Seven Stories Of Sheer Ibrox Idiocy

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Click on the picture to begin our look at the stupidity of the Peepul …


With the publication of Sevco’s accounts yesterday, their fans are again reeling at having been taken for a ride by chancers who promised the world but delivered very little.

It’s happened to them so often now that you’d think they’d be used to it, but moments like this still hit them like a hammer.

For all that, they remain highly resistant to truth and any version of events which doesn’t gel with their self-image and level of expectation.

Whilst yesterday’s news sent shockwaves through their support, Dave King knows he only has to throw them a bone in the next day or two and all that will be forgotten.

He sat on a board run by a man who was an absolute master at it.

No other group of football fans anywhere in Britain goes through as much turmoil and mental torment as the followers of the Ibrox sides. A growing line of con artists and wide boys has shuffled up to their stadium in recent years, first to pick clean the carcass of Rangers and then to feast on the sagging flesh of the Newco.

Here, we take a look at seven moments of total idiocy at Ibrox, when the club did things that were beyond belief and fans either refused to believe the truth when they were being told it straight or they embraced obviously fantasy and madness as if were Holy Writ.

Oh what fun we’ve had throughout the years ….

Director Hugh Adams Tells Them The Club Is Spending More Than It Can Afford. Fans Don’t Want To Hear It. Media Doesn’t Want To Know.

Hugh Adams

Way back in the 1980’s, whilst a lot of people were taking credit for the rebuilding of Ibrox and the club’s growing position, few people in the outside world were aware that much of it was due to a quiet, unassuming Rangers director named Hugh Adams, a man who had built the Rangers Pools operation into a multi-million pound earner and who later founded the Rangers Lottery.

Adams oversaw the Ibrox rebuilding job, and he believed in the responsibility of directors to see that the company was run in a sustainable way.

In that, he soon came into conflict with the man who had just bought the club, David Murray.

For years, the “entrepreneur” teased the Scottish media and bewitched the club’s fans with hugely expensive signings, taking the club from being a challenger in Scotland to being, arguably, the biggest club in the country with Celtic on the wane.

Only Hugh Adams realised that it was all built on sand.

First, he knew that outside of Scotland the well was pretty much dry.

He had conducted a worldwide supporter’s survey as part of his remit, and found that the great myth of a global Rangers Family was ludicrously overblown.

What he found, instead, was that much of the Scottish diaspora around the world not only wasn’t terribly predisposed towards the club but actually loathed them instead. Most of the rest didn’t give a damn for Scottish football at all.

The handful of Rangers fans who were out there, spread across North America mainly, with little outposts in Australia and elsewhere, weren’t all that interested in “investing”, knowing, as most of them did, the folly of putting money into football here.

Adams knew the spending levels couldn’t be maintained; that debts would rise to the point where they were unsustainable and that the club would eventually be faced with hard choices if it wasn’t to collapse completely.

He knew Murray was little more than a braggart and a showman; there was no evidence that he was as smart in business as the media liked to say.

Of course, Adam was proved right in everything he said, but at the time getting the press to take him seriously and getting the fans to listen at all was like getting cats to dance in a straight line.

When he died on 29 December 2012, most of the press agreed that he’d been right all along and all of his obituaries made that point.

Of course, by then it was too late; the club itself had been liquidated and had already been buried in front of him.

Moonbeams From Murray: Casinos And Floating Pitches Are All The Rage For A While Down In Govan … Before Reality Set In And Spoiled The Party.


In 2005 and then again in 2008 David Murray, who was a master at sleight of hand and distraction from very real problems inside his “empire”, sold the Rangers fans on two of the biggest loads of cobblers that have ever found their way into the sports pages of national newspapers here in Scotland, and that really is saying something.

His “Moonbeams” were, of course, never to be realised, as they were astronomical flights of fancy, sheer bollocks to use the Glaswegian vernacular, wholly unrealisable pie in the sky which had about as much chance of coming to pass as Gretna had of winning the Champions League.

