Today I heard something frankly brilliant, something that if it’s true – and I am assured that it is – sums up everything going on at Ibrox right now.
It’s about them being the only club in world football to have their own personalised typographical font.
Success on the pitch is not impacted in the slightest by having a special typeface. Did you know that? Do they? As I asked a couple of days ago, does this even count as fiddling whilst Rome burns or is it more akin to searching under the bed for the violin as Rome burns?
I haven’t even seen that story in the papers, probably because it is far too ridiculous even for them.
Who but Sevco would be giving themselves a digital makeover whilst the world continues to struggle through a dark crisis? The “launch” campaign for their new logo was hilarious at a time when it’s their team that needs the drastic rework.
Celtic’s new kits went on pre-order this week and the response overwhelmed the official shop site.
The slogan for the campaign makes me smile. “Not For Second Best.”
As I said earlier in the week, Sevco has gone, in the space of three deals, from doing business with Puma, a firm at the top end of the sportswear business, to one of the lesser players in Hummel and now have wound up with a Liverpool firm who are taking their first shot at the football top market and the downtrend is reflected in the underlying philosophies.
Puma were about excellence and the quest for it. Hummel actually branded themselves as a company that liked the underdog story. Castore are all about aspiration.
But Adidas don’t need to bother with the underdog story, or aspiration.
They, along with Nike, are the top firms in the business.
That’s why their company can launch a campaign such as this, for a club that sit atop their national game, bestriding it like a colossus.
This is the high end of the market. Sevco may kid itself on that they’ve landed something special with this “premium product” nonsense, but they didn’t wind up with Castore by choice. They had no other options. The way they’ve behaved towards both Puma and Hummel has closed a lot of doors in their face. With the global health emergency raging around them there were a limited range of companies in the field available to them.
Ashley owns a lot of the remaining ones.
Castore were at the very end of the line.
To put it a better way, let me reach for a little Malcolm Tucker.
In the first episode of the third season of the magnificent The Thick Of It, he is talking to the hapless newly minted cabinet minister Nicola Murray who thinks her intellect and ideas got her the gig; what follows is one of the most ruthless denunciations of someone’s self-perception I’ve ever seen.
Comparing their situation to “series ten of the Big Breakfast”, he tells her she’s nothing but “the dinner lady they’ve asked to come and present the show.” He acknowledges that he doesn’t know the first thing about her background, and sums it up thus.
“You were so low down on the list of candidates for this job I didn’t even have the chance to look into you. So low. Way, way, way, way, way.”
And that’s Castore. Or Sevco.
Take your pick really.
Both were desperate at the same moment in time.
Castore had raised money to break into the football business but had no client. Sevco had already advertised their search for a kit maker. Who made the first move? Who cares. It’s little more than a marriage of convenience and I’ll be amazed if it goes the distance.
Celtic didn’t need to go cap in hand anywhere, and neither did Adidas.
We’re Scotland’s last remaining footballing superpower.
A global brand which we’ve spent decades building.
Adidas are one of the two biggest sportswear firms on the planet.
Nike are the other, and they were our kit makers two deals back and that relationship ended on good enough terms you’ll see their logo on a Celtic top again.
Not for second best, then. It’s a perfect riposte to the nonsense we’ve seen this month already about how the Castore shirt will give Sevco an edge, not to mention this pitiful “crest launch” they did the other day, which Celtic responded to quite magnificently with a low-tech slap back showing them just how cheap and tacky their stunt was.
I was going to cover that in a separate article because it was quite brilliant the way we did that, showing just the right amount of contempt without even seeming serious.
This has been a good week for us, and a bad one for them.
Long may that trend continue.
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