28 February 2013

Rangers: The Real Scandal?

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor

Rangers Football Club began the day with a domestic honours list unparalleled in world football. There was however considerable doubt as to whether or not this would still be intact after the SPL’s Independent Commission had delivered its verdict on alleged rule breaches revolving around the Club’s use of Employee Benefit Trusts and whether or not such payments had to be disclosed to the authorities.

The subject has received considerable coverage, often misinformed and without substance. It has been hyped up and exaggerated to the point where many were frothing at the mouth at such a disgraceful sporting scandal. The newspapers and certain journalists of course used the opportunity to portray the sensationalist picture of Rangers cheating their way to success and of a great injustice being done to our game over the last decade or so. This was naturally absorbed by the many non-Rangers fans out there and our club was subsequently labelled as cheats who gained a sporting advantage through illegal measures of tax evasion.

The facts though cannot escape people forever and thankfully today provided further vindication of the stance taken by Rangers and its fans as Lord Nimmo Smith & Co confirmed that no ineligible players represented the Club at any point and that no unfair sporting advantage was gained in any way through the utilisation of the EBT scheme. As you can imagine, this came as quite a kick in the nuts to the many detractors who were desperate to believe otherwise.

There has of course been a real scandal in our game but it had nothing to do with tax matters or any alleged non-disclosure of payments. The real injustice here is just what has happened to our Club at the hands of those who were bloodthirsty and relentless in their pursuit to destroy Rangers. Scottish Football has shown itself to be completely and utterly corrupt and it's about time that people started looking at the real issues in our game.

The Scottish Premier League should have been aware of Rangers’ EBT scheme from the very beginning as it was clearly disclosed in the financial statements submitted to them each and every year. Then of course there was the emergence of the Big Tax Case although again nothing was done. The SPL instead waited until Rangers lay wounded and defenceless before unleashing their attack, a cowardly act in anyone’s eyes. And let’s not pretend that they were impartial in all of this. The SPL was acting as the prosecution with Harper MacLeod and Rod McKenzie going on the offensive. I just hope their member clubs are happy with just how their money is being spent.

This is only the most recent instance where the football authorities in this country have neglected their duties and went out of their way to harm our club. In other parts of the world it is common for the governing bodies to assist their members in such times of distress. You only have to look at the Portsmouth situation south of the border to see a significant contrast. It would appear however that the memo never quite made it to Hampden Stadium.

Let’s not forget that Rangers were already given a sanction deemed unlawful by the Court of Session in Edinburgh. We were also fined because of the actions of Craig Whyte and his decision to withhold sums due to the tax authorities. If anyone believes that all the governing bodies sought was justice then perhaps they should take a few minutes to think again. 
If that wasn’t bad enough we had the farcical summer that saw sporting integrity rise to the fore, a pathetic sham designed to mask the hate and intentions of certain individuals. The SPL launched the rulebook through the shredder and proceeded to bluff their way from meeting to meeting in the hope that somebody would make the decision for them. Instead the buck was passed all the way down the ladder to the supporters and, when that happened, there was only ever going to be one outcome. Rangers were banished.
Part of the problem I think was the perception of the club at the time. Rangers had the Big Tax Case hanging over their heads as well as the SPL investigation and it’s probably fair to acknowledge that this clouded the judgement of far too many people who were all too willing to buy into the propaganda being published about the big, bad cheats at Ibrox. The authorities though sat back and watched and were in fact culpable in creating such an inaccurate image. They also shirked their responsibilities when it really mattered. It was therefore down to the SFL. 
The application to join the Football League should really have been a relatively straightforward process. It perhaps would have been if it wasn’t for the involvement of the SPL and their buddies at the SFA who decided to bully and threaten the SFL chairmen into unprecedentedly parachuting Rangers into the First Division for their own benefit. I’m sure you remember the talk of financial Armageddon and such likes. So much for integrity, eh?

Thankfully the Scottish Football League members stood firm and announced that Rangers would be welcomed into Division Three. But the problems were far from over as we all know. Charles Green still had to secure a SFA licence to enable the club to play football this season. That’s when the real fun and games began.

The SFA and SPL decided that being thrown into the fourth-tier of our national game was not quite severe enough for their liking. It wasn’t good enough that we were starting from the bottom. It wasn’t good enough that we had lost all of our players. Instead Rangers were presented with a document crammed full of sanctions which had to be accepted if we wanted to play football this season. Make no mistake, this was blackmail.

The illegal registration embargo had returned, football debts and fines were thrown in and just for good measure Charles Green had to surrender a decade’s worth of titles and trophies. It was quite remarkable that the supposed governors of our game saw fit to behave in such a manner but thankfully our CEO managed to negotiate a path through this mess and protect those league championships which were won fairly on the field of play. As today has demonstrated, he was completely right to do so.
If the rest of the country really wants to move our national game forward then perhaps the immediate removal of Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster would be a good place to start. They have blundered their way from one disaster to the next. These men have done nothing but bring harm and shame to Scottish Football and the sooner we are rid of them, the better.  
Unfortunately a simple article doesn’t even come close to supplying enough space to discuss the full details of the treatment of our Club. A book would probably be a much more fitting place to collate the various acts of negligence, incompetence and corruption that we have witnessed in recent months. That, after all, is the real scandal.

It has been a pretty torrid time to be a Rangers supporter and we have had more than a few obstacles to overcome. Thankfully though the clouds seem to be lifting and we can finally turn our attention to regaining our place at the top of Scottish Football.

54 and counting...

LNS coverage

We will, of course, have complete coverage of the LNS decision and fallout, including (we hope) a special edition of the CROpod and maybe some media appearances here and there for your enjoyment.

At the moment, we'll point your attention to this little passage, and leave you to draw some conclusions:

[98] Meanwhile, BBC Scotland came, by unknown means, into possession of what they described as “dozens of secret emails, letters and documents”, which we understand were the productions before the Tax Tribunal. These formed the basis of a programme entitled “Rangers – The Men Who Sold the Jerseys”, which was broadcast on 23 May 2012. BBC Scotland also published copious material on its website. The published material included a table containing the names of Rangers players, coaches and staff who were beneficiaries of the MGMRT, and how much they received through that trust. It also listed the names of people where the BBC had seen evidence that they received side-letters. This event appears to have been the trigger for more activity in response to the SPL’s request.

