If Barton’s Really Leaving Sevco, Did Their Hapless Fans Pay For It?

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Today the media is saying that Joey Barton is on the verge of doing the daftest thing he’s done since he signed for Sevco; he might be preparing to walk away from them for a mere eight weeks wages, as opposed to sitting tight and cleaning up two years’ worth.

I don’t believe it for one second. Especially with the guy’s confidential medical details being released, and in light of the sneering, arrogant piece from The Daily Record this morning, which was as awful a personal attack and hatchet job as one could hope never to read … on a guy who’s not yet signed the deal to walk away.

And in spite of this humiliation, and the leaking of his private records, we’re expected to believe he’s inclined to do them a favour?

It doesn’t make sense, right?

Not in the slightest.

But the simple fact is, we’ll never know.

If Barton’s going there’s a high likelihood that the terms of it will remain mysterious and other-worldly. If you don’t think he willingly walked away from well over £1 million then it bears asking what the magic number was.

But you know what?

If it happens those of us who thought he might go the distance will have been wrong.

Even the bloggers don’t get everything right. Hands up, like an honest man.

Of course, I’ve already had the first sneering emails, and some gloating asking me how I feel that Barton didn’t take them for the full £2 million. If it happens – and remember, it hasn’t yet – I’d be more than happy to admit that he caved a lot more quickly than I would have thought, though in hindsight the way he was owned by Brown on the park should have told us he was possessed of a certain spinelessness.

Barton is a typical bully; nothing but a wet end, and they’re usually put back in the box without difficulty.

What would come as a surprise would be to find out that he had negotiated himself a deal elsewhere; something else I didn’t think would happen, and which would prove there’s enough stupidity in the world for me to be unsurprised at finding more.

Any club which would take him on, their directors ought to be certified insane and their manager is gambling with his job.

When Barton does finally go, someone will end up with egg on his face here, but it won’t be any of the bloggers. Whether it’s him or King, somebody will have got the shitty end of the stick, and if I’m being honest I’m not particularly fussed about who that was.

Barton is a ned; whoever sneers at the Bampots better remember that this is the ending we saw coming a mile away when the hacks and the Sevco board were telling us all he was a reformed character who’d grown up and learned his lesson. Speaking for myself, and the other Celtic bloggers, we’d have been content for both sides to lacerate each other for months more to come; we have no favourite here. A plague on both their houses.

So in the event this does happen I’m happy to have helped out. I’m glad if getting one over on us, or seeming to, satisfies people and gets them through the day. It suggests that they have tragic lives of waste. Because this isn’t a victory for anybody.

How could it be?

What will this have cost the club?

Well, at a minimum it’s set them back £150,000 in payoff money. On top of that he gets the signing on fee, his bonuses so far, the salary up until now and whatever else he managed to get out of them. It is inconcievable that they’d have allowed him to go without a non-discolosure agreement, so factor that into things as well.

They’ll have torn up the contract of their marquee signing, seen a bog-standard dressing room debate boil over into a saga that’s lasted months and Warburton’s judgement has been seriously called into question, by every aspect of the deal from the signing itself to this.

Fans have parted with season ticket money to watch this guy play; now I’m getting slagged, by some of those same guys, because the club’s reputedly had to buy his contract out and send him on his way after a single humbling afternoon at the hands of my team?

They are celebrating that?

Well if they are, perhaps they won’t mind me posing a hypothetical question.

What if they’re paying for it too?

I’m serious, because I’ve heard an interesting story – not a theory, a story – which suggests they might well have done exactly that.

I’m not vouching for this, I’m simply sharing a tale.

If it’s a fact it wouldn’t shock me. It wouldn’t even surprise me.

Let’s just say that I’d treat it as if someone told me the sun would rise tomorrow.

As you’ll all know, Club 1872 recently purchased a tranche of shares in the club.

But from who? Are they on the open market, all of a sudden? Where did such a significant number of them come from? It’s been suggested that they came from those held by a current major shareholder; this wouldn’t exactly be stunning news.

If that’s true a number of major questions arise from it, but most important is this; what price did Club 1872 pay for these shares?

Was it “market value”?

In a private transaction of this kind these things rarely are.

Will that information be disclosed to the rest of the shareholders?

Because if the decision was taken somewhere to buy those shares for higher than the market rate and if the money from that sale was then subsequently loaned or given to the club to pay off Joey Barton’s wages … that would be ridiculous, right?

Anywhere but Ibrox, oh Hell yes.

The issue wouldn’t even arise.

But it does arise.

It arises because this is Sevco, this is Never Never Land where even stories as ridiculous as the Great Water Scam of 2016 can’t just be dismissed out of hand. Where a tale about a half time draw prize winner being paid off in instalments can’t simply be waved away.

Where anything could be.

Where everything is up for grabs.

This has great implications for the future too, because when the AGM comes the board is going to ask for permission to dilute the value of what the shareholders have in their hands, in a debt for equity switcheroony which could yet make Club 1872’s pot almost worthless.

That’s a big deal; it means that whoever sold those shares got out when the going was still good, when they still had a market value to speak of, and besides, they’ll get a good number of the new shares as part of the deal, which is a no-lose if ever I’ve heard one.

And this isn’t the only dark possibility.

King knows the one saving grace would be another share issue to the fans, but no-one wants to talk about what happens not only to Club 1872’s current tranche of them but also those which are in the hands of ordinary fans at the moment; they’ll be getting asked to essentially write off the value of those shares and buy more to replace them, a con-job Whyte himself would have been almost orgasmic over.

Green has already fleeced these people; their shares are already worth of fraction of what he got them to spend on them … but that’s the beauty of a fleecing.

What’s that old con-artists aphorism?

You can sheer a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once.

In other words, as long as they keep it to a fleecing – a few hundred quid every now and again, as opposed to taking them for a few grand in a one off splurge – they could do their fans up like this over and over and over again if they wanted, and the irony is that Club 1872 was set up to prevent exactly this kind of skulduggery.

But we already know, of course, that it’s become increasingly difficult to seperate their agenda from that of Dave King.

I know I shouldn’t care about this but Sevco’s supporters are on an epic using here and this isn’t the first time they’ve had their minds on fluff – and the Barton situation has been nothing but fluff, for months now – whilst pieces were being moved all around them on the chessboard.

They’re not watching the big picture, not looking out for each other, not paying attention to what’s really going on.

And as usual, that’s left to people like us, on the other side of the aisle, with no skin in the game, getting our jollies from laughing at the mayhem as it unfolds.

But once again, we’re the voices telling them in advance what might be about to unfold.

We were right on Whyte. Right on Green. We saw what Ashley’s game was when The Daily Record was talking about how he wanted “a Champions League team” as an advertising hoarding and was willing to spend what it took to get Sevco there.

Oh how they mocked us over those predictions, saying we were writing it all out of fear.

Dear God.

We were right about Warburton. Right about the colossal waste of resources.

And we were right about King, the Man Without A Plan, making it up as he goes along.

Oh they are coming around on that one, slowly, much too slowly.

They are late to the party but let’s please just give them credit for showing up at all.

They always do, just a little bit beyond the point where their attendance matters, where it could have changed the outcome, where it might have made a difference.

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