Oooh – Suits You Sir!

The Venn diagram that contains readers of both this blatt and the Daily Record must be a very small one indeed, so if you need an introduction to their star columnist Barry Ferguson then here’s a quick reminder courtesy of our Keeper of the Crypt.

Hamilton born and the younger brother of a Rangers player, (Derek Ferguson) Barry Ferguson was never ever going to be anything other than a Rangers leg-ned now was he?

Few though can have lived the dream that is being a legned so fully and with such gusto as this suave and charming lad did.

His brother was more of a mere ned than a legned but also had real ability as a footballer and he could have been a really good player were it not for neddery and injury but young Barry was to have the much longer career despite never having anything like the talent of his older brother.

Although the adoring Laptop Loyal suggested otherwise, Barry was actually one of the most boring players who ever lived – a sideways passing, square ball, niggling player who never once made a telling pass in a big game. A sort of Rangers version of Peter Grant although he may have lacked Pedro’s pointing capabilities.

So why was such a mediocrity worthy of Legnedary status?

Well for a start off he was not what you would call a handsome chap. Nobody ever looked in the mirror and wished they had a face like him. With his creepy, thick eyes and a sneery, petulant, unintelligent-to-the-point-of-inbreeding, expression this would have tested any mother in the ‘face only she could love stakes’. Some unkind souls suggested that he looked more than a little like the young Hillbilly boy who plays the banjo in the classic eco-thriller Deliverance but I would never be so unkind… to Billy Redden.

And then there was the small matter of the Young Legned’s behaviour. Sent off during the match played at Celtic Park on the 27th August 2000 (I really do not have to tell you the score do I?) he gestured angrily to the crowd who may just have been wishing him well on his travels.

He decided to chill out by hitting the high spots of Bothwell that night and got in a fight from which he emerged with a somewhat sore face. His choice of schmutter for this sophisticated cocktail party? A Rangers’ tracksuit.

A year later and Rangers are losing to Celtic in the first of that season’s Glasgow Derbies. It is very tense. Suddenly two bags of ice are thrown into the Celtic dugout. The thrower? Yes you guessed it – the Legned himself. Celtic went on to win 2-0 by the way.

The truth about what happened at Rangers during the period in which Paul Le Guen was manager has not yet been fully revealed though the general consensus seems to be that the Rangers’ captain did not do much to preserve the Auld Alliance.

However, it remains one of the great mysteries that Rangers’ then Chairman David Murray, widely acknowledged as both the world’s greatest businessman and provider of the most succulent lamb ever served, backed Ferguson over the man trumpeted by the self-same oligarch and (alleged) friend of Joanna Lumley as being one of the best coaches in Europe just a few months before. Perhaps it was to do with that transfer that Banjo Boy had been involved in as he moved to and from Blackburn Rovers in 2003 and then 2005. Who knows?

And then of course there was that famous occasion when Ferguson travelled home from Scotland’s World Cup qualifier with Holland in March 1999 and the Legned got so blootered in the bar back home that he was dropped from Scotland’s next match. Ferguson sat in the stand during that match and made mature and witty hand gestures to the assembled photographers to further enhance his reputation.

The World’s Greatest Businessman was so impressed that Ferguson was punted to Birmingham City where his dynamic play saw him appear in 72 league matches and score no goals.

Barry finally hung up his boots after an unhappy time as player and then player-manager at Blackpool where he played 81 games and scored one goal.

So as a pundit, his expertise must come from his days as a manager rather than his somewhat overblown status as a player?

Well, as far as management goes he took to it like a brick to water – managing an impressive 3 wins and 12 losses in 20 matches during his time at the seaside. Huzzah.

He went to Clyde as player manager in 2014 and led them to a Scottish Cup defeat to non league Spartans and during his third season managed to avoid winning a match in December, January and February. He still had a touch of class, though. He was banished to the stand after the aforementioned Spartans cup tie During the match Clyde’s manager, the indefatigable Legned himself, swore at fans who were stood behind his dugout.

