30 March 2013

More Than A Title

by Peter Ewart | Contributor

It may be today, after beating Montrose (well, on the way back down the road afterwards), or it may be at Hampden, or back at Ibrox. We could even be playing Linfield in a friendly when we clinch SFL3, but clinch it we will. Yet another trophy will be in the bag for the greatest club in the world and it is time to enjoy the party.

It hasn’t felt like much of a party lately. To roll out the football clich├ęs we are stumbling, even falling over the line. Our home form has turned ropey and there are question marks over the tactics and style of football. So much so that it has put some fans at loggerheads.

I understand why people will defend Ally to the last. He saved the club. But I also understand that that’s not an excuse for playing bad football with an inflated loss-making wage bill and poor tactics and results given the opponents we’ve played. We have however blooded a lot of good young players (in McLeod’s case a great young player). There is great potential but massive room for improvement and a number of ways that improvement can be achieved. What needs to be remembered is that everybody wants the same thing and Rangers back at the top in the shortest time possible. Not everyone realises it, but everyone is pulling in the same direction.

There is a lot of nine-in-a-row arrogance present in both the fans and the current management at the minute. The fans are spoilt and impatient for success. We can do more to back the team vocally too (you don’t have to be in BF1 to sing) And the management don’t seem to take on board any criticism – they always know best and seem content to stumble through.

But all that is in the here and now. At the end of it the title will be won and current problems can be addressed. In future generations they won’t be talking about the piss awful home defeat against Annan or playing 4-5-1 against Stirling Albion. You’ll be telling your grandkids that it was the trophy that was the first stepping stone back to the top. It started an irresistible momentum to claim back our rightful position.

There’s a lot of debate over what number trophy this is – is it league championship 55, trophy 116 or something else. It doesn’t matter what number it is, it will rank as one of the most important in the club's illustrious history. When you see big Jig lift the trophy in May, remember the spring and summer 2012 when the club’s future was in the balance. Remember the suggestion of a "year out playing friendlies". Remember the repeated attempts from some to kill us off all together. Remember the lies, vitriol and hatred sent (and still being sent) our way. It is victory over all that.

Success and trophies are a very large part of Rangers history. Just look at the trophy cabinet. Our great history form the greatest motivation for future Rangers teams, to wear that royal blue top and drive them on to succeed. Look at how we defended our league titles to the hilt against the venomous and groundless attack from the SPL. It’s why Integrity FC wanted titles off us so badly, it would have been a huge body blow.

They form an immense pressure to succeed every game, every season. It’s not a total surprise that some of our ‘big’ summer signings from the SPL have struggled from the transformation from big fish in small ponds to Ibrox. The weight of history and expectation can hang heavy – ‘Websteritis’.

For some it will be the first trophy they remember, for those us lucky enough to have been associated with this great club for many years, it will be one of many and will bring back memories of successes from the recent and not so recent past. And for it being SFL3 it’s not a bad piece of bling either.

It sums up the ludicrous nature of Scottish football that we don’t know what league this league win will put us in. We could even be playing to win the same trophy next year, which would be a very cynical attempt by the authorities to create apathy in our support, but we’ve proved it doesn’t matter who we play, we’ll be there to back this great club. Not everything is perfect and there is much to be done, but there is even more to celebrate. 

Enjoy it when it comes.