of interesting facts:

Here is last season’s final Development League table:

And here is the Sevco U-20 result in the Second Round of this season’s Challenge Cup:

Hmmm. Far be it from me to suggest that there might be a very real character-building challenge for Sevco’s youngsters in trying to improve their overall performance against their more immediate domestic peers…

NB as you may have guessed, this blog is titled in tribute to one of the many great films in which the fantastic Gene Wilder started. RIP Mr Wilder.


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Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Joleon Lescott: The Strange Truth


Good Afternoon.

The Clumpany has just seen a press release which was faxed from a hypothetical PR operation to some of Scotland’s finest journalists. And also to the folk who cover football.

It seeks to draw a line under the curious case of Joleon Lescott, who looked set to sign for Sevco only for the deal to fall through at the last minute for any number of poorly-spun reasons. Headed “Joleon Lescott: The Truth” the press release invites its recipients to disregard all previous communications on the transfer and under no circumstances to engage in any rational thought or questioning on pain of not being in the loop for future Sevco bullsh*t.

It explains that Joleon Lescott was very keen to play for Sevco – indeed he has always been a fan of Ibrox clubs – and was ready to sign the most lucrative deal in his or anyone else’s career. But then his family accidentally superglued themselves to their settee in Manchester in a freak Airfix accident and couldn’t move to Glasgow. 

Meanwhile, Lescott himself failed his medical when he dropped his enormous signing-on fee on his right foot, shattering it into a million pieces. Sevco are apparently understandably disappointed about the collapse of the signing and wish Lescott well. But Mark Warburton and the board remain united in their commitment to do ‘whatever it takes’ to take Sevco ‘back’ to the top of Scottish football. Unfortunately, it is not confirmed whether the concept of ‘whatever’ includes spending money rather than spinning yarns.

The fax also addresses stories that Lescott has seemingly miraculously overcome his misfortunes and has signed a two-year deal with AEK Athens, who are based in one of the sunnier suburbs of Manchester. It describes the news as “complete and utter lies to dupe the AEK fans”

Apparently, the truth of the matter is that Lescott has retired from football and is recuperating in floods of tears in a room filled with posters of Ibrox legends. And his family – who are pining for Glasgow despite never having visited it – are being surgically removed from their settee in an operation which is expected to last several weeks.

The so-called ‘Joleon Lescott’ who is heading for Greece is actually an android manufactured from a shop window dummy and powered by four AAA Duracel batteries. The android is expected to play so slowly that people witnessing his lack of pace might mistake him for Philippe Senderos, WHICH WOULD BE OUTRAGEOUS AS SENDEROS IS STILL SIGNING FOR SEVCO ‘IMMINENTLY’…

I for one am glad that the matter has been resolved with no remaining cause for doubt about Sevco’s financial wherewithal, and whether The Warbmeister is happy with the backing he is receiving from his board.

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Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Loosened Bowels

“Rangers* have already dropped 4 points and I can’t leave the bathroom”

Good Evening.

Something a little bit surprising happened today. And I don’t refer to the fact that I accidentally put supermarket ‘own brand’ bleach in my breakfast-time Buckie cocktail. For that is something of which we must never speak…

No, I refer to my encountering the remarkable spectacle of the Evening Shark-Jump fretting slightly about Sevco’s prospects this season. 

Kilmarnock 1-1 Rangers: Plan A isn’t working for Mark Warburton in the Premiership

Of course, the fretting was couched in terms of the ESJ’s continuing and utterly baseless assumption that just because there is now an Ibrox-based ‘club’ in the Premiership, the title race is automatically a question of Celtic v PretendyGers. A notion which is as laughable as it is insulting to the rest of Scottish football. 

Nevertheless, the ESJ is clearly concerned. It discusses the quality of Sevco’s performances this season, the distinctly unimpressive contributions of Joey Barton and the fact that Sevco have only notched up 8 points from a comparatively ‘easy’ set of four opening fixtures. To be fair to my favourite paper, it is an interesting piece, although I thought that @timomouse’s article on similar issues was far more convincing.

