27 September 2012

The Nessinator Steelmen Special



by The Nessinator | CRO special guest | @JamieFukinNess |

Hiding from the cane in an undisclosed Staffordshire service elevator, The Nessinator was kind enough to monitor the in-game thread at a Well fan forum last night.

Sadly, he was unable to provide much more post-game coverage as Tony Pulis discovered his location and promptly beat him silly up and down the A52 between Ashbourne, lest any of his other players get the idea that anything less than bleeding from their eyes is an acceptable outcome to a day on the training ground at Clayton Wood.

But his undercover work does not go unappreciated at CRO, and we hope Tony lets him out of the Bet365 Iron Maiden soon.

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SPL giants Motherwell took to the pitch last night to beat Division 3 nobodies Zombie Fc/Sevco/The Huns 6-0 and pure put us in our place. Sadly no one had told them that Dean Shiels had his eye on them, and the Not-So-Steelmen crumbled, perhaps due to the shock of playing in front of actual human beings and not plastic seats.

Super Lee was just happy with the win while the rest of us were delighted to see Fran Sandaza make a genius tactical switch by smashing his own face off.  Let’s hear what the Well fans had to say in the lead up, and aftermath of the match!

Pre-Match

Bop tells us that “If we get right in about them and manage to score an early goal i'll be confident of a fairly comfortable victory. 4-1. Higgy hat trick and Ojamaa with the other.”

Nice one, Bop.

Coolhandluc agrees that the Zombie mob won’t be a problem: “We should be able to beat that lot with any of our first team squad. But agreed bring Ramsden back if fit . bring on daley for last 10 mins to take the piss”

Tommycoyne fancied a bit of bookie bashing: “I am covering my bets against the greyskull mob and betting us ht ft plus 4,5,6 one to us . They will score but we will be victorious and I will be in that wee corner bit to watch it and celebrate”

Let’s hope you didn’t steal your mother-in-law’s cash to back that, Tommy!

Steelboy was unhappy with his fellow fans suggesting that Rangers 2012 were to be feared or respected: “better opposition? i don't think there will much of an inferiority complex against barry mckay and lewis mcleod.“

That one will still be haunting Steelboy in 5 years when Barry and Lewis are running riot in the special needs premier league.

Mad Dog boldly predicted, “5-1 'well, Higgy and Henrick both fighting for a hat-trick.”

Our good friend Steelboy is back with more predictions about Motherwell remaining solvent: “only 23,000 tickets sold for the home end of this apparently. we'll be lucky to make £100k out this if that's the case. hopefully the semi and the final will be moneyspinners”

They will be Steelboy, but not for you!

Superwell87 is feeling good: “Have a good feeling we will win this one 3-1. Goals from Higgy, Ojamaa and Hutch”

Only thing Hutch got was a sore heed.

Wellfan1984 predicts, “3-1 us and by the 85th minute the attendance will be about 4000 as all those loyal fans need to make it back to the boat/beat the traffic”

Must have thought his club were playing Sellic.

Maplewell adds, “Judging on the fact I have a job interview when the game is being played so I am unable to watch a stream, we'll probs hump them 4-0 or sumthin”

Judging by his spelling he didn’t get the job.

Alanr doesn’t seem a very happy man: “Get fucking tore into these 3rd division zombie bastards Motherwell! It may be the biggest game in their short history but we are better than them in every sense of the word and will be having a party before pumping their ugly sisters on Saturday!”

He’s probably not much happier now

Ankles wants a long wait to end: “time to put the last 15 years to bed . Lets do this shower of shite . Really believe they'll be some bother tonight .although the half empty stadium wont have much atmosphere (apart from us) i think the face to face Sevco rage will be something to behold. Hoping for any sort of win but anything above 2-0 i would fecking love”

Heres to another 15 years, Ankels!

Kick-off

Underboyleheating doesn’t think much of Rangers: “This Rangers team are shite, and we are showing them too much respect. Without Black and Templeton they are
looking very ordinary.”

Half-time

MJC makes some half time predictions! “Nothing in it really but we just don't have that killer touch and I can't see us scoring. That said they've not done much up the other end, though our defence looks shaky again. Think a penalty shoot out defeat could well be on the cards here.”

Let’s find out, shall we?

GOAL! 1-0 Rangers “Fuuuuuuccccckkkkk Offff” “Fuck off.....same old story” “Fuck off Motherwell” “Glad I missed that, was getting a pizza out the oven!” “Fuck off Motherwell! (again)” “Thats it game over same feckin shit every time we play them..why am i not surprised” “What a bunch of shitebags we are.”

Underboyleheating has had enough: “TV switched off, I can’t watch any more of this pish.”

Squirrlehumper: “I'm raging watching this and I'm not even a motherwell fan!”

Odd comment on a Motherwell forum...

Geek25601 has an interesting concept: “Should we ever bother playing Rangers again or just give them the victory!!!!!”

Isn’t that what you do anyway?

GOAL! 2-0 Rangers “Is anybody really surprised by this? I mean REALLY surprised?” “Disgrace!!!! Nuf said...” “Absolute fucking disgrace of a performance this.” “I won't now be back at firpark untill that Rangers bastard McCall is gone.Oh aye and that Airdrie bastard Black as well.” “Left the room twice, one to get a pizza out the oven and once to get tomato sauce. They scored both times. Lot of shit... The pizza wasn't even good.”

Wellfan2K7 has some strange views on being a supporter: “You lot really are shite supporters. Seriously, who gives a fuck? Kinda hope we see a third”

FULLTIME – Division 3 Rangers 2 - Top of the SPL Motherwell 0

MJC, whose predictions didn’t go so well, discusses the performance: “An absolutely shameful, disgraceful and gutless performance from us and we deserve all the slack we're going to get for that. Hang your heads in shame Motherwell.”

Dosser30: “Agent McCall strikes again”

He does indeed, Dosser! He does indeed

Steelboy talks Well players: “Chris humphrey is the most heartless, talentless shitebag ever to play for the well. The sooner the clown is gone from fir park the better.”

Auldyin adds that, “We were muscled out of every position.We wanted to play tippy tappy stuff and they just went through us.”

The day Motherwell play tippy-tappy football is the day Ally McCoist supports the tims.

Special finds a silver lining: “My head tells me the Zombies would probably have beaten 11 of the 12 SPL teams tonight, it was always going to be their BIG game. We lost the cup-tie, woop-di-doo, its a Mickey-Mouse cup anyway. We're over 30 places above the Zombies, and everyone likes us.”

At least everyone likes you!

Graham H compounds the misery: “For all those going on about Rangers having a big budget most of their big earners were in the stand or off the park when we capitulated. We were beaten by the equivalent of a reserve team.”

To be fair Graham, it was a youth team not a reserve team.

Swami rounds off the chat by blaming an old favourite: “I blame everything about last night on Nacho Novo.”

When will these diddy teams remember we are better than them, no matter what division we are in?

20 September 2012

Keep Calm and Follow On



by Peter Ewart | CRO contributor | @Seasider06 |

I thought that Saturday’s result at Annan had brought about of a bit of hysteria regarding our away form in SFL3. But it wasn’t a patch to the overreaction after the piss awful home loss to Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup.

To be honest it's difficult to assess the balance of opinion and to cut through the white noise of social media these days, especially in the heated couple of hours after a poor result. But suffice to say there needs to be a dose of reality amongst some of our fans.

Whilst as a set-up we are a top flight club, with top ground, facilities and top flight fans, we are not a top flight team anymore, and expectations have to be adjusted.

That will not be an easy adjustment to make for many fans. Rangers have not been ‘bad’ in my lifetime as a supporter. I have been lucky enough to see the 9 in a row, a supporter raised on regular league titles and silverware.

There is a degree of embarrassment in every bad result. We aren’t used to it and we all desperately want to prove we are still here, still successful, still the same old Rangers, but it is going to take time and there are going to be disappointments along the way. Rangers can lose, Rangers can draw, but it doesn’t matter; it’s in the blood. It is time to stand firm and be counted.

We as fans can be short on patience but long on expectation. It comes with the territory of our great club. But playing-wise, things have changed out of sight at the club over the summer. We have hemorrhaged practically all of our first-team squad, to be replaced with an entirely new squad of players, had no pre-season and a manager whose time was taken up with off-field nonsense.

We are still looking for a best starting eleven through a combination of formation and injury. Yes, those formations and long-ball tactics have been questionable, but this season the football itself really is the little picture stuff.

Two months ago we weren't sure if we were going to have a club to support any longer. That we are playing at all is testament to the fans and those that helped to save the club. It's not that we shouldn't be critical of the performances or the tactics but it is way too early to be coming to any conclusion about this season.

On top of that we are in unfamiliar territory. Everybody at the club is learning what the Scottish Football League is all about. If we look at our club and managerial and playing staff I don't think there is anyone in there that prior to this season had experience of SFL3, and only a few have SFL experience, so it is a culture shock for everybody involved from fans to staff, to players and the manager.

To be clear, away performances have not been good and have come as a bit of a surprise - many fans expecting us to win comfortably against SFL3 opposition. I'll hold my hand up and say I caught myself thinking much the same thing. In most of our minds we’d have the league won in January or February and be playing reserve games for the rest of the season. How’s that for arrogance?!

The prevailing view being that we should be beating sides comfortably as we have players capable of playing at a higher level throughout the squad. We have some reasonable SPL players - Black, Shiels, Wallace, Little, Templeton - but I wouldn’t overplay it. We are also playing young unproven talent and unproven foreign signings still settling in.

It certainly isn’t time for panic stations in the league. We have nine points from five games.We are unbeaten and only one point behind the leaders in the league. And it is fair to say that all away games so far have turned into a bit of a circus off the pitch.

