One of the great clichés of Scottish football journalism is the gratuitous aggrandisement of one or other of the Ibrox-based football clubs. We have seen it time and time again.
For example, there was the fuss about the “world record attendance for a 4th tier game”. Or the remarkable claim (repeated almost every other sentence by the Evening Shark-Jump) that Sevco are about to “return” to top-flight football even though they have never previously played there.
The fantasies include the claim that Basket Of Assets FC has somehow won 54 league titles in less than four years, and is the World’s Most Successful ‘Club’. This really is a cracker and ought to come with a complimentary straitjacket.
Players are “starlets”, former players are called “legends” and “icons” or – in the case of Stuart McCall – “Stuart McCall”, and a series of goals from second-tier penalty spots saw Martin Waghorn being lauded as the ‘leading goal scorer in Britain’.
And on it goes: a transfer budget is a “war chest”. No transfer budget is also a “war chest”. ‘Real Rangers Men’ are seemingly imbued with a sacred quality that prompts a strange sort of deference and makes their every utterance worthy of note. Mark Warburton isn’t just a former City Trader who did OK as manager of Brentford before becoming unemployed and rocking up at Ibrox. No, Warbo is a genius whose every observation is like an addition to the Ten Commandments. And let us not forget that having won his first few games at Sevco, parts of the media were comparing Warbo’s record to that of Bill Struth!
However, the biggest false aggrandisement of all is the one which claims that stiffing creditors, liquidation and death is no biggie to a ‘club’ like Rangers*. They can ‘ditch and move on’ and absolutely no opprobrium will come their way. In fact, their grizzly death is something that has been completely airbrushed out of history! It really is jaw-dropping stuff that even Orwell and his good friend Keith Harris would struggle to dream up.
That said, the aggrandisement is not without its moments of outright comedy . Take this marvellous offering from today’s Daily Record, for example.
“MORE than 46,000 fans are expected to pack into Hampden for the Petrofac Cup Final next weekend.
Rangers take on Peterhead hoping to win the trophy for the first time after missing out in each of the last three seasons, and have sold just under 41,000 tickets for the clash, with 1,100 still available.
Meanwhile, the Blue Toon have sold 1,800 of their 3,500 allocation with 2,000 tickets going to sponsors and governing bodies.”
“With an almost sold out crowd, Record Sport Online have checked out some other matches with huge attendances.
UEFA Cup Final 2003 – Celtic in Seville
UEFA Cup Final 2008 – Rangers in Manchester
League Cup Final 2014 – Aberdeen at Celtic Park
Scottish Cup Final 2006 – Hearts at Hampden”
Yes, that’s right. The Daily Record carried a report about high ticket sales (but not a 52,000 sell-out) for the upcoming Sevco v Peterhead Petrofac Cup Final…. and then segued into a discussion of other games which attracted large numbers of fans. Such as the UEFA Cup finals attended by Celtic fans, and rioted at by Rangers fans.
No really, you didn’t misread that. The Record went from Petrofac to European finals faster than you can say “complete and utter piss-take”.
What an absolutely glorious cheek!