A Circled Squared

“My Name Is Norman … I Am A Rangers Fan …”

Image for “My Name Is Norman … I Am A Rangers Fan …”


Today sees us write another chapter in the barmy saga of Sevco Rangers FC.

Sevco Rangers board has announced that it will contest the results of an SFA appeal panel, which has decided to with-hold £250,000 from them, which was imposed on the club as part of the mysterious Five Way Agreement.

Their rationale for filing the appeal is … somewhat unusual. They’re saying they’re not liable for it … as it applies to an entity that no longer exists.

I happen to agree with them on this. That fine should never need to be paid. The club it was imposed on is dead, and gone, and the only way it’s coming back if is the Zombie Apocalypse arrives, and it infects football teams.

My believing they have a case doesn’t really matter though … what matters is this; their primary argument isn’t with the SFA.

It’s with themselves.

This is the all-too predictable outcome of trying to live half in and half out of reality.

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about this, in The Scarlett Letter, this madness of trying to wear two faces, two contradictory identites.

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

George Orwell wrote about the same phenomenon, in 1984. He called it Doublethink.

He described it as “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies …”

It must be taxing. It must be mind-bending. It is surely dangerous to one’s mental state.

As good as Hawthorne and Orwell are, though, it’s another piece of literature I keep returning to when I think of this situation. It’s a piece by the prolific, and often brilliant, Robert Bloch, the one Alfred Hitchcock made into a tremendous, genre defining film. I refer, of course, to Psycho.

Sevco, and their fans, are to football investment what Norman Bates is to the budget hotel trade. It’s only fitting they more and more come to resemble him.

Norman, you see, was a guy with a problem. The problem was Mother. They would argue constantly, fighting over such things as occupancy rates, the linen and, on occasion, Norman’s taste in women.

Those were the worst fights. She would often get very angry during those. That’s normal though. We all go a little mad sometimes.

Not quite mad enough to kill, but that’s another story ….

Norman’s real problem, of course, wasn’t really Mother … not in the way you’d think. Norman’s problem was that Mother was dead.

Mother had been dead for a long time. Mother, in fact, had been murdered, by Norman himself. He stole her body from the grave. Then, wracked in guilt and confusion, he had turned over half of his life to pursuing a dark fantasy; that Mother still lived. That Mother was still there. He would dress in her clothes. He would speak in her voice. He would give her half of everything he was.

Now, there were times when he could be mostly Norman … and times when he could be mostly Mother. Indeed, there could be times when he was simply all Mother.

But there were never times when he was all Norman.

Therein lies his tragedy, and that of the Sevco supporters who cling to a similar set of beliefs.

Their club died. You can argue that they killed it themselves, with their lack of proper scrutiny, their inability to mobilise, their rejection of any facts they didn’t like or found unpalatable.

Wracked with grief, and guilt, they clung to the notion that it had never happened, although they created elaborate fantasies about potential conspirators and their involvement in the deed.

They even created a mythical killer, like Ed Exley does in LA Confidential, a Rollo Tomassi … a phantom.

They didn’t give him a name, simply a monicker. The Unseen Fenian Hand.

Like most mythical figures, the power of The Hand is beyond comprehension to mere mortals, or, as we call them, normal people, those wired to reality, instead of to the moon.

These dark fantasies sustained them through years of torment and anguish. They were the shield against a harsh world, and cold truth.

They helped sell them on nutty ideas such as “recapitalisation of the club”, on “saviors on white chargers”.

None of it did them any good. Indeed, it set them up to be fleeced and robbed and conned on a hitherto unprecedented scale.

Still they clung to the fiction … with only the occasional chink of real life intruding on them.

They dressed in the dead club’s shirt. They even took its name. They sang its songs and even used the same cute nicknames they’d once given it.

The Teddy Bears. Fantasy cartoon fictions, to help them sleep at night.

There were a couple of tiny hairs in the soup …

The first was that, as with Mother, such delusions bring hidden dangers. Mother had never been “right in the head”. She’d always been a bit … out there. So when Norman gave her half his life, he took onboard all her anger, her frustration, her jealousy and her rage. It was the same with the Sevconians. Their inability to let go haunted them. The baggage associated with Rangers was ported over whole.

Financial irresponsibility. A superiority complex. Bigotry and bile.

The confusion manifests itself in many ways, but most tragic is this;

There are times when they are mostly Rangers. There are times when they are mostly Sevco. Indeed, there are times when, if you believe them, they are all Rangers.

There are no times when they are simply all Sevco. This madness doesn’t allow them to break free, or to move on.

They are to be pitied more than feared, unlike Norman. You would have gone for a beer with him, maybe … but you wouldn’t have spent a night at his motel.

Theirs is a tragic, dark fairy tale … a warning to other football clubs and football fans.

Scottish football continues to be haunted by this too, in the way the people of Fairvale are haunted by Norman and Mother.

This contradictory fantasty land in which they dwell continues to warp our landscape.

Sooner or later, we need to return to sanity, and face the truth.

What’s dead is gone and is no more.

Things can’t go on like this … it’s … insane.

Share this article


  • stuhoy says:

    Heard a new film was being made about TRIFC starring Craig Whyte as lead ing actor – MR DEEDS pmsl

  • Larrybhoy says:

    Definitely insane… They’re not all there !

  • Ian Baillie says:

    Good article James, keep spreading the truth and perhaps some of the non believers will cotton on, although I very much doubt it, not with the SMSM in full denial mode and a sympathetic SFA, anyhow it’s good enough for me.HH.

  • Charlie says:

    Cognitive dissonance is the phrase that sums it up

  • NicebutDim says:

    Fantastic insight and description of current and past problems.
    Led me to this description of DID as it may apply to the current and past Board members.
    Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) is a mental disorder on the dissociative spectrum characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior, and is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness. These symptoms are not accounted for by substance abuse, seizures, other medical conditions, nor by imaginative play in children. Diagnosis is often difficult as there is considerable comorbidity with other mental disorders. Malingering should be considered if there is possible financial or forensic gain, as well as factitious disorder if help-seeking behavior is prominent.

    The issue referred to as ‘malingering’ due to the gains or losses depending on what they’re arguing for or against is relevant. However we should also note Norman let a pile of money slip into the swamp in his haste to dispose of Marion Crane’s corpse.
    Another similarity between Norman and Sevco/Oldco..?

  • James Joseph says:

    Well written James. Grief and it’s stages of acceptance are often ugly at best.

  • Paul says:

    Nice correlation there James. Well written.

Comments are closed.