Last week we received a surprising email as the publishers of shameless former Rangers owner Craig Whyte’s autobiography, Into The Bear Pit, contacted us offering us an advance copy ahead of it being published today.
So, being the ever-curious Rangers fans (not to mention journalists) that we are, we replied and had a copy sent out and spent much of last weekend reading through it.
Given the historical importance of Whyte’s involvement in the club, there was a real possibility that this could have shed some light on what was going on behind the scenes at Ibrox as the financial crisis engulfing Rangers under Sir David Murray allow Whyte to buy the club for a £1 before ultimately being acquitted of charges of fraud relating to his takeover.
However, after everything that has happened since Whyte’s Wavetower bought out Murray’s majority shareholding in 2011, this book was never likely to be a warts-and-all telling of one of the biggest scandals in British football.
Picking up Whyte’s book and seeing “The Explosive Autobiography” plastered across the cover immediately blew any potential there could have been for this to be anything other than a tabloid-esque tale with more basis in fiction than fact.
The first sentence in the first chapter of the book gives the game away as Whyte begins: “For as long as I can remember, I was always thinking how I could make some money.”
Money seems to be the one motivating factor in Whyte’s life and, unsurprisingly, it’s a common theme throughout as the shamed businessman inadvertently (or maybe not) paints himself as a person who exists only to see who he can skim the next few quid away from.
Whether it was boasting about leaving school with £20,000 in the bank or name-dropping former neighbours in Monte Carlo, there’s nothing in the book that kills the perception of Whyte as a money-grabbing spiv out to feather his own nest at the expense of everyone else.
Despite having been at the helm during the financial collapse of one of the world’s most recognised football clubs, Whyte is incredibly light on detail on his reign as Rangers owner and chairman.
While he isn’t shy in slagging people off – some with more subtlety than others – he often skips around answering allegations made against him by Rangers fans, such as where the proceeds from the sale of the club’s Arsenal shares ended up.
Everything that happened during Whyte’s tenure was blamed on someone or something else as he uses the book to attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility for the collapse of 2012.
It’s clear this isn’t a book aimed at Rangers fans – or based in reality for much of it – and is very much targeted at the moon howlers who rely on certain by-donation bloggers for their latest made-up stories from within Ibrox.
The fact that it has been released today, the eighth anniversary or Rangers going into administration under Whyte, should tell anyone that it is nothing more than a shameless money grab, as well as an incredible work of fiction.
Whyte claims at one point that history will judge him better than he is viewed now – and of all the claims in the book, this is the most ridiculous of them all.