The season started amidst great howls of disapproval and of disbelief from the shoddy Scottish media, whilst simultaneously the fans of Rangers F.C. very much vociferously professed their lack of sympathy with the ‘plight’ of all and sundrie in both the SPL and SFL Division One.
To say that both the media and the fans of Deceased F.C. were disgruntled is a major understatement…their nose was so far out of joint that they could easily have been forgiven in being desperate enough to have consulted with Danniella Westbrook’s plastic surgeon.
In an act of sheer defiance both proclaimed boldly that the game is Scotland was now doomed to failure, to a catastrophe so spectacular that it resembled a cross between a Final Destination movie and a real-life Armageddon…we were lead to believe that without Rangers, we were all doomed and that it would be forever remembered as death by self-destruction.
We were warned at every turn that the SKY TV contract would be taken off the table and that clubs would be so depleted in their squad depths that we would be no more of a draw than the League of Ireland…so we were told anyhow!
The SPL would be the most negative and most stale product in world football, the fans would not back their teams and the teams would be forced to sell all of their assets to see the season through.
I’m sure we all remember those proclamations and the fan-fare of self-indulgent scorn and vitriol directed at those who stood up for integrity and for their fans well documented desires.
The league itself was going to be an absolute freebie for Celtic, if you listened to all, apparently, in the know…Celtic were going to crush the opposition 4,5 or 6-0 in each and every contest. The famous quote was that the league would be over by Christmas and that the fans of every club would be bored and demoralised to such a degree that we’d be playing to empty stadiums.
Apparently we were not so ‘loyal’ as those Loyalist hordes or of the many decent RFC supporters, the self-proclaimed victims of a great Govan based corporate catastrophe.
Why would they ever forgive us…we stood up to them? For that reason alone, hell mend us all.
Fast forward to-date from the August kick-off of our domestic campaign and cast a quick glance at how the land lies aboard our seemingly unfit vessel as it’s rocked by the choppy waters which were said to be all-consuming in their force;
Fans are still attending at football stadiums in near identical numbers, season tickets actually rose in many clubs cases, SKY came to a very simply negotiated agreement to showcase a few of Berwick Rangers games each season by way of bargaining that if permitted then they’d remain wholly committed to a contract offered pre-liquidation….at least that’s what we were reliably informed;
Yeah sure Rangers were dead, thereafter a newco called Sevco took over, so surely any agreed contract re televised Rangers games referred to the Berwick based club only. Ocht, who cares the contract survived, as do the other SPL clubs.
The great Scottish Football fire sale also never materialised, sure spending was down but surely this was just clubs returning to a sustainable and more considered business model but senior players received new contracts, guys like Shefki Kuqi have arrived, Niall McGinn is back and well so far the effects of no Rangers have been negligible. Squads most certainly have not been decimated and torn apart, strange that.
Young players continue to flourish amongst the many new opportunities for academy graduates to step up to the rigours of first team action.
Results to are encouraging, the league is both tight and competitive and the entertainment value has neither dipped nor crash-landed.
However those of whom predicted a season or three of discontent must now be choking upon their words, truth is the Scottish game will feel a pinch, that pinch is however the result of an economic equilibrium being restored, effects on the park were however greatly exaggerated.
Teams once had a self-cut-throat existence whereby they could realistically expect to concede 24 points to a combined Rangers and Celtic inclusive fixture list, that meant that fewer games actually carried the very real prospect of three points, morale and form was often interrupted by the imminent prospect of one of the two giants spoiling the party.
Now however, most teams would look at the maximum potential of conceding only 12 points with any near certainty and as result more scope exists for teams to build up a notable head of steam and to keep closer pace with ourselves. I have noticed that other teams now play us with much less inhibition and make much more fist of their challenge, indeed we have yet to utterly swap a team aside and to canter to a massive scoreline any week, never mind every week!
And so that brings me to cast an eye down towards Division Three and the effects of the newco efficient;
The newco are spending well beyond the fiscal reality of their place in the lower leagues of Scottish football, they once again are embarking on a boom or bust business practice. Once again they want to buy their way to a big club position, they still seek to intimidate and to bully others rather than to show any degree of class or of compassion.
Only whilst Rangers of old could often on this rely, the newco are finding the resistance way more stubborn than that of which they had forecast. On three occasions now have they travelled to an away league tie and on all three occasions they have yet to win, they sit second in the league and are out of one cup competition already, dear oh dear, oh dear, tough times it would seem.