Time to Kick Back

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

The past twelve months have been extremely testing to say the least for Rangers fans. Time and time again however the club and our fans have been proven to be innocent, acquitted of the numerous charges levied from all and sundry at us over the year.
Remember the registration embargo? Yup, the same one deemed to be Illegal by the Court of Session. What about the long-running Big Tax Case? Rangers and the Murray Group of course won by a majority verdict at the First Tier Tribunal.
And in today’s latest judgement Lord Nimmo Smith’s Independent Commission found that Rangers gained no competitive advantage on the field of play. The payments were legal, as we already know, and our only case to answer was whether these were properly declared. This has always been the case from the outset. But such was the agenda being driven by certain members of the SPL board this non-issue was allowed to turn into one of the biggest and ugliest witch-hunts in sporting history.
The verdict though was that no titles or trophies are to be stripped and that a token £250k fine is to be paid as an end result of a plot almost a year in the making. It’s a slap on the wrist for an administrative error if we are being honest  and perhaps serves only to give the SPL some sort of small ‘victory’ to hold on to when the reality of what transpired begins to dawn on all concerned.
It is common knowledge that this campaign was set in motion by certain SPL board members, one in particular who stood to benefit more than any other from the objective they set out to achieve. In the end however it was no more than a failed robbery. Sadly for those in the SPL’s circle of integrity the chain of events leading up to the Commission left their plan dead in the water: the EBT verdict went our way, the Rangers Fans’ Fighting Fund sent a QC to defend us and of course our club was no longer the defenceless mess that was on show in the aftermath of administration.
So where do we go from here? No doubt many will say that it is time to live and let live but I disagree. Now is the time to return the favour. They kicked us when we were down, it’s now time to kick back and make sure this corruption does not go unpunished.
The simple fact of the matter is that the SPL and the SFA tried to blackmail Rangers out of SPL titles, Scottish Cups and League Cups. They tried to bully Charles Green into accepting draconian punishments under the guise of negotiation but thankfully they failed and the club’s decision not to accept such nonsense has now been vindicated and left Doncaster and Regan nowhere left to go.
It doesn’t look like the Gruesome Twosome will go gracefully either or that either of them will jump before being pushed. By all rights both should have resigned in the summer and even that would have been after causing potentially irreparable damage to the Scottish game even outwith the Rangers’ situation.
The club now has to seek justice and ask the questions that will make many people uncomfortable. Why did the SPL have no problems with the so-called ‘dual-contracts’ in 2001 when we declared these payments in accounts submitted to their organisation? Why didn’t they act when the Big Tax Case came to light? Why did they choose to wait until when the club was on its knees? What about the lies surrounding the involvement of Harper MacLeod?
 The SPL’s member clubs need to start asking questions as well, namely why were the chairmen of Celtic, Dundee United and Hibernian allowed to lead the SPL board and Neil Doncaster into a corrupt battle for titles that were won fairly on the pitch by Rangers? Given the current financial situation in the SPL it certainly seems irresponsible and downright reckless to spend what must now be considerable sum on a court battle in which they knew they were on the wrong side of justice. How can Neil Doncaster justify it to them and himself? He allowed his board to push a vendetta that could have led to one of the biggest injustices in the history of football, certainly the biggest in our game.
Sadly there’s nothing we can do about the corruption of the SPL board, certainly when we’re not involved in their competition, but it’s likely they will turn on each other and on Doncaster in a bid to distance themselves from any wrong doing. We can as a club however, from boardroom to fan forums, make an effort to have justice served now we have been vindicated.
We should continue pursuing the corruption and leaks within HM Revenue & Customs which led to unbalanced reporting over the Big Tax Case and we should certainly do the same with the SPL who have stolen our prize money and attempted to steal our titles while dragging our name through the mud and having us labelled as cheats. Today though is not the day to start that campaign, today is a day simply to say ‘get it right up you’ to all of those who wrongly accused Rangers Football Club of wrongdoing and sought to have our titles removed.
And just incase anyone missed the memo: 54 and counting…

The LNS Commission Decision

Here's the LNS Decision, in case you don't want to click around the sites of the SPL or any of those news agencies that were complicit in trying to bury our club.

McGowan's Roundup

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote an article here at the CRO and it just so happens that it’s been a busy few weeks. Rather than discuss the ‘inappropriate singing’ at the weekend or provide another in-depth analysis on what Ally is or isn’t doing right, I thought I’d just share my views on a few of the talking points over the last week or so and leave the rest to those more qualified to discuss them.

Rangers’ performances and fan reaction  

In the first quarter of the season I wrote an article describing Rangers’ performances as being very Jekyll and Hyde. Sadly that phrase still seems to apply now, some four months later. Last week away to Clyde was, in my opinion, Rangers’ best league performance of the season. The passing was sharp and direct and with Andy Little leading the line we looked dangerous every time we got forward.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night however and we’ve seen two of our worst performances of the season. Berwick Rangers dominated large spells of the game, even at 3-1, and at times we looked incapable of dealing with them. Had the game finished 3-3 we could have had few complaints. Tuesday was just as abject but this time we didn’t get away with it.

Both performances were immensely substandard and the draw with Stirling Albion was possibly second in terms of bad results only to the 1-0 defeat at the same ground earlier in the season. There’s been so much written now about Rangers and Ally McCoist’s inability to get it right this season so I won’t bother adding to it. We’ve heard the same stuff over and over again from the media and bloggers – the same article in essence rehashed in a different style, all with the same end result: McCoist must do better. We all know that’s the case so I won’t try and sell you something you’ve already bought. However, these articles and blogs aren’t the only thing that’s become tiresome following a poor showing from Rangers.

The constant back and forth among fans after a bad performance is now as predictable as Ally playing a striker on the wing. On one side you have those who refuse to admit there’s a problem, ready with their prepared statements about being X number of points clear, and on the other side you have those who like to exaggerate the problems in their own minds to the point they want McCoist sacked every time we don’t play well.

There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to our manager. Fans pay a lot to follow their team and not just in monetary terms. We invest emotionally, we invest time and we invest energy. For that I think we are perfectly entitled to be angry and to criticise any player or member of staff who lets us down. 

But we do tend to go over the top. It’s easily done in the heat of the moment and I just wish some of our supporters would remember that when they are having a go at anyone who even questions McCoist. Try and find some middle ground and do away with Rangers fans constantly getting at each other’s throats. We seem to lose sight of the fact we all support the same club and all want McCoist and Rangers to be nothing but successful.

Rangers TV

The performance of RTV during the Stirling Albion vs Rangers match has been overshadowed sadly by the dreadful performance on the park. It was only the third time this season that UK residents have been able to watch one of our games live through Rangers TV and it certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of production value. 

We were treated to a decent build up pre-match with Lindsay Herron and Derek Johnstone. As always there was some good commentary from Tom Miller and his co-commentator on the night, Bobby Russell, was a breath of fresh air after listening to Craig Burley and his nonsensical points for 90 minutes which cease only to briefly and randomly talk about strawberries.

It was refreshing to watch a game where we don’t have to put up with one of the many ex-Celtic players who seem to be constantly covering our games in the past few years and to see a bit of positivity about the club during the match coverage rather than the same drivel we are treated too every time we appear on Sky or ESPN. 

Sadly the £5.99 felt a lot more expensive than it actually was given the terrible performance we were subjected to once the game started and I genuinely believe that all of us who paid to watch the match should be refunded out of the players’ wages. They let us and the RTV staff down badly, but no doubt they’ve already forgotten about it and are back to tweeting about trips to Nando’s.

