Media, Satire, Scottish Football, Sevco

Dave King’s Finest Hour – A Guest Blog


Good Evening.

In a first for The Clumpany blog, today’s offering is brought to you by a guest writer.

Our very special analyst takes a look at Keith Jackson’s piece in today’s Daily Record. An article in which the eight-and-three-quarter times Journalist of the Year salutes Dave King’s total victory over His Big Mikeness, the ‘ruthless’ head of a multi-billion pound enterprise who clearly got where he is today by bowing and scraping to tax convicts and people undertaking Turner Prize-worthy protests in his shops.

So here is today’s guest blogger…

Meet Gary the Goldfish!

Now, I know what you are thinking.

Gary is a goldfish.

And you are correct in that keenly-observed deduction.

You are also probably thinking that goldfish aren’t very intelligent, have very short memory spans, and can’t read or write.

And you are right to point that out too.

However, none of these things are a barrier to systematically analysing Keith’s latest offering, as Gary is about to demonstrate. 😉

Keith’s article is reproduced below interspersed with Gary’s incisive comments.

Take it away Gary…

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Dave King’s finest Rangers hour and how we exposed the Mike Ashley deals that crippled club – Jackson

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

Record exclusives foiled a fat cat while Rangers chairman won his battle with Sports Direct chief.
[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

There was no mention of it in Dave King’s victory speech on Tuesday afternoon,

[Victory? So what is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

but as the Rangers* chairman announced the terms of the truce between himself and Mike Ashley – prompting a stampede on the club’s megastore – there was an even more significant reason for the club’s supporters to cherish.

[Is it that Big Mike isn’t getting anything out of it? – Gary]

It will all be ratified and made official in good time but Ashley, it appears, is not only loosening his iron-fisted grip on the club’s retail wing. He is also prepared to wash his hands of Rangers once and for all by dumping his personal shareholding of almost nine per cent.

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

And the moment that transaction is completed – when Ashley’s holding is picked up by fans’ groups and perhaps one other wealthy individual emotional investor – then King will have delivered on one of his key manifesto promises … to pull up the drains and cleanse this club from top to bottom.

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it while they are being ‘cleansed’. And did they not think of using bleach instead? – Gary]

King has had his critics on these pages over the last two years or so. He has not reacted well to being questioned or challenged even when his various statements and promises are clearly contradictory and, in some cases, absurdly disingenuous.

[I tell you what would be disingenuous: trumpeting a ‘victory’ for King without telling us what Big Mike is getting out of it – Gary]

But, regardless, let’s give credit where it is most certainly due where this long-running ruck with Ashley is concerned. King promised to fight this fight even if it took him until his last breath and on this crucial matter he has been as good as his word.

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? Has he just ‘surrendered’ and walked away to cry for a thousand years? – Gary]

And now, as a result of his tenacity, when Ashley hands over his shares, finally and at long last a sustained period of internal chaos and mean-spirited ugliness will come to a peaceful conclusion. 

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? And what happens if he doesn’t get it? Are there any ‘terms’ that the all-conquering King regime have to stick to? – Gary]

And, for a variety of reasons where the future for this football club is concerned, King will have scored a potentially game-changing win.

[Really? So what is Big Mike getting out of this new utopia? – Gary]

The removal of Ashley’s shadow will also sever a tie which links Rangers to one of the darkest and most dubious periods in the club’s history, when Charles Green threw open the front doors of Ibrox as if unlocking a sweetie factory and ushered inside all manner of greedy and grubby characters.

[So Big Mike is definitely out of the picture then? He is getting nothing out of his… err… retail deal? – Gary]

This list of individuals took it in turns to gorge themselves on whatever took their fancy. Waved on enthusiastically by a pair of big Yorkshire hands, they scooped up whatever had not been nailed down and emptied the club of millions upon millions of blue pounds.

[Blue pounds? Is that the currency that struggles to find its way to creditors? – Gary]

And no one man brought a bigger wheelbarrow to this ram raid than the man from Sports Direct. He did not become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs on the planet by failing to spot an opportunity when it presents itself. And Green was willingly handing this one to him on a silver platter.

[Yeah, because brand new businesses normally get to magic up a big retail operation themselves by simply saying ‘wibble’. – Gary]

Ashley, on the other hand, looked at Green and Rangers and saw a chance to screw them into the ground.

[‘Businessman spots opportunity to make a profit by providing a service that someone wants to buy’. It’s like witchcraft! – Gary]

It was Green and his gang of cohorts who welcomed the Newcastle owner and his bulging wallet in like some sort of saviour and with good reason too. It did not matter a jot to Green that Ashley was eyeing up Rangers’ most valuable assets like a lion looking at a raw pound of steak.

