“Oh the agony! The desperate, aching NEED to pretend that Sevco is Rangers, and that Scottish football is still in the era of Sir David Murray, when the late unlamented lads in light blue were slugging it out at the top of the league (and hopefully prevailing) against high-spending Celtic.
We will forget that the Rangers side of that ‘golden era’ was funded by borrowing and ultimately not paying tax and other bills. But we will remember the ‘excitement’ of it all, and pretend that Scotland’s national sport had a meaning which was lacking prior to the late 1980s when pesky Aberdeen won European trophies, Dundee Utd reached a UEFA final and the domestic title was a hard-fought competition between numerous sides.
We will yearn for the ‘Old Firm’ freak show in which Scottish football became solely about two sides. One of which wasn’t even really trying to play fair.
Because that was a glorious period when a relentless stream of vacuous stories was available with which to feed the world’s most laughable superiority complex.
Nine-in-a-row? With Celtic not even remotely challenging for some of that spell? Nae bother! A brilliant era!
Turned tables with a struggling new club in the ‘Old Firm’ franchise? Scottish football is in the doledrums!”
The above is a summary of my perception of the attitude which I sometimes think underpins a great deal of the coverage of Scottish football by traditional media outlets. For the avoidance of doubt among the hard-of-thinking, it is expressed as an exaggerated parody (which some of you may have spotted is my preferred form of drivel-based output).
However, I suspect that many of you will agree that there is more that a kernel of truth in what The Clumpany says. [NB Note to Sevconians: Kernel Truth will NOT be appearing at Armed Forces Day… not least because he knows the truth of what liquidation means].
The Clumpany was moved to set out this perception because it is the only rational explanation for one of the most side-splittingly embarrassing press conference questions I have ever seen.
Before I go into the craziness of THAT particular question, let’s take a moment to be realistic. Football press conferences aren’t usually a modern-day equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition. You only have to watch one of the managers’ press conferences so beloved of Sky Sports News to appreciate that they are usually an exercise in the club fulfilling its contractual obligations and the press pack asking light questions to get enough material to fill airtime and column inches.
For the most part this is fair enough. With the best will in the world, the likes of Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew and Derek McInnes are not Plato, Einstein, or Martin Luther King, and football is only a game. No one really expects a football manager’s press conference to advance the cause of humanity.
Unless of course there are some serious issues or a genuine controversy to be addressed, in which case the press conference should be quite a feisty occasion. And who can forget all those times when the Scottish press pack gave Ally McCoist a torrid time for being an abysmal manager who talked nonsense?
[*Cough cough cough*].
So, all things being considered, a football manager’s press conference is no big deal. For the most part it represents the playing of a cosy game. And I say good luck to it!
However, once in a while, we get to hear something so utterly ludicrous that we can only gape in wonder. And so we come to the incident which prompted my musings at the beginning of this piece.
On Thursday 11 August 2016 Mark ‘Warbmeister’ Warburton was asked if Celtic paying out c£3.5m for Scott Sinclair was “a compliment to Rangers*”.
To be fair to Warbo, he brushed the question aside and sensibly said that Brendan Rodgers was rightly building his squad as he saw fit.
But what a question to be asking! Are parts of the press pack so hell-bent on conveying SDM-era ‘Rangersness’ (and therefore asserted ‘relevance’) on Sevco that they have to find an ‘only doing it through fear of the Rangers*’ angle to Rodgers’ transfer activities?
Is the ambition and imagination of the MSM’s coverage of our fantastic game so limited that it needs to try and dig for a cheap headline which suggests that Brendan Rodgers isn’t his own man, but someone running scared of Dave King and his Warchestless Wonders?
Still, if the press pack is of a mind to seek out compliments to Sevco, can I suggest some further questions for them to try?
“Is the UK government’s tightening of the tax code a compliment to the practices of ‘same club’ Rangers FC?”.
“Are increases in face painter fees a compliment to the incentivisation provided by ‘same club’ Rangers FC?”.
“Are the holes in the Ibrox roof an act of God so he can get a better view of games? Isn’t that a massive compliment to Rangers*? Wouldn’t it be an affront to the Almighty to undertake repairs?”.
Over to you lads…