31 August 2012

Guilty as Charged


by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo |

Like many Rangers fans I eagerly awaited today’s verdict on the charges of disrepute levelled at Rangers CEO Charles Green and team boss Ally McCoist by the SFA.

After hearing that both men were found guilty I don’t know whether to be relieved at the piffling sentences handed down to Chuck and Ally – a censure and a three-match touchline ban suspended for a year, respectively – or angry at the decision to find both men guilty.

What I will NOT do is what we are all supposed to do – shrug my shoulders and move on.

The real story in this tawdry tale is not the trifling nature of the punishments dished out to Green and McCoist; it is the astonishing conclusion reached that these men merit punishment at all.

In McCoist’s case, he was simply asking that Stewart Regan not renege on his pledge to provide complete transparency in the legislative and judicial matters of the Scottish game i.e. no more faceless, nameless panels held in secret handing down judgments.

As for Green, his accusations of bigotry directed at Rangers by other clubs and their fans is easily proven with a quick trawl of internet forums and blogs.

In a nutshell, both men were right. By normal standards of equity and justice, that is.

But that’s where the real problem lies in this sorry chapter.

Because long before Charles Green and Ally McCoist showed up to argue their respective cases in front of the beaks, their guilty verdict was decided upon.

You see, being charged with a breach of rules, especially the infamous Rule 66, by the SFA is to be automatically guilty in 2012.

If you are an official of Rangers Football Club, that is.

Such is the culture of hatred towards Rangers – yes, downright bigotry – that it is impossible for Rangers’ employees to get impartial justice from the increasingly discredited Scottish Football Association or the SPL.

The game is not if club officials are suspected of rule breaches, try them fairly and equitably.

The new game is, ‘What can we pin on Rangers and smear them with guilt before the mock trial which will deliver a pre-determined guilty verdict?’

It increasingly looks like the governing bodies in Scottish football’s main purpose for existing is to dream up and impose crippling sanctions on Rangers.

Rangers fans are often accused these days of being the bad guys because we want the SPL clubs to die. But why should any Rangers fan seek the welfare of clubs who did their best to viciously put the boot in when Rangers were in need of help and sympathy?

Be assured, there will be no mercy shown to those who showed no mercy.

The petty jealousies and superiority complexes of both SFA and SPL officials toward Rangers is simply because RFC is bigger than all the other clubs combined.

Scottish football would be a pub team setup without Rangers FC.

In fact, the way SPL teams are performing so far in cup competitions this season, a few pub teams might give them a good game!

The biggest danger to the sentences passed down on Charles Green and Ally McCoist is to just accept them because “they could have been a lot worse.” That is a pile of crap. If they could have gotten away with much tougher punishments, they would have dished them out.

I refuse to accept the guilt of Green and McCoist on these matters. I don’t accept the decision and I don’t accept the punishments.

Now I can’t change the verdict but that’s not the issue. The issue is what the verdict galvanises me into doing.

The guilty verdict on Chuck and Ally makes me more determined than ever to defend Rangers from its many enemies and detractors.

It also strengthens my resolve to do all I can to do my part to expose and bring down the corrupt cabal that is like a cancer at the heart of Scottish football.

I don’t want an SFA run by Rangers or run for Rangers’ benefit more than other teams.

But I most definitely don’t want an SFA run by Rangers’ enemies with an agenda to persecute and cripple our club.

There is one thing we Rangers fans have in common with the haters who pollute the offices of the SFA and SPL.

We have also prejudged them, just as they do with the club we love.

And we find them guilty of hate, bigotry, prejudice and corruption.

Guilty as charged.

SFL3 Preview: Elgin City


by Peter Ewart | CRO contributor | @Seasider06 |

Elgin, East of Inverness, Northwest of Aberdeen, and close to the Moray Firth, is an ancient town dating back to the 11th century. It is a seat of early Scottish Kings and close to the site of the death of King Duncan - the historical basis for Shakespeare's Scottish play.

These days Elgin is a relatively affluent town with close links to the Armed Forces given its close proximity to RAF Lossiemouth and former RAF base at Kinloss now to be used by the army.

THE CLUB

The Black and Whites are a pretty ancient club having been formed in 1893 from the amalgamation of Elgin Rovers and Vale of Lossie.

The club were long time members of the Highland League before being admitted to the Scottish football league in the year 2000 along with Peterhead.

They have never made it out of SFL3 but did come 4th last season (despite an 8-1 away defeat to league winners Alloa) their highest ever SFL finish earning them a playoff place. They took a first leg playoff lead courtesy of a one-nil home win to Albion Rovers, but lost out 2-0 in the away leg at Cliftonhill.

ELGIN PUB TRIVIA

Davy Robertson managed the club between 2003 and 2005 and Andy Goram made five appearances during this time for the club, two facts I suspect that are not unrelated.

All 478 seats in the main stand at Borough Briggs come from Newcastle’s St James' Park. When Elgin City were elected to the Scottish Football League in 2000 they obtained them when NUFC was revamping the seated areas in its Milburn Stand.

THE GROUND

Central to the town (not far from the Wetherspoons) and close to the River Lossie, Borough Briggs follows a familiar pattern for the lower league SFL clubs. A small main stand with social club flanked by terracing and surrounded by undeveloped areas behind the goals, one raised with banking, with some covered terracing to the far touchline.  The capacity of 4927 makes it one of the less small grounds we’ll be visiting.

Away ticket chances (8 out of 10)

This one is looking slightly more hopeful with the ground holding practically 5000 we should be looking at an allocation of around 4000. We don't travel to Elgin until the end of November and it’s a fair bet quite a few Bears will make a weekend of it, otherwise it’ll be a bloody long day on the bus.

VIEWS ON THE RANGERS SAGA

From 12 July: "The Directors of Elgin City Football Club have continued to discuss the present crisis facing Scottish Football and have carefully weighed up all the possible scenarios and their outcomes both for Scottish Football and Elgin City FC as a viable club.
"The club have reached the decision that it cannot support the proposal for Rangers Newco to be directly admitted to Division 1 but will support entry to SFL Division 3 in season 2012 / 2013. The Board thanks the supporters and other interested parties who took time to express their views to the Club during this testing time for the future of our game."

Elgin will come to Ibrox on Sunday having started the weekend as SFL3 league leaders and will deserve our full attention and application. And if 4.30pm on a Sunday seems bad to us, you have to feel for the Elgin fans making the 400 mile round trip.

On Twitter: @ElginCityFC 

Club website: www.elgincity.com

An Ode to Kirk Broadfoot


by Andy McGowan | CRO contributor |

This week signaled the end of his Rangers’ career of one of the clubs longest serving players: Kirk Broadfoot. Having been with the club since 2007 Kirk Broadfoot has witnessed the highs and the lows during his time at Rangers, making 80 appearances during his five year stay and also winning five caps for Scotland.

Broadfoot was part of the first team squad which won the SPL title between 2009-2011, featured in the UEFA Cup Final, and also part of the side which won the League Cup in 2008. During his time at Rangers his versatility was utilized as he played all across the back four although most often at right back.

As he prepares to leave for pastures new I can’t help but ask the question, why is he being released? No, he is certainly not a fan favourite. He is often said not to be ‘Rangers class’ as the old cliché goes, but surely it is now time to reassess what it means to be ‘Rangers class’.

There is no doubt in terms of ability that Kirk Broadfoot can play third, second and first division football; he is a Scotland international, after all. Yet there seems to be a real lack of apathy about his departure. I can’t tell you what Rangers strongest back four is at the moment, and I highly doubt even Ally McCoist could. We have signed several defenders but none of them big names, none of them internationals, and none of them as decorated in terms of achievements as Kirk Broadfoot.

I am not saying that these players couldn’t be better than Kirk Broadfoot: Sébastien Faure looks to have potential given his youth CV and Emílson Cribari has played the majority of his career at a high level in Italy. No, what we appear to be missing here is that Kirk Broadfoot offers us something we badly need right now – stability and understanding.

It will take time, months at best, for our new back four not only to settle in the squad but settle in Scotland, and into Scottish football. Life in Division 3 is not for the faint of heart; we’ve learned that the hard way. Will French, Greek and Brazilian styles really suit the rough and tumble of Scotland at this level? Even in the top division the game is industrial.

Kirk Broadfoot also understands the club, he understands the pressure of playing for, and what it means to be one of the privileged few who play for Rangers Football Club. This is something badly lacking in the defensive department at the moment with the most senior defenders having only been at the club for little over a year, not including the youth players of course.

The decision may have been purely financial; at £9-10k a week maybe the club felt Kirk Broadfoot didn’t offer enough bang for his buck as it were, but then the club has lost all of its top earners and retained its biggest source of income – Season ticket sales. The club is potentially in its healthiest financial state for almost 20 years, certainly since the ego of David Murray cast a shadow over the clubs future.

