A good day for me to have a few minutes for writing!
At about the time my last post went up, the official Rangers website issued another “Club Statement”. They have been coming think and fast over the last few weeks despite the earlier statement that the club could not reply to each and every incorrect story and rumour.
Tonight’s statement confirms what Chris McLaughlin of the BBC referred to earlier and it has also been confirmed by Mr Dingwall of Follow Follow that he received an email from lawyers for Rangers this evening (just imagine how much the hourly rate must have increased for working late on the Friday of the September weekend!)
What have Rangers said officially?
RANGERS FC have tonight informed Police Scotland of deeply offensive and threatening comments that have been made on the Follow Follow website. These remarks have placed a director and his family in a state of fear and alarm.
This Club is shocked by the kind of physical violence being mentioned and is sure the vast majority of Rangers’ support will share our alarm and disgust. This type of rhetoric can never be deemed acceptable.
Rangers FC cannot tolerate this behaviour and intend to take an extremely robust approach to this sort of conduct. The board finds it inexplicable that some so called supporters of the club are bringing Rangers into disrepute and these people are not welcome at Ibrox.
The board is also aware that certain individuals are holding meetings and inciting fans to unruly behaviour. This has also been reported to the police.
As I mentioned earlier the language on some websites and message boards is not something you would want your children to see. Some of the sentiments expressed are vile and repugnant. (By the way, I am not saying that this is exclusively a Rangers problem – of course it is not – although, for my own part, those websites are where I have been the target of such comments.)
A thread commenting on Craig Whyte giving evidence at Inverness Sheriff Court today, for example, seemed to contain enough vitriol and expressions of ill-will towards Mr Whyte for the entire resources of Police Scotland to be put to work on it!
The people who run Rangers are not stupid. They know what kind of comments are made on message boards and clearly they tolerate them, until now. (Equally, if the complaint was about some specific and credible threat, then of course action should be taken, but in 99.99999% of instances it is at worst an “Internet hard man” shouting off.)
Actually Rangers Football Club must tolerate the Follow Follow website. “Follow Follow” is a registered trademark of Rangers. If it wanted to close the website down, or at least stop it using that name, then it could easily do so.
The shock of Rangers discovering what kind of comment goes on on these message boards reminds me of this film clip below:-
The comment too about taking action against “this sort of conduct” irresistibly reminds me of this:-
And as for the final paragraph – fans have been holding meetings and “inciting fans to unruly behaviour”!
“Unruly” is an interesting word – one definition reads as follows:-
Disorderly and disruptive and not amenable to discipline or control.
So, not criminal, not unlawful, not threatening nor even offensive. Rather the concern is that there will be disruption and disorder. When the Scottish Government pushed its Offensive Behaviour at Football etc Act through Parliament, one wonders if any consideration was given to adding “unruly” behaviour to what was criminalised.
Otherwise Rangers should be happy that there are people who are sufficiently committed to their football club (a) still to care about it (b) with the desire to come to games even when they do not like the present Board and (c) to want to organise protests against the Board. People care about Rangers and the Board Statement seems to be promulgating the idea that the Board’s view is automatically the Rangers view.
It is clear that there are many who do not agree and now they seem to be at the receiving end.
What a mess!
Posted by Paul McConville