Peace – Not War

We normally don’t talk about on-field stuff on SFM, but given the over-optimistic coverage of the prospects of TRFC (particularly in the ESJ © The Clumpany  and DR) it is worth noting that since they beat Celtic on penalties in last year’s Scottish Cup semi final, they have played in four huge games which were real barometers of progress ;

  • Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final: 2-3
  • Celtic in the Premiership: 1-5
  • Aberdeen in the Premiership: 1-2
  • Celtic in the League Cup Semi-Final: 0-1

On each occasion, they have failed the test, not only by failing to get a result, but by being second best in most on-field departments.

The point is not one of wider Schadenfreude, or even an in-depth critique of the abilities of the team or manager, but of how the TRFC board and the MSM, in falsely inflating their side’s prospects, do a disservice to TRFC fans. Aided and abetted it seems by the manager who – even allowing for the positive spin managers need to put on things post defeat – is refusing to accept reality.

We often talk about turnover as the yardstick by which performance can be (roughly) measured. If that were the only yardstick, one would expect TRFC to be right up there with Celtic. But it is more complicated than that. For Celtic and TRFC, there are massive overheads (e.g. stadium costs) that have to be dealt with and taken out of the equation before Glasgow apples can be compared with Aberdeen and Edinburgh varieties.

Even allowing for that it seems pretty clear to me that TRFC have more disposable income (for spending on players and contracts) than Hearts or Aberdeen for example, but the gap is now not as great as raw turnover figures would suggest  – and the margins are probably slim enough that they can be easily blurred by managers at other clubs who have a good grasp of tactics, an eye for a player, and a proper understanding of football psychology.

To compound the problem for TRFC, there are two rather large eggs in the TRFC transfer basket which are now cracked or broken.  A dangerous waste of resources in fact. Whether it was Warburton or King who went to the market for Barton and Kranjčar is irrelevant. More relevant is the reason marquee signings like these were made.

Once a manager is recruited, you stay out of his domain

Yes, Barton’s signature in particular has used a huge chunk of the already scant budget, and that is a real blow to the manager’s planning, but the real problem is that the club has deliberately pushed fan expectations skyward, all of which is counter-intuitive given the rough calculations in the preceding paragraphs. More worryingly for Rangers fans, the board’s own expectations for the playing side are unrealistically high – and given the business expertise contained therein, puzzlingly so.

TRFC is a focal point for tens of thousands of people. The people who run the club are also influential opinion formers and how they set the tone for those thousands is important.

Tub-rattling, dog-whistling, and the WATP mentality have been employed almost exclusively thus far in the ‘journey’. All of which may have rallied the troops and provided a welcome injection of funds, but it also antagonised almost every football fan in the country who wasn’t a Rangers follower. And in view of how those funds (including the £21m IPO) seemingly disappeared into the ether, did it really help the club realise any ambitions going forward?

TRFC are looking up at the north face of a financial Eiger today

I can’t help feeling that had they been replaced with humility, some regret, and gratitude to those who smoothed their path into the leagues, then the view from the club deck would a lot more attractive today than it is.

The journey could have been an expansive one bent on winning friends along the way, clearly differentiating itself from the Murray era, and carrying assurances that the new Rangers would never treat the game in Scotland as shabbily as its predecessor.

Seems intuitively obvious to me that a mission statement like the following would win hearts and minds;

“The latter-day custodians of Rangers have destroyed our club and shamed its traditions of sporting integrity, fair play, and honest endeavour.

“However the ethos and identity of our club will not be allowed to slip into obscurity.

“We will build a club worthy of the traditions of sporting integrity and fair play. It will be open and accessible to people of all colours, creeds and nationalities,

“It will be a long journey, but it is one which we relish, and one which will in time restore Rangers to the upper echelons of the game“

Managing expectations realistically with a ‘we are thankful to keep the Rangers name alive’ would have played better with the bears.

I don’t believe there is a football fan in the world who wouldn’t sign up to that had they found their club in the same circumstances as 2011 Rangers. I don’t believe that Rangers fans are any different either, but the problem is that their moral compass is being calibrated by people whose past records make them least qualified for the task.

