A show boat to China

I spent a part of Sunday evening emailing folk in China.

It was largely unsuccessful.

I started off in the UK with an academic who has a published interest in professional football in China.

He was very helpful and promptly replied to each of my emails.

Finally, he put me in touch with a well-connected British journalist who is based in Shanghai.

Is sent him the following email:

Hello xxxxxx

I am researching a story about a Colombian player (currently in Scotland) possibly being the target of a transfer bid by the Chinese club Beijing Renhe.

I have sources that doubt the veracity of this reportage and I wanted to verify this piece.

Do Chinese clubs have media relations people as they do in Europe?

Many thanks

His reply was prompt and unambiguous.

Here it is:

Hi Phil,

They’re not going to have media people who speak English. To be honest, the vast majority of these rumours are total bollocks, mostly made up by agents and/or bored journos, since it is almost impossible to check the stories and there is enough buzz about Chinese money to make literally any rumour at least somewhat believable.

Additionally, Renhe already has their full quote of foreign players so they would have to get rid of someone at this stage to make way for any new player. In other words, I think you’re right to be extremely skeptical!


I related this attempt to stand up the Morelos China story to a Scottish journalist today.

For the avoidance of doubt, he is certainly not among the ranks of the Stenography Corps.

He told me that he had recently occasioned upon young Master Murts himself and that he had asked him about the Morelos story.

Like your humble correspondent the chap in Scotland was not able to elicit anything that resembled solid proof.

I am left with the worrying possibility that if you wanted to fabricate a story that a club was interested in your player then setting the fable in China is probably a smart move.

57 thoughts on “A show boat to China”

  1. They are the Carillion of Scottish football. And based on recent events the phrases ‘asleep at the wheel’certainly rings true! The directors and serious professional clearly feel they are worth every cent of the package they get from Sevco and would sit smuggly shrugging off rebukes from all and sundry!

  2. Rangers chief executive Stewart Robertson says the Ibrox proved they are not in financial trouble by rejecting an £8m bid from Chinese club Beijing Renhe for striker Alfredo Morelos during January. (Scottish Sun)

    I think this is known in poker circles as showing your hand

    The China Syndrome will live long in the memory and provide us all with a chuckle for many years to come

  3. Good stuff again Phil.
    I see the Daily Rag is still rattling on about the ahem…. huge bid from China.
    Both Ralston and Berry have put their names to todays latest offering. Maybe there’s some comfort in their shared embarrassment?
    When Morelos does get punted probably for somewhere between £1M and £2M how stupid are this pair going to look then?
    My bet is on another “undisclosed fee”.
    Why people buy this comic is beyond me.

  4. What so often goes unmentioned about the undeniably fraudulent 2011/2012 UEFA licence is that another club was denied the right it had earned within the rules to a potentially lucrative Champions League campaign. And that wronged club is saying NOTHING. In fact, that club has done EVERYTHING possible to shut up the dangerous, load mouth petitioners to avoid unpleasantness – and forget about the institutional cheating and major loss of revenue and more on.

    This isn’t just sleazy football mis-adminisztration. This smells of a heavy duty mafia protection racket that the government and police have a duty to jump on and stamp out. It is Scotland’s disgracee that neither have the courage or the motivation to give a shit.

    Best wishes to you’re mamma – and go careful on those stairs now – and don’t smoke in bed – it’s bad for your health. Ciao!

  5. Going off piste for moment, I see that the next bumper t.v. deal for English football is currently being negotiated.

    With our noses firmly pressed against the sweetie shop window, we in Scotland will await to see what leftover scraps will be thrown our way.

    This led me to thinking.

    Sky recently paid £11 000 000 to show the feast of entertainment that was Crystal Palace v Newcastle.

    What the world wide audience for that fixture was I don’t know but I’m quite sure it would have been nowhere near the world wide figure for a Celtic v Sevco game.

    Sky pay little more than a hundred grand to show one of their most watched world wide fixtures on the world football calendar. I might be wrong but at one point I’d heard that the Celtic v Sevco Rangers has the second biggest viewing figure for all games shown by Sky.

    However much I dislike it this should be a valuable bargaining tool when it comes to the amount of scraps thrown Scottish football’s way.

    Even if the SPFL were to go it alone with this fixture each year to try and raise revenue from it I’m guessing that way more than £100 000 would be realised from each game.

    It’s just about time we stopped grovelling at the feet of Sky and BT and being ever so grateful for whatever little money they throw our way and start being far more aggressive in our negotiations.