But for a while they did their job, distracting the media from very real issues that were bubbling away under the surface, and convincing their supporters that a new day was just around the corner and that everything was going to be alright.

The first of these schemes, birthed in September 2005, was heralded as the work of a visionary who Scottish football should have been in awe of. Back then, his club was reeling from a dreadful start to the season under Alex McLeish, and Celtic were just starting to find their feet under Gordon Strachan. Debt levels at Rangers had begun to sour; Murray needed something to keep the fans calm whilst he and his bankers worked something out.

So in between spending his week day filling out thousands of lottery tickets and spending his weekends watching, with his hands over his face as Big Eck contrived to blow the league, he capitalised on a government proposal, contained with the Gambling Act 2005, to build a number of “super casinos” around Britain.

On 21 September, the newspapers breathlessly reported that “planning permission had been granted” for the club to build one of those casinos at the ground. Ibrox was to be transformed with a phalanx of hotels and shops, all of which would see cash flow into the coffers of the club. There was even a nice wee conceptual drawing of what it would all look like.

The media, and their fans, went ga-ga over the idea. Murray said it would rejuvenate the whole area, spinning himself as a social leader. Only in Scotland could an obvious charlatan who was going to bring a massive gambling operation to a deprived area, sucking the life out of the place a drop at a time, be hailed as a hero by the press. Only Rangers fans could have been convinced that something like this wasn’t only feasible but actually on its way to being realised.

And of course it was a joke.

The planning permission was subject not only to final approval from the UK government, who had to decide which city the casino was going to, but the council hadn’t even approved Ibrox as the location for it. The funding that was supposed to be in place came with more conditions than Tiger Woods’ pre-nuptial agreement. Even if Glasgow had made the short-list (it didn’t, the casino project itself never happened; it was awarded to Manchester just in time for Gordon Brown’s government to dump the idea completely) Ibrox wouldn’t have been the location.

I confirmed that with a Glasgow City Council insider at the time. He told me that the feasibility meetings were more about Rangers asking the council to give them assurances that it could be done than it was about them offering those to the city. “They never convinced us,” he said. “They had barely convinced themselves.”

But they convinced the media, and they convinced the fans.

Not content with taking the supporters for a ride like that once, Murray pulled an even greater fantasy out of the hat three years later, the “moonbeam” itself, when he got the media to run the most ridiculous story of them all, the one that will characterise his bombastic leadership style more than any other except one. (We’ll get to it, don’t worry!).

This was the plan for “Blue Heaven”, its cost estimated at £700 million.

I wrote one of my earliest website articles on that “proposal”, under the name Che Timvara (that article is still online, it’s called What In Blue Heavens …) and in it I was able to do what was, apparently, beyond the abilities of the Scottish media. I was able to demonstrate, clearly, that this scheme had more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.

And why were they pulling this ridiculous nonsense, about floating pitches, retractable roofs and 10,000 more seats than Celtic Park out of the hat?

Well, Murray was under pressure to sell the club. The bank was already feeling the first icy fingers of the global financial crisis (and remember, this stupid scheme was being proposed at a time when those fingers were already closing around the throats of investment houses and even governments) and his business empire was leaking red ink everywhere. The club hadn’t won a trophy in two seasons. They’d just parted company with Paul LeGuen.

The whole thing was sheer nonsense. That Murray was able to get the media even to run bollocks like this speaks volumes about the succulent lamb culture.

More amazingly was that fans seemed to believe it, and many of them still do.

Some of them actually think that without the global financial crash that this would all have come to pass. More amazing than that, some of them actually blame a conspiracy of “Glasgow Catholic Council” and the Labour government for deliberately wrecking it, pointing to the plans for the Commonwealth Games as “proof.”

It just goes to show that you can fool some of the Peepil all of the time.