Sgt Warbo’s Lonely Barts Club – Joey Barton a symptom of Rangers’ wider problems

You get the impression from the ESJ piece and their usual output that Scottish football really isn’t supposed to be like this! Even though Sevco are unbeaten so far this season, they still trail Celtic and have been playing in a disjointed and unimpressive manner which raises the spectre of the Hoops blowing them away on 10 September. And that isn’t on as far as the ESJ is concerned. This is – after all –  the paper which ran a pre-season article which included the words “they are going for 55”.

I freely admit that as a seasoned observer of the Scottish sports media I will be fascinated to see what they make of it should Sevco have (in their eyes) a poor season and end up trailing Celtic and others in the league by a country mile. I suspect that there will be a huge amount of anguish displayed as the realisation dawns that the peak David Murray ‘swagger’ years have not returned, and are never coming back.

Whether this anguish will also be accompanied by forensic questioning of those who run the ‘club’ and write the cheques, rather than a systematic effort to pin the blame at Warbo’s door, remains to be seen. 

Call me cynical, but it could turn out that whoever pays for the better PR will get the better press…

By way of conclusion I have to recall the words of many Sevco fans who said (quite recently) that they could “smell the fear”. I can certainly smell something right now, but it certainly isn’t Sevco’s Premiership opponents getting in a tizz. It smells like a number of Sevconian cheerleaders have involuntarily soiled their trousers at the thought of what may lie ahead for the world’s leading baseless superiority complex.

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Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Tumbleweed And STV


Good Evening. 

The Clumpany has just been reminiscing. 

Having gone through the usual motions of remembering when there used to be a Rangers and an unquestioning cheerleading media, I reflected upon whether STV was now willing to pursue issues relating to Celtic shareholders’ Resolution 12. During the course of my deliberations I quickly called this recent STV article to mind:

UEFA won’t investigate ‘Resolution 12’ Rangers Euro licence claims

Here are some quotes from the piece:

“UEFA will not investigate allegations that Rangers were incorrectly awarded a licence to play in European competition in the 2011/12 season.

A statement to STV draws a line under the matter from the governing body’s point of view, saying Rangers’ three-year exclusion from playing in Europe after going into liquidation was the major factor in a case not being pursued.

A group of Celtic shareholders have actively campaigned for a review of the decision for several years and recently contacted the governing body for clarification as part of an ongoing campaign referred to as Resolution 12.”

“A UEFA spokesperson told STV: ‘As a consequence of decisions taken against Rangers FC in 2012 as well as the administration of the club and the events and measures that followed (including the club being ineligible to apply for a licence to participate in UEFA competitions for three seasons), there is no need for UEFA to investigate this matter any further since the club was not granted a licence to participate in the 2012/13 UEFA club competitions, the club entered the fourth tier of Scottish football and it was not able to play in UEFA competitions for the next three years in any event.’

STV asked the governing body for further clarification on whether an investigation took place, and on whether they were satisfied the correct procedure was followed. UEFA replied that they had no further comment to make.”

“Draws a line under the matter…”

Hmm… STV appear not to have asked UEFA whether there were any questions for the SFA (upon whom clubs still depend when seeking a UEFA licence) to answer. 

That seems to be an unfortunate oversight. However, it is as nothing compared to STV apparently overlooking a certain recent letter from UEFA to the Celtic requisitioners (copied to the SFA and Celtic). A letter which expands upon the above-mentioned UEFA spokesperson’s comments.

It seems that that new UEFA correspondence clearly refers to Sevco as a “new club/company”. Which is momentous news! The ‘same club’ status of Sevco-masquerading-as-Rangers* in Scottish football has repeatedly been a massive point of contention since 2012, even though anyone who possesses a brain, a rudimentary knowledge of insolvency law, and an awareness of UEFA regulations knows that liquidation means death for a football club…

The matter is clearly of huge public interest. Unless you choose to ignore it. And (sadly) it appears that STV and others would rather ignore it. 

