Good Evening. [And please vote ‘Clumpany’!]
The Clumpany has heard rumours about some dramatic scenes late last night when Mark Warburton walked to the local shop to buy himself a respectful pint of milk to have on his respectful cornflakes this morning.
Apparently a group of passing journalists spotted the Emperor of Excellence, and marvelled at his talents and aura of greatness. There was even a respectful ripple of applause.
But then a young man standing in a doorway with a bottle of extremely strong booze and a Sevco scarf also noticed Warbo, took a deep breath and yelled out
“Oi! Russ Abbott. You’re shit! Five f*cking one! You can take Bella Emberg, Les Dennis and your f*cking shite ‘Atmosphere’ song and leave our club! FIVE F*CKING ONE!”
Warbo hastened about his respectful business and was soon back at home. But the group of journalists were struck by what they had heard. They murmured amongst themselves and agreed that one of them should phone their guru ‘James’ (who is apparently a Trainer or something) for guidance. The call was made, further conspiratorial chat ensued, and they all went their separate ways to type some distinctly negative copy…
Now, the above is only a rumour. It could simply be that the press pack has taken a dispassionate look at the state of things in Sevconia following Saturday’s crushing defeat to Celtic, and made up their own mind that the Emperor has no clothes after all. There is also an outside chance that someone in the Blue Room gave a nod of approval for hostile stories to be run about the world’s hitherto-greatest football manager. But you would have to be extremely cynical or paranoid to believe in such a possibility.
Whatever the case, the papers this morning made for very unpleasant reading if you were a noted wearer of a magic hat.
“I’ve read some of the comments. I told the players that I was warned not to read the papers, but I thought no, I will read the papers, and you see some of the poisonous, mischievous dialogue that is written, and that just burns in your memory and that is something we will use.”
Oh dear Mark.
And as for his claim that the new Glasgow derby on Saturday “wasn’t a 5-1 game”, The Clumpany thought it sensible to double-check. I therefore asked a specially-convened panel of independent football experts and mathematics professors to look into the matter.
Following several hours of deliberations their detailed response came back as follows:
“Yes it bloody well was 5-1. What is this roaster on about?”
So there you have it. Celtic did indeed beat Sevco 5-1.
There is a huge amount of comedy to be found in the spectacle of the Record and Evening Shark-Jump saying negative things about The Warbmeister. Yes of course it is not surprising that a heavy defeat to Sevco’s ‘title rivals’ should result in criticism of the manager. And as I said yesterday, Warbo’s transfer activity and team selections have certainly been ‘curious’. However, the nature and speed of the turnaround in Warbo’s status in the MSM is so dramatic that you can’t help but laugh out loud, and conclude that it says much more about the press than the former City Trader.
Most of us outside the Sevco cheerleading and supporting bubbles have long believed that Warbo is simply a decent manager who did pretty well last year in a division that he was expected to win given the resources at his disposal. But fair play to him, for large parts of last season his side played some quite attractive football while getting promoted, finally winning the Perpetual Failure Cup and reaching the Scottish Cup final having eliminated Celtic en route.
It was a pretty good first year in charge, but not much more than that. The fawning over Warbo, and his status as an official ‘breath of fresh air’ in Scottish football was ridiculous. However, coupled with the club’s own PR, and Celtic’s often turgid performances, it allowed the creation of a narrative which suggested that Sevco were on a charge to eclipse the Champions, and ultimately play in the Champions League.
Much of this crazy media bluster was based upon the brazen pretence that Warbo was actually managing Rangers. A pretence which often ignored the actual standard of Sevco’s opposition week-in and week-out, and which failed to consider the structural problems which were always likely to bedevil the future strengthening of the squad. Matters such as the availability of money, for example.
But now – almost overnight – there is talk of Warbo potentially being a “dead man walking”. There is even side-splittingly ironic sneering from the Daily Record about Warbo having go-to guys in the media:
“Sorry Mark but even your go-to guys at talkSPORT would struggle to put a positive spin on the embarrassment that unfolded for your team at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon.”
It’s almost as if the MSM coverage of events at Sevco isn’t about reporting and investigating what is really happening. It almost looks like an exercise in veering from one extreme to another depending upon which way the wind is blowing. You have to pity any Sevco fans who still rely on parts of the MSM for genuine insight into what is actually going on at their engine room subsidiary.
And poor Warbmeister! Football may be a fickle game, but he must be agog at how fickle the Scottish sports media must now appear. Before he knows what’s hit him they’ll be asking him a tough question at a press conference…
Hopefully he won’t get rattled…
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