The Bank That Liked To Say Yes Says “Piss Off”. The Rangers Fans React In Petulant Fury And The Bank Makes Murray Sell To Whyte Just To Get The Club Off Its Hands.


In October 2009, Walter Smith spoke to the media ahead of a Rangers game and told a shell-shocked Chick Young what a number of Celtic websites and writers (including me) had been saying for months, and which the club had been denying; Lloyds Bank had put one of its representatives on the board and they were effectively “running the club.”

We had been alerted to this possibility the moment HBOS had been bought by the Lloyds Banking Group. It was a well-known fact that inside HBOS a tiny cabal had been giving their mates money like Willi Wonka handing out chocolate; no-one believed Lloyds would do the same.

When a seemingly innocuous press release had announced that Donald Muir, one of their trouble-shooters, had been appointed to the Rangers board, the writing was on the wall.

Rangers’ fans reacted in total disbelief, which turned to bafflement when David Murray Jnr spoke to the media the following day and “clarified” Smith’s remarks. Nobody was fooled by the artful way he tried to reframe the discussion; the bank were in charge, and everyone knew it.

From that moment on they started to squeeze the club to make cuts.

Smith and others inside Ibrox resisted.

At the height of it, their supporters realised the state they were in and from that moment began to pressure Lloyds point-man to leave them alone.

With the winds of the financial crisis blowing through every bank in the land, it wasn’t surprising that the Black Horse weren’t willing to pick up where HBOS had left off; what was amazing was that the Rangers fans were too dumb to realise that the only reason the club hadn’t already gone to the wall was that Muir was trying to cut enough to make that un-necessary.

Their supporters didn’t want to hear that, no matter how many times people tried to tell it to them.

They organised protests and demonstrations. They began closing their accounts. They started to harass their local branches. Politicians jumped in to criticise the bank for having the temerity to ask that Rangers pay back the enormous loans HBOS had granted them.

In the end, the Lloyds Banking Group told Murray he had to sell the moment a buyer came along.

In spite of months of newspaper rumours linking everyone from Russian gangsters to Ulster Loyalists with takeover bids, it was a guy called Whyte who finally surfaced.

Although his bona fides weren’t confirmed, and although there were doubts, even on the Rangers board, that he had the cash to take the club forward, Donald Muir and his people had plainly had enough of the club and they told Murray he had to sell.

For all we know, they might even have given Whyte a loan of the quid.

The rest, as they say, is history and the intolerant behaviour of the Rangers supporters towards the people who were keeping on their lights is a big part of the reason Sevco can’t find a bank willing to extend them a line of credit, anywhere in the UK, even today.

Murray Utters His “For Every Fiver Celtic Spend …” Nonsense. Celtic Spend £6 Million On Chris Sutton And Murray Spends £12 Million On Flo. Fans Lap It Up. The Bomb Is Primed For A Future Detonation.


Fergus McCann has always aroused strong emotions in people.

From the old Celtic board, who he saw off with quick wit, ridicule and a bag of money; to the Three Amigos who departed, making Celtic a profit, without getting “one thin dime”; to Jim Farry, who he pursued all the way to the courts; and to the Celtic fans who horribly, shockingly, booed him at Celtic Park when he unfurled the league flag, most of whom now realise the magnitude of their error …. This guy could drive some people to madness, and others to expressions of devotion.

I love the wee guy, and I always did. He’s the Godfather of the modern Celtic I grew up with and saved it from a fate like the one that swallowed Rangers.

For all that, no individual was as affected by Fergus, and what he did, than David Murray. The man with the bunnet breezed into Celtic Park with a plan; that plan was brilliant and succeeded beyond any of our dreams. It created a new stadium, brought back our league title and usurped Murray’s club as the biggest in the land.

