In 2009, the BBC broadcast a TV movie called Margaret; starring Lindsay Duncan as the titular character, it was about the final days of Thatcher’s Premiership, starting with the famed resignation speech of her Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, which he used to urge others to run against her for the party leadership, and ending on her final day in office.
It is a smashing piece of television and Duncan, in particular (best known for her role as Servilla, the mother of Brutus and the lover of Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome) is magnificent in it, capturing perfectly the evil woman’s most negative personality traits but infusing her with a humanity and even a vulnerability which make it compelling.
One of the key scenes comes when Thatcher is in Paris for the European Security Summit celebrating the end of the Cold War. She attends this meeting even though, in London, her MP’s are voting in the first ballot of her leadership election against Michael Heseltine.
In the scene, Heseltine has just heard that she’s secured enough votes to win but not enough to beat him outright, opening up the second ballot in which he knows a large number of her MP’s will desert her. He is watching the televised coverage of events at home and abroad, and as he takes calls from his supporters and the press he’s waiting for her to show her hand.
The moment she does has been captured for posterity in a remarkable piece of footage; Jon Sergeant, the BBC journalist, is standing with his back to the huge doors of the British Embassy where she had been told the result. As he’s speaking on camera, telling the country and the world that he didn’t expect her to say anything, she comes out the door behind him, barges past him, her security officer bodily moves him out of the way, and she gives an impromptu interview whilst ignoring his questions completely. He looks pitiful.
But it’s how she looks that confirms all the worst fears her MP’s had about her. In the drama, Heseltine watches her display of egotism with relish.
“Boastful! Posturing! Conceited!” he says, punching the air. “Perfect!”
I felt like that listening to Gerrard talking at his press conference today.
It was beautiful.
If you wanted to present an image of arrogance and a total denial of responsibility for things gone wrong, you could not have done better than he did in front of the press this afternoon.
I laughed out loud at his positioning himself as the most important person at the club.
I was delighted when he said that the rumours and speculation his own comments had provoked were not to be entertained.
He dismissed all of them as if they had never been said.
It was remarkable.
This guy thinks he’s bigger than Sevco.
This is the problem when a football club appoints as its manager someone with a higher profile than the club itself has. You get explosions of egotism so great that astronomers on distant planets can see them across the vast void of space.
Today Sevco fans saw a brilliant white light of consequences fill the sky until their eyeballs hurt. Steven Gerrard quashed “speculation” that he might leave the club high and dry and vowed to stay until he has saved it from itself. Incredible.
“This is when the club needs me most to stay on, fight and push forward on the progress we have made in a lot of areas whilst learning to ensure the mistakes don’t happen again,” he said.
What a man he is. What an arrogant arse.
If there was speculation about his future, it was there simply because he wanted it that way.
He was the one who led people to believe he was considering quitting, nobody else. If he didn’t realise the import of the words that were coming out of his mouth then he’s even stupider than most of us think … except he isn’t, of course.
Gerrard knew exactly what he was doing; within hours his captain, the guy who has most reason to be loyal to him and the one he’s most loyal to, stepped forward to pledge his support and that of the players. Tavernier was not just speaking for himself, but he sure as Hell wasn’t speaking for everyone in the Ibrox dressing room.
The manager has lost some of them for good.
But Gerrard himself is “all-in” and that’s music to the ears of Celtic fans and to those in SevcoLand who still believe in this guy. They will love what he’s had to say today. Others, those with more sense, will see it as a disastrous decision, with wide ranging implications for their club.
They will not be reacting to it like happy seals applauding for a fish.
It’s just as I said yesterday; they are stuck with him. They can’t sack him and he won’t quit. He would rather fight his war with the players until the summer when he can ship out those who don’t come up to his “standards” and start again … as if it were that simple.
Nowhere in his interview was there the slightest contrition, the slightest acknowledgement that he signed those players, he picks the tactics, he chooses the team and therefore bears at least some of the responsibility for the results.
This was a guy in total denial. It was music to my ears.