Trigger’s Broom, Theseus’ Ship, Douglas Adams’ Golden Pavilion, Sevco & “Rangers” – What’s the Link? Guest Post by ADM

It is an article of faith for many people that the imminent liquidation of Rangers Football Club plc means Rangers Football Club ceases to exist and, while Sevco may have bought assets of the soon-to-be-liquidated plc, it cannot be a continuation of “Rangers”.  Equally, it is an article of faith for many that the demise of the plc has no necessary impact on the existence of “Rangers” and indeed that Sevco, or some other corporate entity, will become the next vehicle for the continuation of “Rangers”. The former group is better represented on Celtic-supporting blogs, and indeed many neutral ones such as this, with the group we might call the “Rangers” Survivalists (which i guess would make the first group the Extinctionists) mostly restricted to Rangers- (or “Rangers”-) supporting sites.

The point of this post is to explore the history of a cultural reference occasionally used by the Extinctionists, to suggest a potential different meaning for it, and to examine whether in fact it can be used to bridge the divide between well-meaning individuals on both sides of the debate.

The Extinctionists sometimes refer to Sevco as “Trigger’s Broom” as a humorous way of underlining that Sevco can never be Rangers.   The story of Trigger’s broom comes from the television series “Only Fools & Horses” where the character Trigger is a drinking buddy of the lead characters, and is the local roadsweeper. The incident of Trigger’s Broom occurs when he is given a medal by the council for using the same broom for 20 years.  He then explains that the broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles.  When asked how it can be the same broom, Trigger produces a picture of himself and his broom and asks, “What more proof do you need?”  Extinctionists use Trigger’s stupidity (the character is not portrayed as an intelligent or sophisticated individual) to highlight the absurdity of the Survivalist view.

However, Trigger’s Broom is not a new story, and nor is it that simple.  The original story is a famous paradox from a couple of thousands of years ago, and its resolution has puzzled philosophers ever since. The first version was the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, outlined in its best-known version by the Greek philosopher and historian Plutarch in his “Life of Theseus” in the late 1st century. The question he posed was whether, when Theseus returned from a (very) long voyage, the ship in which he returned was the same ship in which he had originally set sail – although, over the course of the voyage, every single original part of it had been replaced (told you it was a long voyage).

Philosophers have argued about this pretty much ever since.  An important early contribution was from another Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who extended the paradox to a river.  His point was that if someone stepped into a fast flowing river, then stepped out and then stepped back, it would never occur to that person to argue that, on the second occasion they stepped in, the river was a different river from the first time – even although the water surrounding their feet the second time was entirely different.  Inevitably, someone (Plutarch again, in fact) did then come along and argue precisely that – that it was a different river.  Philosophers have continued the argument ever since without really reaching a conclusion much beyond “it depends what you mean by ‘same’ and what you mean by ‘different’”.

The Rangers/Sevco case is arguably even less clear-cut than that of Theseus’ ship – when Sevco argue they are “Rangers”, they have some of the same players, some of the same staff, the same ground, the same colour jerseys, probably a similar playing style (should they ever actually play football) and so on. A casual observer who didn’t know about the impending liquidation might readily accept that Sevco was more clearly the continuation of Rangers than Arsene Wenger’s Emirates Arsenal is the continuation of George Graham’s Highbury edition.

My own view (which is largely irrelevant) is that it’s strange to pick on the corporate entity as being uniquely the single element that determines continuity.  Inevitably, Douglas Adams expresses it better than I can in his description of his tour of the Golden Pavilion in Japan (acknowledgement due to Wikipedia, where I read this quote and much else on the Ship of Theseus – at for those who are interested):

“I remembered once, in Japan, having been to see the Gold Pavilion Temple in Kyoto and being mildly surprised at quite how well it had weathered the passage of time since it was first built in the fourteenth century. I was told it hadn’t weathered well at all, and had in fact been burnt to the ground twice in this century. ‘So it isn’t the original building?’ I had asked my Japanese guide.

‘But yes, of course it is,’ he insisted, rather surprised at my question.

‘But it’s burnt down?’



‘Many times.’

‘And rebuilt.’

‘Of course. It is an important and historic building.’

‘With completely new materials.’

‘But of course. It was burnt down.’

‘So how can it be the same building?’

‘It is always the same building.’

“I had to admit to myself that this was in fact a perfectly rational point of view, it merely started from an unexpected premise. The idea of the building, the intention of it, its design, are all immutable and are the essence of the building. The intention of the original builders is what survives. The wood of which the design is constructed decays and is replaced when necessary. To be overly concerned with the original materials, which are merely sentimental souvenirs of the past, is to fail to see the living building itself.”

—Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See, p. 149

I invite those of an Extinctionist frame of mind to apply the thinking in that last paragraph to (at least the good elements of) Sevco/”Rangers”.

Anyway, this is all very well, but what does it tell us concretely about what’s going to happen, or even what should happen?  Well, I recognise that this excursion into Greek philosophy and Japanese temples isn’t going to convince all Extinctionists that Sevco is the continuation of Rangers but I’d like to imagine that it would at least allow some to acknowledge that the Survivalist viewpoint is not completely absurd.  Ultimately, I’m arguing that it is meaningful and not absurd to talk about “Rangers” surviving the liquidation of the plc, if enough of the good people around Rangers want it to be so.

There are, of course, real legal problems for Sevco to overcome it wants to trade as Rangers but, assuming that a legal way through that particular minefield can be found, and a critical mass of the good people around Rangers decide that Sevco is the continuation of the football club founded in 1872, then I think it is incumbent on the rest of us to accept that.

