A New Chairman But Not Quite a New Dawn

On the face of it, the last few days appear to have been positive ones for Rangers. Club legend Walter Smith apparently appointed as chairman; Craig Whyte found to have no ties to the current ownership of the club and, whisper it, even some progress on the field as we make four new signings which should improve the footballing squad. Progress at last?

Unfortunately, I think the answer can only be yes and no.

Let’s take Walter’s promotion first. Sure it will provide some much needed stability ahead of season ticket renewals but opinion is split on whether or not he’ll be a capable leader of the club going forward. Business credentials may not be completely necessary for what must surely be a symbolic (and possibly short-term) role but it is debatable whether or not we have a strong enough board to support what may be more of an ambassadorial position.

With that in mind, as of Thursday morning, we still don’t know what the make-up of the club’s board will be. Will we avert the destabilising effect of an EGM via the appointment of supposed Blue Pitch friendly directors? Or can we expect further division over the coming weeks ahead of the inevitable lobbying and spin before such an extraordinary meeting? It’s crucial the club make an announcement in that regard or the positive nature of Smith’s chairmanship may be quickly neutralised.

Moving on and the news (officially confirmed to AIM) that the club’s independent review into Craig Whyte’s non-existent ties to the current ownership is also welcome but will the disgraced and ‘wholly unreliable’ former owner follow through with his threat of legal action? Probably not but trying to second guess that chancer has always proven difficult. Hopefully he’ll be behind bars before long in any case. After all, despite his (criminal?) record, certain sections of the media remain keen to publicise his thoughts so it may be a while yet before we can finally, and with complete confidence, forget about Whyte.

Onto the new signings we’ve made over the last week and I’m not ashamed to say I’m excited by each of them. Jon Daly may be getting on in years but he’ll provide something different in attack should a direct route be required. Nicky Law did very well at Motherwell so will hopefully transfer his creative influence to Ibrox. Nicky Clark clearly has an eye for goal so will provide much needed competition for places up front. Finally, Cammy Bell did enough at Kilmarnock to make the step into the Scotland national squad so he’ll also be a suitable replacement for Neil Alexander who must surely be departing.

These signings – though none will be expensive – will have to mean departures as well if we’re to balance the books. We can no longer afford Alexander, Goian, Bocanegra and Cribari while even the likes of Black and Shiels must fear for their future given their inconsistent contribution last season. A range of other players will also be moved on though it’s hoped the young lads that broke through will be retained. The squad certainly looks healthier but the style of play will need to be focussed upon and improved if the manager wants to avoid further criticism.

The future can be bright then but the above analysis tells us there’s still plenty of uncertainty. In that respect it’s difficult for any Rangers fan to move on with real belief until communication is improved. Not in terms of club directors posting on internet forums but clear, formal guidance from the club in a variety of ways. Firstly, the board make-up must be clarified; secondly, what is the club’s intentions for reconstruction (breakaway invitations or not); thirdly, what’s the business plan for moving forward; and finally, how can we better involve the support? The same goes for anyone who fancies buying themselves a controlling interest in the club over the months ahead…

These questions are vital for the long term viability of the football club. In that sense, it’s been a real disappointment that our fan groups have failed to grasp the nettle to help secure our position. The Trust deserve credit for their BuyRangers campaign, but struggle to persuade enough fans of their good intentions. Meanwhile, the Assembly haven’t met for over a year and do little to interact with supporters. Thus, with the greatest of respect to the people that work hard in each organisation, fans need something new and original to get their teeth into. Could a members/socio scheme be the way forward?

To sum up, a few days of welcome progress it is then, but we’re still a long way from a guaranteed successful future. Nevertheless, let’s hope we can put this farcical period of leaks, division and dishonesty behind us. Can Walter lead the way and just who will be supporting him?


Follow We Will: The Fall and Rise of Rangers

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