The Going Concerns are Ongoing

When trying to bury bad news the default position is to issue the bad tidings on a day where the news agenda is being dominated by a major story. The FBI investigation of Hilary Clinton’s  lady-in-waiting,  and the meat and two veg ‘twerking’ of her assistant’s husband to a 15 years old girl, could lead to a new president being sworn in and then impeached within hours.This took care of the front pages, but the back pages also had to be neutralized. A couple of calls to sports editors with the ‘nugget‘ that losses had been halved and that there was nothing to see, please move along, might have worked in the past. However the more discerning reader now reaches out to social media where the unvarnished truth is available. The hoi-polloi might be happy with  a diet of lamb, but wool over your eyes reportage will not be found on this site.

This article is my second take on the RIFC accounts. Regular readers will note that I did not publish a Sunday Supplement article yesterday. Did I take my second day off from this site?  A second day of furlough from 407 consecutive days of service? No, I curated the 66 comments on the previous post and developed three more pieces for this week. I can only continue this dedication with the assistance of donations. I respectfully invite everyone to revisit the purchase of a virtual seat for the FBA awards, to make a donation, or to set up a regular monthly payment. The next seventeen days, and one report on the day after, should be instructive as to the viability of this site.I might choose to put my energies into writing The Secret Diary of Mark Warburton, as opposed to releasing it to all readers for free. The second instalment will be published tomorrow.

I digress. If it were not for an 11th hour payment of £2.9m, RIFC would have been on the brink of trading whilst insolvent and the auditors would be advising the rogue board to call in the administrators. There are several key artifices at the heart of the Rangers accounts. Insolvency is a situation where the debts are not collateralized by assets; where the debts outstrip the fair value of the fixed and intangible assets. At this point in time, with debts of £18m and a squad worth £9.75m, could Ibrox Stadium and Auchenhowie be sold to raise £8.25m? If one were to believe the rogue board, the combined value of these assets is £35m. However they have plummeted in value by 53.3% from their previous finger in the air valuation of £75m. Is a brownfield site in Govan worth the lion’s share of £8.25m? How about six acres of former arable farming land with no planning permission for development? Rangers are loading up on debts that are being underwritten by a castle built on sand. CC King’s assertion that Rangers are the most fiscally sound club in world football is a sham, just like going for 55, a choice of NOMAD and the investment of his mythical children’s inheritance. Will the unemployed shareholders queue up at the AGM to give him a standing ovation on a second successive year of their equity being delisted and worthless?

King is The Pied Piper of Pish.

Image result for Humorous photos of Dave King at Rangers
“If Rangers did accounts they would probably be the best accounts in the world.”

Since its inception in July 2012, RIFC have accumulated operating losses of almost £36m.Had it not been for their second key artifice, booking £20.5m of negative goodwill as a paper profit, this would be the fourth fiscal year of losses. Counsel for the rogue  board  asserted at Glasgow Sheriff Court that RIFC were £400,000 shy of breaking even.Had counsel been misled by the rogue board?  Should the former WiFi provider’s petition to ring-fence RIFC funds have been upheld?

As is always the case with this rogue board there is no transparency on the source of the £2.9m. Is it another of King’s money-laundering scams? Is he now laundering other people’s money for 40p in the pound? Did Stewart Regan serendipitously book a spa weekend and spend his waking hours in a sensory deprivation flotation tank? Has he sought any assurances that King is not engaged in money laundering? Has he requested the ‘bona fides‘ of the RIFC benefactors? Of course not. He does not care the square root of fuck all as long as he can sell a vital Rangers to his sponsor, William Hill, and keep his Mercedes S-Class company car in heated seats.

 No-one could ever accuse Scottish football of not being open for business. It’s wide open!

The third of the basic artifices in the accounts is the unrealistic expectation of Europa Cup football next season. Can Warburton sur-la merde’s team secure a UEFA top three slot?  If Hearts continue to shed points and Aberdeen capitulate at Ibrox, this may well be possible. Andrea Traverso’s letter of 8th June stated unequivocally that TRFC is a new club as far as UEFA is concerned. His letter also stated thar it was in the purview of the SFA to determine whether TRFC complied with the tenets and spirit of Financial Fair Play regulations. Auldheid perfectly encapsulated their imperfect dilemma in the following terms:

“Now this (is) where the financial rubber hits the integrity road because if the national association is driven by the fear of what will happen to the domestic game will be seriously damaging to it financially, are they likely to abide by the spirit of the rules and refuse a licence or find ways of reading the letter of the rules that let’s them justify granting a licence when they should not?”

How can the SFA squeeze three years of successive losses under the UEFA threshold of five million Euros? What imperfect strategy can they conjure up to shoehorn Rangers into the Europa Cup? You can bet your best brown brogues it will be creative.

One of the most striking details in the accounts is the line item that £11,423,000 is due as a Trade Debt from season ticket sales which were procured using deferred payment plans or by quarterly direct debit. The majority of Rangers supporters pay for their season tickets in four tranches. Prior to Craig Whyte kicking the arse out of it, Rangers would turn to Ticketus and ask them to act as factors so as to release the bulk of these funds in advance.

£15.23m in season ticket sales has a VAT liability of slightly north of £3m. Was the £2.9m raised to pay off HMRC? If these funds were not forthcoming, the auditors could not have signed off RIFC as a going concern. Paying tax may be an innovation at Ibrox but auditors have a fiduciary duty to ensure that there is provision for corporate taxation.

If we assume that RIFC have removed the HMRC monkey from their back, how can they continue to cover a £2m per month burn rate? Players wages will have to be reduced substantially. There will be a supermarket sweep of players shipped out in the  January sales. Every player with a market value will be available. Warburton will do his best to ensure that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water, but he will almost certainly have to engage in loans to cover Waghorn and Taverner’s absence. Barrie McKay is also likely to be in the shop window. Offloading Joey Barton will be first on Stewart Robertson’s to-do list.