Most importantly however is that Kirk Broadfoot did what many others did not, he stayed. In the weeks following the rejection of the CVA we learned who had taken a wage cut to help the club and who had done so to strengthen their bargaining position in the transfer window. Kirk Broadfoot was one of only a few players who stood by the club while others who Rangers had made millionaires walked out, costing the club millions in transfer fees.

Even players from within the Rangers’ setup such as Jamie Ness who could not have made it as a professional without Rangers countless attempts to cure his injury woes walked away. Kirk Broadfoot showed the club loyalty beyond the call of duty and perhaps he should have been given the same in return.

The grass is always greener as they say. Many fans will disagree with this article but personally I will be sad to see Broadfoot leave the club. He was part of some very good memories for supporters such as the run to the UEFA Cup Final as well as a 3-in-a-row won against all odds. We owe players such as Kirk Broadfoot a debt of gratitude and I hope you will all join me in wishing him well wherever he signs. Thanks for the memories Kirk; the good ones far outweigh the bad, and don’t let people tell you otherwise.

30 August 2012

Nessinator on: The Current RFC Squad



by The Nessinator | CRO special guest | @JamieFukinNess |

Nessinator's back again, although we've been warned by Tony Pulis that if we don't leave him in the bubble wrap the whole time he's under our care that he may not grace our step again.

Thankfully, I had some time during the power outage last night to build a padded room addition onto our home. No worries, Tony! Nessi's safe here.

Anyway, here's the Nessinator on the new-look Rangers. As always, unedited and maybe a little bit jacked up from all the painkillers.
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The bench at Stoke is a lonely place, none of these cunts sitting next to me speak English, even the lads from Stoke, if that’s English then Neil Lennon loves the Rangers. Since I’ve no pals down here I decided to write my latest blog from the bench while my new team mates draw 38 games in a row.

There’s been more people evicted from Ibrox than the big brother house in the last couple of weeks, so much so that people say to me “hey Nessinator, after all the comings and goings what would your Rangers starting XI be?” and I reply “Well person I made up for the purpose of this blog intro, I don’t actually know.” Since this fake conversation took place I’ve been giving it some thought to the new Rangers squad, so let’s take a look at the first team in a way that will be in no way accurate or helpful, much like every other thing I’ve written.

Neil Alexander – Poor Neil, he’s the football equivalent of being in the friend-zone, for years he played second fiddle to shagging legend and all round Judas Allan ‘I betrayed my wife and club’ McGregor, but times have changed for Neil! He’s out of the friend-zone and shacked up with the number 1 shirt! Sadly for Neil it’ll probably only be a rebound relationship, let’s just hope he doesn’t drop a clanger in the meantime.

Carlos Bocanegra – Captain Carlos looks like he’s on Mars with the probe taking photos of rocks. Boca looks like he wants out and you can’t blame him, his position is in danger, who wants to lose their position as a Tom Cruise stunt double? I hope he stays at Rangers, because sometimes I like to listen to AMERICA FUCK YEAH! And if he’s gone we will be yankless.

Kirk Broadfoot – The foot is going, going, gone. It won’t be the same round Ibrox without him galloping down the right, he was always happiest doing that, then if he put in a good cross the gaffer would give him a sugar cube and stroke his mane. When he finds a new gig hopefully it’s not Stoke, the last thing I need is a poached egg injury.

Emílson Cribari – I am reliably informed by Wikipedia this guy is a centre back, so expect to see him playing left back while Lee Wallce plays right mid because Barry McKay has been sent to right back to replace Broadfoot. I literally know nothing about Emílson Cribari, the internet says he won the Supercoppa Italiana with Lazio in 2009 but I think the SFA have took that off him now.

Sébastien Faure – Seb has never played a first team game! (according to Wikipedia, which other than the Celtic players pages that I’ve ‘Improved’ I just assume is right about everything.) He’s played for the France under 17’s-20’s so it’s safe to assume that he’s shit hot because Yaya Sanogo in Football Manager is shit hot and also hasn’t played a first team game and played for the France unders, flawless logic.

Ross Perry – He might look like a posh toff wank shaft but the lad can play! I like Ross Perry, just as friends though, he’s not my type. His foot doesn’t work properly or something thought so we might not see much of him this season, he’s missing a toe or a toe nail, who knows I wasn’t really paying attention last season I was counting all the money my agent told me he could get me for being a back stabbing little dipshit. Anyway he’s a good player he should start when he’s fit.

Lee Wallace – My favourite part about Lee Wallace was that he hadn’t been paid for and it really got it up the paedo protection squad over at Tynecastle. He’s a quality left back but I miss the Papac, we signed him from Rapid Vienna when PLG was in charge did you know that? Yes, yes you did but ESPN told us every fucking week anyway.

Anestis Argyriou – He’s a Greek defender…….I’ve got nothin’ I can’t even pronounce the guys name, it look’s like a baby bashed the keyboard, which is actually how they name people in Greece and Poland, that’s true facts, no it wasn’t racist, it wasn’t! Shut up Ashley I didn’t call you a choc ice.

Ian Black – Super cunt! It’s like being pals with the terminator, only better because after Ian Black is done killing cunts from the past he can do your front room for a competitive price. I’m thinking of hiring him to go into the past to take out Craig Whytes maw, ergo eliminating Craigy Whyte from history and saving Rangers from administration, then getting him to paper my hall, we’ll see how he does with the time travel murdering part first then we’ll talk wall paper.

Lewis MacLeod – He’s had a great start, but due to Ally’s formation which I’ve taken to calling the Eton Mess, I’m not entirely sure where MacLeod is meant to play, some say he’s a forward, some say he’s a winger, some say he actually plays through the middle, all I know is he’s called the stig! He’s easy on the eye is Lewis, so is his sister! Offt! Any of you follow her on twitter? Yes please Miss MacLeoad!

Lee McCulloch – The Jigatron! The Jiggymac! The Jigavic! We all love Lee McCulloch, you know what you’re getting with Jig, tits teeth and elbows. Ally seems to have moved him back into the middle of the park which seems strange to me because Jig is as mobile as David Murray running away from the tax man. Wherever he plays, whenever he plays I think we can all agree he’s awesome, I wish he was my dad.

Dean Shiels – Now I know what you’re all expecting here but it’s not going to happen, we are all learned men who appreciate good wholesome comedy and who would be involved in such childish comedy? Not EYE! AHHHH! Reeled you in and battered you to death with a club! Classic fishing. Anyway Deano looks a bit of a player and he hates the tims….probably so he’s tops in my book plus he turned down some diddy SPL clubs to be here so hopefully we see a lot of him this season, because he won’t be seeing much of us! 2-0!

Kevin Kyle – Presumably a garden shed didn’t fancy playing in division 3 if we’ve signed Special K. He’s been injured all around Britain has Kev, seemingly retired life didn’t agree with him because he decided to come back and collect a wage for doing fuck all at Rangers, which was his specialty while at Hearts, Ally must have been on the booze with Bomber when he okayed this one, maybe if we send him down the pub Alan Thompson will lose him.

Andrew Little – Wee Andy spent his summer fishing…fishing for steroids by the look of him, he’s come back fitter than ever this season and rocking a 6-pack, not the kind of 6-pack Thommo drinks when he’s losing stuff, the 6-pack that makes us all feel like a failure as a man and a human-being, that kind of 6-pack. He’s started the season in fine form and is putting new signings upfront to shame.

Barrie McKay – Wee Baz is having a stormer so far! He looks like the kinda guy who would steal your car if he wasn’t in the most over paid profession on the planet, hes traded a life of ASBO’s for WAG’s and thank fuck he has because the lad has a trick or two, hopefully one of his tricks isn’t a disappearing act because Everton are interested, if I ever met Davie Moyes I’d kill him to death with a hammer STOP STEALING OUR PLAYERS EVERTON!

Francisco Sandaza – Last on the list is fittin for Franny, because the cunt is slower than Duff and Phelps selling a football club. The horse faced lesbian has so far looked slowed confused and slightly baffled, maybe it’s this playing in front of a crowd bother that’s got him out of sorts, being a former St. Johnstone player he probably had more team mates than supporters last season so we must give him time to adjust to his new surroundings. However Ally has to be careful, playing Franco and Kevin Kyle at the same time could result in time just stopping dead, that would suck, I wouldn’t ever get to see Martin Kemp win celebrity big brother……I hope we sign Martin Kemp, he can’t be worse than Kyle.

What a squad of players, I’m sure now with a little help from your friendly neighbourhood Nessinator you can all name your preferred starting XI. If you can’t please feel free to contact Britney about it and make your feeling known with nasty things about him and his wife “Hi Graham, personally I don’t know if Ross Perry should start every week, your wife’s a filthy filthy whore, Kind Regards Andy” that sort of thing. Alternatively you could just disagree with me on twitter @JamieFukinNess but my way is much more fun. Time to go and beg Tony not to sign Broadfoot and to change his look, its unnerving having a shower at the training ground when your manager looks like a massive sex offender, the tims can relate to that I’m sure.