But – yes, there’s always a but – decisions have consequences.  And one of the consequences of the “Rangers” community deciding that Sevco is the continuation of Rangers is that the history goes with it – the bad bits as well as the good bits.  It remains true that Rangers (or “Rangers”) have yet to be sentenced (or indeed even explicitly, openly and transparently found guilty in some cases) for a range of offences – the Big Tax Case, the Wee Tax Case, dual contracts, and the range of offences that will eventually be ruled upon by the SFA’s Appellate Tribunal (to name but four).  (Note in passing that only one of these relates to Craig Whyte’s time in charge – sadly, it’s simply not the case that Rangers were just innocent victims here.)

So what does that mean?  It means that Sevco must, at a minimum, accept any sporting penalties resulting from the cases listed above (and others I have undoubtedly missed out).  Their “punishment’ to date consists of a 10 point deduction, a 3-year ban from European competition, and getting kicked out of the SPL  – all of which are simply a rule-based consequence of administration and liquidation – plus the fines from the SFA case.  So – to put it mildly – it feels unlikely that independent arbiters of the cases listed above would conclude that “Rangers”/Sevco had been punished enough already.  All of which adds to the growing feeling that the right question now is not SFL3 vs “SPL2” (whatever that might be) – it’s whether “Rangers” will be able to fulfil a full slate of fixtures in any professional league in 2012-13.

Posted by ADM


Filed under Charles Green, Football, Guest Posts, Rangers

55 responses to “Trigger’s Broom, Theseus’ Ship, Douglas Adams’ Golden Pavilion, Sevco & “Rangers” – What’s the Link? Guest Post by ADM

  1. Alex Doherty

    Easy for fans of the ex Rangers p.l.c. to believe sure the still believe Ulster is british

    • Ian in Oz

      Of course, all of Ulster is not British, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan are part of Ulster but are also part of the Republic of Ireland. Most of Ulster is, however, part of the United Kingdom and, therefore, British. These are facts and I’m an Aberdeen supporter.

      Bringing Ulster into this is irrelevant and unhelpful.

  2. mick

    its games a boogie adm thats a great read ,my iq on this site just gets bigger and bigger all these greek classical storys ,all these cases coming up it doesnt look good for sevco ,am glad you highlighted they have not yet been punished and that the demotion was for admin and liquidation a just cant work out how the msm dident explian it better to the fans as we speak the rm threads are talking of a protest to highjack the olympic soccer games at hampden how sick is that the sfa just gave thousands of tickets to schools now perants will be worried about a hunprotest ,a would just expell them now there deluded and a stian on or society there conduct online is sick and evil and has no place in a modern cosmopolitian scotland its out of date and out of touch and should be put in the bin now

  3. josephmcgrath112001809

    There are a lot of excitable, angry people out there. This issue still quickens pulses and reddens faces. I don’t think the story of the temple burning down is a good idea. Some might miss the philosophy altogether and go for the matches.

  4. mick

    msm=uneducational tree destroying dafties

  5. mick

    they should just be expelled the threats and bullying is beyound a joke the whole country wants the to go thats the general feeling now amoungst the whole scottish football comunity ,to threaten disorder a a great event like the olympics is unforgivable and a clear case of bullying there sick and deluded

  6. Albert

    Well expressed, and very entertaining. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed some of the blog posts over the summer, particularly where they shine a light on hitherto unknown (to me) quality writers.

    I’m slightly confused, though, by the popular notion that the team who will represent Rangers’ fans next season is in any way different to that which they followed up until the recent farago, that which ignited our collective thinking. Why dwell on semantics? Why not accept that the offender has been caught, and sentenced? I accept that it’s fun but, come on, enough flogging.

    As a long time supporter of a diddy team I am looking forward to supporting them this coming season and couldn’t care two hoots whether Rangers supporters, or indeed those of Celtic, continue their historcal arguments, ad infinitum.

    One of my earlier posts, advocating reconciliation, attracted a modest positive response although I may have overstepped the mark on this occassion, but fortunately we are all allowed to express a view.

    I do, however, look forward to further excellent contributions by both Paul and your goodself.

    • mick

      well said albert ,the reason there not rangers is the company house number change in case you meet 1 you can highlight that to them lol

    • mick

      albert what you think of rangers dying in afew years time the glasgow bigotory dies of death then celtic and thsfa joining forces in building a 100,000 seater stadium to acom both sets of supporters loving the same team bigger than barcelona a know its pipe dream but it is possible scotland play at it to saves money and frees up cash for more grassroot investment lol

  7. mick

    there media sites should be banned its full of bitterness and could lead to some 1 getting hurt there irisponsible and out of touch with the rest of the country no 1 is listening to there threats no 1 cares we have heard it that much its a joke rfc the biggest joke in the sporting world ,its got to stop expell them now total animials fullstop.thats how a would punish them

    • Mick…..with the greatest intentions in the world here the vast majority of the replays that I read from you on here makes a mockery of the very points that you try to make.

      Indeed, often I walk away feeling that your own bitterness is difficult to pertain.

      You cannot simply refer to everyone that ever supported Rangers to be an, “animal”, or that “there media sites…full of bitterness”, “sick and deluded”. Personally, such is an insult to my intelligence.

      Perhaps I could point you in the direction of a few ‘media sites’ of other clubs that are full of their own bile and spout. Perhaps I could point you in the direction of a certain supporters group, full of good intentions I am sure, whom themselves resorted to ‘bullying’ by reporting to other SPL clubs that under no circumstances would their numbers grace their stadia should they vote ‘yes’ to Sevco in the SPL.

      Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that the decision to remove Rangers from the SPL and enter Sevco in Division 3 to be the correct one. However, pots should not refer to the kettle as black in relation to ‘bullying’.

      I am not here to bite, I am not here to change to disregard your opinion; however, at times your posts meander to the stricken choir that seems to want to stand itself on a pedestal of “we’re no the bad yins afterall”.