He had a spell at Kelty then popped up at Alloa where he encountered Celtic again in the Scottish Cup in Ange’s first season. His team’s agricultural approach put paid to McGregor for a few weeks and Ideguchi for considerably longer. He was sacked from there as well.

So if it’s not as a player or a manager he derives his insight then it must be his business acumen. After all, that’s an important aspect of the game these days, isn’t it?

Alas, it seems Bazza’s attempts to evade the Taxman have been about as successful as his attempts to avoid the sack man. Despite being the beneficiary of a £2.5 million EBT (and being improperly registered all those years) he was declared bankrupt. was previously a director with Eclipse Film Partners No.9, who allowed backers to claim tax relief through investing in the production of movies.

In 2016, the Supreme Court upheld a judgment that a similar partnership was a tax-avoidance scheme.

And with that CV, Banjo Boy now writes a column for the planet’s worst newspaper, the ‘The Vow’ inventing Daily Record (not that he would mind that – he was a supporter of Better Together back in 2014). His credentials as a hack are that he used to play for Rangers before they died, and that appears to get you a long way these days.

Along with a host of other fanboy cheerleaders for the zombie club playing at Ibrox he is now at liberty to perpetrate the myth that his fellow sevconians are watching the same club as the one he played for and he rarely misses a chance to hand out massive doses of Deludemol to his adoring readership.

This season, before the first derby match at Celtic Park he offered up this guff under the headline below:

The closer we get to kick-off the more I’m having to stop myself from reaching for my old shin guards and digging out my Castore top!

Clobber, as we shall see, is quite an important theme in his body of work.

These are the only games that make me wish I could wind the clock back and get the boots back on. And this one has even more appeal and anticipation than most. When Celtic put nine goals past Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday there wouldn’t have been a Rangers fan in the country who didn’t tug a bit nervously on his short collar. The speed and movement of their attack that day was frightening and, yes, it does make you wonder what Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players might be walking into this weekend.

The typo I left in as it looked weirdly apposite. That’s if it is a typo; it may well be that they do indeed have collars on their shorts. Nothing would surprise me with Castore.

They backed that up by changing an entire team and rattling another four past Ross County on Wednesday night so they’ll be going into this one full of self belief. They’re going to be dangerous, no doubt about it. But let’s not forget here that Rangers have been going about their business very impressively since the start of the season, qualifying for the Champions League with a monumental performance in Eindhoven.

That will be the monumental performance where the Eindhoven defence were practically throwing the ball into their own goal. That one?

While Big Ange has only one way of playing, Gio has shown he can roll out plans A,B,C and D. Sometimes in the course of the same 90 minutes!

No wonder they looked so confused during that 4:0 defeat at Celtic Park, what with all these plans being rolled out. As for ‘Big Ange’, that one way of playing is the winning way. Still, it’s Banjoy Boy’s job to get the troops up for it…

So he’ll know what is required from his players. Keep it tight, withstand the early onslaught and then, once they’ve grown into the game, look to pick Celtic off on the counter because, let’s be honest, they don’t half leave themselves wide open at the back.

The notion that Celtic under Ange are somehow defensively profligate is one that seems to have lodged deep with the likes of Bazza and Flanders. As it happens, Celtic have the best defence in the league and ended up that season conceding a miserable 22 goals in 38 games.

His tactical insight was spot on right enough. Wee Gio’s team withstood the early onslaught so well that they were three goals down after 40 minutes.

Gio, as older readers will recall, was a team mate of Ferguson’s at one time. That meant he was ‘my old mate’ in print and therefore quite hard to stick the boot into in the way that Paul le Guen wasn’t. As for Ian Beale, well, Bazza was ready and willing to sing the praises of the ex-Eastenders star’s re-introduction of some good old-fashioned staunchery.

The Record gave an article on December 14th the following headline:

Michael Beale bringing back Rangers tradition of brown brogues will see them a shoo-in for success – Barry Ferguson

And this sub-headline:

Barry is adamant that standards are important at Rangers and that includes how the players dress in order to set the tone.

Picture Alfred E Numan from Mad magazine as you read the opening paragraph:

Michael Beale might be a thoroughly modern manager but he has made an old-school decision that had me beaming with pride when he announced it.