The match itself shouldn’t take anything away from the good job Rangers TV are doing at the moment. The coverage has improved leaps and bounds since the technical problems of the first live stream and, after a fantastic job done on 'The Rising' a few weeks ago, RTV could be a big asset for the club in the future. We do however need to keep supporting it and if we do then the coverage will only improve and we will at last be rid of Craig Burley and his ilk.

Alex Thomson – Does he hate Rangers?

Bill McMurdo caught some unbelievable and uncalled for flack on forums and Twitter following his interview and articles on Alex Thomson for simply stating he doesn’t believe Tomo hates Rangers. I couldn’t quite understand the backlash: I certainly can see people disagreeing with him but the insults became pretty personal and the suggestions that Bill has some sort of agenda or is in this for some sort of personal gain are ridiculous.

Until the morning of the interview the CRO did with Alex it was looking like I would be interviewing Thomson because Bill simply wasn’t that interested. In the end, Bill took the interview which was for the best. As you can all hear in the audio he certainly grills Thomson and makes a good job of pushing him on the important questions we wanted answered.

Following the interview Bill spent a few days considering the journalist’s role in our story and came to the conclusion that Alex Thomson does not hate Rangers Football Club and, at the risk of being vilified on every forum there is, I fully agree with him albeit for different reasons entirely.

Alex Thomson is, in my opinion, a pompous, egotistical blogger who arrived to the Rangers story late and ill-informed. He alienated the mainstream media in Scotland and his only sources since then have been discredited bloggers such from the Rangers Tax Case and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain who, by Alex’s own admission, genuinely does hate Rangers. He took a hard-line stance on our use of EBTs and on the club in general. He painted us as the bad guys with his wealth of misinformation and, when it finally dawned on him that he was wrong, he simply wasn’t humble or honest enough to hold up his hands and admit it.

Alex therefore carried on, becoming increasingly aggressive towards the club and more determined to paint us as the bad guys. This was not because he hates us but because he’s simply too arrogant to admit he got it wrong and that the club and the fans are the victim in all of this. I believe he was entirely honest with us when he said he was like a dog with a bone but that doesn’t come because he wants the best for Rangers, as he claimed. It comes from the fact that he simply doesn’t want to have to admit he got it badly wrong.

A lot of people will disagree with my conclusion but I just don’t see it. What I see is a self-important blogger who took an edgy stance on the story to get noticed and, rather than being man enough to admit he got it wrong, has continued down the rabbit hole hoping that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I think the one thing we can all agree on though is that the quicker we are rid of Alex Thomson’s reporting of Rangers, the better.

27 February 2013

Simply not good enough

by Billy Ferguson | CRO Contributor (and the original one, at that)

So we're 20 points clear at the top of the Scottish Third Division. On the face of things and in reality we have ran away with the league. We'll be crowned champions and, also in reality, even before a ball was kicked the outcome of the league was a foregone conclusion. You're kidding yourself if you thought otherwise.

The above points, while true, sugar coat a reality that some fans either do not want to face or are just happy to ignore.

While we will win the league it won't exactly be a season to look back on and say "Well, that was great." It has been anything but. Mediocre performances have been a feature more than the displays of good.

Given the level of opposition we find ourselves playing against, given the strength of our squad compared to the competition, should we accept that? Should we be happy that, statistically, we have yet to beat the worst team in all of Scottish league football on their home turf?

As I have said countless times, and this rings true for any top team in any league around the world, we have no divine right to win any game. We have no right to expect to just turn up and win games at a canter. We, the paying fans, accept and know this. Sadly, it seems the players do not.

Going through the motions, complacency and, at times, a real lack of desire and lack of motivation have appeared among the team during games. Forget the horror show in Dundee and look at our games in the Third Division. Too many times this season you often wonder which team is the one with the significantly higher wage budget with better players.

Ten of that Stirling Albion squad that we drew with tonight worked today. They then went to play against a team with full-time players that have one of the best training facilities around. I don't know where Stirling Albion train, but it's certainly not a £14 million training complex. Yet you wouldn't know the difference. We created very little and defended very little either.

And this isn't a knee-jerk reaction. This just wasn't an isolated incident of having that ever uttered phrase of 'an off-day at the office.’ Bad performances will happen and slip ups in the shape of draws and defeats will happen; I can accept that. What I struggle to accept, however, is when these off-days keep on happening.

We could have implemented a footballing philosophy that would set the tone for years to come. Rather than do that, though, we appear to be going backwards and are showing zero signs of improving on the park. We could have done this and still won the league handily.

How is it possible for talented and experienced players to appear to have regressed so much as footballers over a short period of time? When the likes of Templeton, Shiels, Sandaza and Ian Black were all signed we were all happy at their arrival. Now most seem happy to drive them as far away from Ibrox as possible. Fair enough if that's your opinion, but it doesn't address the question of why they have regressed as footballers.

Excuses are wearing thin. Part-time footballers like the ones we are playing against every week, for the most part are matching us and in some cases bettering us.

Should we accept that?

This isn't the start of the season any more where it can be said the team is still adjusting, the team is still gelling together and so on.

Ally McCoist is working under difficult conditions, the transfer embargo being one, but if you're telling me that the squad is not good enough to play better, defend better or just down-right look a tad more interested than they currently do, then I simply cannot agree with that.

We'll win the league. We'll win it comfortably. But we won't be judged on simply just winning it, we'll be judged on the how. And the 'how,' despite how many points ahead we are, despite how many goals we have scored, is not impressive at all.

26 February 2013

Heads in the sand, all that

by Shane Nicholson | CRO Executive Editor

Boy am I glad I stayed home today and got to see that.

Listen: new day, same story. I wrote about this after we lost at Stirling back in October. You could've wrote that story in August of 2011.

We are, simply put, fucking dire. Very few bright spots in this side and all from individual players. We can't defend high balls, can't defend crosses, can't defend on set pieces, can't execute set pieces at the other end, our "star" players have been anything but, guys on wages that most SFL3 players would kill for unwilling to show up for 90 minutes. Fuck, for nine minutes. Who am I kidding?

Winning streaks and goal tallies have glossed over the obvious: this side is treading water and has been since the first kick of the season. Anyone who was going to judge this year on whether or not we won the league was lying to themselves.

This was a golden opportunity, I'm convinced now absolutely pissed away, and the ones laying excuses at the feet of the coaching staff for them to pick up are doing no favors. It's not a matter of "Ally out" or whatever clever term you want to stick on people asking questions of abject performances piling up on one another. It's a matter of a professional side outplayed by semi-pros and amateurs week after week.

Do we even train? Can our players run for 90 minutes? Have we practiced a dead ball situation at Auchenhowie once this season? As one fan on Twitter put it, we'd be better off letting out our training ground to clubs that will actually use it.

