A few weeks ago I wrote an article about our inglorious Chief of Operations, Martin Bain entitled ‘You only sing when you’re spinning,’ an ode to his loose interpretation of the truth and his constant use of laughable hyperbole to portray what can only be described as catastrophe. I had hoped to that in time he would reign in his distortion of facts and his habitual reliance on amplifying mediocrity but here I am again, trapped in a Ground Hog day of my own, where each new day appears to be the same as the last.
Bain seems to be cornered into a parallel universe of his own, where his own pomposity and unblemished self-belief in his personal greatness is only matched by his absolute conviction that we are as appreciative of his magic, as the 5000 hungry souls were when Jesus miraculously turned a few loaves and fishes into a biblical Harry Ramsdens.
As several writers of Roker Report were discussing Mr. Bain’s most recent interview, released yesterday, a bizarre but nevertheless seductive theme kept raising its head. Phrases such as ‘self-obsessed,’ ‘Messiah complex’ and ‘The King Canute of his domain,’ brought images to my mind of another self-absorbed media obsessive with great power over many people. A man equally cursed with a faulty tanning bed that seems to be accidentally fixed on the default position of Overdone Gammon.
Yes. It’s true, the comparisons between the first ever amnesiac Honey Monster to be elected President of the United States of America and our very own maestro of misrepresentation were startlingly and curiously obvious, and the juxtaposition of these two influential snake oil salesmen is not all comedic - indeed many of their shared traits are depressingly familiar and incredibly worrying. So, encouraged by the writing team of Roker Report and perhaps by their dark and disturbing senses of humour the Bain/Trump article was born.
Let’s begin with their reassuring skill of properly judging character and ability:
President Trump effused praise on his first pick for National Security Advisor - General Michael Flynn.
Gen. Flynn is a wonderful man. This man has served for many years, he's a general, in my opinion a very good person. A great person. A patriot. The concept of Russia with respect to him is a total phony story. Never happened.
Gen. Flynn was fired only 23 days later after it was revealed by Intelligence services that Flynn had held countless meetings with Russian officials as early as 2015, with 18 in the last 6 months of the presidential race alone and then subsequently lied about the meetings to his own Vice President. Flynn also took hundreds of thousands of dollars from Turkish dictator President Erdogan to increase his political influence in the US. Turkey had even registered Trump’s patriot as a ‘Foreign Agent.’ Well done Donald.
And what of our own Glaswegian dial-a-Trump? When describing David Moyes six weeks into the manager’s reign, he exclaimed:
David’s probably one of the top four managers in the Premier League in terms of the games he’s managed.
He’s a builder, a guy who absolutely understands the need to win first and foremost.
Nine months after this optimistic description Moyes was out, after guiding us to relegation, playing the most mind numbingly negative football one could imagine and killing the principle of hope altogether. Yes - Bain’s top four manager was in fact a bottom one manager and the master builder who wins first and foremost was in truth an expert demolition man and lost almost every time.
Interestingly, President Trump and his brother from an another mother have a joint history of curiously increasing their personal salaries despite the businesses and employees for which they are responsible taking a terrible turn for the worst and running up uncontrollable debts that either led to bankruptcies or mass redundancies.
When President Trump’s luxury hotel business was on its knees after racking up debts of $1.1 billion dollars and faced four separately filed bankruptcy orders, Trump manipulated the finances and managed to find the money to increase his personal annual salary to $82 million dollars - which I’m sure that was a great source of comfort to the long suffering employees who lost their pensions and could no longer afford to pay the mortgage.
Bain, who suffered his own bankruptcy when his marketing business went in his own words ‘belly up,’ like Trump has managed to reinvent himself and therefore enrich himself in the process. Early in his Rangers career, Bain was drawn into a dodgy bung probe exposed in the French media when it was confirmed he used £150,000 deposited in his Monaco bank account by a murky Serbian football agent to buy a £300,000 holiday home near Cannes. Questions were also raised about his true influence at boardroom level as Rangers were subject to a HMRC probe over almost £50m that was paid into controversial employee trusts during his time as director. And despite Rangers PLC accruing a debt so crippling they are still nowhere near any form of fiscal recovery, Bain took a contentious 35 per cent pay rise, which took his salary to £633,000, as well as a bonus of £165,000.
Not bad work if you can get it, I’m sure you’d agree. Like Trump, he didn’t do too badly out of a despairingly desperate situation.
But look - many will argue the rights and the wrongs of businessmen and women exposing legal loopholes to avoid taxes or using bankruptcies as a way of protecting their own assets hidden in other places. Many do it and perhaps we all would if we had more assets to protect. But it’s a coincidence they share that they never let the misfortune of others get in the way of they own enrichment.
