We are still here
- 15 June 2012
Liquidation it is then. No CVA, means no more The Rangers FC. The club is dead and you better get used to it. I’m paraphrasing, but this is what we’ve been told to accept.
Yet it’s rubbish.
True, there will be liquidation of the company but the football club will survive. The Rangers FC will continue to be a football team that was founded in 1872 by the ‘Gallant Pioneers’. Nothing except a time machine can change that. In any case, the Rangers club ‘share’ held by the football authorities will probably be transferred over to the new company, thereby guaranteeing the football history remains intact.
Rangers are not the first big side to go through this process and come out stronger. As the Middlesbrough owner recently said to the ‘Daily Record’:
"What happened with us in 1986 and is about to happen with Rangers is effectively the same. And my own view is if the SPL allow Rangers to stay in the top flight nobody will notice any difference. Celtic fans might want to rub it in a bit but that will only last 12 months. People will get bored with that. […] Chairmen, managers and players all come and go [but the] club is the people who come to watch it. It's not a technical piece of paper.“
No-one talks about the “new” Middlesbrough and I don’t remember anyone saying that the UEFA Cup semi-final in 2008 against Fiorentina was the first time Rangers had ever played the Italians – even though they too went through bankruptcy. We all accepted it was the same club.
But let’s look at the worst case scenario of a real break in the continuity of the football club because it’s enlightening. What would such a break mean? To answer that you first have to answer what is The Rangers? Why do supporters feel so passionate about the club?
Many of the articles in ‘The Rangers Standard’ have already commented on the ludicrous notion that Rangers fans can be stereotyped as a homogenous group, yet we all love Rangers. Why?
The answer is identity; our identity. In many ways supporting Rangers is partially how we define ourselves. There may be a myriad of reasons why we belong to the ‘Rangers family’ - some we can’t even fully understand or express – but we feel it. This is why so many people are desperate to convince you that Rangers no longer exist. They know it’s the same club. If it really was different, we wouldn’t have the fanaticism for the “new” Rangers to be punished. No-one would care.
At the time of writing, a Charles Green consortium has bought the club and another led by Walter Smith is attempting their own takeover. In the space of a few hours the fans have went from utter desolation, to the euphoria of knowing there are Rangers men willing to move Rangers forward. Since both groups will proceed on a newco basis, why would attitudes change so radically? It’s precisely for the reasons I have outlined. The supporters know that a Rangers under the likes of Walter Smith will be a place where they belong - whereas a club run by those only interested in making a personal profit will not. The technicalities are irrelevant.
Let’s be clear, no-one would wish the last four months to happen, but sometimes a crisis like this brings forth an opportunity for positive change. The former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, once said:
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. [...] It’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
Contemplate the Rangers situation over the last few years. The club was financially mismanaged to an extent that it was in a death-spiral with no way out. The PR was non-existent; as long as you kept Murray, Bain or Whyte out of it, you could insult the club and fans as much as you wished with no comeback. Even the SFA seemed to perceive Rangers as the enemy, rather than a member club in trouble. The club was suffocating and we could all feel it.
Now we have a chance to re-group. The worst financial outcome has happened yet we will come through it. The club’s image has taken a battering like no other, yet as a support we have decided to re-claim it. If anything the Rangers support has revitalised. Being a Ranger is a gift from the past and links us to previous generations. Its why, regardless of even the worst case scenario, our history cannot be broken unless we surrender it. It’s not a piece of paper, it’s our heritage. It’s part of who we are.
More than ever we realise what The Rangers Football Club means to us, and that is why we won’t let it go. And why we will soon let the world know we are still here.