In the week where we commemorated the tenth anniversary of the administration of Rangers, it was not unexpected that the new club would launch its latest bizarre PR offensive, involving Stewart Robertson, the Ibrox CEO.
It came hot on the heels of Celtic posting interim six monthly accounts which showed the breath-taking gap between our club and the one inhabiting Ibrox at the current time.
They were always going to put somebody front and centre to talk about how great things are at the moment on to boast on their “healthy” financial state.
I wrote about it earlier in the week; the ludicrous claim that £100 million in accumulated losses in the space of ten years is something to celebrate. Because it “put the club back on the right footing.” Is a business really on the right footing if the ground underneath it is as solid as a bowl of Super Noodles? How can a reliance on loans be good news?
In any other business, this would be the sign of a company in severe distress, even crisis. The reportage has been decidedly second rate.
The press has simply accepted Robertson’s statements, even though Celtic has already crushed one of them where he attempted to speak for our club’s ticketing policy after brazenly lying about events earlier in the campaign.
His statements on the financial position over there are even less worthy of being treated seriously, and yet the press has afforded them almost universal respect.
But what did he actually say to earn the benefit of so much doubt?
He praised himself and the board which has accounted for almost half of that overspend. He patted himself on the back for appointing a manager who won one trophy in nine, and then in exceptional and unprecedented circumstances.
He congratulated himself for actually making the club less credible within Scottish football due to a series of ridiculous attacks on the governing bodies and general decision making … where they more often than not found themselves in a tiny minority of opinion.
And he lied about the future finances.
It is so obvious as to render everything he says ridiculous that their club needs to sell key players in the summer, and especially if they don’t win the title, although he flatly denied that this is the case. He denied it even after accepting that player trading has to form part of their business model for them to ever even contemplate profitability.
Yet headlines screamed that claim without even bothering to point out that it’s in open contradiction to what he had said just moments before. Robertson does this just about any time he gets in front of them. This is a lie he’s repeated many times before; the hacks seem content to let him repeat it many, many more times to come.
I want to do a full piece later on Tom English; for now, what I’ll say is that he has characterised the club as having “no debt” but accepts that they get by on “soft loans.”
Well, what is a soft loan but a form of debt? And we only have their word for it that they are funded by the directors; they remain a club where nearly everything they do is shrouded in the deepest secrecy.
King removed them from the AIM exchange so they wouldn’t need to do full disclosure. For all we know their Far East money is borrowed on some pretty heavy terms.
The truth is, anything can be happening within their walls. What we can say with certainty is that no organisation can afford to lose such a vast sum of money over that period of time without those who ate the debts getting some of it back.
What should be obvious to everyone is that the club has no appetite for living on a sane, rational and sustainable basis. The madness which overtook the last Ibrox club, under Murray, infects the bloodstream of this one too.
Imagine we win the title. Imagine they have to tell their supporters this summer that instead of spending to catch us that they can only use funds that they bring in. Then imagine none of the top earners goes for the kind of cash they are demanding.
What do they do then? Face the anger of the fans?
No, there’ll be a couple of fresh rounds of equity confetti and the rattling of the tin cup again to “overseas investors” and a new round of insane spending will soon be underway.
That’s the thing about living sanely; it only works if you surround yourself with sane people, and when you hear the drumbeat from their club that they are in good health you think to yourself “How can sane people believe that nonsense?”
But the media believes it. When you read some of the “ten years on” articles you hear wild claims that everyone knew the club was in trouble for years before the events of 2012 happened, but if they did then certainly few people wanted to properly report it at the time.
The same nonsense was being talked then as is being talked now; as long as the directors are paying the bills then there’s nothing to worry about.
When in fact there is everything to worry about.
Tom English seems to think that the club will be fine because he can’t see the existing directors walking off the scene. In that, I think he’s entirely correct. These egotists get too much out of being associated with the club and seen as the big heroes. But what happens when they no longer want to put their hands in their pockets to pay the bills?
And as much as they might “have the club’s best interests at heart” there will come a moment when that’s exactly what will happen. Almost every major sugar-daddy owner does in fact get sick of paying the bills at one time or other; even Murray tired of it eventually and stepped back from running Rangers, and he was looking for a buyer for years.
Nothing lasts that’s built like this.
This is not the way a business should be run, not even a football club and they all seem to think that they can deny financial gravity … until they can’t. No other corporate field works this way, with so much stupidity running rampant in it.
The problem with the Survival Lie – for those who push it – is that it accepts no consequences. The Victim Lie grows out of it because of that very thing. If you accept the Survival Lie and its basic tenants, Rangers narrowly survived an attempt by others to put it out of business. This is at the heart of that belief. Nothing was their fault, and there were no real consequences anyway because they soon climbed back up through the leagues.
And because it’s as if nothing really happened, it’s as if nothing ever actually changed. Seeing a club playing out of Ibrox and calling itself Rangers is business as usual for these Peepul … they expect to spend money because that’s what Rangers always did, and if you think that what happened to Rangers was the product of hatred and envy instead of self-inflicted wounds then you never actually learn any lessons about what actually took place.
So the fantasy replaces reality. Ten years after one club was liquidated, the new one is spending its way towards a similar outcome. The media which is supposed to learn from this stuff and report the facts accurately is buying into the same illusion as before, that because someone is picking up the tab and paying the bill that there’s nothing to see here and that we should all just jog on and stop living in the past.
But it’s as Santayana said; “those who won’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Nobody here on this side of the lines is “living in the past.” It’s just that some others are so determined to act as if they’re still there that the resemblance is easy to overlook.