The New Age of Defiance


by Andy McKellar | CRO contributor | @AMCKEL |

Last week some of you may have read the excellent Bill McMurdo’s “Taking offence on the offensive” article which featured on CRO.

After lots of head-nodding and agreeable grunting, I decided to try my hand at discussing the subject of the Rangers support, our past failings, and why we are now gradually moving in the right direction. So here goes:
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On 23rd November 1988 David Edward Murray purchased Rangers Football Club in a £6M deal that would change the landscape of Scottish football forever. The Ayr-born entrepreneur and businessman swept into power on a wave of positivity and determination on his part to make Rangers not only the best team in Scotland but also on the continent. Sir David, as he was eventually to become known, was ambitious and hungry for success, as his growing business empire would suggest, and he was keen to make his mark on the world of football. There is no doubt that he eventually achieved that but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

As well as the considerable financial might that Murray brought into Rangers, his defence of both himself and our Club was staunch and unwavering. Any criticism was simply intolerable and the mainstream media certainly had to be wary of what they were printing. Murray had even been reported as requesting certain journalists be ‘removed from their position’ should their articles continue to attract his disapproval. It wasn’t to last.

Someway down the line as his dreams of European success were waning, our owner and chairman seemed to rather relax whatever perceived grip he had over the Scottish press. The Club that he had held such high hopes for had now become nothing but a burden on his shoulders, and with the recession biting hard into his personal wealth we were cast aside and the ‘For Sale’ signs were erected at Ibrox. Suddenly we were left as sitting ducks, an easy target for the bloodthirsty media in our country who simply couldn’t wait to take aim and get torn into Rangers and its vile, bigoted supporters. Such demonisation sadly still continues today.

Craig Whyte immediately sought to rectify the position of Rangers as a target on the firing range of the Scottish media and the BBC soon became a high-profile enemy. Of course, with perfect hindsight, his motives were perfectly clear and many fans, including myself, were strung along by his defiant defence of himself and the Club. This was not to last for long as he eventually sought refuge in the comfort and luxury of Monaco when the story of financial meltdown began to unravel in front of our very eyes. Utter cowardice.

Once again we were the victims of a negligent and possibly fraudulent leader, but that mattered little to the press who sharpened their claws and began to tear into the tax-dodging, morally corrupt carcass that lay before them. Fortunately HM Revenue & Customs were objective enough to look beyond the cloud of deceit and find the facts that really mattered. They now intend to ‘pursue the individuals responsible’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if criminal charges were raised against either of our former owners. They’ll certainly receive no sympathy from me.

Moving on to just where we find ourselves today, I am happy to report that the apathy which has enveloped our support for years now seems to be gradually diminishing. While we can point our fingers in abhorrence at the so-called stewards who badly let our Club down, we must also accept that, in certain elements, we did ourselves no favours. Perhaps we suffered from the fact that Murray was so vocal during the early years of his tenure and that we were rarely required to actually defend ourselves. Perhaps we were lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that we were almost untouchable during that time. Whatever the reason, I’m glad we are now moving in the right direction.

Charles Green, our new chief executive, is doing a damn good job of leading from the front, his ongoing battles with the football authorities in particular. I hasten to think just where we would be just now if the spineless Martin Bain was still at the helm, particularly this summer when someone most definitely had to fight Rangers’ corner. Indeed it has been Green’s spirit and PR work which has seen the Rangers Family form a more united front than anything I can remember in the past. Fans have queued for hours and turned up in the thousands for fourth-tier matches and that is testament to the new found togetherness that has permeated the blue legions.

Sadly we have been rather amateurish in our behaviour and have fallen behind the times in respect of just what is expected, or perhaps even required, from the modern day football fan. Dr Stuart Waiton, who some of you may remember from a previous article on CRO, describes the “newly constructed model citizen” as being “the thin-skinned, chronically offended victim of ‘abuse’, ‘harrassment’ and, of course, ‘offensive’ words”. In the fan culture of Scottish football I firmly believe his description is completely accurate but up until now it has been other fans screaming out in disgust at our behaviour. We refused to drop to their standards and maintained the dignified silence that has long been a proud characteristic of Rangers Football Club. Unfortunately such a trait has no part in modern day life as a football fan.

Some of you may recall that we unfurled a banner which depicted Celtic fans jumping aboard ‘The Offended Bus’ during a previous meeting at Ibrox. We mocked their sense of injustice and the forever-offended attitudes of ‘Scotland’s oppressed minority’ and laughed at any talk of footballing conspiracies. Now however I am of the opinion that it is a similarly ‘everyone is out to get us’ mentality that we must now adopt, challenging our detractors at every possible turn and defending ourselves as and when required. It has become all too fashionable and easy to have a kick at Rangers in recent years and if we are going to buck the trend then we must find our voices now.

I note with interest that George Galloway has recently faced calls for his resignation after referring to a Rangers fan as a ‘windae-licker’ on the social networking site, Twitter. The phrase, which is often used as a pejorative term for a disabled person has been met with considerable outrage, possibly heightened by the fact that it was said just as the Paralympics were set to begin. Mr Galloway is certainly no friend of ours.

In addition, The Rangers Standard, a fantastic new website with which I’m sure many of you will be familiar, featured an article by Chris Graham entitled “Alex Thomson – Downfall”. In this article Chris discussed the rather discredited Channel 4 reporter, his unhealthy obsession with Rangers, and his curious relationship, if I can call it that, with Phil Mac Giolla Bhain amongst others. He also noted that Alex was a little less enthusiastic about investigating stories such as Harper MacLeod’s conflict of interest and the curious actions of the SFA & SPL. Perhaps this was because he could not simply regurgitate the reporting of other media outlets as he has done with his previous ‘work’.

Above are just a couple of examples of our support moving in the right direction, and our efforts in ensuring media outlets such as STV and the BBC referred to our Club with its proper title, rather than Sevco or New Rangers, deserve recognition. We have the right and the ability to challenge journalists who continue to peddle lies and mistruths about our Club and our support and it has been refreshing to see many fans exercise such an entitlement. Long may it continue.

Not long ago we had thousands of fans descend upon the doorsteps of Hampden for a protest, a number larger than nearly every match that was played in Scotland that day. We had a full house, passionately supporting our Club in an act of utter defiance when we hosted Kilmarnock following our unfortunate slip into administration. Last week we sent 49,118 to a fourth-tier league match. It is clear therefore that, if anything, recent tribulations have only served to galvanise and heighten our passion for supporting Rangers.

As our management and players embark on our new adventure in the SFL, with somewhat mixed fortunes thus far admittedly, hopefully it will signal a new found enthusiasm amongst the Rangers support and allow us to ensure that we never find ourselves in the apathy-riddled state that we have just awoken from.

Mr Struth once famously said, 'No matter the days of anxiety that come out way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be over overcome'. Now is our chance to add credence to that claim.

27 August 2012

Taking Offence on the Offensive


by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo |

At some point during the David Murray regime the now-disgraced former owner lost interest in defending Rangers from its many detractors.

Accusations went uncontested and slights were not opposed by a man obsessed with image and publicity. David Murray was evidently peeved enough with his club’s own support to leave them – and the club by extension – twisting in the wind. A cold, bitter wind as it would turn out to be.

When the swell of bad feeling toward Rangers reached tsunami proportions, partly due to envy of the years of success on the field under Murray’s stewardship and definitely not helped by a mounting arrogance, it has to be said the abandonment of any defensive structure PR-wise by “Sir” David left the club woefully exposed to its enemies.

The lean few years at the end of the Murray era, followed by the plunge into the abyss thanks to the pinhead Craig Whyte, saw a once proud club mercilessly and savagely picked on by the slavering hordes of Rangers-haters.

Defending Rangers under mountains of abuse, vilification and accusations from media, pseudo-intellectuals and self-serving politicians, not to mention religious agitators, fell to peripheral supporters’ organisations and individual fans, as well as blogs like “If You Know Their History.”

During this shameful time, all David Murray had to do was employ a PR man to work solely on stuff like the “If You Know Their History” website and throw the many instances of misdemeanour by Celtic fans, officials and players in the teeth of Rangers’ enemies. Instead, Murray sat back and let Rangers be the whipping boys.

In the past couple of decades, Scotland has been engulfed by an ocean of pretend hurts and offences suffered by people whose lives have apparently been terribly blighted and scarred by Protestant bigotry – mostly perpetrated by the fascist Rangers supporters. The “offended” have come out in droves, using the digital age along with good old-fashioned letter-writing to tell the world of their suffering at the hands of the cruel Rangers thugs that follow the big bad team at Ibrox.