I don't buy into the theory that every team raises their game against us. That’s far too simple an explanation, and this is far more to do about us and our performances than anything the opposition do. It is therefore very much within our gift to get it sorted out.

It is not to say that in time Ally is untouchable. We'll see how things progress and we'll see how his transfers work out. And if there is a man with the ability to take cold hard business decisions and remove himself from the emotion if things aren’t working out, then it's Charles Green.

But my goodness we are a long long way away from even thinking about that yet. We're maybe not where we thought we would be, and the fans feel a bit of embarrassment because of that, but there's more to learn, more settling down to happen, and a long way to go.

Patience is a virtue. The team needs our full support win, lose, or draw.

Keep calm and follow on.

19 September 2012

Super Ally Struggles On



by Robbie Devine | CRO guest contributor |

The last twelve months have undoubtedly been the most traumatic in the history of Rangers FC.

Off field issues which led to the collapse of the club have overshadowed what has been going on the park but following the teams latest flop at home against Queen of the South serious questions are now being raised about the managerial abilities of Ally McCoist.

Super Ally the player was a hero in the eyes of the Gers supporters, 355 goals in 418 appearances enough to earn him the status as the clubs best ever goalscorer but Super Ally the manager? Well right now he is struggling and the jury is out.

Inheriting a title winning team from his mentor Walter Smith McCoist was unfortunate that his plans of strengthening the squad were seriously hampered thanks to the lack of support from the disgraced Craig Whyte.

Failure to land his favoured targets Carlos Cuellar, Roland Juhasz, Craig Conway, Tomer Hemed and David Goodwillie began to infuriate McCoist though he was able to sign the likes of US captain Carlos Bocanegra and Lee Wallace.

The first concerns about whether McCoist would be a successful Rangers manager began surfacing after he failed to lead the club into the Champions League after being knocked out by Malmo. That was followed by demotion to the Europa League and a disastrous two legged encounter with Slovenia’s Maribor.

Further embarrassment was heaped following a 2-1 League Cup defeat at Falkirk though the form of his new look team in the SPL was top notch, a fifteen game unbeaten run which included a 4-2 stuffing of Celtic.

But then came administration - on the heels of the loss of ‘Plan A’: the right boot of Steven Naismith. With a ten point deduction effectively handing the title to Celtic, the players appeared to lose focus and drive fearing for their futures and consecutive home losses against Kilmarnock and Hearts saw McCoist’s team struggle to hold onto second place.

Hopes of landing any silverware in his debut season as Gers gaffer were dashed as Dundee United knocked them out of the Scottish Cup with the season ending in fears the club may not even exist the following season.

However despite liquidation Charles Green’s consortium have been able to restructure the clubs finances and there was to be football played at Ibrox this year, albeit in the Third Division.

But for the 54 champions of Scotland it has been a real struggle adapting to life in the lower reaches of Scottish football, three draws and poor performances at Peterhead, Berwick and Annan have eradicated much of the sense of fun felt by the travelling Gers support at follow following their team in the third division.

And when we thought it could get no worse, Queen of the South came to Ibrox on a Tuesday night and dismissed us from the Ramsdens Cup. Described by many as featuring the worst first half of football they had ever seen, the team sheet featured the one constant of the McCoist era: players used out of position.

Rangers will still surely win the championship and could still challenge in the other two cups, but it must be said that they are making heavy weather of it when they should be swatting these part-time sides aside with ease.

Whilst McCoist has again indicated that he could have done with a little bit more backing in recruiting fresh blood he does have at his disposal enough players, including several internationalists, to be able to perform at a much higher standard.

Even in their two home league games Rangers have had to overcome the shock of losing an early goal before romping to 5-1 slaughterings over East Stirlingshire and Elgin. And, of course, there was last night.

The Rangers manager has publicly questioned the attitude of his players but despite this there has been no sign of improvement in their away showings and the fans are getting tired of hearing him and the likes of Ian Black continue to admit they are underperforming and must learn to match the physical attributes displayed by their opponents.

Tactically McCoist has yet to show he can come up with a game plan that can overcome a packed defence, and when the going gets tough he struggles to alter his system, if any attempt is made at all.

And his continued use of Neil Murray and John Brown as scouts has to be scrutinised when you consider some of the poor acquisitions that have arrived during his tenure such as Ortiz, Mackay and Celik.

Certainly Ally McCoist has been the Rangers manager during a period of transition, but for the clubs supporters this will not hide the fact that on the park under his stewardship it has not been good viewing.

Its nonsense to even consider his job is under threat but the report card on his first year in charge must read - ‘Can do better’.

14 September 2012

To: David Martin - Supporting Rangers is NOT a Crime



by Andy McKellar | CRO contributor | @AMCKEL | amckel@coplandroad.org |

Each weekend I would stay with my grandfather, who had been a Rangers fan all his days, and every other Saturday my uncle would visit and watch Football Italia, with its famous Golaccio introduction, while joining me in having a bowl of porridge. Once lunch was over and a few chocolate biscuits had been polished off, he would then swish his red, white and blue scarf around his neck and head for Ibrox to watch his beloved team earn another three points – more often than not anyway.

I had never been forced or prompted into supporting Rangers but fortunately it came naturally to me and I was not bought my first strip until I had actually asked for one. I cannot remember exactly what age this was when I received my first famous light blue jersey but pictures and vague recollections tell me that I wasn’t often seen without it thereafter.

The natural progression of events then rather strangely took me not to Ibrox but to Hampden Stadium. This is where I witnessed my first match, a 7-0 demolition of Ayr United in the Semi-Final of the Scottish Cup, but my main focus of attention was the magic of being part of such a huge and passionate crowd. Google informs me that our victory came courtesy of goals from Rozental (2), Kanchelskis, Wallace and Dodds (3) and I certainly cannot complain about my initiation into the Rangers support. There was something quite special about going to matches with my uncle and witnessing players who I had only previously been able to watch on television performing live in front of me.

I began to go to matches on a more regular basis and eventually received my season-ticket for the Broomloan Rear, a seat I occupied for a number of years. It was from there that I witnessed Rangers clinch their World Record 50th League Championship with probably the best team I have been fortunate enough to witness in my time as a Rangers fan. We had some real quality players back then in the form of Klos, Amoruso, De Boer, Mols & Caniggia - to name but a few – and it was a truly fantastic time to be going to Ibrox.

Unfortunately the world of Scottish football could not maintain its levels of spending and the power and financial might of the English Premiership began to attract the top talents from around the continent. Our top stars eventually moved to pastures new and we were unable to bring in the same quality of players from thereon in, with a few exceptions. The product on the park was declining and we witnessed more than one disastrous campaign as the downsizing began under the rein of David Murray. It also seemed to have a knock-on effect on the Ibrox atmosphere.

I don’t think there will be too many fans who will deny the apathy-ridden state that our great support was reduced to in the past few years. We watched on as our Club lurched closer to the abyss and allowed the likes of Murray & Whyte to drag Rangers down to its knees. Whether our involvement would have been enough to prevent the series of events that have since unfolded is of course hypothetical but the fact remains that in all honesty, we didn’t even try.

The whole ‘for every fiver you spend’ malarkey perhaps lulled our fans into a false sense of security that his since played a potentially detrimental role in our consequential downfall but it also affected our support of the players on the pitch. Perhaps I am overdramatising but Ibrox Stadium at times resembled more of a crowded public library than the noisy and boisterous arena that I remember from my childhood. In certain areas it was almost as if singing was completely unacceptable and for your run-of-the-mill matches, it can’t have provided much motivation or inspiration to our players.

The Blue Order attempted to rectify this with their music, chanting and singing and have since been joined by the Union Bears in an expansion which has taken them to section BF1. I have been a big fan of these groups for quite some time now in terms of their work at Ibrox and their efforts to introduce traditional songs about the Barcelona Bears and the four men who had a dream deserves some recognition. I am certainly not alone in reserving praise for both groups.

Ally McCoist, the inspirational man who effectively was Rangers Football Club last season, has also been vocal in his support for his affectionately named ‘mad squad’ and I rather suspect Charles Green views them in a similar light. While their boisterous support and energetic chanting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there are few who would doubt that The Blue Order & Union Bears have been a tremendous addition to our stadium. I hate to think what the atmosphere would be like without them.

Seemingly though, within the bowels of our grand old Ibrox Stadium, there are some people who would disagree with our manager and the vast majority of our fans. David Martin, Head of Security at Rangers, recently blocked a requested expansion of the groups’ allocation following consultation with Strathclyde Police. This was most unwelcome news and my disappointment seems to have been shared by many judging by the reaction on social networking sites and fans’ forums.

The Union Bears released a statement which claimed that Mr Martin did not believe that the expansion was in the ‘best interests of Rangers Football Club’, although quite whether he is in a position to judge that is certainly up for debate. The group pressed the Ibrox Head of Security and he cited ‘crowd surfing’ as an objection and I would tend to agree with his view that it is a definite safety concern for those involved. That is not to say however that he is right in his decision, far from it. I believe that David Martin should have in fact attached it as a condition to any proposed expansion and therefore ensured such behaviour does not occur in the future. That perhaps would have been too logical.

Strathclyde police also seemed to strongly hint that the Union Bears and their fellow BF1 members were responsible for ‘sectarian singing’ at Rangers’ away matches. This is robustly denied by the group and one might question why so few arrests have been made at away matches if the authorities are aware of who is causing the problem. I get the impression that their claim is more fiction than fact.

