Avoiding naked opportunists


This is about Scottish football but I take a while to get there.  And I don’t think you’re going to like it, but something has been bothering me with all this news about Greece, there’s been a little dissonance.

Greece has come through seven years of devastating poverty and economic turmoil, the like of which has not been seen anywhere else in Europe, and within weeks it could get a lot worse.

Many Greeks with economically portable skills emigrated.  Those left, the old, the infirm, the unskilled, and those who don’t want to abandon their family or country, have been left to deal with the consequences of a debt which dwarves their earning capacity.

Greece joined the euro and overnight were able to borrow money at cheaper rates than ever before.  They borrowed and invested, but poor governments and lax taxation systems left them vulnerable.  When the crash came, Greece was hopelessly unable to pay its debts, largely owned to German and French banks.

Back in 2008 the world’s banking system was on the verge of collapse.  It is not an exaggeration to say that our economies, jobs, welfare systems, public services and more, were in jeopardy.  Governments took steps to keep the banks afloat, but Greece owned money beyond their borders.

If they still had the capacity to issue their own currency, they would have defaulted, offered their creditors 10 lepta to the drachma, and quickly moved on.  Prices would have skyrocketed overnight, many people would have been priced out of the basics, but tourists would have flooded in, as would new employers, to take advantage of the newly cheap Greek labour.

But since 2002 Greece has been using the euro.  They could not print euros after the crash so had to come to a deal with their creditors, and that meant paying all their debts, in particular to the German banks who loaned them money, at an appropriate interest rate, years earlier.

It was appalling.  Greece was not blameless, no European governments – or ultimately their electorates – were, but they were boxed into a corner and forced into a deal.  Foreign banks, who were well-placed to weigh-up the commercial risk of their Greek loans, were beneficiaries of the squeeze put on some of Europe’s poorest people.

In January this year Greece elected a radical government.  Syriza were voted in on a ticket to renegotiate the terms of what the world calls the ‘bailout’.

The bailout is an affront to the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank.  The world’s governments needed to protect their banks to prevent complete collapse, but the deal imposed on Greek citizens is pernicious and disproportionate.

A game of brinksmanship is going on between Greece and their lenders, the Troika.  Syriza are mandated for one thing and one thing only, renegotiate the current deal.  I admire their resolve and hope the Troika accommodate their request for change, but the consequence of a failure to find an agreement is enormous, the like of which we have never seen in a modern economy.  Those sitting at the Syriza side of the table know they may be marching their citizens off the edge of a cliff.

What’s this got to do with Scottish football?

For the Troika, read Mike Ashley, he was the lender of last resort, he was also the beneficiary of the loans.  In fact, he loaned Newco money he’d already made from them.  Those loans came with pernicious conditions.  The profits he’ll earn from seven years merchandise rights are spectacular – and they will come from what I could argue is the most impoverished football club in Europe.  Mike is the ugly face of capitalism (and there are pretty faces).

The analogy is not perfect.  Rangers spectacularly defaulted.  Newco’s early years have been more painful than they necessarily could have been, largely as a consequence of an organised group of Real Rangers Men who were determined to grab control of Newco’s assets for as cheap a price as possible.  But if you are an unskilled Greek living on handouts, or an easily-led Rangers fan, who just wanted to watch his team, you were not the architect of your own misery.

Alexis Tsipras is no Dave King, he is an engaging leader and is not a criminal, but if he leads Greece into an abyss, he will be guilty of one of the classic failures of leadership – telling people what they want to hear in order to gain power, without any way of delivering on the promises made.

King may be doing the same.  He strikes me as a man intent on recreating Jonestown in Govan.  Unlike Tsipras, who appears to be making progress with his creditors, King has inspired division and boycott.  I can’t picture him now without scenes from Jonestown flashing through my mind.

While I know I’m stretching the analogy between Greece and Rangers, there are many who have lost their livelihood, or football club, through the fault of more powerful men, who were paid to look out for their interests.

Mike Ashley is a figure of fun for us but be sure, he is not our ally.  Our enemy’s enemy is not our friend.  He’s just another in a long line of naked opportunists we were wise enough to avoid.

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    Good to see the players back in pre-season training.



    Is this the first time it’s ever happened while the weans are still at school?

  2. TBB 12.23


    Last thread .



    We have no plan to get out of dodge ,and are doing nothing about it.



    It is the most important issue that our board should be working on .


    They are failing us miserably on the biggest issue.



    It breaks my heart.








    Ashley makes Robert Maxwell look like a benevolent and kindly uncle. His use of entirely legal and entirely unethical tactics against his suppliers and staff are a disgrace.



    Sure,he’s a very wealthy man. I would love to have a fraction of his wealth. I’m not sure I could look myself in the mirror had I used his methods to attain it.



    The huns are welcome to him-and while I admire your comment about the fans not being to blame,let’s not forget their typical supremacist behaviour when Green took over.



    They lost ALL sympathy from me from then on.

  4. Am off, am still on holiday having a great time winding up the Huns hear in Canada, but feck me they have more positives on our club than some here, doom and gloom CQNrs am outs here, .


    Lurking Huns ..and you know who you are, GIRFUYs.

