You have to hand it to those guys up at Ibrox; they talk a good game.
Going beyond that takes more though. It requires vision and it requires the courage to see it through. It requires the bottle to endure criticism, perhaps even ridicule, in order to get things done. It requires a steely determination which these people simply don’t have.
Last week when their CEO Stewart Robertson appeared in the press to tell everyone what the plan was he was given a reception that would not have been out of place had he discovered the secrets of life after death. The media lauded it as if the intention to lay down foundations and formulate a plan was the same as having done it.
You have to marvel at all this.
This guy has been in office for a year and the board above him for two now and if you believe King’s barmy statement of the other week they had a manager in place for that whole time about whom they had grave doubts but to whom they had entrusted a mandate to rebuild the football operation.
It’s a startling statement to make, which basically amounts to saying that for the last two years the whole club has been treading water. I heard yesterday – and I can’t vouch for this, because surely it can’t be true – that Sevco has one scout, which would be ridiculous.
For sure though, McParland didn’t have a lot to work with, and you can see that in the quality of the players he helped bring to the club. To call it nonsensical would be generous, but I never cease to be amazed at the pliability of our media in not getting to the bottom of it all and asking exactly what King and his people have been doing all this time if they are literally back at square one.
But hey, they’ve expressed an intention to lay some foundations down now. Whoopee for them. Fans are entitled to ask why it took so long, but for now let’s move past it to what it is they are actually doing because even that looks positively bonkers.
The plan was to appoint a director of football and then have him assist in choosing the managerial team including the new boss and a chief of scouting. That job is now under review because they want the new manager in as soon as they can get him. There are months of this season left, and plenty of time for this shower to work carefully but that’s not going to happen. There’s no way this club will do that. They are already caving.
All it took was one bad result against Dundee and backsides have collapsed.
They are already talking about perhaps having to choose a manager before the director of football; to get an idea of how ridiculous that is, imagine starting work at a new company and being told that your boss hasn’t been appointed yet but that you’ll have a chance to participate in the process of hiring him, and effectively have a veto over anyone you don’t like. Would never happen because it’s a completely insane way of doing things. But welcome to SevcoLand.
This is a totally dysfunctional institution, so none of this is exactly surprising but even I can’t quite believe that some there are talking about rushing the appointments because they don’t want Murty or a caretaker boss in the dugout when they come to Celtic Park.
What kind of long term vision can people like this actually offer?
Are they serious?
We’ve already beaten this team three times this season, including giving them a 5-1 hiding at Parkhead.
Not a single commentator or analyst believes the next encounter will end in other than a Celtic victory, and probably a resounding one.
Are they really going to take the most important decision in the short history of their club and maybe the most important they will ever take on the basis of a single game, so as to avoid a hiding they might get anyway?
Their supporters never tire of telling us we are obsessed, but as I point out constantly, we sneer at them from a position of strength and security.
How many times can a guy like me write about great we are until it sounds like a constant spin cycle of the same stuff? How many different ways can you say how brilliant our form is, how well we are playing, how great Brendan is, how wonderful is Moussa Dembele and how superb is Scott Sinclair?
For a guy doing what I do their club is sheer entertainment, and never a dull moment. If there was another club in Scotland that stylised itself as a rival to us and which carped on constantly about challenging us and catching us I would have to write about them on those days when there was nothing particularly interesting happening at Parkhead but even they wouldn’t generate such a torrent of news the way the basket case club out of Ibrox does.
They are a freak show, and they keep my life permanently interesting. This word they keep throwing at us – “obsessed” – is one of the weakest comebacks of all time. They are like a guy who’s had fifteen pints and is under the insane impression he’s good looking because people keep staring at him, but in fact what they are staring at is the utterly unselfconscious state he’s in; trousers undone, sick all over his shirt, one shoe missing and a strong smell coming off his trousers.
Theirs is the club that is obsessed, with ours, and with catching us, and the desperation to do it has permeated everything from the boardroom to the stands.
Long term strategy doesn’t exist for them when they are fixed on stopping our steady forward march, and that’s why I simply don’t believe that we’ve got near Peak Crisis over there yet, and why I imagine I’ll be writing about all this for a while to come.
The longer they look at us rather than at what they need for themselves the worse this will be. Competing with us for titles is a fantasy. Their focus should be on building and growing. Save catches us for a few years down the line, when they have a plan not so designed around hanging on to our coat-tails.
Otherwise they’ll die trying.