The UB statement continued: “Every week supporters in section BF1 are subjected to full body searches at turnstiles, every flag and banner being filmed before being allowed entry, intimidation inside and outside the stadium from stewards and Police as well as being filmed for 90 minutes by the anti-football unit whilst individuals inside the club give details of our members to Police to add to their intelligence database.” Quite an astonishing rigmarole to have to endure simply to support your team, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It seems that the Scottish National Party and Alex Salmond are determined to treat football fans like hardened criminals and have even made it a potentially illegal to be merely ‘offensive’. I am too young to remember but I have heard enough tales of football hooliganism and violence to know that we are now living in a society where such a thing has been eradicated, at least at the grounds themselves. The drinking culture and post-match incidents that do take place are often in the town centre, in pubs and clubs and bare no resemblance to the behaviour you witness at Ibrox or indeed any stadium around the country. The treatment of football fans, particularly those in section BF1, is completely unjustifiable and it is disappointing that such authoritarian policing has been allowed to continue inside our own stadium.

The latest own-goal by the staff at Rangers Football Club, who have so often neglected and ignored the fans or treated them with disdain, is made worse when you consider that these supporters simply want to follow their team and create a better atmosphere inside Ibrox. There is no hooliganism. There is no fighting. They simply want to support Rangers.

I understand a number of fans have been contacting Charles Green about this matter and I can only hope he continues the good work he has done thus far and allows common sense to prevail.

The Work Goes On


by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo | bmcmurdo@coplandroad.org |

Previously CRO shone the spotlight on Celtic uberfan Manus Joseph Fullerton and questioned his involvement in the pressure applied by Lloyds TSB to Rangers, which forced David Murray to sell to Craig Whyte.

Mr Fullerton’s role at Lloyds TSB saw him having overall control and management of the prestigious Rangers account. However, if media accounts are anything to go by, under Fullerton’s oversight Rangers were treated more like toxic waste than a feather in the cap of the bank’s client portfolio, so relentlessly did the bank pressure Rangers into reducing its debt.

Manus J. Fullerton was a founding board member of the Celtic Trust and we at CRO rightly questioned whether this involvement at a strategic level with Rangers’ fiercest rivals in any way influenced his professional dealings with RFC.

A question I am sure most would agree is a legitimate one in the passionate world of Scottish football, where club allegiances are often thicker than blood!

However, it turns out that Manus Fullerton was not the only Celtic diehard with a powerful hand in the fiscal dealings at Rangers.

Step forward Archie Gerard Kane, the man who headed up Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland and who was once described as “arguably the most powerful man in the Scottish economy.”

Like his Lloyds TSB colleague, Manus Joseph Fullerton, Archie Kane is a fanatical Celtic supporter. Kane is a Hamilton native who rose up the ranks from humble beginnings to become a big player in the insurance field, firstly with TSB, then Lloyds TSB. When HBOS was taken over by Lloyds TSB in 2008, Kane headed up operations for the combined group and thus became the banker of his favourite team’s fierce rivals.

Rangers FC now found itself with two Celtic fans in control of its banking facilities. Not just any Celtic fans but one rewarded for his fanaticism in relation to Celtic by being appointed a board member of the Celtic Trust and the other one of Scotland’s most powerful businessmen.

While we are on the subject of the Celtic Trust, it should be pointed out that this is not an ordinary supporters association but a radical group which lobbies for the singing of Republican hate songs at football games involving Celtic FC.

You cannot fail to understand the concern of Rangers fans that this gruesome twosome of rabid Celtic men were thrust into positions of great trust in their oversight of Rangers’ banking. Subsequent events certainly have done nothing to allay the suspicion that these men were acting in the best interests of Rangers Football Club as the pressure Lloyds TSB applied to the club arguably forced what would be a disastrous decision – the selling of Rangers by David Murray to Craig Whyte.

For decades we have heard the tedious claims of Celtic fans that their team was the victim of a conspiracy, a claim Rangers fans sneered at. Yet now it is Rangers fans who are believers in a conspiracy and it is no theory. Evidence of an anti-Rangers bias and agenda is all around and is the subject of much media coverage virtually all the time.

The problem for both Manus J. Fullerton and Archie G. Kane is that, being men who hail from the west of Scotland and both being Celtic fanatics, they are both surely aware that their role at Lloyds TSB is guaranteed to have suspicious people include them as part of a conspiracy against Rangers, whether they acted in the utmost professional way or not as Rangers’ bankers.

Our responsibility at CRO is to probe and ask the hard questions that Rangers fans want answered. And Rangers fans certainly would like to know how much the footballing loyalties of both men impacted upon their ability to help Rangers FC as a client.

Despite claims to the contrary, Rangers were quite a successful and well managed business. Debts of nearly £80m in 2004 dropped to £6m by 2006, at which time the overseers of the RFC banking facility decided they could loosen the strings a bit. Debts climbed again to £33m by 2008 before the final squeeze was begun. At the time of Murray’s sale, under Fullerton and Kane’s ‘guidance’ - via the hand of Donald Muir in the board room - debts had been slashed to less than £18m in the midst of an unlikely 3IAR given the financial conditions Walter Smith had to work in. Seemingly not enough had been done to cut the legs out from under the club.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves. Scottish football is in the bitter throes of civil war and Rangers fans en masse believe their club is being targeted by a cabal of corruption in the Scottish game.

The EBT inquiry instigated by the SPL has been described by many as a kangaroo court intent on inflicting punishment on Rangers, with the club’s guilt presumed and prejudged before any real proceedings take place.

The role of legal firm Harper Macleod in these proceedings is highly controversial, with their connections to Celtic leading some to conclude they are compromised by conflict of interest issues.

One of those connections is a certain Manus Joseph Fullerton, Celtic Trust founder member – yes, the same Manus who had access to the sensitive inner financial workings at Rangers Football Club and who, along with Archie Gerard Kane, Rangers fans regard with more than a measure of suspicion.

Manus Fullerton has moved on from Lloyds TSB and is now a consultant for Harper Macleod, working alongside another Celtic superfan, top sports lawyer Rod McKenzie. Mr McKenzie’s opinion of Rangers’ guilt on the EBT matter is already well-known due to his own intemperance on one occasion.

It appears that Manus Fullerton likes working for organisations that are, shall we say, not working in Rangers’ best interests?

As for Archie Kane, he has gone on to grander things himself. After being ejected from Lloyds TSB and his fat cat bonus withheld, Archie “Gerry” Kane has found himself one of the cushiest jobs in banking – as Governor of the Bank of Ireland.

In this role he will be able to sign off on the funding of Dermot Desmond’s pet projects, including DD’s aggressive acquisition of radio stations such as the recently acquired Real Radio.

No-one could argue that both Manus Fullerton and Archie Kane, the Celtic diehards who were Rangers bankers, have landed on their feet after their time at Lloyds TSB.

Thankfully, Rangers has survived the fleeting involvement both men had with the club, though the company that previously ran RFC certainly didn’t.

Manus and Archie have moved on but there’s no doubt that other Celtic-minded people will try to have a say in Rangers’ future.

For them the work goes on.

Ness/Miller: Part 2



Back for round two with CRO's own Nessinator, @RangersTV man Tom Miller answers the tough ones about wallpaper, the reasons he won't miss St Johnstone, and why Trevor Stevens should keep his eyes peeled when Tom's in the area!

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Will Ian Black give me a discount on my wall papering if I mention your name?

Blackie will be well decorated by the time he leaves Rangers.

His "let’s Paint this place Maroon” was paraphrased by myself on RTV at the end of last season as we won at Tynecastle. As I summarised our 2nd Goal of the day I said "Hearts Nil Rangers 2 LET'S PAINT THIS PLACE BLUE!" It boomed out and a few Gorgie faithful seated close to our commentary position had to be restrained,  Loved it!! As to a discount? You only get 100% from Blackie. Nothing less!

Personally I think you look like a mob boss…..a bit like Joe Cabot from Reservoir Dogs! If you really were a mob boss who at Ibrox would you have in your crew?

As Nice Guy Eddie said " Okay, First thing's fuckin last!" That will be our next SPL Title after we've bagged a straight hat trick in the SFL.

Reservoir Dogs was about a Ruthless Crew. Let's hope that's the policy of Rangers on the field his season.
So let's also hope we torture a few of our detractors on Cup business over the next couple of seasons!
Tarantino himself couldn't improve on the drama we are witnessing down Ibrox way now.

Where I a mob boss who would my "Capos" be? Kenny Mad Dog McDowall would be my enforcer and Jimmy The Bullet Bell would be my wheel man!


Which SPL game will you miss the most - minus Celtic?

I'll miss a few away days in the SPL. Aberdeen in particular. There is something very satisfying about leaving Pittodrie with 3 points in the bag. Whatever anyone says The Dons (How do people think they are Dandy? Is it to do with the comic? ) always raise their game when The Light Blues are in opposition. The Radio and written media section is still in beside the home fans so it's great when you see them troop out and head for the exits before 90 mins are on the clock.

Which SPL game will you miss the least?

I won't miss trips to Hibs as they as a club have the whole fish supper on their shoulder while I will miss a pre-match cup of tea and great football chat with Peter Houston in his small office in the bowels of Tannadice. I won't miss St Johnstone either. A cold, soulless stadium, even on a good day. Do they have a support? Sasa Papac will no doubt miss them though. He turned scoring against them into an art form.

What Kirky Broadfoot taught us is that footballers and cooking don’t mix! But if you could pick three players to do an episode of come dine with me with who would they be and why?

Start with former player Nacho Novo. Tapas and Rioja on the menu. With that Inverclyde Iberian accent he could regale us all with Ha Ha Samaras stories all night. I hear he also makes a mean Potato Tortilla!  I first met the wee man the day he signed for Raith it's no understatement to say he is a genuine top man!

Next to the table would be Harry H Handsome from the current squad Andrew Little. I would keep a couple of spare seats and ask Andy to bring a couple of his "admirers" along! Can't beat a bit of eye candy as dessert. Not sure that Ross Perry lives off his cast offs though!