It's dreadful. It's a wasted campaign in so many different ways. When we should be laying foundations for the next decade or longer we're busy getting a Nando's. Yeah, it's a joke, but it's closer to the truth than a lot of us would like to admit.

I could abide a slip here and there if there was progress on display, but there's not. We see the same half-assed attempts at "passing" football for 10-15 minutes followed by 60 yard diagonals and long punts from Alexander. Subs made in the 70th minute or later. No sense of wanting to make a change or even the ability to make a change from the staff at all.

It's a disappointment, and a point no longer worth belaboring. We've seen no signs of movement in a positive direction this entire season. It's clear we're here to play out the final months at a light jog of what may ultimately be a meaningless campaign if reconstruction is forced through.

But regardless of what the authorities ultimately decide, I'll look back on this season as a failure of the coaching staff and its leader. Sure, the trophy we win at the end of the year may be hollow, but it'll only match the progress (or lack thereof) Rangers made as a football team on the pitch.

I'm calling time: we have wasted the greatest opportunity a club of our stature could ever have to build a footballing mentality and ethos from the ground up. Back (eventually) to a boring yet "reformed" SPL, and more of the same tired performances from the lads in light blue.

The CRO Stirling Albion v Rangers live blog

We're gonna give this a try and see how it goes. Boss man Shane here to lend my thoughts and abject observations of the SFL3 matchup tonight on the plastic pitch at Forthbank.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on Twitter: @CoplandRoadorg

Just waiting for the kickoff here, listening to the soothing sounds of Tom Miller.

STIRLING ALBION: Crawford, McCunnie, Forsyth, McClune, Allison, Bishop, McAnespie, Ferry, White, Flood, Johnston

SUBS: Filler, Cunningham, Ashe, Davidson, Thom

RANGERS: Alexander, Argyriou, Cribari, Hegarty, Wallace, Naismith, Black, Hutton, Templeton, Shiels, Little

SUBS: Gallacher, Crawford, McKay, Sandaza, Faure

REF: Graham McNeillie

-Lee Wallace still with the captain's armband the night.

0:00 - And we're away! Hopefully some exciting football since I'm stuck inside watching the blizzard move in here in Northern Illinois.

1:00 - Tom tells us Neil has 15 clean sheets on the season, which sounds a lot like Dean Shiels' 12 goals. Naismith earns a early free kick. Ian Black trying not to fuck it up.

1:30 - And he sends it about 14 yards from goal into no mans land. David Templeton hacked down, and we surely won't see a card here.

3:00 - First corner as Rangers are pressing high, taken short and put into a dangerous spot. I'm trying to make this sound good.

4:30 - Word is McCoist starting Naismith on the advice of @iEmpire_Andy

6:00 - Kal Naismith making all sorts of trouble out there on the wing already. The linesman was looking inside the box, free kick given just outside. Wallace freekick goes flying over.

8:00 - SHOCKER! Our defenders are caught flat-footed and staring at one another on a floated ball into the box.

9:00 - Templeton with a bit of magic that ultimately goes no where. Looking lively on the wings, though.

10:00 - Not too excited to see the first ball from the fullback trying to pick out Little on the deck from 30 yards. Hutton needs to get involved early.

11:00 - Nice stuff down the left wing before Ian dumps off to nowhere. Reset.

12:00 - That last one should've been "12:00"

13:00 - Looking well dangerous down both flanks as Stirling Albion pack it into the middle.

14:00 - Freekick for Albion put into a pretty good spot there but headed over. Getting a little sleepy at the back already.

16:00 - GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLL Andy Little with #22 as the keeper was looking good to get sent off there. Beautiful run from Little in behind and a perfect ball through to match.

- Little has made a good number of runs early.

18:00 - Temps trying to create something from nothing there and nearly does so. Looking lively early after a quiet show the weekend.

- Amazing what happens when you keep playing your best striker as a striker, isn't it?

20:00 - We are fucking hopeless defending freekicks and corners.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

22:00 - I think all that was on the SA marker board tonight was "Kick fuck out of the cunt with the #11 shirt"

22:00 - Ian Black needs to stop pretending like he can take a free kick.

23:00 - If McCulloch comes back and goes straight up front I'm going to sell all my worldly possessions. Little is brilliant. Following corner played to nowhere in particular.

25:00 - Is this cunt hacking down Templeton a tim?

26:00 - Our wingers are apparently free game.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

27:00 - Ian Black just about made something out of nothing there, good secondary run.

28:00 - Tom tells us "Neil Alexander will look to launch a ball." Do we really need to preface that?

30:00 - Dicking around and not clearing a freekick, SA with a half chance from the edge of the 18-yard box.

32:00 - 50-yard diagonal ball into the third row.

33:00 - Original CRO Contributor Bill Ferguson chimes in: @bferguson4 Coloured nets are a big no-no. That said, other characteristics of these nets are ok. A 5/10, nothing more. I'm being kind.

34:00 - It's getting a little sleepy out there.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

36:00 - In other news, it is straight up snowing like mad outside here. And that last shot from Phil Johnson may be landing in my front yard any time now.

39:00 - Temps and Shiels combine to win a corner. Bouncing around and comes back in for another one! #excitement

39:00 - These training ground bullshit corners and freekicks need to stop.

40:00 - Fantastic stuff from Little and the Greek out there. Too bad the guy wearing the #9 shirt is anything but a striker.

41:00 - Lee Wallace misses a big one there. On target, son. Get it on frame.

42:00 - Kal Naismith whistled for a foul for being on the receiving end of a rugby tackle.

44:00 - I'm really not sure what point the fans there are trying to make tonight. "Let us sing about the Pope or we're not going to sing at all"?

45:00 - Fucking dire, and then a decent chance for SA right here on the break.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

HALF TIME - Andy Little, and... yep. Stirling Albion 0-1 Rangers

@aldo1872 Good goal from Little. Some nice touches but we should be creating a bit more, as per.

@iEmpire_andy Well eh...that was shite! Still finish 6-1 tho


@vodkaman67 at least we r winning

- @Phily_1973 I shouldve bought the match These text commentaries are shite

@brodiebear2012 Not a bad 1st half Wld like 2 see @dtempleton89 get more of the ball,he can turn defence inside out.Good goal @AndyLittle29

- @jayjayem65 Cheeseburger

- @NeillyJ Black and Hutton not controlling the pace of the game. 100 mile an hour. DJ loves Naismith. Good left side link up play.

- @niblomusic did I really hear Bill say "Phil McGoblin" in the Tommo interview? Lol (editor's note: No comment.)

- I believe this marks the first time we've officially offended a reader with our choice language. Whatever you do, never ever EVER listen to a podcast. Ever.

- CRO Contributor @Seasider06 having some issues at the burger stand at Stirling Albion: 'Any burgers left?' 'Aye one cheeseburger' 'I'll have that' 'd'you want cheese on that?' Fuck me. SAFCvRFC


46:00 - Stirling Albion make a sub, no one cares.

