Donald Where’s Your Integrity – Anyone But Celtic

As has become a tradition on this site, the Monday column is the preserve of a review of the weekend’s action in the Scottish game. Congratulations are due to Hibs who have won the Scottish Championship and can now look forward to renewing rivalries with Hearts next season. Their tails will be up for the semi-final against Aberdeen. Given a choice I would pluck for this game in preference to the Glasgow derby. The Rangers-facing referee, who will despise both Hibs and Aberdeen in equal measure, will be so conflicted that he might break the mould and officiate in what passes in the Scottish game for an honest manner.

This will not be the case in two back to back Glasgow derbies. I have witnessed Willie Collum award a penalty for a dive by Kirk Broadfoot in the box. Broadfoot was not being challenged, under pressure, or in possession of the ball. He waited until Collum was unsighted and dropped like a ballerina in a swan outfit, knowing that Collum would be under intense Bear pressure to award a spot kick. An honest mistake? No just the action of at best a weak referee, or at worst a cheat. If he is the token Celtic supporter in the pro-Lite phalanx of referees, as some have suggested, he evidently overcompensates.

To compound Celtic’s problems their captain Scott Brown will almost certainly be suspended from the game at Ibrox.  As the disciplinary panel do not reconvene until the 27th April, Brown will be eligible for Sunday’s semi-final if, as anticipated, Celtic appeal the red card.

Should Rodgers play the little girl that is Mackay-Stevens, Lite will have a field day at Ibrox. When I turn my thoughts to the first of two successive Glasgow derbies, I note that Dembele is a yard short of match fitness. Griffiths is a yard short full stop. Lite must really fancy their chances as Celtic are failing to capitalise on their dominance in possession and as we saw at Pittodrie if teams don’t close out games, Lite, who can execute, will prevail.

I’m sticking with my prediction of a re-run of last year’s final. I fancy Hibs to retain the Cup. Should Celtic prevail on Sunday, the following Saturday’s game at Ibrox will be subverted by the referee to bring Celtic’s unbeaten run to an end. A sending off and a penalty should do the trick. Celtic supporters should brace themselves for the inevitable. Beaton, Madden, Dallas and Muir are desperate to punish them. These four are the most blatant cheats, but there are other Scottish referees who live by the mantra: Anyone but Celtic.

It has long been my contention that when Scottish match officials set out to cheat, they do so in tandem. It remains unspoken. A Masonic handshake is all that’s required for the referee to know who will back his cheating without question

Donald Robertson and Stuart Stevenson were the only two observers who could misconstrue the most blatant dive I have ever seen in a Scottish game. There was as much guile from the appalling cheat that is Schalk as there was contact i.e. none whatsoever.

Robertson completed the standard subversion play by sending off Scott Brown, although Brown should have quickly established that the fix was in and that any foul by a Celtic player would face the ultimate sanction. It was cheating by numbers, with Robertson and Stevenson joining the dots. One can often gauge the scale of the cheating by the reaction of the players:

Will John Fleming, The Head of Refereeing Development, censure Robertson and Stevenson? Of course not. Their deliberate subversion of a game will be filed under ‘honest mistakes‘ and we will all be urged to move on ‘in the interests of Scottish football”.

However one should ask why these slings and arrows of misfortune are not a feature at Ibrox? If referees were merely incompetent why has this not been apparent at Lite home games?

I recall a time when the cheating against Celtic was so blatant that Neil Lennon and his backroom staff compiled a video dossier. What then followed, to widespread disbelief and much laughter, was a referee strike as the Scottish whistlers felt that their integrity had been impugned. Those brought in from other leagues as cover did a far better job with no hidden agendas. The strike only lasted one game as they were far from missed. Hugh Dallas, probably the most blatant referee cheat in the history of Scottish football, who had just been charged with transmitting a cartoon depicting the Pope as a paedophile, offered a sordid deal where he would call off the strike if the charges against him and his five fellow bigots at the SFA were dropped. Dallas was given short shrift. It now falls to his son to continue the Dallas family tradition of Anyone but Celtic.

Was Schalk, who entered the field of play with only seven minutes to play, sent on to dive to earn a point? Was the cheating predetermined?  Did Robertson have a word with County Manager Jim McIntyre at half-time to apprise him that he would look favourably on a dive? Nothing would surprise me in the corrupt realm of Scottish football.

It was not the first time this season that Celtic were denied three points by the cheating of a referee. Sine did Rangers supporter Bobby Madden denied Griffiths a penalty when he was felled by a waist-high tackle from behind by Clint Hill. Hill later confirmed what everyone knew – it was a penalty all day long at the summer solstice. However to curry favout with his true blue buddies at The Salmon Leap in East Kilbride, he cheated. I accurately predicted prior to this game that he would cheat (JJ passim: A Challenge to The Invincibles).

