On 28 March last year, I published Dave King’s Scottish football obituary.
It was the day he stepped down as chairman of the NewCo.
Nothing about what’s in there has changed. Every word is as relevant now as it was at the time.
The club he was at won its first title at the weekend, but that’s not his triumph, no matter how much this publicity hungry harlot might want to bask in the light of it.
These are the lines which people might look back on and ask if they still resonate; in my opinion they absolutely do. Indeed, his shameless thrust towards the centre of attention shows the man up for what he is; a desperate charlatan, without a molecule of shame.
“King had wanted to leave a legacy behind him. Upon his arrival he promised the Sevco fans that Celtic would not do ten in a row on his watch; he leaves with eight secured and the ninth in waiting, giving the impression that he’s not so much stepping down as sneaking out the toilet window in a restaurant so he doesn’t have to pay the bill.
“In this last three years at the club Celtic has won all ten domestic trophies that were up for grabs, and we’re awaiting the SPFL judging the season complete so that we can make it eleven out of eleven. Still, Sevco fans thank King for his brilliant leadership just as those who queued up for the Kool Aid at Jonestown remained grateful to their charismatic “messiah” for his.
“He leaves a club behind him which is mired in debt, cloaked in failure, without a shirt deal, too expensive to run and with the stench of death on it.
“Cold shouldered by the City, pursued by Ashley, beaten by Celtic and with no real achievements to his name, he looks bereft, and shattered, reduced, like someone who hasn’t eaten a good meal in a fortnight. In contrast, an ever larger, jovial, Peter Lawwell remains at the top of the Scottish game like a tomcat that just had its dinner.”
Even reading it now, knowing what has befallen us in the 12 months since I published it, I would not retract a word of it.
Indeed, I think it was Lawwell’s victory over King that gave him the impression that he was beyond reproach and blew up his self-regard to the gargantuan proportions which caused us so much trouble in the early part of the campaign.
King left Ibrox beaten. He was done. He was washed up and over with.
He is claiming credit for the decisions of those he left behind. King’s one contribution to this campaign was to remind the club that he is due repayment on his loans.
This is a man grubbing after gratitude when he played no part in the triumph.
Celtic won every title whilst he was at the Ibrox club. From the moment they got into the SPL we never lost a domestic trophy and he fled when it looked as if we might finish the job.
King could not have made the reasons for his departure any clearer; he did a moonlight flit because he thought the writing was on the wall.
Don’t forget that he spent his last months at the club telling us that the ninth title didn’t count and the eight before them didn’t count either because some of them were won before he came along.
King was trying to devalue the ten even before we’d kicked a ball for it.
When he accuses us of taking it for granted he’s speaking from a personal point of view; he believed it was a certainty as well and he didn’t want his hands on the wheel when they hit the wall.
The media is slobbering all over this guy as if he turned the club around.
All this preening he is doing is just more of what we’ve come to expect from him; this prideful braggart always claims victory even when he’s suffered a humiliating defeat.
He told us all that he had defeated SARS … except that they had forced him to write one of the biggest cheques in South African criminal history, under the threat of his going to prison.
He told us he had crushed Mike Ashley, but he lost nearly every battle in front of the courts and the cases continue to crawl towards their end, and the potential costs of them climbs all the while.
He told us he had won his battle with the City of London and that they had vindicated him, but the truth was that they had beaten him like a red-headed stepchild and they finally cold shouldered him as they had only one other person before.
Of course, now that Celtic has conspired to wreck its own season, he is going to come back and say that he saw it all coming, to pretend that he was the author of our collapse, of course he is going to ignore the contributions of the rest of the Ibrox board.
This is who he is, and the press loves it.
They love King and they always have. They’ve been dying to paint this two-bob con artist as the big hero since he sauntered back into town after the damning verdict against him in the South African courts.
The Scottish press would have lauded a mafia don if he’d put money behind their fantasy of a “resurgent Rangers”.
I remember a News of the World article back when Murray was trying to sell the OldCo, where they broke the story that a Russian gangster was considering the purchase. They devoted two pages to his catalogue of crimes … but they wound up the article saying that the fans wouldn’t care as long as he could fund the next set of fantasies.
What the writer meant, of course, was that everyone would turn a blind eye, including his own paper and the rest of his profession.
It proved prophetic.
On the day King made his move, Graham Spiers wrote an editorial that basically said the Ibrox club needed him and so his sins were not really that important.
The Grand Scheme of Things was about how much he could give a manager to spend, not the victims of his tax evasions.
A senior journalist cheered a tax cheat into the boardroom where the administration papers had once been signed on the back of defrauding HMRC. Spiers was not alone.
What a shameful time for journalism the whole of King’s reign was.
That he is now being hailed as a hero should not surprise anyone, but it’s disgusting all the same and especially when they ought to be calling bullshit on all his current bombast.
I’ll say it again; he departed a loser and a loser he remains, and because I need to end this article somehow let me end it the way I ended the one I wrote a year ago, when I thought we’d seen and heard the last of him, when he slithered back under his rock.
“Dave King is gone, but he will not be forgotten. He has left scars on Scottish football which will take decades to heal. His acolytes will hail him, so used as they are now to failure that they see victory everywhere in it, but the rest of us will remember the blustering fool, the charlatan, the posturer, the stumbling, bumbling failure, the rancid presence, the breaker of contracts and betrayer of words, the enabler for bigots, the liar, the crook.
These may seem like harsh words for a man who many in Celtic cyberspace will hail as a double agent as outstanding as Green or Whyte but without the cool tri-colour name but I have written worse things about Dodgy Dave, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was a Sevconite, yes, but before that he was bog-standard, good old fashioned scum.
And that’s what he remained, right to the end.”