Keith Jackson, take a bow. In an industry where Andrew Smith is writing gunk, where Kris Boyd has a newspaper column and where Chris Jack and others do the bidding of Dodgy Dave King, you are, on occasion, able to go lower than all of them in dredging the gutter for garbage. Your piece in The Daily Record on Monday was remarkable.
If I’ve only gotten to it now it’s because I’ve been busy, not because it wasn’t deserving of the full measure of mockery to which I am about to subject it.
Let’s start with the headline, and brace yourselves; “Rangers deserve Europa League best wishes so board must ask themselves why they’re in short supply – Keith Jackson.”
Yes! You read that correctly!
This is Keith telling us that the whole country should be wishing the Ibrox club well on Thursday, and suggesting that their board are the reason why we might not be. The board. Ponder that for a second.
And then try to not laugh out loud at the opening line.
“Believe it or not some of us will be keeping our fingers crossed for Rangers on Thursday night.”
Hahahaha! Believe it or not? Oh I think we can believe that one without requiring evidence. I think we all believed that one before you even said it. The idea that you, Keith, will be doing anything else never, for one second, even crossed our minds.
“The men in charge of running the club’s affairs may be hell bent on making themselves hard to like – even among their own supporters – but, regardless, it’s been impossible not to admire this spectacular blue surge across the continent.”
This is where Keith’s lack of a formal education hampers him. “Not able to occur, exist, or be done” is the definition of impossible. And yet many thousands of us are managing not to admire it. Some of, in fact, are asking if it’s all the media is ramping it up to be. Tell you what Keith, we’ll get back to that shortly because it pertains to the rest of the piece.
“At times what they have produced throughout this run has been quite spellbinding and now that they are within 90 minutes of a Europa League semi-final, they will carry with them the best wishes of those of us who are not twisted by bigotry or warped by hatred.”
I’ll tell you what I find “spellbinding”; the run of luck they’ve had, and in particular with VAR decisions in their favour. But the football … I’ve found it less than enthralling and it has been much less devastating than he seems to believe. As for the notion that if you don’t wish them well you are “twisted by bigotry” or “warped by hatred” it is entirely offensive. The Peepul themselves are both twisted by bigotry and warped by hatred and I refuse to wish someone well when they’ve spent the better part of my life expressing their desire to be up to their knees in my blood.
“They have most certainly beaten better teams than Braga to get this close and even though Giovanni van Bronckhorst has come through a traumatic recent period, it is to be hoped that Sunday’s trouncing of St Mirren is a sign that his side is ready to regroup at a crucial moment.”
I’m sure Jackson is hoping for that. As to the notion that they have “beaten better teams than Braga” I agree. But only once in this competition, and that was the win over Dortmund. As I keep on reminding people, the “tremendous European run” is largely a myth. Five wins in fifteen games folks, I cannot write this enough times. Five wins in fifteen games.
“People who care deeply about this game of ours could imagine few things more satisfying than the sight of a Scottish club making it all the way to a showpiece final and dumbfounding the Swiss-based cartel bosses who have tried so hard to make such an unlikely feat a virtual impossibility.”
People who care deeply about our game do not want our national reputation tarnished by another European final riot, which would it make it Ibrox’s third one. People who care deeply about our game want to see sectarian singing eradicated from the stands. People who care deeply about our game would not have backed Ibrox when they threatened the league sponsorship contract which underpins it, as Jackson and his paper have. And the “Swiss cartel bosses” have not tried to do any such thing. I find this kind of dire revisionism appalling from someone who wanted to parachute a NewCo into the top flight in 2012.
“The truth of the matter is Scottish football ought to be genuinely thankful for the stellar work that was started by Steven Gerrard and which Van Bronckhorst has continued since taking over from the Englishman in the Ibrox dugout.”
Then perhaps it should be equally thankful to Brendan Rodgers for two Champions League Group Stage qualifications in a row, European football after Xmas for Celtic and for Neil Lennon and in particular the two stunning victories over Lazio which done as much as anything that Ibrox has to boost the co-efficient. Cause that is what we’re talking about here, right?
“At a time when Steve Clarke has our national side in splendid resurgence, Rangers have also carried the flag for this country with such distinction that they have forced a path for Scottish clubs back into the billionaires’ playground of the Champions League.”