The crowds to be fair at Ibrox have remained higher than many predicted but that is really down to the old siege mentality, the defiant roar of a scorned old lady, the much contempt-worthy pandering of Charles Green to the bigot brigade and the perceived glamour of the financial over-spending ways.
Like as when the seasons change, leaves disappear from trees in great volumes, so to I expect this seemingly ‘hardcore’ support at the newco to come tumbling down to a lower level, performances to will be hard to be enthused over as winter weather makes away-day football even more of a lottery, even more precarious a task and even more of a pleasue-less journey. Expect some rocky grounds to lie ahead in the shallows where newco currently paddle.
The product the fans of newco most certainly crave, though of course they won’t ever admit to it, is a return to SPL football and their undoubted reliance upon games against Celtic, without us they are toiling and for them league reconstruction cannot come soon enough for them…if only for Sevconians, Carlsberg done Christmas presents!
Little wonder then that I chuckled some more this week at that hapless southern fool, Charles Green, and his most recent declaration of defiance. According to him as he spoke aloud his beginners version of bigotry, stood directly behind a Red Hand of Ulster clad table at a ‘questionable in intent’ supporters meeting over in Northern Ireland, he proclaimed that he would never allow ‘Rangers’ to be bullied and that nor shall the club whilst under his stewardship and guidance, play SPL football again.
He did say that he was in it for the long run and that he could be at Ibrox running the club for many a long year…did he not?!
Oops, perhaps Chuckle Green and his band of Merry Misfits should have then paid far more attention to his fans real feelings, you know the inner most, heartfelt emotions, the ones where they crave top division football and four guaranteed games against the biggest draw in Scottish football, to much of the same degree as we crave for a seat at the top table of the Champions League football.
Alas no, this Zombie CEO wasn’t quite as connected with either the will of the ‘fans’ or the necessity of the business model he has created.
Talking of both seasonal festivities and of THEM…this time of year as outside gets wetter, darker and colder, we seek desperately to be uplifted in mood and to be distracted from the grim reality of a northern winter. To that degree, soon we will have both Guy Fawkes night and thereafter Christmas to entertain the children but first comes Halloween and a good old-fashioned bout of ‘Trick-or-Treating’.
As Halloween fast approaches Mr Green proves to be another monstrous creation of bigoted belief and fiscal flippancy.
Certainly, THEY as a club continue to be run by blatantly unfit persons, of questionable morals and of limited intellect…in deceitfulness and cunning though they most certainly do excel.
Their fans don’t, in my humble opinion anyway, match up successfully against ours in any of the most crucial respects, I will though give them this; as some of our more playful supporters turn up at Celtic Park for our game against Kilmarnock on Saturday 27 October 2012, no doubt clad in an ensemble, a multitude of unconnectable Halloween costumes…THEY over at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld that self-same day will once agin turn up, well-drilled and full of discipline, fully attired and with an extremely well rehearsed pattern of movement to accompany their show of fancy dress…indeed their commitment to out-performing us in the Halloween stakes is clear, for they have been perfecting ‘The Zombie’ man, woman and child now for months and months.
If only our fans could put the obvious reservations behind them for a day and in doing put on such a mass display of humour, of great satire, then it would be well worth doning an old Rangers top and a glakit, far off, distant look on our faces whilst staggering and dragging our feet up to Celtic Park on the 27th.
Imagine the headlines that would attract of a disgusted MSM….especially if the Green Brigade could have a lone camouflaged ‘sniper’ who mimicked blasting the Zombies back into their seats at every opportunity.
I for one think that an opportunity to stick two metaphoric fingers up to THEM on such a powerful note is not to be missed, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to play us a blinder and to make them look even more laughable than they usually do…and to play their pain out to the maximum of comedic effect in front of their adoring media.
Perhaps we could also chant to the tune of ‘The Sash’…”And the Cry Was Armageddon…Apocalypse my arse…you died the 12th of June…you’re just the living dead…your Queen, you owed her money…you were in tick above yer heeds…you’re cheaters and you’re scumbags…thank god your clubs now dead…All together now….And the Cry Was Armageddon…Apocalypse my arse….”
If the debts and the liquidation didn’t…the irony and the embarrassment may very well kill them off.
Lets enjoy this Halloween folks!!