From the moment he gave his first Ibrox presser, I knew exactly what Michael Beale was; a runaway mouth with no self-awareness whatsoever. I knew instantly who he reminded me of; Trump’s one-time head of communications, Anthony Scaramucci, otherwise known as The Mooch.
I’ll go over his hilariously short tenure one last time, for the record.
Before he had even formally taken on the role Scaramucci had pissed off nearly everyone in the White House by threatening to sack folk and go on a mole hunt.
There’s no need for a mole hunt at Ibrox, but that White House was leaking like a sieve. Still, there were people in there who deeply resented his comments and the way he was trying to instil fear in people before he was even in the building.
On the day his hiring was announced, the White House Press spokesman, Sean Spicer, resigned immediately. That was 21 July 2017.
On 27 July, he spoke to a New Yorker journalist and in a long winded rant against the chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House advisor Steve Bannon, some of it so X-Rated I can’t even mention it in this piece, he basically destroyed himself when he failed to tell her that it was all off-the-record. She duly wrote it up and a day later Priebus quit. Trump hired John Kelly to replace him, and his first demand was that Scaramucci be fired. Kelly did the deed himself.
Scaramucci’s tenure of 11 days is tied for the shortest White House role in history with a guy named Jack Koehler, who served under Reagan and quit – and I swear this is true – because it was revealed that he had been a member of a youth Nazi organisation aged 10.
Ibrox’s Mooch has lasted longer than that, and he’ll be with us for a while yet.
But that mouth of his, boy oh boy … stuff has come of it already that is as gruesome as popping a boil with a scalpel.
He has managed to claim Aberdeen were the third best team in the country before the third best team in the country decisively proved him wrong and before Aberdeen were knocked out of the cup by a team from the sixth tier.
He accused Ange of being “lucky” and then tried desperately to backtrack.
He told the media that Ibrox’s contract rebels didn’t hold all the cards, which was news to them and to their agents, but duly regurgitated by compliant hacks … and on and on.
Last night, it was the turn of the St Johnstone chairman to hit back at him over his shockingly disrespectful comments about their pitch being a “cows field.” No club should have to accept that from a rival manager, but this arrogant snark doesn’t respect anything.
“There was a lot of criticism from (their) side after the game here,” their chairman said, with more class than Ibrox’s manager showed. “Personally, I thought that was very, very unprofessional. I did remark on that the following week when we played them (there).”
Not content with being the target of a informal club-to-club complaint, he was at it again yesterday, talking trash, coming out with stuff that had no relationship to reality and once again the media has written it up without subjecting to proper scrutiny.
Well, if we must we must … these are his latest remarks, on the reasons they went out of the Champions League with the worst record in the history of the tournament.
Now, he’s gone out of his way to say that he means no disrespect to his predecessor, but since he was instrumental in stealing the guy’s job I’m not sure that you can take that to the bank.
“When you look at the group that went on the long journey through Europe these past few years and you see that the vast majority of them didn’t play in the Champions League this season then it’s not really a surprise to me that the group struggled. The team had built up huge confidence over a number of years in the Europa League.
“If you start taking four or five of those out of the team because of injury and different circumstances then the new boys coming in didn’t live that journey. So it’s important we remember and respect what we did and cleverly evolve. It’s not rapid. You don’t go out with the old and in with the new. It doesn’t work. I think you have to phase it in and at the right time.”
Let’s do it bit by bit, shall we, the way the actual press should.
He claims the “vast majority” of the players who were on the run to the final didn’t play in last season’s Champions League. That’s obviously outrageous nonsense. The core of that team stayed basically the same. Two players left. Yeah, they had a couple of injuries but not all at the same time and not for the duration of the run.
That’s not in any way a realistic claim.
It’s hyperbolic bullshit, and the media should ditch the first word of that (as many will struggle to understand it) and just go with the second, and most folk will get the message. He’s talking through his arse.
The group struggled because their European runs prior to that were in the second tier competition and actually not that brilliant when you break them down. Aside from some standout results in individual games the record, as a whole, was not nearly all it was cracked up to be and whilst a lot of people were getting excited, or spooked, by it some of us kept on saying “wait until they play the elite teams, the standard is different, you’ll see.”
So it doesn’t surprise me either that they got royally pumped in that competition because they were so far out of their depth they were practically blowing bubbles.
And just how thick is this guy? If he’s trying to tell us that it’s because the squad was filled with new players – which it wasn’t, by the way – who hadn’t “lived the journey” then isn’t he setting himself up for an even bigger embarrassment next season?
Has Cantwell, the Norwich reserve, “lived the journey”? Has Raskin, the 21-year Standard Liege player? When was his trip to a European final? What about the one that got away? Whittaker, of Swansea? When was his big impact on the European stage?
More than a half dozen players from that squad he’s talking about are set to go in the summer, most of them for free. He’s either setting up his alibi for failure in Europe in the next campaign (blaming the board, that is) or he’s already accepted it and is preparing the fans for re-signing the likes of Davis and Arfield and McGregor and Jack if they’ll stay.
He’s telling them to get used to Connor Goldson at the heart of defence, and that he’ll be marching boldly into the Champions League qualifiers with Tavernier on the right and Barisic on the left, two of the players who were utterly destroyed in the last campaign.
There will be no spending spree this summer is what this says, and if that’s what he’s laying out, he’s either doing it to put pressure on the board or he’s doing it because he’s already surrendered in that battle and is resigned to having basically the same players, just a year older and slower. He should be straight with the fans instead of offering up such a dire narrative.
But I keep saying this; I don’t call this guy The Mooch for nothing, because as much as anything else it is his big mouth that is going to get him into trouble.
People looking for sense in any of his press statements are only guilty of doing what a good chess player will do when they come up against a rank amateur; look, first, for a pattern where none exists before realising “aah this guy is here for the taking.”