The Survival Myth is one of the most loathsome things in the history of Scottish football, but there is one good aspect to it which never gets old; the way in which some idiots try to explain the logic that lies behind it. Shorn of evidence for their case, they are reduced to falling back on the daftest things.
We saw a sterling example of it last week.
Alastair Johnston is always amusing.
If you’ve watched his performances on Mark Daly’s two amazing Ibrox documentaries you will know why I say that.
In one he growls the words “no surrender” at the camera as a warning to Craig Whyte, a warning Whyte dismissed entirely and paid no price for. In the other he blithely suggests that the bank’s best course of action would have been to write off Rangers’ debts entirely, although he never presents reasoning to back that up.
Lloyds officials, watching, must have been pissing themselves laughing at that petulant display and the complete break with reality it represents.
The club was sold to Craig Whyte on Johnston’s watch, and all the wreckage that followed left plenty of people out of pocket but Lloyds weren’t amongst them.
They got back every penny Rangers owed them … they were, in fact, the only people who did.
He will not be getting asked to join their board any time soon.
The media loved what this clown had to say in midweek; I thought it was hilarious myself.
He sounded like someone who’d had too many sherries with lunch. He was all over the place trying to make his case that Celtic fans are somehow wrong to suggest that Rangers died in 2012. Where he really got into a state and a half was when he talked about trophies.
“You know what? If that was the end of Rangers and Celtic, and if that was the end of the big game that started in 1888 all the way to 2012, we won that game,” he said. “The way you determine it is by the number of times we won the top division. We were ahead in 2012 and, in head-to-head victories, we were ahead of Celtic in 2012. So if you wanted to say the old Rangers of 1872 died — we beat you 2-0 and when the game started again in 2012,.”
Now, I have read that over and over and over again and I still have no idea what this eejit is trying to say.
Let’s start with this “we beat you 2-0” nonsense; what the Hell is this a reference to?
Titles won and head-to-heads?
I don’t know a single Celtic fan who even cares what our head-to-head record against Rangers was.
And title wins? Many of those titles are tainted and should be struck from the record. Even then, yes, Rangers will have won more titles … but as this site has pointed out, we’re not actually that far off 55 titles ourselves and I fancy us to get there first.
That’s why his assertion that “it will be 120 years or so before you can tie with us” is not only wide of the mark, it’s absolutely nonsensical. Sevco has won no major trophies; by my reckoning they are the ones playing catch-up.
But even if you accept the basic premise of the Survival Lie, the NewCo isn’t that far in front of us, even with Rangers’ titles artificially inflating them.
I would also strongly have to take issue with Johnston’s claim that they “won” the so-called Old Firm battle.
Remember De Niro’s Capone in The Untouchables? I thought his summation of how you judge the winner in any fight is as good as it’s going to get.
“You look at the guy still standing and that’s who won.”
In case it’s escaped Johnston’s attention span, we survived that rivalry and his club didn’t. He’s the only person who thinks a straight knockout is somehow over-ruled by what was on the scorecard before the killer punch was delivered.
Johnston wasn’t even finished waffling on; he then tried to reframe reality.
“The reality is Rangers survived and not only did they survive, they started to thrive again,” he said, proving again that he and the concept of reality simply don’t exist in the same sphere. These are pretty incredible comments from a guy who has more than once accused Craig Whyte of “murdering the institution of Rangers” and who appears not to realise that one of the people who was most vocal in declaring Rangers dead was Jim Traynor, who Sevco now employs.
“I left after we won the title for the third time in a row in 2011 …” he boasts, which is a fantastic summary of his time there.
Notice how he leaves out huge tracts of his tenure, such as the time he signed the license paperwork which the SFA is today being urged to renew their investigation of, and the dossier he prepared on Whyte which he didn’t share with the Stock Market, as was his fiduciary duty, or with the Rangers fans who were conned into believing Whyte was a billionaire, and he leaves out the fact that he did nothing to prepare the club for the incoming tax case bomb-blast and that wages and costs were astronomical, leading directly to the crisis of the following year. He also signed off on the appointment of Ally McCoist as manager … and I could go on and on.
When you read arrant nonsense like this it is easy to forget that Johnston is still hailed as a genius by our media. He was invited to join Dave King’s board … King, who let’s not forget, was at Ibrox through every single stage of Rangers existential crisis, all the way to the death rattle.
We should be grateful for Johnston’s snarking intervention this week. Michael Stewart called it “playing to the gallery” and he’s right, of course, and what a gallery of goons it is. It just so happens that many in the mainstream media lapped it up like Pavlov’s slobbering dogs.
I sometimes get the impression that Stewart is equally unimpressed by the profession he’s part of and a lot of those in it.
As usual, his was the voice of reason and sanity here.
Johnston’s was neither of those things.
That’s why I had a good laugh reading his interview and why I’ve really not stopped laughing since.
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