Over at Ibrox, a dedicated group of people have been burning the midnight oil, and all credit to them for it because they’ve clearly not stopped. These people have been busy, making deals, inviting players, preparing for a pre-season which is coming up on them in a very short time. When I wrote this morning of the Horror Of The Close Season I was talking about Celtic; Sevco isn’t going to have one, and a lot of their players are pretty miffed at that.
Hard lines. They aren’t the only ones knuckling down to graft.
There are clearly busy people in that stadium, and they have a lot on their minds. Someone has to find a shirt sponsor, or the club will go without. Others have to worry about how in God’s name all this spending gets paid for over the season. There are people working on selling season tickets. A football club never stops. It’s like a living thing, needing constant feeding, and those who’s job it is to look after it don’t ever really catch a break.
There’s one exception to that general rule; those who own clubs, or hold all the influence in them, but who don’t actually get involved in the day-to-day running. Some have accused Dermot Desmond of being one them; indeed, I have myself. But listen to Brendan talking about him. Dermot Desmond is engaged. He stays influential because he stays interested. He plays a role, a background one to be sure but it’s no less important for that.
The term “absentee landlord” doesn’t apply to him.
It does apply to Dave King, who from thousands of miles away gives orders and makes policy without actually playing any role in the implementation of it. Other people do the heavy lifting. Other people do the work. He sets the “strategy” and others carry it out.
You know the strategy? The one that’s left them basically without a shirt sponsor?
All down to Chairman Dave.
And how lucky they are to have him, this visionary, this genius, giving orders like an armchair general whilst others wade through the mud. Whilst his CEO and his fellow board members struggle, manfully, with the task of righting the ship and preparing it for the choppiest waters it’s ever sailed through, you want to know where Dave King is? This guy who never attends games? The guy who says he hates coming over here for business?
He’s in Vegas, basking in the warm light of the hero.
Yes, the Sevco North American Supporters Conference has just started and Dave King had dragged himself all the way from South Africa to spend a few leisurely days in the playground of Nevada, the casinos, the hotel suites, the complementary beverages and the applause of the Peepul, who are back on board the bus after a few free transfers.
And you have to admire this guy, whatever else you think of him, because it takes brass balls to do what he’s doing here, getting himself a nice wee holiday whilst here at home other people take up the slack. To do it openly, in their faces, as if daring them to act … that’s pretty outrageous, and even if you disapprove of this obvious using you still have to stand back from it and look at it in awe. Think of the self-absorption this takes, not to give a rat’s arse what they must be saying about you inside the walls, those people who’re trying to hold it all together.
And on some level, you have to wonder if this is what all the early activity is about. Under normal circumstances you’d dismiss that idea, but we live in the era of Trump, who some people think fired the director of the FBI because the guy wouldn’t give him a personal oath of loyalty. There are people with egos bigger than skyscrapers and King is the guy who went head to head with Ashley over pride; he said it was about money, but the few quid he’d have won for the club if successful wouldn’t even pay the legal bills which must be outstanding.
So it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the transfer activity thus far is all about King making himself look like the hero for the crowd, so he could take his bow and milk the applause, and enjoy a week at their expense.
Regardless, he’s over there, on a jolly, whilst others break their backs at the coalface.
It’s pretty clear that you can fool some of the Peepul all of the time.
And if you don’t give a hoot, you can have a high old time doing it too.