For ‘thoroughly modern manager’ see Le Guen, Paul and Caixhina, Pedro.

You might think this is daft…

This is a rather obvious signpost that something daft is coming up.

… but Beale ordering the Rangers squad to turn up suited and booted for home games from now on, is massive in my eyes.

Wearing a suit, collar and tie and, of course, the brown brogues isn’t going to score you a goal when the match starts but this is a statement about standards.

Actually, ‘daft’ doesn’t really do the preceding bit justice. Other, better adjectives spring to mind.

It would appear the manager gets what the club is all about and he is trying to install the values that, to me, were part of being a Rangers player from the minute I first walked through those famous front doors on Edmiston Drive as a 15-year-old apprentice. On match days, I would be the hamper boy and cleaning up after the games and all that kind of thing, but I used to see the likes of Richard Gough striding through those doors wearing that suit with obvious pride and a look that said “we mean business today”.

Do the hamper boys not wear suits (and of course, the brown brogues)? Tut tut. And did Richard Gough ever just walk anywhere, or is it compulsory to stride whenever you’re wearing the brown brogues? And that ‘we mean business today’ look – is it taught to Rangers/ sevco players at some bizarre staunch cotillion class??

Whatever, it sure impressed our scribe:

I loved it. And it’s right up my street that Beale has brought back the tradition because it’s all about standards and it’s what I wore on matchdays at Ibrox throughout my entire playing career at the club, working under Walter Smith, Dick Advocaat, Alex McLeish and then Walter again.

Remember the preamble to this? Suits were for match days. Rangers shell suits were obviously for when you were going up to Bothwell for a brawl (Don’t wear the brown brogues with your shell suit – that’s a real social faux pas).

I’m not sure when the players were allowed to wear tracksuits instead of club suits –

Maybe when they were going to Bothwell for a ruck?

and I totally understand that when they are playing away from home and travelling is involved – but for me, it’s great that the new manager has reintroduced it at Ibrox.

Having said that, obviously it’s more important the team does the business when the suit comes off and the kit goes on and I can’t wait to see how they get on against Hibs tomorrow night.

Wow, there sure are a lot of quick changes going on in this article. I just hope you’re keeping up with the dress code.

The srticle is padded out with some guff about the sevco squad the material for which has been gleaned from sources such as, ‘I watched some of the new boss’ first game against Leverkusen at the weekend’ and ‘I’ve looked at the training sessions under Beale and his staff that have been posted on the club website and YouTube’.

Such thoroughness would put most scouts to shame and leads to the kind of quality insight you might find in a primary school class newsletter:

And talking of training ground, what a boost it must have been for Beale to see Connor Goldson coming back a lot quicker than he would have anticipated when he returned to Ibrox. I know Goldson has his critics, but he’s one of the cornerstones of the team and it was a massive blow to Gio when he went out injured.

The big fella is a leader, a real presence and a moaner on the pitch. Sometimes you hear him and wish he’d shut up, but then again, I was exactly the same so I can’t complain about that! Even if the Hibs game comes too early for him, he’ll be back sooner rather than later and that’s brilliant news for everyone at the club.

Let’s round it all off by recapping the main theme, though.

We started this by talking about tradition. Another one we had was pinning up things in the dressing room that the opposition had said negatively about us.

There are other traditions as well that he doesn’t touch on. Quick chorus of the Billy Boys now and again was always a popular one.

Lee Johnson’s comments about Celtic being a much better team than Rangers would have been on the pinboard back in my time. Maybe it will be tomorrow night as well.

Obviously Johnson’s comments were construed as fighting talk. Fetch my shellsuit hamper boy, and get me a cab to Bothwell!

I know if I was in that dressing room, taking off my suit, shirt, tie and brogues and pulling that blue shirt over my head, I’d be using that as a motivation to prove the Hibs wrong.

Another costume change. It must be exhausting in Bazzaworld!!

One final glimpse into the human condition to conclude, seeing as he’s opened another fortune cookie:

Sometimes you have to look to the past to help you move forward.

And learn something. Let’s not forget that.


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