Let’s talk for a moment about the darkness, and since this is a Fear And Loathing piece you may assume I’m talking about that which surrounds Sevco.
Does the darkness come from outside or does it come from within?
Certainly, any number of Sevco fans have convinced themselves that the darkness is an external force which has swept over their club and devoured it. The darkness did not come from nowhere; in their theory it has been made, manufactured, elsewhere and unleashed on them.
But some of us theorise that the darkness came from within the club. That it was ported over to Sevco when it took on the identity of Rangers. The problem with that was always obvious to us; that with that identity came all the baggage.
I’ll tell you what I believe; Rangers never existed in the first place.
I grew up watching them dominate. But that dominance started with two men; David Holmes and David Murray. They funded the club beyond its means. They artificially inflated it. By the time their nine in a row had been secured that club had left the realms of normalcy and had morphed into something else; grown on magic beans, the whole thing was built on a suspension of reality so complete that, like in the cartoons, its fans could walk across the abyss without a tightrope … but only as long as they didn’t look down.
In 2012, it was as if everyone over there suddenly realised that the walk was impossible and that collective act of realisation ended the illusion at a stroke. And they all fell down. Whilst the media marvelled at how one of Scotland’s biggest clubs could collapse, those of us who realised that it had been a false construct in the first place were asking a different question; how in God’s name could they have kept it going as long as they did?
I knew that Sevco was in trouble the minute they adopted the identity of Rangers and McCoist started to spend money on SPL rejects. I realised that this had blown the plan, which was for the club to act responsibly and accept serious limitations for a while.
It was obvious, just as it was obvious that they had given a huge hostage to fortune; they told their fans their quest was to “return” to the summit of Scottish football and European participation … but they were trying to build from a place where everything that had enabled Rangers to reach those heights had been obliterated.
There was no sugar-daddy this time, no banks giving them unlimited loans.
The things that had enabled Rangers to spend all that money and amass all that power had gone; they had gone, in fact, the minute the banking crisis hit and the financial institutions that had sustained Murray and his fantasy football club turned off the taps.
Sevco was starting from scratch, but steeped in a belief that it was an enormous club.
Rangers wasn’t either; it was just a shadow on the wall, looking bigger than it was.
Cut off from the financial doping how much success would they have had in my years growing up and watching them win everything, and lording it over us?
Some. Nowhere near what they did. There would have been no nine in a row. No Gascoigne or Laudrup. They would have been just another contender.
That’s where the darkness comes from. It comes from within. It grows every day, pouring from a reservoir which they stoke themselves. It comes from their ego. Their pride. Their arrogant belief not that they are the biggest club in Scotland but that they are bigger even than that. A club which will, again, one day, be able to sign top footballers and expects to win every game.
They believe it even now, and it’s killing them.
The Five Way Agreement is a suicide pact. It will lead to the destruction of that club, because it binds them to Rangers. And the effects of what happens at Sevco will be felt in Hampden and elsewhere. The next crisis in Scottish football is already bubbling away there, and it is going to erupt like a volcano and perhaps not that far in the future.
As I write this, a guy is on Radio Clyde and you can tell that he is emotional. “Shaking with rage” is how he’s just described himself. This is fear and loathing. Fear that this isn’t over yet (it’s not) and a growing loathing of his own club.
This is what it sounds like.
The boos and jeers at Ibrox today are what it sounds like.
Murty, skulking away and up the tunnel, to face the same directors who delivered a withering verdict last week knows how it feels.
He will soon see it in the faces of those on the board.
When you approach a relationship – any relationship – with vastly overblown expectations it is inevitable that the longer you are in it the deeper you will experience a growing resentment. Eventually, you may start to hate that relationship because it won’t live up to your idea of it. It ends marriages. It destroys friendships. It wrecks business partnerships.
It kills love because it eats at it from the outside and by the time it reaches the core that’s already rotted away from exposure to the harshest light.
You become afraid of what you can see; a growing detachment, the difference between your hopes and the reality of the thing. You start to loathe everything about it, particularly your own weakness in being unable to just walk away and leave it behind. Every good moment gets magnified and turned into a sign that things have turned your way. And every crunching setback reminds you of how stupid you were to believe that.
And the darkness starts to cover it, and you with it.
They brought it on themselves.
Who’s cheering now?
Who’s laughing now?
Apart from us, of course.
St Patrick’s Day has turned out to be highly amusing for Celtic fans.
This time last week we were hearing confidence out of Ibrox.
Tonight, the mood is very different.
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