And there you have. The discredited theory that Ibrox is more responsible than Celtic Park for the current standing and the co-efficient. This is not true. Numerous articles, including some on this site, have pointed this fact out. Jackson is repeating a lie.
“Even despite UEFA’s best efforts to keep the riff-raff at arm’s length.”
UEFA has done no such thing. There is a wider variety of clubs in the Group Stages of their competitions than ever before and whilst the top table is starting to resemble a closed shop, the very fact that this article is building up to a bitter whinge (it’s coming next) about how Celtic will be sitting there next season proves that it isn’t yet. This is just bullshit, I’m afraid.
“That a rampant Celtic now look set to collect the enormous financial rewards from all of this tireless trailblazing is, of course, the bitter irony where Rangers and their supporters are concerned.”
Well I don’t know about the irony, but I can definitely detect the bitterness. How many times does it have to be said? This is simply not true. Jackson either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he assumes that his readers are thick and don’t know the truth. But either way, this guy is pushing a lie which has already been busted over and over again. Celtic did as much to build the co-efficient which puts us in those Groups as anything Ibrox has done … and over the five year period in question we’ve actually done more. This is woeful.
“It’s also a source of some schadenfreude for a great deal of others who find it hard to have much in the way of sympathy at all for the men currently in charge of Glasgow’s blue half. And perhaps the time has come for those in the Ibrox boardroom to ask themselves exactly why this should be.”
Why should any of us have the least bit of sympathy for a point of view built on a fundamentally dishonest premise? And Ibrox has done everything that it possibly can to alienate other clubs … and Jackson and his paper have cheered them on all the way.
“Yes, it’s a given that the vast majority, if not the entirety, of Celtic’s supporters will be wishing them nothing but ill. That’s what any football rivalry worth its salt is all about.”
Wait … I thought that our attitudes were “twisted by bigotry” or “warped by hatred”? Now it’s just the stuff of any football rivalry? Make up your damned mind, show some intellectual consistency in your argument.
“And that’s why Rangers were guilty of repulsing their own fans by producing ‘Old Firm’ flags and building a special centrepiece for the mouth of their own tunnel for Celtic’s players to run out of ahead of last Sunday’s derby.”
It was crass. It was stupid. It was desperate. But it’s no more than the media does before every single one of these games, so I find the moralising and the soap-box rapping a little tough to take, and I am sure the directors agree. When the media stops referring to it in this way, at the start of every article, then that might wean Ibrox off the habit.
“The whole thing was so horribly misjudged and spectacularly botched that it made Rangers look like a needy ex-boyfriend.”
Or ex-girlfriend. And I do believe this site and others said much the same thing, so if this is insight it’s come late in the day or from one of the blogs.
“But if they are turning their own fans against them, is it any wonder that those who exist way outside of this bubble are also shaking their heads in dismay?”
Who is shaking their head in dismay, outside of Ibrox? We’re too busy laughing at the scale of ineptitude and weak leadership at Ibrox. The one thing it is certainly not is dismaying. I think the word he’s looking for is “hilarious.”
“As a matter of fact, it’s becoming more and more difficult for the broad collective to keep a sense of balance and perspective where Rangers are concerned given that the men in charge seem so determined to isolate themselves from the rest and pick fights for no obvious reason.”
The rest of Scottish football has a very clear sense of balance and perspective. If you were in a pub and some mad bastard was hammering on the bar with a machette, would you say that you need to keep the sense of perspective or that they need to? Other clubs look at Ibrox, a club pulled hither and thither and yon by its own lunatic fringe and all understand full well that said club is batshit crazy. It is Ibrox which lacks both of those things.
“From threatening to torpedo a £9m league sponsorship deal with cinch and hitting 41 other SPFL clubs in the pocket on their own doorstep to facing a potential £5m lawsuit for breaching a contract on the other side of the planet, they are causing serious damage to their own reputation.”
Oh you noticed that stuff did you? This is the club you reckon all of Scottish football should be behind though. Is this you blaming us for their bad behaviour? That if only we were more understanding and sympathetic towards them that they wouldn’t act like such arseholes? And it’s not just their reputation they are messing with. As usual, Ibrox’s board doesn’t give a shit what collateral damage it leaves in its wake. They are selfish bastards.