Instead of a plan to win Scottish football over, we got boycotts, victim-hood, denial, and that wonderful new oxymoronic idiom, post-liquidation. Really though, it should all have been so different.

Water bills notwithstanding, TRFC are looking up at the north face of a financial Eiger today, but they chose to climb an Eiger instead of a Munro, and they sold false hope and snake oil to the fans on the way.

They have no money with which to recruit players of sufficient quality to challenge at the top. They are facing a massive bill for repairs and maintenance of a stadium that has atrophied under six or seven years of neglect. They have similar infrastructure problems at their training ground. They need to build a scouting infrastructure which currently consists of one man and several local volunteers. Their income from merchandising is non-existent due to a testicles-drawn dispute with Sports Direct. They owe several millions of pounds of soft loans which they cannot convert to equity because of that same dispute, and the people they have gone back to again and again for top-up finance have ever shortening arms and lengthening pockets.

.. we understand the value that Rangers can bring to the to the Scottish game and we want it to be realised.

Miracles of course do happen, perhaps in the shape of a magician manager who can get them access to European cash almost immediately. Unless that comes to pass, there is no way forward for Dave King and his board, other than to make peace immediately with Sports Direct and actually stump up the cash he promised two years ago; cash he promised to bridge the resources gap which is widening by the week.

A widely accepted wisdom in many football boardrooms these days is that the main recruitment priority of any board is an excellent manager. A really good manager can make a team out of ordinary players, but a poor manager will have difficulty sculpting a winning side from even very good players.  So in a club with limited resources, it makes sense to spend a major part of your budget on a very good manager.

Another widely accepted wisdom in boardrooms (even if not always followed) is that once a manager is recruited, you stay out of his domain.

The boardroom at Ibrox is not awash with wisdom it seems. First of all they put their faith in a manager with little or no experience in the game. That may well have worked out with a bit of good fortune, but does anyone really believe, after his disappearing act in the wake of the Cup Final defeat and his absence at the Barton signing conference, that Mark Warburton is master of his own domain?

If not, does the ‘come hither’ curled finger of fate attached to Jimmy Traynor’s hand at last week’s press conference convince you?

I would guess that there are at least half a dozen experienced managers with a track record of success who would relish the challenge of putting TRFC on the map at the opportunity cost of a Barton for example. Instead it seems – if the rumours are true – that Warburton’s autonomy was breached so that said Joey could be hired to boost ST sales.

No group of fans is entitled to expect success. Rangers fans, and Celtic fans, have historically come to expect that very thing. It is understandable to some extent, but it should never be confused with an actual entitlement to success – and that is what the board at Ibrox are selling to the fans in return for their cash – which as we have seen is not being converted to the promised on-field successes.

the ‘come hither’ curled finger of fate attached to Jimmy Traynor’s hand should convince us that Warburton is not his own master

To a large extent, I think some of the online comments in fan sites in the wake of the Celtic match have been sensible and mature. Reality amongst Rangers fans is at last beginning to bite, and that can only be a good thing for TRFC. Rangers fans are beginning to understand that too many liberties have been taken with their loyalty to and love of the jersey. The problem for the fans is that whilst they come to terms with what may be a realistic timetable and roadmap towards success and parity with the top clubs, the current board and their chums in the press are invested in having them believe the opposite.

Already the cheerleaders in the red tops are proclaiming their ‘gulf-denial’ credentials in the hope that enough fans will be convinced of it. The problem is that the fans know the gulf exists – and not only that does exist, but it is unrealistic to expect it not to.

The Level5 effect is wearing off. In the past five years, £21m quid in investment, £6m in loans, and five years worth of ST sales have all come and gone. Will Rangers fans really do those sums, observe that in each of the four milestone matches mentioned at the beginning of this article there is nothing to show for it, and agree that there is nothing to concern them?

Rangers fans will no doubt call us obsessed to produce an article like this – about them. But football is uniquely interdependent – we all need each other. It is a game where we benefit from the traditions, the colour and the fanaticism of rivals. The fact is that we understand the value that Rangers can bring to the to the Scottish game and we want it to be realised.