      The bigotry, bile and spew of the West of Scotland has forever been a two way road. Of that there can be no mistake. Personally, I have absolutely no time for it and never will do hence the reason I will rarely enter a discussion on the matter.

      Without escaping my original point here; there is a section of society that wish to achieve one goal – that goal is to deprive 50’000 fans of a team to support in its entirety. Quite how anyone can regard such a move as a ‘good’ thing is utterly baffling to me.

      Yes, wrongs have been done, yes punishment must be made – but to completely alienate so many people from the game? That’s crazy talk….

      • ecojon


        Like your road analogy – have a look at my railway analogy in my post – I think a first step is there has to be conversation to try and find a consensus as to how we cam move towards a solution. But even before that first step lies the hardest bit and that is self-examination of what lies in our hearts and I don’t mean just in a narrow football focus.

        I would think that a lot of the problems arise because many people seem to not only just have football in their life but it appears to be a demanding and very angry Master. I watch and talk about football first and foremost because I enjoy the game in general it is not because I blindly support one team. I loved playing football and I was crap at it but I really really enjoyed it.

        We are going through a very dangerous time for Scotland as a whole – the consequences of this current aggro spreads far wider than just Rangers and its support and cooler heads have a duty to try and keep some sanity alive. It will pass, of that we can be assured but what is important that football fans as a whole try and use this opportunity to strengthen the game and cut the sectarian crap which has no place id a caring society.

      • mick

        point taken but there sites are sick they are delued and they are bitter thats factual ,the shoes on the other foot now ,its ozymandias for the red white and blue types in scotland

      • mick

        they cheated and bullied the country for years its games a boogie ,scotland hates them its a known fact its over for them. 99.9% of scotland wants them out the game there scotlands shame the bully is now the bullied .the tables have turned celtic are not a bitter club and have no sectiarian singing any more your tripping out your tree here its not a section of society that want rangers dead its the whole country the finiancial doping was the final nail in the coffin ,no 1s afriad anymore its games a boogie ,being britsh scottish or irish has nothing to do with it ,they cheated at sport and bullied the nation at every turn ,thats the bottom line of it for people to bring up faith during it is wrong ,all the bullied have united its a sore 1 to take but your trying to blame republicanisem which is wrong blame murry and whyte and you vile sick racist fans that do nazi salutes not nationalists ,yous have been skelped all over scotland it was karma its nothing to do with your faith ,most people at the socalled diddy clubs are you cant bring faith in to it thats spitting the dummy its all the r.c.,s fault makes you look like a deluded bear ,and there sites are vile theres no sites in scotland like it your trying to tarnish other clubs accept the fact rangers websites are vile and has no place in a modern scotland ozymandias the mighty have fallen ,its over no more vile violent huns

    • mick

      gerry feel free to comment on any my comments am up for hyper critical reviews anytime

      • “99.9% of scotland wants them out the game”

        73% of statistics are made up on the spot, that is one of them….yours is another
        99.9% of Scotland does not want Rangers out of the game forever – they want to see Rangers punished in a footballing sense. Something that is fine and well by me.
        “there scotlands shame the bully is now the bullied”
        No one is bullying Rangers/Sevco….absolutely no one. SO far we have yet to see a ‘punishment’ on Rangers for their previous actions (non-payment of PAYE to date). SO far all we have seen is a points deduction for administration and removal for impending liquidation, those are consequences – not punishment.
        “ celtic are not a bitter club and have no sectiarian singing any more your tripping out your tree”
        Really? As someone that is often invited to Celtic Park as a guest I can assure you that it is notme that is currently ….’tripping out ma tree’. Please remove the blinkers sir, the problem of sectarian singing in football grounds has drastically decreased, at Ibrox too I hasten to add, in recent years. At Ibrox last season, out-with the Old Firm games where both sides happily gave as good as they got (yet still not a patch on previous years), there was little sectarian singing. I am not going to pretend that it did not happen, in the same way that you should not convince yourself that the Celtic support do not harbour mindless idiots that feel the need to spout random and pointless bile at supporters of another club that they will waltz into work on the Monday for a chat with.
        “its not a section of society that want rangers dead its the whole country the finiancial doping was the final nail in the coffin”
        Another made up statistic I see. Rangers may very well be guilty of financial doping, and therefore must be punished. However, I was always taught – and society tells me on a daily basis, that every person (or in this matter club) deserves a second chance. Why is this so different with Rangers? Should Portsmouth suffer the same fate? Should John Higgins be banned from Snooker for life? Dawine Chambers not allowed to run? How about Maradonna, he surely cheated England out of the World Cup if you believe the English press – bastard should never have been allowed to play football again eh?
        “being britsh scottish or irish has nothing to do with it”
        I agree, quite why you brought that up is another matter.
        “your trying to blame republicanisem which is wrong”
        No…no, I think you’ll find that key phrase ‘tripping out your tree’ is about to be used again.
        “blame murry and whyte and you vile sick racist fans that do nazi salutes not nationalists”
        Good start, awful finish. I forgot about that time Ibrox descended into Nazi salutes on a regular basis (again, I’m sure a few arseholes have….i’m not here to defend those). Now, two minutes ago I was blaming it all on those Republicans and now it’s Nationalists? Do make up ones mind.
        “ its nothing to do with your faith “
        There we go bringing up faith again for some reason……
        “most people at the socalled diddy clubs are you cant bring faith in to it thats spitting the dummy its all the r.c.,s fault makes you look like a deluded bear “
        There is only one person coming across as deluded here, and I’m pretty certain it’s not me. Did you actually read what I wrote or did you just read the first line, explode and decide what I wrote for me?
        “and there sites are vile theres no sites in scotland like it “
        Believe me, there is…..
        Not to defend the vile comments that I am more than certain do exist on such websites. That is the problem with the Internet, you can give any crackpot a keyboard ::Rollseyes::
        “ your trying to tarnish other clubs “
        It is not my place to tarnish other clubs, nor would I attempt to do so. All that I would suggest is that other clubs do not attempt to build a Halo over themselves on the back of Rangers previous failings and cheating.
        “accept the fact rangers websites are vile “
        Go on then, I’ll accept it – there’s some darn vile stuff on some of those websites. Some of it’s even about poor old me.