Let’s be kind. Perhaps the carrier pigeon hasn’t reached STV towers in recent days? Or perhaps they have heard about the UEFA letter, know it to be untrue and are preparing to confirm that fact to their viewers and readers?

Whatever the case, I am sure that having gone to the earlier trouble of soliciting a view from UEFA, STV will not ignore any subsequent views from European football’s governing body. Even if they raise some uncomfortable issues for a press pack who would rather assert that Rangers are still with us…

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Media, Scottish Football, Sevco, SPFL

Getting Ahead Of Yourself

“Mark! I’m really thirsty. Could you make some tea and put it in the Premiership trophy for me?”

Good Evening.

“If it turns out to be a perfect weekend for Warburton, Rangers will head across the city next month with a chance to move seven points clear at the top of the table.”

Regular readers will know that I occasionally dip into the Sevco coverage provided by Scotland’s greatest newspaper and Happy Days tribute act: The Evening Shark-Jump.

No one does upbeat Sevco flannel like the ESJ. And their turd polishing-to-comedy gold ratio is truly world class. The above quote is from an article written two days ago, and published in the aftermath of Celtic’s qualification for the Champions League group stages: 

Mark Warburton: Premiership title must become a reality before Rangers can dream of the Champions League

I subsequently wrote a somewhat irreverent blog about Warbo’s genius in revealing that in order for a Scottish ‘club’ to qualify for the Champions League they have to win the Premiership first.

The Secret Of Champions League Qualification

I included the above quote in that blog as a prime example of the art of unrelentingly upbeat Sevco reportage, which we get to see on an almost daily basis. You know the sort of thing: the kind of material which gives the impression that today’s weather in Sevconia is sunny, and tomorrow’s will be truly dazzling.

Following Sevco’s poor showing in drawing away at Kilmarnock last night, and Celtic’s tired but ultimately comprehensive win at home to Aberdeen today, I thought I would revisit the article to see how the Shark-Jump’s optimism compared with reality. Here are the relevant quotes:

“With seven points already on the board, Rangers have made a steady if unspectacular start to their bid for the top flight crown. A trip to Kilmarnock tomorrow night is next on their agenda before the countdown begins to the first Old Firm showdown of the season at Parkhead.

Celtic face Aberdeen on Saturday aiming to avoid a European hangover and Warburton could make a personal check to see Rodgers’ side in action.

He said: ‘I watched them on TV. I was at our Under-20s game but I recorded it and watched it when I came in. But I watch every one of their games – I watched them against St Johnstone at the weekend.

It’s not just about Celtic, of course – I know you guys say that but it’s the same three points that are available at Kilmarnock on Friday night. I’m sure there are fans who are saying: ‘Lose your first four games but beat Celtic’ but it’s about accumulating as many points as possible.'”

“If it turns out to be a perfect weekend for Warburton, Rangers will head across the city next month with a chance to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

But the Gers boss won’t look too far ahead as he attempts to take care of business at Rugby Park first and foremost. Warburton said: “Every game is important for us. I am not avoiding the question, but we have to win every game we go into.”

Oh dear… “Win every game we go into…”.

I fear that Sevco won’t be moving seven points clear of Celtic on 10 September. And as for that European hangover… well there were some heavy legs on display today after a very draining start to the season, and the play was not the smoothest seen in the Rodgers era. However, a 4-1 victory against your nearest rivals – including some cracking goals – is excellent in anyone’s book.

So how does the Premiership table look just now?


No doubt the one-point gap will provide sufficient scope for a large number of ‘brand parity’ stories to be run before Celtic and Sevco meet in their first ever league fixture. I can already foresee MSM travesties such as 

‘Determined Rangers* challenging Celtic like they haven’t been in years’;

‘Gers* go to ‘Old Firm’ war in bid to regain their Premiership lead’; and 

‘Derek Johnstone: my vacuous thoughts on why I inevitably fancy Rangers* to top the table again’.

