From the outside, Sevco could be just another football club. It has a stadium, a name, a logo, sponsors, supporters and a team. It has a manager, a former footballer, one of the great former footballers of his generation.
They claim a history, although it is that of a dead club. But as they play in the same shirt, with the same name, out of the same ground and have the same followers the outward appearance can fool those who don’t know the details.
But one thing has always, and will always, set them apart from every other team; the supporters themselves. Because if a football club is judged by those who speak on behalf of the “average fan” then surely Sevco has no equal. They are the most appalling, hateful bunch of fans on the planet, a constant embarrassment to the rest of their supporters. They are blind fools too, absolutely unable to see the image they present to the world.
They make the Piltdown Man look like an Oxford graduate.
It has long been my contention that their club will never be more than it is – a provincial West of Scotland football team, to use the words of a former Rangers director – as long as it is constantly dragged down by these so-called “fans”. And that the worst amongst them now speak for the rest of them is surely a sign that this how it’s always going to be.
Over the last week, the fury of that support has exploded in a firestorm that has burned across social media – again. It never more than a dropped fag away from doing so. And as usual, they have turned flamethrowers on the outside world, but in a way that is typically gutless. This is in response to the decision by those who run the Hampden museum not to induct Paul Gascoigne into their Hall of Fame, as they had originally intended to do.
This is a strange story, so let me jump back a bit, and open with a confession.
When this story broke I didn’t know, because the early reports never bothered to talk about, the distinction between the SFA Hall of Fame and the Hampden Hall of Fame. The SFA version honours legends of the game here and is fully run by the governing body. The second is run by those who operate the Hampden museum itself; the SFA claims they are different entities and this one time we’ll take their answer at face value.
It was the latter, not the SFA, who decided to put Gascoigne up there in a place of honour.
The reaction of tens of thousands of ordinary supporters – many of whom are people with families – did not go un-noticed. Although they claim to be separate, SFA members do attend the Hampden Hall of Fame awards and this year some of them had decided it was better not to.
The reasons for it are obvious; this website laid them out in an article slamming the decision to “honour” a player with such a deplorable personal record, which includes allegations of marital assault of the physical and sexual sort; criminal violence against members of the press; admissions of racism and open sectarianism, as well as an on-going criminal investigation involving a woman on a train, about which the ex-player has openly made jokes.
Faced with a possible boycott of SFA executive committee members, and with a growing public backlash against them, the Hampden Hall of Fame issued a press release withdrawing the player’s induction. I thought, in fact, the statement almost as bad as the one that announced his inclusion in the first place. It made a pathetic excuse about his current health problems instead of stating, openly, that it was because he was grossly unfit as a human being.
I also hear that on top of the possible SFA boycott, at least one of the other inductees was not terribly happy about his inclusion, and that may have shifted thinking somewhat.
But the matter appeared to be at end, and the right end.
Cue the outrage of Sevconia though, who see this is another conspiracy against them. Typically, they clung to the Hampden Hall of Fame’s specious comments as a deflector shield, but if those who issued that statement thought it would help in winning over The Peepul they were wrong; instead they were attacked for “humiliating a man with mental health problems” as though none of them had ever sneered at Neil Lennon for admitting his own issues.
And of course, that gave way to even more bitterness and bile.
One of them, a guy forced to resign from Sevco’s own board because of a racist tweet clearly doesn’t do irony; he turned on Jimmy Johnstone and Jock Stein … dead men, who of course can’t sue. And Leigh Griffiths copped it, in the latest 1872 statement which is as foaming at the mouth as the rest of them.
These people have no conscience at all, do they?
They cannot wait to jump right into the dirty end of the swimming pool.
No wonder their club is mired in the gutter.
“Moral issues are not the dominion of the Hall of Fame committee,” screams the statement. This website would argue that they should be; perhaps the lack of consideration for such “moral issues” is part of the problem here. Sevco fans certainly give no consideration to such things; amongst their current first team is a guy who only last year was accused of kicking his girlfriend all over a public street. Their support for Gascoigne is certainly no surprise.
For the record; this site and others have commented on Leigh Griffiths’ own past behaviour and the singing of a particular song. It is indefensible, but he has apologised for it, paid a price for it, and moved on. He has done sterling work, both in public and private, on anti-racism initiatives since. This site and others also deplore the hiring of Malky MacKay by the SFA, and believe that it shows an utter disregard for the reputation of our game.
Our condemnation of that decision was without equivocation of any sort.
But Gascoigne’s litany of offences, and the nature of some of them, dwarves those two issues. It is perplexing, to say the least, to read an article which slams these two and then pours honey all over the former Rangers player.
As to their demand to “name and shame” the board members who objected to the initial decision to honour him, this is a typical move from The Peepul, who love nothing more than to spin theories about anti-Sevco types in positions of responsibility. My counter argument would be that I want to know the names of those who weren’t concerned about the decision, because they are a far bigger problem for our national sport.
The Club 1872 statement says that if this is the standard then other people should be removed from the current roll of honour – it never bothers to name them, or why; gutless to the end – and that others be rendered ineligible; I wholly concur.
If they identify a present Hall of Famer or likely future one who is a violent thug, wife beater, sexual assaulter, racist and a sectarian bigot I’ll tell you what; this website will support their campaign to have his picture taken down or that person permanently blacklisted without equivocation of any kind.
I’ll go one better; if they can name me one who had criminal charges for sexual assault pending when the induction was announced I’ll shut this site down the same day.
The newspapers are full of his media pals shouting down the decision to pull him.
Some of them, scandalously, are using his “mental health issues”as a stick to beat the committee.
I wonder if those issues will form part of his defence should he be formally prosecuted over the incident in August?
But the disgrace here is not that Gascoigne was removed from the inductees list.
It’s that a man with his disgusting record ever made that list in the first place.
That’s the issue here, the real issue, the only issue.
That so many of Sevco’s “official fan reps” – as well as his pals in the press – are going to bat for this guy, and in such a public manner, embarrasses them and the Ibrox club in ways nothing this site or others could ever write, ever has, or ever will.
They just don’t get it, do they?
Or maybe that’s inaccurate … maybe they just don’t care.
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