The Daily Record today published one of its finest articles in many years.
It was so absurd, so reeking, so dismal, so awful, that it will become one of the gold standards of crap journalism.
It is their version of Plan 9 From Outer Space, something so toe-curling awful that it will become legendry. It was written by McFarlane, their Ibrox blogger (they are all Ibrox bloggers over there, but this guy is actually a Sevco fan writer), and is so bad it touches greatness.
The article is about the Ibrox “team of the decade”, and what a decade it has been for the fans over there. Not many supporters can look back on a ten-year spell where they watched two separate clubs and where for the last nine years have had nothing to cheer for at all.
Only people absolutely out of their faces on delusion and madness would even try to pick a best eleven out of that quagmire of failure and decay and hilarity for everyone else in the game.
McFarlane leaps boldly in there, and what wonderful stuff he emerges with.
Let’s start here; his “team of the decade” includes only players who played in the last title winning team at Ibrox and a handful from the Gerrard era. “With the likes of Kevin Kyle, Ian Black and their ilk best forgotten, there are two distinct periods from which you can realistically pick players – the Smith/McCoist era of 2010-2012 and the last two years under Steven Gerrard,” he writes. Which means it’s a “team of a couple of two year spells separated by six years.”
Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
Here’s what immediately strikes me about that decision. This readiness, this need, to write off the six years in between the Ibrox glory years which led directly to the liquidation of Rangers and the Ibrox glory years of today where Celtic sits atop the Scottish game like a colossus, three trebles in a row secure, top of the league as I write this and the first domestic trophy safely tucked away. It’s as if those six years happened somewhere else … and I understand why.
Because those six years were years of appalling waste and mismanagement. Those years would have been less dark at Ibrox if that club had not been outspending every club in the country bar one during that time. They had the second biggest wage budget in the land … and McFarlane does not believe a single footballer, bar one, and we’ll get to that, who was signed in that period merits the slightest consideration. That is a spectacular monument to their folly.
Let’s not forget either that McFarlane and others were gleeful as that money was being spent. When the likes of Sandaza and Kyle and Black were being signed to play Third Division football it was only what the Peepul had come to expect and even demand. It is incredible to me that the years of the so-called Journey conveyed not one single benefit on the club; indeed, it proved over and over again just how little had been learned from Rangers’ obliteration.
There are hilarious choices in the team as well. Three of its players walked out on Rangers in 2012, and were to be cast into the darkness as the ultimate traitors. Yet two of them – McGregor and Davis – are back there right now, in the first team squad and feted again as heroes. Another, Steven Naismith, looked set to sign for them 18 months ago and the same people who had condemned him were similarly rewriting history.
One of the players in that glorious eleven is Lee Wallace; this seems based on sentimentality rather than any real ability. I never rated the guy, not even when he was an SPL footballer, and certainly not after he did the Journey in their first team … Lionel Messi would stagnate in the Scottish fourth tier. That some still believe that Wallace should have been a full international all the way down the line is the reeking proof of how dumb a lot of folk are.
Bougherra makes the team, but so too, hilariously, does Davie Weir. It’s a straight up decision to pick a best central defensive partnership and that creaking football pensioner actually made the grade. In the same timeframe, Celtic have enjoyed the likes of Virgil Van Dijk. I mean, something told me that Joe Worrall wasn’t going to make it, but there’s no place for any of their expensively signed current crop in that position, and this says it all.
Tavernier is right back. That is just brilliant. So too is McFarlane’s suggestion that he is “certainly the best attacking full-back in the country.” Oh dear, oh dear. How desperate they are for heroes that this clodhopper makes their Best of the Decade team.
“Early on in his (Ibrox) career there were doubts about Tavernier going the other way but the skipper has improved immeasurably in that aspect and is a fine one-on-one defender,” McFarlane claims. And this would be the biggest laugh out loud moment of the article but for one that comes a little later. One thing you cannot say about Tavernier is that he’s a good defender; most Sevco fans would not even go that far in describing him.
Davis and Ryan Jack make up a central midfield that is devoid of any creativity at all; it’s comprised of two defensive footballers. Imagine having to pick a best Celtic XI of this decade – believe me, I’m going to do it in the next few days; it would be an embarrassment of riches in that part of the pitch, as opposed to this which is just … an embarrassment.
Morelos and Jelavic are the strikers. That’s probably hard to argue with but it makes me wonder what all the fuss was about over guys like Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn, to say nothing of Francisco Sandaza and the aforementioned Kevin Kyle. You also had gems like Joe Dodo (“part of Leicester’s title winning squad!” The Record squealed with pleasure at the time) and football geniuses such as Josh Windass and joyously awful guys like Herrera … back at the club this very week, and still sucking money out of them like a tic leeching blood from between your toes.
But this is my favourite inclusion; on the left side of midfield the desperado McFarlane has gone for Ryan “Clark” Kent, their £7 million waste of money who has had a little over 18 months at the club but still managed to get into their best eleven in a decade.
And talk about damning someone with faint praise; this is McFarlane’s entry for him.
“Quick, skilful, decent with both feet and capable of hitting shots with real venom, the former Liverpool kid may well end up bringing in far more than the £7.5m he cost. He can be inconsistent, which is understandable given his age, but Kent always turns it on in the big games as Celtic can testify. Showing up against Celtic is the fastest way to make yourself a Rangers hero and Ryan Kent is well on his way.”
Are you laughing as hard as I am?
Did Kent even play in the Cup Final? I just checked, and yes he did! Was he wonderful? Was he a stand-out? No, I seem to remember him being subbed as ineffective and at one moment whilst on the pitch being absolutely owned by Jeremie Frimpong.
I guess that’s “understandable given his age” … except Frimpong was playing in his first senior cup final, one on one against a £7 million player and bossed him … and he’s only 20, which is three years younger than Kent is.
The £9 million striker we brought on and who terrorised the Ibrox club from the second he was on the pitch is in his third season at Parkhead … and he’s only 21. Ryan Christie is only a year older than Kent, and he is a sure-fire Player of the Year. Kris Ajer is 21. Mikey Johnston is 20. All these guys played some role that day, and have been sterling all season long.
All those guys, by the way, would struggle to get into the Celtic team of the decade. In fact, I’d be amazed if any of them made the eleven.
Honestly, I’ve read some desperate stuff in my time but this is just mind-blowingly bad. Whoever at The Record thought that article was a good idea … well, you are correct, it was, because it made me laugh like few things have for a while.
It was both unintentionally hilarious and cringe-inducing. That takes some doing. In a football article that isn’t written by Neil Cameron, Chris Jack or Roddy Forsyth it’s almost amazing. If Cameron’s Steven Gerrard “waiting for the bride” unveiling piece was the worst article of the last ten years – hands down, it was a triumph of awfulness – this might have been in the running for second, except that I enjoyed it too much and it didn’t make me want to be sick.
LAST CHANCE TO DO OUR SLAPPING SEVCO QUIZ BELOW …