Telling the Rangers Story: From Whyte to the Light at the End of the Tunnel
- 08 January 2015
At some point in the near future a fledgling genius will be tasked with writing the definitive story of Rangers since Craig Whyte bought the club for a pound.
It will be an act of folly. No one even remotely sane would dream of trying to separate fact from the fiction. That brilliant brain will eventually flounder and fry in the process.
The problems are many. For a start, a trillion words have already been written on the subject. And that's just from thousands of Celtic fans who took crash courses and became lawyers, forensic accountants, tax experts (specialising in EBTs and Sporting Integrity), and insolvency practitioners.
Meticulously sifting through that vast body of 'research' alone will be a Herculean effort. If this sorry tale has taught us anything it is that the obsessed only believe what they want to believe. Objectivity is non-existent in the Old Firm battleground where agendas, conspiracy theories and paranoia rule. There is only one truth for fanatics - theirs.
Any book that attempts a dispassionate account would have to substantially include the shameful witch-hunt against Rangers which I wrote about on this site two years ago. Also of interest would be the Rangers Tax Case blog that acted as a hanging judge in the EBT tribunal then vanished into the night like a skulking dog when the taxman lost.
Yet, astonishingly, it won an Orwell award. Panel members who thought a blog consisting of anonymous posters peddling bile, character assassination and using Stalinist censorship was worthy of a prize should be ashamed. The great man of letters who railed against totalitarianism so brilliantly can never have been so insulted and demeaned. What a travesty in his name.
Of course, the bampots are still out there on the net toiling away 24/7 in pursuit of their obsession - killing Rangers. Isn't that odd, given they insist their great rival is already dead?
Even some of the more prominent Scottish indy blogs are foolishly getting in on the act. In the run-up to the referendum their mantra was inclusion - we're all in it together and together as one the new Scotland will thrive. Apart from Rangers, it now seems, and the 'corrupt' SFA and mainstream media who are in cahoots in a masterplan to covertly run the country.
This is unhinged nonsense and a pitiful attempt to suck people in to a divisive and vengeful agenda that has nothing to do with integrity. Or fair play. Or the state of Scottish football. It is simply a vindictive campaign against one club. Bigots masquerading as defenders of justice fool only themselves.
It is also cowardly. The Ibrox club is on its knees and struggling for life after being pick-pocketed by a bunch of chancers and incompetents. It needs the support of everyone in Scottish football - especially Celtic fans whose team have been badly affected by Rangers' absence in the top flight. Yet the keyboard warriors are not only kicking a man when he's down, they are revelling in it.
The handful of mainstream journalists who egg the obsessed on - and make a shilling from it - should take a serious look at what they are condoning. This poisonous agenda has no place in our lives and they have a professional responsibility not to feed it.
So good luck to any aspiring authors out there - your book on Rangers will be howled down by the haters who, I fear, will bore us to death for many long years to come.
What is important now is looking ahead and charting a path out of the shambles at Ibrox rather than endlessly analysing the past three years - history, and the courts, will take care of the charlatans who bled the club dry. The only consolation for fleeced fans is knowing that the snake-oil salesmen will go to their graves, their characters forever stained.
The last AGM, conducted from a gazebo on a bitterly cold December day in Govan, was utter pantomime as the bumbling board members entered stage left to boos and vicious name-calling. Dignity was conspicuous by its absence as the grey clouds gathered ominously over that theatre of screams.
Onlookers around the football world must have been shocked by what they witnessed as this once mighty institution washed its dirty linen in public. How many times has it been said the club had reached its lowest ebb - only for new depths to be plumbed? Surely that grim day was as bad as it can get?
With Dave King and the Three Bears entering the fray, with others perhaps, I will take the risk of this coming back to haunt me and say the club really has bottomed out - and can now find a realistic way back to the top.
Mike Ashley's involvement is puzzling. Did he ever have a genuine strategy for the club apart from selling the merchandise for a quick buck? The billionaire recluse could easily have bankrolled a recovery with loose change from his back pocket but chose not to. So why get involved at all? Perhaps he doesn't know either. Maybe all that money has gone to this head and made him a stranger to himself. What he must also do now is make himself a stranger to the club.
Rangers returning to rude health is conditional, of course, on the new investors and board members being up to the task unlike their inept predecessors. But that shouldn't be a problem if they follow basic business rules.
A plan to revive a football club isn't that difficult to understand - you reduce expenditure and increase income. That's it. It's called, dare I say it, Doing a Fergus. There can't be a Gers fan anywhere in the world who wouldn't welcome such a character coming into their club right now with a five-year plan. All it needs is an honest broker.
The first step on the long and winding road is getting the fans onside - all of them. Without their backing there is no future. The only way that can happen is for the new regime to be open and honest. Supporters know there are massive problems and tough times before things get better. They can take that. What they cannot bear is being kept out of the loop.
Trying to fool them with clever soundbites won't work. There has to be truth. Even if it's bad news, fans will respect the board for that - and back them. But you can't just ask for trust - it has to be earned by not treating them as outsiders. They are all part of the Rangers family so must be viewed as such.
The fans also have a massive role to play among themselves. Once an honest regime is in place it will be time to heal the splits and unite. Common cause has to be found to get the club back to where it should be. Filling the stadium and buying season tickets has to be a priority. A solid future for the club takes precedence over personality clashes and point scoring.
Trying to say with any certainty when this saga will end is fraught with difficulty but pressure is building on the board. They are running out of time and money. And even the dumbest of them must realise there is no club without the fans - who have lost all patience with those whose tenure can only be regarded as a complete failure. They must step aside soon.
Once that happens the real rebuilding will begin and everyone in Scottish football can get back to some sort of normality. Bring it on.