For many decades the Scottish establishment shamefully allowed the old Rangers and their fans to contribute their “traditions” to the fabric and image of Scottish society, most notably evidenced by their scandalous century-old Catholic Footballers Need Not Apply employment policy; their fans’ hate-filled sectarian singing; disgraceful rioting home and abroad; and all nourished by their uber superiority WATP world-view. Such was the hubris within Ibrox that a director felt brazen enough to sing about being “knee deep in Fenian blood”. Rather than directly address these demonstratively anti-societal customs, an attempt was made to have Celtic remove the tricolour from its stadium: whilst Rangers could celebrate its “traditions”, Celtic’s dignified nod to its ancestral roots was to be condemned. As recently as 2008, Rangers hooligans were rampaging through Manchester fighting with police. Not a whimper from the SFA.
Ironically, it took Rangers to kill off Rangers. Their decision not to pay the Queen’s taxes and honour debts due to honest service suppliers, whilst dispensing huge payments to all and sundry, meant that the club, paradoxically, betrayed the very cornerstone of Scottish Presbyterian economic philosophy they espoused others to follow. Instead, they lived beyond their means and, dishonourably, at the expense of others.
The lickspittle main stream press were either too scared or too much in hock to Rangers to do their jobs; besides, succulent lamb on a plate is so much more preferable to hard earned scraps. The job of reporting Rangers’ impending implosion was mainly left to the new media – social media – with notable contributions from sites such as Random Thoughts and The Rangers Tax Case, including a significant individual effort by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. The Scottish Football Monitor (TSFM) has joined the fray for truth and transparency – a Denial of Service attack is definitive proof that TSFM is doing its job.
When Rangers died, the Rangers-supporting main stream press, and even Rangers luminaries, accepted that whatever emerged would be a new club. The drive for modernity and a sense of togetherness in a multi-cultural Scotland was given a boost with the potential absence of an element of the Rangers support that brought nothing but shame to Scotland. No more Billy Boys/ Famine Song/ No Surrender excrement. The event, although painful for Rangers fans, could have been cathartic for everyone.
However, that gulp of fresh air was short-lived as the establishment, rather than grasp this opportunity to start anew, took cold feet, closed ranks and made the choice to rescue Rangers rather than repair the image of Scottish football. The illusion was cast that Rangers did not die after all and, contrary to company law, a club’s history continued unbroken after liquidation. Voodoo lobotomy ensured that that which was dead could live again, albeit in a different guise. Thereafter, the SFA manufactured a secret agreement to precipitate the new Rangers straight back into Scottish football. The master plan to have Ranger (IL) start in the SPL, on the basis that liquidation was a normal way to clear debt – as opposed to the novel approach of actually paying the debt – suffered a setback when SPL clubs, under pressure from their fans, rejected such morally corrupt propaganda.
At the same time, Rangers were under investigation for forgetting to declare “loans” to the football authorities. Even Ogilvie, who was a recipient of one of these loans, absent-mindedly forgot to remind Rangers to tell him about these loans when he started working for the SFA. Note: if these EBTs are indeed loans then why did Duff and Phelps not call them in to pay creditors? Why didn’t the recipients volunteer to pay the loans back early, if they hadn’t already done so, to stave off liquidation for the club they loved? Belatedly, for undeclared “loans” to players – largesse which of course had no impact on a player’s decision to join Rangers – a part of Rangers that was deemed not to exist was fined.
Ungrateful, the new Rangers came out fighting. Rangers now perceived the Scottish football arena in stark militaristic terms: friends and foes. Charles Green spoke of “bigots”, excluding his “P*** friend” of course. Revenge was in the air. Dundee United suffered a boycott. Only last month Craig Mather was quoted as saying to the fans (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/10096386/Craig-Mather-channels-Charles-Green-with-vow-to-take-on-Rangers-enemies.html): “There will be times when you want us to tackle our enemies… We have chosen and we will continually choose the right moment to strike… We know all of them.” The sectarian songs re-appeared. The WATP and No Surrender slogans re-appeared. The new team bus had the socially superior WATP slogan as part of the registration plate: R1 WTP.
