As Crisis Grips The Scottish Game, Only The Fans At Ibrox Wish The Worst On The Rest Of The Sport.

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In the run up to Sevco’s match against a couple of weeks ago, the talk on their forums was of grudges and grievances and the “hatred” that exists between the two clubs. I read some of it in honest-to-God bafflement.

These clubs have been separated by league status since Sevco was founded; this is the first season in which both of them have played in the same division. So where does the hatred emanate from? What is its genesis? What sparked it and why does it persist?

In the case of the United game, it was something to do with un-refunded tickets back at a time when a club called Rangers was playing out of Ibrox. I didn’t look into it much beyond finding that out; it seems so petty and small-minded, and just like the Sevco support.

I’ve written here several times about how it’s hate which most seems to define that club, and the Dundee Utd saga is only one small facet of it. The real problem over there is that the hate is somehow so all-consuming they don’t even seem to realise when it negatively affects them.

That makes it more than just bog-standard bigotry … it is borderline psychotic.

Never has this been more evident than it was this week, when the Scottish Government announced that restrictions in place might mean football fans locked out of grounds for the whole of the season. That news should have been devastating for all supporters to hear, and almost across the boards that’s exactly what it was.

There’s a realisation by fans of every club about what it will mean for the game if some of our teams vanish, never to return.

Not for them a Sevco-like “resurrection” with the media and governing bodies four-square behind a blatant falsehood about them somehow surviving; they realise that when those clubs are gone that they’ll be gone for good.

To the average football fan, this is something to be considered with genuine fear of what a future without half our clubs will mean, not just for our own teams but the game here as a whole. There might be no recovering from the damage it does.

Amidst this, there are voices which for years have said that we have too many professional and semi-professional teams in the league system, and that the system itself cannot support 42 clubs, most of whom get by on very modest attendances.

Their argument – that this kind of realignment might actually be beneficial in the long term, reducing the number of clubs to something more manageable and where there are larger attendances at some of these teams – is not a bad one … and it’s certainly not being advanced with dark motivations.

It may seem a little ruthless but you can’t accuse these folk of dancing on graves.

Dancing on graves is precisely what the Sevconuts are doing.

They welcome the idea that dozens of clubs could die; they have specific clubs they’d very much like to see gone for good, but their hostility is more general than that. They want to see itself suffer because of how “they” suffered during the year 2012.

This belief, this view, that in that year when Scottish football last stood on the brink, that something terrible happened to their club and that it was the collective will of the game here that they should suffer, is one of the most dangerous myths on which our modern footballing structure is built, and those who constantly push this line seem heedless of the damage it does.

The potential always existed for this to do real harm to the game.

The second the governing bodies and the media started to push the line that Rangers had “survived” and that Sevco was the same club, a toxic myth was allowed to take hold that they had been “relegated” by a combination of ruthless opportunism and hatred. That should never have been the chance to become part of our game’s official narrative. The club now nurses a permanent sense of grievance and an entire generation of their supporters has been brought up with this as an article of faith.

And that’s dangerous, which is a fact that has largely gone unexplored by the press.

One of the results of it is that Sevco fans would happily watch all the rest of Scottish football die. They are the only supporters in the whole country who are actually sneering as this crisis takes hold, and hoping that it does its worst. That this would hurt their own club in numerous ways is something that you really don’t feel you need to point out to them, but they don’t get it and what’s worse is that you get the impression they wouldn’t care if they did.

Sevco’s supporters have passed the point where they are going to be weaned off this stuff; it is now an inevitable part of the club’s DNA. And you know what’s worst about it? Even as they spread hatred all across the game, they act with genuine bafflement and even hurt at the merest suggestion that others might not really like them too much.

For them, it’s always been like that but for others the intense dislike of the Ibrox operation comes from their attitude towards everyone else, an attitude which has hardened into the view that everyone hates them simply because they exist at all.

This elevates things to a whole new plain. As the rest of Scottish football watches, aghast, as clubs make dire about their survivability only one set of supporters actively wishes the worst on everyone else. When they sing about how “no-one likes (them) and (they) don’t care” they never stop to wonder how they got here, far less if they can ever change it.

There club was built on grudges and paranoia. That they exist in a state of permanent vendetta should surprise no-one. They are stuck with it too, and so are the rest of us, unless theirs is one of the clubs that doesn’t come out of this on the other side.

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