15 May 2014

Peace in our time?


by Garry Carmody | Contributor

In many aspects of life, the phrase, 'your own worst enemy' rings true in so many ways.

The ongoing saga at Rangers has this emblazoned over it with a branding iron. For once it isn't the SFA or the media that is the enemy in this - this is a Civil War on a level at which few other football situations could compare. Whether it be an ill-judged sound bite, or just one statement too many, droves of fans are quickly being pushed into an innate state of apathy.

Each and every media outlet could fill their news bulletins for the day purely based on Rangers news, and they must salivate with every statement, and every piece of news that emanates from Ibrox. With so many statements and counter-statements between the warring factions, the sheer volume of evidence piled up in this dirty PR war could blind even the most loyal of fans into boredom. It has all become so entrenched and so nasty that it is sometimes difficult to remember that there is a ball to be kicked at the end of all this. Undoubtedly the end of the tunnel has seemed so far away and so distorted that it has often been difficult to remember what the desired outcome truly is.

That is why Wednesday night's news came as a collective sigh of relief. There was no mud-slinging, no name-calling, and it wasn't conducted via statements. For once, a group of grown men gathered round a table and spoke. Of course they were never going to completely agree on the issue, but they took the step that many weren't sure would ever be taken. At such a precarious moment, it was perhaps the one time fans had been able to breathe in what has been the most hostile atmosphere in recent months.

The board have promised to "consider granting legally-binding undertakings protecting Ibrox and Murray Park". Was it what the Union of Fans originally wanted? Not quite, but it gives similar protection to what they did ask for. Was it what the Rangers board wanted to do? Probably not, but with season ticket sales supposedly sitting at a worryingly low figure, drastic measures are required.

The whole notion of a compromise is music to so many ears. Whereas many understand those involved at the Union of Fans have the best interests of the club at heart, they probably also believe Graham Wallace deserves a bit more breathing space to try and turn this ailing business around. Wallace hasn't painted himself perfectly so far, but he seems to have at least a rough idea for our future. Would joining the CEO merry-go-round once more really benefit us with the same shareholders still in place?

With so much hostility and tension surrounding the whole issue, something had to give. At this moment, we can only be thankful this game of Russian Roulette didn't come to an early end. The game has changed, and fans can only be thankful to see it continuing to slow down.

However, the gun is still loaded, and the contest is far from over. After the board and the Union of Fans got round the table and spoke like men, it would appear they are now on more amicable terms, but no concrete agreements have been made. It would take just the one wrong move from either side for the game to explode back into life in a more vociferous manner than ever before.

Rangers still walk along a tightrope. This continues to be one of the unpredictable yet crucial period of our history with much work still to be done.

However, with a pressure group with growing leverage and a board willing to play ball, I feel more confident than at any stage that there can be peace in our time.