Brendan Rodgers comes across as a good statesman, but this latest subversion called for someone with more fire in their belly, such as Neil Lennon. Rodgers asserted:

The points were taken from us by a horrendous decision by the referee. I’ve seen some bad decisions up here but that was one of the worst. It was really poor, first because of his position – he could see it clearly – and secondly because there is absolutely no way that Sviatchenko even made an attempt to challenge, but the penalty was given against him. I’m one who likes to protect officials but that was a very, very easy decision, so I don’t know what he was seeing. He needs help from his linesman and the fourth official who were all on the right side of the field, so there were three of them to get the decision correct.”

Welcome to Scotland Mr. Rodgers. Has no-one informed you that you need two clear goals to escape the clutches of the bigoted referees?

Jim McIntyre, the Ross County manager, who was naturally pleased by his team’s acquisition of a potentially priceless point, stated:

It’s not a penalty. I’ve watched it again. You can clearly see that Sviatchenko goes to tackle him but pulls out at the last moment and Alex is expecting contact and is on his way down. I can fully understand Celtic’s anger and disappointment but we’ve had several of them go against us this season and it’s hard to take.”

If Ross County has had a game subverted by the  blatant cheating of a referee and his assistant then McIntyre should name and shame the match officials.

One wonders if this cheated point will condemn another more honest team to relegation or the relegation play-off games?

Paint It Black

 

How much does it cost to read The Daily Record for six days per week? Sixty-five pence per week day and ninety pence on a Saturday. When one adds in the Sunday Mail one’s expenditure is £5.85 per week. £5.85 per week to read Level 5’s PR spin, which is paid for by one sponsor, namely Dave King. Jim Traynor is effectively running Rangers and he is happy to throw his weight around. So much so that the actual Managing Director, Stewart Robertson, prefer to work from his home office.

The timing of Keith Jackson’s annual exclusive was no coincidence. The decision to release the black propaganda of an inordinately generous peppercorn rent at Ibrox Stadium’s Sports Direct Retail Outlet was made by the Johannesburg Joker, Dave King.

King delegated its publication to Traynor who on this occasion favoured Jackson. Traynor is an advocate of the carrot & stick approach to managing the hapless hacks who once fetched his morning coffee. If they are reluctant to print his black propaganda or succulent insights, he can easily take his business to one’s rival across the quay. Would Jackson risk being out of the loop like Yesterday’s Man, BFDJ?

The objective was to paint David Somers and the old board black. Somers was deemed to have engaged in a petulant scorched earth strategy. This is a barefaced lie, but Traynor’s  lamb-jockey would never let the truth interfere with an incendiary metaphor. The prosaic facts are that Somers arranged a £10m loan to keep the lights on for two seasons. Ibrox Stadium was slated as the collateral for this loan, but the board demurred and reverted to a floating charge on all the assets, with the stadium ring-fenced. Ashley agreed not to exercise his right to name the stadium as The Sports Direct Arena and in return was favoured with a 10 year £1 per annum rent. It was just business and given RIFC’s precarious finances it was very good business for the club at that time. If this loan facility had not been arranged RIFC/TRFC would have gone under.

This good business was anathema to the criminal requisitioners who had procured hacked information for £25,000. Paul Murray bought this misappropriated data at the behest of King. Traynor released the black propaganda via the Charlotte Fakeovers Twitter site and its derivatives. Now that the rogue board are running the basket-case of assets, they have no need of Twitter subterfuge as they now have recourse to a stable of tame bagel-boys who masquerade as journalists.

Image by Cartuja

Yesterday I published three exclusives, two of which are nailed down certainties. The first from an excellent source is that Perjurer McParland, who made such a hash of the Rangers close season transfer business, was shown the door at Liverpool due to his penchant for receiving envelopes stuffed with crisp £20 notes at service stations. Would it be too much of a stretch to suggest that the perjurer engaged in the summer signings with one eye on manila envelopes? Perish the thought.

The second exclusive, which came from a source with substantial shareholdings, is that Sandy Easdale’s blacklisted proxy has written off their investments in RIFC. Not one of his former proxy are prepared to challenge the rogue board’s decision to strip them of their votes. It would be an exercise in throwing good money after bad. There is no impediment to The Joker, The Baron and the Invisible Man engaging in some quantitative easing by printing share certificates like they are going out of fashion, which in the current circumstances is paticularly apposite.

My third exclusive goes against the grain of my grasp of the salient details. A deep throat who has provided ‘on the money‘ exclusives has passed me information via an intermediary that Ashley is prepared to reconfigure Rangers Retail Limited on a 75/25 basis to the benefit of the rogue board. If the deep throat is accurate this announcement will be the centrepiece of King’s pitch at the AGM tomorrow. King will solicit share purchases on the basis of retail being in the mix. Club Tropicana will underwrite the share issue, and Hoover up any unsold shares.

The third is not a nailed-down certainty but as my source stated one cannot have access to the sperm stained sheets on every occasion. On this occasion I’m not trusting my instincts.

