Graeme Souness is a sad, pathetic bastard.
There is it in a nutshell. There it is without sugar coating it or overemphasising.
Over the last couple of years, he’s been engaged in a pitiful battle against himself, as his views and opinions become increasingly irrelevant in a game which has broadened its appeal and where fans grow ever more sophisticated.
What we’re seeing from him is two things, basically. The first is a classic example of what we’d call “rage against the dying of the light.”
His own career. His own legacy. His own importance to a world which has gotten way too modern for this dinosaur.
The second is the stripping away, finally, of the last vestige of his legitimacy and the exposure of who he is underneath all the smart suits and years of polishing his public persona. We’re seeing, at last, the true man.
And what we’re seeing is ugly and feral and twisted. We’re seeing a misogynist, an extremist, a nationalist and a charlatan. Some of those things we’ve known for years, but they have appeared only in flashes. Not that many of us were kidded by his two-bob mask … those of us who’ve seen sectarianism’s full face recognised it in him long ago.
But now the rest of the world is seeing it too. It’s a ghastly sight.
His comments today about James McLean and the torrents of bile he has to endure where he lays the blame at the door of the player, and particularly where he suggests that the abuse McLean’s family suffers is his own fault because he took a very public stand against wearing the poppy do not, as some surmise, veer close to racism.
They are racism.
They are heartless and they are disgusting and nobody should accept them.
We know where he made those remarks, and so the idea that his bosses might hold him accountable for them is daft if we’re being generous. Everyone who listens to that show now plays their own role in dumbing down the level of debate, and since its tone has become particularly spiteful and nationalistic and right-wing of late the damage doesn’t stop there.
Souness’ latest decision to become a controversialist is, in part, what is driving him to these remarks.
But there was a part of Souness which always thirsted to unleash the beast within, and that’s as obvious as anything is.
His talk about how whilst at Ibrox he was the manager of a “Protestant and monarchist club” marks him out as a member of the British equivalent of America’s backward, right-wing, hillbilly, Confederate flag waving shit-kicker idiocrasy and they make him sound bigoted and the club a throwback to a bygone age.
They do neither party any favours at all. But he’s past caring about that.
All that matters to him now is to be part of the national conversation, even if the nation is looking at him like a drunk who just shit in his pants.
That’s why I opened this article will the words “Graeme Souness is a sad pathetic bastard.”
He is an attention seeking whore.
And this article already gives him more of it than he deserves. He used to be a failed manager.
Now he’s a failed human being.
James McLean, on the other hand, is a person of the highest personal integrity and courage.
It takes balls and conviction to do what he does and to put up with what he endures.
Those are things the likes of Souness will never understand, safe behind a microphone, never having to face real people again, cossetted in a celebrity bubble where he is still tolerated, in part because he’s put himself squarely in an environment full of likeminded scum.
McLean, in short, is everything that Souness is not, and deep down Souness knows it too.
Which is the other reason for his bile soaked rant today.
He knows a coward when he sees one, and that’s every time he looks in the mirror lately.