What is winning the SPL title worth? In strictly cash terms, what does it get for you? Last year, the winner of the title got £3.35 million. It’s a paltry sum. We spent £1 million more than that buying Kyogo Furuhashi in the summer.
Yesterday, amongst other things, Stewart Robertson openly boasted about how “investors” at Ibrox had sunk £100 million into the club in the course of their climb to the title. If any other organisation in the country said that it had spent a nine finger sum to win a low seven figures every single one of us would conclude that its directors were nutters.
There was no “investment” over there. Investment means that you put your money into something to grow it. You don’t piss it against the wall. That’s not investing. That’s living for today and damn tomorrow. It is lunacy. They are boasting about a form of madness, a form of financial incontinence, and the press is lapping it up like champagne.
This corrupts Scottish football. No other club is run this way. Can you imagine their club without that largesse? Can you imagine what it would be? Third place in the league? Fourth? People look at the size of them and think they would definitely be first or second, but be real; take that £100 million away and tell me that you believe they’d be even be close to us.
To even run a club like that, without paying a single footballer, costs tens of millions every year. Imagine the size of the Ibrox football budget without director’s loans propping it up. That’s a mid-table side, whatever way you dress it up.
So it cheats the whole of the sport; this isn’t about just one club, our club. I have seen the reaction fans of Aberdeen and St Johnstone and Hibs and others have to these sort of articles, and I can only conclude that they get what they deserve and instead of facing up to the reality of this they’d rather claim it was just bitching between “the Glasgow fans.”
It is difficult, verging on impossible, to feel sorry for people who will not act in their own best interests and instead seek to sneer at “paranoids and obsessives” who care enough about their own club to fight for every inch of the ground.
The media is a whole other story, a clown car filled with jokers who can’t see what’s staring them in the face. Their view of Ibrox is that the board there has been a success story; those are not figures which spell success. That entire club is built on a layer of sand … it cannot be sustained. It will not be sustained. And when it ends it will not end well.
But the press never acknowledges that, although it’s absolutely obvious to the rest of us. Does it really take them confronting the worst case scenario to ask this question? And what is the worst case scenario? Let’s look at worst case scenarios before.
Brooks Mileson funded Gretna until he died. Their entire club collapsed the second he was no longer there to write the cheques. The same happened at Blackburn with Jack Walker. They never recovered. It happened at Ibrox when Murray no longer had the Murray International bank debt to swallow up the one at Rangers. It happened at Hearts, at Hibs, at Motherwell in Scotland already when wealthy owners were no longer prepared to stump up the cash.
Administration, if you’re lucky. The complete eradication of the club if you aren’t. It has happened all across football, multiple times, when sugar daddy owners or over-generous “investors” lose their will to keep writing cheques. It happened right in front of our eyes, on Netflix, as first Ellis Short and then Stewart Donald got tired bailing out Sunderland.
Remember what Charlie Methven said in the documentary? The entire business model was predicated on the idea that bills came in, and instead of the club paying them they sent them to Florida where someone wrote a cheque. He and Donald were aghast at the way the club had been run, with staff who never felt that it was their duty or responsibility to take ownership of any decision-making. That’s what a sugar-daddy owner breeds; complacency.
And when that owner, or “investor” is no longer there to play the mug, what then? What happens when all the numbers in the accounts have to add up? When there’s no longer a bottomless pit of Someone Else’s Money for when the bills come due?
The press should not be applauding this like performing seals waiting for a fish; it is ridiculous. It is not the way a smart business is run; it is not the way football in Scotland should be run in the aftermath of 2012. It shows that nothing was learned then, that no lessons were taken on board, that the madness of that period was never really checked.
Imagine openly boasting that you had pissed away millions of pounds of “investor” money to win a Scottish Premier League title bauble. A one-off day of glory, marred by the scandalous behaviour of your club’s fans. Was it worth it? Only a fool would say yes, only a complete moron would think that anyone involved in writing those cheques ever got a good deal.
It is a ridiculous thing to be proud of. It should be a source of shame for that man to stand there having presided over such profligacy. And he’s as proud as a dad with a new-born. Scottish football places so much trust and power in the hands of people you wouldn’t want running a charity shop. As long as they are based at Ibrox, they are feted like heroes instead of scorned as fools.