So why read The Daily Record when one can read and comment on all the issues on this site? I have a fourteen-month track record of not missing a trick and an archive in excess of 600 articles. The 21,500 comments are eloquent, measured, informed and free of the ad hominem attacks which compromise other comment forums. Some contribute as little as £1.50 per month to this site, but I would argue that £5.85 per week, and a little more for the PayPal commission, would be preferable. Would a recurring payment of £20 per month be too much for those in employment?

My generous readers who contributed £27 to the virtual tables paid for my trip to Manchester. I brought back an award which belongs to all of us. It’s an award for the excellent comments which some prefer to my editorials. It’s an award for brave social media journalism which must endure the most vile threats to publish the truth.

The bigots cannot handle the truth.

At the FBA Awards ceremony I kept my wits about me. I refused the free bottles of Budweiser and put my hand over my glass when Jimbo was pouring a Pinot Grigio. Anthony and his delightful wife dropped by to wish me good luck and later congratulate me. Mark treated the JJ table to champagne to toast my success. However I drank slowly and remained sober. The presence of two ‘bouncers’ less than five feet from my table was not lost on me. I was fully aware of the internet feed, and had arranged with The Mensch beforehand to collect the award in the unlikely event that I won. He duly stepped up. I’m aware of why his words were emotional but I’m not at liberty to disclose this. Those who are apparently targeting one of Willie Henderson’s close friends should take a long hard look at themselves.

Donations have dropped in the aftermath of the awards. Would there be any traction in an Ask JJ feature where I provide a full response to a reader’s question? One enterprising reader donated £10 which solicited my comprehensive response. I had discussions in Manchester about advertising but I’m not willing to surrender my URL and I’m confident that my readers share my aversion to selling out.

 

IS IT SAFE

Readers will note that I have removed The Man Who Fell To Earth article as it could have been perceived as a rant, when the intention was to address some essential housekeeping, and to solicit donations. I’m pleased to report that recurring monthly donations now total £81. We are now only £45 short of the income this site would have received from advertising had I sold my URL and my John James soul. My thoughts now revert to providing the best blogs I can muster between now and the Awards Evening.

You can vote on both Twitter:

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

and the FBA website

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By right clicking on either, or both, and following the GO TO link:

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When You Click on the Twitter Banner you will be presented with a list of all finalists by category. In the scroll down menu for Best New Football Blog, select this site by clicking on johnjamessite.

Best New Football Blog

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At this point, a Tweet will appear with the legend:

I am voting in @TheFBAs for @sitonfence as the Best #New Football Blog

Just click on Tweet button and that’s it.

 

If you wish to attend, then just right click and go to this link:

 

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http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/blog/old-trafford-hosting-the-football-blogging-awards-2016/

 

“Awards season is nearly upon us and we’re proud to announce the Theatre of Dreams will host the Football Blogging Awards 2016 – the fifth annual FBAs.

Renown for holding one of the finest trophy cabinets in world football, the most sought for awards in online journalism will be dished out on November 17th at Old Trafford.

With past events at the National Football Museum and Hotel Football, 2016 will be the largest and grandest event with around a thousand people expected in attendance.

With tickets starting from £30 buy yours today and guarantee your attendance on November 17th.”

If nine and I wish to attend, a table of ten can be booked for £270. Those wishing to attend can send me a £27 donation on Paypal and mark it FBA. If I collect nine donations I will book the John James Table and arrange for tickets to be sent to your Paypal Address, or left for you at the door. I would hope that there would be at least ten of us and this will provide me with a measure of security from the swivel-eyed loons who would like nothing more than to stab or maim me as they cannot handle the truth. If I receive 19 donations I will book two tables. I’m really looking forward to it and meeting The Mensch and others for the first time. First come first served basis. The window for voting closes on October 28th. Which football fan can resist The Theatre of Dreams?

My last thoughts on this matter are:

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A Consubstantial Credo

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I am voting in @TheFBAs for @sitonfence as the Best #New Football Blog

I must admit that I was astonished when it was announced that I was a finalist in the UK Football Blogging Awards. The Clumpany kindly reached out to inform me as I struggled to complete my most challenging article to date, namely The Bonfire of The Vanities. This 2,000 word article, the 563rd that I have published, was inordinately challenging as I had to access my exclusive material and the RTC archive. I also incorporated a first-hand account of Whyte from an impeccable source. I trust that readers came to the same conclusion as I did that these trumped-up charges smack of desperation. The Working Capital Facility Letter, which I published a link to, should be Whyte’s get out of jail free card.

As I emerged blinking from the word mines, I was inordinately grateful that some of my readers had voted for me. I must admit that I did not expect to make it this far as my canvassing was as lacklustre as Jeremy Corbyn’s Remain hustings. Now that I have made the shortlist it behoves me to throw my hat into the ring and solicit votes. I will be attending the event in Manchester as your site’s ambassador.Please always bear in mind that your comments, and donations, have created a site in your image. A site you can be proud of. As you cast your vote you should be imbued with a sense of pride in regard to your contributions to the best forum for comments bar none. Please vote for your site as per the links and instructions above.