Sadly though, the current people in charge at the club are people who revel in making war on fellow clubs and business partners as well as the national broadcaster and BT Sport. They have also failed to deliver on promises of investment and success to their own fans, and escaped press scrutiny of that failure. Whilst they are there, we see only division in Scottish football with no coming together possible for generations.

I believe that the vast majority of fans who love Rangers, like the rest of us, have had enough of a war on too many fronts to count. It’s time to make peace – with everyone. Football in this country can’t be fixed until that happens.

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About Trisidium

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

1,368 thoughts on “Peace – Not War

    just read bits myself,will read the lot tomorrow on couch with a cuppa

  2. ALLYJAMBODECEMBER 17, 2016 at 12:33
    TONYDECEMBER 17, 2016 at 12:59
        Had a quick read through, and what stuck out was that is stated DCK bought the CF docs, but also that it was mentioned in court. 
       Due to the excellent court reportage we have had on here from JC and EJ, we are aware that some matters were restricted from passing on. 
       I have no doubt both JC and EJ would adhere to these restrictions, but equally be able to confirm if, to their knowledge,  it did not form part of the “unreportable” issues. 
       If it is under any reportage restrictions, I would fully understand that they couldn’t possibly comment……. even if it was only to say so.

  3. PORTBHOYDECEMBER 17, 2016 at 11:06

    She’s got legs like a spider,you know .

  4. PADDY MALARKEYDECEMBER 17, 2016 at 15:24 Rate This
    Backside like a bison, perchance?

    (‘though I was led to believe she was from Methilhill?)

  5. CAUSALUDENDIDECEMBER 17, 2016 at 17:49

    Eh,naw, but the other rhyming couplets aren’t fit for printing !

  6. I’ve had a quick read through the Worthington report.

    It comes across as a fairly powerful rebuttal of (primarily) Tom Winnifrith’s claims.  However I am in no position to judge on the accuracy of either parties allegations.  Unless the arguments on both sides are tested in court they will remain just that, unsubstantiated claims.

    The tenor of the report is to explain away Worthington’s business failings by way of an indiscriminate attack on each and every party that has criticised the company in the past.

    I used to read a fair bit of Ton Winnifrith’s mutterings but, like JJ, I became wary and questioning of some of the claims made in his blogs.  I also got sick of TWs promotional material appearing in my email inbox day after day, so I ended up unsubscribing from his site.

    I obviously know what has been discussed in court when I have been present. I would have expected that several of the claims made in the document, and previously elsewhere, could be considered to be in contempt of court in relation to the Fraudco proceedings, but the fact that they have been published outside Scotland may offer some protection.

    Some of the legal claims against both the Oldco and the Newco have previously been dismissed both by BDO and the RIFC Board, while a judge has “sisted” one particular claim against the Oldco until after any Fraud trial. Personally I don’t see a lot of mileage in the claims, but I’m not legally qualified, so my opinion is not worth much. 

    On balance I suspect that there an element of truth in at least some of the claims made in the report, but equally, so I would doubt that the company is squeaky clean when it comes to the business ethics of those involved with Worthington,  e.g. did we ever get to the bottom of Oldco’s alleged £250K payment to Banstead Athletic? 

  7. TONY
    DECEMBER 17, 2016 at 11:50  
    Attachment  TortiousInterferenceReWRN.pdf
     anyone read this 

    I’m mid-read just now Tony but already they have gone from CW needing help to buy RFC and straight to being introduced to IA et al. They appear to have completely missed out the year that CW held RFC and gone straight to Sevco5088.

  8. EASYJAMBODECEMBER 17, 2016 at 18:54

    Like you, I find it informative, but unsubstantiated, though I suspect you might be in a position to know if some of the claims do have merit, if merit is the correct word to use 14 . I suspect all the parties involved would be hard pressed to describe themselves as ‘innocents’ though some, but not all, could probably be justified in telling us all that they are ‘not guilty’. The document itself appears to be a notice to those likely to do business with companies like Worthington, and the people involved with the company, in the hope that they will be less of the parriah that the notice seems to suggest they currently are, rather than a precursor to any legal action.

