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Ibrox Fans Are The Victims Of Their Own Arrogance. Nobody Cons Them But Themselves.

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There is so much going on around me at the moment that it’s difficult, at times, to keep track of all the stories that I want to talk about.

One which I had promised myself I would write popped up in the papers yesterday, and that reminded me about it, but it was only today, when listening to the US podcast The Bulwark, that I realised how revealing it is.

On The Bulwark, they were discussing their “highlight of the week” and there were a couple of things which made the list that I agreed with. But the one that made me smile was when one of the pundits nominated the impending imprisonment of Steve Bannon, one of the most dangerous men in the Trump inner circle, and a man who had already been sentenced to a previous prison term.

I had actually forgotten that, and his initial crime.

What Bannon was found guilty of was scamming Trump’s own followers by skimming off funds – over £1 million – from a “charity” called “We Build The Wall.”

He was actually arrested on board a luxury yacht, which should tell its own story.

The reason I find it amusing, and relevant to what I’m about to write is what happened next; Donald Trump pardoned Steve Bannon as one his last acts as President.

Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman and a leading figure in the Stop Trump coalition, expressed the disbelief of large numbers of people at the time when he wrote, “Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is.”

What makes this amazing to me is the double disdain for his own voters. Trump pardons the guy who rips them off, and the scheme which rips them off only exists in the first place because he told the American public an obvious, easily disproved lie and then when it was established as such, he and others asked them to put their hands in their own pockets for it.

This is like the Ibrox marketing strategy writ large, and gone into overdrive. But the operating theory behind it is exactly the same; a contempt for your own people which to outsiders is absolutely extraordinary. Have you seen the price increases over there? They are off-the-charts. Season tickets went up ten percent. Strips are over £100. This is on top of MyGers subscriptions and all the rest of it. That club has its hands deeper in the fan’s pockets than ever.

And their fans are entitled to wonder what all that increased spending – on their part – is going to buy them. A transfer strategy which is a cheap version of ours, one built on punts and projects? We have a media here trying to hype cheap signings from Morocco, Cyprus and other far-flung corners. Oh yeah, and AC Milan reserves, let’s not forget the AC Milan reserve.

There is no sense over there of the danger they are in. They are facing a Celtic boss who has competed for ten trophies against them and won nine. He has as many managerial scalps as some prominent Roman families had consular masks. He has a record against the current Ibrox incumbent of played five won four drawn one. Do they really believe they are going to take down Brendan Rodgers with the type of players they’ve signed so far?

In the meantime, they are continually asked to spend, spend, spend more of their own money and still on the forums they harbour fantasies of rich investors, of their club being on the brink of big news that will enable them to overtake us.

What is it going to take before these Peepul understand that this is their future? That no sugar daddy is coming in to fund their fantasises, which means that if they’re going to outspend us the cash will have to come out of their own pockets, as fans?

The story that reminded me to write this piece was the media story about the price of tickets for their pre-season friendly against Manchester Utd, the Battle Of Britain as some have amusingly taken to labelling it. The team that won the FA Cup final versus the one that lost the Scottish Cup final actually; the real version will happen on our pre-season tour, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when we take on Manchester City in the battle of the champions.

I agree with their fans that their ticket prices for the Utd game are absolutely extortionate; nobody should have to pay the kind of sums that are being charged – way more than £100 in most cases – for a preseason game, and especially not as a support act to the real show.

But actually, this is their own fault – the fans and the club both.

They are the living proof of the old adage about being careful what you wish for. The reason those prices are so high is a direct consequence of their own egotism and arrogance. The organisers of the event are the very same people who set up the Australian tour last summer, which they had signed a contract to appear in and then pulled out of.

They were facing a multi-million pound legal hearing over that, which they would absolutely have lost, and to prevent that they cut a deal, and this game is one of the consequences of that deal. They are contractually obligated to play it. They are probably not earning a single penny for doing so. They have no choice, and the organisers are setting the price high because that’s the only way they can recoup the money they believe they are owed.

This is like demanding the wall, being told Mexico will build it and then finding out later than in fact you’ll have to pay for it yourself if you want to see it done … and then discovering that in fact you’re being scammed into the bargain.

It could be about to get worse too, because they are locked into this deal with those organisers for the next couple of seasons, and who is responsible for that?

Certainly, the board over there are not geniuses. They signed the Australian contracts without realising what was obvious to the rest of us the minute we saw the details, even cutting through the anger a lot of us felt at the very idea of playing a game against them abroad; this was the Ange Postecoglou Homecoming Tour, and they were the sideshow.

They were getting less money for it into the bargain.

But once those contracts were signed a sensible club would have taken it on the chin and a more moderate fan-base would have found a way to express its displeasure without going off the deep end. I was raging, and I personally vowed not to watch one minute of the match or even acknowledge that it was taking place.

Their fans made the demand that the club withdraw.

Even then, a board with some savvy would have realised that the costs were just not worth it and banked the money and told the fans straight that they could either have nice things or they could have their precious principles, and that they thought they’d prefer the nice things.

The decision not to go cost them an immediate £4 million in fees they didn’t get. On top of that, they incurred the contractual termination losses, which they managed to make up by signing a deal to play a number of friendlies for free.

This, the Manchester Utd game, is one of them.

So Ibrox fans can take some comfort in their principles being intact. The board bowed down and gave them what they wanted, and now they don’t want what it is that they got. Hard lines. It’s a tough old world, and especially when you need to pay for your mistakes.

For all that, the Ibrox board is clearly not interested in drawing their attention to the truth here, and it makes you wonder how much else they aren’t telling their fans.