47:00 - Andy Little makes a dangerous run, cuts back, no one home.

- Why doesn't every team have a long throw specialist by now? The way they interpret the laws just about anyone can fire a ball 30 yards on a line.

48:00 - Andy Little's One Man Show, tonight in Stirling.

49:00 - Hassle from the peanut gallery: @Phily_1973 "Stirling Albion make a sub, no one cares." @CoplandRoadorg put your back into it man...

51:00 - We are fucking awful at defending freekicks. Absolutely shit. Do we even train on corners and freekicks?

52:00 - Sorry, but that is fucking embarrassing and has shown no improvement from the first match of the season.

54:00 - We can't execute or defend a freekick with any sort of consistency.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

- In other news, near-whiteout conditions here at CRO HQ as over two inches of snow has fallen since kickoff.

56:00 - Ian Black needs to stop pretending like he knows how to strike a freekick.

58:00 - Temps plays in the first decent corner of the night. If we get one good one out of 25 freekicks McCoist must be pissing himself in joy.

60:00 - Andy Little is the only player in light blue who looks alive on the pitch.

61:00 - I'm going to predict nothing comes from this freekick in a dangerous area.

- I win.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.

62:00 - Little again, Temps couldn't find the mark under pressure.

- Sorry that we're making you keep hitting refresh. We'll sort this out better for the next time.

65:00 - This is fucking dire. How do we forget how to string two passes together in 30 minutes or less?

66:00 - 30 to 50 yard diagonals and long hoofs up the pitch. THIS is entertainment.

66:00 - What the fuck...

68:00 - Seriously...

68:00 - The Andy Little Solo Show continues, nearly makes it 2-1 after dispossessing the defender and rounding the keeper.

69:00 - One passage of passable play from Rangers there. Shiels hacked down by an elbow, three officials don't see it.

71:00 - Tom Miller sarcastically refers to Shiels as a "Northern Ireland striker."

72:00 - McKay looks ready to come on. This game needs him desperately.

73:00 - Anonymous Temps off for McKay, Sandaza on for the invisible man.

- See, the thing about Craig Burley is he'll make a point, and then he'll just keep making it.\

74:00 - Sloppy as fuck, nearly leads to a break for SA.

75:00 - McKay tries to make something out of nothing from 25 yards out. The fuck not?

76:00 - Defense sleep walking this whole game. "Shambles" doesn't do it justice.

78:00 - Corner comes to much of nothing, and Ian Black does his best Zidane. And that HAD to be a penalty on Naismith after a clearance off the line.

79:00 - Dual yellow cards: The ultimate sign of an official who's not really watching what the fuck is going on.

80:00 - We've lost the plot and the officials have come along for the ride.

81:00 - Snow now at three-inches.

82:00 - Professional football team being outplayed by the ultimate bottom dwellers of British football.

- If you want to chip into the cap, we've got a Paypal deal setup for the CRO right here.

84:00 - If we lose to these fucks again I'm going to go lay in the street.

85:00 - Shameful. And the ref now looking for the Man of the Match award.

86:00 - I may just type "WTF" every 60 seconds until this is over.

87:00 - Our Andy McGowan opines that the players should refund the six quid for everyone that paid for this. I can't say I would argue that.

88:00 - Anyone want to pretend like this is okay?

89:00 - WTF - Lee Wallace hacked down, no foul. Weak foul on the edge of box, Hutton acts a child, suspended for the next match now.

91:00 - This would be one of those times that I'll point out I've consistently bitched about our style of play (or lack thereof) all season, and the fact that we are fucking dire on freekicks at both ends.

92:00 - All we need now is a late red card.

93:00 - The Andy Little One Man Show, but still 1-1.

FULL TIME - Two trips to Forthbank, one point, McCoist to come out and say they must be better but of course they won't be. Spend 20 minutes on freekicks, Ally. Please. FOR FUCK'S SAKE, DO IT!

Andy Little the only bright spot. That was a fucking embarrassing show. Players should pay back fans out of their salaries.

Are Rangers winning the Propaganda War?

by Scots George | One of our friends at Do the Bouncy

A Fan's Voice piece, with our mate Scots George from our sister site Do the Bouncy chiming in with some quick hitters out of the past week.

After the CROpod TOMOINTERVIEW, I got round to considering how far we've come over the last 12 months, at least in terms of the Propaganda War that's been waged against our great club. The fact that Tomo actually relented and gave an interview to explain his anti-Rangers bias was another major step in this ongoing war, and indeed it is a war!

Now there were many gains that we can take from the Tomo interview, not least the fact that although he must have expected the "Orlit carry on" to be addressed, Alex choose to skirt over it and then actually started to interview Bill. Realising his mistake, Toxic then broke in with a rather sarcastic, "Come on, Bill, really!"

Despite his insistence that "all's well down Govan way," Toxic still managed to get in a few jibes at the financial stability of the new company with snippets like, "please don't let it happen a third time," and, "supposed £22 Million share offer". So he's still showing that bias, but it just adds to the pleasure of having him openly admit that the Club’s history is intact.

So Toxic is still that, despite his recent epiphany over our history and the good governance of our club, which may well be short lived on his part!

Back up in Glasgow, Britney was doing his best to expose the ingrained "succulent lamb" culture with a rather eloquent piece on the GB's right to offend everyone, including Septic FC's own board and supporters.

This own-goal by the now despised Britney was nothing more than you would expect from someone who gave Tomo the lowdown on "succulent lamb" journalism for his first blog on the Rangers, after all, he was there and claims he happily "signed his pact with the devil".

Since the Rangers board, the Rangers supporters and the ever slippery board of Septic FC now want nothing to do with him, it's no surprise that this hack would try and worm himself in with the Ultra's of Septic FC.

Next he'll be singing his own version of Super Rangers with the emphasis on "No one likes me, I don’t care!"

That leads nicely onto the next member of the Motley Crew, namely the disgraced lawyer, who was puffery and plumage at being allowed back into a court room.

No mention was made of the supervision order or the miners families who lost out on much needed compensation, nor the loss to the treasury when his company went belly up!

No, it was business as usual and back to the old blog "Random Ramblings" for another attempt at smearing the newco, this time over the supposed loans used to buy the assets of old co. I'm sure he'll have enough disclaimers on that article to cover his butt.

Seeing as he's now a practicing disgraced lawyer (under supervision) we'd best leave well alone, after all, his long and dreary ramblings do work as a sedative.

The place of honour in this month's travails go to "the Bigot from Donegal" who upon hearing that he'd been thrown under the bus (by none other than Tomo himself) rushed to congratulate Alex on his "Television Journalist of the Year" award. While at it he also tried a reverse pass and hinted that Tomo and him had discussed this prior to the interview, over a nice cup of tea!

The last mention goes to the most sensible of the whole lot. The Biased Broadcasting Company’s very own Mark Daly, who managed to pick up another award for his hatchet job on Rangers.