    The claims in the document about King’s purchase of stolen electronic property do seem to suggest JJ had some inside information from this, or a connected, source, so some kudos to JJ. It is very rare in this saga, where so much documented evidence never hits the light of day and so much is covered up by those in authority at all levels, for the claims made by the likes of JJ and PMGB to be substantiated, one way or the other.

    It will be interesting to see if someone named in this document as a procurer of known to be stolen property, who then passed it to another to be published to discredit someone with a claim against a company he has a large interest in, ever takes action against the people who produced such a libellous (if untrue) publication! For I am sure that these claims, if true, are actions of a very criminal nature, whether or not criminal proceedings are ever taken against a custodian of a wanabee Scottish institution!

    Every now and again something seeps out of the woodwork to keep us all hungry for more of the same, here on SFM! 04

  9. How’s the planning permission coming on with Aberdeen’s plan to build a new stadium?  Hope they can go ahead with this without endangering the club in a financial way.

  10. With all the nonsense surrounding RFC/TRFC, I get the feeling that we should look on them as a rare species of plant that can only survive and thrive in cossetted circumstances, and which would (did) die if exposed to natural climatic conditions . Nationally, we should be proud that we keep it from extinction,but we know that it is beyond the endangered stage and needs artificial means facilitate its survival(much like the panda and not like the dodo). It cannot (or will not)adapt to the current environment in order to survive,but expects to be nurtured in glasshouse-like conditions while the rest of the plants become hardened and know that their growth will be stifled . Unfortunately , others are querying the wisdom of expending resources to achieve this to their detriment . There must come a time ,though, when it is planted out in the real world and left to survive as best it can, same as the rest . It will reach its natural height , but may not make it to the Chelsea Flower Show . 
    For Paddy read Percy !

  11. I am sitting here having a swally with the youngest’s boyfriend , John, a fan of the club who play at Ibrox .What an education I am getting, and for free . Rangers weren’t party to the Five way agreement – absolutely no proof of that and a lie made up to cover the unwarranted demotion to the bottom level. The only club not to vote for this relegation was Kilmarnock, who abstained .Charles Green bought the club, its history and its assets from the administrators,leaving the remaining parts of the company to enter liquidation. EBTs were legal and the club are winning 2-1 in its fight with HMRC -if they were to lose the next one ,it would go to a decider.  No disrespect intended, but I am just jealous because I support a club that doesn’t win trophies.He detests the Sun, Record and Times and their anti- Rangers stance ,but reads them and knows that the opposite of what they print about Rangers is most often true(they have to pander to the P***s to sell copies).Dave King reached an agreement with the courts to pay a sum to stop them prosecuting him (it was only a disagreement on how much tax he should pay- not that he was unwilling). The players who left are rats and seriously damaged the club for personal gain .A solid second place was the target for this season and the influx in quality in the next two windows will mean a real challenge next season .They will beat Smeltic 2-1 or 3-1 at Ne’erday to cement second and lay down a marker .

    I think somebody was winding him up in the boozer as he normally keeps his own counsel, but it was pish in torrents .

  12. Nice one PM.
    And I take it you read out your comment to ‘John’ for his input – before posting it to SFM?  😉

    At the other end of the age spectrum: I tactfully stopped even mentioning RFC/TRFC to my father-in-law when he declared – in front of his daughter, who is very much clued up – that “…it was all a C@tholic conspiracy” !

    Sometimes it’s better / easier / less frustrating to take the high ground.

    TRFC’s actions will eventually convince even the most delusional bluenose that their club has self-harmed, and nobody else is to blame…mibbees…

  13. Subsequent to the “Worthington Report” I had a look at Aiden Earley’s website:

    One of the pages on the website contains the following comment about what will happen next. Watch this space.

    Details concerning the arrangements for smaller shareholders will be published after commencement of legal action against the parties identified in the report; however, by way of guidance, the timetable for delivery of certificates in the new listed vehicle is not likely to take more than 90 days. It is expected that the first Letters Before Claim will be issued against certain of the main parties identified in the report during week commencing 19th December 2016, and legal proceedings issued two weeks thereafter. The Letters Before Claim and related information will be published on this website for the sake of transparency.

