So, Dundee player Gary Harkins engaged in a bit of (apparently good-natured) banter yesterday. He said that he has never played Rangers* before on account of them being a new club.
Big deal, eh?
Well unfortunately “man speaking truth about Scottish football” is a big deal, and that’s a damning indictment of parts of the mainstream media, the people who run our game, and the small vindictive mob who can’t bear the thought of folk not conforming to their world-view at every moment of every day.
I first saw Harkins’ comments in the Daily Record, which described them like this:
“GRINNING Gary Harkins has taunted Rangers by branding the Ibrox outfit a new club. The Dundee ace is looking to set up a Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with the Govan side by dumping Dumbarton in their fifth round replay at Dens tomorrow night.
Mischievous midfielder Harkins couldn’t resist lobbing in a grenade to wind up Gers who vigorously maintain they are the same club following liquidation in 2012.”
To be fair, Michael ‘Mr’ Gannon does preface the remarks by pointing out that Harkins was ‘grinning’, to indicate that there was no provocative malice involved. However, it is worth remembering that Harkins’ comments could only be viewed as “taunting” and “mischievous” if this Daily Record front page was a lie:
Which of course it wasn’t!
I laughed out loud at the phrase “vigorously maintain they are the same club following liquidation in 2012” which is so utterly bonkers that I actually felt sorry for the keyboard involved in its composition.
But these are the kinds of contortions the media now finds itself undertaking to avoid acknowledging that Rangers drove itself off a cliff and a brand new club was set up from its dismembered body parts, and then rushed into the game in 2012.
A simple truth, which is Kryptonite (or, more accurately, Sevconite) in Scotland 2016.
What a farce. What a national embarrassment.
The governing bodies don’t help: being party to a secret 5-Way Agreement, devising the hitherto-unknown artifice of a ‘conditional SFA membership’, and then transferring Rangers’ membership to Sevco… all to maintain a pretence of ‘continuity’ because their imagination couldn’t stretch to having a game without Rangers in it.
Neil Doncaster famously stated that Sevco was the ‘same club’ at the start of 2015, pointing to some unspecified and context-free part of the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission, while ignoring juicy quotes from its report such as “Rangers ceased to be a club”. He also neglected to note that the only support Sevco received when seeking entry to the SPL was a vote from… errr… Rangers (IL)!
Stewart Regan spoke of the ‘same club’ issue as being one to discuss in the pub, without pausing to note UEFA Article 12 which is very clear that a ‘club’ must be a legal entity. It can’t be a floating, ethereal haze of pish as has been suggested in court recently (much to the entertainment of presiding judges). It has to be a legal entity, and where there is legal form, liquidation means death…
Clearly the Scottish football authorities would much rather pretend that Sevco is Rangers. It suits them in numerous ways. But is a lie. They know it, and no amount of twisting and obfuscation will ever bring Rangers back from that cold mortuary slab.
As we all know, the guff from the media and the spinelessness from the football authorities add fuel to the fire of a colossal misplaced sense of grievance among a vocal and hostile section of Sevco fans. People for whom the simple truth of 2012 – with its bursting of a grossly inflated-but-baseless superiority complex – is too difficult to bear. People for whom lashing out is the only response they know.
It is in this context that Gary Harkins’ perfectly reasonable bit of truth-based banter is absolute Sevconite. The anguish in parts of Sevconia this morning is palpable.
If past experience is anything to go by we will now see some of the following happen:
- Harkins will be put under pressure to apologise, will receive a lot of abuse and attempts to trash his reputation.
- His manager will be asked questions at a press conference, where the (expected) correct response will be “the lad is wrong, Rangers* are still the same club”.
- One or other Sevco fans’ groups will issue a statement branding Harkins a disgrace, levering in a mention of sectarianism, calling on the SFA Compliance Officer to take action, and suggesting that Dundee should sack him.
- Sneering remarks about Harkins and ‘new clubbers’ from some media commentators; and (just possibly)
- A statement from Sevco themselves, noting their ‘inviolable’ ‘history’, and asserting that the issues raised by Harkins have already been ‘resolved’.
As I said above. What a farce. And what a country!
Keep speaking the truth Gary, and…