There are a few books which are so good that I try to read them once every couple of years. There is just one which I pick up and start from scratch annually; JRR Tolkein’s masterpiece The Lord Of The Rings. I’ve been reading that once every twelve months since I was in my teens.
That man knew how to write, and one of his finest passages of purple prose is something I come back to over and over again when comparing Sevco to Rangers … but lately, I think it could just as easily compare Sevco to us, although we’re not the villains of the piece.
The moment comes after the battle at Helm’s Deep, when the renegade Saruman has attempted, and failed, to destroy his neighbour. Gandalf, now in effect replacing Saruman as the head of the White Council, travels with Theoden of Rohan to the citadel of the defeated wizard to give him one last chance to come back to the light … it is an attempt in vain, but as they near Isengard, where Saruman is holed up, they see how it, and its surroundings, have been transformed from lush green lands to a broken landscape of pits and mills and housing for an army. Gandalf understands at once that Saruman has made the colossal error of believing he was creating something new, when in fact he’s behaved like a fool, dancing on the string of Sauron the Dark Lord.
“A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful; and there great lords had dwelt, the wardens of Gondor upon the West, and wise men that watched the stars. But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived – for all those arts and subtle devices for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child’s model or a slave’s flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dûr, The Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.”
This has always reminded me of the Sevconuts, building their club in the image of Rangers but without the money. Even now they try desperately to convince the world that the liquidation never happened. The likes of Murray would be laughing at these desperados wearing the outfit and trying to walk the walk.
We have smashed almost every record Ibrox held sacred.
We have eclipsed them in trebles. We are heading for their claimed number of titles. We will, in time, sweep away their pretensions by overtaking even The Lie.
But the more you watch the way that club operates, the more you recognise that in fact they are building that “child’s model, that slaves flattery” not of Rangers at all … but of Celtic.
They believe they are doing things their own way, for their own reasons, in their own time, and yet everything over there is being done in relation to us.
Everything they do over there is a copy of our strategy. Even this summer is The Mooch desperately attempting to replicate Celtic’s attacking options with his own overload of front players. You cannot witness their signing policy and have the least doubt that it’s ours, in miniature.
In fact, the strategy they are following has confused some over there so much that Keith Jackson commented on it just yesterday … he is baffled by it, which goes to show how dumb he is.
The Mooch is trying to out-Ange our former boss.
They’re even calling it Beale Ball.
Beale Bollocks more like.
Ange Postecoglou signed the players to fit the system exactly. No-one can even tell what system Beale is shooting for, he’s chopping and changing so much.
He has no consistency on anything, except that he wants to beat Celtic. This was the guy who said last season that the reason for their failures was that they made too many changes to the team which got to that European final. So of course, he’s made even more radical ones.
But he’s sticking to his guns on trying to play Ange style football, just as his club is scouring the free transfer market for young players it can sell for profit.
You’ll notice, however, that neither of its first two strikers – Lammers or Dessers – are at the age where they can count on any substantial re-sale value.
First things first with them; beat Celtic in the here and now. It is the antithesis of Celtic’s policy, which shows how utterly they misunderstand it.
What’s worse is that they have the mad belief that simply by saying they want to do something that it magically happens. The reason they’ve sold only a couple of players for the fees that we have is that they think slapping a big price sticker on a footballer inevitably leads to offers at that level.
That’s why Morelos and Kent were able to leave for free, and why they sucked millions out of Ibrox in over the top wages before they did.
These guys, and their agents, leveraged all of Ibrox’s nonsense about their valuations into multi-million-pound wage rises … and those rises were so big that they were effectively put out of reach of all but the richest clubs. They are making an identical mistake with the Brazilian who they are trying to sign from Feynoord; the difference is, they are offering him a massive salary just to get him here, and that will make a future sale far more difficult to do.
So although they are attempting to copy Celtic’s transfer strategy, they are going about it in a very strange way. A way that is not guaranteed to pay dividends.
But this is all they can do now, to copy us, to try and recreate what we’re doing without really understand how we do it; it’s a bit like all the writers down through the years who have tried to copy Tolkein’s style. You can read a thing, love a thing but not know how he breathed magic into his words.
Their fans had a hard enough time when they were trying to be Rangers.
They are in for a much tougher one now, trying to be Celtic.
They earn millions less than we do, their scouting network is years behind us and they simply cannot afford to keep spending what they do not have.
They also have a habit of throwing money at every new manager who comes in … if The Mooch screws this up, who knows how what his replacement is going to demand?
You would think they would learn from past mistakes. They never, ever do.
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