As Ashley Rears His Head Again, The Dave King Legacy Continues To Haunt Ibrox.

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It is one of the great misunderstood truths of our time that people get the leaders they deserve.

This, apparently, is painfully difficult to get some people to understand although it’s a self-evident fact.

Amongst those who make bad choices it is virtually impossible to get them to the point where they grasp this fully and take responsibility for it.

In the aftermath of the 2019 general election, I read the anger and lamentations of some of my friends with great interest.

They were furious that the North of England had inflicted a Tory majority government on the rest of the country.

I was more stunned that the North of England had inflicted a Tory majority government on itself.

The mind still boggles at people in those communities who thought that it was a good idea.

How many warnings do they need? How much evidence is enough to wean these people off the destructive habit of believing what they read in The Telegraph, The Express and The Daily Mail? Brexit was always going to be a shit-show. A Tory government was always going to harm those very communities which voted it into being.

Right-wing ideological governments were always going to run things as right wing ideologues.

Did people really believe that Bozo the Prime Minister would be different?

They only had to look at the character of the man now sitting in Downing Street.

The ignorance of some voters appals me, and I have never made any secret of that fact. I watched some of them on television the other day, arguing themselves into knots over why they might decide to “stick with Boris” at the next election; a man without a scruple, head of a party without a clue, leader of a government without a plan.

But you know what? The average voter usually doesn’t have the luxury of the time required to do a deep dive into this stuff, and so I understand – even if I don’t condone – that for some of them, ignorance is simply a symptom of a much wider set of issues.

The Tory Party itself has no damned excuse, and it never had one.

There isn’t a single Tory MP sitting in the Commons, or a single constituency party official anywhere in this nation, who did not know exactly who Johnson was before they elected him leader.

They knew he was a charlatan. They knew he was a self-serving bastard. They knew he had no respect for another living soul. They knew that he was a brazen liar who would do and say anything.

You only have to look at the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol to see how the flagrant dishonesty with which this man conducts himself impacts on public policy and on the wellbeing of the nation.

He signed that deal, knowing full well what it meant, and now seeks to tear it up and throw it in the bin because it created just the consequences he was warned about beforehand and knew full well would come to pass.

That is the way he acts in every sphere of his life.

If we have a government that is mired in sleaze and reeking of corruption it is because that party chose, as its front man and leader, a sleazy corrupt individual and they did this without the slightest doubt that they were getting exactly such a man.

The 148 of them who voted no-confidence in him have clearly reached the end of their particular level of tolerance for that. What it will take to bring the other 211 to their senses God only knows; many of them clearly don’t mind being lied to and played for fools as long as there is the prospect of advancement, however slim, somewhere along the line.

And so they play the public, their voters, for fools instead.

That there will be consequences for that goes without saying.

The public can be made mugs of only so long as it doesn’t become obvious, and when a government does it openly, mockingly, laughing in their faces it changes everything.

That’s what this guy and his party are doing now and during a cost of living crisis which is already focussing minds.

Even with an electorate as disengaged as this one, that ends badly.

Yesterday, even as Johnson was licking his wounds in private, a story broke about how the club at Ibrox faces sanctions over a cartel-like agreement to rip off their own fans.

It’s a story we covered, and a story that clearly has some ways still to run.

Today, another brazen liar, another charlatan, lumbered back onto the stage, as he often does when there’s a story in the news which he thinks he can exploit for his own benefit or gain, or when he feels the need to burnish his own reputation.

Dave King is another individual who came to power amongst Peepul who have absolutely no excuse for allowing it, far less promoting it and bringing it into being.

His own character is no less understood than Johnson’s; he is a crook and a swindler and a breaker of regulations and rules.

He does not value contracts as having the slightest intrinsic worth, any more than Johnson thinks international treaties do.

He, too, was all of these things long before he lurched up the Marble Staircase.

He is the leader Sevco fans wanted, and so the leader they deserved.

They look at their one title and their one Scottish Cup as the proof that they were right, although neither of those things happened on his watch.

I look at the immense reputational damage he inflicted on them and continues to inflict on them, and recognise that the price of his tenure still can’t fully be quantified, but if they think it was worth it then there’s more wrong with them than a working class North of England voter who still intends to support “Boris” at the next general election.

I would be mortified if such a man had been involved at Celtic, but I recognise two things; first, that the media would have crucified us for the very idea of it and second that we would run him out of town on a rail long before the problems started piling up.

Ibrox has barely been out of the courts since the day he walked into the building, a revolution that was cheer-led by the media the whole way.