This ocean of offence is a carefully-orchestrated campaign to discredit Rangers and keep the massive support the club has in check. There are political forces in Scotland that clearly see the Rangers fanbase as a massive obstacle to their own designs for Scotland’s future. This cannot be brushed off by Rangers fans who only want to focus on the football; it is clear that Rangers’ enemies have more than footballing reasons driving their agenda.

Lessons must be learned from all of this. The culture of Rangers-hating has become so established and accepted that it has permeated every footballing body in the senior game. Both the SPL and the SFA can now make up rules as they go along, flouting all semblance of natural justice to both wreak terrible damage on Rangers while at the same time extorting the club’s commercial power.

You just have to wonder what would have happened if Murray had put a guy on 30K a year ten years ago to be a PR hitman dredging up dirt on anybody attacking Rangers Football Club.

Thankfully, there is a growing army of bears now doing just that and pretty much unpaid. Some are a bit over-zealous and make mountains out of molehills but many are spot on and effective in exposing the anti-Rangers agenda, as well as uncovering the weaknesses and shoddy dealings of Rangers’ enemies.

The club must be proactive now when it comes to these matters. There should be a Bureau of Offence in Ibrox, highlighting every little snide comment and sneaky attack on the club, like the recent incidence with the PA announcer at Falkirk. Every bigoted comment on football message boards directed toward Rangers should be noted and filed with the SFA.

In fact, we really should as Rangers supporters create our own ocean of offence and flood the SFA, Scottish media and UEFA with our own hurts and grievances, highlighting the bigotry of the Rangers-haters who spread their bile all around us.

It’s time to give the haters a dose of their own medicine. After all, they have proven one thing beyond any shadow of a doubt: Even pretend offenders get listened to.

I know some bluenoses will balk at this, feeling it is beneath them. And they are right.

But it is a dirty war we are fighting and we need to fight accordingly in order to win.

There are so many people around these days who use their own pseudo offence to get what they want. Maybe it’s time for us bears to say, “We do being offended!”

Maybe it’s time we bluenoses started to do what others do so effectively, i.e. use grievance as a weapon.

I don’t know about you but I am starting to feel mighty offended here...

Who can I complain to?

CRO on: Berwick Rangers 1-1 Rangers FC


by Andy McKellar | CRO contributor | @AMCKEL |

Ever since Rangers Football Club was plunged into administration in February of this year there has been a somewhat undesirable and largely unwanted focus on the off-field matters both from inside and outwith our support.

It was a summer of frustration as the authorities procrastinated and neglected their duties, almost turning the whole of Scottish football into a laughable pantomime with each passing week. Eventually we were finally provided with some much needed relief as our attention finally returned to tactics and team selections when McCoist lead his men to Glebe Park for our opening Scottish Football League fixture against Brechin City FC in the Ramsdens Cup.  Unfortunately the initial mood of enthusiasm and excitement seems to have left me as I write this today.

I should perhaps take this opportunity to acknowledge that our two matches at Ibrox thus far have been extremely impressive with goals galore and some thoroughly entertaining football along the way. I certainly harbour no fears for our home fixtures  and I completely expect us to finish the season with a rather impressive points and goals tally in that respect.

But on Sunday Berwick Rangers served us with a timely reminder that away from home, things won’t be quite so comfortable, not that one should have been required.

Rangers’ first ever Football League fixture took place at the humble Balmoor Stadium in Peterhead and I think it is fair to say that we were perhaps taken by surprise and suffered, rather unforgivably, from our own complacency. We were slow, we were sluggish and we most certainly lacked the energy and grit shown by our less illustrious opponents. As regulation time was drawing to a close the boys in blue were desperately and frantically clambering for a late equaliser to salvage some dignity after a woeful second-half display in particular, and so there is absolutely no excuse for the under par performance that we were forced to endure Sunday afternoon.

McCoist decided to open the match with a more traditional and conventional 4-4-2 formation, something which I had actually hoped for prior to the match. I was however far less satisfied when I discovered just how our starting XI players were to be distributed. In defence both Perry & Argyriou were forced to undertake rather unfamiliar positions meanwhile. The fact that Bocanegra has plenty of experience as a left back seems nothing more than a rumour inside the gates of Auchenhowie.

Lewis MacLeod, who had completely dictated the second-half against East Stirlingshire, was strangely shunted to left-midfield. Furthermore, McCulloch, who had impressed in attack in the opening fixtures, had been dropped into midfield where he has shown to be of limited effectiveness.

The first-half was worryingly similar to what we witnessed at Peterhead and it was notable that our formation was tweaked several times as we failed to make any considerable impression on the Berwick Rangers’ goal. We lacked any cohesion and often resorted to long, hopeful punts up the park, something Fran Sandaza clearly wasn’t impressed by judging by his lack of aerial challenges.

It was painful viewing indeed for the Bears who were fortunate enough to be inside the stadium and for those watching on nervously at home. Rather undeservedly however we did manage to take the lead when Andy Little thundered home a Lee McCulloch knock-down on a set piece straight off the training ground, much to the relief of Super Ally and his backroom staff. Regardless of our narrow advantage, it was clear that what we had just witnessed was completely unacceptable and McCoist was not slow to highlight this in his brief half-time interview as his players made their way down the tunnel.

I suppose I was heartened by the fact that our manager was only too well aware of how substandard his players had been and I envisaged a rather tense dressing room where more than a few arses were deservedly kicked. Sadly however any such rollicking, if indeed it took place, seemed to have a most unnoticeable effect as the second forty-five minutes proceeded in a familiar pattern to the first.

The match became bogged down in midfield and chances were at a premium as both teams battled for possession and attempted to break down the opposition. Alexander’s distribution continued to disappoint, and no effort was made to provide him with a short outlet.

The first to break the stalemate were Berwick as Fraser McLaren was put through on goal. The newly introduced substitute however still had a lot to do but clinically fired low into the bottom right corner of Alexander’s net to level the match. I’d be lying if I said it was against the run of play.
Rangers then managed to up their game slightly as they faced another embarrassing result on their travels.

Both Lee McCulloch and Andy Little spurned chances as the team pushed hastily for a winner and perhaps on another day we may have found ourselves ahead again. It wasn’t to be however and in fact it was Neil Alexander who was forced into a superb save which kept his side in the match.

It wasn’t to last for long however as a late corner was bulleted into the back of the Rangers’ net only to be strangely and unjustifiably denied by the referee’s whistle. While I don’t hide the fact that I may be guilty of viewing things through blue-tinted spectacles, I would be clutching at straws if I was to say that Mike Tumilty made the correct call. Rangers were let off the hook.

The performance would have been disappointing enough on its own merit, but following on from the poor effort we witnessed in our opening league fixture at Peterhead, the lack of effort and desire was bordering on disgraceful. Even in the Third Division it was made abundantly clear that nothing can be taken for granted. At the very least we must match the endeavour and determination of our opponents if we are to successfully navigate this season, especially away from Ibrox, and thus far I can honestly say that we have failed to do so. Our players are more than good enough to be taking a number of goals off of any team in the Scottish Football League but they must show a willingness and hunger to do so. A lack of motivation when playing for Rangers is completely unacceptable and I’d hate to think what Mr Struth would make of the performances at Balmoor and Shielfield Park in recent weeks.

But it is still early days and there is more than enough time for the management and players to make amends for their early failings away from home. McCoist is a club legend and has been immensely inspirational throughout these troubled times however I think there are several questions which need to be asked with regards to his tactics and team selections, both of which have raised the eyebrows of a growing number of supporters lately.

For now I will continue to give Super Ally the benefit of the doubt and reserve my judgement until a later date. His actions since February have merited at least that I reckon. He must begin to turn things around however and get his players motivated and up for the challenges ahead. The failure to do so would be quite unthinkable.

Please accept my apologies for a rather depressing read in this article but at the time of writing I’m simply struggling to find the silver lining that they say accompanies every cloud. Hopefully we will all be in a slightly better mood this time next week and for the foreseeable future as the team returns to winning ways. We may even be treated to a few new signings by that time. The current squad have spoke of their pride in representing our great club. Now is the time to prove it. Now is the time to Step Up & Play.

Regan: Get Stuffed



by Peter Ewart | CRO contributor | @Seasider06

You’ll be sick of reading about Regan by now. I’m sick of it too. But we’ll be writing about his incompetence and delusions until he is no longer at Hampden, which apparently we should just forget about and move on from according to his latest interview given to the Daily Mail.

Fortunately we here at CRO have memory longer than a goldfish.

What was unremarkable - the worst kept secret in Scottish football - that is where $porting Int£grity is concerned, Sky’s the limit. League reconstruction is being pushed through. The shady deal Doncaster and Liewell made with Sky has still to come to light.

But RFC knew too. Black and Shiels were never in for the Div3, Div2 , Div1 route. Goian out on a year loan, and even new boy Fran Sandaza let slip it was only for a year.