“By sanctioning this ‘no-one-likes-us-we-don’t-care’ approach to going about their business, invisible chairman Douglas Park and his increasingly beleaguered board have turned their club into some sort of pariah.”
Maybe I’m mental … but in an article which is centred on the idea that “no-one likes them” it is completely bonkers to attack the board for pushing the same line. Yet again, you are pissed at Ibrox’s board for something you and the rest of the press indulge in on a regular basis. The very existence of the Victim Myth springs from the media pushing the line, over and over again, that the Ibrox club was and is hard done by. But yes, they have made themselves a pariah club because the place is run by incompetents and madmen and supported by worse. None of it would be sustainable except for a media which keeps on making excuses for them.
“Their snarling faced diplomacy has turned Rangers into the paranoid schizophrenic of Scottish football, seemingly convinced that the world is out to get them.”
Correct. But this piece started with “Believe it or not some of us will be keeping our fingers crossed .. on Thursday night ..” which is exactly the sort of mind-set you’re now moaning about. Isn’t it somewhat paranoid to say anyone not cheering them on is a hateful bigot? Well that wasn’t their board which said that, it was you, you absolute fool.
“It’s an unwanted, unhelpful legacy of what the club has come through over the last decade or so. Perhaps understandably, Rangers have been riddled with trust issues ever since they were turned over and taken to the brink.”
A sublime example – a sublime one – of exactly the kind of rancid, moon-howling garbage that has made their current club everything that it is; spiteful, dangerous, crazy, obsessive, hateful. Do you not understand that they got this way because of you?
“The fans can’t be blamed for that. But those inside the boardroom ought to be smart enough to realise that this constant railing against anyone and everyone is doing their business a great deal more harm than good.”
You’re just repeating yourself now, and with the same contradictory rot. This article actually required effort and brain-cells to write?
“They should be leading from the front as ambassadors for the Scottish game.”
These Peepul? Who hired a DUP politician as their head of PR, who are waging war with the whole league and the governing bodies, who picked a needless fight with Celtic over tickets and who allowed bigots and loon balls to take over their press room whilst excluding the mainstream press? In your dreams yahoo.
“They should also have the wherewith all to understand that they have been dancing to someone else’s tune for far too long and for all the wrong reasons.”
Are we about to get a moment of genuine insight here?
“These fault lines can be traced directly back to the worst of times, when Charles Green’s PR strategy was to erect a big blue wall in order for him and his cohorts to go about their business out of plain sight.”
Which was obvious to the Celtic bloggers from Day One, and which we’ve been saying ever since. Part of that “blue wall” of course was the Survival Lie.
“This, in turn, opened the door to a new chapter of distrust and bad blood. In fact, hostility and suspicion were actively being encouraged.”
And your newspaper – and you yourself – aided and abetted every single bit of it! What an outrageously hypocritical piece this has turned into.
“Even though the cast of characters has changed over the years, the depressing narrative remains in place.”
Perhaps one of the reasons it does is that you – El Thicko – have repeated some of it almost verbatim in the course of writing this article!
“That’s a great pity especially now that Rangers have so much in front of them still to enjoy.”
Watching Celtic win a domestic treble. Again. I bet their fans can’t wait.
“Yes, their domestic title may be about to change hands but Thursday night offers the chance for a spectacular redemption on the European stage.”
Outside of Scotland no-one will either notice or care. The Europa League nearly always has a plucky underdog story. It’s one of the reasons that the big boys in Nyon will never be able to “exclude the riff-raff” as this article so eloquently puts it.
“If Van Bronckhorst can find a way of getting the best out of his team, even without Alfredo Morelos leading the attack, then Rangers ought to be more than capable of overturning a one goal deficit from last week’s first leg in Portugal.”
Braga are a third-rate European team, which makes me inclined to agree. That said, the tie could have been out of sight in the first leg and so I wouldn’t be too sure.
“Opportunities like this one don’t come round these parts very often. Scottish football should hope Rangers to grab it with both hands.”
Since most of Scottish football won’t share in the spoils, and since everyone is heartily sick of the self-pitying whinging our of Ibrox, I strongly suspect the majority of us will take a pass.
But I am sure that the press corps will do its level best to cheer them on.