Here’s one possible area where they don’t disclose half as much as they should; the contract with Castore is up soon, and there is talk that the club is exploring its options. Here’s what a good journalist would do in these circumstances; they’d ask the Ibrox club if Castore has the contractual right to be able to match the “best” offer and get the deal. You know, just like Sports Direct had before them with the distribution deal.

Sports Direct, who always have the strips on their website, for sale, before anyone else. Sports Direct who aren’t supposed to be part of the merchandising and retail deal and who are, of course, in no way involved in Castore, not even as a silent, silent partner. Or so we’ve all been told. You have to wonder why the rumours continue to persist, then?

I’ll tell you this; Ibrox fans shouldn’t hope for a better retail and merchandising deal either way. Whatever the club is getting, those prices have reached a point from which they only go one way and that’s not down. If you are a mug punter who paid premium rates for your kit and your Manchester ticket, congratulations; you’ve helped to set the new minimum.

Fools and their money, my friends. Easily parted.

Just like those who paid to build the wall, got scammed by Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump, and yet who still intend to vote for their hero in November.

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  • Tony B says:

    As the man said ” NEVER give a sucker an even break “.

    And there are no bigger suckers than the sevconts.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    They’re gettin scammed right, left and centre. Ah’ve personally heard a few myself complainin about all these money makin schemes, tho they never seem tae want tae do anythin about it. Ffs, when ye get odious wee ferrets like their ‘hero’ novo cashin in and bumpin them £50 a whip for a farcical ‘boxing’ match, what does that tell ye !? As if a trained, ibrox supportin, pro boxer, is gonnae even try and damage him. It’s laughable and if they’re stupit enough tae pay for that, serves them right.

  • FSTB says:

    I suspected the Man utd friendly was the start of the Australian fiasco payback but couldn’t nail it down .
    Don’t think you could have put it any better James
    The gullibillies are being royaly fleeced and it just makes you wonder what it will take for the penny (arcade) to finally drop and for them to do walking away

  • Magua says:

    Big Mike Ashley hasn’t gone away, y’know.

    Hail Hail.

  • Paul Walker says:

    You’ve got to wonder how many sevco fans realise who much they’re getting ripped off.

    It’s one thing shouting your the loyalist of fans, but realising that your getting ripped off all the time, through merchandising, ticket prices, my gers scheme.

    Getting told that Ashley was gone, only to find out he’s not gone, it’s cost the club (them the fans) £3m to get rid of Ashley, only to find he’s taking them to court because he wasn’t giving first shout in the new deal that the club signed without telling Ashley.

    The club has continually lied through their teeth to the fans, and there might be a lot of thick as s**t fans at that club, but not everyone is, there are thousands who know somethings not right, but everyone just sits back and believes or takes what the club says as gospel.

    Long may it last as they’ve only got themselves to blame, they will continue to pay through the roof, and sit back and do nothing about it.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    They are truly beyond parody so they are…

    If they weren’t so bloody arrogant and egotistical and entitled then one might actually feel a tiny morsel sorry for them…

    That they’re not means they’ve to not to be pitied but brutally scorned –

    Long may it last !

    (PS – Excellent journalism yet again James)

  • Guillermo Mac says:

    Brilliant article. Content like this makes you wonder how the shameless bastards in the MSM disguising as journalists can look themselves in the mirror.

    • Johnny Green says:

      Heh, keep it quiet please, as long as the media and their journo pals keep kidding them on as to how rosy the garden is, then the better it is for us. The media watched and encouraged them the last time they went tits up, so more of the same is what we should be wishing for.

  • Brattbakk says:

    I’m not sure exactly how that mygers thing works but I’ve heard a fair few of them moaning about that being a rip off. Supposedly they’re going to carry on with Castore on slightly improved terms. Ashley will be pleased

  • JimBhoy says:

    They were caught and fined for keeping the artificial costs for merchandise overly high a couple of year’s back. That should show you a family friendly Klub the rangers are.

    Hell mend them. They will see bigger loss margins the coming season when more quality first teamers are added at Celtic. Their vagabond of a manager with feel the wrath of their fans before Santa is here. It just takes a couple of phone calls to key media imposters to start that hate campaign going. Rinse Repeat.!

    Interesting talk of Tierney coming back plus £40m from Arsenal for Matt. Deal!

    Brendan could build the team he wants on that sort of dough.

  • Jim M says:

    They truly are the gift that keeps on giving, long may it continue.

  • Roonsa says:

    Fanstastic article, James. I laughed my socks off. The Oxford English Dictionary should change its online definition of “Consequence(s)” from whatever it is to a link pointing to this joyful article of hilarity.

    Cause and effect, indeed. LOL!!!!

  • John L says:

    Imagine this. A debt that the wee rangers are actually paying. The poor face painter, newsagents, and taxi companies will be in tears, and wishing their big brother was this obliging.

  • Jay says:

    I feel like that club are going to end up down the route of Barcelona where they are selling off any asset or giving naming rights for the stadium etc in desperate needs to garner money. Only thing is they don’t have the same financial draw as Barcelona (obviously) so the interested parties will be minimal I suspect. Unibet Ibrox or 32Red Ibrox incoming I reckon.

  • JimBhoy says:

    You make a good point James it’s as if the lies are the new norm, the inflated cost of supporting the klub is the new norm and the imposters they employ on and off the field are a need for the fans. Arrogant tik-tok over paid players.

    Any glimmer of hope, LC win or selling off an asset as profit (very infrequent) lives in their memory far too long, they are used to being second best.

    Just a pity none of the bigger Scottish clubs can step the fight for that second place.

    Long may it continue.

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