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.