Stewart Milne opts to cheerlead cheating

Stewart Milne. Oh, good grief.

We need to start fearing the worst about the man.

And if we need to start fearing the worst about him – which we do – we probably also need to start fearing for Aberdeen.

In Milne’s opinion, according to an interview given to STV, Scotland’s focus needs to be taking the game forward, not dwelling in the past.

Also, for good measure, there should be no stripping of Rangers’ titles.

It would be incautious to label Stewart Milne as being corrupt.

But in the face of all we’ve seen, in the mass of evidence and court judgments that validate wholly the accusation that Rangers cheated (prolifically, for years), Stewart Milne asks us to look the other way, to forget about it.

If he isn’t corrupt, why on earth does he give every impression of being so? In what way is he compromised? Have all his dealings at Aberdeen been above board? These seem like fair questions, given his otherwise inexplicable desire to allow rampant cheating to stand, to the very obvious detriment of his own club, Aberdeen.

And still they tell us to move on, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this will never happen until the cheating has been acknowledged and dealt with.  Fairly.

Stewart Milne, with an inverted Midas touch, has chained himself publicly to precisely the wrong side of history. It’s probably up to Aberdeen fans to make sure that their club is not similarly, institutionally, associated with giving cheats a free pass.

Rumours and conspiracy theories abound (Masonic cover-up, Milne needs to sell houses, Milne needs help from Rangers’ leaning councillors to get his stadium plans approved, “Milne is a grade-A cock”) and Milne has invited all of this upon his person, seamlessly revealing himself as being both out of touch with the feelings of his customer base and out of synch with the simple concept of decency.

It’s been hard to find an Aberdeen fan (online or off) who has anything positive to say about him at the moment. And even harder to find this surprising.
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Posted in Scottish Football | Tagged , ,

Gary Mackay-Steven out of his depth

Reports were gleefully filed by tabloids last week that the Aberdeen player, Gary Mackay-Steven (GMS), was so drunk that he ended up in the River Kelvin from where he had to be rescued and treated by emergency services. He was suffering the effects of hypothermia.

Tabloids and social media alike posed (and salivated over) the question: How on earth did he end up in the river?

We may never care.

Into this burgeoning mess strode Derek McInnes, manager of People’s Champions, Aberdeen, with the kind of response you might hope for:

[Taken from the BBC]: “I’ve spoken to Gary and it was totally out of character for him. I think it’s a reminder of the spotlight the players are under, a reminder of the restraint and discipline that’s required. The circumstances are bizarre but we’re here to support Gary. However, it’s also a reminder to him and everybody else of the responsibility to make sure there is restraint and discipline at all times. By all means have a drink, but make sure you’re in control of the situation. We’ve addressed it now. We don’t expect it to be an issue going forward with him or any other of my players. It could have been far more problematic for him but thankfully he is back with us. He is embarrassed, as you would expect, and feels he has let people down, but we are here to support him. He’s a good lad with so much to offer. It’s all about learning as nobody is perfect.

Not ducking the issues, just dealing with them.

Aberdeen fans, on pondering the significance or otherwise of one of their players having to be fished out of the River Kelvin, seemed broadly of a mind to laugh it off (just so long as the player was okay and just so long as he made some sort of donation to the emergency services – as they had effectively saved his life).

One fan felt that “[GMS] should be sacked with immediate effect.” Why? Because “Aberdeen are a family football club.” It’s not clear what “family football club” means in this context (or any context, really), and the rush to judge and condemn feels slightly draconian.

A more calibrated approach was taken by another fan: “This could easily have been a cry for help or something worse. If there are underlying mental health issues which would cause someone to throw themselves into a river, then AFC have a duty of care to make sure the player is in the right state of mind before even thinking of him playing again. We don’t know the facts yet (nor should we) so anything just now is baseless speculation, as fun as that is.”

Amen.

Although it was hard not to enjoy this new take on Gary Mackay-Stevens’ initials:

GMS: Goes Midnight Swimming

Whatever the circumstances of this curious event, GMS has a lot to live down.

 

Posted in Scottish Football | Tagged , ,

For whom the whistle tolls

Why not put a system in place whereby referees declare which team they support and then never take charge of any games involving that team? It seems straightforward. Some people express doubts, however, that this system could ever work in Scotland. It’s hard not to share their (empirically watertight) cynicism.

Alternatively…

It should be made to work in Scotland.

As this would appear an effective way of reducing outside fears of bias amongst referees, it feels slyly revealing that this measure isn’t already in place.

It feels like it ought to be simple. It also feels like it’s obvious; that it shouldn’t even need explaining (to those dear leaders of the game).

