You won’t be surprised to read The Clumpany commenting on THAT piece by Keith Jackson today. I say “THAT piece” because a number of others have already written about it (see James Forrest’s excellent article, for example), and because it has the potential to acquire longer-term notoriety.
The general thrust of the piece was reasonable enough: that a number of the ‘big names’ in Scottish football – plus Sevco (apparently) – have been getting their house in order by improving their teams and sorting out their finances.
But it was the starting point of the piece that was utterly laughable. Really, really gut-wrenchingly preposterous:
“FORGET the big freeze. Scottish football is about to feel the heat again at long last.
The ducking and diving being carried out in the January sales is the clearest indication yet that, finally, the phoney war is almost over. And that very soon we won’t have to fake it anymore.
For four years now, since the financial meltdown at Ibrox, the national sport has been effectively neutered and robbed of its own self-esteem, as well as any sense of genuine competition, but change is on the way. You just need to take a look round the country to see what’s coming.”
Simply saying “oh dear” doesn’t seem anywhere near adequate on this occasion.
The headline suggested that it was the weather which prompted Keith to come up with the ‘freezing’ rhetoric. But I am not so sure. Such is the bizarre nature of his central premise that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that inspiration came from a terrifying polar bear marauding around the Record offices, or perhaps from a flock of penguins sitting on Keith’s desk. All taunting him by carrying placards stating that “Rangers died”. 😉
Who knows? But something certainly seems to have caused an upset!
The mentions of phoney war and faking it give the distinct impression that Scottish football has merely been pretending to be a sport since [*cough*] Rangers’ “financial meltdown”. A phrase which can now take pride of place as Exhibit 5,000,001 in the pantheon of Minced Words to Avoid Speaking the Truth about Rangers…
Try telling fans of clubs who have reached Cup finals, won promotion or competed in playoffs over the past four years that it’s all been phoney and fake, and that there hasn’t been any genuine competition. And try asking Celtic fans if they have savoured their recent top-tier titles any less than previous ones.
The very notion is pretty insulting to every club, player, backroom staff member and fan in Scottish football.
However, the most ridiculous element of the piece’s premise was the assertion that “since the financial meltdown at Ibrox, the national sport has been effectively neutered and robbed of its own self-esteem”.
Neutered?! Robbed of its self-esteem?!
The game effectively became an empty spectacle when Rangers fatally drove itself off a cliff?!
The rest of the game became consumed by self-doubt?! With no one able to look themselves in the mirror because there was no longer a Rangers to give their now-pathetic lives in football some meaning?!
Run that one by me again, Keith! Are you suggesting that the ‘return’ of a Rangers*-flavoured outfit to the top flight is the essential ingredient necessary to give our national sport some spark?
There’s no other way?
[*Pauses to guffaw*]
This all sounds like the ‘Armageddon’ forecast in 2012 actually happened. I must have missed it on account of enjoying our national sport week-in and week-out.
I wonder what Keith was doing during that time? The premise of today’s piece suggests that he wasn’t watching any Scottish football! 😉