Other parallels between the auspicious pair include the way they view themselves. They don’t recognise their own failings and despite evidence to the contrary they take credit for success, where little can be found. Part of a very narcissistic set of characteristics.
Trump has taken credit for everything from inventing Airplane Rallies for politicians (in fact they’ve been used for decades by several Presidents) to inventing Lady Gaga - true story. He believes he invented the word fake (according to Oxford Dictionary, fake was used as early as the 15th century - Trump was born in 1946) and for some reason took credit for actor Robert Pattinson’s decision to split from Kristen Stewart after she’d cheated on him, even though Pattinson claimed he’d never met him. He lies so incessantly about any random achievement you’d think the phrase ‘messiah complex’ was created just for him.
And what of our own King Canute (originally spelled as Cnut - again true - careful you dyslexics)? Our happily delusional leader for whom the very creation of earth itself must have somewhere down the line, been accredited to him.
About this season’s calamitous transfer window, where we had the budget of a League 1 team which has subsequently landed us in the bottom three - on our way to that very league, Messiah Bain has said:
I look at the transfer window as a success.
On our current situation in the bottom three, with only one win in thirteen games:
I look at that and I look at my calendar and I see it’s October…..with a squad of players who are committed…. I’ve got committed people at this football club working alongside me, I’m sure we’ll climb the table…
It may be October in this current season Martin, but we haven’t had a home win in 11 months! And who are these committed people you speak of? The heroes, vowing to vanquish our footballing woes?
I spoke to Lee (Cattermole) and John(O’Shea) the other night and they’re two gentlemen with determination who don’t like being where they’re at.
They don’t like being where they’re at??? The pair of them, perhaps more than any other players at the club have been involved in more Sunderland relegation battles than we can count. Believe me Martin, they are very comfortable at being where they’re at - it’s where they’ve been for the last 5 years!
But does Martin really have a Trump-type Messiah complex where everything is about him?
I have a belief that everybody working alongside me does care about the football club, including myself.
In a sentence of only 17 words he mentions himself 3 times. The whole interview follows the same trend of constant references to I and me and myself.
I mean…who on earth would speak like that? Oh….yes…I know…..
When asked about who he takes advice from on foreign policy Bain’s orange American cousin proudly exclaimed:
I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.
Is Trump, Bain-esque or is Bain, Trump-esque? It’s difficult to tell the permatanned PR twins apart at this stage.
Both manipulate the numbers to support their own success and greatness.
On the crowd size at his Presidential inauguration Trump’s then press secretary Sean Spicer declared:
(it was) the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.
They later quantified the attendance as between 2-3million, dwarfing the 1.8 million people who came out to see Obama. Factual reports from the Washington Police claim the attendance was nearer 600,000 a far cry from Trump’s ‘biggest crowd ever’ claim.
Likewise Bain… does anyone who attends the Stadium of Light regularly honestly believe our average weekly attendance is 26,500? Most observe the number to be closer to 16,000-19,000.
Trump claims ‘I’m one of the most truthful people you will ever meet.’ In yesterday’s Bain interview, he claims the same:
I’m a transparent guy.
Perhaps Trump’s best known for his make America Great again mantra. He explains his reasoning and rationale behind the slogan;
We want to get that back to where we belong, but at a lower cost. And that cost is going to be 10 percent (of what we spend now) And right now, it’s so high that no-one would never do it on a business basis. Bureaucratically…we’re going to bring money back into the country…I talk about a country that’s broken or a system that’s broken, it’s been out there for years. Nobody ever did anything about it. Now I’m here to make America great again.
Here is President Bain:
I want a winning mentality through the club because if we don’t start to believe we can win and achieve - it diffuses to other aspects of the club. You can look at the football club and say 'yes, it has got many challenges', but if I didn't think we could continue to improve then that would be something to think about. But I genuinely come in here every day believing that we can turn this club around.
He stops just short of going full Trump, and wearing an oversized cap that declares, ‘Let’s make Sunderland great again!’
Yes. We can joke about Bain and his Trumpisms, and we can marvel at the insincere intonation of their slithery and snake like words that are designed to beguile. But what they’re really trying to do is distract. Promise the world to desperate people and for a while until you’re found out, all will be rosy in the garden.
Once exposed they do what all great fibbers do and simply spin the yarn of deceit again.
But like the majority of American’s I’m sure, we Sunderland supporters are filled to the brim of deception. We are exploding at the sides with treachery, we are metaphorically vomiting on the bile of duplicity and losing our will to carry on for the weight of overreaching, distorted truth is on the precipice of squashing our ability to withstand its pressure - to a point where we may not recover.
By all means Martin, work to make Sunderland great again. But do so with integrity. No matter where we end up, as long as you have that, you will have our respect. It’s the only way to earn it.