As regular readers know, I’m a guy who likes a bet. I enjoy betting, because I keep it in moderation. That’s the only way to do it.
If you’re reckless or you start chasing your losses, you can wind up in a lot of trouble.
Betting is fun, but even if you’re just a casual gambler it’s better to approach the business of it in a serious manner. Think carefully. Weigh up the odds, the probabilities, bring your own knowledge to the fore and only then put down your money.
I am interested, always, in why people gamble as they do.
Some gamble without money. They put their lives on the line, for thrills or out of compulsions. They gamble at work. They gamble in their personal lives. They take risks which sometimes appear to have no upside at all. Some gambles are impossible to understand except from the inside.
I scrutinise Ibrox often. I try to work out what their endgame is.
There are people inside that club who have lost millions, pouring into a black hole. I don’t think many of them will see a return on the cash they’ve already poured in. I cannot understand what possessed some of them to get involved in the first place. But I know exactly why they go on.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the sunk cost fallacy, and how it impacts on those gamblers who persist in chasing losses. That’s part of what’s driving the board members at Ibrox who keep on funding the insanity over there, but there’s a deeper reason of course. They have been caught in a trap that was all too obvious to those of us on the outside looking in.
To stop funding the club now would collapse the whole house of cards. Every penny they have put in thus far would be lost as a result. They need to keep the train rolling. If it comes off the tracks nearly everything they’ve “invested” is gone.
In other words, they are engaged in an act of desperation, equivalent to that of the gambler who is reduced to “doubling down” in order to get back to even.
That’s the “strategy” of making each consecutive bet the equal to what you’ve already lost in the hope that one win will turn everything around. It is madness, the sort that has bankrupt more people than the stock market ever will.
Sevco’s decision to fund Gerrard this summer was based on the presumption that they would sell someone for big money. They didn’t manage it, which has led to the latest round of equity confetti. All sensible people know this can’t go on … I’ll be writing more about it later in the week.
But at the start of this window it would have looked like a good bet that they’d be able to get someone to buy Morelos but they gambled again on getting their ludicrous valuation.
This media will claim this window has been a triumph for them, but in fact it’s been a fiscal disaster of biblical proportions. They couldn’t even find buyers for Barker or Jones, two players they would ship out of Ibrox in a minute if clubs showed the slightest interest. Their failure to get rid of Morelos leaves his disruptive presence in the dressing room at a time when he and the manager loathe each other. It is a matter of time before the next big flare-up.
The only way this doesn’t end in calamity is if they secure the prize they are after; the league title and with it a shot at the Champions League. Even then I think the idea that they’ll suddenly start generating profits and pay these directors back is a pipe dream.
The more Sevco earns the more the club spends, but that’s been true of every Ibrox operation in my memory.
They think that Scotland’s having two Champions League qualifying clubs gives them a shot anyway; they are wrong on that count as well.
The qualifiers in the Champions section are navigable; it is a flat out disgrace that we’ve failed so consistently. But if we were forced to play through the standard qualifying campaign things would be infinitely worse, which is exactly why we cannot afford to finish second in this league, even if the ten wasn’t up for grabs.
Sevco makes big play out of beating the teams who finished 6th in Holland and Turkey, and the media, of course, loves it … but in those rounds they would wind up having to beat the teams who finish in the top four in Italy, France, Germany and Spain; a different challenge entirely, and one where they’ve already been found wanting. Leverkusen dispatched them last year with ease.
It is intriguing to imagine what a really good Spanish side or EPL super club would do to them, and that’s what’s waiting for them at the end of the rainbow instead of a pot of gold. If they finish second. If they fail to win the SPL.
But there, too, the challenge is enormous and we’ve already got a leg-up with the game in hand and the two point lead it would grant us if we were to win it. If we get a positive result against them at Celtic Park on 17 October, they will be staring down the barrel at a five-point deficit before the first quarter of the season is even over with.
Lennon’s record is just too good; that’s what these Peepul are betting against.
His win ratio is just extraordinary.
The win at the weekend came in his 50th league game since returning to us as manager; he has won 41 of them and drawn 6.
That’s what they are up against, a match-winning machine which is capable of going on long unbeaten runs.
We’re on a run of seven wins in a row in the league right now; Gerrard’s record so far at Ibrox is six, which he’s managed once.
He’s managed a five match run twice.
But last season, Lennon put together an eight match winning run after the break in the same campaign where we had won eleven in a row before Sevco beat us at Celtic Park in the New Year.
He has never come close to that kind of consistency.
Indeed, in their first ten games of last season they won eight, drew one and lost one – against us at home. This season, after ten games, they have only done marginally better; they’ve won eight and drawn two. But against Celtic’s points winning juggernaut they have to be a lot better than they are.
The media is clinging to Gerrard’s “record” against Lennon; that too is massively overblown and overstated.
In fact, over his spells at Celtic and Hibs, Lennon has come up against Gerrard seven times. Lennon has won three and drawn two. Gerrard got the better of him the last time around, but Lennon had beaten him twice already in that campaign.
This, of course, is where people will talk about the League Cup Final … but we won that day, with ten men on the park.
All the bullshit about how they were the better team cannot change that we have the trophy and that the tactical genius who the press claims has Lennon’s number didn’t find a way to break us down even with a one-man advantage.
Celtic Park’s performance was shocking.
But in the aftermath of it what did we do? Lennon changed the playing system, went to two up front, and after the break we ran away with it.
That’s what good managers do.
They adapt and carry on winning.
Gerrard hasn’t faced a Celtic team that plays with two strikers and a three-man central defence.
I strongly suspect that’s going to change in eleven days. I expect us to press high, to put them under major pressure and to comfortably get the points.
Sevco’s board is gambling against Lennon’s record, and that’s a stupid bet to make.
One of the daftest mistakes many gamblers make is to bet on short term trends; what we would call “the form book.”
But historical trends are a better gauge of how major games will shake out.
Sevco is betting on their performances in two games; the League Cup Final they didn’t win and the Celtic Park match, instead of looking at the records as a whole.
And that’s why this gamble is doomed to failure. It’s why those directors will in all likelihood never see a cent of that money again. It’s why we’re going to secure ten titles in a row, and why the bloodletting over there, when it comes, will put Genghis Khan in the shade.
How sure am I of that? Put it this way, I’d bet on it.