I'd have a high chair handy for Barrie McKay and small portions would be enough for him. At only 17 I couldn't possibly condone the consumption of alcohol so more wine for the rest of us.

For a bit of entertainment I would maybe ask The Gaffer to come along and give us a rendition or two of The Boss - Springsteen that is - but Big Andy has just tried to veto it in case Ally cuts his grass with the birds!!

Do you read sites such as CoplandRoad.org, The Rangers Standard, etc? If so whats your opinion on such websites giving our more articulate fans such a great platform to make a point?

Of course I read the sites, and Coplandroad.org and The Rangers Standard are always on my radar.  I'm a Rangers Fan, always have been always will be. Keep up all the good work.

Can you get me a place in the million pound crossbar challenge? 

I am pleased to confirm The Nessinator will be given an opportunity to lift The Million in the crossbar challenge. A slight handicap though because of your dead ball accuracy. It will take place at the Broomloan Road End and you've to kick it from Charing X and do it with a tennis ball!

Favourite moment from the summer of sport?

Sensational summer of sport but be honestly could we all really focus on anything but where our Club was going?

For Andy Murray a memorable mixture of tears and triumphs from SW19 but how enthralling was his 1st Major success from New York? I really enjoyed South Africa putting England to the sword in Test Match Cricket but it's hard to see past the remarkable cycling successes of the summer. Hoy and Olympic Gold and Wiggins in The Tour de France. But I will! Rangers’ signing Ian Black was a positive that had us all smiling but maybe the main story has still to come out
New contracts for Lewis MacLeod and Barrie McKay committing to 2017 may yet be the most satisfying story of this summer (albeit a bit late) Watch this space!

Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster – Which fast food outlet would they be best suited to?

I would definitely deep fry Doncaster while a Subway would be perfect for Regan. The deeper underground the better!

Have their appointments been good for the Scottish game? Put it this way both should have had their Chips by now!!

How do you celebrate a Rangers win?

How do I celebrate a Rangers win? Well to be honest the best celebrations are after a win against "The Sellik " when I can usually be found sooking a lemon for at least a week!

Many years ago I used to meet a couple of the players and kick every ball all over again in a hotel not far from Ibrox and see off a couple of Shandies. Now it's pretty much straight home pick up my partner Patricia and we head out for dinner and a good bottle of wine before going home for a Swally!! Then read all the papers on Sunday despite the columnists in Scotland's favourite red tops leaving me speechless with their "non agenda" pieces. Let's just say it's unlikely these guys will have anything as near a comfortable a Saturday night as I have following a Light Blues win!

Did you enjoy playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises?

I loved an excuse to get my Gimp Mask back on and when I was offered the part as Bane in Dark Knight Rises it was too good an opportunity to miss. So my secret is out! Wait to you see the follow up! Carnage! I think I might even train Blackie (Blackie Bane?) up as my successor. It will make a change from his other role as Jacko in Brush Strokes!

Last and most importantly, who at Rangers has the hottest WAG?

Hottest Wag?  To be fair there are a few candidates but at last season's Legends match v Milan Mrs Trevor Steven was the cause of many a head on a swivel in and around the corridors of Ibrox. Madame Steven is more French than Sancerre and confirms that the former Gers midfielder didn't lose his touch in his brief spell at Marseille. Don't take my word for it.....check her out on Google Images......Ooooooooo La La!!!

Ness/Miller Part 1 is available here

13 September 2012

Ness/Miller: Part 1



by The Nessinator | CRO special guest | @JamieFukinNess |

He may be away in a HMS medical ward in Stoke, but he’s still scoring the big names for the CRO.

Today we bring you part one of the Nessinator’s interview with legendary commentator Tom Miller. In-depth analysis of Rangers, coming to you with Tony Pulis’ consent, exclusively from the Copland Road Organization.

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Serious one first for you big Tommo: Is it a relief to finally be getting back to work talking about football rather than finances?

You bet! Every week through the summer I was on talkSPORT usually with Danny Kelly watching a fascinating and at times heartbreaking story unfold, and as we tried to make sense of it all the plot was constantly confused by the comment and actions of others who had their own agendas. They know who they are and reason is not in their vocabulary!

So when we finally got the go ahead to get playing at Brechin it wasn't just a sense of relief but it immediately galvanised the Rangers family to take our medicine and get the journey started.

Obviously it’s been a hard few months but thankfully for everyone involved guys like the Nessinator have been around. Who’s your favourite ‘parody’ on twitter and why?

Twitter has been brilliant! It's a wonderful tool for news debate and humour. We had it in spades through such a difficult period. It meant that Bears everywhere were up to date with a rapidly changing picture of what was happening at our club it also gave a great platform for debate but through it all we knew we still retained the ability to laugh.

Nobody makes me laugh more than The @RangersSeal. The Fishy Fella is quite simply bonkers but what a talent to put together his epic clips where nobody is safe from his cutting whiskers!

@JamieFukinNess and I have shared some memorable tweets, while I couldn't believe the recent rabid caller to Radio Clyde SSB who was convinced Ian Black's twitter account was really his!

For non football stuff you have to follow Roy Cropper and ask yourself how does he get away with it?

Twitter has also added a new dynamic in the way which fans and the club communicate, such as our pal mad Dicko (Andrew Dickson: The bald one) having his weekly rant about Rangers history, given you work in media is this something you feel the club could explore further?

The progress Rangers have made in social media in such a short period in time is remarkable. Most of that is down to @rfc_Rab who lives eats and breathes Rangers social media. Our pal @rfc_dickson just eats!! He could appear on Man v Food and boss it for weeks! But Andrew is such a passionate guy about his job and he found it particularly frustrating that he wasn't able to answer some of the questions that were regularly thrown at him during a very difficult period. Conversely @rfc_Smudger is the quiet man of twitter. When Smudge tweets you know he must be bored out his tree! There is no truth in the rumour however that he keeps carrier pigeons!

I am sure this method of engaging with fans will continue to go from strength to strength and all suggestions I am sure would be welcomed. Rab is your man!

Who would win a fight between Lee McCulloch and a Bus?

If it is a single decker it's no contest the Jig would win by a knockout! A double decker might take a wee bit more of an effort but again Jig would take it! The only one he wouldn't take on is a" Bendy"!

Sadly lots of players left during the ‘newco’ transfer. Who will you miss the most and why?

Strangely I'll miss Juanma Ortiz loads!

Every game Juanma would come down the tunnel hands stuffed deep in his pockets and looking as if he had found a Paseta and lost 10 Euros! Every week I would greet him in my very limited Benidorm Spanish and wish him well , ask how the family was etc. And every week he would smile and reply in rapid Spanish that I had no idea what he was saying but I would just nod smile and shake his hand. Great to see he is doing well in La Liga as he conducted his departure with dignity and respect for our club.

On the field Steven Naismith is the one I'll miss most. We all expected so much more from him when he was returning from his second major injury while at the club. A down to earth and quiet lad off the park but he developed into a beast on it with a winning mentality second to none. He was and is 4 players in one. A dream quality to have in the modern game. Everton have really got a winner at our expense.

Worst dresser at the club?

Far be it from me to slaughter the Beau Brummell qualities of the playing staff but the man I nominate who always looks as if he has got dressed in a power cut when I see him on the gantry would be our favourite freelance reporter Lord Graham Spiers!! He dresses like a headmaster from the 90s!! 18-90s! Spiers does for Ralph Slater what Stuart Slater (older readers will know who!) did or Celtic ! Feck All!!

If you could be any Rangers player past or present who would you be?

Any player? Wow!

First thought was Amoruso, or Tripod as he answered too! But as they say it's more about what you do with it!

Next up was my big pal Colin Jackson. He was engaged more often than the loos in Central Station!
Andy Goram was a contender but like him next time I get married I'm just going to meet somebody I don't like and buy them a house.

Paul Gascgoine? A real thoroughbred with the elegance, poise and speed of a race horse , the strength of a cart horse but the brains of a rocking horse ! Dismissed.  But what a player!

I’m going to settle on being The Master Slim Jim Baxter. Talent like you wouldn't believe and confidence to match. Anyone who plays keepie uppie at Wembley v The Auld Enemy then tells World Cup winner Alan Ball that "You might be a player when your voice breaks !" Had to be very unique & he remains my all-time Rangers hero. "Stanley" you are a Legend!

Now that we know Lee McCulloch is Superman which superheroes would other squad members be?

Skipper Lee may be carrying the title but the true Superman has to be Ian Durrant. He proved he was indestructible and has the Superman triangle tattoo to prove it ! He was inked on a club tour to Canada along with Super Ally and Goalie Andy Dibble after 9-in-a-row was secured. That indeed was the tatt of choice of the big goalie with the dates of his spell at Ibrox. When he shouted through to Durranty for the date of the Club's formation to enhance the design Jasper gave him a date just under 200 years previous. Fortunately he changed it before the artist had made it a permanent inscription !

Current Superheroes in the Squad ?

David Templeton would be Batman as he goes home to Robyn!

Ian Black would be Aquaman as he let's all the flack flow over him like water off a Ducks back and Fran Sandaza would be our XMan......have you seen his autograph ?

Many people probably don’t know this but the name ‘The Nessinator’ was the result of a conversation between myself and you on twitter, although initially he said I was a tampon because I was useless three weeks out of four! Give us a CRO exclusive: Possible nicknames for – Lee Wallace,  Dean Sheils and Ian Black.

Ian Black will now be known as "50 Shades" as in 50 Shades of Black and Blue as that is how he will leave opponents.

Dean Shiels will keep the Norn Iron tradition going as "The Magician from Magherafelt”!

