The Ragman's Trumpet

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Here's the gig back in the day. Once a month, a sublime marketing strategy was enacted in your street. A shambling man, replete in bunnet, string tied and patch repaired overcoat, shod in odd wellies; would sit atop a horse and cart. He wheeled the rig to the optimum point and stepped back on to the flat-bed. He reached for a piece of bent and bashed brass, then took a deep breath, pursed his lips, and let forth with a long doleful note. This Pavlovian cry demanded all children pester their mother to supply discarded old clothing. You took your bundle towards the breathless cove, and he rewarded yo with a balloon. Often, I have wondered the Dragon Den's response to a pitch of such simplicity?

Of course, David Murray refined the strategy. After, having decided to be be heavily influenced by Conrad Black. Yep, Davy sounded the horn twice a year, at the AGM and end of season flag party. Tales of selfless investment droned, the higher notes were private jets and succulent lamb, concluded with a crescendo of doing best for Rangers. The bugle sounded and the balloons were waved. I arrived and climbed the stairs at Annie Miller's, it was the inaugural meeting of four persons embarking upon a nine month journey to launch the Rangers Supporters Trust. The Barmaid followed, noted the coolness of the room and rectified it by lighting the gas heater. She apologised that the room remained in a state of moderate distress, a function's detritus of glasses and balloons littered the bar.

Two hours later, we had listed the 17 companies providing services to our club, all had David E. Murray as majority shareholder. We did calculations based on provided figures reference the club's stationary contract serviced by Primus (guess who owned Primus). We reckoned for every pound being invested by Murray, his companies were taking £11.70 out. Leaving Miller's, I burst the balloons. I spent five years on a mission to burst everyone of David's balloons, it was meagre reward offered in a doleful off tone.

Recently, I have been hearing the clarion call again, emanating from the national broadcaster. A marketing strategy sounded on a challenging note. It's a variation on the question, 'have you stopped beating your wife'? The usual suspects are peppering discourse with key phrases, 'Celtic's Champions League journey is for the good of all Scottish football', 'Celtic are doing it for Scotland' and, 'we should all be grateful to Celtic for bringing the glamour of Champions League nights back to Scotland'. Pat Bonner knows there are Rangers supporters out there that will never accept such phraseology, but would like to hear from supporters of other clubs willing to offer Celtic all the best. Surprisingly, the Producers have found such fans. Tom English wants those not enthralled to explain their objections? Ah, those sonorous soothing tones of the emerald isle!

These last two weekends, the blawing oan ra trumpet has begun to rasp. Big Richard Gordon spent half time at the live commentary of his beloved Aberdeen and ra Sellik, reading from the scoreboards. He informed the listenership of the prices of the Champions League three game package, for each stand, including the various concessions. Did a Producer prompt? That evening, Cosgrove and Cowan hosted Hugh MacDonald, and he was most anxious to spend ninety minutes telling us, "of the fantastic value the the three game package was". He ran comparisons with both theatre and concert tickets. Cowan forwarded some Hydro ticket prices. Cosgrove congratulated Celtic for staying in touch with their support, "very reasonably priced". Stu' went further, he knows several Manchester City fans that no longer attend, don't care because they have been priced out. I should remind readers that Cosgrove claimed to know two former season ticket holders at Ibrox who no longer attend because they do not consider Rangers to be the same club. It was the same night Stu' interviewed 'Gordon the Jambo' from Glasgow who recited the songs sung that day during their victory at Tynecastle over Rangers. If you believe 'Gordon the Jambo' was anything other than a Pacific Quay Producer, then you also believe Keith Vaz is a good choice to Chair the Standards Committee.

The blast of brass became louder on Saturday, the dynamic duo opened the show with an apology to Pat Bonner. Their Producer demanded they assuage Paddy's sensitivities because the week before they had referred to Packy as, 'an official ambassador of Celtic football club'. Despite Bonner justifying every award to ra Sellik, citing every decision against as a calumny, encouraging both Tom and Liam (McLeod) to join in with the cheerleading, and littering his commentary with the pronoun, 'we'; Pat is offended and the Producer ensured justice was done. The next two hours saw Keith Warwick as their guest. He is the leading actor/cohort in, 'Celtic - the Musical'. Yep, Celtic FC are the Producers and timings, dates, prices (including concessions), and locations were duly broadcast.

As ra Sellik have done with the Daily Record, cowed them with 'Thugs and Thieves' and now allow them to provide the service of printing the matchday programme and ra Sellik View; BBC Scotland now provide the marketing service. I wonder, can any Gersnetter provide the service of a photograph depicting BBC Scotland's Chief Football Reporter, Chris McLaughlin blowing with gusto on the Ragman's trumpet? All those providing will be rewarded with a balloon.

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