As you scroll down the list of ten finalists in the new blog category, you will note that two ostensibly represent Liverpool FC, two West Ham FC, one for Manchester United, The Clumpany and three others. The Clumpany and I are the two representing Scottish football in this category. On this occasion one can also vote on as many occasions as one desires.Every vote and keyboard Repetitive Strain Injury counts. Phil Macgiollabhain, who graciously dropped by to congratulate me on Twitter, is shortlisted in the International category.

The Clumpany is having his second bite at the best new blog cherry. I wish him every success. Phil Macgiollabhain was nominated last year and chose to attend the event. I trust that he will advise on dress code and whether my current thoughts on this will pass muster:

I cannot conceive of three bloggers who put the noses of the CDE1 tabloid writers more out of joint. In my humble opinion they are as good if not better than the best of the SMSM, namely English, Forsyth & Spiers and inordinately superior to Jackass, Jack and Johnstone. Is there any truth in the rumour that the latter three require a ‘ghost writer’ to sign their signatures? This barrel-scraping triumvirate can barely spell investigative journalism never mind actually engage in it. How they can draw a salary with a straight face truly beggars belief. TC, Phil Mac and I have all published and be damned. None of us has shirked a tackle. All topics are on the table and the lamb is decidedly off. If I were to lose out to The Clumpany I would lead the applause in the room as he has made me laugh more than any other site. It takes a highly-developed intellect to write satire. Identifying intellect in Jackass, Jack and Johnstone would be analagous to a ‘Spot The Ball’ competition where the ball is not in the photograph.

I digress. Rangers Marquee without a guy rope signing has been blowing in to his local bookmakers, Bet Empty Head and Paddy Pull My Pants Down to have 44 illicit punts. Mangetout and Caretaker Kerr of Level 5 have conveniently let this slip just prior to Barton’s less than eagerly anticipated return to training on Monday. Are they hoping that Joey will cut his losses and let Rangers off the hook? I would not bet on it.

In my opinion Joey should be released from Warburton-on-sea’s rest home for retired footballers, so that he can return to the playful pursuits of his Halcyon Huyton youth such as badger-baiting and cock-fighting.

However of much more import is an exclusive by Barcabhoy that suggests more skullduggery in the Ibrox boardroom apropos Rangers Retail. Colour me surprised:

This begs the obvious question as to why one would choose to repay a £5m debt to increase the equity holding from 25% to 25.5%. When one considers that The Rangers Football Club Ltd (TRFCL) only hold 51 B shares, and that SDI Retail have same and an additional 98 A shares with two votes, TRFCL only have 17.1% of the vote.

Is this the deal that was applauded by the most gullible and stupid shareholders in living memory? The shareholders who gave King a standing ovation for de-listing their equity? . Will those who joined Club Tropicana (Loans are free, £18.72 there’s enough for everyone) break into one minute’s applause as he deftly picks their pockets?

Of course there is also the possibility that Chairman Charlotte has been less than forthcoming with the truth. Did he repay Ashley to stave off the threat of Administration? Surely that would be a more compelling rationale than a gain of half of one per cent? If my sources are correct Ashley was minded to pull the plug on the Charlotte Fakeovers Cesspool on January 4.

The Asthmatic Gold Standard

There are a number of topics to choose from this week. The Celtic supporters in our midst may be heartened to note that I will write a precursor to the game with Manchester City. I was intending to write this today but it will take several hours to do it justice and I may not have the time. In the past I’ve made a rod for my own back by publishing more than one article at a time which resulted in several comment threads. On one occasion I published four pieces. However this was at the beginning of my one year sojourn into a number of topics which included the murky Hades that is Scottish football. At that time my articles did not elicit many comments. I have just approved my 19,000th comment, and as regular readers will know comment threads often run to three figures, with one of which featuring 144 comments. Attempting to moderate north of 250 comments per day is an arduous task.

Prior to writing this article, it’s worth noting that the initial voting for the UK Football Blogging Awards ended yesterday. This site, which only garnered the votes of 20-50 generous individuals from a regular weekday readership of 15,000 – 20,000, (with one day featuring 42,000 hits) has been undermined by the fact that I encouraged votes for the John James Site, which is my unique WordPress site (http://www.johnjamessite.com) and not @Sitonfence which is my Twitter site. Some individuals, following my lead, voted for @JohnJames which is not my Twitter site. Twitter is a platform to promote my articles. Should I decide to publish more than one photograph, it gets confused and defaults to a grid box. I can override this by attaching a photograph, but the Twitter format is so large that it dominates the page. As a consequence of this I have withdrawn the previous four articles from Twitter. I have no desire to have a site dominated by a photoshopped  DJ dressed as a cheerleader, nor a running WC. Lavatory humour is not my natural metier, but the Aberdeen fanzine cover, and my DEFCON/DEFPAN interplay, was an opportunity that I could not resist. As this site tends to delve deep into topics, it’s important to add some levity by way of balance.The dear JJ articles are just as scathing as others, but are wrapped in Lady Bear’s Chanel-scented Mousquetaires silk evening gloves that she wears to the Opera and Ambassadorial receptions.