Lee Wallace could be "Sir William". In 1395 his namesake was hung drawn and quartered by King Edward. That's what Hearts fans wanted for Lee when he joined Rangers. Now the big guy smokes King Edwards!

There is no truth in the rumour as far as I know that Kevin Kyle and Fran Sandaza answer to Salt n Pepper down Auchinhowie way because they are never off the table!

Charles Green seems like he’s starting to win the majority of the fans over. What are your thoughts on the new gaffer and is it true he once starred in Emmerdale or is that just a rumour I started in a blog?

Charles Green in Emmerdale?

Emmerdale is still Emmerdale with the same history and characters as it was when it was Emmerdale Farm! 'Nuff said!!!!

I would be delighted to buy Charles a pint in the Woolpack though!

That reminds me, I bought Craig Whyte and his WAG a drink in a Malmo Bar last year. Still waiting on the complement being returned!

Have you seen the deeds?

Deeds? Give me 5 minutes while I phone a friend. Now where did I put Bomber’s number?

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Ness/Miller Part 2 is available here

SFL3 Preview: Annan Athletic



by Peter Ewart | CRO contributor | @Seasider06 |

There is no great reason to know the first thing about Annan if you didn't actually have any connection with the place. It is the smallest and most southerly town that we will visit on our SFL3 journey.

Historically Annan and Annandale, in Dumfries and Galloway is clan Bruce country, including most famously Robert The Bruce, spider and all. It's far enough south in fact - on the Solway Firth - to have experienced Roman raiders beyond Hadrian's wall.

The Club

Formed in 1942, the Black and Golds are a relatively young club. The club joined the SFL in 2008 from the south of Scotland league when a place became available following Gretna's demise. Their highest place finish was 4th in 2010-11 when the lost to Albion Rovers in the final of the playoffs.

After a bright start to the current season with a 1-0 home win over Livingston in the opening Ramsdens Cup, Annan have struggled a bit since, recording only one further league win, 3-2 at home to Berwick Rangers.

The Ground

With such a small town its no real surprise that the ground has a capacity of just 3000. Galabank is located to the north of the town off the A75 and on the banks of the Annan. Bears will likely be in the North End of the ground, nicknamed the Astro End due to proximity to the AstroTurf pitch behind it.

The pitch itself is worthy of note as an artificial 3G pitch which was installed over the summer. It will be Rangers first but certainly not last outing on those surfaces in SFL3. Most Bears’ preferred route will surely be via the M74.

Ticket Chances: 3 out of 10

With around 1000 tickets on offer this was always going to among the most difficult away date to get to. It's not been helped by the curious decision by the club to ballot those who had signed up for the continuous credit card system for tickets. As I've said before, Rangers fans need a consistent approach to away allocation and they need it soon.

For me Annan could have moved the game to a bigger ground for greater financial gain (Queen of the South an obvious candidate in Dumfries) but in sporting terms a home game and an equal split of fans gives them the best chance of a result.

Views on the Rangers' Saga

Chairman Henry Mclleland was standing firm in the week of the vote in July and had already picked apart the SPL's imminent cash flow troubles. From 8 July:

"The SPL are threatening that, without Rangers in Division One, the money would be withdrawn - because they can't afford to pay.

“It's total dismay at the way they are dealing with this. We feel as though we're being bullied.

"The SFL accounts show that that money is almost the total money that's distributed to the clubs throughout the season.

"Annan would get around £60,000 that could disappear. But, if that's the case then as a club they will deal with it by cutting their cloth accordingly.

"We feel Rangers should be in Division Three and our stance hasn't changed."

The club have raised a few eyebrows by taking sponsorship from some strange quarters. Step forward Aberdeen fans for sporting integrity (so many jokes, so little time) who are sponsoring an Annan player for the current campagn. A team at the other end of the country and three leagues away... Wonder why, huh?

Frankly if these idiots and others like them are going to direct money away from their own struggling SPL clubs then so be it. The SFL should take the money off them at every opportunity.

For fans lucky enough to have got a ticket they could be in-line for our first away win in SFL3.

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For more info: www.annanathleticfc.com

And we wish we could give you a twitter account to follow, but there isn't an official one that we can see.

12 September 2012

Monitor Syndrome



by Chris Graham | CRO guest contributor | @ChrisGraham76 |

We have all heard plenty people say over the past few months that Scottish football doesn’t need Rangers. Rangers are dead. The game will now thrive because all the diddy teams can slog it out for second place in the SPL and this will make the ‘product’ more exciting.

Well I disagree, but then I would since I’m a Rangers fan. What is curious though, is that a collection of internet bampots (they like this term) have started a site called The Scottish Football Monitor and, despite them claiming our club no longer exists, it appears to be all about Rangers.

Let’s have a look first at “The List”. This has a dedicated page on the site and is the culmination of the collective wittering of these internet warriors about what they would like The Scottish Football Monitor to focus on.  So here it is:

The Nimmo Report
Stewart Regan explained the delay in publication was due to the original Disciplinary Panel considering it. The panel chairman claimed he had never had sight of it. Report remains hidden.

Ticketus
Does anyone seriously believe this has gone away? £30m tells us, “NO!”

Conflicts of Interest
Particularly pertaining to RFC officials who were in office at the time of the EBT schemes currency whilst also acting as SFA/SPL officials. Namely Campbell Ogilvie and John McLelland.

Player Registration
How did Sevco manage to register a whole team of players only hours before their cup match at Brechin. Their SFA membership was not formalised until less than 24 hours before the match took place.

Graeme Souness
In receipt of £30k of EBT money TEN YEARS after leaving RFC. Why?

Football Debts
Sevco compelled to pay these, but it is alleged they have not yet been paid – despite Sevco spending money on players whose talents will be used against clubs still to be reimbursed. Is there a deadline for these debts to be met?

Employee Benefit Trust
Is it legal or moral for money from this source to be disbursed to non-employees?

Who Owns Ibrox and Murray Park
Valuation of properties in Green’s deal was £5.5m. It is speculated that this might be a reasonable price for the Albion Car Park, but that it implies a discount for Ibrox and MP of around 70%. So did Green purchase the stadium and training ground – or just the car park?

Insolvency Practitioners Investigation
Into Duff & Phelps possible conflict of interest. Announced in June 2012

Court of Session Investigation
Into Duff & Phelps possible conflict of interest. Announced in June 2012

Now the more perceptive amongst you will notice this list is exclusively about Rangers. There is not a single item here not linked directly to us. There is, it would appear, nothing else happening in Scottish football that is worth talking about. It begs the question, why call the site The Scottish Football Monitor? Why not call it “We hate Rangers” or perhaps, “Shit! Rangers are still here”?

It won’t surprise you to learn that this site was started by a number of anonymous posters on the Rangers Tax Case site. Indeed, their mission is to “pay homage to, and carry on the work of the ground breaking RangersTaxCase blog (RTC)”. It would appear they are going to achieve this with the same anonymous mudslinging and dubious legal and accountancy standards as the previous site.

The original post announcing the site got over two thousand comments. That is a lot for a site which is exclusively about a club that they think doesn’t exist. These were mainly from regular RTC posters who had been rocking themselves into a frenzy over RTC putting out their latest “our work here is done” statement. After the 3rd or 4th such statement, it seems they took RTC seriously and felt that a new home must be found for their obsession.

One of the first articles was by a Saint Johnstone ‘fan’ who took us through a timeline of the wonderful Rangers Tax Case (homage you see).  He then wrote a piece on why Rangers can’t afford players. In order to illustrate this he decided that our average attendance would be 35k (wrong), our season ticket sales would be 25k (wrong) and that all the players we have signed are on 5k a week (wrong). He then estimated lots of our other income and expenditure to decide that we would be £2.5m in debt at the end of the year.

Ignoring the fact that almost all his figures were wrong, we are also expected to believe that the SFA should not have approved our business plan based on his napkin maths. Apparently, football clubs are not allowed debt now and, if they have any, should have their licence revoked. This could cause some issues for his own club and others in the SPL but I think he really meant this should only apply to “Sevco”, whoever they are. He could have saved himself and everyone else a lot of time by just phoning Radio Clyde and wailing down the phone about how unfair it was that we bought St Johnstone’s best player.

Still, not to worry. The Rangers, sorry, ‘Scottish Football’ Monitor can rely on the exemplary legal musings of Paul McConville. For those of you not aware of Mr McConville he regularly shares a stage with Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, a man “tarred with a sickening sectarian brush”. They travel Scotland talking about Rangers, in Celtic Supporter Clubs. Paul has been barred from being a partner in a law firm for ten years and if he wishes to work must do so “under supervision”.

Within two hours of Charles Green’s statement on the SPL investigation, McConville had put out an article on TSFM and promised a more detailed follow up. (I wonder if anyone was supervising him?) The gist of this article was that Charles Green should again be charged by the SFA for daring to challenge the legitimacy of the SPL investigation. We can’t have anyone at Rangers actually standing up for the club - especially not when they have based it on legal advice from actual, practicing lawyers and QCs. Lawyers who, as far as I am aware, require no supervision to properly carry out their work.

If the articles are not bad enough we then move to the comments. They are a worrying window into the dangerous obsession that some SPL fans have with Rangers. Of course if you want to post you can’t call us Rangers. It has to be “Sevco” or “new Rangers”.  No matter that neither of these entities actually exists.

The site claims to welcome all fans including, I assume, those of Rangers.  You would have to have quite a thick skin to frequent it as a Rangers fan given that you would be variously branded a “zombie” or a “sevconian”. This is monitor humour, perhaps too highbrow for us to understand.

There may be an argument that this is a valuable ‘care in the community’ project. I dread to think what these people would be doing if they were not safely planted in front of their computers, furiously concocting balance sheets or frothing about Campbell Ogilvie. I suppose maybe they would go to a football match but I’m not sure they even know what football is.