Although the nonchalant arrogance with which it was delivered should awaken SFL chairman into SFL clubs into action. ‘The plan is…to come up with reconstruction proposals that can be implemented ideally from next season.

‘The joint proposal put forward (in July) was not something the SFL wanted to take forward but reconstruction remains part of the agenda for Scottish football.

‘The (SFL rejection) was accepted because it’s a democratic process and now we move forward.’

So the democratic process ignores it and reconstructs the leagues anyway? Evidence, as if any was needed, that change is necessary at the top.

More staggering is request for Rangers to move on. ‘They’ve used the situation to get the fans behind them but it’s important for Scottish football that we move on now and restore focus on the football itself and look forward to league reconstruction.’

So we should just forget about your incompetence and disdain towards us and move on shall we? Let you sweep it all under the carpet.

So we won’t ask:

Why you failed miserably in your due diligence until it was 10 months too late to declare Whyte not fit and proper?

Were you told last November that Rangers weren’t paying their tax?

Why the football creditors rule has been imposed on us?

Why you have still imposed illegal sanctions?

Why you failed on all counts to assist a member club of your association?

Why you tried to bully and scaremonger the SFL into taking Rangers into Division 1? And then lie by denying it?

Why the SPL had a veto on our SFA membership transfer?

Why were chairman/clubs who called you a liar not charged by the SFA? Yet Green was for comments around bigotry...

Why has sporting integrity disappeared from the agenda?

What deal has been cut on league reconstruction?

What deal has been cut with SKY?

Why there was a total lack of leadership through it all?

And why are you still here?

And, for Rangers specifically, why should we save the clubs and their handlers that tried to kill us off?

We‘re not to ask any of that, though.

It’s like the bully saying, “We’ve beaten seven shades out of you, kicked you while you were down, and now we’ve tied your hands behind your back, but we’re still mates, yeah?, Oh, and we’ll be taking your lunch money when you come to see us next week too.”

It reminded me of Blatter’s ridiculous remark about racism on the pitch, that everyone should just shake hands and move on. Whether their comments are just naïve stupidity or premeditated spin doesn’t make any difference.

But then Blatter and Regan are peas in a pod: Football administrators in their own wee bubble making a very comfortable living out of the game they are taking apart brick by brick.

A lot of answers are needed to move on. And Regan’s position is, as it has been for a long time now, untenable. We know Regan hasn’t the decency to resign, so over to you Mr Longmuir and your SFL. It’s time for that vote of no confidence. It’s long overdue.

Meantime they should tell Regan & Co to stick it. The balance of power has shifted, and any reconstruction should be driven by the true custodians of the Scottish game, David Longmuir and his newly empowered SFL.

24 August 2012

SFL3 Preview: Berwick Rangers


by Peter Ewart | Contributor

So Rangers finally get to play in England. Well, a couple times, anyway. 

Back in the days when chainmail was something you wore, the walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed changed hands more times than a jester’s balls. It has been English, then Scottish, English, Scottish, and is now English again. It’s reckoned it changed hands fifteen times through the ages until the 15th Century since when it has been English. 

There must be something about the place too because the SNP have already tried to annex it. MSP Christine Grahame (Remember her? Chair of the justice committee at Holyrood that took evidence on sectarianism/bigotry) suggested with typical modesty that Berwick would be better off in Scotland, lodging a motion in the Scottish Parliament for its return in 2008. 

They famously beat us in the cup in the 60s and their away fans having been noising up the home supports in the Scottish leagues by brandishing the St George’s cross. Imagine.

THE TOWN

Perched on the North Sea coast, Berwick-upon-Tweed may be in England but it is closer than you might think, only fifty-odd miles down the A1 after Edinburgh. If you have travelled by train and down the East Coast mainline then you will have crossed the Royal Border bridge as you come into the town. This grade 1 listed viaduct was designed by Robert Stephenson and opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria. The town has one Wetherspoons and is the birthplace of our own Trevor Steven.

THE CLUB

The club were formed in the 1880s and have been playing in the Scottish Football League since 1955. They have had their fair share of financial troubles, having been locked out of their Shielfield Park in 1988-89 and have recently been playing in the lower leaks of the SFL, finishing seventh in division three last season.

*THAT* GAME 

In January 1967 Berwick beat Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup with a goal from Sammy Reid at Shielfield Park in front of 13,365 people - to this day still their biggest attendance. Jock Wallace, manager of Berwick at the time, went on to manage Hearts and of course spent two spells at Rangers.

Rangers had nine internationalists playing that day and were overwhelming favourites. That sounds frighteningly familiar…

THE GROUND - Shielfield Park

The ground is about one mile to the south of the centre of Berwick in Tweedmouth. There is one main stand and some covering on the other touch line but the remainder is not developed. Fans will also be slightly further away from the pitch as it is surrounded by an oval track used by the Berwick Bandits speedway team during the summer.

Away ticket chances (5 out of 10)

Reasonable travel time from the central belt, the first league game we will play in England and allocation of around 3000 tickets will be like gold dust again. The loyalty of our support is incredible. 

VIEWS ON THE RANGERS SAGA

Initially Berwick had supported a move to the First Division for “the good of Scottish Football,” but as the SFL vote came around, a Club spokesperson said "Berwick Rangers' Board tonight agreed unanimously that should the new Rangers FC be admitted to the SFL for the new season, that they would support a move directly into SFL Division Three… The Club has also taken on board the feelings of their Supporters Club, Supporters Trust and the countless individual fans who have contacted them directly."

So we can look forward to Shielfield Park on 26 August. Bring your sense of humour and your passport and I’m sure you’ll be fine. 

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BRFC on twitter: @OfficialBRFC

Official website: http://www.berwickrangersfc.co.uk/f-news/news.html

Righting the ship, rather blindly


by Andy McKellar | Contributor

Today I allowed myself a nostalgic glance into the past, reminiscing over how great it was to read the daily newspapers and the various, even if often outrageous, transfer rumours surrounding my beloved Rangers Football Club in years gone by. 

The summers would be filled with new arrivals at Ibrox Stadium and the first pre-season match at home was always an eagerly anticipated affair as it supplied an early opportunity to cast a judgemental eye over our lavish new signings. 

Of course we now live in changed days indeed, far removed from the high-spending days that followed the turn of the millennium. In recent years we had the constant worry of our top stars being sold as Lloyds’ Bank tightened their grip over an increasingly weakening squad, but compared to this summer, that was a walk in the park. 

The Scottish football authorities this summer proved once and for all just what we all suspected – that they were well and truly unfit for purpose. Of course they cannot and should not be blamed for the financial meltdown suffered by Rangers under the negligent stewardships of Messrs Murray & Whyte.

However their subsequent handling of the entire situation bordered on, and perhaps exceeded being, completely farcical. Amidst the various calamities that arose throughout the summer months one of the biggest points of concern was regarding league reconstruction, something which was used to essentially blackmail the Scottish Football League clubs into approving the entry of Rangers FC into their Division One. 

The controversial move was of course strongly backed by Stewart Regan of the SFA and Neil Doncaster of the SPL, who together attempted to intimidate clubs by constant and persistent threats of an Armageddon scenario for the whole of Scottish football should Rangers be forced to play Third Division football. 

The incompetent pair charged with running our national game put forward several enticing proposals such as the introduction of play-offs, a fairer distribution of television revenue and the eventual amalgamation of the Premier and Football Leagues. Thankfully however twenty-five of the thirty clubs stood by their principles and rejected the corrupt attempt to parachute our Club into the First Division, much to the disappointment of many SPL chairmen who had been told that such an outcome was extremely likely, if not inevitable, when they voted to deny the entry of Rangers to their league. Reap what you sow and all that nonsense. 

As a Rangers fan I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying our new experience in the Third Division as we meet new teams and visit unfamiliar grounds across the country. Our first home league match saw more fans witness our match than the entire SPL combined, which of course included an apparently sold-out Dundee Derby the following day. 

On the Saturday alone Ibrox welcomed more supporters than the remainder of the four divisions in Scotland and our television viewing figures have also dwarfed any Scottish Premier League matches that have been shown. On the whole then things are going rather well for Rangers and the Division Three clubs who continue to warmly welcome our travelling fans to their humble homes every other week and Regan’s talk of a ‘slow, lingering death’ for Scottish football seems a million miles away.  

At the opposite end of our national game however cracks are beginning to appear. 

The ironically named Scottish Premier League has not yet made the required payments to its member clubs, something which may indeed cause problems if not remedied quickly. 

The SFL too are still awaiting their share of funds which today was reported as also not having been received. This of course now includes an extra payment for the purchase of the television rights to broadcast Rangers’ matches. 

