When even the boost you gain from the night in front of the telly with Jim White isn’t enough to keepy-up your spirits.
Fed up listening to the buzz of the wireless and the telly, staring at threads, articles and newspaper gossip about one particular player, you wish it would all go away and this nightmare would end. This time around it seems only Kenny Miller has left the Club, so the constant fretting about a handful of our better players departing hasn’t become mad panic and sky is falling in hysteria.
And we’ve even brought in some players. Finally after years of being linked with him and (not) wanting him, David Healy - who was good for Northern Ireland, in case anyone forgets to mention it - has received the honour of signing for the Club he has always loved. And, in lieu of any YTS schemes, Manager Smith has brought in Arsenal youngster Kyle Bartley – birthday July 12 - and rescued him from a life of stalking by Sean Bean.
So far; so-so; so what next?
So El Hadji Diouf!
There’s no doubt that this is a head-scratcher, to say nothing of the inevitable expectoration gags.
Despite the good work carried out in the name of the charitable foundation he founded it’s not difficult to find a number of incidents to paint the man as a bit of a disreputable and troublesome character. Allegations follow him wherever he goes, and he has let himself down in the heat of the moment on a number of occasions.
This trait hardly makes him an isolated case – either in football, or professional sport in general. It does, however, mean that his acquisition is a true risk and it may be asking too much to expect a player with such a history of bizarre and frankly repellent behaviour to stand up to the scrutiny that will come as a result of his move to the SPL fishbowl.
Still, he will be in good company. He can call up ex-Celt Mark (o) Viduka to discuss the spitting habit. Should he wish to branch out into threatening women he can call into Tennents Bar and ask for @officialneil and receive a text top-up, all the while pleading for the secret to success: how do you spit on a Rangers scarf and hurl sectarian abuse at the bench and yet retain your status as misunderstood victim? Even with four Glasgow derbies remaining, EHD is unlikely to suffer the indignity of being sent off twice in one game. It’s probably for the best if he ignores Charlie Mulgrew’s top tips for toddler transit and treasury.
Leaving aside the morality, (you can be one of the 20,000 or so who buy The Scottish edition of the Times should the mood for self-loathing and self-flagellation take your fancy) there’s the more serious concerns about his form.
He’s not and never has been prolific - he isn’t a striker – but he has played consistently at a high level (21 for Blackburn in the EPL and cups this season) and is fit and with a point to prove (and perhaps another move to earn). Walter Smith spoke of his desire for some more options in forward positions and with Healy and (especially) Diouf on board this has been realised. Listening to Smith’s reasoning behind the move – his last as manager of The Rangers – promises to be worth the effort. The very idea of David Healy and El Hadji Diouf as a forward pairing is probably enough to cause spasms and wild extremes of bodily movement among supporters of a particular persuasion.
What we must hope is that the reaction we experience is one of joy and perhaps relief, as the new boys play a part in the quest for 54 and the domestic cups. The window is now closed. It’s time for the real business to begin again.