The impairment costs of £522,000 almost certainly reflects a write-off of RIFC’s investment in Rangers Retail Limited (RRL). The RIFC share of RRL was valued at £587,000 in the accounts to June 30, 2015. The rogue board are playing the unilateral termination of the agreement with Sports Direct Retail to the hilt. This is the fourth artifice in these accounts. I anticipate that this will be kicked into touch in early December at The Royal Courts of Justice. Is £1m sufficient to cover the costs of this suit and a petition against the executives who signed the agreement with Ashley? Will the latter petition against Green, Llambias and associates only proceed if the rogue board’s conveyancing consigliere can afford to instruct his colleagues at Anderson Strathern?

Is King banking on north of £4m in compensation to keep RIFC’s head above water? Lord Carloway’s decision not to establish a register of Judges’ interests so as to preclude their appointment to matters where they might be compromised or conflicted has given free rein to the brothers in Freemasonry to extend a helping hand to the establishment club. I would not be surprised if the Judiciary was King’s ace in the hole. The Scottish Judiciary have found for the establishment club on every occasion, whether it be in the Court of Session or Glasgow Sheriff Court. The fix is in.

Of significant concern is the inability of the rogue board to pay off loans with equity. All loans are now being kicked into the long grass and deferred. Since the hostile takeover there has been £12.95 raised in loan capital. When added to King’s laundered £5m to pay off Ashley, the change from £18m is minimal. Should both law suits go south, will King be looking for a further £5m to plug a major hole in his financial projections?

The Going Concerns are Ongoing.

Rangers in the Fall

Prior to discussing the RIFC plc accounts I should point out that I exclusively predicted that Rangers would run out of money this month. Other respected social media journalists such as Phil Macgiollabhain dismissed my assertions. He stated that the money would run out at calendar year-end. This site, unlike Rangers, was on the money yet again!  This site has sources that are not open to those who seek the destruction of Rangers. I correspond directly and indirectly with former Chairmen and CEO’s and others with links to the current regime. My sources are impeccable and highly respected in the City. This site is their go-to-site for releasing information to the public domain. If one wishes to discern insights on Rangers predicated on facts, with no agenda or than my antipathy to the current board, this site should be your one stop shop.

Regular readers will know that I don’t engage in tit for tat exchanges with my social media peers. If I had not been taken to task by Phil Mac I would have let his comments slide. I have not come to bury Phil Mac but to praise him. Prior to any discussion on RIFC plc liquidity, his assertion that Rangers are a loss-making business with no credit facilities from the bank, continues to ring true.

The Level 5 turbines have been flat-out to contain the fallout. A £2.9m loan in October does not inspire confidence. The Scotsman, whose journalists are rarely on any level, have accepted Mangetout’s spin with open arms while Keith Jackass, Level 5’s deep throat, is on his knees fellating their spin like Linda Lovelace on coke. If  you came down in the last shower in Edinburgh you might believe that Rangers have cut their losses in half. Nice try Traynor but no cigar. On social media there are those who trained in business (in my case as a joint major) who can read financial statements and exhume the corporate body for a thorough autopsy. Don’t be misled by the title of this piece. Those expecting the comforting rustle of Autumn leaves and a New Hampshire patchwork quilt of burnished bronze should direct themselves to the Sevcon 1 squirrels drey at Auchenhowie, or the post-restante offices at Blythswood Square.

When the Pantomime horse of career criminal and barber’s model took over Rangers using £25,000 worth of misappropriated data, they promised investment, a choice of NOMAD and transparency. They have failed to tick the box on all three. Fail-Fail-Fail. The latter of this omnishambles triumvirate, transparency, has been conspicuous by its absence since the hostile takeover. King’s tame solicitors, James Blair’s Anderson Strathern, issued a notice in The Times apropos an action at The Court of Session in Edinburgh. Are solicitor firms now engaging in squirrels? Was the conveyancing consigliere not aware of the fact that Rangers Retail Ltd is an English company and would not be subject to the dodgy handshakes of the Scottish Judiciary? How remiss of him.

The Rangers board are not suing SDI Retail Services. They are the defendants in an action raised by SDI. On the 15th August  The Club was served with a claim by SDI Retail Services Limited which was raised in the Chancery Division of the Royal Courts of Justice. The Club is a Defendant to the Claim which has also been brought against Dave King (who is not a member of The Club’s board), Paul Murray and Rangers Retail Limited. The Claim seeks the Court’s permission for SDI Retail Services Limited to be allowed to bring derivative proceedings on Rangers Retail Limited’s behalf against the other defendants to the claim.

SDI Retail are pursuing a case that would confirm that the agreement between club with Rangers Retail has not in any way been undermined by the unilateral actions of the rogue board. SDI insist that their agreement with TRFCL is iron-clad and that the club is materially reneging on its undertakings. This matter will play out on the 1st and 2nd of December. Where have the board been hiding this information? Under Mark Warburton’s discarded magic hat? SDI are pursuing damages. The board would have us believe that they will be less than seven figures. Less than Joey Barton’s annual salary, who as I correctly predicted will be returning to Auchenhowie to train with the development squad? Should SDI Retail retain the services of the best silk in Sports tort, Adam Lewis, one should not be surprised if the costs escalate as exponentially as those of Rangers payroll.

Is the delicious irony of releasing these horrific results at Halloween, lost on the hapless board, or is this timed as the lesser of two evils with the more incendiary Guy Fawkes coming down the pike? The headline figures are:

REVENUE
Gate receipts and hospitality:  £17,349,000
Sponsorship and advertising:  £663,000
Broadcasting rights:                   £2,088,000
Commercial:                                  £233,000
Other revenue:                              £1,895,000
Total revenue:                               £22,228,000

Image result for images of a scare pumpkin
King, Murray & The James Blair Witch Project at Halloween.

OPERATING EXPENDITURE

Staff costs:                                                                                               £12,962,000
Other operating charges:                                                                     £9,337,000
Hire of plant and machinery:                                                              £203, 000
Depreciationt/impairment of property, plant,equipment:            £1,584 000
Amortisation of trade marks:                                                                     £2,000
Amortisation of players’ registrations:                                                  £764000
Auditor’s remuneration:                                                                               £84,000
Total operating expenses:                                                                    £24,936,000 

In summary, excluding exceptional items, RIFC lost £2.7m.