        Thanks, Garry.

      • @ecojon

        We are going through a very dangerous time for Scotland as a whole – the consequences of this current aggro spreads far wider than just Rangers and its support and cooler heads have a duty to try and keep some sanity alive. It will pass, of that we can be assured but what is important that football fans as a whole try and use this opportunity to strengthen the game and cut the sectarian crap which has no place id a caring society.


      • mick

        would they give you a second chance garry ????

      • mick

        garry theres no 1 mindless at celtic park ,am unrepentant with my posts too

      • I am not asking you to repent your posts. I am simply saying that you are firing off at the hip with statements that make only one person come across as vile: yourself.

        Rather than debate facts, as most people on this page are capable of – leading to some interesting discussion; you would rather take any opportunity to issue empty insults toward anyone associated with Rangers. Whilst doing this, you band everyone together in the same boat whilst pretending to yourself that every other stadium in Scotland out-with Celtic park is full of ‘prods’ and Celtic park is full of only the finest specimens in society.

        Both of those beliefs (and you can check….you definitely said them) would be the only thing ‘mindless’ about this conversation.

        It is a bit like saying everyone from Easterhouse is a criminal yet everyone from Bonaly a saint. It is a judgement that simply cannot be made.

        As for your point re: myself getting a second chance? Well, i actually don’t want one. Why? Simple, I have nothing to gain from being associated with the same mindless people that laughed in my face some 12-18 months ago when I questioned Craig Whyte on my own website. The same people that wouldn’t listen at the time are the same ones wishing to string the man up. Crazy eh? No, its not crazy – that is society, i’ve learned to deal with it.

        We currently have one club in Scotland run well, Celtic. Why? mainly because of the good work done by Fergus McCann circa 1994. Were all Celtic fans behind Fergus McCann at the time – not at all, the man was goaded by a large number for quite some time. Proof, if ever it was needed, that you cannot simply classify everyone in the same boat.

        Are there mindless Rangers fans – of course there are. Are all Celtic fans fine upstanding citizens? You would be rather nieve to believe so…….. 😉

    • Ernesider

      Matthew 12:33

      “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”

  8. p groom

    happily we have not yet reached a stage where we can get into people’s minds and change what they are thinking. so rangers fans will continue to refer to their club/team as just that no matter what the official name turns out to be. no harm in that providing no harm is done. thats for now, in time it may be that reputational damage will lead to a different view.

    • People will always refer to it as Rangers….it is the way of things.

      Airdrie fans call their team Airdrie, rarely Airdrie United/ Clydebank. Man City fans still go to Maine Road, Celtic fans still go to Parkhead…..its only a name really; as long as that is all.

  9. To quote a Buddhist monk i once knew…’the truth is a personal experience’.
    Regardless of the law, rules, bias, subjective / objective analysis etc, etc. It is possible that both views are correct and that the truth is in the experience. Personally, I think Mary Shelley was more to the point about sevco rangers. Dr Frankenstein just wanted to create life in the laboratory by using parts of other human beings. Rangers were formed to play football and quickly seized on the opportunity to make make it into a business and money from it. The intentions at the beginning were good but ‘the monster’ spent the rest of its days searching for its father until it got out of control and had to be stopped as it was wreaking too much havoc on the good citizens of the towns. Rangers rapidly became a bigoted monster that got out of control and wreaked havoc on all things Irish, Catholic and Celtic and attracted to it all the worst elements in society (with a few good exceptions).
    Now that monster is being hounded for wreaking havoc on the rest of Scottish football and seems unlikely to survive. Is it the same monster / team?. . .Well wait until you have experienced the thing if indeed it survives and you tell me. It would be a shame if it was.

    • ecojon

      I like the Buddhist reference and I’ll give one back, I have a friend who is Scottish and he becamne a Buddhist just over 40 years ago and I always remember one early conversation we had. We were talking about loss and reaction to it and he explained that in a simplistic sense the Buddhist concept was that say someone gave you a beautiful gift which reallt delighted you possibly for its beauty. He said that at that moment you should visualise the destruction of the gift and feel the pain that this loss would cause you.

      So if the gift was subsequently destroyed or lost then the pain suffered would be lessened because you had already suffered the desolation when it was first give.

      As the years passed our conversations have deepened but what I have realised as I grew older that indeed the things we discuss have had direct positive infleunces on my life. I will never be a Buddhist and have not actively practised religion since I was seven but I have always tried to be open to what other people feel and think.

      It’s quite funny that when I read your piece I could substitute Celtic for Rangers and a helluva lot of it would still fit. In my post I say that honest self examination is possibly the hardest thing any of us ever do but it is what we have to do before we even get to the starting point of trying to build a better society.

      I am a Celtic fan and I do believe that Rangers will survive and I think there are grounds that it could become a different Rangers but that will take a lot of effort not just from Rangers fans but from football supporters throughout Scotland.

      A big challenge and possibly impossible but this is the best opportunity for a helluva long time to positively change the game.

  10. Patrick McGuire

    the problem with the Golden Pavilion comparison is that it hardly encourages good fire safety. Especially when you are building and rebuilding the pavilion with other people’s money.

  11. Punctuationisforgirls

    Paul, as always, a clear eyed review of the issues without the, yes we are The Rangers, no you’re not, you’re deid crass debate.