    Time to remind them of the value of what they are getting and how little they are actually paying for it.

    1. A few years ago went with mates to the local Celtic club to watch EPL games,now if we go very few people watch these games.
      Having read a recent article regarding Sky and BT, in which it stated that the last time they negotiated the deal they increased it by 80℅.The article also stated if it was not increased the English clubs would be in serious trouble.
      It also stated that world wide appeal for these games,and sport in general had declined.May be interesting times for EPL when the new deal is negotiated.

  6. I was struck today by how little I knew about the actual organisation, make-up and structure of power in the SFA, so I started a little research and reading.
    I soon encountered “Scotland United a 2020 vision”.
    You may be shocked, as I was, by how poorly written and presented this is.
    But you will be more shocked that the entire SFA “vision and strategy” is lifted from a fatuous NYT bestseller by Jim Collins called “Good to Great”.
    Mr Collins talks often in his writings of “Level 5 leaders” and the SFA have modelled their strategy for the future on these ideas.

  7. More Junk today in the two scottish rags that the club are in a good health having rejected the £8million offer from China. Apparently the shareholders have been happy with the decision and it was taken on footballing purposes and not financial.

    Whilst the player in mention is the leading scorer in the league, his goals per minute ratio is not the strongest. and if you look at his contribution in games against the top six, he is even less impressive.

    remember this player would have cost £16 million to the chinese club, which is 4 times their turnover. thats the equivalent of kilmarnock buying a player for £16million.

  8. Said it before and will say it again, as soon as the English window shut the Morelos story died, for me that’s all the proof needed that the story was,indeed, bollocks!

  9. I’m having a little problem with the numbers at Newco.
    I see a member of ICAS has been sent into bat this morning with Stewart Robertson asserting that the club has no requirement to sell and talk of an admin event at the club is nonsense.
    Well pardon me ICAS member but did the most recent accounts not show a loss of £6m plus and included a going concern note from the auditors, with a cash flow forecast shortfall of £7m plus over this season and next.
    The forecast shortfall included income from European competition, income from transfer fees and moving out some of the big earners.
    None of this has come to pass and days after the accoubts were signed off Pedro and his management team were let go at yet more expense.
    We were told in the notes to the accounts that King(NOAL) would fund the shortfall but there is no evidence that he has indeed stepped up to the plate.
    On the face of it the forecast shortfall number looks redundant and with the failure to move on players on big money plus adding a number of new faces in the transfer window the statement from the Ibrox CEO barely seems credible.
    In fact given all of the above it’s most likely that the £6m trading loss last year will look positively glowing compared with this year’s outcome.
    Just a few weeks now for King’s little difficulty with the TOP and Court Of Session to be ironed out.
    If the result is not to his liking is there a higher appelant court for the serial appealer to turn to and further kick the can down the road?

  10. Well done and Please continue to expose these charlatans in the MSM and at Ibrox
    A quick 5minute search shows that the guy the Beijing club just signed has twice won the Argentinian league , semi final of Copa Libertadores, played with St Etienne ,Celta Vigo & Atletico during the CL run , has many caps for Argentina & although 31 he’s bought for less than a Morelos bid?
    Jesus Wept!

  11. The SMSM iis going full on village idiot today.

    Walk-away EBT RRM failure for Scotland manager

    Ibrox caretaker can’t understand why walk-away EBT RRM failure is not already Scotland manager

    Managing Director of Charles Green FC says they have loads of money because they turned down a fantasy offer from mystery Chinese gentlemen

    SFA offer DOS and EBT architect CEO job and make him life president (that”s tomoorrow btw)

    And not a single doubting question from the Press Release Pavlov Dogs of the Scottish NUJ.

    I’m loving this Theatre of the Absurd!

  12. Any vestige of credibility I had for the BBC has totally gone now. I am gutted that the loss had to come with such a contemptible story. Surely an email to the BBC’s Beijing correspondent, an individual who probably has a translator available, would have stood up or denied bids and negotiations were taking place for Morelos?
    Anything the BBC reports now, I want to see a secondary independent source conforming their reporting is accurate.

  13. It reminds me of the sort of stories I fell victim to in the 1980s — “geez a tap of a tenner, the night boat to Cairo is due next week…”

    Validating such claims, without email and sources in Cairo, was virtually impossible in the 1980s.

    Should we assume someone was daft enough to believe this China stuff and give them a few quid?

