Since last week, I’ve been waiting on the media writing the definitive story about what’s going on between Castore and Sevco.
They almost had to.
The outrage from the fans have been so loud and vocal and nearly universal that it seemed inevitable.
But the silence has been deafening, except in two cases.
The Sun wrote the initial story after the Ibrox fan-base first starting expressing their discontent and then, today, a couple of papers chipped in because the supporters group Club 1872 released a statement last night. It was not their usual rambling nonsense either.
It was controlled and disciplined.
Even they realise this is a serious situation.
The media appears not to want to.
I am sure that they do get it, that they do understand that this is a bad, bad affair and getting worse, but they don’t want to offend the Ibrox hierarchy and so they are toeing the party line. Only when the club officially responds will the press react in kind, turning the guns wherever Ibrox tells them to … even if that’s against their own fans.
Sevco has always been able to rely on a compliant and subservient media.
What they never appear to learn is that a certain amount of scrutiny is healthy.
It stops an organisation from becoming stagnant and insular. The media should be like an extra pair of eyes, providing outside scrutiny and an honest perspective. When they are doing their job right, the press keeps organisations from lying to the most important people; themselves.
A decent media would have been all over the Castore deal from the start, as the bloggers were.
They should have been asking how a tiny company expected to deliver on a mammoth order ten times the size of anything they’d dealt with before, and especially during a global health emergency that has slowed down those parts of the economy it hasn’t shut.
They should have been pointing out that which was blatantly obvious; that the quality which made the company its name and reputation couldn’t possibly be maintained on a mass production schedule even in optimal conditions and with everything falling perfectly into place, conditions which were not simply difficult to attain but actually impossible right now.
I’m not saying Castore are blameless; when they weren’t trying to pass off cheap tat as their own high ticket items they were trying to bullshit their way through this, making promises they either knew they couldn’t keep or too arrogant to recognise reality.
Neither is a good portent for the future, and particularly when you consider that the club gave them a ridiculously long contract … five years to a company with no experience in the football sector. The media should have been all over that, subjecting it to real analysis if not outright scorn.
It was madness, especially considering previous merchandising fiascos.
The press has failed to do its basic job, because they want to keep Ibrox sweet. But what’s happened instead of course is that Sevco does things knowing it can bluff the press into publishing whatever they are told and that creates the conditions for ever-evolving crises.
Imagine the press had scrutinised Murray; there might still be a club called Rangers.
Imagine they had scrutinised Whyte. The shambles of 2012 might have ended in some form of CVA and there would have been no NewCo and no need to begin life in the bottom tier. Imagine they had scrutinised Green; tens of millions wouldn’t have been syphoned out of the club.
Instead the media cheer-led all these men.
Imagine they had called King what he really was; a two-bob crook and tax dodger. The club went through four managers during his tenure and wasted God knows how many millions and five years of time they didn’t have.
The press could have stopped King cold and he’d never have got his hands on the reigns.
If they had been up to snuff they’d have questioned the appointments of Warburton and his whole year of managerial experience, and they would never have christened Caixinha “the Portuguese James Bond” and other such trash … and focussed on his record instead.
They talked up the signings these guys made as if they were superstars, even when there was plenty of evidence that they weren’t. Remember the praise they heaped on Kranjcar in spite of his having played a handful games in the three years prior to signing?
They ignored a mountain of available proof that Carlos Pena was a jack-the-lad who was never going to make it as a professional footballer in this country.
Look at the scrutiny Leigh Griffiths gets for an example of how they cover our players. Leigh took on some amount of opprobrium over his physical conditioning over lockdown.
How come it took Gerrard slamming Morelos before the obvious fact that he was in dreadful nick became worth writing about?
They are covered to a different standard than the rest of the clubs; this is absolutely without dispute.
They are fawned over and praised even when that is not the rational response.
The media has no interest in getting on the wrong side of Ibrox, even when the club there is in the process of self-harm and drawing attention to that fact might limit the damage.
The press has played an active role in every Ibrox disaster of the past ten years, but that’s nothing compared to the total betrayal of ordinary working class fans which has been allowed here. I don’t feel much sympathy for the Sevconuts as a whole, but it’s a scandal that the media hasn’t taken up the case of people who’ve basically been grafted.
There was a time when any football support in this country would have had the wholehearted support of the press if they were being as stunningly ripped off as the Ibrox fans are now … but the press would rather wait on the club giving them a steer before they do a drop of investigative digging.
The Ibrox fan organisations were entitled to expect that scrutiny on their behalf, as any fans anywhere in the country would be … the media has sold them out.
It has sided with their club, which means it has sided with those who have a hand in their pockets and won’t take it out.
No wonder they trust the media even less than we do.
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