However even if my entire 4,170 followers on Twitter had voted for me, I would not make the shortlist. Some of my more enterprising followers attached my Twitter handle to the FBA handle to register their votes. This resulted in the FBA following my Twitter site. As a rule of thumb I don’t follow any sites as I tend to read only four on a regular basis with links from my direct message Twitter portal. I communicate with other sites offline. I made an exception to the rule with the FBA, but I was forced to reconsider as their retweets of other sites overwhelmed my page. There is a blog on Manchester United which is run by five individuals, which gives one an idea of how busy they are. Man Utd have 300m followers worldwide, so it’s safe to assume that their blogs far exceed my 20,000 readership, and my 50 votes. I guess I should console myself with the thought of better luck next time but I’m realistic to note that tribal loyalties to the Phil Mac/The Clumpany axis will always be prevalent. The objective eye that I have is not shared by many. There is also the distinct possibility that I will pack up my tent in a matter of days. Another year might bring more readers, but no more thanks.

This site has often highlighted the activity of the Bank of Rangers carpetbagger ‘Sir’ David Murray who used Rangers/ EBT to enrich himself and then threw away Rangers like a broken toy. On this occasion I intend to discuss another knight of the realm, the drug cheat that is ‘Sir’ Bradley Wiggins.

As a democrat I recognize the important role played by whistle-blowers. I worship at the altars of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. The former deserves a 2,000 word article of his own. Who could forget the Wikileaks footage of an American helicopter gunship ‘lighting up’ some Reuters correspondents as they ran for the cover of a black van. They were assassinated by a redneck computer gamer. If it were not for Assange, this would have been classified as ‘friendly fire.’

The Wikileaks data base is hosted in Sweden. During a visit to Sweden Assange slept with two Swedish girls. He did not rape either of these adult women, but a CIA officer, and a prosecutor trying to gain a name for herself,  are insisting that he travels to Sweden to face questions. He has offered a video-link interview and a face-to-face in the Ecuador embassy where he has been granted asylum since August 2012, but the prosecutor is not interested. The charges have been trumped-up to use Sweden as a conduit for Assange’s extradition to America. If extradited Assange would be tried and convicted in a kangaroo court and killed by lethal injection for revealing some uncomfortable truths about American foreign policy and its powerful multi-billion dollar military lobby group of  Republican Senators, whom have long since been bought and paid for. The British Government have spent north of £10m to ring-fence the embassy with a 24/7 police detail. This is considered to be money well spent to maintain our special relationship with the CIA. This is what passes for democracy in 2016.

We would not have heard of Bradley Wiggins cheating if it had not been for The Fancy Bears Hack TeamRegular readers of my articles should note that in this instance I’m not referring to the crack team of minimalist lavatory redesigners in the Rangers support. These blue bears have flights of fancy about continuation and £30m of investment, but any link is inordinately tenuous.

However this team is not a standard-bearer for democracy. It is a state-sponsored response from the Kremlin to divert the debate away from Russian state doping and on to the therapeutic use exemptions (TUE). They hacked into the computer records of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

In his memoirs My Time, published in 2012, which was written by a ghost writer, Wiggins asserts:

“I’ve never had an injection, apart from (when) I’ve had my vaccinations, and on occasion I’ve been put on a drip, when I’ve come down with diarrhoea or something and have been severely dehydrated.” 

Mr Wiggins evidently forgot to mention the 40mg intramuscular injections of corticosteroid in June 2011, June 2012 and April 2013 – days before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France, and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. In 2012, Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour.

Wiggins would like us to believe that he is an asthmatic. He defends his use of a powerful performance-enhancing steroid as ‘putting himself on a level playing field with non asthmatics. Have a look at the following photograph of Wiggins on the Andrew Marr Show. As an ‘asthmatic’ would he not ask for the freshly cut flowers to be removed. He seems unduly comfortable with their pollen producing  properties.

 

Image result for images of bradley wiggins on andrew marr show
“Is the fragrance of the flowers masking the stink of horse shit?”

 

 

Wiggins is a multi-million dollar one-man brand so I can understand why his manager and PR agent would want to get him in front of the issue. If Wiggins had ridden into the studio on a Camarillo White Horse with a standard proclaiming ‘Just Say No‘ my reaction would be to look to the studio floor for the presence of horse shit. It stinks to high heaven.

Tom Dumoulin, the Olympic time trial silver medallist, has become the first high-profile rider to openly question Sir Bradley Wiggins’s therapeutic use exemptions for the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone prior to three of the biggest races in his career, saying of the matter that “it stinks”.