But which paper should I read in order to find them? Hmm, that’s a tough one… I better ask The Fonz:


Finally, a huge round of applause for everyone at Celtic. This week has been an absolute belter, and the overall start to the season – which saw so much at stake and so much pressure – has been magnificent. It makes you wonder what the side will be like if it is strengthened, and when it properly gels.

Ooft!

#KeepOnClumping

Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Senderos, Sevco And Singing

Senderos slowly savours a refreshing drink of water…

Good Afternoon.

The Clumpany understands that the word ‘imminent’ has triggered a release clause in its contract with the BBC’s Kenny MacIntyre in an effort to escape from this Tweet which was posted at 8:18pm on Thursday night:


At the time of writing (getting on for two full days later) Senderos has still not signed a contract with Sevco. Rumours that Senderos is so slow that the ink keeps evaporating from the pen before it finally reaches the paper remained unconfirmed.

It is most certainly not like Kenny to have his finger off the pulse, as anyone who saw his legendary tweets about Sportsound and the Offshore Game report can attest:


Oh dear. Oh dear me…

But back to Senderos, who has been training with Sevco since 15 August… The media as a whole had certainly previously given the impression that there might be some movement towards a signing. Of course, that ISN’T the same as knowing it was actually going to happen. 

Some cynical observers might suggest that an increase in noise around Senderos might have had something to do with Joleon Lescott turning Sevco down owing to “family reasons”. An unfortunate turn of events which occurred just as the Ibrox faithful started to realise that their current ‘stars’ might not be quite as stellar as they wanted to believe…

Speaking of which, I can’t say I was blown away by Sevco’s quality last night – with the exemption of James Tavernier’s absolutely outstanding free kick. When even the Evening Shark-Jump suggests it wasn’t a great performance you know something must have been REALLY lacking. Their first half was desperately poor – although Kilmarnock deserve a lot of credit for their industry and application which could serve them well during the rest of the season if they can maintain it. 

The second half saw a much ‘busier’ Sevco but there wasn’t a great deal of cutting edge in the face of a fighting rearguard action from Killie. Before he was sent into orbit by a shocking tackle from Greg Taylor, Joey Barton continued to look like the Summer’s most overrated acquisition. And I say that as someone who paid a lot of money to try adding some genuine Martian bleach to my Buckie cocktails…

Still, I am sure Barton will still manage to dominate games and win player of the year from the comfort of his favourite tweeting armchair.

In his post-match interview with BT Sport, The Warbmeister looked absolutely crestfallen at the Sevco performance. More so than you might ordinarily expect. I wonder how he will deal with it should Sevco experience a proper struggle during the season…

Still, it was good to see that even when feeling low the Warbo genius was still firing on all cylinders. Perhaps having seen the recent ‘new club/company’ letter from UEFA, he had this to say:

Warbo: That Wasn’t Rangers

Once again, BT Sport’s coverage of the game was excellent and I find myself cringing at the thought of being Tannered and McCanned by Sky Sports anytime soon. The only real flaw last night was the repeated on-air apologies for swearing that was picked up by the pitch-side microphones. Of course, the apologies in themselves were fair enough, but what really irked was the way that they merely served to fill the gaps between the Sevco fans belting out an epic medley of their Famine/Fenian Family Favourites…

Not a single word was said by BT about this horrendous spectacle. We know that broadcasters CAN say something if they want to: see for example ESPN’s Ray Stubbs’ half-time apology for the first half singing in the Berwick v Sevco match in February 2013. Perhaps BT Sport will reflect upon last night’s events, their obvious ambition to present Scottish football in a positive light and call out this hateful embarrassment for what it is?