    Rangers can survive as a club with their history intact, but the only way to do that is to assume responsibility for their history – as you say, good and bad.

    Do that and welcome back history, don’t do it and say hello to Sevco Rangers who play at the park that famous old Rangers used to play at.

    For myself, I think they should be pragmatic and say we’re Sevco, buy the name Rangers and trade under that, but bye bye history. The fans will always claim the history, so in 50 years it will be a moot point, and the current Sevco Rangers can go on about their business without the possibility of penalties hanging over their head.

    But the trade off is 3 years in the wilderness playing matches to get three years worth of accounts before re-applying to the SFL.

    Tough one Charlie, I feel for you!

  12. An excellent post, ADM. I am reminded of a story linked to educational reform but in the same genre as the ship of Theseus. It is the tale of the six monkeys. You may have heard it, it goes like this.
    There are six monkeys in a cage. Also in the cage is a ladder which has, at the top, a bunch of bananas. If any monkey should try and climb the ladder to reach the bananas, they all get hosed down with ice cold water from keepers outside the cage. As time progresses, each monkey has a go at reaching the bananas and at each try, they are all hosed with the ice cold water. Eventually, they learn that to attempt to climb the ladder results in a hosing and, in time, no monkey even tries to climb the ladder, even though fresh bananas are placed at the top every day.
    Now one monkey is replaced by a new monkey who has never been hosed. When it attempts to climb the ladder, the other five monkeys immediately attack it and prevent it from climbing. In time it, too, learns not to climb. Eventually all the monkeys are replaced in this way so that none of the original group remain. So none of the current six monkeys has experienced the hosing. Nevertheless, each has learned not to climb the ladder to reach the bananas, and any new monkey introduced is attacked if it tries to climb the ladder.
    Although this story is about learned behaviour, it resonates with the ship of Theseus in that the original reason for not climbing has gone but the essence of that reason remains in the learned behaviour.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story.

    • ecojon

      Oscar – what an example. Mine is when doing psychology we conditioned various things like earthworms and fish by exposing them to a brilliant white light and then shocking them with a weak electric current.

      At varying intervals we chopped up the worms and fish – I know I know it was a shocking thing to do 🙂

      But what we then did was feed the bits to other fish and when we shone the light they went absolutely loopy although there was no electric shock and a control group who weren’t treated to a nosh-up gave no reaction when the light was shown.

      If I remember correctly it was to investigate the theory that certain cannibal tribes with no exposure to certain foreign languages could speak the languages because they had eaten European sacrifices who spoke the languages. We never got as far as experimenting on humans which was slightly disappointing but looking back it all sounds very dodgy.

  13. Actually, the more I think about the six monkeys story, the more I think it does relate precisely to the Rangers predicament. There is an obvious, desirable outcome but no-one is brave enough to attempt to reach it!

  14. tainted orange

    Great analogies to think over.

    I prefer to deal in cold hard facts, Rangers are a limited company who is soon to be liquidated. Once they are then this “history” will fold with the company . I’m sure the fans will remember the good ole days as much as I remember shopping in Woolworths.

    Legally the have not been allowed to call themselves rangers or “THE” rangers, so it irritates me that MSM still do.

    They are SEVCO 5088, and even if they do manage a name change to something resembling rangers (rfc2012) they will be a totally different company with a different company number registered at the house of companies.

    • ecojon

      Actually Tainted Orange their current name is Sevco Scotland Ltd and at some stage they will probably change the name to something with Rangers in the title say like ‘Glasgow Rangers FC Ltd’. What they can’t do is use: ‘The Rangers Football Club Plc’ which is currently in Sdministration and will shortly be liquidated unless it already has. Head getting woozy here 🙂

      If someone else other than the SFA and league-recognised owner of Rangers tried to register the kind of name I suggested it would be probably be rejected as constituting ‘passing off’. But Sevco don’t actually need to have a listed company all they need to have is a trading name.

      I’m afraid that I don’t agree with you on the history as the history will survive as long as the fans wish it to. Personally I think not going down the newco route could lead to problems that would have been avoided if this hybrid oldco/newco hadn’t been formed but these were decisions taken by Green to suit is own agenda and the fans didn’t actually have any say in it.

      In my book the issue of a name means zilch compared to the wider ramifications for Scotland and Scottish football that are currently being played-out.

  15. ecojon

    ADM – what an interesting post and that was even before you got to Rangers. Dredging back to my memories of the Classics didn’t the shipbuilder long after retiral go to visit the ship which was laid up and mouldering quietly away.He died when a piece of wood fell off and hit him on the noddle – now I wonder that was a piece he had fashioned 🙂

    And the story of Trigger takes me back to when I was a boy and saw another horse called Trigger perform on stage in Glasgow with Roy Rogers back in the early 50s. Even the broomstick took me back to a Royal Visit when a young Duke of Edinburgh engaged a squad of street sweepers in conversation while Lizzie went about her business.

    Chookie noticed the two holes in the brush head and asked why two were needed and quick as a flash came the reply: ‘It’s for the overtime’. A puzzled Duke scratched his head – he had hair back then – and replied that he was sorry but didn’t understand. The wags explained: ‘Well the OT is at night when it’s dark so the other hole is for the candle’.

    Chookie scrunched his eyes, straightened up, and quipped: ‘And here was me thinking it was so both left and right handed people could use the one brush.’

    Great hilarity all-round but I spoke to the Duke – you could actually do that in those days especially if you had a legit reason to be there – and explained my dad had served on the same RN ship during WWII. He didn’t remember him but confessed with a beaming grin that he knew the guys were pulling his chain so he decided to pull back My dad respected him and when I met him myself I could see why.

    However, back to the business at hand. I think perception is a major factor – when Napoleon sent his Old Guard into battle with every man over 6′ the opposition expected to be routed so they just ran away before the guard reached them. But everything changed at Waterloo when the Guard were held, eventually broke and like Napoleon were consigned to the dustbin of history.