Is it not surprising to note that Wiggins and Chris Froome, Britain’s two greatest road cyclists, are registered as asthmatics on their medical records. Should Wiggins retain his medals, will the peloton of future Tours exclusively feature ashmatic riders?

Former dopers such as Jorg Jacksche and David Millar used triamcinolone and testified last week to its performance-enhancing effects. The presence in Wiggins’ team of the now-banned Belgian doctor Geert Leinders and the fact that Wiggins only appeared to need this drug in 2011, 2012 and 2013 rather than for any other race in his career, are not unrelated. As soon as the benefits of steroid abuse and the TUE caveat were spelled out to Wiggins, Leinders was on hand to provide him with a medical diagnosis of asthma and the intramuscular injections prior to grands tours.

The last word on this sordid affair is reserved for Tom Dumoulin who wrote:
“This is not something they do with normal asthmatics, let alone athletes who only have exercise-induced asthma. Apparently Wiggins’s injection also worked for weeks – then in my opinion you should be out of competition for weeks. That thing stinks.”

This is an omnishables for British cycling who had their most successful Olympics performance of all time at the Rio games. Would it be indelicate to ask how many of the 490 WADA registered  athletes who use intramuscular steroids are in the British team?

Bradley Wiggins has created a hitherto unknown personal ailment to benefit from the injections of steroids prior to racing. He should be stripped of all his gold medals and title in no uncertain terms.

 

Warburton-at-Sea

Dear JJ,

Lady Bear has not left her room since we returned from the debacle at Celtic Park. She is beside herself with grief in regard to our capitulation. For CFC it is  beach balls, sombrero, sangria and paella, while we are left with pork scratchings, flat champagne and humble pie. The American Banker should revert to credit default swaps. In the darkest days of the journey,  Kenny McDowall was left holding the fort when Ally left to pursue a career in topiary. Our hedges in our former home in Whitecraigs have never looked so good. Kenny’s lads, who were also outclassed, were at least prepared to put in a shift. From our Skybox, Lady Bear and I noticed that two sex dolls were twisting in the wind in the Jock Stein Stand. Thankfully the stewards removed them quickly as I was concerned that Mr Warburton might sign them up for his squad. They could not be much worse than Kranjcar and Barton. To suggest that the former played like a headless chicken, is a slight on decapitated fowl. Barton looked like a boy who had turned up for P.E wearing the wrong colour of plimsolls and was trying his best to go unnoticed. The creeping ivy at our Chalfont St. Giles home is faster than Barton.

The day had started so well. Lady Bear and I helped ourselves to a few glasses of Bucks Fizz in the BA Executive Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. As we boarded the plane, Lady Bear pointed out that the male stewards, who were immaculately turned out, were humming show tunes. Anthony, who was looking after the front cabin, served our drinks with a refrain from Copacabana : “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there, she would merengue and do the cha-cha, and while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar.”  His partner on the flight answered to Lawrence, but if he wants to take a walk on the wild side and call himself Lola in his private life, who am I to judge?

Lady Bear and I were so well rounded at this point that we engaged in a very passable Tango at Glasgow Airport. Sandy Easdale had sent a limousine to pick us up, with a bottle of Cristal champagne cooling in the ice box. Our host for the day was a Celtic supporter who was a friend of Sandy’s. He was well-mannered and took an immediate shine to Lady Bear.

So far so good, but then the Hammer House of Horror show began, with Senderos looking like someone who had been sent from central casting. Where was the fluid, passing style that had delighted us last season? Where was Dave King?  Warburton requires a good kick in his key performance indicators. We won’t take this lying down.

Lady Bear and I were expecting an apology. Mr Warburton who likes to hide in the dressing room and then take off for three weeks after a defeat, issued the following:

“I told the players that I was warned not to read the papers, but I thought ‘no, I will read the papers’, and you see some of the poisonous, mischievous dialogue that is written, and that just burns in your memory and that is something we will use.
We need to turn it round and we will turn it around quickly, and while I won’t use the exact words I used with the players, we will make sure the people who are writing what they are writing right now come to eat those words. Right now, we have got to bite our tongue. As a Rangers fan, player or staff member, whatever it may be, right now we eat humble pie, as the fact is we lost 5-1 on Saturday, but that will live in the memory in terms of what’s been said and we will certainly utilise that going forward.”

He might as well have said ‘Don’t Panic‘ a la Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army. Can he really strike back with a 38-year-old central defender being pressed into action. His Walmington-on-sea squad have left Warburton at sea.

Image result for Dad's army

 

Lady Bear has just removed her head from a scented box of L’Occitane tissues to send her love and reaffirm her support for your site at the UK blogging awards. Despite the expense of the Old Firm trip, she promises to make a modest donation when she feels better.

Yours in Rangers,

Edward (Teddy) Bear Esquire,

Chalfont St. Giles,

Buckinghamshire.

