Speaking of money in football, it's generally accepted that FIFA is a by-word for corruption, with back-handers galore for Sepp Blatter and his pals. The stories about the organisation have been going on for years and Blatter & Co are even under investigation by the FBI. The Daily Record had an article yesterday with Michel Platini denouncing Blatter for desperately trying to cling onto power. All-in-all, nobody's got a good word to say about Blatter and FIFA. But, wait; something's changed. It's maybe time to reassess what we all thought about FIFA. They're maybe okay after all!
There was more than a hint of desperate triumph in the Sunday Mail article, which said, "DESPITE claims that Rangers are a new club, FIFA have stepped into the argument and insisted that Rangers are the same football club." Well, there you go; it must be true, then. The article continues, "FIFA have stepped into the Rangers argument by announcing the Ibrox side ARE the same club." So much for expanding on things, eh? Surprisingly, there are no real details about this 'statement' from FIFA; instead we are treated to a re-tread of Neil Doncaster's assertion that Sevco is, in fact, Rangers. The sceptical among us will already smell a rat.
The Herald has slightly more to say, quoting the FIFA statement: "In spring 2012, Rangers were placed into liquidation and relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football. The 54-time champions overcame another obstacle on the long road back to the Premier League last weekend but, after winning two successive promotions in style, that final leap is proving a little more difficult." In fact, FIFA has made no such statement. It was actually part of an article in the FIFA magazine, written by Swiss writer Peter Eggenberger. So, really, it's only one guy, talking through his arse and relying on what he's read in the Scottish media.
The original statement by FIFA about Sevco is still there on FIFA's official website and, therefore, still stands: "Rangers’ perilous financial position had been an open secret but there was still shock when, after 140 years of history and a world record 54 league titles, the club was consigned to liquidation in mid-June. The Glasgow giants were subsequently reformed as a new company and granted entry to the Third Division, Scotland’s fourth tier".
Meanwhile, McMurdo and his disciples have found a new enemy; one you'll find hard to believe! A lot of it hinges on Level 5 being the PR mob of the Real Raynjurz Men. Apparently, Level 5 has got something to do with Freemasonry; even the '5' in the company's logo has a wee representation of the Mason's set-square. They're even seeing symbolic meanings in the date of Honest Dave's takeover! It seems King's plan involves selling everything off and starting up a 'New Rangers' with a new ground and everything. 'Level 5', it appears, has connotations with resurrection in Masonic lore. Well, they've already had reincarnation, so resurrection shouldn't be a problem!
Who'd have thought we'd ever see a section of The Peeppul blaming the Masons for their woes! One of them says, "we are being let down by our own". That's funny; they've spent years trying to tell us that the funny handshake brigade isn't full of Orange bigots and now, suddenly, they're 'our own'. Hopefully it's all true; it would be a more than suitable and apt ending to this saga.
I can't be the only one that's noticed the difference in attitude of our Fourth Estate to the ticket allocation at Easter Rd to that at Ibrox. Here's what the DR had to say on Saturday: "The home club clearly not keen to hand Rangers the whole stand and an advantage today but they have been unable to sell out their own allocation. Sad to see the ground not rammed to the rafters on a beautiful day like this." Strangely, the same criticism wasn't levelled at the crowd size at Ibrox. 950 tickets was all Hibs got, while the home crowd was hardly full capacity. It seems it's okay for Sevco to play the intimidation game; even the behaviour of the supporters merits not a mention.
And they're at it again. Motherwell asked for 2000 tickets for the first leg at Ibrox, offering the whole Fir Park South Stand, 4800 tickets, to Sevco. Now Sevco are only handing over 950 tickets; the same as they did to Hibs. Understandably, Mothewell have now reduced Sevco's allocation for the second leg to 1500. No doubt we'll have the same level of intimidation at Ibrox as there was against Hibs. Guess what the headline is on the SkySports website: "Rangers restricted to 1,500 for Scottish Premiership play-off final against Motherwell". And they say there's no bias in our media!
And congratulations are in order to the people of the Republic of Ireland, who voted to allow same-sex marriages. One of the reasons given for the setting-up of Northern Ireland was the old 'Home Rule is Rome Rule' adage, making out that an independent Ireland would be pretty much a Catholic theocracy, stuck in the Middle Ages. Now Ireland has taken its place as one of the more forward-looking democracies in the world. Meanwhile, the north-east of the island is looking more and more like some reactionary, cultural and social backwater. Still, so long as the dinosaurs are happy!
Finally, I hope the family my wife was chatting to on the train through to Glasgow on Sunday had a great time. (I was sound asleep!) They were from Virginia and only had four days in Scotland, a place they'd never been before. They were looking forward to the highlight of their trip - going to Celtic Park to watch the celebrations. We were on our way to visit my mother so I don't know how the family got on. As I said, I hope they had a great time; everybody else seemed to!
"Get it through yer thick skulls. Yer club's only been alive this number-a years!"