Joseph Heller and the Ibrox Paradox

By Hugobaws 21/12/2017

Joseph Heller introduced the term Catch 22 into the English language; contradictory rules that exert control over people through confusion without openly forcing people one way or another. Psychologists call it a ‘double bind’.

This week’s publication of the final answers from The Rangers* AGM proved (if proof be needed) that Heller’s crazy airmen are in charge over at Ibrox.

Club 1872: “The most recent financial results are encouraging but highlight the staggering gulf between us and our nearest competition. Can this board please outline how they plan to deal with this substantial deficit going forward?” 

RIFC: “The majority of the deficit is accounted for through qualification for the Champions’ League group stages.

Other income streams such as retail revenue and commercial income are increasing however there needs to be a recognition of just how valuable qualification for the group stages of the Champions League has now become.

“It is worth in the region of 30m Euros plus associated gate monies.”


There it is right there for the hard of thinking.

  • All we need to do to survive is to qualify for the Champion’s League (Group Stages no less).
  • To qualify for the Champion’s League, we need to overtake our “nearest competition” (Timmy).
  • We can only overtake Timmy with the Champion’s League money.

Club 1872 asked the questions, and happily accepted the answers without a whimper. They brought up the published Accounts and the need for £7.2m injection just to get to the end of the season. They mentioned the managerial vacancy and the need for money to get a replacement in.

But the puppet ‘fans group’; run by a Director from the same Board being questioned was always unlikely to ask the questions that might help solve the paradox for the ordinary fan, or outside observer.

But Rangers (IL) and The Rangers* since 2012 have always been full of contradictions. Dave King campaigned on transparency and accountability only to de-list the Club from the stock exchange to hide behind a veil of secrecy.

David Murray was lauded by Alastair Johnston back in 2009, as,” one of the club’s greatest chairmen”, who “invested heavily in the club and  “demonstrated enormous personal commitment at all times”

Of course, history suggests David Murray did the opposite, taking money out of the Govan Club over a sustained period until the train hit the buffers in 2012. His personal commitment was stroking his huge ego.


The re-emergence of Alastair Johnston both as a Director and now as a “person with significant control” largely escaped the Scottish Football press but then so does anything significant over at Ibrox. He and new Director Barry Scott (yes, the Cillit Bang guy) have “significant control”, and Alastair may have injected some of his personal fortune to keep the lights on for another month. What is it with successful businessmen and throwing money down a black hole?

The loss of John Gilligan from the Board will be a blow to the terraces. He was interviewed on The Rangers* TV recently and finished his stint by telling the camera “We are the People”. This is the equivalent of Peter Lawwell or Ian Bankier smiling into the camera at Celtic TV and finishing with “Up the Rebs”, or bursting into a verse from “The Boys of the Old Brigade”. But John Gilligan clearly is a cretin.

It is of course Panto Season. Anyone with an interest in the unfolding story over in Govan will know that there have been multiple Chairman, CEO’s and Directors since liquidation in 2012, so Companies House announcements are not unusual.

What is unusual is that we now have three of the original (pre-liquidation) Directors of Rangers (IL)* re-united (four if you count Andrew Dickson) in full glare of the game’s administrators. Like killers returning to the scene of the crime, but with the police acknowledging them and hoping they are not about to do the same again.


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