 

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

Dear Teddy,

My condolences to you and Lady Bear. If it’s any consolation Keith Jackass is flying his Union Jack at half mast at his south side home. Chris Jack is so upset that he is in therapy with a Paediatrics Psychologist. The tabloid smurfs are taking it hard. The chutzpah talk of ‘going for 55’  has been replaced with enquiries as to whether this was the number of the bus Dave King took to work in Johanessburg when his cars were repossessed. Dave King’s wife Ladina, who as you know is a keen equestrian, cannot bear to be near her steed as it reminds her of Rangers being ‘horsed’ at Celtic Park. I’m sure there’s no truth in the rumour that Jack has turned up at Celtic Park’s lost and found looking for his misappropriated Broxi blow-up doll. Spooning  has not been quite the same for our cub reporter.

I have received some comments on my site in regard to how to vote for JJ as Best New Football Blog and Best Social Football Account in the forthcoming UK Blogging Awards:

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

Those on Twitter can revert to:

https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=I%20am%20voting%20in%20%40TheFBAs%20for%20%40JohnJames%20as%20the%20Best%20%23New%20Football%20Blog&source=clicktotweet&related=clicktotweet

and:

https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=I%20am%20voting%20in%20%40TheFBAs%20for%20%40JohnJames%20as%20the%20Best%20%23Social%20Football%20Account&source=clicktotweet&related=clicktotweet

I digress. As things currently stand the board are playing ping-pong with Club 1872. It’s the least they can do as the latter will have to dig deep to bail them out. Club 1872 will also be on hand to apply a soothing balm when Waghorn and any other player under thirty, which are a dying breed at Rangers, are put under the hammer in January.

The SMSM lickspittles will receive a message from King who will claim that this year’s objective was to consolidate and be a firm second to Celtic. Should Warburton only secure a point when hosting Ross County and lose at Pittodrie, the title race will be effectively over by the end of this month.

I would keep your powder dry for the Cup campaigns this season, as Rangers have been given safe home passage to the semi-final of The League Cup, and our progression in The Scottish Cup will be akin to a pageant from Dancing on Ice.

I look forward to Lady Bear’s donation. I realise that coffers need replenished after the expense of the weekend.

Please send your English rose my love.

Stay classy Teddy,

Yours in Rangers,

JJ

 

 

 

 

 

The English Squirrel

“Every now and again, an absurd idea appears on this excellent site, usually in the form of a CFC fan saying that Celtic need an outlet to accommodate their massive fan base (Celtic Park seems half full for most home games with a distinct lack of interest, but let’s not focus on that). And that outlet, as suggested above, is the honey pot of the English Premiership. Indeed, teams like Swansea and Bournemouth do have modest attendances. That’s not a lack of interest. It’s because they have small grounds (Bournemouth are creating more capacity, Palace are planning a bigger stadium, as are Spurs to accommodate 61,000 souls, Liverpool and Chelsea are both expanding) and Chelsea attendances are down a few thousand because of fitful and poor performances.

The EPL is full of life, healthy and exciting. Especially this season. The Championship is also extremely competitive and attendances are generally very healthy.English football has, frankly, never been healthier, and some of the stadiums compare with some of Europe’s finest (The Emirates in particular).

English football don’t need the appalling product called Scottish football. Very occasionally, we will take in a live lunchtime game on a Sunday before the main event. The main event could be, say, Arsenal v Man City, Spurs v Leicester or whatever. The lunchtime game from Scotland could be Caley v Dundee, Thistle v Celtic. These games are so poor that they make for compulsive watching followed by a derision and the usual brief discussion along the lines of ‘what happened to Scottish football.’

None of the players on show today could get a game for an EPL team. If they were good enough for any EPL team, they would be down here already. Heck, Scotland’s top goalscorer, Griffiths has some modest interest at QPR, but that’s about it.

No, we do not NEED Celtic (nor Rangers). Nor do we WANT them. We can all have our views regarding the level at which Celtic could operate. My view, which I share with JJ, is that Celtic would be a Championship team (mid table, like, say, Preston). As for Rangers, I see them as a League 2 team at the moment.

I think that the problem with having a proud past, a proud history and a decent fan base is it results in delusion about their importance to the game as a whole. No one down here blinked when Rangers were liquidated. And many fans of proud, successful clubs continue with this delusion of self importance. Celtic is a good example. Rangers fans occupy a similar space, notwithstanding the new club debate. Down in England, we have a long list of deluded fans of ‘big’ clubs. Newcastle for starters (haven’t won the league for 90 years nor a domestic trophy since the ’50s), Villa (because they won a European cup), Forest (for similar reasons), Leeds and Everton.

And to put it into context from a financial perspective, Stoke City and Crystal Palace have a combined market cap to buy out ALL teams playing in the four Scottish leagues.

