Aidan Smith: If Rangers want to act all offended, we’ll just have to humour them
HE’s brilliant at his job, a true man of vision. He gets to wear the sharpest suits and drink whisky mid-morning at his desk. His wife is beautiful, as indeed are all his wives, and all his mistresses. All the women watching want him, all the men want to be him. He’s got an impossibly full head of hair, perfectly slicked, whereas it can seem like the Rangers manager is losing clumps of his by the day. So why on earth would Ally McCoist not want to be compared with Don Draper?
OK, BBC Scotland didn’t exactly do this the other night, introducing live coverage of the Gers-Motherwell League Cup tie from Ibrox. Sportscene decided to borrow the opening credits from Draper drama Mad Men, a falling man sequence which has become as classic as the show. The figure was meant to be McCoist and I guess, in whetting appetites for the game, the programme was trying to illustrate the precariousness of Ally’s position, were Rangers to exit their second competition in the space of a week.
It was a joke. And, this being Sportscene, where animated humour maybe isn’t quite as finessed as on Match of the Day 2, it was fairly clunky. But I repeat: It was a joke.
Come the end of the game on Wednesday, with Rangers having comfortably progressed to the next round, the official response from Ibrox could have been “Ya-boo-sucks!” The club could have said that the joke was firmly on the Beeb for its rubbish prediction. Instead, they deemed the sequence “tasteless”. The fans were “furious, and rightly so”. And McCoist, “who is known for his good sense of humour”, was “angry and disgusted”.
Why did they react like this? Not because Rangers are operating with a siege mentality right now (and they are). Not because, having always been slightly envious of Celtic’s persecution complex, they’re masochistically delighted to have one to call their own (and they are). Not because they’ve always rejoiced in the rest of oor fitba’s disinclination towards them (and they have). No, it’s because they don’t have a sense of humour, and neither do Celtic.
To the rest of us, those who support the diddy teams, this is self-evident and irrefutable. If you win all the time – as the Old Firm tend to do – if you’re got all of the trophies, all of the fans, all of the best players, you cannot also see the funny side. In some senses, it’s not their fault.
Rangers and Celtic have no use for a sense of humour, for what, if they could, would they ever laugh about? They cannot laugh at the other clubs in Scotland because to them the diddy rump is insignificant. For humour to hit the mark, you have to know your subject and the Old Firm – whether it’s Kilmarnock four times a season or a once-in-a-light-blue-moon trip to Elgin – simply don’t.
Ask an Old Firm supremacist to rattle off their last half dozen domestic fixtures and I seriously doubt many could.
Humour in football comes from the position of being the underdog. Quite obviously, you cannot possess the gloomy, gallows wit of the fan facing up to a trip to Ibrox or Parkhead and all that will entail – a stick-on penalty denied by the ref, a decent view of the incident denied by the rotten seat down by a corner flag to say nothing of the rotund beam-ends of the Strathclyde Polis – if you already belong to one of these places.
There’s a very good reason why the radio laugh-in Off the Ball is so brilliant. It’s presented by a Motherwell fan and a St Johnstone fan. With Old Firm hosts it just wouldn’t work – oh and by the way, Rangers don’t much care for that BBC show either.
When Rangers fell from grace and down the divisions, a lot people were disappointed at their lack of humility but I haven’t been surprised they’ve continued to blast and fume and rage.
Me, I’m more disappointed with the lack of humour. Just one wry comment would suffice, maybe about the team bus getting lost on the way to Annan. Go on, Ally, you used to be quite funny on A Question of Sport (another BBC programme, which presumably paid him well).
One measly gag might not sound like much, but the rest of us survive on such morsels.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East