Gary Ralston’s piece on Sevco and on the confidence Alex Rae feels for the new campaign is a piece that is one of two things; it is either delusional or it is deeply dishonest. Frankly, I don’t care which of the two it is. There is barely a word in it which doesn’t insult the intelligence of us all.
I reckon though it is perfectly pitched for the Neanderthal target audience, those followers of Sevco who believe every bit of feel-good boloney they read and always have.
Still, today’s is such a stretch that you wonder how even the dumbest amongst them could swallow it.
With season ticket sales still 10,000 down on last year, with the global health crisis having already taken a chunk of home gate money and other income from the last campaign, with even the promise of European football unable to deliver big crowds in the coming season, Sevco is a club where all inside the walls must know they are facing tough choices.
It is still my considered opinion that they will not survive the season intact, and that they are the club who are most likely to have been lobbying the SPFL and the SFA to abolish the footballing penalties for doing so, as they hide behind the global health emergency.
I cannot write this enough times; Sevco was in a perilous state before this disaster struck. They were £10 million short of their cash to finish the last campaign, even before those additional home games were swept off the table. It is tempting to suggest that the wage deferrals actually saved them in this regard. It’s also possible that other major bills went unpaid and that they were able to hide behind the global health emergency to avoid doing so.
We have no idea. Sevco does not have a legal requirement to open the books up in the way Celtic does because they are not a stock market listed company; this was a very deliberate strategy on the part of King, when he took over. The source of much of the club’s finances has always been opaque. Do not expect anyone in the media to dig into them.
Sevco was last supposed to submit six monthly unaudited figures in February; this is June.
They are four months behind on that, and no-one should now expect to see them published.
What was in those figures that was so bad that they don’t even want their own supporters to know about it?
The next time we’ll know for sure will be in October when the annuals come out.
But nobody who’s crunched the numbers realistically expects that this will get that far
Yet to read Gary Ralston today not only are things good, but they have never looked better.
To write something like that requires that you deny reality completely.
Not one club anywhere in Europe is saying that. Not one.
Some might be well placed to survive this, but at not one club does anyone think things are better than this time last year.
Nowhere except Ibrox, who’s club sat atop a list of the 200 biggest clubs in Europe as by far the one with the greatest exposure to financial peril.
Celtic might have the biggest wage bill in the country, but our wages to earnings ratio is safely below the danger zone.
Sevco’s is above the red line.
Nobody disputes that. Yet at Sevco they wear the veneer of calm.
And the media swallows this, or at least most of them do. There are a handful of dissenting voices, but they are usually drowned out by the howling mob. Gary Ralston of The Record is not going to hear a word of doubt; to him, everything’s just peachy.
How peachy? He thinks the club is on the verge of putting a major infrastructure project in place, to add 6000 seats to the ground.
Yes, you read that correctly; he thinks, in spite of being skint, that Sevco is going to add 6000 seats to Ibrox at a momentous cost.
Where’s the money coming from? He has a theory there too.
“The Ibrox club have announced bumper season ticket sales in excess of 32,000, despite the economic uncertainty … Sales are up on the same stage as last season and are well on target to equal the record number of 47,000 recorded in the last campaign. (They) are currently in consultation over plans to lower the pitch and add another 6,000 seats – and with up to 16,000 on the waiting list via new membership scheme MyGers, it could soon be a goer.”
Dear God. I mean … really. First up, the MyGers scheme costs £50 to join. The last time I counted it, 16,000 members would raise a mere £800,000. And it’s not a waiting list for season tickets either; I expected someone so intimately familiar with their club to know that.
As if that ridiculous assertion wasn’t dumb enough for you, try this one.
“Former midfielder Rae admits life off the pitch has rarely looked rosier for Rangers since their descent into the financial abyss in 2012.”
Like I said, they are the only club in the world where things are “rosier” now than they’ve been over the last eight or nine years. Not one other football institution on the planet would choose right now to trumpet as the moment when they are riding highest.
Rae himself fully embraces the theory of “fairies at the bottom of the garden.”
“It’s going in the right direction, with the new Castore deal in place, improved merchandising and plans to transform the areas around the ground ahead of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2022. I’d love to see the new seats added, either in the corners of the stadium or by lowering the pitch, because there’s certainly a demand.”
And I’d like to go out on a date with Sophie Turner; let’s see how gets lucky first.
The Castore deal has been trumpeted, of course, although not one detail of it has ever been published. We’re told it is a big one, but the company is small, its most profitable year didn’t come close to enabling them to pay a big advance, whatever manufacturing capacity they were counting on will have taken a mammoth hit from the crisis we’re in …. and who even knows whether Ashley is still on the scene? Would you bet on his having departed gracefully?
I laugh at this 150-year anniversary nonsense as well; the fantasy of doing major work on the stadium before then – they’d have to start this year or early next – is surely a delusion of epic proportions. Where’s the funding for that coming from? A magic money tree?
Something has to give over there; it’s just as simple as that. This is a club that has needed directors loans just to keep on the lights for the past few seasons, and here we are in a global shutdown and we’re being told that things are just fine.
It does not add up, not at all, not even close.
Instead of questioning it, the media here has swallowed it whole.
Just when you think you couldn’t have more contempt for them.
The Daily Record really is amazing.
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