Murray was foaming at the mouth over all this. He had been upstaged, and in fine style. In 1998, even as Fergus was preparing to depart, Murray went out and brought Dick Advocaat to his club and sat down with Jim Traynor for one of the most sycophantic, and iconic, media interviews of all time; we call it the “succulent lamb” dinner. Traynor, who hadn’t yet “succumbed to the wine” breathlessly reported it to the world.

One of the key paragraphs, which few seem to recall, was when Murray said that “whoever takes over from Fergus had better have very deep pockets.”

He amplified this statement a short time afterwards, in another he made to a journalist, one that became justifiably famous.

“For every fiver Celtic spend,” he said, “we will spend ten.”

Murray was many things, but on this occasion he was true to his word. A braggart who believed in action, there wasn’t really much doubt in our minds that he meant it. In the two years that followed we saw ample evidence that he hadn’t been bluffing.

In fact, he outspent us by three or four to one, rather than the ratio he had promised.

In 2000, we took the plunge by appointing Martin O’Neill boss.

He had asked for, and been assured of, the money to take the fight to Rangers in a way the club never had before. He nailed his colours to the mast early, when he told the board he was spending a whopping £6 million of it on the English striker Chris Sutton, who had gone to Chelsea and been a dismal failure.

Dermott Desmond thought this was a mistake; Martin told him to mind his own business, and reminded him that the manager ran the show. I remember thinking it was a crazy amount of money to spend on one player.

But Martin knew his stuff; Sutton was a menace to defences here in Scotland. He teamed up magnificently with Larsson. He gave us a physical edge we hadn’t had in years, and his stock soared with a double in his first game against Advocaat’s side.

Murray’s humiliation over that was near-total.

He responded by trying to one-up the signing of the Englishman with a move so stupid few now can look back on it without bursting out laughing. Sutton’s former club Chelsea had more forwards on the books than the Oakland Raiders, and could barely believe their luck when Murray offered them £12 million for a player in their reserves; Tore Andre Flo.

The fans loved it, of course.

To them, it represented their club’s superior spending power and Murray’s boundless ambition. They were even more ecstatic when he scored on his debut, as they beat us 5-1 at Ibrox in a match many thought might swing the title race back in their favour.

Yet Celtic refused to buckle and when we returned to Ibrox it was as Champions, and we rubbed their faces in that by beating them 3-0.

Their supporters now realise, of course, what the rest of us did at the time; that the Flo signing was sheer madness for a club playing in the SPL and that it was the sort of hubris that should have made even the most blinkered realise the wisdom espoused by men like Hugh Adams when he predicted this sort of thing would end in disaster.

But at the time … well, they loved it and refused to see the risks involved.

It’s probably worth noting that Flo wasn’t a bad player; indeed, his record in a Rangers shirt was actually pretty decent, but he never looked like a player who justified that kind of price tag. He was certainly less effective than Sutton was for Celtic.

There were strikers out there who could have been signed for a fraction of the cost – John Hartson was one of them; for the Flo money Rangers could have had him and Sutton both – and who would have done a similar, or better, job.

Flo was a Rolls Royce signing when a Ford Focus would have done the same job. He was the ultimate example of Rangers’ and Murray bling, and the surest sign that utter insanity had taken hold in the Ibrox boardroom, and total blindness amongst their support.

This was a signing more about ego than about results on the park, more about one upsmanship than it was about football, and it remains the Gold Standard of the club’s sheer stupidity and recklessness in the Financial Doping era. Murray claimed to have signed him as the player who could take them forward in Europe; he was sold just two years later, to Sunderland, for £6.7 million, having scored a single goal on that stage.

The BBC Gives Rangers Fans The Truth About The Man Who Owns Their Club: Rangers Fans Demonstrate Outside Their Headquarters For It. Whyte Remains Bulletproof Long Enough To Destroy Everything.


If there’s a better example of the intolerance of stupidity as exemplified by the Rangers support, I don’t know what it is.