You train to be a referee. You declare which team(s) you support. You understand that you won’t ever officiate a match involving the team(s) you support, because – even if you happen to be the fairest and most noble of referees – to do so would immediately look and feel highly improper. You accept this.

Once this logical procession is completed, The Authorities will continue to pick the graduate referees they so lovingly bestow upon the Scottish public, with the proviso they never once take charge of a match involving their own team.

Is this not basic, basic stuff; an elementary step towards fairness or the perception of such? (And the perception of fairness feels vital.)

With all allegiances laid bare, The Authorities will then do the sums and see who’s fit to referee what and where. Excellent.

If this means, suddenly, that there are only one or two referees in Scotland fit to officiate a match involving (People’s Champions) Aberdeen, because the other 99% of them are rightly smitten by the aura of untainted legitimacy surrounding Aberdeen’s history and success…well, then this means that there are only one or two referees who are fit to officiate an Aberdeen match. And that’s probably how it goes until you train some more. Fair’s fair.

Or…

If this means that in Scotland there are suddenly no referees at all who are fit to take charge of a match involving Rangers, say, then the men (it always seems to be men) trusted to run Scottish football would need to reach out to friends for help. A simple letter would probably suffice. The problem is not insurmountable:

Dear World,

For some reason or other, we can’t seem to find ourselves a top grade referee in Scotland who doesn’t also happen to support the most mighty, most valiant Glasgow Rangers, established since in days of yore, same Club, not a word of a lie, looking for a new motor? What a pickle on the neutrality front. Could you lend us some referees again, please, like you did that time our lot all went on strike, indecipherably, like babies?

Yours appreciatively, if not sincerely,

The Men (It Always Seems To Be Men) Trusted To Run Scottish Football

And the rest we can probably leave to our imaginations.

But they won’t come from Scotland, these referees. They’ll come from exotic-sounding places like Kabul, Antwerp, Leicester.

Wrong-headed citizens might like to imagine this emergency supply of neutral referees being air-lifted into Scotland and dropped off in boxes out the back of a low-flying United Nations cargo plane, I would guess, as bedraggled, wild-eyed fans of Anyone But Celtic Or Rangers rush like ghouls from the shadows to rip open the boxes and touch the precious commodity inside. They thought this thing was mythical. They desperately want to know what a neutral referee in Scotland actually feels like.

Posted in Scottish Football | Tagged , , ,

Gently down the stream…

The search is (still) on for the next manager of Rangers International FC, following the good-natured departure of Mark Warburton and two of his assistants the other week. In a PR coup for the club, Warburton and his assistants actually kept working their posts until Friday night, despite having resigned the previous Monday.

Explaining away their apparent enthusiasm, Warburton and his two assistants said: We didn’t resign. Not one of us.

Chairman Dave King, ever mindful of the club’s reputation and eager to clear up any confusion, was quick to remind the forgetful trio that they had, in fact, resigned.

Rangers fans, grateful for King’s steady hand in the till, soon realised they felt enraged with Warburton for forgetting that he’d resigned. Worse, they felt ‘used’ and betrayed by everyone but King and the odd fan representative or two.

You need to be made of the right stuff to become manager of Rangers, though. You need to appreciate the Rangers way, know your history, think bigly and, above all, you need to be able to instil this into the players; to make them live and breathe The Rangers Way.

Real Rangers Manager: So, you want to play for the Rangers, son? How much are you after?

Player: I want five thousand pounds per week, gaffer.

RRM: Ahm gonnae have tae insist on sixty.

Player (incredified): What…sixty thousand, you mean?  Per week?

RRM: Aye. Take it or leave it.

Player: How about sixty-five?

RRM: Ah’ll no’ even dignify that wi’ a response.

Player: Sixty-six?

RRM: You drive a hard bargain, son. I like that.  Seventy.

Player: Seventy-five?

RRM: Eighty. And that’s my final offer

Player: Ninety?

RRM: Done.  I’ll sort you oot a wee motor annaw. What’s wi’ the limp, by the way?

Player: Ninety-five?

RRM: Aye, okay, but you’d be obliged tae bill the club to the max for sundry personal expenses wi’ that sort of package, I’m afraid. Ma hands are tied.

For there’s not a team like the Glasgow Rangers.

And now they come angling for Derek McInnes, manager of (People’s Champions) Aberdeen. He wouldn’t, would he? In the managerial game of Snakes and Ladders, any ladders have long since left Ibrox and snakes now cover the board.

