Ibrox is shrouded in darkness and uncertainty. Don’t let the feel-good stories kid you on. Even the last few days and the “new contracts” have been an exercise in smoke and mirrors. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good exercise because it has fooled the Peepul it was meant to.
Yet it is no less a scam for having done so.
Gerrard is a manager who is hyped beyond belief.
You wouldn’t know, unless you looked, that he’s won one of the last five games, and that at home to a hapless club who didn’t even have a manager.
You wouldn’t know that they’d just lost a cup final in spite of playing much of the match against ten men, or that a few days before they’d blown a two goal lead.
If this seems like an odd time to be giving out rewards for failure, then you’re not alone in thinking so. Their European progress has been decent, but it covers a multitude of sins. This is not a manager, or a club, in as good a shape as the press would have you believe.
For openers, they won only two games out of six in the group. Celtic won four and haven’t had half the honey poured on them for doing so. Neil Lennon has visibly improved Celtic from last season, it’s there on paper, in the scores and in the games.
The media points, too, to Gerrard’s “success” in Scotland without ever actually pointing out what that success constitutes. He’s spent £20 million in two years; he has a wage bill second only to Celtic itself. Anything less than second would be a catastrophe, but their club expects more than that, of course. They haven’t poured all that money down the Ibrox black hole just to sit behind us forevermore. He has yet to win a trophy. He has reached one final.
Against Celtic he has two wins in six, and four defeats. He’s been beaten both times at Celtic Park, once at Hampden and at Ibrox. Against Aberdeen, he has had ten games … and won three of them. Someone at Ibrox thinks that’s a good record.
Good enough, anyway, for an improved deal.
Yet even this is an exercise in deception. His improved deal will certainly contain a buy-out clause, and the club put that in there because they believe they can hype up enough interest in this guy. It’s like Morelos and Tavernier and their other losers all over again.
Look at the cup final; a complete disaster for them, reimagined as a triumph. They reckon they played well and it proves that the gap has closed; I knew before the game started it would be a difficult one. I knew that the night before. Yet in all the analysis I’ve read I haven’t read a single person who has identified what the game-changer was.
It was, of course, the weather.
The rain made the pitch unsuited to our style of football, which is why we had to resort to big stupid punts up the park. Anyone who talks about the game but who isn’t talking about the state of the playing surface isn’t giving a full account. “Will the weather change the game?” I was asked the night before. “Oh Hell yes,” I said, “and not in a good way.”
I’ve read terms like “played us off the park” and such nonsense. On the day our midfield could barely pass the ball from point A to point B … does no-one think the conditions were partly responsible? Sevco’s big “hoof and hope” style was much more suited to the lashing rain … and in case anyone missed it, we still got the result.
If we win at Celtic Park, Gerrard will have lost three games against us in a row, one at home, one away and one on a neutral ground. For all their hype I don’t know a single Celtic fan who believes that they will take as much as a point from Parkhead … they may even get that doing that has been long delayed against Gerrard’s rag-bag mob. Remember, even Murty was able to secure good results against us … before the catastrophic ones hit them like two tons of bricks.
On top of all this, of course, is King and his board. Who cares whether something happened in the Hampden VIP section; we know the Ibrox club don’t do dignity any more than the one that came before it. They are classless when they win and rabid when they lose. You only have to look at the sort of statements they release; foaming at the mouth is the polite term.
They have filed a counter-suit in the Ashley case; what head-banging lunacy provoked that? King has said he’ll be around until that runs its course … he thinks he can drag it out for ages, and he must know he’ll lose in the end. It’s sheer madness, but they carry on. Better for King to exit and allow the club to cut some sort of deal; he refuses to.
All the feel-good talk in the world isn’t going to fix that club and the stuff that’s wrong with it, from the boot-room to the boardroom. The media would rather not know the bad stuff. One of the big stories of the week was that Morelos and his agent have been told the player won’t be sold in January come what may; no-one thought to ask if they had demanded the meeting, and if the player is touting for a move, which I believe is almost certainly the case.
Having committed to their crazy valuation, it’s impossible to see how the club can punt him in the coming window, in the event they do get a reasonable offer, and still face their supporters … knowing they won’t get daft money they are now committed to holding out for it. Stupidity on stilts, and not something the player or his agent can, or will, accept.
With that door firmly closed and the need for cash acute, they’ve skipped from one fantasy to another. Now they’re trying to inflate the value of the £50,000 midfielder Kamara with talk of scouts from Juventus and other such rot.
There is not a major saleable asset in that team, and the manager couldn’t spot a major talent if his life depended on it. He still hopes Ojo will come good.
They paid massively over the odds for Ryan Kent; a couple of goals against SPL dross does not make a good footballer. Against Celtic he was utterly anonymous. They moved him all over the park last night, and he did not produce. His signing was ridiculous.
There is a deep malaise at that club which is being buried amidst a thick smokescreen. But that partial cover will not last. There are real structural flaws in the Ibrox superstructure … those are going to widen until the whole ship goes down.
Giving Gerrard a new deal at this point is sheer folly … it means a bigger pay-off when they finally admit that he is a busted flush. He and his advisors must be laughing all the way to the bank. A wage rise, for failure. Nice work if you can get it.
Our cup win yesterday continues our utter dominance of the hapless Ibrox NewCo … but how well do you know the history of our successes over them? Try our new quiz and find out. You can click this link or on the first question above ..