    I think many supporters of other football clubs and just the ordinary public observe and physically fear the aggressive and often nakedly belligerent attitude of a certain element of the Rangers support and feel physically intimidated and that’s before the singing. It’s a small percentage of Rangers support but they are viewed as Standard Bearers and other decent fans are identified with them and also avoided and given no eye-contact in case it sparks confrontation.

    I believe this perception, which I accept is grossly simplistic, has increasingly isolated Rangers fans – not just from other football supportes but from society at large which is moving on. Organised Religion is dying on its feet and active Protestants and Catholics are disappearing like snaw affa dyke.

    I very much doubt that the SNP can win an Independence referendum but a large majority of the broadly unionist-leaning and Royalty-accepting Scots population, irrespective of religion, view the fervent loyalty to the Crown professed by a section of the Rangers support as weird at best and downright deadly at worst.

    Then there’s the problem of a Re-united Ireland – it doesn’t bother Celtic supporters in the least for obvious reasons but I can well understand the angst it causes Loyalists as it marches closer every year. They have even had to endure the visit by the Queen to the Republic and then the handshake recently. At times like this, the natural human response is to circle the wagons for protection of those outwith the Pale and to become more stridently attached to symbolism and the old ways which are eroding and will ultimately disappear.

    It isn’t easy to leave the laager and join the wider community which also has its own prejudices which must be addressed.

    I support Celtic passionately and that began because Celtic Park was just along the road from my school. It was as simple as that – it had nothing to do with religion and in any case I came from a mixed religious background. I suppose I might have ended up at Ibrox in different circumstances but that’s life.

    I have never blindly given my loyalty to Celtic and I have argued against those supporters there who glorified terrorism just as I have fought against fascists. I have to say that since wee fergus there has been a gradual groundswell of change with a fanbase much less inclined to turn a blind eye to the nutters. I have not seen that change among the general Rangers support who I believe are more cowed by their nutters.

    The key is to liberate all Celtic and Rangers supporters from their poisonous self-imposed sectarian prison and the first steps must be to accept that people have the right to practice the religion of their choice or none but that right extends to everyone and not just one specific religious grouping.

    It might seem heretical but the right I am talking about does not then confer rights to abuse people of a different faith or of none and really it is time to consider the future of Orange Walks in a modern Scotland. I have no truck with terrorism but it is sometimes difficult to square the circle of one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter so I will duck the worldwide implications.

    So in purely Scottish terms I cringe when I hear certain Loyalist & IRA songs being sung – not because they personally annoy or anger me but because I feel ashamed for my country and its failure to tackle the curse of sectarianism. In saying that I have no problems in each club being proud of its common Irish heritage which is a bit like a railway track.

    It has two opposing rails which strain against each other but are tied together by a greater force. We have the choice to travel together on that railway in the same direction, perhaps at different speeds and with different halts along the way, or, to travel in opposite directions and grow further and further apart until we might still live in the same country but create different and closed societies which both ultimately decline and disappear as those outside the two hostile ‘camps’ get on with their own lives and ignore the dinosaurs heading for extinction.

    As to the future, I feel that in some ways what has happened to Rangers really does herald the possibility of a new beginning for the club and support and I would urge all Rangers fans of goodwill to grasp the opportunity. In many ways it really matters not why the collapse happened in the wider scheme of things. What Rangers fans have got to concentrate on is where they are heading.

    But as they set out on what will be an interesting journey they must find the ability to not only have humility in defeat but to have even more in victory. Beyond the banter no football team has a divine right to always be the winner and it is this arrogance which is a major factor is setting Rangers fans apart not just from Catholics but from just about every single Scottish football fan.

    If I had gone to Ibrox all those years ago and become a Rangers supporter I would like to think that I would have paused by now and wondered why it’s not just taigs that hate my team but Protestants and fans – who don’t give a toss about religion – from every part of Scotland. Once I had figured out the answer to that then maybe I would reach out and enjoy and embrace the fellowship of football rather than than just chase what becomes the unobtainable goal of always being victorious. Yea I get pissed off when Celtic get beat but it isn’t a life-changing experience but then I do not live solely for my club and have many many other interests and activities that make sure I don’t fixate on one football club no matter how glorious.

    I often used to say during the Rangers 9 in a row that a whole generation of young Rangers supporters had been created that never knew defeat and expected victory as a right and that eventually they would be left badly disappointed. But then I was old enough to have experienced that the wheel turns and perhaps the most that you can ultimately ask of any team is that every player gives of their absolute best. Often the Fates decide who actually wins the game to return to the Greek mythology or philosophy starting-point. But a point about 8 in a row was that towards the end of that period big sponsors actually had difficulty in giving seats away for their tables as ordinary professional people were fed-up going to Ibrox even for the big occasions, Sic transit gloria mundi.

    I would disagree with a bit in ADMs piece as my experience of Rangers fans is that a large number don’t just blame Whyte but also Murray and indeed in the glory days there was a much smaller band who tried to pin Murray down on spending because they feared where the club was heading. They were ostracised by many of their fellow fans at the time who wanted Murray’s bounty money to keep flowing to bring results even if the club got dangerously deeper into debt.
    I am reminded a bit of the courageous Pastor Niemoller and that kind of courage is needed in the new Rangers starting out in SFL3. Rangers fans need to use this latest journey to develop a modern and more inclusive vision for their club and embrace the wider football community in terms of expanding the Scottish game and making it more attractive and I am convinced they will slowly build the bridges needed.

    If however the wrecking element in the support, who relish the battle to financially destroy all the enemy clubs in the SPL or elsewhere, will continue to be the Millwall of Scotland and replace WATP with ‘Nobody likes us but we don’t care’.

