Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Dave King: Reluctant Hero


Good Morning.

The Clumpany loves a massive coincidence.

Last night, my sometime alter-ego Phil Mac Giolla Bhain suggested looking out for pieces in the mainstream media suggesting that Dave King is an unvalued leader, that he has done his best to rescue the ‘club’ he loves from the clutches of evil men, and that he has put his money where others would not.

Here is the piece in question:

The sad story of the unloved King

You can therefore imagine my absolute shock to see this piece on the Evening Shark-Jump website today:

The article is one of the Shark-Jump’s finest offerings in some time. And while not quite of the standard of the now-legendary Let’s Not Bother With The Champions League piece from earlier in the season, it is still a cracker.

Here are some quotes from it which are so tasty that a Michelin-starred chef would be proud to serve them in their restaurant. As you might expect, I have taken the considerable liberty of providing a running commentary.

“FOR some, it would be a dream job. For Dave King, it has been a chore that he could have done without.

But, while there is work to be done and he remains the best man to do it, Ibrox will continue to be his home from home.

King may not spend much time in Glasgow, although he is here more often than he would like, but he makes the most of every flying visit from South Africa.”

Even three sentences in, you can’t help but feel Dave is a real martyr to the glorious Rangers* cause!

“King has made a headline or two during his involvement with Rangers and his latest public utterances were no different. Whenever he speaks, the noise level rises. Whether you agree or disagree with him, King has a captive audience.”

I think the author actually meant “captivated” audience. What’s more, I wonder whether that particular sentence might be autobiographical…

And as for “a headline or two”, presumably those headlines include

  • the time King advised the creditors of the late Rangers FC to reject the CVA, and consign his beloved club to oblivion,
  • his tax-related convictions,
  • his pronouncements about investing his children’s inheritance and having a Nomad lined up; and
  • that time he suggested he didn’t regard the £5m Sports Direct loan as a loan, before… errr…  eventually paying it back?
  • Etc etc etc.

“Yet his words were delivered with a calmness and authority that would be expected from a man in his position at Ibrox.”

Oh my! How unbelievably sycophantic does that sentence sound? Just because someone is in a senior position at Ibrox you would “expect” them to possess calmness and authority?

Personally, I would expect such a person to have a convincing explanation about how 276 creditors can be stiffed for millions and yet a liquidated football ‘club’ can continue unaffected. 

But I am yet to hear one!

“King brushed aside questions about the ruling from the Takeover Appeal Board, a verdict that ordered him to make an offer of 20p per share to all Ibrox investors after he was adjudged to have acted ‘in concert’ during his rise to power two years ago.”

“Brushed aside questions”. The Scottish sports media in a parallel universe would actually view that as quite worrying, and would seek to get to the bottom of 

  • what the ruling actually meant, 
  • how much of a problem it really could cause for King and Sevco; and 
  • whether the apparently very rich Chairman has the cash to fund the share offer, and can get it out of South Africa.

But sadly we do not live in that parallel universe…

“King may be playing the part of a reluctant saviour but his role in the Light Blue rebuilding job is as important now as it was when he, Paul Murray and John Gilligan won the lengthy boardroom war.

There are still battles to be fought, however. And, right now, King is the man that Rangers need to lead from the front.”

“Reluctant saviour”! No doubt Phil Mac Giolla Bhain had a hearty chuckle when he saw that particular phrase…

And for those who enjoy the Sevco fixation with all things military, you can only applaud the use of “war”“battles”, and “leading from the front”. It’s a wonder the article didn’t include a photoshop picture of King abseiling off the Ibrox roof with a match ball.

“The lengthy litigation head-to-head with Mike Ashley continues to take up the majority of King’s time when he deals with Rangers issues. Every week, there are hundreds of emails to be addressed and hours are spent on the phone.”

OMG! Hundreds of emails and hours on the phone! King can consider himself truly unfortunate to labour in the modern-day equivalent of the salt mines, while much of the rest of the world’s population has it easy as they… errr… deal with hundreds of emails and… errr… spend hours on the phone.

Let’s pause there and take a moment to reflect on Dave’s selfless sacrifice…

No sniggering at the back, please.

“Yet King remains undeterred.”

Phew! I bet he even opens the odd letter and uses a stapler and some paperclips from time to time!

What a hero!

“He is determined to find a solution that benefits Rangers and allows them to normalise their retail operation.”

There’s that loaded language again. Language which suggests that there is something inherently wrong in a retail deal which may well have been freely entered-into at a time when new club was not in a strong bargaining position. I wrote about this yesterday following a hefty slice of wibblery from the Sunday Mail:

How It All Went Wrong For Mike Ashley

“His admission that Rangers could do a ‘proper’ kit launch this summer gave supporters hope that they will finally feel able to purchase merchandise once again. The financial benefits for Rangers would be considerable and it would be another marker post passed on the road to recovery.”

I think that in the absence of any actual evidence, and the continuation of Sports Direct’s legal action at the High Court in London, the word “admission” should be replaced by “unchallenged assertion”.

“King doesn’t need to be in Glasgow to run Rangers* and he doesn’t need to be chairman to invest in Rangers. Right now, his time and effort are just as important as his money.”

The financial burden at Ibrox continues to fall on King and the likes of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor. They are investors that King can trust, fans that Rangers can rely on.

“King and the likes of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor”.

It would be fascinating to know how that burden is continuing to be distributed, so we can ascertain quite how heroic each of them is being. It would also be good to know 

  • why King feels he can trust the Three Bears and not other non-Real Rangers* Men; and 
  • how the Ursine Triumvirate feel about King.

Oh yes. And it may also be worthwhile to query why the investors aren’t insisting on a policy of the ‘club’ living within its means. Even if that meant mid-table mediocrity for Sevco. It is a strange spectacle to witness people being applauded for running a football business on a “throwing money into a black hole (for now)” basis. Especially when – one way or another – UEFA rules on Financial Fair Plan will undoubtedly bite Sevco one day.

“All of their contributions are crucial. The ongoing involvement from King is the most important of all, though, and his commitment to the cause was perhaps the most heartening message of the lot for supporters.”

Yet more evidence-free assertion! Why is King’s involvement the most important, and why is his apparently-reluctant commitment the most heartening for supporters? 

Because the author says so? 

The Clumpany gets that the article is an opinion piece, but that doesn’t mean its claims and apparently upbeat pishery can’t be challenged with a call for evidence!

So there we have it. A massive, and highly entertaining coincidence.

Perhaps if Phil predicts that the Scottish sports press will run a series of hard-hitting critical pieces about Sevco by way of balance, we will see another – more welcome – coincidence unfold?