  14. STEVIEBCDECEMBER 18, 2016 at 04:25

    I never read it back to him but let him know what I was doing . He was back to his usual quiet self this morning .

  15. easyJamboDecember 18, 2016 at 10:39

    Yesterday, I ended a post regarding the Worthington notice with the following sentence:

    ‘Every now and again something seeps out of the woodwork to keep us all hungry for more of the same, here on SFM!’ 

    I think now the ‘something’ is not so much ‘seeping’, as oozing, an appropriately descriptive word for the revealing of the alleged tortious (what a great word) actions, I think!

    Synonyms of ooze (verb): seep · discharge · leak· leach

    Synonyms of ooze (noun): mud · slime · alluvium · silt · mire · bog · sludge · slush

  16. AllyjamboDecember 17, 2016 at 19:57
    ‘….Every now and again something seeps out of the woodwork to keep us all hungry for more of the same, here on SFM!’
    Yes, indeed, Aj.
    The hunger is for some straightforward approximation to Truth.
    I just remind myself of the truths that we already know. All quite simple.
    A cheating bast..d of a majority shareholder in a Scottish Football club systematically over a more than decade-long period cheated his fellow club owners and the whole of Scottish Football. He cheated the SFA and the SPL by lying to them about what he was paying his players.
    The SMSM and the general run of directors of other clubs  took his word at face value. Wasn’t this the ‘wunderkid’? Wealthy, wealthy, wealthy, knighthood feckin wealthy! He was wealthy, he could spend, spend spend. There was perhap one bad bast..d in office who knew different, but kept schtum for the price of a good night out.
    It matters not a jot whether or not the Supreme Court reverses the Court of Session decision.
    The cheat cheated Football in Football terms.Monumentally, and unforgivably.
    And he feckin well knew it. And had severe cold feet about his clever little EBT wheeze,and his Lucifer-like proud boasts, that turned to ashes in his mouth ( except that he saw himself and his family all right when he sold RFC , not in a duped blind panic, but in a carefully studied , cynical, cold-blooded two-fingers up to RFC supporters fashion)to CW.
    The end result of that little cop-out was of course the death of the RFC of our fathers and grandfathers and, for the younger folk, great-great grandfathers.
    That is the truth.
    The next truth is that the football authorities ( aided and abetted by the SMSM and sundry lying politicians) tried to move heaven and earth to deny that death.
    The most unpleasant truth is that every other gutless, unprincipled club allowed and allows the huge lie  to be perpetuated that RFC did not die. That somehow the new club founded in 2012 by CG can possibly be the same feckin club that is in th limbo of Liquidation.
    So we have a four year old club, steeped from its birth [ legitimate as that may or may not have been] in the mire of falsehood and deceit, run by by people of the most despicable kind of money-grabbing type that gravitate to the possibility of easy pckings with minimum regard for truth, decency, honour (chance would be a fine thing!).
    What can we expect? Truth, about anything? From either of those hellish Boards?
    What ought we be able to expect? Why, nothing more nor less than the honest truth from th SMSM and from The SFA.
    Are we likely to get it?
    Yes we are.
    Because , as PMcG demonstrates, Truth enough will out.
    My personal hope is that it will out in my lifetime so that I can see the bad bast.rds crucified, and the monstrosity they created shown up in the whole horror of its true colours.
    I sit here, supping a glass of ‘One Fifty Lashes’ , having just the other day saluted the memory of Lt James Cook, RN at the little monument marking the (approximate, but accurate within a few  dozen metres) spot where that splendidly decent and honourable man, who made no compromise with Truth, set foot on the land of the people who then lived there, which subsequently was named Queensland.
    There are, I’m sure, still honourable men in Scottish Football.
    But where the hell are they?
    Isn’t it time they began to face up to reality?
    TRFC/RIFC is a kind of scepticemia, a kind of ‘hectic’ in the blood of Scottish football.( Eb-sorry about the vague Shakespokian reference! And, btw, where the hell are you?)
    Let the Truth be expressed, and the way ahead will open.

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