    Personally I have thought for some time that the best place for Rangers to be for the sake of Rangers and Rangers alone was SFL3 – it will give that decent, mainly silent majority, the chance to reclaim ownership and pride in their club.

    I don’t really think it’s appropriate for me to pontificate on what level of penalties, if any, should be imposed although I don’t really accept the line that everything that has happened so far isn’t actually a penalty but as a direct result of the bankruptcy. I think any fair-minded person would accept that a heavy ‘burden ‘ has already been imposed.

    We shouldn’t be in the business of trying to grind Rangers into the dust because that will only create a fresh reservoir of hatred and we lose an opportunity to break the vicious cycle.

    I also don’t wish to comment on Green here other than to say I think he is a mistake and will end-up leaving Rangers in a worse financial state but even more worrying is that I think he is the kind of idiot who will stir up all the old emnities because he thinks it’s good for business and he has already made some very dubious comments.

    He has already created needless friction by claiming Rangers are both a newco and oldco depending on what suits his aims at a particular time and this has and is causing many problems. If the EBTs are found against Rangers then there could be a persuasive argument on financial doping resulting in the removal of titles – it may have been better in the longer term to have adopted the newco route. In any case whether titles are removed or not they still remain part of the history of the club even if it is a newco and only an idiot could believe that Rangers had no valid history before May 2012 or possibly even July 2012 or whenever. The litmus test which must be applied is what would you think was fair for your club if they had done what Rangers did. Honest answers only 🙂

    Just like Celtic there are factions within the Rangers support but in recent times the divisions opening up between the Ibrox factions and the hatred and bile being expressed is worrying because the only hope for Rangers is to have a fairly united support with the aims of club supporters hammered, understood and followed and a wish for reconciliation rather than world domination.

    • ecojon

      Typo in last par. It should read: aims of club supporters hammered out ………

    • Kevin

      Celtic has obvious(and rightly celebrated)Irish roots but I’m unaware what if any connection Rangers founders had to Ireland

      • ecojon

        Kevin – I think the Irish Famines are a connecting socio-economic factor in the flood of starving Irish emigrants that fled to the UK – what is often forgotten or overlooked is that approx one-third of these were Protestants.

        But you raise an interesting point about whether the only legitimate roots for any organisation are the original ones associated with its founders and possibly initial supporters.

        That to me creates a very restrictive and inward looking organisation that tends to be riddled with patrimony of a potentially highly negative nature where power ends up consolidated in a core grouping which invariably ceases to be subject to any democratic processes and who deal with legitimate concerns of those outwith the ruling clique by expulsion.

        Indeed many of the problems that brought Celtic to the edge of extinction could arguably be laid at the door of the ‘great’ Celtic families and the same could be said to be true of Rangers pre-Murray.

        But Rangers history is not a strong point of mine and others may be able to answer your question more fully.

        However, to ignore the huge Ulster Loyalist support for Rangers as not being part of the Ibrox history in general and also indicative of Irish roots does strike me as an extremely blinkered approach. You have every right to view the connection in a negative light and argue that position but to deny that it exists means that the true nature of the issues involved will not be addressed and therefore there can be no resolution.

        If roots cease growing then the plant dies and as I have already explained I do not consider it a prerequisite for acceptance that Rangers roots must flow from a founding source. That is almost like accepting the Divine Right of Kings and their successors to rule in an unbroken line which is an anathema to me.

        In this current situation with Rangers we must deal with matters through the facts of where the club is today and not look backwards through the wrong end of a telescope in a bid to find any Irish antecedents in Moses McNeil and the other founders of Rangers.

        I am sure that today’s Rangers supporters, whether religious or not, will be avidly devouring The Book of Exodus which recounts how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where God revealed himself and offered them a Covenant.

        Problem is that Charlie Green is no modern Moses IMHO.

    • Great stuff ecojon and ADM – philosophy corner today, but excellent points by both of you.

      Of course, one thing that will GUARANTEE that both New Rangers and its supporters will see it as a continuation of Old Rangers will be Celtic and other supporters reminding them of the fact!

      And admit it guys, we’re looking forward to that…

      • ecojon

        Kenny – if it wasn’t for the banter football would be very very dull. I would hate to be young just now with very young children that I would later need to try and explain to, as they grew up, just what the whole Old Firm thing was all about because they could never experience it in real life.

        I really do look forward to rangers being back in the top flight competing with Rangers but a different Rangers and if ALL good men come to the aid of the Scottish football game then I dare to believe that a real blow can be struck against bigotry and sectarianism.

        And the starting point is to make sure that thinking Rangers fans realise where other thinking supporters stand – outwith the fever pitch of a football game. And I do not equate any elitist notion of intelligence levels with ‘thinking’ – what I equate is a basic human decency towards fellow human beings: irrespective of creed, colour, gender, religion and all the other differences that in reality do not mark the true value of a human being although religion if not distorted can have a value in setting a moral compass which even I, who has no religious beliefs, can recognise.

    • tainted orange

      you know you can just write your own blog ?

  16. Project Walliams

    That’s all very well for you extinctionists, but what about us physicists. ie is Charles Greene’s presence at both the SFL representing Sevco T’rangers and SPL representing oldco T’rangers proof that Schrodinger’s cat (the club) is both dead and alive at the same time?

    • ecojon

      I have argued with many of my rangers pals that part of the real problem here is Green’s creation – aided by the administrator IMHO – of this hybrid oldco/newco Rangers.

      It was done I believe purely for financial reasons to use the club ‘history’ to keep the Rangers support on-board. Whether Green was actually aware of where that would lead him is unclear but he has certainly been guilty of tentative attempts to bang the lambeg drum and that really is a worry.

