Whenever I find myself engaged in debate with those who push the Survival and Victim lies, I try not to lose my temper. But it is difficult. It is difficult because to argue either of those things seems, to me, to require wilfully setting aside fact, logic and truth.
I’ve had similar arguments over the years with the Brexiteers and those who trust Boris Johnson.
I’ve seen my friends have them with those who continue to support Donald Trump. It must require a huge mental effort to uncouple from reality in the way those people too … and it can be infuriating when you are attempting to apply logic to their arguments.
As far as Scottish football is concerned, the Survival and Victim lies have no equal.
If the mood in our game is still toxic eight years on from the events of 2012, it is not just because this noxious myth not only retains the power to infuriate those of us who recognise it for what it is, but also because it has a remarkable power over the Ibrox supporters.
In a sense I understand where they are and why they believe it. They need to.
They can’t quite bring themselves to believe that the club pre-2012 no longer exists. They failed to save it, and for all their arrogant beliefs that the club was “too big to fail” and that it was needed by the rest of the game, nobody else came to save it either.
I understand exactly why that is hard to take.
The media has no such excuse; their conduct over the past few weeks will be the subject of an article later today, but for now let’s focus on Scott McDermott and his scandalous piece in The Sunday Mail today, a piece which pushes both the Survival and Victim lies to the despicable height.
The language in that article is shameful.
Starting out with the ludicrously wordy name; “The agenda-setting Rangers respect within Scottish football that will return IF they produce SPFL smoking gun”, it argues that the Ibrox club should be amongst the most influential teams in the country again, and that they will be if they can produce the evidence they claim exists against the governing bodies.
The article’s opening assertion – that somehow a club at Ibrox having immense influence in Scottish football was a good thing – is ridiculous for openers. Those were some of the darkest days in the history of the game here, as time and facts have ably demonstrated.
Which brings me to another matter; no article which extols the virtues of Campbell Ogilvie – as this one does – can be taken seriously if the central point of it is an argument against corrupt practices. Ogilvie signed the EBT documents which were concealed from the SFA at a time when he was on its board.
He ended up President just in time to have to recuse himself as the secrets he and his club had kept were finally dragged into the light.
McDermott’s article would stink from that even if he hadn’t gone on to promote the Victim and Survival lies, but he did, and with aplomb.
“The club’s demise, their use of EBTs and subsequent attempts to be reinstated in the top flight prompted a level of hatred rarely seen in our game before or after,” he writes. And then, in a grossly offensive paragraph he added this. “After years of dominance, trophy success and prominence within our game – this was them finally getting their comeuppance.”
This is a disgraceful assertion; he is openly suggesting that Scottish football punished Rangers for their success. It is a deplorable contention, absolutely redolent of bias and a grotesque re-writing of history that none of us should be willing to accept.
And he doesn’t stop there either. He goes on to write this dire nonsense too;
“There’s no point sugar coating it. They were detested – and still are by many. I’ve spoken to supporters from other clubs in the league and it still lingers now. Remember, punters at certain clubs were threatening to boycott their own team’s games if Rangers were given any help. That’s what will make this week such a struggle for Rangers.”
What he’s just done there is to completely distort what the fans of every club were up in arms about back in 2012.
Rangers dug their own grave.
They did it by engaging in systematic cheating for years, which brought them to the attention of the tax man.
They did it by spending more than they could afford, at a time when banks were no longer tolerating that sort of behaviour. They did it by corrupting the governing bodies who should have been keeping the reigns on them. They were not victims; they toxified the sport and paid the price for it.
And what supporters of other clubs objected to was a NewCo born of that scandal, born of debt dumping and other corrupt practices, having been grown out of the bits of Rangers by the shadiest and dodgiest of dodgy and shady geezers, taking the place of that club in the game’s top flight as if it were nothing at all.
Fans objected to what would have been the most corrupt stitch-up in the history of the game, and a scandal that would never have been erased.
Readers of McDermott’s rag know exactly what it’s about and what its agenda is.
We all know.
But today’s column is simply disgraceful in the way it seeks to bend reality. What he wrote today is outright lies and nothing more, designed to convince us that the return of a club from Ibrox to “respectability” is overdue, even as they play a game of fear and smear.
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