Shame that it took the BBC's "poster bhoy" only 7 minutes to tell his first lie on that one. But as we all know lying in order to kick the Rangers when they were down is acceptable journalism.

So there we have it, the Motley Crew are not having a good time of it!

Unfortunately, Rangers have scored a few own goals of their own, so far nothing major.

But with anyone and everyone now knowing that kicking Rangers for anything will get copy space then they are almost unnecessary to the back pages at this point.

Charles Green dropped a clanger when he used the Seville calculator on the number of season ticket holders who did walk away; he must be more careful in future!

While the supporters and the Club were undoubtedly let down by the chanting of a vocal minority down at Berwick, swift action to identify and ban those who seem to believe that this is acceptable will hopefully send the correct message on this one.

All in all it’s been a good start to the new year, and with Rangers now only a couple of games away from the title it will hopefully give Ally the chance to test some of the youngsters in a more competitive setting.

As for the Propaganda War that rages on and probably will do for years to come, with the Motley Crew being discredited with each new blog then life may settle down sooner rather than later.

Take heart fellow bears the war is not over, but we are now fighting back and winning more than we lose!

Scots George is a regular poster at our de facto forum, Do the Bouncy.

23 February 2013

Working hard to give up the lead

by Robbie Devine | CRO Guest Contributor

When will they ever learn?

I’m talking about those so called ‘fans’ who embarrassed the club they claim to love at Berwick with their bile chanting about issues which have absolutely nothing to do with the Gers and at the same time have played into the laps of those whose obsession with attacking our great club consumes them from the minute they wake up in the morning.

Rangers FC have been kicked from pillar to post in the last twelve months and at a time when they are attempting to win friends both here in Scotland and elsewhere the last thing Charles Green and Co need now is a return to the dark days when the FTP brigade dragged our great club through the gutter.

Massive strides have been made in recent years, including some excellent self policing amongst the supporters themselves, but for a national television station to be forced into making a public apology for the singing of offensive songs from a section of the travelling fans is a real low.

And please, please will those who wish to defend the antics of these people wake up and smell the coffee and resist from taking the view that our friends across the city are just as bad.

Of course Celtic have a problem with the Green Brigade, and let’s not forget the Neanderthal behaviour with large swathes of their support at Dens Park last month, but it would be wrong and pathetic for true Rangers supporters to try and deflect the spotlight on the shameful singing at Shielfield Park by coming away with the old “we are not the only ones” attitude.

At a time when the fans need to be united and be prepared to be ready for the possible negative outcome of the SPL commission finding the club guilty over the whole EBT issue it is far from ideal to have to write an article about a problem which I for one hoped would be binned and left for the past.

There is nothing wrong for many Gers fans to be proud of the clubs links to the Crown and the union but there is a real difference between showing your support for your faith and your politics and attacking the views and opinions of those who chose, in a free democratic society, to have a different outlook on life.

Opting for the latter tarnishes your argument, singing stupid add-ons to some great Rangers songs achieves nothing at all positive, it only highlights the failure of you being convinced your cause is worth defending.

Make no mistake there are many people out there desperate to stick the knife into the Gers, and those who embarrassed the club on Saturday have handed a blade over to the anti-Rangers brigade on a platter.

If you think that shows your loyalty to the club you proclaim to love then the vast majority of us fellow Bears will be more than happy to point you in the direction of the exit doors from Ibrox Stadium.

22 February 2013

The Big Bad Rangers

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor
It would appear that Rangers Football Club is still very much the bad boy of Scottish Football. Not only did we apparently manage to sack the manager of one club but we also contrived to bully and exploit the financial troubles at another. Not bad for a day’s work, wouldn’t you say?
The first ludicrous criticism came from a somewhat predictable source: the Scottish Sun. Dundee FC defender Matt Lockwood was the interviewee who would have appeared to have claimed that “Rangers cost Baz his job”, as the newspaper headline suggested. In truth however he said no such thing.
The player simply highlighted that his club and manager suffered through the uncertainty created in the summer and that the lack of preparation available to them has hindered their performance this season. If anything it was veiled criticism of the football authorities in my opinion although someone at the Sun certainly disagreed.
Despite Lockwood making no direct mention of Rangers there was a sensationalist and misleading headline splashed across the page which would naturally attract attention. Robert Thomson appears to have been the man who conducted the interview however, given that editors often apply the headlines themselves, it would be wrong to point the finger of blame in his direction without such clarification.
It was however further evidence of the rapidly declining standards of journalism in our country but I suppose that is something that we are used to by now, especially with newspapers such as that one. 
The remainder of the day’s ridiculousness arrived later yesterday evening when it was confirmed by STV that Rangers had reached a reduced settlement with Hearts in order to advance the final payment of Lee Wallace’s transfer money. Given their current financial struggles the Jambos had agreed to accept £400k now rather than £500k in the summer in order to aid their short-term cash-flow issues.
The more reasonable individuals in the country would have realised that Rangers were in fact doing Hearts a favour by agreeing such a deal, while also benefitting themselves of course, but sadly such people were few and far between. Apparently we had ripped them off. We had mugged them. We exploited them. We’re such big bullies, aren’t we?
The reality of the situation is that their club is so desperate for cash that they approached Rangers and offered a deal that was agreeable to both clubs. Can you imagine if Charles Green had rejected their offer and the financial troubles at Hearts worsened significantly as a result? What kind of reaction would there have been to that? It appears that we truly cannot do right for doing wrong, certainly in the eyes of many.
On Twitter I was lectured about business ethics and morals. It would seem that some expected us to pay the full amount now out of the goodness of our hearts. Especially when you consider the great deeds that the Jambos have done for us in recent months. Oh no, wait a minute...
I think it sums up the general attitude towards Rangers that we are lambasted for paying a cut-price deal to a club which is guilty of sins similar to those that we were so loudly and widely criticised for previously. In fact, in all honesty it is a debt which our new company should never have had to pay in the first place. Blackmail is quite a powerful tool though and so we got on with it and our football debts have now been cleared. Sadly that doesn’t appear to be enough to keep some people satisfied.
Many will undoubtedly scoff at that statement and rant on about the poor creditors of the oldco but let’s not pretend that they are genuinely concerned about their wellbeing. They’re not. What they are concerned about however is the fact that it was Rangers that were involved. The outrage at what happened is about as transparent as the sporting integrity farce of the summer. So please, spare me from that.
It is abundantly clear that there is still a considerable element out there that wish to besmirch the name of Rangers Football Club regardless of the reality of the situation. There are those who simply ignore the positives and twist and deform the facts to suit their own agenda. What is really sad is that many of these people claim to be journalists and get paid for the privilege of doing so. Some even win awards for their efforts.
Alex Thomson recently tried to validate his involvement in our recent history by claiming quite simply that Rangers are “the story”, that we are the ones that everyone wants to talk about. I suppose there is certainly some truth in that however it is a pity that there are too many reading our tale with blinkers on.
Unfortunately for Rangers there could very well be more to come in the near future as the Kangaroo Court is expected to deliver its verdict before the end of the month on the issue of alleged undeclared payments to the SPL. Or perhaps I should call it the “dual contracts investigation” as so many in the media are keen to inaccurately label it?
A guilty verdict will undoubtedly set the mad and unique world of Scottish Football into orgasmic overdrive. Media outlets will fall over themselves as they eagerly bash away at their keyboards about years of organised cheating and match-fixing. One can only hope that common sense prevails and that we are saved from such an embarrassing sight although I certainly won’t be holding my breath.
One thing is for sure - Rangers Football Club will be prepared for such an outcome, lawyers at the ready. Many have long predicted that this case will end up in the nation’s courts. Maybe then we will finally receive a fair trial.