As objectively as possible, career-wise, this would seem like a form of suicide. Still, a lovely rumour for the press to entertain.

Posted in Scottish Football | Tagged , , ,

Less than okay, Coral

Some days ago, from the BBC website: “Manchester United say they are the first club in England to appoint a full-time counter-terrorism manager.”

Is that a boast? Is it any wonder Mourinho looks so tired? They ask too much of him, surely?

Anyway, in Scotland, in 2011, Albert Kinloch placed a £100 bet with (bookmakers) Coral that Rangers FC would be relegated (that season). He was recently in court to claim his winnings, at odds of 2500/1.

Subjective opinion: This case proved unreasonably enjoyable (and unreasonably funny), right up until the point it didn’t.

This point arrived when it became apparent that Coral were not going to simply win their case by stating the factually correct, which is to say: Rangers were not relegated. Rangers were (or are still in the process of being) liquidated. The club you bet on, Mr Kinloch, ceased to be. Case closed, Buddypal.

But no.

How we came to this sorry pass on all things “Rangers” is examined and described (forensically) elsewhere online. For an understanding of the Kinloch v Coral case, you’d maybe best try here to start. Not simply the article, but the comments which follow. Or maybe here.

This case ought to have no sensible bearing on the Old club/New club debate. But even if it did, might we trust the Scottish press to report this matter honestly? Or report on it at all? Journalists in Scotland may one day find it within themselves to hang their heads in shame. It will be seen that they betrayed (and continue to betray) their profession and public; that they failed and lied and, in some instances, plagiarised and denied.

A court room in the not too distant future, perhaps…

Judge: “Rangers are now being liquidated. The Rangers you knew are dead. Forever.”

Daily Record: “Rangers…now…Rangers…forever.”

You heard it here first, folks:

Top Judge destroys internet and Catholics and SNP and Nicola Sturgeon and anyone who isn’t James Traynor or Dave King with landmark ruling; cementing eternity of the Union in the process and unleashing potentially billions of cash money and happiness on the right sort of folk.

Less than diligent fan: Timmy will be ragin’ at this.

In following the whole astonishing Rangers saga, some of us have been forced to see Scotland (and, in particular, how she works; how she networks) in new, unsettling ways. This is not a Scotland we like. And how blind we were, sorry.

But for those people made soul-sick by the circus that surrounds Celtic and Rangers; for those people craving the day both clubs ply their trade outside Scotland; for those people with no religion – not even a sneaking preference for one religion over another, let alone for one (Glasgow) team over another; for those people repelled by the nuance-free, one-dimensional nature of the Irish versus British political posturing introduced to the sport by those on high and the multiple useful idiots at their greedy disposal, we still need admit to ourselves that Celtic and Rangers are not entirely one and the same thing.

The Rangers that were (are being) liquidated, cheated.

The Celtic that continue to play in Scotland, didn’t. (Or not that we know of.)

It becomes insensible to brand both clubs as being just as bad as each other. They’re not. Rangers cheated (us all) on an industrial level. Celtic didn’t.

Therefore, from a moral, sporting, common sense perspective, people ought feel unembarrassed acknowledging that Rangers (if we take the Continuity Club narrative at face value for one moment) are worse than Celtic – or, put more positively, perhaps, that Celtic are better than Rangers.

Even if you’re the kind of person who takes against another human being simply because of the football team they support (evidence of such attitudes exists, and not just amongst five year olds), it doesn’t mean you have to like Celtic, okay?

It presently feels unlikely that this idea will gain traction on the Aberdeen forum that this dishevelled wreck (too infrequently) visits. On those excitable shores, it appears de rigeur to make no distinction between the two clubs at all.

Fair enough.

But that way, eventually, lies a self-inflicted type of myopic unreasonableness, perhaps, which may begin to feel at odds with the simultaneously adopted posture of intellectual, moral and hygiene-related superiority, as evidenced so often in fans of Anyone But Celtic Or Rangers.

Cognitive dissonance awaits.

(And in the meantime, thank you, James Doleman.)

Posted in Scotland, Scottish Football | Tagged , , , , , , ,

But that’s where my grandfather sat…

“How do the Aberdeen fans feel about Stewart Milne [Chairman of Aberdeen FC] wanting to move away from Pittodrie Stadium?”

The above (roughly paraphrased) question, asked by a poster to the Scottish Football Monitor website, long before Stewart Milne’s latest mouth-events, elicited the following, heartbreakingly inventive,  response:

“Ach. Stewart Milne is always on the look out for ways to achieve and do nothing. If an opportunity for inaction presents itself, he’s right in there (leading the moribund shuffle to a rousing standstill).