[Witchcraft I tell you! – Gary]

No, all that mattered to Green and his group was that Ashley – one of the biggest beasts in the business world – was prepared to have his name linked to their consortium and, by extension, the share issue which they were about to bring to the market in London. If an operator as shrewd as Ashley saw the financial sense in getting on board then all the city was likely to follow him in. And follow, follow they did. To the tune of £22.2million.

[Obviously Green should have ignored Big Mike and done a really shite and unsuccessful share offer rather than allying the new business to a major, highly successful, business with a track record in the City. – Gary]

What they did not realise, however, was that Ashley had already secured himself the sweetest deal of all by agreeing to give Green a sum of around £1m, months ahead of the December launch.

[For any particular reason? Or just for a laugh? Tell us Keith! – Gary]

After that, whatever Ashley wanted, Ashley simply took. 

[Are you suggesting Big Mike committed some sort of theft? – Gary]

This newspaper led the way in exposing a litany of secret deals which Ashley had struck with Green and which highlighted the grotesquely one-sided nature of his relationship with Rangers.

[Ooh, ‘secret deals’. Are they like… err… deals and contracts, and genuinely legal things? – Gary]

When he bought the naming rights of Ibrox Stadium for £1 we uncovered the detail and splashed it all over our back page.

[I love a good splash! Especially in my bowl. But even a goldfish like me can remember the days when a proper Daily Record back page was about billions rather than £1. – Gary]

We further infuriated Ashley’s camp when we revealed to Rangers supporters that the retail deal he had hatched with Green – a contract weighted in the favour of Sports Direct to eye-watering levels – also included a huge seven-year notice period. But he was only just getting started.

[That’s one of those freely-entered-into contract things again, isn’t it? – Gary]

By the time he had shoehorned his own people into the Ibrox boardroom in an attempt to stay in control of the club, Ashley was pretty much running riot behind the scenes – plundering everything he could get his hands on from the club’s badges and crests to ownership of the pitch and even Broxi the Bear.

[“Shoehorned?” Is that the same as ‘people being legitimately appointed to the board of a listed company’? – Gary]

[“Running riot”? “Plundering”? Was he a Viking doing illegal things? – Gary]

Ashley claimed it all as his own in return for a bunch of emergency handouts, some of which had to be forced through by a compliant board – in favour of alternative bailouts from far more friendly figures including Douglas Park and the Three Bears – in the final days and hours leading up to King’s successful coup.

[You mean a legitimately appointed board made a lawful decision to accept loans to keep the lights on, rejecting what they saw as an inferior alternative? Like thousands of other businesses have done before them? More witchcraft! They should have taken the money that the Record preferred!  – Gary]

It was at that point that Ashley’s long-term associate Derek Llambias decreed that this newspaper be barred from the premises. A banning order that we wore with honour.

[To be fair, the Order of the Ibrox Ban looked quite smart on the Record sports desk next to the malfunctioning radar. – Gary]

There is an irony in all of this and it will not be lost on a great deal of those who have observed this car crash most closely.
Now that King is in control he has taken obvious exception whenever this newspaper in particular has sought to hold him to account and live up to his promises of open and transparent governance.

[Do Goldfish cry? And can they hear the mournful sound of violins? I suspect I am about to find out. – Gary]

That is a dangerous, unhealthy form of leadership which smacks of a dictatorial approach. And it has caused him to clash with more than just Ashley and even the Daily Record. His ongoing conflict with the takeover panel provides the most potentially serious evidence of a combative streak which can sometimes do more damage than good to the best interests of his football club.

[Was that a decent point? I do believe it was! I better write it down in case I forget this special moment. – Gary]

But not on this occasion. Where the removal of Ashley is concerned, King’s stubborn dog-with-a-bone approach has proved absolutely crucial.

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

He might remain an absentee chairman for the rest of his time in charge. He might even miss more matches than he’ll ever attend. But, even so, Rangers may never claim a more vital victory than this.

[Yeah, but what is Big Mike getting out of his ‘defeat’? – Gary]

[Seriously. What is Big Mike getting out of it? – Gary]

[Because knowing what Big Mike is getting out of it seems to be a pretty crucial part of the story. And no one benefits from hearing a one-sided story do they? – Gary]

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I am sure all fellow Clumpaneers will join me in thanking Gary the Goldfish for his commentary, and will envy the fact that he has already forgotten ever reading Keith’s column… 😉

#KeepOnClumping