Keep On the Grass

Courtesy, Clyde FC.
by Peter Ewart | CRO Contributor

Our Third Division game on Saturday at Broadwood was yet another fixture played on an artificial surface. As the match kicked-off it looked like a game of Subbuteo being played on a giant doormat. Okay, this type of surface has moved on significantly from the luminous, knee-shredding pitches that graced Boundary Park, Loftus Road and Kenilworth Road in the 80s and early 90s. But, in my opinion, it’s really designed for 5- or 7-a-side games.

Football should be played on grass. It’s that simple. Games on fake surfaces are purely unnatural. Who wants a predictable bounce and a non-contact game? It’s just not the way league football should be played.

By the time the SFL3 fixtures have been fulfilled we will have played 8 of 36 games on these fake surfaces at the likes of Montrose, Annan, East Stirlingshire and Clyde. That’s almost a quarter of our games. And I’m certainly feeling short-changed.

That said, we’ve actually had decent results on them. We’ve drawn one and emerged victorious in the rest of our games on artificial surfaces, but there is a rather strange training ground feel to the matches. If I wanted to go a watch a plastic game where the players can’t tackle I’d go down the pub and watch table football.

Look at Montrose away. We had the increasingly awesome duo of Hutton and Macleod in central midfield. They didn’t seem to like the pitch one bit. They looked genuinely uneasy at putting in a tackle in the knowledge that they couldn’t really go to ground. They were denied the chance to play their natural games. I guess some would class that as home field advantage but I just don’t see it as proper football.

Soon we’re back off to Stirling Albion, the ground where we lost our only league games so far this season and where Ian Black was nearly decapitated. Forthbank has a grass surface and by the time we play them on Tuesday dear knows what condition it will be in, but in a strange way that’s part of the fun. Remember the SPL days when Motherwell played on a beach and St Johnstone play on a ploughed field? What the hell their groundsmen did there I don’t know. But it adds to the whole occasion.

Yes, games will inevitably get called off. Thankfully the SFL appear to be more on top of postponing matches in reasonable time for fans than the SPL ever were. But of course it’s not just grass parks being called off. The artificial pitches are not as ‘all-weather’ as they claim. Clyde for example have twice had games called off this season because Broadwood had a frozen pitch. East Stirlingshire have been called off at home too, again with the same problem.

If the SFL are seriously looking at reconstruction and shaping the future of the game then they should be looking at what surface they play football on. Do players get injured more often on certain surfaces? Certainly injuries to David Templeton and Darren Cole may support such a claim. Have the SPFA looked at it? What do the fans want? Do they even give a fuck?

I can’t blame clubs for installing artificial surfaces to bring in the extra revenue needed to survive. And let's not forget that there has been local and national government money to aid the initial cost of putting the surfaces in, so there will be no going back for some. But it is indeed a sad reflection on the state of the game. They may be great for hiring out during the week but in all honesty they are pretty dismal for the watching public on match-day.

At the minute it is a problem which is largely confined to the lower leagues. In SFL2 or the potential league of 18 it’s going to be more of the same with Stenhousemuir, Alloa and Airdrie United also on artificial surfaces as it currently stands. And there is always the chance that there could be more to come in the higher divisions. In Dundee’s recent Q&A session with fans, Scot Gardiner said two SPL clubs were considering the use of Astroturf pitches. St Mirren also apparently discussed the subject at their last AGM.

Ultimately it would appear to be a by-product of there being too many senior clubs in Scotland, however let’s not blindly disappear into a generic set of leagues with artificial pitches. We’d be spiraling towards a glorified floodlit 11-a-side league that will surely drive fans away in the long-term. As for summer football? Maybe that ship has sailed but it is something that may yet come back on the agenda through sheer necessity.

So dear SPL and SFA, do what we suspect you’ve been doing for a while: Keep on the grass.

09 February 2013

In crafting The Rangers Way, we should visit our old friends in Dortmund

by Alan Clark | CRO Contributor

Comparisons to the German Bundesliga have been ‘flavour of the month’ in the United Kingdom in the last year or so - but a serious contemplation of how the league is set up and how clubs run themselves should be carried out.

It may be obvious to some, and people have mentioned it briefly, but studying Borussia Dortmund’s story could be beneficial to Rangers.

There has been much discussion on the issue of Rangers building their own “footballing philosophy” as the club works its way through the lower divisions of Scottish football to re-appear in the top league, whatever that may be called.

It’s not just on-field standards that supporters want to see developed – a clear financial strategy avoiding situations like signing Tore Andre Flo for £12 million, or not paying PAYE and National Insurance ala Craig Whyte (boo, hiss!), is sought after by the legions.

Current Bundesliga champions (two years in a row) and in the last 16 of the Champions League, Dortmund as a team and club are in heaven right now. But in 2005, they avoided bankruptcy by the skin of their teeth. It was the leniency of small investors who were owed money that saved BVB from being sent to the amateur regions of German football.

In many ways, what happened to die Borussen is probably seen as a good thing by their large and dedicated following. It allowed the club to state they would no longer waste their money on big transfer fees and wages to compete with other clubs, instead turning to youth development and an improved scouting network.

In 18 months, the club slashed its budget by over half and the club rung in the changes. There would be no more splashing out ridiculous fees for players on the hope that they’d deliver and bring in enough income to pay their crazy wage packet.

The planning all came to fruition in 2010/2011 when they won their first title in a decade – and followed that up with another one last season. Anyone who knows about Dortmund’s squad will notice the core of the team is relatively young - key figures such as Mario Götze (20), Marco Reus (23) and Mats Hummels (24) prove this.

Reus was a youth at Dortmund before leaving and then returning via Borussia Monchengladbach for €17 million, which shows how healthy the club is financially that it can comfortably shell out that fee and not worry about 2005 happening all over again.

Dortmund were forced to invest in a training complex shortly after their near-miss with oblivion, the German powerbrokers threatening relegation if they did not comply with a nationwide policy of creating centres of excellence after Germany’s failure at Euro 2000. Right from then, the focus was on nurturing young talent from within and also finding the best young players out with Westfalenstadion.

