Last week, with much of the world focussed on America, Sevco decided to indulge in a little public relations.
Whilst most people were tweeting black backgrounds (and Scott Brown tweeted a bizarre picture of his thumb over the camera instead of Googling one!) the Ibrox club decided to use the George Floyd murder for their own self-aggrandisement.
They tweeted the ubiquitous black background, yes, but they put Everyone Anyone on it instead of something more fitting like, oh I dunno … Black Lives Matter, maybe?
Most people on Twitter were astonished by how crass that was.
It was a ridiculous response, an effort to piggy-back on a moment of major social trauma to tell everyone how open-minded their club was. Here’s the thing; if their club were truly open-minded, and inclusive, it would not have to keep on advertising that fact in such shabby and shady ways.
The truth is, though, their club had little choice but to try to hijack the moment.
Because in fact, their tweet was not a response to the swelling outrage around the world at the death of another African American at the hands of the police; it was a reaction to their own supporters, and one organisation amongst them who couldn’t help but celebrate their own bigotry, using the global outpouring of grief and fury to suggest that the dead man had it coming.
Vanguard Scum – I refuse to use the name they call themselves – brought shame and disgrace upon themselves and their entire club with their barbaric tweet highlighting Floyd’s criminal record. The fury that erupted at them was not confined merely to Celtic fans or neutrals; dozens of Sevco’s fans let them know how disgusting it was.
The following day, The Sun newspaper highlighted the tweet and called them out on it.
At that point, the PR department at Ibrox must have known they’d have to do something lest the world again see their support in such ghastly terms; as per usual they screwed up their response. But not half as badly as Vanguard Scum themselves, who used the moment to castigate the paper and claim that they are a non-sectarian organisation.
They dared Twitter to prove otherwise.
Anyone who is in the least bit familiar with that website, with that particular fan group, could have predicted how easily that would unravel. Within minutes, dozens of responses highlighted over and over again what sewer-dwelling filth Vanguard Scum are.
A barrage of tweets from their bygone days of yore demonstrated the depravity and sickness at the heart of their organisation, and those who follow it. I could shame those who are still doing so, but they’re doing a pretty good of shaming themselves.
Guilt by association is a bitch, isn’t it?
But that’s a lesson that club struggles to learn. It is one that it just never seems to get. No institution which valued its own reputation would want such an organisation represented within its ranks; Sevco is stuck with this lot and all the other groups like them, unable to openly challenge them for fear of the consequences. It’s that, as much as anything, which prevented the club itself from being able to straightforwardly support the Black Lives Matter campaign.
The horrible truth that their club never gets a grip on is that these ideas are rampant amongst their support. The club itself had no problem hiring a DUP councillor and high ranking Lodge member to run their public relations; think about that for a moment, in the context of what Vanguard Scum did here. They are the gutter element of the Sevco support, but they have good reason to believe that the club not only has no problem with them but sees the world the same way.
Sevco brought that on themselves. They have never properly tried to tackle their degenerate section; indeed, their club’s history shows that they pander to them over and over again. Their new shirt deal was no sooner signed than Castore reps were telling the media that an orange strip is very much part of their thinking as they know that would be popular amongst the fan-base … it makes it clear that Vanguard Scum are not the aberration they ought to be.
These mentalities are built in with the Ibrox bricks.
They are part of the firmament.
They are an unalterable, permanent, part of what Sevco is and represents.
It’s not even clear that anyone inside Ibrox wants to try and change it; even the campaign against Doncaster, MacLennan and McKenzie had the whiff of sectarianism about it. The belief that an Unseen Fenian Hand controls Scottish football is one that was, for a month there, being actively promoted by the club.
The dog whistle was loud and clear; everyone knew it, even those members of the press who happily went along for the ride.
It is obvious that Sevco has a serious problem here and they will continue to have. When their new shirt manufacturer brings out the grotesque orange shirt Castore’s name will forever be stained by that decision, to forgo their own reputation in a desperate chasing of the bigot pound. Most firms would want to avoid such a taint; they are embracing it instead. Hell mend them, and Hell mend any company which makes such a catastrophic decision.
But it’s the price of engaging with the Ibrox operation in the first place.
Sevco will never be free of this stuff now. The time for that was right at the start, when they were founded. Charles Green was the last person who had any chance to alter their path, but the decision to embrace the detritus of Rangers, the decision to appropriate everything about that club, ultimately doomed that possibility. When they took on the name, and claimed the history, they got everything that went with it. There was no further opportunity for change.
And I suspect that there never will be again.
Last week heaped disgrace on that club, so much so that the website Glasgow Live called them out for their Everyone Anyone tweet and asked why they didn’t just put up a Black Lives Matter message instead. The Vanguard Scum got their own headlines and made sure they heaped embarrassment on top of embarrassment.
Sevco deserves it because they will not try to change it.
They deserve it because they actively encourage the worst elements of their fan-base.
They deserve it for their embrace of Orangeism and their Britishness Days and their pandering to the Loyalist tendency, even when it comes to the hiring of a new head of media.
Let their club speak with a pronounced Ulster trill. Let their players parade around in orange shirts, pretending not to know what they represent. Let their manager go home every weekend to little Lourdes and pretend not to know that when those behind him sing about being up to their knees in Fenian blood that it’s his little girl they are singing about.
But don’t let that club kid you that it cares about inclusivity or has any sense of social responsibility at all.
Because it does not.
Because in spite of all their protestations to the contrary, this is what they are, and this is who they are.
As Scottish football goes through the current crisis it is important to keep up with developments and the key issues. We are determined to do so, and to keep you informed as well. Please subscribe to the blog.