Getting away with doing nothing is surprisingly hard work, though, and Milne appears to have come to the conclusion that inertia may be cynically transfigured by “vision” – and that “vision” itself is a useful (and proactive-sounding) peg to hang on the nebulous concept of “progress”.

And so the fans may ask: “Stewarty, min? Under your watch Pittodrie has been neglected to the point of decrepitude, the atmosphere is often desperate, and the catering staff appears to wish great harm, perhaps even death, upon us. Fits ‘at a’ aboot?”

The implicit and catch-all negation of these (and similar) gripes is “vision”. The vision of a gleaming new stadium; the vision of an achingly vibrant modernity, always just round the next corner. It would be a form of madness, we are slyly finessed to believe, to tackle or fix the present problems when we’ve so much to tackle and fix and look forward to at some unspecified point in eternity.

This isn’t to say that it won’t ever happen (it very well might) or that Stewart Milne has no redeeming features (he has many, many of those), merely that we’ve heard it all before.

But how does it feel, you asked? It’s difficult to answer that question without coming across as some maudlin crybaby stuck in the (idealised, soft-focus) past – the kind of person, in fact, that should normally provoke a gag reflex in all well-rounded citizens. Still, needs must. (Warning: The following paragraphs are likely to contain scenes of extreme partiality and unreasonableness that some readers may find arousing.)

How does it feel? It feels like shite, that’s how it feels. And it feels this way for a number of reasons; not least because it feels like part of something much bigger and seemingly all-consuming: Greed.

I remember reading a wee while back that Pittodrie, amongst other things, failed to satisfy the requirements of German TV. Whether this assertion is true or not is probably beside the point; the guy was forwarding it as one of the reasons we needed to move stadium and accepted the rationale of his own way of thinking.

But that’s alright, buddypal, I don’t watch German TV, and I’m not sure that many Aberdeen fans will – so where’s your problem? (Even whilst living in Germany, I made a point of not watching German TV, which is maybe a different thing, true, although this course of action is recommended to any would-be visitors to the country and, indeed, to all Germans themselves.)

The requirements of German TV must be a consideration for a team playing in the north east of Scotland? Get stuffed. The requirements of German TV should barely even be a consideration for a team playing in the north east of Germany.

But then I’m not one of those people whose Sundays have ever been made “Super” by throwing a Hull versus Wigan match into the mix. The very thought that there may be people out there who actually buy into this terrible bullshit is enough to lay waste to the soul. It rips into me. The more they chirrup and bray of Super Sundays and the like, the less special it all begins to feel, if it ever felt special at all. Saturated? Bank on it.

What on earth have we allowed come to pass that the TV companies are calling all the shots? Mental. I abjure that our clubs and associations genuflect before them, but they can’t help themselves, it seems. They’ve bought into it. The TV dealers came to the playgrounds…

Hey meester, you want for to try a Soooper Sunday? Shhh. Good stuff, no? Take home. Try on couch.”

…and after a few imperiously re-arranged kick-off times we’re all suddenly hooked on the “Champions” League or the English Premiership. Except we’re not. Or I’m not. The spectacle is beyond gruesome.

Psst.  Shh.  Want more? I be here seven forty five Tuesday or Sunday, subject to last minute change or cancellation in a manner that shall take no account of your travel arrangements or of your worth as a fellow human being. No matter. You always on couch now anyways. I bring.”

Glossy new stadium? You’re alright, thanks. It’s all a bit Super Sunday, a bit Glasgow, a bit Champions League, a bit Qatar, a bit flash, a bit 6.15pm kick-off on a Thursday or whenever, a bit corporate, a bit pricey, a bit wages that seem shameful, a bit soulless and definitely a bit sad. (And the word “sad” is not being used in its more sneering modern incarnation. I mean to say there is a real sadness here, a sense of loss and longing.)

And we should aim for this? That’s not progress, Stewart, that’s madness.

But if we can’t give the Germans any credit for their TV – and we really can’t, I must insist – we can certainly give them credit for their habit of making up spectacularly enjoyable words by randomly cobbling all sorts together.

For example: Torschlusspanik.

“Torschlusspanik is a combination of three German words, and literally translated means “gate-shut-panic.” Apparently the term dates back to the Middle Ages in reference to the panic medieval peasants might have experienced as they rushed to make it back inside the city gates before they closed at nightfall. Being left outside the protective walls would have meant being exposed to the cold, wild animals and perhaps robbers.”

Magic.

If there is a better word to describe the condition of those feeling left out of the whole Champions League “I worship TV money, me” clanjamfry, I’m yet to hear it.