Finding a young football player isn’t of course finished at the “he’s a youngster” stage – they have to show ability, potential and especially a strong attitude. An example of this was Dortmund finding Kevin Grosskreutz, who slotted into the club’s mentality perfectly and is still a first-team regular at his boyhood heroes.

The Yellow-Blacks, under gaffer Jurgen Klopp, have adopted a hugely successful pressing game and their opponents are often overwhelmed by the sheer determination of the Dortmund players as the whole team work tirelessly on and off the ball. Their performance away to Manchester City in late 2012 showed that.

It’s been drilled into them at an early age, every day at training and probably every minute from the touchlines during matches from the eccentric boss-man Klopp.

If we apply this model to Rangers, whilst working up from the Third Division, it could set the club on a promising path for the years to come. We already have a state-of-the-art training centre in the form of Auchenhowie, and have produced some talent in the years since its inception.

Players like Alan Hutton, Allan McGregor, Barry Ferguson, Chris Burke, Charlie Adam and others have progressed from the Milngavie complex to move on to better leagues and some have arguably enhanced their international prospects.

Indeed, manager Ally McCoist has given Auchenhowie youth its chance to an extent this season with the likes of Lewis MacLeod, Barrie McKay, Chris Hegarty, Kal Naismith, Kyle Hutton, Ross Perry, Robbie Crawford and Fraser Aird getting regular game-time. With the exception of Hutton and Perry who are slightly older, these players have had next to no experience of first-team football at Rangers and it has to be said they have more than held their own.

Midfielder MacLeod, before his injury, had started just about every game in all competitions for Rangers and was one of the key players in the team. The 18-year-old has a very promising future at the club and in the game in general.

However, the club still has a reported £7 million wage bill with SPL-standard players like Dean Shiels, David Templeton and Ian Black brought in during the summer. Black in particular has failed to impress in his debut season and it does beg the question – are we better off fielding younger players in the part-time Third Division? For me, it’s a yes.

Charles Green has already stated he won’t put Rangers into any sort of bank debt and will cut the wage bill to turnover ratio to 33%, which is encouraging in the sense that the chief executive is clearly not going to follow David Murray’s mantra of spend, spend, spend.

As we discussed on several CROpods, Rangers haven’t played attractive football at all in SFL3, and there seems to be no “footballing philosophy” being concocted. You can’t directly compare or copy Dortmund’s strategy, for obvious reasons, but would it kill McCoist and his coaching team to sit down and study some videos of how Klopp organises his teams? We do have that £50,000 video analysis suite, afterall.

A 30-minute brainstorm on BVB won’t transform Rangers into masters of the pressing game, but lessons can be learned. Young players can gain experience of playing in front of 50,000 every second week at Ibrox, all the while getting more used to the Rangers mentality of having to win every game. They get used to the spotlight from the media and the fans in the street through playing in the first-team regularly.

With a style of play that every Rangers team - from the first-team right down to the under-12s or whatever – can follow, constantly trying out at training and implementing on match days, it makes the demotion down to the fourth tier ‘worthwhile’.

Returning to the top league will be difficult at first with our east side rivals having such an advantage. Imagine how much difficulty we will have if we continue to play turgid football with long balls from the back, no clear passing plan or clever tactics and with most of the Premier-standard players past their best.

By the time comes we are in the top tier, the youngsters gaining experience will have made well over 100 appearances for Rangers and will firmly know all about being a player at Ibrox. If fans are excited at MacLeod and McKay now, imagine them in a few years with that under their belt along with a dedicated football strategy.

It’s not too late to start a proper re-build. Get it done Rangers.

08 February 2013

The boss man was on World Soccer Radio Thursday night. Take a listen from about 16:00 on for some good Rangers chat and Scottish football in general.

Video streaming by Ustream

PR Jarheads

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

There may be a new name above some doors and some new shiny staff hired but some things simply don’t change round Ibrox way. The club continues to get involved in PR nightmares, something that has been bugging fans since the name Craig Whyte was as meaningless as Phil Macgiollabhain.

The latest PR disaster from Rangers puts me in mind of the novel ‘Jarhead’ by former US marine Anthony Swafford. Most of us are familiar with the story given it was adapted into a big time film a few years ago: Swafford was a sniper during the Gulf war who saw almost no action during his tour of duty in Iraq because modern warfare had simply moved on. He was out dated and almost irrelevant; the war moved too fast for a scout sniper to be an effective weapon, and this is what I am put in mind of when Rangers struggle to deal with negative news stories that now emerge online.

In the old days a story would appear in one paper, a club would respond in another. Times have changed.

Now these PR wars are fought on a virtual battlefield, not a paper one. Twitter is now where stories often break and develop and there is instant feedback in fan forums and independent club websites. News is no longer a daily entity; it is an ever evolving and changing picture – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and until Rangers realise this and are prepared to combat it then the club will forever find itself red faced when irrelevant bloggers are breaking stories that could be quashed before they gather any pace.

The claim that Rangers owe Orlit Enterprises £400,000 was broken by an aforementioned discredited timothy blogger – allowed to gather pace for almost a week – and has now grown arms and legs, becoming the subject of a small feature blog on the Channel 4 website and more worryingly making the front page of the Daily Record.

Rangers now find themselves involved in a game of he said she said with Orlit Enterprises being played out in the mainstream media. The claims of the club statement Wednesday were quickly denied by Orlit Enterprises as is being reported by the BBC on the front page of their sports section, only for Rangers to follow up with yet another statement (follow quickly by a blog from Big Jim Traynor) which offers a very different opinion from the original. It has become another messy dogfight for the club who seem intent to get in their own way when it comes to PR and defending the name of Rangers – and we are no clearer as to why this situation has been allowed to develop to this stage.

The £400,000 and whether or not an agreement has been reached is almost an irrelevance. Rangers have money in the bank and despite the club currently running at a loss even the most extreme among the East-end debt experts would struggle to convince you this debt is an issue for the club or that they were ever in any real threat of it becoming so.

The question has to be asked though: Why did it take a Channel 4 blogger putting this story out to make the club sit up and take notice? These rumours have been circulating online for days and I am aware of more than one person who made club staff aware of the situation developing. Like most of you I know these members of staff through interaction online. They are sensible, fair-minded, passionate Rangers men of that there is no doubt, and they make great strides in trying to both defend the club and improve its presence online. But the question is, when are the club going to start backing that up? More often than not it is left to a handful of staff and websites such as the CRO and TRS to defend one of the biggest football clubs in the world and that simply isn’t good enough.

The Copland Road Organization, The Rangers Standard, We Are The People Podcast, Heart and Hand Podcast – even our very own little CROpod along – with a community of fantastic individual bloggers and fan-run sites, plus individual club staff members, are often left fighting a PR war on behalf of Rangers. In online terms the club is bringing a knife to a gun fight and something’s got to change, because, put simply, if the club doesn’t understand the rules of modern warfare then we will continue to lose these online battles and inevitably the PR war.