Matters are also perhaps made worse by the fact that such obligations are not being met despite over £2.5M of Rangers’ prize money being withheld from last season which should have been paid to the ‘oldco’ long before now. As a result of such troubles, reconstruction talks have now been hastily launched to the top of the SFA ‘to-do list’. 

Stewart Regan spoke of his plans to elect a committee which would drive forward the required changes in our national sport. I must admit, I hope that the SFA Chief Executive is a better judge of character and suitability than those who appointed him.

However, media reports today suggest a three-league system with a top-tier containing sixteen clubs and with Rangers becoming part of the middle league only next season, one step closer to the top than the current set-up would allow for. Quite how that fits in with the sporting integrity argument I am not quite sure. 

What is also of concern is the fact that such a proposal is contradictory to the advice received by the Scottish Premier League when reconstruction talks surfaced previously. Rangers’ supporters groups met with Neil Doncaster to discuss the way forward for the league and what became apparent was that a 16-team set-up was not the way forward in the eyes of the SPL Chief Exec. 

He informed the members present that the League had taken expert advice on the matter and that £20M would be lost in the process due to reduced ‘Old Firm’ matches and other clubs receiving only one visit from Rangers and Celtic during the course of the season. Doncaster then informed the group that such a structure was a “non-starter,” and that no SPL chairmen would vote for it. Certainly questions should be asked as to why there seems to have been a sudden change of heart.

Make no mistake, these changes are not being made for the benefit of Rangers Football Club despite what some will try to claim. Reconstruction is of course resurfacing due to failings at the top end of Scottish football and because of the potential financial disaster that may result. The problems faced by the currently insolvent SPL have repercussions for all of its member clubs and it may only take one card to fall before the whole house comes crashing down. 

Okay, perhaps that is a bit overly dramatic but the fact remains that problems may not be too far off, especially if the Sky deal is dependent on a change to Rangers’ league situation, as rumours have been suggesting. 

Essentially, our Club, having been punished for past misdemeanours, will now be shamelessly exploited to prevent other teams suffering the same financial fate as we did. I’m sure the irony won’t be lost on most of you. Any change requires 75% support from the Scottish Football League clubs and it will be interesting to discover just what Charles Green’s thoughts on the matter are. 

On one hand he has the obvious benefits of playing in a higher league while on the other he faces the wrath of the Rangers fans, who strongly oppose the move. He may also be swayed by his previous run-ins with the authorities and take the view that they have made their bed and must now lie in it. 

It is so unfortunate that we have the disappointing duo of Regan and Doncaster at the helm to oversee such momentous and crucial discussions in Scottish Football. Their past record hardly inspires confidence and personally I would champion any move to hand the reins over to David Longmuir and the SFL with regards to reconstruction. Of the three governing bodies only one has conducted itself with dignity and integrity throughout this whole sorry saga. 

Sadly however what benefits our national game is not high on the list of considerations of either the SPL or SFA who have both set about serving their own selfish agendas right from the start. Reconstruction is simply a means of papering over the cracks and hiding their own inadequacies, which are quite considerable I must say.

I guess we won’t find out the true ramifications of any potential changes for quite some time, however I can take confidence from the huge support that currently surrounds Rangers Football Club. The fans are behind the manager, they are warming towards the chief executive and they are buying tickets in their tens of thousands. Recent months have shown that we have weathered the storm and are capable of handling almost anything that is thrown at us. 

Of course other clubs simply don’t have that luxury and it could well be, to quote the famous son of Govan, ‘squeeky bum time’ for many top-tier clubs. 

Perhaps ‘Sporting Integrity’ does exist after all.

CRO Exclusive: Snobs' Law


by Andy McKellar | Contributor

Many of you may remember the public furore that surrounded Scottish football and in particular the subject of sectarianism within our national sport last year. Season 2010/11 was indeed an intensely fought one when inevitably and unavoidably tempers and emotions ran high. ‘Old Firm’ games, if I may reluctantly use such a phrase, were the main focus of attention and following some seemingly unsavoury songs and a spat between Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon, the Scottish National Party had decided that they could not tolerate it any longer. 

On 8th March 2011 Alex Salmond chaired The Football Summit which addressed the apparent issues of violence, bigotry and alcohol misuse in Scottish football. It was a well established and reported fact that during and immediately following Old Firm games the number of arrests, hospital admittances and other such undesirable statistics rose significantly. It seems that Rangers and Celtic fans were nothing but wife-beating, drunken, violent dregs of humanity that require a special piece of legislation to curtail their disgraceful behaviour. Of course, such a generalisation is grossly unfair and hugely inaccurate. 

On 6th September 2011 the Scottish Party Justice Committee met to discuss the proposed bill which the SNP claimed would effectively tackle the issues in question. Giving evidence that day were Graham Spiers, Pat Nevin, Professor Graham Walker and a lecturer from the University of Abertay – Dr Stuart Waiton. 

The former two individuals were quick to express their moral outrage and disgust at the apparently appalling behaviour of Scottish football fans, even likening it to the racism problem which was prominent in England in the 1970/80s. 

Dr Waiton was quick to contradict such claims and proved that the issue of religious bigotry simply did not manifest itself in everyday life and that the only place where it was consistently reported was within football grounds via some offensive singing. 

Dr Stuart Waiton is also the founder of Take A Liberty (Scotland) and acknowledged that football should indeed be given some special considerations. He asked, “Where else do you find grown men and women shouting, swearing, pointing, singing, wearing ridiculously colour clothes, hats and scarves, jumping up and down hugging the nearest stranger with tear filled eyes as part of an impassioned tribal display of hate, love and impregnable loyalty?” He goes on to highlight that the bill, while centred around sectarianism, actually makes it illegal to be offensive, something which could well be true of almost any rowdy football fan across the country. Is that really a crime? 

Furthermore Dr Waiton says: “It is worth bearing in mind that within the pantomime of football what appears to be sectarian is not necessarily all it appears, as fans go home to their Catholic wives, Protestant drinking mates and nondenominational neighbours. The reality is that Scotland, especially for the younger generations, is a largely modern secular country where religious ideology and dogma has little or no dynamic. This is in fact why it is almost always football that is targeted as the place of sectarianism, because it doesn’t exist anywhere else. And if it doesn’t exist anywhere else, the reality is that it doesn’t exist in football either. 

In other words, what we are witnessing at Celtic and Rangers games is an ersatz form of 90 minute sectarianism. It is a tribalism based on football not religion, despite the religious association of both teams.” So is such an issue really worth producing a piece of legislation which could potentially see football fans imprisoned for up to 5 years for being offensive? I tend to think not. 

Nevertheless the SNP bulldozed through their “Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012” despite having little support from the wider footballing community or from the other parties in the Scottish Parliament. There is no question, and indeed few would argue, that sectarianism has no place in modern society, however there was an overriding feeling that this legislation was not the correct way to tackle the issue and that current laws were sufficient enough to address any illegal behaviour. Of course, such strong opposition proved not to be enough. 

I was fortunate enough also to hear Dr Waiton speaking at a Rangers’ fans event at Ibrox and while I may not agree completely with everything he says, his views and opinions are ones that I respect hugely. Stuart emailed me a couple of days ago with details of a book which is due to go on sale this Monday, 27th August, and I am eagerly anticipating its release. Below is a snapshot of just what the book, entitled “Snobs’ Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance”, is all about:

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A generation ago football players 'telling tales' on one another for name calling, or fans being fined and arrested for singing offensive songs would have been unimaginable. Today the new laws and regulations in football are portrayed as modern and tolerant. However, should offensive words be made illegal? Is this part of a progressive fight against bigotry? Or are these developments authoritarian and infantilising - creating a situation where grown men are treated, and encouraged to act like children who tell tales on one another? 

Snobs' Law is an examination of the way football fans are regulated. Developed initially around an attempt to understand the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) Bill, it begins by looking at the way fans were policed in the 1980s by the old conservative establishment who caged fans like animals and were ultimately responsible for the deaths at Hillsborough. This is done to contrast past forms of control with those being introduced by the 'cosmopolitan elite', a less overly elitist, politically correct bunch, who are more preoccupied with controlling our minds than our bodies. Words, as John Terry, Luis Suarez and Stephen Birrell have found out, are treated today as though they are weapons, and the 'offensive' use of them can result in the loss of liberty.

Snobs’ Law argues that rather than being a tolerant nation Scotland is becoming profoundly censorious and intolerant. Concluding that, 'Like the ‘extremist’ Muslims who will not tolerate images or words they find offensive, in 2011, Roseanna Cunningham, Alex Salmond and the rest of the Scottish National Party established themselves as our champions of intolerance – they became the equivalent of Scotland’s very own book burners'.

Author Stuart Waiton believes that while ‘old sectarianism’ is dying out a New Sectarianism is being fostered by the authorities themselves - one which encourages fans to act as thin skinned chronically offended narcissistic individuals, preoccupied with their narrow ‘cultural’ or fan ‘identity’, and with their sense of ‘hurt’.

