Second is nowhere.
And here, as we find ourselves up in arms about the potential sale of our top goalscorer for a reputed £4 million, life is bitterly cruel at times. Boyd splits supporter opinion like an eastern European gymnast's legs but that's not to say we don't all value his goals nor do we consider the sale of another first team star as anywhere near acceptable without any real replacement. The complete lack of ambition this move shows has sickened us all and we should never have been allowed to find ourselves in a position where we have to sell at this stage of a season. I'm an advocate of the 'Ajax' model; I think it's the only way the club can go to generate serious funds to see us get to the realistic level of a 2nd tier club in the Champions League (FC Porto etc), but selling at the cost of achieving that goal is utter lunacy in anyone's language.
When we consider that the agent's fees alone of the Kaka deal would have cleared our current reported level of debt we should be in no doubt of the financial gulf between the Blue club of Manchester and the Blue club of Glasgow. It would appear that Sheikh Mahon-Masonicali is not going to magically appear in Govan and have us chase Leo Messi but we are not alone in that regard.
Unfortunately, we can point to our nearest and dearest enemy on the other side of the city and see that Lawell does not need to sell in order to keep his club in generally acceptable financial shape whilst competing for the title and a Champions League spot. With an extra 10,000 season ticket holders (who probably only attend ten home games a season judging by their recent attendances) it gives them an average £4 million head start on us each season. This coupled with the fact they have signed a shirt deal with Nike, which I suspect eclipses our current deal with JJB /Umbro, should give them the advantage until we can substantially enhance our revenue streams to compete. By that we would need real stadium expansion, which for some reason is not a high priority for the regime even with stadium re-development talk.
'Money can't buy you love', as those peace loving Scousers once said. Nor can it guarantee success on the football field but it can buy you a lot of expensive duds like Gravesen, Keane, Donati and Bobo: who is going to get them - in the pocket. We have to hope that 'Lawell's blue-chip signings' remain just that and that the real 'blue-chip signings' they make are in the minority. Those facts alone make for depressing reading and, it could be argued, are the most damning evidence of the failings of our current regime. When the clubs fails to make a profit on its most lucrative European run in 15 years the hard questions have to be asked and no-one should be criticised for doing so.
Which brings me on to the fall-out over the RST's 'We Deserve Better' Campaign. The David Murray must go banner seems unfortunately to have clouded the issue to an extent with some of the 'mainstream' fans. That coupled with the majority of the Scottish media's juvenile reaction to the statement - slating it without discussing or probably even reading it - has ensured the Trust come in for much criticism as mischief-makers and antagonists. I don't believe the Trust to be flawless and I'm not the most active member of the organisation but I can see the points being made in the statement are strong and valid and should at the very least be debated in as many public forums as possible. Jim Traynor and Chick Young's reaction to the statement last Saturday afternoon on Sportsound (where both scoffed and asked who these people were?) would have been laughable if their opinions were not so sadly influential in the mainstream as the Record and the BBC undoubtedly still are.
However, if the Trust statement has opened the eyes of another few thousand supporters and encouraged them to want answers to these questions then the statement has not been in vain and perhaps the bar of expectation has been raised. This club has prospered over the years by the saying that 'Second is nowhere in Glasgow': that statement applies not just to matters on the pitch but to what we expect of the people running our club.
And we shouldn't, and won't, settle for anything less.
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