The whole idea behind these dolls is to reduce black people to the status of animals. Somebody said that it's just a doll that happens to be black, but that's a pile of shit. When my daughter was wee she was daft on Barbie dolls and one Christmas asked for a black one; I've no idea why. The black Barbie we got happened to be a vet, with different equipment and small animals to look after. Do the folk that support the sale of gollywogs honestly thing there is no difference between this black Barbie vet and the 'cuddly toy' they want to give their grandchildren?
With its depersonalised face, frizzy hair and mismatched, cast-off clothes, the gollywog was a caricature of the poor, ignorant savage trying to pretend that it was a human being. Folk say they never thought about the racist connotations when they were younger but, again, that's a pile of shite. We were all well aware but, in truth, we just didn't care. When I was wee there was nothing wrong in using the word 'darkies' and our language betrayed the way we thought of black people as animals: black men were known as 'buck niggers', while a 'darkie's young' were called 'picaninnies'. The gollywog was a tangible manifestation of these kinds of attitudes.
I've already asked on the DR forum how these folk would feel if an English company were to produce a 'Jimmy' doll, with ginger hair, vomit all down its front, with a bottle in one hand and a knife in the other. If you pull its string it would either swear at you or ask for 10p. Such a doll would cause uproar. It's also worth remembering that it's not that long ago that Irish people were portrayed using the same, rancid stereotypes as the gollywog represents. In fact, even in the 1970s, native Irish people in Northern Ireland were known as 'white niggers'. Considering all of this, I really cannot understand how anyone with a brain can support the sale of gollywogs these days. Anyway, on with the show...
Behind Door 16 is a man with whom overspending and sheer prodigality have become synonymous. He took David Murray's tenners-for-fivers shite at face value and burned his way through millions. The sum usually quoted is £74m, which is a hell of a lot, even fifteen years later. Despite this outlay, Rangers barely made a dent in Europe under his watch. Presenting Mr. Dick Advocaat EBT.
Advocaat still thinks he did the right thing spending all that money, saying in 2012, "My team became champions. In that way, the money was worth spending." With such spending, however, the real measure of success should be in Europe, where Advocaat hardly set the heather alight. Strangely, though, our media didn't criticise Advocaat at the time, nor do they do so nowadays, preferring to focus on his team's domination domestically. On the other hand, Ronny Deila is seen as a failure for not beating all and sundry in Europe with a lot less resources than Advocaat had at his disposal.
Looking at Advocaat's record in Europe, it's nothing more than a catalogue of failure. In his first year at Rangers, they were out of the UEFA Cup before Christmas 1998. The following year saw a disastrous Champions League campaign, followed by being put out of the UEFA Cup before Christmas. It was the same story in season 2000-2001, while the following season saw Rangers progress beyond Christmas for the first time in nine years. With Alex McLeish in charge for the second half of the season, they made it to February. Nevertheless, Advocaat's tenure at Ibrox is portrayed as a time of success.
The tenners-for-fivers plan reached its nadir with the signing of Tore Andre Flo for the ridiculous sum of £12m. Celtic had signed Chris Sutton for £6m, so Rangers had to double that, even though Flo turned out to be a spectacular flop. Despite the seemingly infinite loans coming from the Bank of Scotland, Rangers still found it hard to compete for big players on the international market. That's where the EBT scheme came in, allowing Rangers to, albeit illegally, offer players higher salaries than they could get, even at Manchester United. (Although Ronald De Boer would try to tell you it was more to do with wanting to work with Advocaat.) Advocaat took full advantage of this to sign or hold onto players, while benefiting personally to the tune of one and a half million.
Advocaat being Advocaat, he can never admit that he got anything wrong. Hilariously, he said in 2012, "Probably, they spent too much money. Otherwise, you are not in this position." Notice that: 'they'; as if it had nothing whatsoever to do with him. So, on the one hand, he justifies 'his' spending by citing the domestic trophies he won, then, on the other, when it's obvious that Rangers overspent, 'they' are the ones that were profligate. It's the old Nuremberg defence again, the I-didn't-know-where-the-money-was-coming-from-and-I-didn't-sign-the-cheques excuse, so beloved by Mr. Dignity. We all know this is a lie since Advocaat was paid through the EBT scheme himself, no doubt with a separate contract.
The Little General was no stranger to hypocrisy, even before the tax dodging came to light. Just like Auld Dignity, he 'never saw' any incidents that benefited his team, whereas he would shout from the rooftops if any decision went against him. Then, in 2002, Celtic were knocked out in the qualifiers for the Champions League. They dropped down into the UEFA Cup competition, where they had a fantastic run and got all the way to the final. Dick Advocaat, now the boss of the Dutch national team, had his say on Celtic's progress. With unbelievable two-facedness, he said that it was unfair that teams that failed in the Champions League should be parachuted down to the UEFA Cup. Even the Scottish media laughed at him!
During Advocaat's reign, Rangers won two champions titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups, including a treble in his first season in charge. EBTs were not a factor in that first season but the Discount Option Scheme was. Rangers were found guilty for using DOS and were due to stump up in what was called 'The Wee Tax Case'. Essentially, this means that Advocaat's treble was down to cheating, both the tax man and the rest of Scottish football. The big EBT scheme was introduced while Advocaat was at Ibrox and he, himself, took personal advantage. There is no way that Advocaat could have signed the players he did without these two schemes, despite what Ronald De Boer might say. He would obviously deny it but Advocaat, during his time at Rangers, was nothing more than a cheating, wee bastard!
"Hey, folks, you can read all about Sevco in 'Clash of the Agnivores' and 'Never Mind the Zombies'. I enjoyed both these books since none of it involves me. Really, the biggest mistake Rangers ever made was letting me go. Do you think they'd have died if I'd still been there? Of course not. I was the best thing that ever happened at Ibrox...blah...blah...drone..."