I could end this with some sort of pithy remark about the unbounded madness of this type of site but I don’t think I can better the comedy of this extract from a recent article. The emphasis is mine. Enjoy, and remember, it is all about the Rangers for these guys.

“There have been, understandably, some comments on the blog and elsewhere about a perceived obsession here with Rangers and their offspring. Whilst I agree that the focus of this community should have a wider perspective, I don’t think it is obsessional to engage with the big story of the day – in fact it is necessary that we do so.

“We have recently been approached by some people about the possibility of our creating and publicising our own Scottish Football Financial Secrecy League in line with that created a while back for Christian Aid. That may give us some credibility as a watchdog, and utilise the expertise that many contributors have offered so freely in the past.”

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Chris Graham is a season ticket holder at Ibrox and all-around media darling. You can read more of his work at TheRangersStandard.co.uk

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You can read about why Paul McConville has so much free time on his hands here: http://www.scotsman.com/news/163-2m-miners-fund-missing-cash-probe-1-1368578

and here:  http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4365362/Cash-row-lawyer-denied-families-compensation.html

11 September 2012

A Matter of Trust



by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo | bmcmurdo@coplandroad.org |

Not much is known about Manus Joseph Fullerton, the former Lloyds TSB executive director, who was responsible for supervising the account of Rangers FC during the latter part of  David Murray’s ownership of the club.

What is known is something that was previously extremely disconcerting to fans of Rangers when it was first discovered and which demands more than mild scrutiny now.

For Manus Joseph Fullerton was and is a fervent, dedicated supporter of Rangers’ fiercest rivals, Celtic Football Club – so dedicated that he was installed as a founding board member of the Celtic Trust.

Already you may be thinking of foxes and chicken coops and events subsequent to his taking over as head of business banking for Lloyds TSB in Scotland give this analogy a great deal of traction.

Since Manus Joseph Fullerton was made responsible for Rangers’ banking during the Murray years, there seemed to be a vice of intense pressure upon Rangers to reduce their debt to the bank. To be fair, the total indebtedness of the Murray Group - some £700 million or more to the Bank of Scotland - did not help the situation at a time when the bank’s exposure to risky debts was the subject of media interest.

Having said that, it suddenly seemed that Rangers FC was being severely bullied by the bank, who had Donald Muir inserted into the board at Ibrox with the brief of protecting the bank’s money and reducing debt levels.

There was no doubt that Manus J. Fullerton was pulling the strings at the club which was the rival of his own beloved Celtic, an odd arrangement and an uncomfortable one.

But as events unfolded and Rangers, despite achieving a stunning reduction in debt levels during challenging economic times, seemed to sink to its knees under what appeared to be persecution levels of pressure from Lloyds TSB to get its money, the “management” of the Rangers account by Manus Fullerton could be argued to be a very destructive state of affairs for the club.

A beleaguered and dispirited David Murray eventually managed to offload Rangers to venture capitalist Craig Whyte amidst what was widely perceived to be a relentless and aggressive campaign by the bank to recoup its money. Even back then, shrewd heads were looking at the Rangers situation and wondering why Lloyds TSB were so hysterical over a very manageable amount of debt.

Of course, Rangers were mired in what has become known as the Big Tax Case and Lloyds TSB may have been worried that if that went against Rangers, then the massive potential debt Rangers would owe HMRC would jeopardise the bank’s ability to recoup its own money.

The crucial question that has to be asked is was the exorbitant pressure placed upon David Murray to sell Rangers really because of the heavy debt his other companies were carrying? If so, why was the pressure applied to sell Rangers specifically? Or was it because of the Big Tax Case which could have sunk Rangers should the ruling go against the club?

Or was there another motive that animated Manus Fullerton, the man responsible for oversight of the Rangers account? Was that motive a personal one, based on an allegiance to Rangers’ fiercest foe in football – the team Manus Fullerton has no problem declaring his passion for?

It must be borne in mind that Manus Joseph Fullerton was appointed as a board member of the Celtic Trust. He was what you could call an uberfan of his team.

The biblical phrase that the borrower is the servant of the lender also places the situation in a context that no Rangers supporter could be comfortable with, i.e. Rangers finances being controlled by a Celtic man and their accounts and sensitive business affairs presumably accessed quite readily by him.

In a nutshell, Rangers were forced to trust the man from the Celtic Trust.

Let’s put it this way – how would Celtic supporters react to the news that a diehard bluenose was being put in charge of Celtic’s banking facilities?

Maybe these things shouldn’t matter.

But in Scotland they do.

And no-one can doubt that under Manus J. Fullerton’s control of Rangers’ banking the club suffered great pressure bordering on persecution from Lloyds TSB, leading to the sale of Rangers to Craig Whyte.

Events since then naturally lead us to the necessary review of just what Manus Fullerton’s role was in the biggest story ever in Scottish football.

Maybe the Manus himself could shed some light on it...?

CRO says NO to a Clyde Boycott



by Peter Ewart | CRO contributor | @Seasider06 |

After all that has happened in 2012 Bears have been asking a lot of questions and that's no bad thing. One of the more puzzling questions continually coming up is a desire to find out which club voted against our entrance to the SFL.

As you know the vote was 29-1, and there seems to be a desire to find out which club was the one. The immediate assumption being whatever club voted against Rangers football club wanted to see us out of the existence.

The finger of suspicion seems to be pointing squarely at Clyde FC. And subsequent to the vote the club has not answered direct questions about whether or not it was in fact them that levied the lone vote of opposition.

Such unwillingness appears to have brought about talk of a boycott of the game at Broadwood at the end of October from some of our support. But even if Clyde were ‘the one’ any boycott would be misguided.

It might well have been Clyde who voted no. If they did I think there would be good reason for it. It is more likely that the no vote was a protest against the incompetent mess made of the management of the process by SPL and the SFA than a slight toward Rangers.

In Clyde’s press release on the eve of the vote, they alluded to not having received enough information on the business side of Green’s bid to enter the SFL and the stark mishandling of the process by the football authorities.

They felt they were being asked to take a flyer, so they may have felt they had to vote against. They would have known that Rangers would be voted into the SFL, and that with such overwhelming support they could afford a protest vote and it would have absolutely no effect other than just that - to make a point.

And whoever it was who voted no, the result of the second vote also suggests it was a protest. In the second vote for whether to put Rangers in the first or third division of the SFL the vote was 25 to 5 in favour of the third. Surely anybody wanting us out of the league altogether would have abstained or not voted at all. So for me it was a protest vote, nothing more sinister.

So there is no reason to boycott any of the SFL sides, and certainly no reason to boycott Broadwood in October.

They were one of the first to break cover and point out the failings and bullying from the SPL and SFA. On 30th June, a Clyde club statement attacked the plan to put Rangers in Division 1 by the SPL/SFA to avoid “financial meltdown”.

“The essential intent behind those papers is to induce the SFL clubs to agree a proposal to allow a Newco to enter the SFL in the First Division in exchange for a range of structural changes to the current set up and some small financial inducements,” their statement said.

“The Board believe that any proposals for change should not be rushed, as these have been. They also have to be done by consensus and not through threat or inducement, again, as these have been.
“The papers include a proposal to allow a Newco to enter the First Division. This is contrary to the rules of the SFL and nothing within the papers justifies this proposal.”

Progressive voices like Clyde are ones that should be allies for RFC. No way should we be making enemies of them. They are a member owned club and there are things that we as a support can learn from them.

There are many battles to be fought. Clyde isn’t one them.

I’ll be at Broadwood on 28 October.

Hard to Handle

by Andy McGowan | CRO contributor | amcgowan@coplandroad.org |

Being a Rangers fan in the season 2012/2013 has become a catch-22 of sorts.

A few fans have made the difficult decision not to renew their season tickets or attend matches now that Rangers are recovering from SFL3. Some have done so because of footballing reasons, others financial, and no doubt a large section due to a host of other reasons. These fans will be accused of ‘walking away’, lacking loyalty, or being ‘fair weather fans.’

Yet those of us who have chosen to stay or take up their places are accused in some quarters of doing so not because we love football, not because we love Rangers, not even because we love a half-time burger, but because we hate other clubs!

This seems to be the view taken by what passes for a journalist this side of the border. ‘Defiance’ is the new buzzword to sum up any and all positive actions taken by Rangers supporters for daring to (as the term would suggest) support their club.

Gordon Waddell recently took a crack at explaining it, saying Rangers fans are turning up “to prove that they are, in fact, The Peepil.”

I would like to point out to Mr. Waddell that the suggestion that Rangers fans are motivated to attend football matches for extrinsic as opposed to intrinsic factors is staggering in its inaccuracy and naivety.

Rangers fans are not attending football matches out of defiance.

They are attending because they support Rangers, and with a bit more digging he may find the residents of Govan can spell ‘people’ in far greater numbers than those in Falkirk can spell ‘capacity’.

Hugh Keevins offers an alternate if equally moronic hypothesis for Rangers’ continued support by suggesting that if fans did stop showing up, “they’ll be mocked by Celtic supporters.”

Hugh Keevins, a man astonishingly given a forum to punt his ludicrous theories, is really suggesting that (at season ticket prices) Rangers fans are spending upwards of £300 not including huge match day costs just to get one over on Celtic.

The magnitude of the stupidity of that statement alone is enough to make any fair minded sensible onlooker wonder how a national newspaper can be so out of touch with reality.

Of course if you are going to have an ill-informed pop at Rangers fans you can’t let it pass without quickly sticking the boot into Charles Green as well. Mr. Waddell seems to think that Big Chuck trying to make money is news worthy.

Imagine: A businessman trying to make money from a investment? It’ll never catch on.

