Friday was a red-letter day for Scottish football, with King being censured by the City of London. Their verdict was excoriating, and when the SFA meets next week it has to decide whether or not he is a fit and proper person to hold a position in the game.
To many of us, the answer to that one has never been in the slightest doubt.
King has never been and will never be “fit and proper.” He arrived at Ibrox fresh from the South African courts handing him a record fine as an alternative to sending him to jail for decades. They accepted a plea deal which he only agreed to when the prospect of breaking rocks became real.
King does not hesitate to lie.
Who says so? The South African courts.
He dissembles. He stalls. He refuses to co-operate with the authorities.
He brazenly misleads people.
Who said so? The City of London Takeover panel.
The South African judge who said his word should not be believed on any issue unless there was evidence to support it would have understood full well the one who wrote in the latest verdict on him that he could not be trusted to follow the law unless he was finally in a place where he had no other options.
King will push the boundaries until someone pushes back.
Then he retreats like a bully who’s finally been stood up to.
And it’s not uncommon for him to plead himself out as the victim even as he backs away.
He is a shameless charlatan, and nothing in his recent conduct comes as the slightest surprise to those of us who’ve said from the outset that he shouldn’t be near our game.
What shame, and what disgrace, is heaped on our media today, especially those in it who said that this man’s bad behaviour in South Africa should be overlooked because he could bring something to the Ibrox operation. Tom English and Graham Spiers are notable here because they both accepted that King shouldn’t pass as fit and proper but said that he would and that Scottish football would be better off for it because “Rangers” would be.
It is high time a lot of people stopped equating what’s “good” for the Ibrox operation with what’s good for Scottish football as a whole. And yes, I’d question how much good King has actually done that club. He’s put them in harm’s way on more than one front, and only the blind cannot see it. Under most circumstances that would be their lookout, but this guy’s continued survival on their board has a big impact on the game as a whole here.
King drags all of Scottish football into his morass. How can we take seriously the idea that the game is committed to keeping the wrong type of people out of it if this geezer is still involved? It shouldn’t even have taken this censure to start the proceedings that will remove him from his post.
The Ashley thing, wherein King has shown a willingness to brazenly ignore commercial contracts and even the instructions of the courts, reveals him as a man with only the most fleeting concerns about rules and regulations and laws.
Has the SFA not been embarrassed enough by Ibrox boards who didn’t feel they had to concerns themselves with any of that?
Have those kind of people not already done enough damage to the game?
Everyone knows that the SFA had to be creative in the way they went about passing King in the first place.
Everyone knows that they enacted some little tap-dance, some little charade.
We know that because Ashley queried it in court and demanded that the SFA’s compromise on it be published, which it never was.
Some think King is chairman of the “holding company” rather than the club and that this blatant extension of the Survival Lie into new realms is how they did it.
But you know what? Even those who do subscribe to the Survival Lie know that’s a farce.
They know that it doesn’t stand up.
King is the chairman of Sevco, everyone knows this to be true.
He makes all the key decisions. He runs the show. Those trying to hide behind a legal interpretation that suits them knows that it would collapse under any judicial challenge like a house of cards. It is not even a con-job because nobody is conned by it for one minute.
I struggle to think of a more egregious insult to the collective intelligence of all involved in Scottish football than the legalistic pretence that King has nothing to do with the running of that club, that his is some kind of emeritus role with no real influence. King himself, by his own words, has contradicted that narrative numerous times in the past year alone, especially as he swaggers around with the praise for hiring Gerrard ringing in his ears.
Most people in the game, and everyone in the media, was content to ignore the ridiculousness of this situation up until now, but the party is surely over. The charade is at an end, and the reckoning has arrived. From the moment they granted him permission to sit at the top of the Ibrox power structure, a day like this was inevitable.
The SFA has allowed this man to heap disgrace onto them.
Nothing he’s done has been inconsistent with the portrait painting by the South African judges.
King has not changed and he will not change.
To a man like him, there’s little point in trying to be good when so many people are content to look the other way when you’re being bad.
Why should he care if there are no practical consequences for his actions?
The SFA had more than fair warning about the kind of man he was, but they entered into their little sham marriage of convenience with him anyway.
Whatever their cosy arrangement was, any validity it had was based on King keeping his head down and behaving like a responsible person, and not drawing attention to the obvious holes in the scam. It was never even remotely likely, and he’s never even tried to do it.
Many of us have been waiting for the day when something like this would drive a wrecking ball through the make believe. That day has come and when the SFA meets this week they should be dispensing with their latest fiction and embracing the reality of things for once.
King cannot remain on the Ibrox board – on any Ibrox board – with their continuing stamp of approval. It’s time – indeed, it is past time- that Scottish football declared him persona non grata. The man is in disgrace. The man, in fact, is a disgrace and any fudge or play on words that seeks to leave him where he is taints the game and opens wide its doors to every bent businessman, every dodgy geezer, every career criminal, every boiler room wide-boy, that it’s a free-for-all.
No responsible organisation would ever send such a message.
Is the SFA still a responsible organisation?
We’ll find out later on in the week.
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