Media, Scottish Football, Sevco, SPFL

Land of Boak and Glory!

Good Evening.

The Clumpany considers itself fortunate to be floating around in the ether at a time when a piece like the one posted below has been written. In an actual newspaper.

Rangers can win the Premiership title this season – but will Mark Warburton’s side match the Ibrox expectations?

Seriously folks, even if you don’t usually like clicking on the Evening Shark-Jump’s links, you should really think about reading this article. It’s astonishing. A classic example of a very perculiar art form in which Scotland leads both this world and the Planet Sevconia.

As a serious piece of analysis of the season ahead in a prominent newspaper it doesn’t pass muster. As a staunch bit of context-free emotive cheerleading that wouldn’t look out of place in a fanzine it’s a veritable military parade complete with marching band. I could practically hear ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ playing when I read it. 

It actually manages to conclude its breathless dramatics with the “same-club’s” jaw-dropping and creditor-ignoring catchphrase “Going for 55”. And that’s not the only bit of liquidation-denial on offer. Aside from the customary suggestion that there is still an ‘Old Firm’ we also get the bogus claim of Sevco effecting a ‘return’ to somewhere they have never been…

“It took four years to complete ‘The Journey’ and for Rangers to take that final step back into the Premiership.”

And then there’s the baseless assertion which some could mistake for pandering to a sense of entitlement among the readership.

“Now a stride forward is required if they are to become the best team in Scotland once again. It will happen, but it is a question of when.”

This is a perspective offered without any real context or substantive analysis of the resources at the disposal of Sevco or any of their rivals. Or indeed of the internal handicaps Sevco may have to overcome. You know the sort of thing: a ‘going concern’ warning in the accounts, surviving on loans, limited commercial income from the troubled Sports Direct partnership, a stadium in need of repairs, and the seemingly never-ending saga of all kinds of courtroom action.

The heartstrings are tugged to comedic effect when discussing the trauma experienced by Sevco fans in recent years. You have to feel sorry for folk for whom memories of trophies won on the back of unpaid debts and taxes, and via systematic rule-breaking are the only crumbs of comfort:

“They have stood on the terraces in the freezing cold and driving rain, seen their side humbled by part-time teams on plastic pitches. They have also taken to the streets in protest and seen their efforts rewarded by arguably the most important change that has been made in a trying, testing and tumultuous period.”

“For many, only top spot will do. It is an expectation that comes from history, from the times when, year after year, Rangers were always in the mix for the league flag. It is what everyone at Ibrox became accustomed to, a state of mind passed through the generations and their default setting at the start of each season whether the manager was Struth, Wallace, Souness, Smith or Advocaat. All delivered, and now the pressure is on Warburton’s shoulders.”

I am sure the rest of Scotland’s football fans consider themselves extremely fortunate to have never stood in the cold and rain while their team loses to a lower league outfit on a plastic pitch. Sevco fans must almost feel victimised by the cruel hand that the weather and pitch-layers of Scotland have dealt them!

The piece perhaps unwittingly paints a picture of some Sevco fans being possessed of a unique combination of persecution and superiority complexes. I will leave others to judge whether that is a fair perspective.

The nearest we get to a realistic assessment of Sevco’s prospects in the ESJ piece is this profound insight:

“But it is the business Warburton has completed in the transfer market that means the title could be a realistic proposition. The squad that won the Championship was too good for the second tier but didn’t have the required experience, quality or depth to compete in the top flight. They are issues Warburton has smartly addressed, with the Englishman doing the majority of his deals before a competitive ball was kicked this summer.”

“There remains an uncertainty as to just how good Warburton’s side really are and how they will fare against a higher calibre of opposition week in week out. In that regard, only time will tell.”

Fabulous stuff! Although not as fantastic as this comprehensive review of Celtic’s relative strength when compared to Sevco: 

“The opportunity Celtic have squandered to put daylight between themselves and their Old Firm rivals.”

That’ll be the sort of ‘squandering’ that involves not stiffing 276 creditors, not being liquidated, and not relying on a rewriting of history to pretend that the ‘same club’ still exists. ‘Squandering’ which includes winning five honest titles in a row and running a sustainable operation. Yes, it’s a real bind being a Celtic fan!

Although perhaps not as big a bind as being a fan of any of the other ten Premiership sides. They don’t even seem to exist as far as this particular ESJ article is concerned.

Which is ironic really, given that Rangers themselves most certainly don’t exist! Except in the wildest of ‘Going for 55’ fantasies…