30 October 2012

Time to Fight Back

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor

Charles Green openly admitted that he was far from being flavour of the month with Rangers supporters during the dark days of administration and his secretive bid to purchase the Club. Many fans rallied behind the Blue Knights and Brian Kennedy, who seemed to talk a good game, and other bidders were almost viewed as enemies who stood in their way.

Green and his consortium were however the only party to put their money where their mouths were and eventually became the proud new owners of a Scottish institution. Since then the Yorkshireman has been on a relentless charm offensive and has very much succeeded in winning over the same fans who were openly critical about and even opposed to his involvement.

He has been the journalists’ dream with soundbites galore and I can’t even begin to imagine just how many column inches have been filled with coverage, discussion and reaction to comments made by Green. The Rangers’ fans have taken to his straight-talking style but of course opposition supporters have accused him of simply playing to the galleries. Whatever you may think, the guy certainly is entertaining.

Charles Green continued on his PR mission with interviews with both TalkSport and Sky Sports News yesterday where he discussed a number of topics ranging from the upcoming IPO to the desire to have Walter Smith involved in some capacity at Ibrox. He seems to have the answers to whatever questions are thrown his way and I think we will all be hoping that he also has the capability of backing them up with his actions.

Yesterday Green even went as far to say that he would defend our Club with his life and, while this was obviously not intended as a literal statement, it shows the passion and desire to stand up for Rangers that we have badly missed in recent years. I hope Martin Bain is keeping a watchful eye on the goings on at Ibrox just now and realising just how badly he failed during his time as CEO.

While nobody would argue with Green’s willingness to defend Rangers FC there is a growing call for him to be more vocal in defending the supporters themselves. David Murray only really seemed to speak out when he was personally under attack or being criticised and he badly neglected the ‘customers’ who helped pay him for his ultimately disastrous tenure as owner and chairman of our Club. Green must not fall into the same trap.

The latest blatant, agenda-driven attack on our supporters came from Brian McNally, the Sunday Mirror sports writer, when he claimed that The Famine Song was sung at Broadwood Stadium when Clyde hosted Rangers. Now, either McNally is completely ignorant and unaware of ‘Four Men Had A Dream’, which follows a similar tune, or he is deliberately setting out to portray to the Rangers supporters the worst possible light with no ground or justification for his claim. I’ll let you decide which is the more likely.

McNally’s lie of course follows on from the latest Alex Thomson ‘exclusive’ where he covered Rangers’ “criminal underclass” and the threats made apparently to all and sundry in weeks and months gone by. Interestingly, despite his claims of 32 journalists being threatened by our supporters, nobody has been willing to step forward. In fact, most journalists on Twitter and such likes have openly denied that they are one of the thirty-two or even that they know of anybody who has reported threats from any fans. Surely Thomson wouldn’t be making stuff up again?

The examples in the paragraphs above are simply no more than shameless propaganda and I can’t help but wonder why their employers have not examined the claims and comments made by such ‘journalists’. Thomson has already been found telling lies on more than one occasion and proceeded to mock the Ibrox disaster despite knowing all too well what the statue at Ibrox represented. He was later forced to apologise and his actions certainly could not have reflected well on Channel 4 at all.

Charles Green must surely be aware of such slanderous remarks and I know a number of the Rangers’ media team have had the issues brought to their attention. While it is perhaps impractical to challenge every negative comment made about the Club or the supporters we should certainly be doing more to prevent such journalists, whose views can reach many people, from spreading lies. Now, I have no problem with people doing their jobs and giving their views and it would be wrong to deny them of that ability. When that however crosses into deceitful tales and fictional stories then I think that Rangers and Charles Green would be well within their rights to challenge them at every turn.

The Rangers’ Chief Executive has done a remarkable job in securing the Club’s immediate future and providing some much needed stability following the turbulent years that have went before. He has succeeded in galvanising the support and our attendances and ticket sales have been testament to that. While the fans are right to remain cautious over the running of our Club and ask questions along the way, Green has at least bought himself some leeway and earned some trust which certainly wasn’t easy to come by.

As McCoist sets about securing the Division Three title on the pitch, Green must continue his admirable efforts off it. If he is looking for his next PR stunt, which many accuse him of doing, then I know he would certainly gain a positive reaction should he decide to challenge the likes of Thomson and McNally and any other journalist who is intent on tarring the name of Rangers Football Club and its loyal fans.

During the interview with TalkSport Richard Keys, when talking about the shifting balance of power in Scottish football, asked if the boot was now on the other foot. In typical Charles Green fashion he responded by saying – ‘the boot has always been on the foot. The difference is, I’m not scared to use it’.

Well, Charles, I think it is about time you introduced certain journalists to your leather soles. And no, Mr Thomson, that is not a threat.

Andy is the Deputy Editor of our half-decent blog. You can find him on Twitter at @AMCKEL or via email: amckel@thecoplandroad.org