As is always the case with Rangers results, the first few pages from the career criminal chairman are best avoided. The detail in the notes is the best place to start. The key takeaway from the report is the following:

“At the time of preparation, the forecast identified that the group would require up to £4.0m by way of debt or equity funding by the end of season 2016/2017 in order to meet its liabilities as they fall due. Following the progression of the team to the Semi Finals of the Scottish League Cup, the funding requirement is now anticipated to be £3.75m.The first tranche of funding amounting to £2.9m was received from investors in October 2016, with further funds forecast to be required in March 2017. Further funding is likely to be required during the 2017/18 season, the quantum of which is dependent on future football performance and European football participation. The Board of Directors has received undertakings from certain investors that they will provide financial support to the Group and have satisfied themselves as to the validity of these undertakings and that the individuals have the means and authority to provide such funding as and when it is required. The Board acknowledge that had these assurances not been secured then a material uncertainty would exist which may cast doubt over the Groups ability to continue as a going concern and therefore its ability to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal
course of business. With the appropriate assurances obtained and the continued support of the investors, the Board believe that such uncertainty has been removed.”

I emphasized one word in red typeface, namely authority. To those who have read many sets of financial results, this sticks out like a sore thumb. Allow me to translate the bamboozling bons mots:

Halloween Houston has the authority to provide up to £5m of funding from Club Tropicana 1872!

The cosy relationship between the beleaguered board and Club Tropicana, between Fagin and The Artful Dodger, is somewhat Dickensian:

Image result for Fagin and The Artful Dodger
“You’ve got to pick a pocket or two.”

The following chestnut should also be roasted on an open fire when reviewing the accounts:

“In 2012, the SPL raised proceedings against The Rangers Football Club plc (Oldco) in relation to the use of EBTs and following a hearing in February 2013 a fine of £250,000 and costs of £150,000 were levied against Oldco. As part of the agreement to allow Rangers to participate in Scottish Football, there was a clause inserted where it was agreed that Rangers would become liable and responsible for the imposition of any sanctions by the SPL for any breach of SPL Rules and or articles by Oldco/Rangers FC (i.e. the £250,000 fine). The Club believed that the SPFL had, through documents and actions, waived all and any right it may have had to insist upon payment under the clause, thereby holding the Club harmless in relation to the sanctions. This was disputed by the SPFL. Within the current SPFL rules there is a provision (known as the offset rule) whereby if any amounts are due to the SPFL, the Board of the SPFL are entitled to withhold amounts due to the Club up to the value of the amount outstanding. The Board of the SPFL determined that it would impose the offset rule to recover the £250,000 fine from the Club. As a result of this decision, the Club invoked Article 99 of the SFA Articles seeking a determination by an Arbitral Tribunal appointed by the SFA that the sum was not due to the SPFL. The tribunal was held in October 2015 and found in favour of the SPFL and as such the Club was liable to pay the fine plus associated costs. The Club duly paid the SPFL and the total paid during the year amounted to £286,000 and has been disclosed as a non-recurring cost in the financial statements.”

Reaching for additional funding only four months into fiscal 2016/2017 and total losses of £3.3m does not bode well for RIFC. One would expect the SFA to pave Rangers way to the semi-final stages of The Scottish Cup with the now customary home ties against the might of Peterhead, but will £3.75m be enough to see them through to season’s end?  As of the second of December, the going concern Klaxons might well go off at The Royal Courts, which leads to the key question:

Do Club Tropicana 1872 have another £2m burning a hole in Halloween Houston’s pocket?

Friday Chez Bears

Dear JJ,

Lady Bear is cooking up a storm of autumn fruitfulness for the Kiss & Buy Halloween Village Fete. Very much a case of kiss the ladies and buy the tarts, which is good advice for any young man of good standing, and older men still able to twiddle their moustaches, as is the common euphemism for one whose sap still rises.As Movember will soon be with us, twiddling is more popular than ever.

Joey Barton is on the front pages of the tabloids again despite their being no end to the impasse. The prosaic truth is that if Rangers could dismiss Barton and not disburse the remainder of his contract, they most certainly would. The Level 5 spin that the board are considering their options is as credible as a Roman Centurion being called Bigus Dickus in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Barton has the whip hand here and he knows it. Rangers cannot ban him from Auchenhowie indefinitely. He will soon revert to training on his own. He will not work with Warburton or his squad and will be shipped out in January. £21,000 per week to promote one’s book and play at the best golf courses that Loch Lomond has to offer, is as good as it gets for any employee who has made a career limiting decision. There was no way back from calling Warburton sur-la-merde a clueless lady garden. Barton’s signing was a spin of the roulette wheel. The only option open to the Rangers board is an inversion of the La Partage Rule where the house is not given the option to keep the bet in place for the next game. The house just simply loses half of the bet but not the entire £2m .

Photo published for Derek Johnstone: This will be a proper Premiership race - and Rangers can emerge victorious on...
Is Warburton flogging a dead horse? Will Rodgers open a 12 length lead in the title chase

I note that today is the final day for votes apropos The FBA Awards. With this in mind, could Lady Bear and I humbly and respectfully suggest that you showcase the top ten articles which most captured the imagination of your readers. We look forward to seeing you at the FBA Dinner in Manchester. Lady Bear encloses a kiss and her best wishes of ‘bonne chance‘ in regard to the The Best New Football Blog category

Yours in Rangers,

Edward (Teddy) Bear Esquire,

Chalfont St. Giles,

Buckinghamshire.

**************************************************

Dear Teddy,

Thank you for your e-mail which arrived faithfully on my desktop at first light this morning. My love as always to Lady Bear. If I were to choose a selection of my best articles I would probably not choose the most popular with my readers. I would revert to those that most challenged me as a social media journalist. I would probably go off-piste with: https://johnjamessite.com/2016/10/10/be-still-my-beating-heart/

Image result for Images of Falun Gong arrests in China

Which only captured the imagination of 6,149 readers.

The most widely read article in this month of October, 2016, and of all time, was:

1https://johnjamessite.com/2016/10/20/the-reservoir-dogs-of-scottish-water/ which had a demographic of 21,770.

File:Dogs2.jpg

To my mind, this month has been my most productive. I note that other finalists such as Phil Macgiollabhain have also risen to the FBA challenge by being more prolific. I intend to introduce a new feature which will take a closer look at my nine competitors in my category. I will reproduce one of their articles and then add my comments. As I have nothing but respect for my FBA peers, my analysis will showcase the highlights of their oevre. It will not be a hatchet job. First up will be The Clumpany as I’m most familiar with his work. I have so many articles to choose from that I invite readers to point me towards their personal favourites.