You expected that of the clownish tabloid hacks who applauded it like a seal hoping to get a thrown fish; guys like Tom English and Graham Spiers will never live down the obsequious tripe they wrote, recognising his every fault, fully comprehending the nature of the man, but openly welcoming his money.

He should never have been allowed near a leadership role at any Scottish club.

The ink on his tax convictions was still drying when the SFA permitted that disgrace.

Our blogs said at the time that his tenure would end as it did, with him fleeing like a thief in the night.

He only left Ibrox after the City of London Takeover Panel effectively blackballed him from any involvement in a UK boardroom and it was only one of his many sins whilst chairman there.

The reason he was in the papers today was to defend his board’s actions in the new case which has been brought against them.

He is “100% convinced” he did nothing wrong.

You can hear the echoes of Boris Johnson in that, can’t you?

And you can smell the same bullshit off it as well.

How many times is this now? Four? Five? Six?

From Ashley to the Ibrox memorial garden builders to the Puma deal his board tore up to the denials that he had anything to fear from the City of London investigation to this … and these are just in the UK.

For years he claimed he was a victim of unscrupulous tax officials in South Africa, before settling with them and pleading guilty to charges that could have got him 40 years in jail. The charges he admitted to were nothing compared to the ones he pled away in his settlement. The press here never mentions them, but it should.

I mean this guy has been in more courtrooms than Perry Mason.

He’s been coincidently linked to more dodgy deeds than Bob Durst, and has ended up with more negative verdicts.

Why anyone would believe a single word that man utters I do not know.

Still, he does have his defenders.

The Ibrox fan sites love him, even as their club still struggles to come to terms with the assortment of issues he left behind.

That he has left an indelible mark on the nature of the club is pretty obvious; Ibrox’s boards have done some pretty shitty things down through the years, but would one have so deliberately picked a nothing fight, motivated by pure spite, with the SPFL over a commercial contract before his malign influence made such behaviour the normal run of things?

Of course, those who continue to defend him have ulterior motives.

Much like those who continue to prop up Johnson, some of these Peepul are nakedly in it for themselves, and if that means making mugs out of their fellow fans they haven’t been shy about it.

The conduct of that man has dragged their already poor reputation further through the gutter.

Nobody now trusts that an Ibrox board will be true to their word, if it suits them to break that word and leave everything up in the air.

This latest episode with the kit deals might stretch back to his tenure, but it’s clear that his cavalier attitudes and disregard for any agreement that doesn’t suit them continues to haunt them in every way, as the Australian tour fiasco proved conclusively.

It is fitting that I should end this piece with a segue into a future one.

Because even as I was putting the finishing touches to it, news has broken tonight that a Mike Ashley owned company is the first to put Ibrox’s new kits for the coming season on sale, on their website.

That gives you some hint of what the deal they recently concluded with him in court actually costs.

They paid him off, sure, but what else was in that court agreement which brought his litigation to an end?

This should give their fans a clearer idea of that.

This, too, of course, is a legacy of King.

He only had to see out what remained of the Sports Direct contract and Ashley would have been gone forever.

Instead, King picked a fight with a man with unlimited resources and kept on upping the ante … and who knows when, or if, that club will finally free itself from the man’s clutches?

The costs just keep on rising, day after day, week after week, year after year.

With Dave King, Ibrox got its perfect leader, just as the Tory Party did.

I have a feeling that they, and the rest of us, will be shot of theirs before Ibrox shakes off the malignant legacy of the South African tax crook.

If you, like me, are bored with all this close season nonsense, take our quiz, below, on Scottish football scandal and see how well you do.

1 of 14

Which word is the media resistent to using about the events of 2012?

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  • Martin H. says:

    The ignorance of some voters appals you, what about the fuckin idiots running Scotland, £5billion unaccounted for from covid money, not even the lack of ferries to our islands, everything they touch turns to dust, I have supported Celtic since 1963, you probably voted for these clowns running our country, but James stick to football, its what you do best.

    • LadyGreybush says:

      If you can disagree with someone who has different views than you and at least be open to change, then it’s you who is the problem.

  • Scouse bhoy says:

    The leader ? Of the new club who sent the old club to the grave.

  • king murdy says:

    excellent article james….
    the comparison between both men is so valid…both are self serving bastards…whilst the huns and the voters tug their forelock…..
    in both cases, the hun and the voter got exactly what they deserve.

  • Justshatered says:

    I often hear reporters asking “Will you still support Boris ?”
    Perhaps the question should be “What will ht take for you NOT to support Boris ?”

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