The suggestion is that Mr. Green makes statements he believes to be untrue in an attempt to wind up his own supporters, and if you buy into the theory that all Rangers fans are powered by defiance, this will in turn force the fans into attending matches and spending more money on their club.

Now either Gordon Waddell thinks Rangers supporters are idiots, or he believes that Charles Green is a liar who thinks we are idiots. Perhaps he will be kind enough to clear that one up for us in his next article.

Gordon Waddell and Huge Keevins seem to picture the average Rangers fan on match day angrily chocking down a half-time pie just to get it up Celtic while Charles Green laughs an evil laugh in the background refilling cups of Bovril.

Alas, here are perhaps some figures that both of our dynamic duo would like to take a look at.

So far this season Rangers average attendance is slightly above the 47,000 mark, and we can compare that with previous seasons  with a click of a few keys and an internet connection. (Although in their defence perhaps the moon isn’t broadband ready quite yet.)

99/00 – 45,446
00/01 – 45,003
01/02 – 47,880
02/03 – 48,814
03/04 – 48,992
04/05 – 48,676
05/06 – 49,245
06/07 – 49,955
07/08 – 48,091
08/09 – 49,534
09/10 – 47,564
10/11 – 45,305
11/12 – 46,324

We can clearly see that this is not an act of defiance by Rangers supporters. Rather, it is the continued unfaltering support of a football club.

Gordon Waddell tells us that, “There is clearly money to be made in defiance. Finance to be had from other people’s froth.”

You are mistaken Gordon. Yes, there is money to be made, but not in defiance. It is to be made in unity, the same unity Rangers fans have shown for many a year, and the same unity and loyalty to the club that they continue to show in times of hardship and prosperity alike.

For the rest of this season, and the next, even the one after that, Rangers fans will continue to turn out at Ibrox and support their club, simply because they love to do so. And not out of 'defiance' but because Rangers is a part of their lives.

Rangers’ fans will not abandon their club, they will not go back to supporting their ‘local team’ as so many journalists and board members across Scotland predicted over the summer.

No, they will stick with Rangers through thick and thin, and they will do so out of loyalty to the Club, not our of some sort of defiance to the rest of Scotland.

It may be a bit hard to handle for the likes of Waddell and Keevins. CRO's advice?

Get over it.

09 September 2012

The Obsession Which Knows No Bounds

by Andy McKellar | CRO contributor | @AMCKEL |

Each and every day I awake, climb out of bed rather sluggishly, and reach for my phone so that I can get my morning update about just what is going on in the world of Rangers Football Club. Social networking sites, in particular Twitter, are tremendous vehicles for getting a steady stream of news and noteworthy announcements about the latest developments at Ibrox and, quite simply, I don’t know how I ever coped without them.

Many of you will share a similar routine. Or perhaps you will begin when you have some spare time in work which allows you to log on to your favourite fans’ forum and catch up with the gossip, rumours and debate surrounding our Club. The details aren’t important though. It is clear that we are passionate about Rangers and that is completely normal and understandable.

What is a bit less comprehensible however is the notion that every morning around the country, in true Only An Excuse fashion, certain fans are throwing off their duvets and bouncing out of bed in their green and grey hooped pyjamas before opening their internet browsers to their homepage: Rangers.co.uk. They then tweet and facebook and blog about a football club that is not their own and share with the world their unhealthy and worrying obsession with their city rivals.

There has always been a fixation on Rangers from fans of other clubs, even greater I would suggest than there is for Manchester United down in England. What both football clubs have in common of course is ingrained success, titles and trophies. That just might have just something to do with it.

Recently the obsession has reached new heights following the financial meltdown that occurred at Ibrox last season. Our demise seemed to bring out something rather unattractive and repulsive in their character. I’m sure the thought ‘well, more than normal’ will have already crossed the minds of a few readers. While Celtic fans and their Premier League minions have never wished us well - and believe me the feeling is mutual - there was now an unquenchable blood lust where no sanction or punishment, no matter how severe, was fitting. The knife had been planted into the back of ‘The Establishment Club’ and it simply couldn’t be twisted enough.

It was like a gladiatorial battle at a Roman Colloseum where the crowd were baying for blood and punishment. They wanted to see the great warrior suffering in pain and would vociferously call out ‘Iugulo’ before awaiting the decision of the senator or emperor.

Okay, I may be guilty of exaggerating for effect in the above metaphor, however the principle remains the same and I think nearly all Rangers fans can find some truth and likeness in the emotive imagery above. Sadly, our supposed ‘death’ does not seem to have satisfied the call for punishment.

Charles Green, now our Chief Executive, constructed a consortium of investors which would go on to purchase Rangers FC from the company which operated it, as well as the assets of course. Some will question the accuracy of that description and argue that the club and company are one and the same. The Court of Session however would seem to disagree.

Regardless of the facts we are still being told by some that our Club is dead and no longer in existence. This is more wishful thinking than anything else on the part of the individuals who peddle such lies but if that is what helps then sleep at night then far be it from me to deny them that joy. Deep down however they know the truth but like an addict battling his/her demons, denial remains the favoured state of mind.

Rangers fans have been galvanised and strengthened by recent events and have remained loyal to the Club they love, regardless of its new fourth-tier status. Ibrox Stadium even played host to a record crowd for a fourth-tier league match which was dubbed ‘Sold-Out Saturday’ by the increasingly popular Charles Green. Headlines have been made worldwide and, against Elgin City last weekend, we once again had the highest attendance in Scotland and second-highest in the United Kingdom. We certainly don’t do walking away.

It was perhaps unusual to many outsiders that the highest attendance at the weekend was not at Parkhead, the home of the SPL champions. One would be forgiven for assuming that the top team in the top-flight with nearly 10,000 more seats available would be able to attract the top crowd, but that accolade remained in SFL3 with Rangers. There must have been another sale on somewhere. Either that or they were all at home reading about us via the blog of their new hero – the man tarred with a sectarian brush - Phil Mac Giolla Bhain.

The Donegal-based ‘journalist’ has written something resembling a book detailing a ‘Downfall’ of sorts. Celtic fans in particular jumped on the bandwagon and hastily pre-ordered their copy, eagerly anticipating several joyful hours of flicking through its pages. I won’t go into too much detail as it has been covered at length elsewhere on CRO and other sites but, I should point out in case any readers were unaware, that the publication in question is entirely about (yup, you guessed it) Rangers!

I can’t begin to understand just what it must be like to wake up and have your first thoughts run to the events at another football club each morning. Certain opposition fans also devote their Twitter accounts almost entirely to discussing Rangers and harassing our fans about our club. It is an existence I would almost pity were it not so vile and hate-filled at times. While of course this is not true of all Celtic or other supporters, it certainly has become a defining trait recently and there is little sign of it diminishing.

In a rather peculiar way I suppose it is a compliment that our club and our supporters are just so important in the lives of other clubs’ fans. It is testament to our stature, our history and our continued success that there is such a focus on Rangers Football Club.

The ‘Old Firm’ rivalry, if I may reluctantly use such a term, has been characterised and shaped by the differences and divides between the two sets of supporters. There is however one huge similarity – we are both obsessed with Rangers.

They just can’t get enough.

07 September 2012

The Broken Backbone of the Tartan Army



by Scott Ferguson | CRO guest contributor | @st2oh |

First off, it may be worthwhile to mention that this article may not be of interest for every Rangers fan. However, the usually heated debate on Rangers fans supporting (or not) Scotland’s national team is one that generally - at least in my experience - has included Rangers fans from all over the world, and therefore in my humblest of opinions I believe it is relevant to all.

The Rangers family of course is not limited by the borders of Scotland, and as a result a large portion of you out there simply because of your own nationality have not and will not ever support Scotland’s national side.
However, in saying that I’m sure that there are some of you out there that are indeed Scotland born and yet regardless have not nor will ever support (for whatever reason) the Scottish National side.

Whatever percentage of the Rangers support this leaves us this percentage was enough to traditionally hold the majority voice within the Tartan Army.

So strong was the Rangers supporters backing of Scotland’s national side that traditionally for decades this section of the Rangers fans were known as ‘The Backbone of the Tartan Army.’

As a proud Scotsmen I have always supported the National side – through the good times and the bad…and of course the really, really bad times (Hello, Mr Vogts).

I have always been aware that within the Rangers family there are those that completely detest the entire notion of ‘The Tartan Army’. In my own experiences, this opinion has generally come from those that are not of Scottish heritage.

I have personally been involved in many a debate on the subject, and in all honesty I have never heard any fantastic mind altering arguments against the Tartan Army - although the wearing of a kilt and ginger wigs tends to come under scrutiny more often than not.

This has never bothered me though as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it has certainly never prevented other Rangers fans from supporting the national side in massive numbers, as research conducted back in the 1990’s by Dr Joseph Bradley from the University of Stirling confirmed.

Dr Bradley research showed that even though the amount of Rangers fans within the tartan army had actually ‘wained since the 80s’ that Rangers fans still held the majority share at 21% of the overall support.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that more recently that number has decreased dramatically.

Throughout the recent traumas at Ibrox the ill feeling towards Scotland’s governing bodies has intensified to levels never before seen.

This has led to many a Rangers fan declaring that they will never follow or support the Scottish national side ever again. I personally conducted some very unscientific research on the wonderful platform of twitter on the subject just recently. Over 200 Scotland born Rangers fans took part and it showed that 2/3rds of this number would no longer support the national side – some feel so strongly that some even suggest that they want the club to ban Scottish players from playing for their national side.

