Last night I watched what many regard to be the best football team ever destroy Italy 4-0. As the passes flowed I glanced around the room at the smiling faces of my friends and thanked God for being alive at this time in the history of the game. Spain pass and win the ball back like no other. Some tried to describe them as boring for not going forward enough or for playing without a recognised striker. Where are those critics today?
Such is the love of and popularity of football half the world probably went to sleep last night dreaming about their team playing like the Spanish, myself included.
Today, however, I woke up back in the real world: the sordid little world of Scottish football; a tiny backwater where the ideals and spirit of the game are secondary to commercial viability, according to those who are supposed to be running the game; where the same authorities bend and invent rules so the establishment club, who have been caught cheating on an industrial scale, as well as being forced into liquidation by HMRC for deliberately not paying taxes and trading whilst insolvent, can keep calm and carry on while laughing at and looking down their noses at everyone who indirectly paid for their tainted success by being tax-paying citizens.
This story - one of corporate corruption and cronyism - is the kind of story a free press should be shouting about. It’s not as if they don’t have all the details. The authorities aren’t doing anything behind closed doors that doesn’t get leaked. They don’t have to. In fact, one of the reasons they’re so open about their plans to accommodate a club from the ashes of Ibrox, is to try and appease the baying mobs roused into affirmative action by the likes of Ally McCoist, Sandy Jardine and now John Brown.
Brown’s ‘conference’ last week was a bit like a crossover of Mark Anthony burying Caesar and The Life of Brian’s Stoning scene. As the disgruntled bears argued among themselves while trying to be heard and listen at the same time I half expected Bomber Brown to lift his hand, silence the crowd and ask, “Are there any Fenians here today?”
Brown’s statement about how Charles Green, the current dude in the chair at Ibrox, will be hunted for the rest of his days if he was to declare something Green said to him, only strengthens the resolve of all those who believe this embarrassment of a club has run its course.
Is it only a matter of time before Brown’s black shirts are roaming the streets of Glasgow looking to round up those who vociferously disagree with him and his band of Merrydown-swallowing thugs?
Is this really what anyone wants in Glasgow, or in Scotland, or indeed anywhere in the twenty first century?
Well, yes, I’m afraid it is.
There is a section of society who believes they are different from everyone else. Superior. Entitled. The chosen few.
For they are the people…and the people always get what they want…precisely because…they are the people.
I know, it’s a weak argument, but don’t shoot the messenger, they really do believe that.
It’s important at this stage to inform those from outside Scotland reading this, if there is anyone out there remotely interested, not to be misled into thinking the people means all the people. Note the lack of italics. We are not an arrogant nation by any stretch of the imagination. Proud? Yes. Arrogant? No. In all reality, the people people represent a sizeable minority of football fans and a smaller minority of the population as a whole. But with the backing of the establishment their voice is loud.
Most ordinary citizens of Scotland would be only too glad to see the back of those who claim to the people. For it those same people who have been a permanent embarrassment and occasional disgrace to the country for decades.
Unfortunately, those in positions of power in Scottish football don’t want to listen to the ordinary citizens, even though those fans are, and always have been, the lifeblood of the game. The authorities think these ordinary citizens are uneducated and not able to make grown-up decisions about the future direction of the game. They spout a ‘Do as we say and not as we do’ mantra, and attempt to bully the ordinary citizens and their clubs into submission through financial blackmail and threats of total destruction.
This remarkably short-sighted view is promoted aggressively in the majority of mainstream media outlets by journalists whose sense of integrity and fair play is coloured by their primal loyalty to the people. Of course, some have more to lose than others. Those on the way up are following the well-worn path of their predecessors. These predecessors made their name by keeping on the right side of ex-Rangers’ owner David Murray and enjoying cosy nights at his dinner table.
How many will deny knowing him when the Romans, sorry, the police, come knocking on their doors? I wonder if they’ll all gather round once more when it’s time for David’s last lamb supper before he’s carted off to Saughton in the back of a meat wagon.
Will his loyal followers smuggle in succulent contraband during family visits?
Imagine James Traynor transferring a piece of lamb to David Murray through a passionate kiss at the start of visiting time. On second thoughts, don’t let such an image spoil your day. Start a petition now for closed visits.
But, as sure as Rangers are dead, David Murray’s day in court will come, as will Craig Whyte’s and many others. I wonder if they’ll adopt any well known slogans for the occasion: Tiocfaidh ár lá springs to mind, but maybe they’ll come up with one of their own along the lines of ‘For every year we won the league while cheating we’ll do a year of porridge’.
In the meantime let’s just shake our heads and laugh at Traynor’s latest attempt at succulent propaganda in the Daily Record. We can shake our heads at the sheer brass neck of the man, and laugh at the fact that the more he spouts his nonsense, the more the ordinary citizens and fans of every other team grow resolve and determination to see him and the establishment corpse rot. There are too many belters to quote them all here, as I’ve already rambled on far too much, so I’ll pick just enough to give a flavour of the stench emanating from his latest offering to the followers of the cult of the succulent lamb.
Traynor: The trouble is too many men with influence have been working not for the good of the game but to selfish agendas.
Don’t you just love that statement?
In fact, I love that statement so much I’m not going to bother quoting any more of his diatribe. Let’s have another look at that one in super-slow motion action replay:
Traynor: The… trouble… is… too… many… men… with… influence… have… been… working… not… for… the… good… of… the… game… but… to… selfish… agendas.
Put your hands up all those who, on reading that quote, immediately thought about the cult of the succulent lamb eaters.
Yes, me too. It gave me a smile and calmed my rage towards the rest of his meandering rant. His quote will now take its place among the great quotes of recent times, like Keith Jackson’s ‘off the radar wealth’ and David Murray’s ‘for every fiver Celtic spend we’ll steal a tenner’.
So, in this little bigoted country, we might not play the game like the Spanish, but there is still a lot to thank God for. There is light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel. The times, as they say, just might be a changing after all.
The advent of social media has empowered ordinary citizens and given them a voice like no other time in history. And, such has been the outrage at the preferential treatment given to the one club with a culture of cheating their way to success; the ordinary citizens have spoken loud and clear through fans forums, blogs, emailing clubs, boycotting season tickets and comment sections in the online press.
There can be no doubt about their feelings towards the parachuting of newcos into any division other than the bottom rung. In the fans’ eyes all decisions regarding newcos applying to join the SFA, SPL or SFL must be made without fear, favour or prejudice. This is what the fans of every existing club in Scotland have made loud and clear to their respective clubs and the governing bodies.
It is now up to the clubs and governing bodies to decide whether they are running the game for the football fans or for the people who have brought nothing but shame to the game in this country.
The old establishment empire may be rotting but ailing allies are still attempting to defend its crumbling walls. But let us not be defeated. The end is nigh and deserved victory for the ordinary citizens and vast majority of football fans is almost here. The establishment club’s media allies may be able to fool and cajole most of the people most of the time, but it no longer fools the ordinary citizens who can see through their lurid lies and devious deception.
As the empire crumbles so, too, does the network of wannabe imperialists and court jesters who sat in their ivory towers and waved their NUJ cards while saying to the internet bloggers who exposed them for what they are, ‘Let them eat lamb.’
There is a revolution coming in the world of Scottish football and those of the old imperial guard will be the first to lose their jobs, if not their heads.