In second position, with 18,964 readers was:

2. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/07/04/is-the-roof-falling-in-on-kings-rangers/

Rangers' league match with Dumbarton was held up for 10 minutes on Tuesday night

3. https://johnjamessite.com/2015/12/06/mutually-assured-destruction/

which captured the imaginations of 17,929. This was preceded the previous day by:

4. https://johnjamessite.com/2015/12/23/will-the-truth-set-us-free/

which was read by  17,710.

Next up with 16,703 views, from September of this year is :

5https://johnjamessite.com/2016/09/16/oktoberfest/

The Bayern Munich squad pose with their beer and wearing Lederhosen ahead of Oktoberfest

Which was closely followed by:

6. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/08/12/a-kool-aid-suicide/

Image result for images of craig whyte

with 15,531 hits.

7. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/10/13/a-portmanteau-of-piffle/

with 15,162 reads.

Image result for funny images of James Traynor

If one reverts to May 7th one will encounter a very lengthy and as I recall very challenging article:

8. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/05/06/not-fit-for-purpose/

which was read by 14,739 of those who follow this site.

At number nine is an article that I would include in my personal top ten:

9. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/07/08/manufacturing-consent-redux/

which takes the obsequious poodle war criminal Blair to task. This was read by 13,344 of this site’s ‘board’ which is a fair return for a political piece.

Last but not least was the exclusive:

10. https://johnjamessite.com/2016/10/19/an-abuse-of-state-power/

If truth be told Teddy, the article I’m most proud of was published yesterday:

https://johnjamessite.com/2016/10/27/the-secret-diary-of-mark-warburton/

which was a long satirical piece. Those best placed to judge have suggested that I combine the prospective ‘diary’ articles to produce a book. If the readers continue to set me free by not donating (I can take a hint) I may step back from the blog and focus on producing a stocking filler for Xmas.

Yours in Rangers,

JJ

***************************************************

If one wishes to read exclusives and not wait for the press to hold the criminals at Ibrox to account then please support this site via PayPal. As we approach the end of the month, donations have slowed to a trickle, with none whatsoever as I write. I find this lack of support at month’s end to be somewhat disheartening and in stark contrast to the virtual seats initiative. This innovative concept will remain open all the way to the 17th of November. If you want a seat at one of these tables please contribute to your site.

One can vote on both Twitter:

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-football-blogging-awards-twitter/

and the FBA website

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

The voting ends today, the 28th October

The Secret Diary of Mark Warburton

Saturday 22 October

They say a week is a long time in politics.With games against Celtic, St. Johnstone and Kilmarnock coming down the pike one might suggest that six days in football is also no slouch.It can be a long week at my digs in The Burnbae Hotel, Bearsden, as the jolly craicsters who run the place are having a field day. Even a simple request like a regular five a.m. alarm call does not escape their notice. The TV switches on at 5.06 precisely, which is their way of reminding me that Celtic have won five successive titles and are on their way to six in a row.This little jape never gets old. Their choice of music for my morning reveille is Verdi’s Requiem which does not promote a mood of optimism as I make my way to the en-suite bathroom. Prior to my morning shower I hit the pan, as the music from the TV is now blaring to The Theme From The Dambusters. As I finish dropping the kids off at the pool, I quickly turn off the TV, but this does not thwart reception from piping in The Ride of the Valkyries, by Richard Wagner, through the ceiling speakers in both lounge and bathroom. I have little doubt that this will be followed by The Doors classic The End from their Apocalypse Now  tarnished silver linings playbook. I decide to strike a match as the smell from the L’eau D’armoire is not that of ‘napalm in the morning.’

Even though I’m as bald as a bare week, Housekeeping has laid out six green shower caps for my convenience. I suppose I should not complain as she also lays out six after eight mints on my pillow. As I’m accustomed to going out like a light at the end of the day, I often forget my 6-in-a-row comestibles and wake up to a pillow that would not be out-of-place in a dirty protest. Note to self, watch out for Rollo’s in underpants which is the latest in a long line of lavatory jokes at the hotel. Many a good training session can become a more fraught affair with that sinking feeling of an inopportune follow-through.

The Burnbrae’s kitchen does not open until seven so I have to make do with some shortbread with my morning cuppa, grabbing one of the six green apples from my fruit basket on the way out the door. As I leave my room the bedside alarm clicks to 6.00 o’clock and The Sonny & Cher classic I’ve Got You Babe begins to play. I decide to alter my jogging route to Auchenhowie to avoid the ‘Groundhog Day‘ conspiracy theories that begin to creep into my mind, but due to the inclement weather I revert to the shortest route. As I arrive at the staff door and type the four number password, which alternates daily between 1690 and 1872 to keep out intruders, I note that Derek Johnstone, our night-watchman, is fast asleep on a blue inflatable lie-low in his security box. I decide not to wake him as I cannot quite discern where the inflatable starts and ends. I cannot make out the cut of his jib.

Today’s programme will be ‘tapering’ as we have done the heavy-lifting earlier in the week. An hour’s five-a-side should do it, with a penalty shoot-out to finish it off. To make things interesting all 25 of our squad players have pitched £100 into my magic hat, with Davie and I matching them with £2,500 that we borrowed from Jim Traynor, who is always good for a tap. JT claims to have an office at Blythswood Square but he’s always haunting the corridors here trying to sniff out a rhat in the hack pack. Kenny Miller won the shoot-out which will go some way to paying the fine for his latest Bothwell Bust-up.

I return to my hotel room early to note that The Fields of Athenry and Walk On are being played in a loop and piped incessantly into my hotel room. I know the kitchen staff are behind this. I storm down to reception and I demand to speak to the duty manager. The Assistant Manager, Mr Tim Aloy, feigns sympathy, and reassures me that he will bring up my concerns with the hotel’s general manager, Mr Gerry Adams Esquire, and Scottish Group Vice President, Martin McGuiness. I also voice my disquiet that the only journal in the hotel’s reading room is An Phoblacht (The Republic), which is written in Irish Gaelic.

