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Sorry?


For months now, ever since this whole debacle began, we have all been reading or hearing, whether it be from a journalist, another clubs chairman or rival fans, that Rangers need to show remorse - to apologise.

In fact many cite that the inability of Rangers to show remorse over this incredible saga as one of the major factors for their continuing lack of empathy with our situation.

This is generally received with much derision and furore from the Rangers support and it’s easy, at least from a Rangers supporter’s point of view, to understand why.

No one is suffering more from this situation more than the average Rangers fan.  It is hard to be filled with anger and to be demoralised and then be expected to feel sorry for others.

This is particularly true when Rangers fans are living in a time when hate and spitefulness is being directed at them at levels perhaps we are even surprised by.

Generally when the call is sounded by someone for Rangers to apologise they give no details as to what exactly Rangers should be sorry for….just simply that they should be sorry and show some humility (humility I will come back to later).

Is it that Rangers should be sorry for everything – no questions asked?

Or is it that Rangers should be sorry for the alleged misuse of EBTs?

Or is it perhaps that Rangers should be sorry for the alleged misuse of double contracts?

Look, it may or may not be that these accusations come back with a ‘guilty’ verdict for Rangers, but for me it seems rather surreal that Rangers should be apologetic for something they have yet to be found guilty of.

Poking at Bears and calling Rangers cheats for unproven misdemeanours and calling for titles to be stripped is a strange way of asking for an apology.

Should Rangers be sorry for the non-payment of VAT during the reign of Craig Whyte – well at least this has substance because this actually happened.

And yet this is the subject of a criminal fraud case – where it is the club directly that is the victim.

The victims apologising on behalf of the accused? 

In what other scenario would this be expected?

Even with this opinion an apology DID come out of Ibrox from a very prominent figure:

Dave King.

Despite there still being no resolution to the Big Tax Case and Rangers use of EBTs, King apologised to Scottish Football,

“I think we should be sorry – and I certainly am sorry.  We owe both the Rangers fans and the Scottish footballing public an apology.  Some of the representations made have betrayed more of a victim status.  But I think somebody needs to apologise.  Clearly, this is not for Charles Green to do.  But I am happy to say that I really believe we should be saying sorry and I think there is something to be sorry about.  And as a former director when these things were going on, I am minded to do so.  With regard to EBTs, I was on board so I have to take some responsibility.  And I follow the logic of the argument that if we lose the tax case then we probably gained some competitive advantage.  I believe that, on behalf of myself and most of the board members who were with me and probably agree with me, that we should apologise for that.”

This apology was published via a national newspaper.

The cries for an apology had been consistent and loud – so what was its reaction?

On the newspapers website they give the opportunity for viewers to respond.  Apparently this was not the apology Joe Public was looking for as here were some of the comments.

‘It’s a very begrudging apology’

‘Hollow words’

‘Not bothered by apologies more concerned by the fact RFC may get SPL admittance’

‘It doesn’t wash with me and it shouldn’t wash with the rest of the public either’

‘This crook is ‘apologising’ while his hand is still rummaging about in the public purse, this apology is contemptible’

They get worse….

‘Sounds more like he is trying to polish a turd to me’

‘Rangers are DEID’

‘I’ve enjoyed watching Rangers disintegrate!’

Now, I doubt very much any Rangers fan would be surprised by these.

But what about the professional people that have called for an apology?

Would this satisfy?

This apology by Dave King was published on the 19 June. Just 4 days later, on the 23June in a blog written by channel 4s Alex Thomson, the following paragraph was published,

‘A global brand is now toxic. “Rangers” now means a revolting broth of tax-evasion; threatening corporate aggression; a profoundly arrogant refusal to apologise ever to anyone for anything”

(Insert confused smiley face here)

Not only was this apology not accepted but apparently it was completely ignored?

It never existed!

Since this time the same utterances have been made about Rangers lack of humility and lack of apology.

So it appears that Dave King wasted his time – an apology from a major Director of Rangers who was involved with Rangers throughout the EBT years is apparently irrelevant?

So who would be relevant?

The current regime consisting of Charles Green and others?

Even Dave King said above it was not Greens place to apologise and Charles Green agreed,

“These issues were created by the previous owners of Rangers and they have a lot to answer for and they need to make an apology.  It’s not of my doing.  I am quite happy to say I am sorry, but what would I and my group be saying sorry for?  It would be a baseless apology.  We all know who needs to make that apology and I am not the spokesman for that group.  I am the spokesman for the new owners of Rangers.”

