I write often on this site about language and how it is used. Journalism is based on the use of language, and I always assumed that to become a journalist required some kind of formal training, and that those in the profession would learn about what words meant along the way.
There is a scene in the under-rated fifth season of The Wire which always tickles me; it’s the one in which a junior writer is being schooled on the use of the word evacuate. “You can’t evacuate people,” she’s told. “Well, you can if you want but that’s not what we want to say here.” Her puzzled look is answered by another old hand at the use of words. “A building can be evacuated … to evacuate a person is to give that person an enema …”
Evacuate literally means “to remove the contents of.”
I get this kind of stuff wrong all the time.
But it’s not because I don’t appreciate and love language.
I write so much every day that I don’t have always have time to stay on top of the details and when those details don’t fundamentally alter what I’m saying I think I’m allowed a pass.
To most readers, people being “evacuated” reads right, and isn’t something to get in a twist about … in fact, the word has been misused so regularly in that regard that many online dictionaries actually include the “people were evacuated” example now in their definition.
I bristle though when I read language deliberately misused. I get angry when I see it done to blatantly alter the tenor and tone of articles, and thus redefine the terms of debate. There are some sterling examples of this in our media this weekend and I’m going to talk about one of them.
How many times today have you read these words, or a derivation of them? “(The club) will require additional investment of around £10 million before the end of the current season …”
It is typical of our media to use that term in relation to goings-on at Ibrox.
But that club isn’t looking for “investment” at all.
An investment is something you make with the intention of getting something back. You invest time in a project, to reap a reward; perhaps it’s only the satisfaction of knowing you’ve accomplished a goal, or the joy of simply working on it day by day, but there is a clear target in mind.
Investing money is about turning a profit. Sevco is not looking for “investment.”
Would You Like To Help Sevco Out With A Little Charity?
Mmmm ... no, I don't think I would.
Don't embarrass yourself ...
Been there, seen it, done it ...
I'll give you a quid ... for the lot.
Investment suggests growth, it suggests that someone, somewhere, is following a plan, that there’s a strategy.
Sevco is not growing.
Their increase in revenue came from seven home games and UEFA TV money which they can’t rely on every year.
They have hired a lot of “experts” in marketing lately, but sooner or later they will be confronted with the cold reality this website has laid out time and time again; Sevco is a West of Scotland football club which has tailored its “culture” and “ethos” – and thus its marketability – to a narrow socio-political demographic which is actually in decline.
There is nowhere for them to go except down. Unless Scottish football finds a way to generate more money they can’t advance one more rung up the ladder.
Sevco does not have a long or even medium term plan.
“Catching Celtic at all costs” is not strategy, it is lunacy.
No business person, or institution, who was looking to put money into a different company would touch one who’s single minded focus was on catching a competitor.
Serious people want to see serious intent.
It’s all well and good saying “we aim to be the biggest football club in Scotland”, but if the only way they can think of to get there is to throw money at the wall and hope that some of it sticks … well who but a fool would get involved with that?
No, what the media refuses to acknowledge – what they seem adamant that they will not say – is that what Sevco needs is for someone to bail them out. They need £10 million not as “investment” but for their survival. They need it to meet running costs.
They need it to keep the lights on, and get through the rest of this campaign.
It also means that their estimated debt for next year is already the equal of the one they just posted.
Which means that by the time the next accounts come out – if they ever do, if the club itself lasts that long – directors will have been personally liable for, and written off – around £50 million of their own money, turned into worthless shares, in just four years.
The antennae at UEFA must already be twitching madly; I’m going to do a longer article on where they stand at the moment, and what the implications are, over the weekend, perhaps even at some point today. That already looks like an interesting area to explore.
In simple terms then, Sevco is trading whilst insolvent. Without director’s loans they would be unable to meet the running costs of the club.
Do not let the media dress this up as anything other than it is; Sevco is not the swaggering colossus that is going to take us down.
Sevco is a desperate junkie begging for spare change for his next fix … that’s where they’re at right now.
If you gave that guy a little charity, would you call it “an investment”?
January will see Gerrard’s team weakened one way or another; they’ll either have sold a top player to pay some of the bills – but only in the event that someone wants to buy their dreck – or those bills themselves are going to be crippling.
That club is heading for ruination.
The numbers don’t lie, and as much as some of the media want to twist words and meanings and use erroneous ones to mislead you, nobody should be distracted from their meaning. Sevco is as financially doped as Rangers ever was, and the first time that club went without Group Stage football in Europe the roof came down.
The only reason it hadn’t come down before then was the tolerance of a bank.
Sevco doesn’t even have that.
They can’t even rely on a friendly administrator this time around and so the crash, when it comes, will bear no resemblance to the last one.
They might not end up in liquidation, but they will know what a real, and brutal, cost cutting looks like … and the state it leaves them in will put them at the level of a Hibs or Hearts.
And they’ll be there for a generation or longer.
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