Personally I find this suggestion ridiculous, and thankfully this is a suggestion that I believe will never be taken up by the club. There is a fine line between having your own opinion and trying to enforce it upon others. It would be easy for us as fans especially those of us that have chosen not to support the national team to demand that the Barry McKay’s and Lewis McLeod’s of the world turn their back on their god given right and well-earned opportunity to represent their country.  Both these players have been and are currently involved in the Scottish under-19 squad and I would guess that both would jump at the chance of playing for the senior squad if called upon.

We have no right to demand that this choice be taken away from them.

After speaking with numerous Rangers fans who have taken the decision to no longer support the national side it is clear to me that the predominant reason given is that there is a view that by supporting Scotland national side that somehow you would also be supporting the games governing bodies.

In truth, the SPL is almost a complete irrelevance with regards to the Scottish national side. The upcoming Scotland matches versus Serbia and Macedonia will indeed only involve three SPL players. To put this into perspective the English sides Cardiff City and Blackpool will supply the national team with more players than the entire of the SPL.
This would also mean that only three players for the upcoming matches actually ply their trade under the SFA banner.

Rangers fans (more than any other football fans) due to the recent tribulations at Ibrox have a great understanding of the differences and indeed the separation of the club and the company.

This separation I believe is something we should apply to the national squad.

Simply put the SFA is a company – it just so happens to also be the governing body of the national side (the club so to speak).

Ally McCoist recently hinted at this very distinction. Ally (aware of the Rangers fans unrest against the national side) publicly pleaded with the Rangers fans to support the national team:

‘I’ve got the national team and the SFA down as two separate entities and I hope the fans can manage that too.”

The idea of even considering turning my back on Scotland because of the likes of Stewart Regan (someone who isn’t even Scottish) seems ridiculous to me.

If the Rangers support lose their voice within the national set up then as a result we lose the opportunity to force change – in club football cries of sack the board or dissent shown towards a manager have shown over the years that fans in their numbers do hold power to enforce change.

Of course the governing bodies are not the only reason why Rangers fans may not want to take their rightful place in the stands of Hampden and watch Scotland play football. With the seemingly united hatred that has been directed at us as a group (more so recently) it certainly makes the prospect of standing shoulder to shoulder with Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hibernian fans a far from attractive one.

However, how do you think a mass boycott of the national side by Rangers fans would be greeted by these fans?

Of course the majority would simply rejoice, and we would in turn be giving many people exactly what they want – this unavoidable result is again something that does not appeal to me.

The booing of Ian Black on his debut is an example of what happens when Rangers fans lose their voice within the Scottish support. Had our traditional majority been present – the ‘boos’ would have been drowned out and Ian Black would have been able to remember his debut for all the right reasons.

To be honest my own biggest dilemma  whilst watching the recent Scotland game versus Australia wasn’t the nagging thought that by doing so I was somehow condoning the SFA and Regan. It was trying to deal with the sick feeling in my stomach watching the likes of McGregor and Naismith.

I like many a Rangers fan was extremely disappointed in the manner they left our club – whether this ill feeling is something that will ease with time remains to be seen. However, I guess at least for the moment I will just have to try and deal with it in the same way as I do when in the past I find myself (through gritted teeth) having to support the likes of Scott Brown when he pulls on the Scottish colours.

When the international jersey is pulled on for 90 minutes all other allegiances should be forgotten. If the commitment to the cause is the same as mine then I will support whoever is put on the park.

There are other factors to include such as a lack of success, seemingly endless games against minnows such as Estonia and Lithuania etc…but these are issues for all fans – not just those from the terraces of Ibrox.

The word tradition is such an important word within football – and I feel a sense of pride with the knowledge that the great Rangers support have featured so predominantly throughout history with the national side. For whatever reason it certainly saddens me that this tradition is one, at least in the meantime, we stand to lose.

They say time heals all wounds – and I certainly hope that on this occasion that old saying is true. As it is clear for the time being at least that ‘The Backbone of the Tartan Army’ is broken.

He Who Laughs Last

by Andy McGowan | CRO contributor | amcgowan@coplandroad.org |

How fleeting the high ground can be, having celebrated three-in-a-row it was only a few months later Rangers fans were left to try and comprehend the tumbling of the biggest club in Scotland.

Despite years of rumour and half facts about EBT’s and fines it never seemed possible.

In the end of course this is not what brought down the club, rather the ill-fated reign of Craig Whyte is what sent Rangers reeling into SFL3. Even as events unfolded in February it was difficult to fathom what was to come.

“Only a matter of weeks” they said.

“HMRC will blink” they told us.

“We will agree a CVA” they shouted.

Sadly these hopes from club and fans alike were dashed and it was left to Charles Green’s Sevco consortium to step in on Rangers, and after a month of leaderless talks, threats and negotiations--which bordered on the side of blackmail than reasoned give and take--Rangers were admitted to the SFL and reunited with their SFA membership which was until then held by the old company.

All the while fans of the other clubs in Scotland’s top division watched on in greater numbers than had ever attended a match at their chosen clubs , sneering, laughing and putting the boot in.

No one has enjoyed the Rangers saga as much as the SPL onlookers, the hate directed toward Rangers fueled by jealousy, or bigotry as Charles Green had suggested, or perhaps simply because misery loves company.
But those smiles, laughs and taunts however have quickly turned to frowns, anger and threats.

These so called fans had envisioned a scenario in which Rangers would become one of them – a small club with a small following, who would never darken their door in the same manner again.

A club condemned to life in Division 3 who would never again return to its former glories.

The first blow to this fantasy came relatively quickly, delivered by Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan in their threats to their own member clubs in an attempt to shoehorn Rangers into SFL1, a move that was blocked by the resilient SFL clubs who have in the past few months put the so called Premier clubs to shame.

When a new SKY and ESPN deal was announced it was taken as another victory against Rangers. They’d gotten rid of us and kept the cash. They didn’t need us!

Of course the deal is still heavily dependent on showing Celtic and Rangers, with one of the conditions of the SPL agreeing to our transfer of membership being that they retained the media rights to Rangers matches.

How must it feel to know that neutral fans would rather watch a club in Scotland’s bottom tier than one of its Premier League clubs?
No matter though, as the club was still to suffer on the pitch: ‘Rangers will be left with no players, no money, and no fans and we’ll have the last laugh.’

Yes, the club did lose many first team players over the course of the summer, every instance no matter the circumstances met with a predictable, “I thought you didn’t do walking away?”

But this was to be the real turning point for the onlookers so enjoying Rangers troubles.

As the season gets underway Rangers fans have galvanized behind the club, selling more than 35,000 season tickets. Tto put that number in perspectivem nearly 70% of Ibrox capacity and it is more season tickets than sold by Manchester City – the reigning English champions.

On a weekend where fans of SPL clubs had campaigned to sell out their stadiums in a show of unity, only Rangers managed a sell out and in doing so had a higher attendance than every game in Scotland combined.  Amazing, since all those Rangers supporters who had abandoned their “local teams” were supposed to go flocking back, leaving Ibrox a barren empty shell.

‘No matter, it’s just Rangers fans being defiant. No one will watch them on TV.’

Viewing figures released earlier this week however show that more tuned in to watch Rangers travel to Berwick than had done so to watch Celtic – the SPL champions, take on Inverness, in Scotland’s 'premier' division.

Slowly the laughter had been turning to displeasure as Rangers began to thrive, and to do so while signing players from none other than the SPL.

Indeed Dean Sheils turned down an improved offer from Kilmarnock, and in doing so turned down the chance to play for his dad Kenny who is the Killie manager, such is the continued pulling power of Rangers.

The displeasure finally boiled over and turned to anger as David Templeton, arguably Hearts best player last season (or was it Ian Black?) and certainly their biggest prospect was sold to Rangers on deadline day.

This was the final, sickening realisation that despite all that had happened in the past seven months Rangers are, and always will be, bigger than the clubs currently inhabiting Scotland’s top division.

Templeton went on to score a debut double on a beautiful day at Ibrox, a day which saw Rangers yet again produce a higher attendance than Champions League bound and champions of the SPL Celtic.

It’s safe to say that as Motherwell threaten to boycott Ibrox in the upcoming League Cup last 16 match the laughter and enjoyment has turned to anger and fear.

No longer will Rangers fans put much needed money in the coffers of these clubs week after week, and in such perilous financial positions as some find themselves in this may prove to be a real issue.

Judgement day may be coming a lot sooner than many would like it to be. The SPL, Sky, and Neil Doncaster have all remained tight lipped on the details of the new TV deal, with no party comfortable allowing the fine print to be read, despite the last deal.

Is there perhaps something in the contract that might further anger these fans who have enjoyed the last seven months so?

A look at the situation would very much suggest there is, with Rangers not only signing SPL calibre players, but players who they have been linked with and in some cases made bids for in the past.

Following the tranfers in and out of Ibrox it seems highly unlikely that Rangers are planning for life in SFL2 next season.

And with the revelation in July that Sky would not tolerate more than one season without its money spinning four Old Firm fixtures, which will now be more precious than ever, it seems unlikely that Rangers will be given the opportunity to work their way through the divisions as should be the case.

Signs continue to point to Rangers being forced into a move that again suits the small term thinking of incompetent SPL chairmen, a move that will leave no one other than club accountants happy.

Whatever is to come in the next 12 months, the one thing that we appear to have finally seen off is the enjoyment of our off field troubles. The attention of those fans so bitter toward Rangers has finally been turned on their own clubs and they don’t like what they see.

And so begins what is sure to be one of the most enjoyable periods for the Rangers supporters as they welcome a new chapter, a fresh start, and simply enjoying a game of football once again, while clubs in the Premier League toil and, one supposes, in some cases face their own battles with finances and solicitors. Maybe the BBC will even give them their own documentary!

And I am sure Rangers fans will be nothing but sympathetic to those clubs and fans… This is fun! as the saying goes.