Yesterday the press was reporting one of those funny stories that I enjoy so much. It’s about Sevco and Dodgy Dave King. Apparently, in the interests of “transparency” – a favourite word on this and several other sites – he’s going to do a question and answer session online.
Here’s what I found funny. It will only be for Sevco fans, and the questions will be checked, vetted and cleared in advance! So much for transparency!
Yet in spite of this being an all too obvious PR exercise for mugs, it’s being treated with near reverence by some in the media. Sevco is at the centre of several storms at the moment but the media isn’t writing properly about any of them. King isn’t even bothering to get them involved in this one; there is so much wrong at Ibrox right now he dare not sit down even with his usual lackeys because he’s not guaranteed to get an easy ride.
Too many people have concerns. Even their fans know things aren’t right. The manager is AWOL, no matter what spin certain websites want to put on it. The players coming in, on free transfers, aren’t the calibre that was promised. Barton isn’t the calibre they were promised, and this is a guy who can’t even go on their US tour because of his criminal record for thuggery.
It’s only the poor standard of those surrounding him that makes him look good.
Today Ashley moved another of his people into Rangers Retail Ltd, which effectively completes his manoeuvres in that area and secured that flank. His own non-involvement in the company very effectively blunts any effort to accuse him of “undue influence” or “dual ownership” especially as he no longer has seats on the actual Sevco board.
Long term planning? Forget it.
Clint Hill is an embarrassing signing, at 37 and between that, Barton’s signing, giving Kenny Miller a new deal and their efforts to sign Niko Kranjcar you can see what is they’re trying to do; this is the Ibrox Over 30’s Club.
So much for trying to copy the Celtic strategy of finding them young and selling them for big money. That was never going to happen over there; they have too much ego for that kind of thing. I personally think the strategy pushed us backwards, but for them it would have helped to bridge the enormous financial gap that exists between the clubs.
It’s as dead as dead gets, and that’s King’s fault.
He’s following his own plan, one where he can have it all, on the cheap, simply because his team wears the name Rangers. It’s that name, and being able to claim people hate them because of it, that will get him through his sham Q&A as it gets the club through all manner of disasters.
We would never get away with this kind of stuff. A close season like this one, following a cup final defeat and appalling behaviour by our fans … we would be hounded to the ends of the Earth and our people would have to answer every criticism and every charge, no matter how based in the real world or far flung from reality it might be.
King, more than any of the guys who have come before, gets a free ride from the hacks and even from the SFA.
What other club would be allowed to simply ignore an SFA fine?
What other club would get away with incendiary statements which defend criminal singing, rioting fans and spews the most virulent, paranoid nonsense, bringing the game into disrepute without actually being charged with that, or taken to task for it in the press?
He’s gleefully and openly broken every promise he’s made to the fans and the media pack alike, and not one of them has called him out on it and demanded clarity.
You’d never believe a judge had called him a “glib and shameless liar”, would you?
When Peter Lawwell sat down and talked to CelticTV in the aftermath of our Champions League exit last year he was flamed for it in certain sections of the press. I slated him for it myself; it was the ultimate soft-ball interview of no substance whatsoever. I liked that some of the media outlets said that.
I liked that they pointed out that there were real questions to answer and that the fans deserved them.
It didn’t get us any … but that was beside the point.
Many of the fans realised the club wasn’t paying attention and acted accordingly.
This is how clubs stave off disaster; they need to be kept on their toes, kept “honest” if you like, and that’s a process that involves the media as much as the fans themselves.
There is a crucial difference, of course; Celtic is not like Sevco.
We do things in a manner that is wholly transparent. The Strategy isn’t a secret and no-one was asking Lawwell or others to define it. We were asking them to defend it, but that’s not the same thing. We know what our club is doing in our name. We know what it’s doing with our money and we know where almost every penny of it goes, because it’s all there in fully audited accounts.
Sometimes we wonder what’s going on behind the scenes, but there are things we’re not supposed to know and it at other times the silence is temporary and strategic; we have a fairly good level of knowledge about what goes on behind the scenes and the fact that fans groups and bloggers are regularly invited to Celtic Park adds another level to the openness.
Sevco does so much in the dark. Their removal from the Stock Exchange allows them to get away with publishing the bare minimum about the financial situation.
They’ve launched all out offensives against the BBC and other media groups for asking questions.
Their attempt to put a fan on the board was transparent in a different way; their choice had established himself as a “yes” man for whoever was sitting in the boardroom at any given moment and he had the kind of background that would never have passed vetting at another club; he soon proved it by being ejected within weeks for racist and Islamophobic tweeting.
Had he not quickly shut down his social media pages there would have been a lot more too.
Some of their more prominent fans – and I’m talking about guys like Ninjaman, Bill McMurdo, Johnjames and a handful of others – do ask questions.
A few were absolutely opposed to Whyte and Green from the off and they maintain deep suspicion about King, but these guys really don’t stand a chance of reaching the bulk of the support with a subservient media shovelling nonsense at them constantly. They are pushing against the tide, and although they do it well there’s a certain inevitability about them being marginalised.
In the end they’ll be proven right, but so what? They will take no satisfaction in that when their club is on its knees and on the verge of collapse. Who would want to be right under those circumstances? Far better to be wrong, and look silly.
Media scrutiny, and giving the fans the facts, would have made their work un-necessary, but the media treats these people like absolute mugs. The club knows this and it knows it only has to give them the bare minimum of information.
So Dodgy Dave will do his Q&A and those who are lucky enough to have asked a question he can actually answer will believe all is well in the world. The press will write that up accordingly and on will go the charade, at least until reality crashes in.
We would never get an easy ride like this.
I, for one, am very glad of that fact.