The ebb and flow of high command, which included Scottish Water refusing to service the hydrotherapy pool, takes a lot out of me during my long day at the academy. This morning’s in-tray included a memo from JT proscribing all staff from calling our training complex Murray Park as Sir David is using the same title for his new village at Gogarburn. The last thing he wants is some shrewd buyers to wander off-piste to the dog-eared Auchenhowie site to view one that he made earlier. It’s not exactly bullet proof provenance.

I decide to have an early night and order some soup from room service. I would have preferred Lentil or Scotch Broth, but these are apparently now off, leaving me with a choice of Thai Green Chicken or Green Pea soup. When this arrives with six bread sticks I know the kitchen staff are acting the proverbial Joey Barton. I pick up my bedside table book, Day Trading for Dummies, and I’m out before I’ve completed the first chapter which deals with how to switch on a PC.

Sunday 23 October: Semi-Final Day

The day gets off to a bad start when the TV starts blaring at 5.06 and I have to rub chocolate from my eyes. As I reach for the hand basin in the en-suite I look as if I’m sporting an after-eight face pack. Either that or Joey Barton, who would have no problem getting a duplicate keycard from the like-minded craicsters in reception, crept into my bedroom and took a dump on my face. I would not put it past the Huyton reprobate.

I told Mr Tim Alloy to cancel my morning call as the team are not meeting up until a 10.30 light lunch at the Sherbrook Castle Hotel, but this did not deter the reception lulus from waking me up at stupid o’clock from my confectionary slumber.

I decide to go with a business classic motif at breakfast, which is of the six item full English variety, with the now obligatory six cuts of toasted wholemeal in the rack. The tea cosy reminds me of Joe Garner’s head-gear in the first Old Firm game, a term I use as often and as liberally as possible to upset the hotel staff. As I leave the hotel to get my cab to Pollokshields, I shout cheerio to the reception staff and leave them with the passing shot of  ‘I’ll see you after The Old Firm Game which goes down like The Hindenburg. As I stepped into the black hackney, the head chef, ‘Pope’ Francis O’Toole, was leading his staff in a rousing chorus of Hail, Hail, The Celts are here, which I’m fairly certain was intended for my ears.

I would have taken issue with the assertion that Glasgow is green and white, until I checked in here in July of last year. The staff never tire of reminding me that Celtic are pursuing six in a row. When I return home from a day at Auchenhowie there are always six messages for me, all of which are an aide memoire to mind the gap.

I have recently had to eschew on Pope (He is always pontificating on Celtic) Francis’ mayonnaise. He claims that his birthplace, County Mayo, is where mayonnaise originated but I happen to know that the Duke de Richelieu whipped up his egg and cream confection for the French infantry in 1756. When he inquired whether I wanted some Irish in it I assumed he had a home recipe to hand, but he may have meant it literally. All those years of telling girls it was a good source of protein have come back to haunt me.

As my birthday was on September 6 the staff had a field day. There were six candles on my cake and when I blew them out they conferred me with six wishes. Their thoughtful gift of fluffy dice for my Ford Escort had, unoriginally, six dots on all six surfaces. I’m in room 6 at the hotel and although there are some weekends when I’m the only guest in residence the best they can offer me is Room 16, or a multiple of six like 12 or 18.

My progress to the hotel is being delayed by one of those bicycling rickshaws that are all the rage in Merchant City after a late night on the tiles. My favourite watering-hole in this area is Arta, where the Baron takes his bouffant of an evening. I’m sure there’s no truth in the rumour that he took the hardest working member of our boardroom, MD Stewart Robertson, to task and threatened him with his P45?. Surely Stewart did not demur when presented with our career criminal chairman’s latest money-laundering scam? Our night-watchman DJ swears blind that £11m is on its way to the Blue Room on a slow boat from China.

I’m now late for the 10.30 sit-down which means that I’ll have to donate a tenner for every minute of tardiness to the Hospital For Sick Children at Yorkhill. As we eventually pass the rickshaw I catch sight of the passenger who was none other than Joey Barton. He took time from his Iphone to flip me the finger in Barry Ferguson style, but there was no possibility that he was scratching an itchy probiscus.

As I arrive Davie Weir has pinned a Parks of Hamilton bus on the White Board which drives home our 4-6-0 tactics du jour. The plan is to hold out for 120 minutes and then prevail on penalties.

As for the game itself, the film Zulu came to mind as wave after wave of Celtic attacks rained down on our barricades. Sviatchenko was first to make a breakthrough but as the referee was on a promise at his local masonic that night he quickly chalked it off as awarding Celtic goals is not exactly the most productive foreplay in certain parts of Glasgow. Dembele threw a spanner in the works, leaving us pissing into our Petrofac Training tin pot as usual.

After the game I checked into the Sherbrook for the night as I could not face the Burnbrae craicsters who would be cock-a-hoops at the result.

Monday 24th October

Despite instructions to the contrary, I awoke to the radio alarm playing ‘I’ve got you babe‘ at 06.00. It was a pleasant respite to not check for Rollo’s in my boxer shorts as I made my way to the Sherbrook’s buffet breakfast. After a White Americano and a bran muffin, with a quick ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ pit stop, I decided to take the blue funk head on at the Academy. When my black cab pulled up it was a real bummer to discover that Davie had given the team the day off. I spent my day playing Fusbol with the cleaning ladies, prior to returning to the Burnbrae to take my medicine like a trouper. When I entered the bar for a restorative G&T, the barman insisted on serving me a double. I could overhear the kitchen staff singing their bastardized version of ‘Six Times A Lady‘ and that my room had been changed to room 2 for double.

Tuesday 25th October

I threw a slipper at the TV when The Ride of the Valkyries started blaring out at 05.06. I dragged my weary head to the en-suite as I tried to piece together the preceding evening. For some reason Joey Barton was in the bar, flipping me the finger like Ted Rogers on 3-2-1. I wondered what cunning stunt he and the kitchen staff had cooked up for me. I did not have long to wait to uncover their subterfuge.. As I made a deposit with the bank of Armitage Shanks, I found that my Warbottom was stuck firmly to the toilet seat. Some bastard, and I’m pointing an accusing finger at Barton, had slipped into my room at 5 to smear the seat with fast-setting superglue. As I have an inordinately hirsute fundament I was oblivious to the tackiness of the surface. Barton is so low that he could limbo-dance under a U-bend.