  14. Give the sheeple a ball to play with. That’ll keep them occupied. Give them soccerball, american football, golf, basketball, baseball, racquetball, tennis. Have adults slaving all thier life & all they think about is men chasing a bag of wind around a field.

    Also give them ‘identities’ so that they think the ‘identity’ is who they are. Give them as many identities as you can & then play all of these identities off against one other. Give them the identities of race, religion, nationality, gender, political, sexuality, profession, income bracket, football team.

    Then set them off V one another. My identity bubble is better more righteous than your identity bubble. Sheeple are easily herded this way. They’ll not even notice that they are slaves & an elite owns & controls everything. Some sheeple will even vote for more powers for this elite & want them to control whole continents.

    Want to buy a carrot grown a few miles up the road? Pay a global corporation. Want some electricity? Pay a global corporation. Want to make a phonecall? Pay a global corporation.

    Just sit them in front of TV & give them beer & a ball game to watch. Give them news stories so they argue about their identity bubbles. Bread & Circuses. But remember and turn up for your slavery tomorrow or the TV & nice wee house will be taken away.

    Some sheeple are especially important in this game. They are called journalists. They will carry the deception to the masses to allow it all to happen. They will believe the emperor has clothes & it is all real because it makes them feel good & important. Without these journalists the deception could never happen.

  15. Thank you Phil for undertaking some actual journalistic work. The lazy barstewards at smsm don’t have to carry out researching their sporting headlines as the works of fiction are handed to them on a plate from the big, fat spin doctor and the high heid yin(GASL) who hang around the dead club like a bad smell. All these hacks do is make sure it goes to print without too many spelling mistakes and then jog on home to put their feet up and have a snooze before heading out to the lodge.
    WORK – this shower of balloons don’t have a clue ffs!

  16. So a Chinese club bids varying amounts for Morelos. When it’s pointed out that they have a full quota of foreign players the bidding club changes overnight, without explanation. Sevco apparently rejects the bid (which would have covered their funding shortfall) shortly before Morelos seeks a wage increase in line with the rejected bid, the same one Murty – and now the Daily Record – publicly question, despite confirming it earlier. Who do they expect to believe this?! 😂

  17. Carrie Gracie, until a week or so ago the BBC Chinese editor, said, before a House of Commons select committee ” if they don’t tell us the truth, how can we report it? “.
    She was referring to the payment imbalance existing in the BBC , how it was being portrayed, and the effect on reporting.
    Perhaps someone with journalistic accreditations might think that she could be helpful vis a vis the transfer story?

  18. Times like this Confucius comes in handy, he covered lying in his day.. ” To know that one knows what one knows, and to know that one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know, there lies the true wisdom”, and Samuel Butler hit it on the head when he said ,” The best liar is he who make the smallest amount of lying go the longest way”

  19. I agree with you Phil.But has this bluff not backfired with Morelos and his agent happy to believe it (or play along with it).Now they are looking for a bigger salary for the mixed up Columbian.

  20. The Walter Smith for Scotland campaign is well underway. I noticed the BBC’s Jonathan Sutherland refer to Walter Smith’s previous ‘three years’ in charge of the Scotland national side.
    It was actually 2 years and 39 days but why let facts get in the way of good story? It sounds better than ‘2 years before he jumped ship mid-campaign to manage his old club which is now died’.

    I was extremely disappointed when Smith resigned, and indeed McLeish after just 10 games, and would not allow either back for that reason. The Scotland Manager position is not a convenient stop-gap for the unemployed.

    1. BFDJ was vocal regarding Scott Brown returning to the Scotland squad after having “retired”. He doubts that Walter will be offered the job or take it for that matter, however, no mention whatsoever of him having had the job and jumped ship to Rangers.

      Funny that.

    2. I would be a little more forgiving of McLeish in regards to the Scotland job – the SFA installed him as a sort of mid-season replacement for Smith & really failed to back him beyond that campaign. There were whispers of replacing him after qualifying anyway & McLeish owed them nothing really, he jumped before he was pushed.

      He got a decent offer from Birmingham City and had seen out his short term goal to it’s conclusion after Scotland failed to make Euro 2008.

      It’s not a forward thinking appointment, but given the choice between the 2, I’d go for McLeish. Smith left Scotland high & dry, in the middle of qualification, to make a hero’s return to save the Bears and the SFA all but rolled out the carpet for him to do so.

