Pick up a newspaper or go online, check out any story about Kyle Lafferty and you see immediately the pattern that emerges. It’s that of a player now deeply unhappy at his club, and pining for a move elsewhere. The destination, of course, is Ibrox. The fee they’ve offered is around £200,000. There has, as yet, been no “second offer.”
Lafferty is out of contract at the end of the current campaign. The media has described the unmade second offer – which they say will be around £300,000 – as “fair market value.” For a striker who’s still scoring goals and who has made three or four years of his career left. It boggles the mind a little bit, doesn’t it? Hearts demand for closer to £1 million has been dismissed by these same hacks as being utterly unrealistic, even fanciful.
Contrast it with the way the media has handled the John McGinn story right from the start.
We’ve offered a fee that is ten times higher than the one Sevco has for Lafferty. And whilst McGinn is younger than he is he also lacks the kind of experience the ex-Rangers striker got the last time he was playing at Ibrox. He, too, is in the last year of his deal.
Our £2 million offer would probably have been increased had the Hibs manager not moved the goalposts towards a figure closer to £4 million, and made it pretty clear that even that might not be enough. The papers have not lobbied on behalf of McGinn; indeed, some have said that Celtic is penny-pinching and almost all have, to an extent, accused of unsettling Hibs’ player. Nowhere is the suggestion that he has, or will, or should, demand the move.
£4 million for McGinn is seen as a fair price. We are unreasonable, even greedy, even exploitative, for not wanting to pay it. And of course, Hibs are right to “hold firm”. Hearts, on the other hand, are “playing hardball” and creating problems in their dressing room.
The double standard is apparent and it reeks.
Of course it does, but did we expect anything less? The minute we opened the bidding for McGinn I knew there would be a rash of negative stories about how we were low-balling the fee, or how English clubs would price us out by offering him better wages, or some other such nonsense. I also knew Petrie was going to play funny buggers.
Equally, the moment I heard that Sevco had finally made their move for Lafferty – how long has this site been predicting that? – I knew the media would dress it up as a player desperate to “go home” and shame on Hearts for trying to stop him.
You can, as Chris Sutton does, brand Lafferty a nutter; I much prefer to brand him a thug who has only a fraction of actual football intelligence. But you cannot deny that he has certain qualities which have understandable appeal to a desperate club with a manager in over his head. He has adapted well to Levein’s awful Hearts playing style and would be a big loss to them. And I think he ultimately will prove to be, as I don’t see him not getting the move.
Sevco will do what Sevco does. But they only get away with it because of pliant media that appears to think they should be allowed to behave as they please. This is another shining example of them in action, paving the way on the Ibrox club’s behalf.