'In Scotland, being offended and reporting your fellow fan to the police has become institutionalised and is likely to become an increasing source of tension between fans – a new ‘sectarian’ divide. As the offence bandwagon becomes a runaway train, the ‘snitching’ on fellow fans, and the squealing antics of ‘disrespected’ fellow professional footballers, spirals ever further out of control'. 

For Waiton the growing regulation of language in football has serious implications for society more generally, for freedoms, for democracy and for the type of people we want to become. If the current generation of young men and women grow up expecting to be protected from nasty words what hope is there of creating robust individuals or a dynamic society.

'For freedom and liberty to have any real meaning today we must demand that people in football and beyond ‘Man Up’'.

The title of the book Snobs’ Law reflects Waiton’s belief that football fans are today’s folk devils around which old and new forms of snobbery come together. Myth after myth is churned about the sexist, racist, homophobic, violent and bigoted football fan.

'In Scotland, the case for stopping offensive behaviour at football is bound up with the notion of progress, of being more civilised, more caring and so on. It is also bound up with the notion that it is the educated, the self-aware and the rational who are attempting to do something about the less educated, the backward and prejudiced. However, as we have seen in Scotland, across the UK and even in Europe, the reality is very different; whatever the prejudices of the mass of fans, the myths perpetuated about these fans highlight a serious problem about the elite themselves'. 

Ironically, Snobs’ Law notes how the rise of anti-sectarianism in football came about at exactly the same time as religious and ‘political’ sectarianism was at its weakest.

'As we have seen, the rise of interest in sectarianism has absolutely nothing to do with the behaviour of people on the terraces or on the streets. It has, on the contrary, everything to do with the activities and rhetoric of the Scottish elites and their establishment of a virtual industry of anti-sectarianism. It appears that the ‘chattering class’s’ moralising hatred of the Old Firm has taken centre stage'.

'In other words, at the time that chants of IRA have no meaning in the real world, and when songs about Fenian blood have no religious depth or significance, the Scottish elite bravely went on the offensive against ‘Scotland’s Shame’'.

In fact, one of the main reasons for politicians and the authorities to bang on about bigotry and sectarianism in Scotland is that it gives the empty cosmopolitan elite a sense of purpose which they otherwise lack.

For a newly-developing Scottish elite with few of the traditional political points of reference to guide their developing institutions in the twenty-first century, new tolerance, and consequently, anti-sectarianism, became a necessary crutch to lean upon. 

Tragically, this ‘crutch’ has already resulted in men being imprisoned for speech crimes, one man, Stephen Birrell, receiving eight months behind bars for calling Celtic fans nasty names on Facebook. Snobs’ Law exposes the authoritarian dynamic behind the façade of out ‘modern tolerant Scotland’, a Scotland where ‘hate’ has become a crime, unless that is your hatred is directed towards the white working class who watch football, a game which despite the authorities prejudices is still beautiful.

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Many of you may actually disagree with Dr Waiton and his view on the matter however the right to do so is the exact the principle which Snobs’ Law defends. Given the name of this website, the vast majority reading this will presumably be Rangers supporters and of course this is an issue which is very close to our hearts. Ibrox saw several loud and colourful displays from the ‘mad squad’ in section BF1 and their sentiments I am sure were shared by a significant number of fellow fans. 

We are however now living under the reign of Herr Salmond and his humorously named Scottish Nazi Party. But, joking aside, this legislation is a severe threat to all lovers of the ‘Beautiful Game’ in Scotland. We are being unfairly targeted, discriminated against and unjustifiably criminal.

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You may wish to visit the Take A Liberty (Scotland) website for further information on the topic at hand - http://takealiberty.blogspot.co.uk.

“Snobs’ Law” can also be purchased on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snobs-Law-Criminalising-Football-Intolerance/dp/0957155905

17 August 2012

To be a Ranger


by Peter Ewart | Contributor

Tomorrow, 18 August 2012, stands to be a remarkable day in the history of our Club. We’ll be taking on East Stirlingshire in front of near sell-out crowd, and we'll be breaking records before we have even kicked a ball: the largest crowd to ever watch a fourth tier match.

The anticipation for this one is incredible. As we've seen over the past weeks, it means everything to be a Ranger. It feels slightly lazy to use Struth here, but I can’t better his words:

"To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him."

So if you're making your way to Ibrox tomorrow, or watching the game on TV somewhere around the world, take a moment to soak it up and remember what Rangers is all about. We have a massive tradition to uphold.

Remember the first time you were at Ibrox (Dundeee Utd '94), the first Rangers Goal you saw (Laudrup), European nights (Parma and Sturm Graz!), your favourite goal (Aluko), your favourite goal celebration (Amato), your first final (Hampden - Lovenkrands '03).

Hell, I’ve watched a full 90 mins on teletext! (Alania Vladikavkaz away)

Remember Bombscare Bert scoring at Hampden. Remember O’Neil on his ass and Laudrup tucking it away, the fox on the pitch and Goram’s save. Charbonnier’s heroics, Marseille 1993.

Remember the joy of 4-0 and 5-1, Rod Wallace v Parma, Gattuso’s debut 50:50 with Kirk Hunter, Prso, 3-0 down to Shelbourne, Albertz v Bayern.

Remember Kanckelskis standing on the ball, Negri’s 33 in a half season, Sir Walter’s second coming, 3 titles when we’ve been skint, van Bronckhorst and Numan, Whittaker’s quarter final goal, Daniel Prodan and Lord Lucan.

Remember Bus journeys, car journeys, train journeys, plane journeys and boat journeys to see the Gers, Wilkins goals, the bouncy, Mols goals, singing at the Eiffel tower – It’s only a pylon.

Remember Ferguson owning Parma and Leverkusen, the National Anthem, 1 or 2 two huddles along the way (Paisley Road West, Abertay Uni!)

Remember season ticket waiting lists and queuing for tickets, how good Jelavic actually was, Basile Boli, Erik Bo’s new year brace, Edu in injury time.

Remember Super’s first CL goals against Grasshoppers, Forza Papac, 10-1 against Keith, Nacho at Easter Road, Scott McDonald at Fir Park, Gough’s tears at Tannadice, 6-1 v Dunfermline (Arteta I love you), No Surrender Davie Weir.

Remember Gazza at Parkhead, his hat trick for 8IAR, and Ally... well Ally just being a legend in every sense possible.

They are memories that can never be taken away. They can’t be erased. And as a new chapter opens, may more great memories will be made. (I’ll start off with Little & McCulloch at Brechin) 

Times have changed but our support is steadfast. We are still the people.

Of course all your favourites and memories will be different but they are joined by the shared love of this Club. And the club is massive. The sheer scale of our support is the great forgotten part of Manchester '08. And while the strength of that support has been tested in the past six months, we’ve come out fighting, and stronger than ever.

It is more than a club; it's a family.

It is Rangers. Then. Now. Forever.

Irony & Insolvency


by Andy McKellar | Contributor

The finances of Scottish football clubs have never faced such intense scrutiny following The Rangers Football Club plc’s entry into administration on 14th February 2012 as a result of the failure to pay sums due to HM Revenue & Customs under the instruction of then owner Craig Whyte. 

Rangers FC were subsequently denied entry to the Scottish Premier League and were eventually admitted into the SFL Third Division after inefficient and protracted discussions with the authorities throughout the summer. 

It seems however that the clubs are not the only ones who should be worried by Rangers’ absence from the top-tier as it would appear that money problems may be on the horizon for the SPL itself, if they have not arrived already. 

Earlier this week RangersMedia revealed that the Scottish Premier League was indeed technically ‘insolvent’, a phrase with which we are relatively familiar with by now. Insolvency can be defined as ‘the inability of a debtor to pay a debt’ and can be further broken down into cash-flow or balance-sheet insolvency. On the face of it, both could perhaps be true of the SPL.

Various outlets revealed earlier this week that the top-flight clubs in our country were still awaiting their first payments from the League which accounts for 4% of the cash pot per club. This would most certainly fit in with the definition of cash flow insolvency, whereby there is a lack of required liquidity that would allow debts to be paid as they fall due. This possibility is emphasised by STV’s claim that the SPL no longer has a sufficient cash reserve to make emergency payments to its member clubs should they be required. 

SPL directors: Are you concerned yet? 

If you need further evidence of potential financial troubles ahead then perhaps we should examine the Balance Sheet of the Scottish Premier League Ltd for the year ended 31 May 2011, which are the most up to date accounts available. While there is almost £4M sitting in the bank account of the SPL on the date in question, the creditors falling due within one year result in a net liability of £196k being shown. This would be termed as balance sheet insolvency. 