      Both men offer no real change from Strachan though. At best they can maintain stability & hope for a bit of luck to make a playoff. It will take a younger man with new ideas to get more out of the squad than it currently deserves, the manager needs to be the difference. They finished 3rd (joint second on points) in a group last year we were arguably the 3rd or 4th best team. It’s just above par, but not good enough.

      1. Given the choice between the two of them…
        I’d go for me !!
        Neither of these RRM should be allowed any near this gig.
        There are also health issue rumours going around…regarding one of them.

    3. Exactly, digging the old ones up for a wee freebie go at the Scotland managers job. Smith has a brass neck, looking to walk into the job, after he walked away from the job initially.
      I wouldn’t,t let him near the job, but his mates in the klan, will see him right.

  21. Beijing Renhe may have their fill of foreign journeymen players – but news is coming in that the mystery Chinese gentlemen were so impressed during negotiations with The Young Master that they wish to buy out his “caretaker to the end of the season” contract for 55 zillion million billion Renminbi. Yes, Murts is saving Rangers and achieving 55 in one stroke.


    We don’t need no stinkin’ sources!

  22. Why was Beijing Renhe chosen as the DCK head scapegoat in the Chinese Premiership?
    Well to buy Senor Fernandez, Bejing Renhe had to dispose of one NIKITA JELAVIC.
    Some joker wi a poker habit thought he could cover his gambling debts by suggesting this jolly jape to the DCKhead at Ibrox.

    And NO, Rapid Vienna were NEVER PAID for by Glasgow RANGERS F.C..

  23. Some dates for your diary

    Wed 7th Feb – King must submit grounds for appeal and notes of argument to Court of Session re Take Over Panel appeal

    Thu 15th Feb – King to sumbit mote of authorioties and case law along with appendix of documentation re above

    Wed 28th Feb – start of two day appeal hearing – assuming Lord Malcolm accepts there is anything to hear.

    King is burning the vlaue of several squad players on QCsto buy time to avoid the cold shoulder being applied – with all that entails for himself, for RIFC, for TRFC, and for the directors of both.

  24. Has anyone asked the erstwhile BBC journo who claimed to have seen the offers if he had actually verified their authenticity I mean, in todays age anyone could print up a piece of paper and “claim” it was an offer.

    Also, it is curious that no one has asked who it was that supplied this information on the alleged offer. Would be curious to know if it was someone at the club OR, as is more likely the case, someone operating on a different Level.

      1. Not sure that’s what he stated. From what I read, it was that the original stories all referred to verbal offers having been made, but he took it a step further by saying he was shown an “actual” offer. In any case, we all know the entire story’s patent nonsense.

  25. Ah, so the Morelos transfer story is Hong Kong Phoney. Thanks for Peking into this debacle, Phil. You deserve a Shanghai five for your efforts, my old China.

  26. Augusto Fernandez just signed for Beijing Renhe for $5.59 m, moving from Atletico Mardrid. Why would a SPFL player get a bigger fee, when Beijing Renhe would have to sell one of their already signed foreign players?

    Murts, himself, doubted this story the day before he was beaten to submission by the DCK head at Ibrox.

  27. Why did you have to do some journalism, and spoil it for the SMSM ?

    I’m sure the Morelos story will now be corrected accordingly in the DR, ET, etc.

    Aye right!

  28. Surely the emotionally committed did not loan the full amount of the risible Chinese offer against some King promise of first dibs on transfer cash. So there is still probably a big hole in the accounts before ST money can be accessed. Who will King rip off to fill that hole. You can’t help thinking that if King applied as much ingenuity and effort into balancing the books in the conventional manner, that RIFC finances might be heading in a sensible direction.

  29. Why couldn’t a journalist based in Scotland have done this, and informed their readership as long ago as last week, or even before?

    Because they chose not to. I guess ‘informing their readership’ as to facts is not their raison d’être.

    It is no wonder that print newspaper sales have fallen off a cliff, and are still falling. The impact at the bottom will be a sore one, but it will be deserved.

    1. It only took me a few hours of emailing to be put in touch with a guy on the ground in China.
      My NUJ Press Card attached to all emails.
      As it stands now I cannot stand up the Morelos China story.
      However, the chaps on the sports desks in Glasgow seem to be rather trusting on this one.
      Quelle surprise…

      1. Chinese window still open till end of Feb, allowing DK to dangle this imaginary carrot in front of whatever gullible “investor(s)” he is targeting

    2. The klan is a powerful weapon in today’s Scottish football press. Their clout is enough to put decent people from telling the truth. Bunch of bigoted freaks.

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