For years we’ve been hearing how they were the “victims” in the Craig Whyte saga, but the simple truth, as most Celtic fans know, is that many of them bought into Whyte’s nonsense whole, even when there was a mountain of available evidence to suggest that he was leading them to an epochal, unsurvivable, disaster.

I understand, in part, why they didn’t want to believe what they were reading on the Celtic fan forums; brutal truth is hard enough to take when those giving it to you aren’t wearing party hats, grinning like Halloween lanterns and offering you a bowl of jelly and ice cream.

What’s harder to understand is why they didn’t listen to the national broadcaster.

On three different occasions, the BBC reporter Mark Daly went digging for the stuff the Scottish media wouldn’t and which, up until then, only the Bampots had dared.

What he found should have united the Rangers support in a single goal; the removal of Craig Whyte from Ibrox by the quickest means possible within the law.

Instead it united them in fury … against Daly, and the organisation he worked for.

They shrieked, they hollered, they erupted in a childish tantrum like a kid who’s been told there’s no Santa Claus.

They organised protests and demonstrations.

They marched on the BBC Scotland building like pitch-fork wielding peasants protesting their liege lord about the imposition of a goat tax.

Their websites were filled with petitions and demands for Daly’s head.

What exactly had he done to them to make them so furious?

Even now, they’ve never answered that question and whenever they make a list of their grievances against the BBC they always throw Mark Daly’s name in there, as if he’d peed on their lawn furniture instead of trying to inform and educate them about what the man running their club was all about.

Their ingratitude is second only to their sheer idiocy.

Charlie “Chuckles” Green: Hailed A Hero, Then A Barking Xmas Message And A Disastrous STV Interview Starts His Journey To The Other Side.


Aaaah. You know something? I miss Charles Green.

From the very day he took over the assets of Rangers and formed Sevco this man was one of my favourite people ever to hold office at a Scottish football club.

Charles Green was sheer entertainment, the kind of guy a writer dreams about because he was a headline making machine of barmy statements, eccentric utterances and was possessed of absolutely no self-awareness at all.

He was part clown, part bigot, part stand-up comedian and part Del Trotter.

He was the creator of what came to be known as the “Triggers Broom” theory of Rangers survival, the shameless snake oil salesman who put together a share issue that’s now the subject of a fraud case and the author of a “strategic review” that still makes me laugh today.

And their fans, and the media, initially loved him!

They loved him even though Celtic websites and online writers were calling this guy bad news right from the off. They loved him even though Sheffield United fans had despised his high-handed attitude and dismissal of their views. They loved him even though he’d made it abundantly clear what his intentions were, early in the game, when he pointed out that his “big Yorkshire hands” were “made for grabbing up lots of money.”

I mean, whose money did they think he meant?

Green lasted less than a year at Ibrox; from the euphoria of those early days until the crash as it collapsed, a mere 12 months elapsed. So when did their supporters start to wake up to the dire, dire state they were in and question the sanity of the man in charge?

It’s easy to see when it ought to have been; 24 December 2012.

The night he released his “Christmas Message.”

I cannot remember ever watching an “official club message” quite so barking. He sounded unhinged that night, like a guy who had forgotten to take his anti-psychotic meds. Scottish football fans reacted to that statement in many different ways; some thought it was the moment Green went from being a rabble rouser to being genuinely dangerous to the sport. Others thought it was playing to the gallery and nothing more. A lot of people, and I was one of them, thought it was hilarious because in that moment the club crawled completely up its own arse and any chance there was of them becoming a major threat vanished in an instant.

But incredible as it seems today, their supporters loved it.

The acclaim was nearly universal. You really have to Google it and read the response on the forums to fully comprehend how overjoyed they were with what they had heard and read (he posted the full text on the official site too.)

No-one amongst them thought to say that it was an embarrassment, that it reduced the status of a guy who’s office should have made him a serious player in the game to that of a third rate, end of pier comic and their club with him, although that was patently obvious to most others.