Fortunately there was a wall mounted telephone adjacent to the best house porcelain. When I called reception there was a small pause prior to the most uproarious laughter I had heard since Donald Findlay was on the cabaret circuit with a show entitled: ‘Papal Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.‘ To make matters worse, the first firefighters to respond were from Parkhead. They called themselves The Flaming Shamrocks. They took great pleasure gathering round me to take ‘selfies.’ The kitchen staff also got in on the act, donning the firemen’s helmets as they posed beside me. My dignity had been well and truly besmirched. Now I knew how Davie Weir felt. Fortunately Davie took training and kindly excused my absence to Montezuma’s Revenge. When he told the players that I was glued to the pan he had difficulty maintaining a straight face.

Wednesday  26th October

My alarm call surprisingly went off a 5 this morning but I knew that the craicsters were reminding me that Rangers were lying fifth in the SPFL. After PanGate, the staff seemed to be going easy on me. Were they lulling me into a false sense of security? When St. Johnstone opened the scoring in the first few minutes, I thought the roofs were literally going to cave in. The 47,000 crowd, which was a great effort for midweek, were stunned into silence. The kind of eerie silence one would experience if Dave King had his way and presented Bill Struth’s embalmed body in a glass case at the opening ceremony of his Rangers Museum. As John Brown, our ambassador to Moscow, had pointed out, why should Lenin get all the plaudits in Red Square? I left the stadium to cat calls and boos. When I returned to the Burnbrae, there was a voice message from Joey Barton. He had not dropped by to recite a sonnet or provide an insight from his mentor, Chris Eubank. Suffice to say he reverted to asserting that I was still a clueless lady garden.

Thursday 27th October

As the players enjoy a well-earned day off, with only the injured Geriatricos required to attend the Academy for hydrotherapy, I have to make my way to The Blue Room for the Joey Barton disciplinary hearing. It will be the first time I have been in the company of Joey Barton since PanGate and I’m of a mind to tear a strip off his arse. However I must maintain my composure. Baron Bouffant  hosted the meeting, accompanied by James Blair, our conveyancing consigliere. Blair laid out an itemized list of Barton’s misdeeds, which included the use of chewing gum at training and a failure to flush the toilets at Auchenhowie.

Barton, who last wore a suit in the dock of Liverpool Crown Court, was represented by leading QC, Harry Lamb from the Temple chambers of Slaughter & Co. I anticipate that this confrontation will be as one-sided as the game on Sunday. King has patched into the conference call from his Jo’berg office. I hear he is wont to call me Zippy behind my back. With two villains to choose from I would prefer to sit on the fence, or at least perch with one cheek until the skin grafts heal.

***************************************************

If one wishes to read exclusives and not wait for the press to hold the criminals at Ibrox to account then please support this site via PayPal. I hope to procure another table for the FBA awards evening, but it will only go with a bang for my twenty guests, and many more virtual guests, if we bring home an award for us all to share. As we approach the end of month, donations have slowed to a trickle, with none whatsoever as I write. If find this lack of support at month’s end to be somewhat disheartening and in stark contrast to the virtual seats initiative. This innovative concept will remain open all the way to the 17th of November. If you want a seat at one of these tables please contribute to your site.

One can vote on both Twitter:

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-football-blogging-awards-twitter/

and the FBA website

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

The voting ends tomorrow, the 28th October

GOTHAM

I think it’s safe to assert that Warburton sur-la-merde’s honeymoon is well and truly over. The discombobulated drooth-slayers at Gotham’s Louden Tavern have now deployed the Cardigan Signal.

Image result for images of Joey Barton as the riddler

Their specially modified Klieg searchlight is now vying with the moon for prominence in the South Side’s night sky. Is it time for Walter to strap on his cardigan utility belt?

Back-to-back defeats by Celtic have led those who would have preferred a Real Rangers Man at the helm to question the gap between Warburton’s ears. Mind The Gap is ringing out from the terracing. The Level 5 Klaxon, which is linked to The Louden by underground cables, has been sounding its clarion cry with the urgency of the dawn call to prayer at The Glasgow Mosque. Mangetout Traynor and Craven Kerr were last seen ferreting down a man-hole to the Bat Cave. The Quintessential Fatman & Robin quickly arrived at the conclusion that desperate times called for desperate measures.

 

Image result for Only fools and horses images of Batman & Robin
“I thought that joining The Masons was a more dignified affair?” 

 

The Escalation Index was now at DEFPAN 1. It was no time for spitting out dummies as the baby had been thrown out with the bath-water. The Level 5 Squirrel, Sevcon 1, could not cope with the incoming urinals. The shit had avoided the distressed Armitage Shanks L’eau D’armoire  and was last seen being jettisoned directly at the Bat Cave fan. It was time to deploy The Riddler – Joseph of Antioch Aloysius Barton.

Image result for images of Joey Barton as the riddler
My mentor Chris Eubank once told me: ” Confucius says that a crossed signal to drop the mitt in Glasgow is not necessarily an invitation to get two in the bush.”  

Mangetout and Craven had thought that they had put a toilet lid on the close season transfer debacle. Warburton sur-la-merde had been so excoriatingly castigated by the directors after the Scottish Cup Final that his nether regions had been perforated. King and Brown had each ripped him a new one and were using his derriere as a bowling ball. The Warbottom was truly in a sling. He could not walk straight for days. His gait now resembled that of a penguin:

 

Image result for images of Batman and Robin adversaries
Hat supplied by James Blair’s Milliners –Top Hat For Toady

As he had no intention of coming back with singed eyebrows, agents made a bee-line for Captain America’s hairline. They seem to have led Baron Bouffant in a merry dance:

Image result for images of dancing at Batman & Robin
“Mustang Murray, when you going to blow your three stands down.”

 

I understand that the following soundtrack was being played subliminally during negotiations:

You put eleven players in,

You take eleven players out,

In out, in out,

Shake them all about,

You do the Joey Barton

Bend over and touch your toes,

That’s what it’s all about.

