17 December 2012

Angela Haggerty, at the bat

By Chris Graham | CRO Contributor 

Whilst chuckling at the latest installment of propaganda from a relatively new heroine of the Celtic online ‘family’, I thought it would be worth finding a proper description of the malady that is currently afflicting a rather large and vocal group of football fans in Scotland. I found the following:

The study of collective delusions most commonly falls within the domain of sociologists working in the sub-field of collective behaviour, and psychologists specializing in social psychology. Collective delusions are typified as the spontaneous, rapid spread of false or exaggerated beliefs within a population at large, temporarily affecting a particular region, culture, or country. Mass hysteria is most commonly studied by psychiatrists and physicians. Episodes typically affect small, tightly knit groups in enclosed settings such as schools, factories, convents and orphanages (Calmeil 1845; Hirsch 1883; Sirois 1974).

I am no sociologist or psychologist but I’d imagine these types of issues manifest themselves in a complete refusal to accept any evidence that refutes the delusion that you are currently experiencing. So, for example, if you desperately want Rangers to have ceased to exist, and have been told by several of your high profile chums that they have indeed “died”, then you will obviously not want to hear from the football authorities that you got it so wrong. 

In these circumstances it would appear to be best to ignore what you know to be true and just continue with the same old tired propaganda you’ve been trotting out for months. It must be particularly hard if you have taken the first faltering steps of your career based on these delusions and now find that you’ve made something of an idiot of yourself.

Up steps Angela Haggerty. 

Angela, as some of you will know, has several remarkable skills. Firstly she can apparently read books upside down, if her appearance on Channel 4 news is anything to go by. Angela is also the editor of a fiction book loosely connected with Scottish football and written by the ‘author’, ‘journalist’, blogger and bigot, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. This work of fiction was recently reviewed in the Scotsman newspaper:

“The sirens started to sound at the first of several references to Rangers supporters as 'the Ibrox klan'. The author makes no attempt to disguise his hatred for Rangers, stating at one stage 'please let this football club die'. And yet he yearns to be taken seriously as a journalist, repeatedly complaining that no-one from the mainstream media ever calls him. As the tale unravels, Mac Giolla Bhain starts to disappear up his own rear, declaring: 'I am aware of my own contribution and I rather like the guy I see in the shaving mirror every morning.' These are two classic mistakes: believing you are the story, and wanting a story to be true. When it’s not.”

So there we have it, a work of fiction. One might be forgiven for wondering if perhaps Angela edited the book upside down as well as reading it that way. Perhaps she was just trying to get it to make sense? Either way, the review is not exactly a ringing endorsement of her work but it seems Angela has not learned from her mistakes. “Wanting a story to be true, when it’s not” is very much the basis for Angela’s work.

Angela’s most recent foray into writing is entitled “Why the word Sevco matters”. Snappy. The first line will give you an idea of where we are going here: “Yes, Sevco. Yes, a different club. Yes, it matters.” We then go on to find out that, “Yes, the new team plays at Ibrox. Yes, the new team plays in blue. Yes, the same supporters go to see them and yes, that is probably satisfactory enough for those supporters to believe it is the same club.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes? Well, no. Actually Angela, that isn’t satisfactory. Here are a few things that are satisfactory though.

The SFA has already confirmed the club’s continuance by transferring the license, albeit by blackmailing the club into accepting several sanctions and propping up the Sky deal. Angela is confused about this, she thinks “Sevco is a new club and rules were created on-the-go by the SFA to accommodate it.” She doesn’t enlighten us as to what these rules are or where we can read them. That is because they only exist in her head and the heads of those also afflicted by this mass delusion. The licence was transferred; there is no new club, Angela.

Then we have the European Club Association (ECA) which is the only body recognised by FIFA and UEFA as representing clubs at European level. Their stance on this is again quite clear. Rangers are the same club they have always been. They have been relegated and are therefore not able to hold the same level of membership of the ECA as before but “it was concluded that Rangers FC was entitled to associated membership of ECA as considered to be a founding member.” 

This is somewhat problematic for Angela and her fellow deluded as it is not clear how “Sevco”, being a “new club”, could also be a founding member of an organisation that began in 2008.

Then we have UEFA. Now, Angela thinks UEFA don’t recognise Rangers as the same club because they will not grant the club a license. This won’t come as a surprise but again Angela is confused. This is a Financial Fair Play rule and effectively exists for precisely the type of scenario that the club finds itself in. We are effectively banned from Europe for 3 years for going into administration and emerging with a new company in charge.

UEFA have just published their coefficients for European competition for 2012/13. Rangers are ranked 88th. Our history in Europe for the past 5 years is acknowledged, as normal, as part of those coefficient tables. So Angela would have us believe that a new club, formed at the start of this season, has somehow managed to gain a European ranking above the likes of Newcastle, Auxerre, Rosenborg and others - quite an achievement. 

So the SFA, ECA, SFL and UEFA all recognise Rangers, the club that has existed since 1872 and does so today. Up against that we have Angela Haggerty, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, Paul McConville, Brian McNally, BBC Scotland and various assorted waifs and strays from the online fan bases of several Scottish clubs who can’t bring themselves to accept that we survived. This is a mass delusion that will continue to be fed daily by the zealots who inhabit the green and grey corners of cyberspace.

So let me change that paragraph in your most recent ramblings for you Angela - for the sake of accuracy which I know you will value being a journalist

“Yes, the new team plays at Ibrox. Yes, the new team plays in blue. Yes, the same supporters go to see them. Yes, the team is called Rangers. Yes, UEFA recognise them as the same club. Yes, the ECA recognise them as the same club. Yes, the SFA recognise them as the same club, Yes, the SFL recognise them as the same club and yes, that is probably satisfactory enough for those supporters to believe it is the same club.” 

There we go, much better. Most satisfactory! Now, you were saying?