      If his shareholders disappear when I would expect Green’s financial drumbeat to become louder to the detriment of Rangers as a whole and the rest of Scotland

      • I would have thought that as a business man CG wss selling the opportunity of investing in Rangers and its brand potential to prospective investors, NOT spme new club with No history etc etc. Only this way can i make sense of decision and possible ramifications. His next coarse of action must be to accept embargo and sidestep appellite consequences and then accept other judgements to try and repair the ‘damaged’ brand. I fear for newco rangers though that it may be too late and investors may jump ship.

  17. Wynnvegas

    Loved this post Paul. Great fun reading the blog and erudite replies.

    This one is easy though:

    1. Rangers fans will always believe that the history remains, that the club they always supported continues (devoid only of the pesky toxic corporate shell) and that they can lay claim to all honours past and future. SFA Membership transfer will be a document referenced far and wide within this camp.

    2. Your extinctionists will always believe that the “broken timeline”, liquidation, skilful skipping away from the majority of Oldco’s debts and change of registration number is plenty enough to mean that the history remains only with the club that died in 2012 and that the new club formed in 2012 started with it’s own history. This group will point to Companies House documentation and player registration transfer documents which need to be signed by both Rangers and, currently, Sevco Scotand.

    3. In the space of a few years, “Rangers” will be back in the top division of Scottish football, the “old firm” will be rekindled and this will be a blip referenced by both sides in their own way whilst the relatively meaningless battle between the two rages on (I say meaningless as both ave been so myopic in their attempt to best the other that they ave missed the rest of the world passing them by).

    • ecojon

      In reality I reckon this whole affair will become part of the history not just of Celtic & Rangers but of Scottish Football and not just as a footnote but at least a chapter 🙂

  18. mick

    the old firm is dead its gone for ever

    • ecojon

      I agree Mick that the Old Firm as was is dead and gone and hopefully forever but there will eventually be a Newco Firm which can be a different animal but still have all the ferocity and passion of the old but with the sectarian shit buried with the Oldco corpse.

    • Marching on Together

      Why? What has happened to Celtic?

  19. ADM

    Thanks for all the comments, all, particularly ecojon at 2.15 – agree with pretty much everything you said, including the point where you said you disagreed with me… happy to agree that there’s a good proportion of Rangers fans who blame Murray too, my point was targeted at the group who would prefer to portray themselves as victims of Craig Whyte. Anyway, thanks to everyone and, from me, four closing comments.

    One, my own view in all this (hinted at in the main article) is that Rangers will continue (and we can probably drop the inverted commas). I suspect that part of the problem in fact is that the plc has the name of the club in it – there’s no particular reason what that should be so, and indeed it isn’t so for quite a number of English clubs now. It is indeed true that Rangers Football Club plc will (almost certainly) soon cease to exist but a football club and its history are something a bit more than that.

    Two, I think Scottish football (and I dare say Scotland) would be best served now in this fiasco by Rangers rebuilding from SFL3 – ideally not rising effortlessly in consecutive seasons but with some element of struggle. This is not out of a wish to see them suffer but because it would imply better outcomes for both Rangers – taking a few seasons would give them more time to rebuild on good foundations – and Scottish football.

    Three, there are risks in all this for Celtic as well as the smaller clubs who may face near-existential financial challenges. It’s easy to see a future where Celtic become the single standalone arrogant establishment club in Scotland. To avoid that will require real effort by both Celtic and the rest of the SPL – more even revenue distribution is going to be essential. Equally, there’s a risk that the removal of a competitor with the wealth and stature of Rangers will result in Celtic losing competitive edge and declining in quality, resulting in a team unable even to contemplate anything more than the occasional one-off victory in European competition. Of course, the worst outcome would be for both to happen. There’s a case to be made (and I’ve made it several times) that the biggest difference between Celtic and Rangers over the last 15-20 years is that Celtic had the enormous good fortune to have as owners Fergus McCann (in particular) and Dermot Desmond, whereas Rangers in the same period had Murray and Whyte. And the challenge for Celtic’s leadership over the next few years is greater again. Let us wish wisdom on Desmond and Peter Lawwell.

    Four, what of Rangers? Here, I have no real conclusion, only fears for the future. As I said at two, I think the best for Rangers and Scottish football is that they can rebuild from SFL3. My central fear is whether that’s going to be possible. Right now, Rangers are a mess – given their current financial condition and the state of the playing staff, it’s doubtful whether they can complete a full season, and that’s before considering what will be the outcome of the various other charges still outstanding. Conversely, I don’t see how they could survive the “year out” that some people have suggested – the costs of maintaining Ibrox alone mean a year of near-zero income could be disastrous. So will Rangers end up having to abandon Ibrox, and rebuilding from even lower – more along the lines of AFC Wimbledon or FC United? I don’t know, but it’s certainly a possibility from where they are now.

    As a last thought, it’s just struck me that I haven’t in all of this mentioned the real heroes here – the fans and chairmen (think they’re all men?) of the other SPL and SFL clubs who have taken tough decisions under enormous pressure. Thanks and respect are due to them.

    • Well said sir, although I think we may be missing a rather fat elephant in the room. The whole farago/shambles/fiasco/whatever has at its root the idea that Scottish football (maybe football in general?) is way, way, WAY overpriced and overpaid.

      The simplicity of the game means that kids can organise a game just about anywhere. Pub teams can flourish, But we now have so-called professional teams in Scotland saying they fear going to the wall because another team is demoted from their league. Time to wake up people.

  20. Marching on Together

    Football in the UK accepts that if the fans and the stakeholders in a club decide that the club is continuing with its history intact, then that is what happens, irrespective of administration, liquidation, sale of the assets prior to liquidation, ground move etc etc etc.

  21. Pingback: Where I end and you begin: Theseus’ ship, MK Dons and identity through time » virile games

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