Chorus:

Oh Joey Joey Joey,

Oh Joey Joey Joey,

Oh Joey Joey Joey,

Knees bend, pants down,

Shake it all about

 

Mangetout picked up his telephone, known colloquially as his squirrel, to call his tame churnalist at The Daily Rectum, Keith Jackass, to invite him to The Bat Cave. Enter The Joker:

Image result for images of The Joker

As Jackass took dictation while sitting on Mangetout’s knee, Craven, who had been spinning up a storm in the Level 5 turbine room, suddenly dimmed the lights. Jackass took fright. Were the stories circulating about Glasgow’s most eligible bachelor true? He need not have worried as Craven was merely setting up the overhead projector. There followed a short presentation of ten bullet points on two slides, one for Do and one for Don’t.

Do:

  1. Do conflate Joey’s gaming with a bet on Celtic to win the game at Celtic Park.
  2. Identify the odds at Paddy Pull Your Pants Down for a 1-5 reverse and print these under a photo of Joey, preferably leaving HMP Strangeways.
  3. Emphasize that Sean Dyche wants him back.
  4. Use Loose Cannon as often as possible.
  5. Think SDS: Sit Down Summit.

Don’t:

  1. Mention that Mark Warburton looks like Zippy in Rainbow.
  2. Conflate the overdue utility bills with Barton’s £2m bounty.
  3. Point out that Barton has heavy-hitting employment solicitors who will stick it to conveyancing solicitor Blair like Velcro.
  4. Mention Clueless and Country in the same sentence.
  5. Use “Mind The Gap” at any time.

 

I’ll leave the real reason for Barton’s impending exit to the original and best Batman & Robin iteration, which is somewhat apposite in the circumstances:

 

Image result for images from Batman & Robin

 

***************************************************

If one wishes to read exclusives and not wait for the press to hold the criminals at Ibrox to account then please support this site via PayPal. I hope to procure another table for the FBA awards evening, but it will only go with a bang for my twenty guests, and many more virtual guests, if we bring home an award for us all to share. As we approach the end of month, donations have slowed to a trickle, with none whatsoever as I write. If find this lack of support at month’s end to be somewhat disheartening and in stark contrast to the virtual seats initiative. This innovative concept will remain open all the way to the 17th of November. If you want a seat at one of these tables please contribute to your site.

One can vote on both Twitter:

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-football-blogging-awards-twitter/

and the FBA website

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

 

 

 

 

Gash Garner, Glass Egos, Glass Knees & Garden Gnomes

I have chosen to select a number of excerpts from a Gersnet editorial piece, and a number of Rangers responses, as a preface to this article:

“It wasn’t 1-5 this time but although we defended quite well, the gulf in quality between the teams was arguably just as big as the corresponding fixture last month.”

Mark Warburton – “The gap is a lot narrower than people think”

Image result for pictures of Mark Warburton and zippy

“It was disconcerting to hear the manager and key players say any gap was minimal when, quite clearly, we struggled to compete for 90 mins in both games.” 

Matt Gilks – “We outplayed Celtic at times”

“First and foremost we didn’t retain the ball well enough and, much like the game in September, we struggled to lay a glove on Celtic in an attacking sense. Celtic had lots of chances and only a combination of poor finishing, excellent goalkeeping and last-ditch defending delayed the winning goal until the last few minutes with only a blocked Jason Holt shot and a just-missed volley from Joe Garner in reply. Suffice to say Celtic deserved their win and there’s not a lot we can take from the game other than we continue to struggle through a season of inconsistency.”

” Joey Barton  was always going to be gamble – one we appear to have lost. In addition, while Hill and Kranjcar would bring much-needed experience, there would be questions over their fitness. Similarly, Dodoo, Rossiter, Windass and Crooks appeared to be exciting younger players but could they cope with the demands of playing for a club like Rangers? Finally, the very late captures of Joe Garner and Philippe Senderos suggested our main targets had been exhausted and we were well down the manager’s list of preferred signings. All in all, eleven players arrived but, so far at least, none have been an obvious success.” 

“As much as our budget may be higher than most of our peers in the Premiership, it was always going to take a period of time to adjust to a higher quality of opposition – including fitter, faster players more capable of dealing with our system. In that sense, it was up to us to adapt and, as it stands, we’re not doing a good job of that – new players or not. In turn, this means criticism of the manager is inevitable and, as it stands, Mark Warburton appears to be struggling to deal with this. Add in opaque bust ups with marquee signings and the tacit admittance that our team needs to be more flexible via formation changes then are the seams starting to open on the manager’s magic hat?”

 

” We have the ideal opportunity to turn things around with two quick home games this week – having not lost at home in over a year. The clock is ticking though and it’s now time the manager showed us some new tricks.”

The piece on Gersnet is as good a forensic analysis as any on the current sorry state of Rangers. The SMSM Smurfs are so conflicted, with one-eye on their blue-pound demographic and the other on the Parks Advertising Budget, that they cannot see the wood from the blue pine trees. Colour me surprised.

Warburton parked the bus on Sunday playing a 4-5-1 formation against Celtic’s more adventurous 4-3-3. With Miller instructed to track back and defend, all eleven players spent the majority of their time in their own half. Warburton had his team practicing penalties at the end of every training session prior to the game. His plan was to grind out a scoreless 120 minutes prior to prevailing at spot kicks. However Celtic scored two goals (one disallowed due to a cheating Hill dive) within the regulation 90 which put paid to his plans. If he had narrowed the gap, why did he not go toe-to-toe with Celtic’s 4-3-3. With Miller being pushed back, the formation effectively became 4-6-0 which is as negative as it gets. Warburton is not fooling anyone. He knows that the gap is of Watford proportions.

The close season transfer business has been a disaster. Barton is an abrasive character who is not accustomed to walking over egg shells. Warburton’s skin is so thin that he is translucent. This was never going to be a marriage made in heaven. As for Kranjcar, there was a reason that he was playing in the second tier of American soccer-he was trying to protect his glass knees.

Rossiter has a rare muscle-wasting condition that is often present in dwarfism.If fit enough to play it will only be a matter of time before he breaks down again. Warburton’s transfer business can be summed up as an aliterative:

Gash Garner, Glass egos, Glass knees and Garden Gnomes.

You could not create a better omnishambles if you were in a senior position at Police Scotland.