Charles Green’s use of the word ‘group’ seems to refer not to the previous owner Craig Whyte but to his predecessor Sir David Murray and the Murray Group.

Sir David Murray the man who brought the EBTs to Rangers and apparently the biggest benefactor of the scheme certainly should be apologetic.  Again I will not insist he has to apologise for the EBTs at this moment (as of yet still awaiting clarification of wrongdoing with this) but he was the man that unleashed Craig Whyte onto Rangers Football Club and indeed Scottish Football.  For this he should be eternally sorry.

But even Murray to some degree has issued an apology,

"I've made a huge mistake here. I deeply regret, I deeply regret, selling the club to Craig Whyte now. Deeply. Everyone was duped but I'm first in line. In theory it was the right deal to do. Looking back, it's not. And I can only apologise so many times. I wish I'd never done the deal with Craig Whyte. I was primarily duped. My advisers were duped, the bank was duped, the shareholders were duped. We've all been duped. Is duped the right word? I think it is.”

To be honest, this apology hasn’t satisfied Rangers fans so we can understand why this apology would not satisfy others.

The true grovelling apologies should be coming from Murray and Whyte…alas these will never come.

 However, in any case these men are no longer Rangers. 

So, people currently demanding an apology from Rangers would never be satisfied even if Murray and Whyte grovelled and begged for forgiveness.

So who should apologise? 

The sad truth is that there is no one that can or will apologise that would satisfy those demanding one.

So how can Rangers show this desired remorse?

Charles Green, Murray, Whyte and King are not Rangers.

The only constant is the fans: We are Rangers.

But the fans have shown remorse and humility.

Now we have come back to that ‘humility’.

You see the majority of those demanding humility don’t want it-they want humiliation.

There is jealousy involved here – there is no doubt about that.  Former Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan gave an interview for a national newspaper and came out with an outrageous comment that seemed to fly completely under the radar,

“The Old Firm have dominated for too long and that is why I think Rangers should show more remorse and humility right now.”

Read that statement a few times and there is no need for me to say any more.

Rival fans undoubtedly want us to be humiliated – not for us to show humility.

As I said we already have shown remorse and humility.

When Rangers list of creditors was published and the many small businesses were divulged many a Rangers fan took it upon themselves pick one off the list and personally pay sums that were due.

Fans money going into the RFFF was used to pay fellow clubs.

Aren’t these examples of remorse and humility?

The simple fact is I am sorry.

Murray and Whyte were the owners of the club and it was these guys that brought about the current situation - but it happened on our watch.

For that I am sorry.

When Whyte clinched his takeover deal the Independent Takeover board published their concerns on the official Rangers website.  I like most Rangers fans dismissed these concerns...even when a name like John Grieg was attached to them.

For that I am sorry.

It is becoming more and more apparent that it will be catastrophic for Scottish football if the majority of Rangers fans get their way and we voluntarily drop down to the 3rd division – some see it as a chance for a clean slate but a vast amount see it as a way of punishing those that have kicked us whilst we are down.

I do not think that should be our route of recovery.

Right now I believe we should do whatever is best for Scottish Football.

The powers that be are obviously aware of the ramifications of Rangers playing in the 3rd Division – even spelling it out in layman’s terms in a bizarre document. Yet it seems many still seem set to ignore it. However, it may be that the football authorities facilitate Rangers place in the 1st Division or indeed in an SPL2.

If this is the case we should take that opportunity.

Bill Struth said,

“Our very success, gained you will agree by skill, will draw more people than ever to see it. And that will benefit many more clubs than Rangers.”

We have a chance to prove to everyone that he was correct.

If it is to be the 3rd Division – through choice or lack thereof-any talk of away ground boycotts should be squashed. The Rangers fans should follow their team in the vast numbers we are accustomed to. By default we would be helping Scottish football along the way.

This is not a submission – at worst we would be turning the other cheek.

The writers of history may try to paint us as the destroyers of Scottish football but our actions in the next few years could decide if we are the ones that kept it alive.

I’m not saying we should accept any and all punishments that the powers that be want to dish out.

I don’t accept titles being taken away to simply appease those who want us humiliated.

History is history and it has already been written.

But now we need to look towards the future.

The problems at Ibrox was the catalyst…of that there is no denying.

I personally do not want the actions of those previously mentioned individuals to be responsible for the demise of other clubs and of Scottish football.

If that transpired we would all be sorry.

That should not be our legacy.

You can follow Scott Ferguson on Twitter @st2oh