It took another television interview, months later, when many of them had already spent their money on season tickets and new shares, to destroy any remaining illusions when Peter Smith of STV absolutely dismantled him, live, exposing numerous exaggerated claims and outright lies, and nailing him on his conduct.

Even then, some of their supporters accused Smith of having an agenda. He did. It was to do what so many of his colleagues had failed to do; to get to the truth.

Nevertheless, so thoroughly did Smith destroy him, and so exposed was the Sevco CEO for incidents such as where he called Imran Ahmed “my little Paki friend” that Green was soon gone from Ibrox and from Scottish football as a whole.

The real revisionism, where everyone who was anyone in their support and the media, claimed to have known what he was all along started shortly thereafter.

They really make me laugh, but not as much as he did.

Mike Ashley Buys Shares In The Club. Fans Think He Intends To Turn Them Into Barcelona In Spite Of Warnings From The Bampots And Newcastle Fans. Cue Hilarity As The Truth Slowly Dawns On Them.


If ever there was a set of circumstances that qualifies the Ibrox support as the Kings of Wishful Thinking it was, and remains, the Mike Ashley saga. More than the Craig Whyte situation and the Charles Green reign of error, it is the quintessential example of how their supporters can be made to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden in a total denial of reality and a mountain of evidence running contrary to their expectations.

Nobody who knew anything about Mike Ashley took seriously, for a minute, the idea that he could be attempting a hostile takeover of Sevco to turn the club into serious contenders on the European stage. This was the guy who ran Newcastle United, with all the wealth that comes with being a Premiership team, on what amounted to a “for profit” basis.

Some said “he needs our club for Champions League exposure.”

When it was pointed out to them that EPL had a larger global television audience they ignored it. When they were reminded that on Champions League nights any in-stadium advertising would have to go, and official sponsors ad boards put there instead they pretended not to hear it. When they were asked to consider that actually sponsoring a Champions League club’s jerseys would be a more cost-effective means than actually buying a club and spending tens of millions on players … well, that went in one ear and came out the other.

“He only makes money if the club makes money,” they said next. Which would have been true had he actually been interested in owning the club. If all he wanted was the merchandise (which some of us told them all along) then it didn’t matter whether they were making money, or even winning games; just so long as the fans continued to buy shirts and other items.

It took a while for that particular penny to drop, and for the deadly truth, that Ashley was only ever interested in protecting his merchandise deals, to dawn on them. When it did the response was less than dramatic. In fact, it was hilarious.

First their fans mounted their banner and social media “Spivs Out” campaign. It did a lot of good. Before long, everyone else had run for the hills, leaving Ashley as the only means of keeping the club’s lights on. He duly gave them loans, and tightened his grip.

Then the fans tried to force him out by protesting Sports Direct shops. When that didn’t work they came up with the tragi-comic “£1 protest”, which amounted to their supporters going into Sports Direct shops, taking tons of stuff up to the counter, waiting until it was rung up and then offering a quid for it, a tactic which worked for Craig Whyte but was never going to shift the man who’d built a retail empire worth billions.

As time went on, the fan’s strategy became even more sophisticated; the latest variant involved a proposal to buy Sport Direct shares and give them away for free, to crash the share price of the company. That it would have taken about a hundred years and cost roughly £2.6 billion, to no viable gain except to make Sports Direct execs piss themselves laughing, bothered some people not one bit. Some still think it’s a viable strategy for being rid of him.

In the meantime, his grip has tightened. Sevco has served notice that it wants to sever the link and terminate the deal, but Ashley won’t be losing sleep over that as the termination period lasts a stonking seven years.

Fan boycotts have reduced the number of shirts that Sports Direct have been able to sell, but that’s offset by a piece of brilliance from Ashely which no-one saw coming; a clause in the retail deal which means leftover stock has to be purchased by the club itself … at retail prices! A masterpiece of “Screw You!” that actually sees the fans boycott costing the club year on year.

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