  5. an tearmann @ 11:59,



    Great to see that, they were a huge support for my grandson (at a few months old he knew little about it) but my Daughter and Partner certainly appreciated it, big time.



    Hail Hail

  6. The SFA are wholly responsible for what happens at ibrox due to the people in the know being fully aware of what was happening on murrayshall watch.


    Ogilvie should get jail time.

  7. No sure I agree that leaving the euro is into the abyss for Greece. It could be the best option, default and move on, return to the drachma and be in control or your own destiny.


    Goldman Sachs lead the tax evasion schemes and who did Europe put in to audit and recommend the loans and repayment austerity schemes yep Goldman Sachs this has been a carve up between Goldman Sachs and the IMF with Europe being the enabler, an absolute scandal that will never be associated with the real culprits.

  8. traditionalist88 on




    Last article – Legia Warsaw did not win the Polish league, Lech did, by a point.



    Legia were 2pts clear going into the split but there were 7 games after that…




  9. The Token Tim on

    ah no sorry, he had style, a groovy style…..but he didnt have meaning, only a car that just wouldnt stop,



    Oh well….










    Grease is the word. I was gonna excuse you as it might be before your time but obviously not,since you’re such an expert on HONG KONG PHOOEY…

  11. The Token Tim on




    hahaha i actually did know the word – i honestly have still never seen the film though! – but used to love HKP.



    Hows you auld timer? ;-)






  12. I knew a cafe owner Greek bloke in London who called his cafe “The Greecey Spoon”.



    Always made me chuckle.








    Fine and dandy,ya young whippersnapper! Thanks for asking,and hope all’s well at your end.



    Have you got your excuses ready for October 10? Was hoping to see you at the Kano do,but heyho…

  14. theflagstays on

    “or an easily-led Rangers fan, who just wanted to watch his team trampling over Celtic”


    There…………… fixed that

  15. Burgas Hoops on

    For what it’s worth in my considered opinion, the whole “euro-zone” concept was an exercise in abject futility from the inception and destined to collapse, sooner than later.



    What we are witnessing right now, is the beginning of the end of the euro.



    God bless the Lira/Leva CSC.

  16. On the plus side, with the £ getting better exchange rates with the Euro, we have a bit more clout in the Euro markets (as will all UK clubs to be fair) but also means we can offer what may appear to be better rates of pay – and could even offer in Euro fixes to the contract so they have stability.

  17. Tambourine Bhoy of 1967 on

    Good morning all!



    I have absolutely no doubts, after losing out on the treble last season, that we will sign an expensive and world-class striker who is proven at the very top level…



    … I mean how else could we hope to win the treble when Warburtons Buns are obviously favourites to win the scottish cup after swooping on and then jetting in all these top players?



    I hear their scouting network are also keeping a close eye on Usain Bolt after being impressed by him in his TV advert.



    Also, Moshni has been lined up for a sensational return to ‘where he belongs’. He said, “Of course, it will be an honour to play for the best club in the world again. Obviously, I have been banned for quite a few games, but I read in the papers how brilliant Danny Wilson is and he’ll no doubt keep the defence solid until I’m back on the beautiful grass of Ibrox. Actually, I don’t think Mr McCoist gets enough credit for the work he does out there. The pitch condition allows us to play the classy, silky football our wonderful fans love and Ally certainly earns his wage.”



    NOTE- Some parts, or all have been slightly edited for effect, or completely made up.



    HH! -Tambo-

  18. Economics, politics, history and geography all inter twined with one tragedy and one spectacular comedy.


    You had your thinking cap on today Paul.

  19. Iceland are the only western nation who are in a better financial position today, than they were before the crash in 2008.



    Iceland are the only nation to tell the banksters to GTF.



    Me thinks they did something right.








    From earlier, been busy.


    I agree as ever, but getting the players in early imo, is what we should be concentrating on, taking a gamble is not on, too much at stake.



    I’m sure RD has players in mind, it’s up to Pedro to sort it, we have cash, not asking to burn it, but shirly……………..




  20. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    What a lovely day it is in Central Scotland…… Is this what people call Summer …? ……or is it another one of those myths we get in Scotland … ?

  21. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Greece lied to gain membership of the E.C. and subsequently blackballed attempts by Turkey to join.


    Karma probably isn`t a Greek word but it`s certainly appropriate.


    We`ve heard of borrowing from Petros to pay Pavlos.


    Greece wants to borrow from Petros to pay Petros.



    As Margaret Thatcher said:


    “The problem with socialism is that after a while you run out of other people`s money.”


    It now looks like the mugs are going to give them more.

  22. Burgas Hoops on

    He who controls the Money supply controls the country. Any Nation that opts to enter the Eurozone, immediately surrenders its Sovereignty and its freedom.



    It no longer has the tools or freedom to control its own economy.

  23. The Token Tim on




    aye all’s well here too, thanks.



    October 10?


    News to me, but to be fair i havent been on blog much in recent times. Tend only to read Paul’s article nowadays. Dunno why i decided to delve in today, but perhaps glad i did now?



    Was supposed to be at Kano Do, but as usual, work travel intervened and had to miss out once again. Plus ca change etc….



    Let me know more re Oct 10th and i’ll see if I can make an appearance!






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