But they have it the wrong way round; they’re running in the wrong direction. Behind the protective walls of the Champions League is exactly where the wild animals and robbers do their business these days. We’re better off out in the cold.

But, but, but…if we don’t try to keep up we’ll surely get left behind? Precisely.  Seize your destiny, Mr Milne: do nothing. It’s what you’re best at. And this time, it might just work.”

 

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Originally posted as a comment to the Scottish Football Monitor website (TSFM), where it died a comprehensive death, as my comments there always tend to. Slightly edited, now it can die a death here, too.

Posted in Scottish Football | Tagged , , , , ,

Mutually Assured Distraction…

For those who’ve been troubled lately by niggling feelings of hope or happiness, relax: Roger Mitchell has written a cure.

In a momentous day for science, the former CEO of the SPL published his thoughts on the state of The Game. Having surveyed the moral wasteland of Scottish football governance; the self-evident cheating; the compelling likelihood that we presently sit on the greatest scandal in the history of British sport; the overwhelming agitation for justice and change from fans of almost every Scottish club, who find themselves driven to necessary despair at the sheer scale and duration of mendacity behind the scenes, Mitchell honed in on the cause and solution:

Diagnosis of condition of moral agitators: we’re all stupid.

Prescription: we need to be quiet and move on.

True, this may feel slightly unfair to some, but because Mr. Mitchell is, by his own admission, much cleverer than the rest of us, we’re probably going to need to take him at his word. Fair’s fair.

Intellectual delinquents were blown away by the calibre of Roger Mitchell’s mind and by the plainly revealed character of Roger Mitchell, human being. Is this really the nature and substance of the man – it always seems to be men – who we’re up against, they wondered? Do the current crop of men running Scottish football possess similar qualities and insight? When the time comes, as it eventually must, will they join the battle so well prepared as Roger Mitchell? A stunning thought.

But Mitchell, former CEO of the Scottish League, is an expert in his many fields, as his Linked in page must surely attest. Admirers continue to pore over his business history and all of the companies and financial ventures in which he has ever played a part, in search of inspiration. You don’t get to become as clever as Roger Mitchell by being stupid, that much is clear.

In any event, many an idiot rushed to read Mitchell’s words and immediately heeded his call to “move on”. Unfortunately for Mitchell and the smart set – and in an unprecedented confirmation of intellectual maladjustment – they moved on to asking even more stupid questions than before:

Why is Roger Mitchell, former CEO of the SPL, suddenly re-appearing on the scene and being so openly contemptuous towards all of those teams in Scotland that don’t happen to be either Rangers or Celtic? Did this transcending contempt affect or in any way compromise his dealings with clubs whilst he owed them a duty of care? Do we agree with The Scotsman journalist, Craig Fowler, that “It’s terrifying that Mitchell’s comments came from a man who once held such a powerful position within our game”? Why does Roger Mitchell give the impression of being scared? Why the tinge of hysteria? Why does he appear to brag about his own unprofessionalism whilst a servant to Scottish football? Did Roger Mitchell receive an EBT? Is Roger Mitchell financially or morally compromised in some manner? Does someone, somewhere, hold damning information on Roger Mitchell or on Roger Mitchell’s past that may help explain his seeming inclination to by-pass logic and the obliterating desire for justice, as sincerely expressed by so many fans, and disembowel his own moral credibility this way?

Me oh my. How stoopid is them crusading dumbos compared to Roger Mitchell? Ha ha. The smart money says that the cleverest man in Scotland would never be so stupid. No way.

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In other fictions, David Cunningham King has recently put his good name to some incredible outbursts emanating from Ibrox Stadium, provoking a frenzied response.

One would-be tough guy, a middle-aged, middle-class internet viper, hearing of King’s outbursts and speaking under the oh-so-convenient cloak of accuracy, likely ranted: “For fuck’s sake. David Cunningham King is a self-diagnosed success story. He is the self-appointed chairman of Rangers.  And he’s a (convicted) career criminal. In short, he is a lying fantasist who steals other people’s money. Without remorse.”

Bit harsh, that. You can’t just spray facts around willy-nilly and pass them off as “opinion”. Had I been the moderator of an internet forum and some nut job tried to come out with a comment like that…they’d never get it past moderation. Not on my watch.

In a spasm of citizen-journalism, one obsessive dullard is very likely trying to put these atrocities directly to King in order that he might set the record straight and dispel once and for all the unedifying fact of his criminal convictions; whilst eliciting the successful businessman’s views on the impending rumours of his psychopathy.

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