Fair play to journalists Tom English, Neil Cameron, Jim Spence and Graham Spiers (a veteran of these matters) for highlighting the singing. I suspect we will wait a very long time indeed for the governing bodies to say or do anything  about it. The absence of strict liability in our domestic game makes punishment very difficult. However, I fail to see why the SFA and SPFL cannot publicly condemn it and/or lean on Sevco to make it absolutely clear to the relevant section of fans that the ‘club’ has a zero tolerance policy in relation to the choral delights we heard last night. [And before the ‘Whatabouters’ start howling, let me be absolutely clear that any other club with similar problems should be doing something about it!].

Before I sign off, let me just check the state of the Senderos signing…

[*Pause*]

No, he’s still not signed. Just how slow is Senderos? No one is quite sure, but I have certainly heard that he is so slow that 

  • he is still warming up for his Arsenal debut;
  • after a hectic day, drying paint relaxes by watching DVDs of him;
  • his action replays are shown via oil paintings;
  • he just called the Daily Record to congratulate them on finding a Motherwell-born billionaire;
  • a two-year contract will feel like ten for those watching him;
  • bookmakers are offering odds on the heat death of the universe occurring before he actually signs for Sevco.

Watch this space! But you might want to find a comfy chair and have a very large supply of food and drink with you. 

Because you may be there for some time.

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Champions League, Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

The Group Of Violent Death


Good Evening. [Rangers*] 

Well, yesterday’s Champions League draw didn’t disappoint, did it? [Rangers*]. 

As is often typical of self-important draws conducted by pompous governing bodies it went on longer than a Philippe Senderos medical. But eventually, FINALLY,  Celtic came out of the hat. [Rangers*]. 

I say ‘hat’, but frankly I really wouldn’t fancy wearing one of those UEFA goldfish bowls on my ethereal head. That said, if someone at UEFA wanted to do a swap for my sombrero I would be willing to consider it. In fact, having seen today’s proposals for revamping the Champions League I think most observers might agree that bandit-like attire would suit some of European football’s top administrators 😉. [Rangers*] 

I must admit that having seen some of the reaction to Celtic’s draw you could have been forgiven for thinking that it instantly resulted in 

  • Peter Lawwell and Brendan Rodgers having the heavy-booted feet of their opposite numbers at Barca, City, and the other one (which I won’t try to spell) placed on their throats; [Rangers*] 
  • the entire Celtic squad having their legs broken while a transfer embargo was placed on the club;  [Rangers*] and
  • three enormous flying saucers arriving over Celtic Park and destroying it in the manner of the famous ‘White House’ scene in Independence Day;  [Rangers*] 

Yes, it is a tough draw, but so what? It’s a draw in the Champions League! There was never going to be an easy one, and if you are playing in the biggest competition in club football you expect – and want – to be tested. [Rangers*] 

Like many others, I would like to see the squad strengthened before the start of the group stages. And by more than the one player suggested by Peter ‘What Chequebook?’ Lawwell yesterday. Unless of course that one player has four heads, eight arms, eight legs, can split into four people and can play effectively in a variety of positions across the park. [Rangers*] 

I am realistic enough to know that even such strengthening will still leave the fixtures as an uphill challenge. But most certainly not an uphill struggle. If you go into a group expecting to struggle you are already on your way to defeat. [Rangers*] 

A lot of people have worked very hard to get Celtic back into the Champions League and a lot of money has been spent – not least by the fans. There were some gut-wrenching European disappointments over the past couple of seasons, and if Celtic can’t now go into lucrative fixtures on the biggest stage with a sense of optimism, belief and determination to get something out of them, then we may as well all give up. [Rangers*] 

It’s a great group with lots to look forward to. And no doubt we will get to hear memories of Barcelona 1972 and Manchester 2008 (sanitised edition) as we go along. [Rangers*].

BRING. IT. ON. [Rangers*] 

This blog was brought to you in association with hard-working new charity ‘Brand Parity For Sevco’. Look out for their work in other – mainstream -publications. [Rangers*] 

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