During the year under consideration the Scottish Premier League was contracted under a broadcasting deal worth £65M over 5 years with BSkyB and ESPN which presumably contributed a proportionate £13M towards the overall turnover of £22.7M during that year. Things were looking slightly more positive for the League with costs remaining relatively static and a proposed new TV deal worth an extra £3M per year waiting to be signed off. As we all know however, there was a problem. 

The SPL chairman who denied Rangers Football Club entry to the League on the grounds of ‘sporting integrity’ consequently threw away any chance of the proposed broadcasting deal ever being finalised. Fortunately for the club representatives both Sky and ESPN decided to stick by Scottish football and apparently agreed a new five-year deal, albeit at a far reduced value to the one that was being boasted about previously. Of course this means that a technically insolvent company now faces the risk of a reduced turnover when one might logically assume that money received was required to be increased significantly. Once again, for the SPL, the signs are not good. 

In the interest of fairness it is probably correct to acknowledge that the directors’ responsibilities include preparing financial statements on a ‘going concern’ basis, unless of course it is inappropriate to presume that the company will continue in business. This duty, as you would expect, was agreed by and signed on behalf of the SPL board by Ralph Topping and Neil Doncaster, and approved and signed off by KPMG LLP, the auditors. For the record, the accounts also showed an operating loss of £29k.

The SPL however, with the assistance of the Scottish Football Association, spotted an opportunity to save itself some much needed cash when Sevco Scotland Ltd, as it was formerly known, applied for the necessary SFA licence. 

While there has been a considerable lack of transparency and clarity on this matter, it would appear that the prize money for season 2011/12 due to Rangers FC, and in particular the ‘oldco’, has not been paid. 

The SPL rules state that “a Club’s entitlement to receive payment of fees from the Company (SPL) in accordance with the Rules shall not be in any way dependent upon the Club holding any share or shares in the Company and the Club remain entitled to receive payment for any fees properly due...”

So it would appear, regardless of the previous company which operated RFC no longer being a member of the League, the earned prize money should still have been paid if the SPL intended to abide by its own rules. 

The media this week however have suggested that as part of Rangers’ membership application, it was agreed by the necessary parties involved that any right to the SPL prize money was waived. Duff & Phelps, who are currently operating the oldco, were required to approve such a condition and to my basic understanding could resultantly be in breach of their statutory duty to the company’s creditors. Given their previous incompetence, I would hardly be surprised. 

It remains to be seen whether any creditor will raise an objection or take legal action over such matters but there is certainly a distinct possibility if the claims are proved to be factual. Furthermore BDO may be make enquiries, if and when they sweep into action, over just why such money was allowed to be removed from the reach of already deprived creditors. If proved to be accurate then I suspect there could be trouble ahead. 

Back to the SPL: The fact that the League seems to have withheld prize money to the tune of £2.55M and yet is still continuing to encounter cash-flow problems should perhaps set alarm bells ringing for all concerned. With an insufficient cash reserve, a loss-making business model, and a negative balance sheet already, the signs are certainly not good for the Scottish Premier League. The lack of an improved TV deal and subsequent reduction in sponsorship receipts will do little to help matters financially. Strangely, however, the Scottish media seem reluctant to discuss the issue.

The Scottish Premier League Ltd and its members clubs are perhaps not the only ones who should be nervous about the current financial state of the League. In the United Kingdom, if a company continues to trade while insolvent then the directors may become personally liable to help meet the deficit to unsecured creditors if the company’s financial position is deemed to have been made worse by the directors continuing to trade instead of putting the company into liquidation immediately. 

Such serious consequences do require the process of liquidation, either voluntarily or otherwise, to be entered into, and perhaps considering such a thing is somewhat getting ahead of ourselves. Regardless, it is still worthwhile highlighting the severe penalties that may result from the SPL's mismanagement. We may even be treated to witnessing such consequences when BDO investigate the actions of a certain Mr Whyte. I certainly couldn’t rule it out.

As a Rangers fan I’m sure I will be forgiven for perhaps not holding the warmest feelings for the SPL and its members. Certainly there is an element of me that would take great delight in watching the whole thing fall apart as a result of my Club’s absence. Wouldn’t it be completely ironic if the same league that punished Rangers for suffering an insolvency event then subsequently went bust as a direct result? I suspect many Bears will currently be affording themselves a sly snigger at that very thought. 

Other fans however may view this as desiring vengeance, although it could be certainly be argued that Rangers are where they are due to the same vindictiveness shown by the various SPL clubs.

Further irony can be viewed in the seemingly new found prosperity of Rangers Football Club as ticket sales continue to increase by the day. It certainly would no longer be surprising to see our fans surpass last year’s total of just over 37,000 season ticket holders, and to single-handedly hold a higher aggregate attendance than the whole of the SPL this weekend when we welcome East Stirlingshire to our grand old stadium. 

It is good to see the Rangers' support clearly confirming Super Ally’s claim that ‘we don’t do walking away’ while fans of other clubs seem never to have turned up in the first place.  Indeed the much promoted Sell-Out Saturday resulted in average attendances of less than 50% of the stadiums’ capacity, making a mockery of the campaign’s title. 

As alluded to above, only time will tell if such financial concerns for the Scottish Premier League ever become a potentially destructive reality. Scottish football as a whole has been embarrassed enough by the meltdown at Ibrox and subsequent handling of the situation by the footballing authorities. I’m not convinced its lowly reputation could afford the collapse of its self-titled ‘Premier League’. 

If such an occurrence does come to pass then David Longmuir and the SFL would suddenly find themselves in an unusual position of power, perhaps becoming the driving force behind the much needed restructuring of our national game. Certainly I’d be willing to wager that they’d make a far better job of it than either the SFA or SPL, both of whom have shown themselves to be thoroughly unfit for purpose in recent months. 

I take great comfort in the loyalty that is being shown by the Rangers’ faithful and in the knowledge that we can sit back, get on with our football and watch events elsewhere from the outside. As for what happens to the SPL? Que Sera, Sera.

Charlie Green: Man of the People


by Bill McMurdo | Contributor 

I have to be honest and say, with my PR background, I am a sucker for someone who can play the media game.

Like my fellow blogger David Leggat, I have questioned the motives of Charles Green, the man now firmly at the helm of The Rangers Football Club.

I have a mind that is always looking for conspiracies and can still in my nightmares see the spectres of both Craig Whyte and David Murray haunting Ibrox, with Charles Green as their “front” man.

But for purely PR reasons, I have to hand it to Chuck Green for his so-far impeccable handling of the Rangers-hating Scottish media.

Yes, I criticised him for playing the bigot card at what I thought – and still do – was the wrong time. However, since he uttered the notorious claim that Rangers are victims of bigotry, events have proven him right beyond any reasonable doubt.

We all knew he was right; it was proving it to the satisfaction of Lawwell puppet Stewart Regan and Witchfinder General Vincent Price Lunny that was the problem. Of course, a quick trawl of message boards and other “own goals” by Rangers-hating fans of SPL teams would give Big Chuck the ammo he needed to gun down the SFA charge of bringing the game into disrepute by mentioning the “bigotry” word.

Then, of course, the Tartan Army handed Charlie Green and Rangers the trump card by booing a Rangers player making his debut for his country. Proof beyond question of anti-Rangers bigotry, it would seem.

But Big Chuck has played a blinder in other areas, tricking Dundee United FC and the SPL into the PR disaster for them both that is the “unpaid monies” scandal. The SPL has been forced into admitting its own fiscal problems while Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has been exposed as the Rangers-hating, money-grabbing, mischief-making weasel he really is.

Then, of course, Green announced he had big beast investment lined up, with billionaires queuing to put money into Rangers. Landing Mike Ashley, a serious player and a man not to be trifled with, is a major coup for Chuck. Others, he assures us, will follow.

But maybe the master stroke was his playing to the galleries, talking to bears in the ticket queues, joshing about the SPL and promising to join the Blue Order.

All good, old-fashioned man of the people stuff. PT Barnum would have loved every minute, I am sure.

Now I know Leggo won’t approve of what I am saying here and his dislike of Charles Green is well-known. And maybe his suspicions have some basis. However, if it is all based on Charles Green’s wanting to make money out of Rangers, well that doesn’t make the guy a villain.

I am not suspicious of businesspeople who want to make money; I am suspicious of businesspeople who aren’t bothered about making money!

If Charles Green walks from Rangers having trousered a hefty sum but also having left the club stronger and in safe hands, who could begrudge him?

The simple fact is, Rangers need a man like Charles Green right now. His not being part of the football world in Scotland before his involvement with Rangers is actually a good thing. He seems hard-nosed enough to not lie down to the Rangers-hating mob baying for blood. He gives as good as he gets.

So far, he has played a blinder.

Rangers fans love to say “We Are The People.”

Up till now, Charles Green has played the part of the man “The People” need to lead them.

Let’s hope Big Chuck is the real deal - a true Man of “The People.”