Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Admirable Self-Restraint

Good Evening.

The Clumpany has greatly enjoyed the comments made this week by various folk associated with the ‘glorious’ EBT era of dead Rangers. Specifically, their views on whether Sevco should go on a spending spree to try and close the gap with Celtic.

A gap which apparently continues to close by the millisecond…

Closing The Sevco-Celtic Gap

The ‘No Sporting Advantage’ Triplets: Smith, Ferguson and McLeish, all had their say, with Smith providing the most entertainment by offering the following remarks:

“I think the gap is bigger now than it was in those early stages. And some of the other Scottish teams – Hearts, Aberdeen and Dundee United – were far better then than they are at the moment.

But for Rangers to get access to Champions League money they may have to take a gamble and risk going into debt.”

Regular readers will recall that guffawed heartily at his comments:

When Walter Smith Appeared On Bullseye

Barry Ferguson (taking a break from his constant wittering about the challenges of managing Clyde FC), and Alex McLeish were a little more realistic than Smith:

However, there was still some wailing about how a… errr… big… errr… historic… errr… successful… errr… ‘club’ like… errr… Sevco with its fanbase really ought to be challenging for the title.

But what of Warbo? The man in the Sevco hot seat, who finds his team 19 points  behind having played a game more than Celtic, and whose transfer budget seems to consist of the leftover foil from the Christmas chocolate coins. What does he make of it all?

As you might expect, this being a question about how much an Ibrox-based ‘club’ should spend, it was very easy for the press to ask. Unlike questions about the governance of the game, for example…

Here are some quotes from The Warbmeister, as reported by the Daily Record:

Smith wants chairman Dave King and Co to take a gamble in a bid to stop the Hoops marching towards 10 in a row.

But Warburton, who today takes his team to play a friendly against Bundesliga shock troops Red Bull Leipzig in Germany tomorrow, insists he won’t be influenced by what goes on at Parkhead.

And after the 2012 carnage, he’s adamant prudence is now the only way forward for the club.

He said: “I’ve got enormous respect for Walter and he’s a great help to me here. But from where this club has been, it’s important that it builds strong, solid financial foundations. In the current market, you can’t afford to buy your way out of trouble, spending money you haven’t got.

That’s not derogatory towards the club, far from it. But we’ve got to be very prudent in what we do going forward. If that means a bit of frustration, I’m sure the majority of the fans will understand that.

From where the club has been to where it needs to get back to – everything has to be done in an astute manner. The club was in a very perilous position. The chairman has come in with the board and steadied the ship.

We’ve moved forward and after the experiences of the last four or five years, we have to move at a pace appropriate for this club. We can’t be impacted by events or performances away from us. We have to look at Rangers. I think the fans have patience.”

I don’t believe I have seen “the 2012 carnage” used before as an alternative to “liquidation”, so fair play to the Record for its creativity.

Clearly, Warbo spoke much more cautiously than the ‘No Sporting Advantage’ Triplets, and on the face of it you could be forgiven for nodding your head and saying “blimey, that actually sounds sensible. Are you sure he is the manager of an Ibrox ‘club?'”.

But his remarks are arguably as detached from reality as those of the Triplets. Because they all talk as though the current position of Sevco is a stable one upon which further progress and some form of spending on players  (be it limited or extravagant) can occur.

This seems ridiculous! And you don’t even need to subscribe to apocalyptic internet rumours to take that view. You simply have to look at matters of record such as the RIFC accounts and other public comments by and on behalf of the ‘club’.

RIFC has a ‘going concern’ warning in its accounts, owes its directors millions of pounds which may or may not be converted to equity at some point, and is dependent on further loans to keep operating. And as we all know, its retail income is extremely modest, there are potentially expensive court cases looming, and the Chairman himself has felt moved to comment on the state of the stadium.

The truth of the matter is that for all Warbo talks about 

  • being prudent, 
  • building “strong, solid financial foundations” 
  • how they “can’t afford to buy their way out of trouble, spending money they haven’t got”
  • how “everything has to be done in an astute manner; and
  • moving “at a pace appropriate for this club”

…that is precisely NOT what has been happening since Sevco was founded in 2012. Regimes have come and gone, but the once constant is that the new Ibrox club has spent far more than it brings in. 

The approach is – by definition -unsustainable, and merely standing still (never mind trying to catch Celtic) is very likely to require yet more borrowing. Unless of course a sugar daddy investor suddenly shows up with a whopping great war chest and a generous nature. Something which hasn’t ever happened for any Ibrox club before…

Meanwhile, in other news, I plan to continue my prudent approach to Dry January tonight by drinking five bottles of Buckie which I borrowed from a neighbour.

I will also further my measured approach to weight loss by gorging on a massive pizza which I have on loan from an associate. 

Tomorrow, I plan to check on my carefully-planned campaign to save the rain forests by astutely sending a consignment of borrowed chainsaws to Brazilian logging companies.

And in a couple of days’ time, The Clumpany will continue the gradual rollout of its road safety campaign by driving through built-up areas at 100mph in a hire car. Again.

What could possibly go wrong?