27 August 2012

Taking Offence on the Offensive

by Bill McMurdo | CRO contributor | @williammcmurdo |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who can I complain to?