The Internet now proliferates with anti-Catholic, anti-Irish rhetoric. RangersMedia has posters referring to “Fenian c***s” and “Fenian b******s”. This blog – Random Thoughts – has some posters desperately scanning the Internet to paste disgusting links to paedophilia stories that involve Catholic priests. When Rangers fans sing about paedophilia or gleefully post related links to newspaper articles, one has to ask: do they have a genuine concern for the victims of paedophilia or are they exploiting the abuse of children to score points? If a news clip can be unearthed about a criminal who was also a Catholic then so much the better. Failing that, derogatory references about the Catholic Church will suffice. Ireland, we read, is a bog-infested dump. Even the racist and unlawful Famine song has been dismissed as no more than a piece of naughtiness. Sometimes the slogan “No Surrender” will appear. Why? Scotland’s Catholic population is well integrated into Scottish society and has no intention of “taking over” Scotland, yet this slogan maintains a religious warning against Catholics that should belong in the past and has no place in what should be a modern all-encompassing Scotland.
On the wider football sporting picture, the supine Scottish main stream media, true to form, have fallen comfortably back into their old obsequious ways and watched this multifarious SFA-Rangers charade unfold with, for the most part, nothing other than supportive comment. They are fawning secretaries to the old order. Unsurprisingly, in terms of football “reporting”, the Scottish main stream press are now reduced to an irrelevance and their fallen readership in part reflects that fact.
Now we have the unsurprising spectacle of the SFA haughtily declaring to the masses that there is no need to hold a proper investigation into the takeover of Rangers, despite the Internet awash with material suggesting otherwise. Hell, even Charles Green admitted to the world that he duped Craig Whyte to take over Rangers. Instead, the SFA will rely on a laughably limited investigation paid by Rangers into their own conduct with a remit that excluded the crucial take-over vehicle, Sevco 5088. It’s back to an ugly future for Scotland.
In mitigation, recent CEOs of Rangers claim gullibility as an unfortunate personal trait. SDM was duped into selling his beloved Rangers for £1 to a man whom the reliable Daily Record announced had “wealth off the radar”. Charles Green says he duped the man who duped SDM. The SPL then duped the man who duped the man who duped SDM: according to Charles Green, the SPL assured him that newco would play in the top flight (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/rangers-in-crisis-charles-green-insists-1166058).
The collective impact of visceral internet posts here and elsewhere – on Fenians, “Catholic”-related crimes, mocking of the Catholic Church, calls of No Surrender – and Rangers’ talk of enemies and revenge, including club approval of the chosen people slogan, does nothing to heal divisions within Scotland, not least religious divisions. Worryingly, a forthcoming report – The Place for Hope – by a Scottish Parliament task force led by Dr Duncan Morrow, offers the view that sectarianism is alive and well and tends to be “something of a one-way street” with Catholics “more likely to be on the receiving end”.
Charles Green used the language of division to create a siege mentality and it helped to sell season tickets. When Mather spoke of “enemies” and McCoist uttered “We Are The People” in an end of season speech (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CTfwkU3gROw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DCTfwkU3gROw), their actions appealed to many Rangers fans. They need to step back. So do the bloggers who go out of their way to engage in anti-Catholic, anti-Irish rhetoric. Scotland does not need it. I note the Sun yesterday morning chose to intersperse an article about the Rangers coach on fire with photographs of Celtic fans and Neil Lennon at the Brentford game. Such a juxtaposition of unrelated events was irresponsible and just adds to the toxic mix of enemies, Catholics, Irish, Celtic supporters v WATP. It needs to stop now otherwise Stewart Regan for once may be proved right, but for the wrong reasons, when he made his apocalyptic forecast of social unrest.
If Rangers and their fans continue on this aggressively divisive route then they should be shunned. Rangers and their fans introduced the vengeful idea of a football boycott. If they themselves continue to treat others as enemies, waiting for “the right moment to strike”, then it is not inconceivable to envisage the day when other fans decide to boycott Rangers. Rangers and their fans may not care a jot, such is their current mood, but they should. Similarly, the SFA may ignore protests from fans eager to seek a morally-enhanced football authority; but the football world should see that many in Scotland do care. We care about fair play and sporting integrity and transparency and an all-embracing Scotland, one where togetherness and not divisive WATP supremacy is the clarion call.
If football in Scotland has any meaning at all then surely it is in the primary notion of respect for our game. Fans, not the SFA, are the life-blood of the game. It’s time non-Rangers fans took a leaf out of the establishment club’s book to protest and to seek transparency. Football belongs to the fans – you and me – and to the players who graced this game. It is worth defending.
Posted by JohnBhoy