No-one is buying Warburton’s rhetoric. I doubt that he actually believes a word that he says. He’s smart enough to know that the kool-aid in the water coolers at Auchenhowie can only go so far. The players are now pissing on the going for 55 season ticket placards.

Career Criminal King’s absence at Hampden was as conspicuous as his chequebook’s absence from the Blue Room. Will Rangers just continue to be the perfect money-laundering facility for King? If he were the Real Rangers Man that he is much vaunted to be, where was he on Sunday? Are things so tight that he now has to personally pay for his first class flights?  Rumour has it that King is so mean that he once stopped his chauffeur-driven car to compete for coins being thrown from a newly weds’ car. Several of the children suffered concussion as King cut through them like a bull on roller skates.

It would seem that my article on Saturday, Mind The Gap, was prescient as this phrase is being used to mock Warburton. The penny is beginning to drop with the supporters that new players are sorely required in January’s transfer window.Allow me to disabuse them of this notion as there is more chance of exit as opposed to ingress in the next window. The real sea-change in attitude apropos Warburton is that many don’t want him to have the keys to this ‘Brigadoon Budget.’

Graeme Souness, who likes an EBT bung,  asserted that Rangers are five seasons behind Celtic. Surely it will be heresy when the Celtic supporters chant:

“We welcome the chase.”  

 

***************************************************

If one wishes to read exclusives and not wait for the press to hold the criminals at Ibrox to account then please support this site via PayPal. I hope to procure another table for the FBA awards evening, but it will only go with a bang for my twenty guests, and many more virtual guests, if we bring home an award for us all to share. As we approach the end of month, donations have slowed to a trickle, with none whatsoever as I write. If find this lack of support at month’s end to be somewhat disheartening and in stark contrast to the virtual seats initiative. This innovative concept will remain open all the way to the 17th of November. If you want a seat at one of these tables please contribute to your site.

One can vote on both Twitter:

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-football-blogging-awards-twitter/

and the FBA website

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only Fools and Horses

Is it just me or did anyone else get the impression that Warburton had picked a dressage team that failed to step up to the standard set by Celtic at Hampden yesterday? Did his horse-box break down in front of one goalmouth, prior to being towed to the other one after forty-five minutes? I half expected the Rangers team to play the second half wearing saddles so that Celtic could ride them into the ground. Warburton sur-la-mer had all the credibility of Del Boy Trotter when he insisted that he had closed the gap. Celtic were so superior in the first half that the Rangers players resembled light blue bollards.

Image result for images of del boy trotter
“Solid silver anyone? I’m giving it away for a tenner.”

This was a 3-0 defeat in all but name. Clint Hill, who was as slow as rigor mortis, tried to mark Sviatchenko by putting his left arm around his back to grab his shirt. The Celtic centre back netted with his head, at which point Hill hurled himself to the ground like Juliet taking a tumble over her balcony, and quite incredibly convincing Romeo Thomson that he had been fouled. His simulation worked but when Dembele scored the winner in the 87th minute, justice was seen to be done.

How Tom Rogic failed to net from five yards is a mystery that will continue to trouble him as he warms the bench to give way to Griffiths. Rodgers seems incapable of picking the best eleven from his squad. Bitton was so poor that he could have lined up for Rangers. Forrest as usual was as threatening as Sponge Bob Square Pants at a kindergarten party. Toure was dropped for the much less convincing Simunovic, but given that Rangers had all eleven players in their own half for the majority of the game, he had a relatively easy afternoon. The sum total of Rangers efforts were three lame shots on target. Gordon could have turned up with a sun-lounger and a paperback and still kept a clean sheet.

Image result for image of man on deck chair reading paperback
“Warburton’s latest is a laugh a minute classic. He does not know his farce from his elbow.”

Which barrel does one have to scrape to sign players as piss-poor as Dodoo and Garner, who both could not hit a barn door from five yards. The latter is reputed to have cost £1.47m. Is this the Level 5 retail price as it cannot possibly be on the level? Should we be encouraged that he did not enter the field of play wearing a tea cosy on his head as was the case on his debut? Is this the kind of ‘closing the gap‘ progress that Warburton was referring to? As for Dodoo, he should either drop or add one ‘o’ to his surname as his play is from a bygone era and stinks to high heaven. I would not have been surprised had  Warburton turned up with his boots and treated us to his lower leagues A game:

Image result for images of del boy trotter
“I’m closing the gap between belly and backbone with my Atkins diet.”

There is a growing feeling in the Ibrox ranks that Warburton’s team are as fifth rate as their current standing in the SPFL and will be found out in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup after the usual home tie/cold ball progress that the SFA have perfected into an art form. I may have to change Mr Warburton’s sobriquet from sur la mer to nil, as in Rodgers two, Warbuton nil.

There was nothing in this game that could have been misconstrued as progress. Warburton is clutching at straws and attempting to put lipstick on a pig. His parking the bus tactics failed. Were it not for the fact that CFC were leggy after the UCL game in midweek they would have converted more of their 24 shots on target and eight corners. Rangers so rarely ventured beyond the centre line that they only earned one corner. How does this lack of ability and ambition square with closing the gap?  Scott Brown took on Rangers entire midfield and prevailed. It took three players to stop him. Had Barton turned up he would have tucked the Huyton bantamweight in his hip pocket. Did Joey have any action on a Celtic win? The only one closing the gap in the Rangers squad is Barton who is offsetting the now conspicuous absences of a win bonus with a successful bet on his opponents.

Barrie Mckay’s dive for a penalty, which was so blatant that he was booked for simulation, will no doubt feature in a new stage show:

Image result for Humorous Apprentice images

It was desperate stuff from Rangers best player bar none, although Miller deserves a mention in dispatches for keeping upright without the assistance of a walking frame for the  majority of the ninety minutes.

In the final analysis it was business as usual for Celtic. Where was career criminal King with his £50m warchest? Was he watching the game from his Johannesburg local, The Double Ducked?

***************************************************

If one wishes to read exclusives and not wait for the press to hold the criminals at Ibrox to account then please support this site via PayPal. I hope to procure another table for the FBA awards evening, but it will only go with a bang for my twenty guests, and many more virtual guests, if we bring home an award for us all to share.

One can vote on both Twitter:

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-football-blogging-awards-twitter/

and the FBA website

http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/about/vote-now-football-blogging-awards/