Celtic and Rangers had a marvelous opportunity to join English football after Celtic floated on the exchange all those years ago. Desmond promised some of the wealthier backers that he could ‘fix it’ with Murdoch to parachute Celtic straight in to the top level. Murdoch, who at the time had made no such promises but was under pressure from the Monopolies Commission, told Desmond where to go. BUT, he offered an olive branch. And that was to join the old Conference Division. Yes Division 5.

Who knows if either or both of Celtic and Rangers would have glided through the leagues. But if they had indeed made it, they would be BOTH be looking at market caps north of £400m (conservative).

It was an opportunity missed and one which will not present itself again. The game here is healthy, wealthy and thriving. No one team would vote a Scottish team to the top or lower table at their own expense. It simply is not going to happen.

Scottish football is regarded as toxic and hopeless. Celtic, and Rangers, are stuck in this vehicle called Scottish football. They need to get on with that and make the most of it because the English avenue is not open to them.

We don’t want them and they have nothing to offer us except mediocrity.”

 

The preface to this article, in bold italic font,was written by The Mensch, who is one of my favourite contributors to this site. He, Gordo, thekarmageddon, Salted Popcorn and I all began writing about Rangers and Scottish football on the RIFC LSE AIM shares chat page. One of the traits I admire about TM is that he does not sugar coat his opinions. Neither of us are pulling our punches or sitting on the fence. The 3,572 individuals who follow me on Twitter under my listing as @sitonfence realise that my moniker  is an exercise in irony. I could add that West Ham are also expanding given their forthcoming move to the former Olympic stadium. The Hammers have done well to secure the rights to a stadium that was used to host the London games in 2012. When compared to one my old haunts, The Stadio Olympico in Rome, West Ham are fortunate that they don’t have to share their stadium with the national team, The Azurri, one of Roma or Lazio, and the Italian RFU side who all share a stadium that was modified in 1960 to host the Rome games.  

TM’s comment was in response to one of my own in regard to the Glasgow duopoly and their respective credentials for participating in the English set up. More often than not as is noted in the preface it is more likely to be a CFC supporter that advances this hypothesis. The collective UEFA accomplishments of all Scottish clubs stands at three, with one European Cup and two lesser trophies won by CFC, Aberdeen and Rangers. Celtic won the European Cup in 1967, Rangers lifted the Cup Winners Cup in 1972 with Alex Ferguson’s excellent Aberdeen side prevailing in Gothenburg against Real Madrid in 1983. The Glasgow duopoly also featured in the UEFA cup finals of 2003 and 2008, but the prospect of success in the new format Champions League and Europa Cup formats, and the rigour of qualification rounds prior to the group stages, clearly highlights how inadequate the Scottish clubs have become.

If we accept The Mensch’s thesis, Rangers are an English League Two side with CFC as a mid-table English Championship club. Given that Rangers are awaiting two Bosman signings from EFL2 side Accrington Stanley, with other players in the squad sourced from Alvechurch FC and one who formerly played at Harrogate Railway AFC, I can understand his premise. As for CFC, are they not superior to Brentford and would feature in the Championship play-offs?

If you were to inquire of the CFC supporters whether they would prefer to play in The Conference Division, I posit that the majority would vote to transfer to the English FA. They are sick to the back teeth with the SFA/SPFL decision that nothing occurred in 2012 and that Rangers, formed in 1872, continue unabated having shed its debts of £96.6m+ with all 114 titles intact. They are also aware that the SFA chose to overlook the £2.8m owed by Craig Whyte’s Rangers in 2011, which everyone knew was a condition of the sale by David Murray, to gain a UEFA licence for the new Rangers regime. If Rangers had qualified for the Champions League group stages, they would have participated to the backdrop of bailiffs instructed by HMRC attending Ibrox in August.

However the CFC board are not prepared to lift an eyebrow in protest, much to the chagrin of the CFC support. They will be punished for their inertia at the box office. The board are hoping that they can offset the anticipated protest with season tickets sold to engage in The Punch & Judy show of old.

As for Rangers, if we were to believe the hype, Mark Warburton who was dismissed by Brentford, climbed the managerial ladder by his appointment at Rangers. No-one in EFL 1 or EFL2 will be paid £750,000 for gaining promotion. The three coaches who have earned promotion to The English Premiership in 2016 will probably earn a similar bonus to that of Mr Warburton. In salary terms he most certainly has made a step up. In terms of his media profile, it has never been better. He even has his own dedicated journalist in Chris Union Jack at The Evening Times, who is prepared  to make a risible case for Mr Warburton emulating Graeme Souness by taking up the reigns of Liverpool FC. Mr Jack should be apprised of the fact that Mr Souness won four first division titles in a row.

The pre-eminence of Scottish clubs is a media construct. Playing in a properly governed English league would require imagination; an ability to think outside the Punch and Judy box. Rangers will not be invited to join any English league after what has become regarded as the last battle on English soil, The Battle of Manchester. CFC and Aberdeen, the two leading clubs in Scotland, would be attractive additions to the conference league, but would prefer to sink without trace in the UEFA qualification mire.