A Five-Year Five-Point Plan For Rangers
By Bearwood Bear
Updated Friday, 17th August 2012
For Rangers fans, there are factors we need to give serious consideration to now that we have the time and the actual football is underway again.
1. A five year plan. Rangers FC now know what lies ahead. This season (at least) in Division 3; hopefully only one season in Division 2; Season 2014-15 in Division One and then the possibilities of readmission to the SPL and qualification for European football in July/August 2016.
Rangers should be planning strategically to be building and developing a squad which in pre-season 2015, three years from now, is capable of stepping back into the top division and competing with FC Integrity. That plan should be flexible and smart because be in no doubt, Lawwell and Co will be taking the same sort of approach, one which basically factors the huge income differential into the equation. I’d be stunned, for example, if our city friends are thinking anything other than two seasons of coasting will allow them to consolidate and get non-achieving high earners out of their squad, then a season of high expenditure and hype to keep their noses in front of us. We shouldn’t discount the possibility that their shameful European record will improve in that time, or underestimate the scale of the challenge to Rangers in getting some sort of parity with Clarification FC.
2. Payback. As a Christian I am reluctant to propose that we ignore scripture on this subject, but the strength of feeling is such that I’d be a lone voice in any case. Message boards of other SPL clubs show some have finally cottoned on to the fact that they are firmly in our sights, and already beginning to sweat. And so they should.
One of the great lies perpetrated around what was laughably dubbed the SPL’s Arab Spring was that somehow Scottish football had been democratised and the fans were now in charge – supposedly evidenced by reluctant SPL club boards being swept along by a spontaneous, righteous wave of their fans insisting they ’did the right thing’ by expelling Rangers. The reality was slightly less honourable.
Lawwell and Lennon, the Northern Shites, Rod Petrie of Hibs, Stephen Thompson of Dundee United and the mental midgets of internet message boards, assisted by the ever-so-objective BBC Scotland and the usual media suspects put unprecedented pressure on the SFA and SPL to hang, draw and quarter Rangers. All of the above will be remembered, and I hope in Sicilian fashion that all will be paid back in full.
I heard this week that Charlie Green is thinking about a free or token entry charge for the next time we play an SPL club, supplemented by, say, us buying a programme for £15 and therefore keeping the revenue. If legal, that would be a great way of screwing over a club that screwed us. Karma can be a bitch…
3. A mountain to climb. There are clearly punters who believe that the No Surrender mentality extends to denying reality, a bit like John Cleese’s knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail who still wants to fight after having legs and arms chopped off.
The truth is that Rangers have been severely damaged by this whole affair. For going into administration under Whyte’s management, Rangers were expelled from the SPL, fined £160k, docked 10 points, excluded from European football for a minimum of 3 seasons, relegated three divisions, had SPL prize money held in abeyance and despite being owned by a new holding company entirely unrelated to Whyte, held liable for debts incurred previously, in breach of all precedent and UK company law. Yet in what is becoming a familiar tale, this is still deemed insufficient punishment by those who Charles Green was quite correct in deeming at least partly driven by bigotry. The upside is that the ruinous debt run up by Sir David Murray and added to be Whyte has been eradicated. But we still have malevolent rodents Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster intent on further punishment ‘justified’ by prejudging HMRC’s long awaited tribunal decision on Employee Benefit Trusts, and cleverly seeking to strike at the heart of what we hold so dear; namely our unprecedented record of success.
There can be no doubt that this is part of a concerted campaign driven by our nearest rivals and given the self-defeating stupidity and cavalier attitude to justice and good governance already shown, don’t be surprised if this rat pack comes looking for more. More importantly, we now have only our own crowds and fans to rely on as an income source. Revenue from TV and external sponsorship will be vastly reduced, and we’ll need to recognise that unless we generate revenue from within, we won’t be able to expand and grow.
4. Redefining ourselves. This fiasco is the end product of two decades of apathy, complacency and stupidity in all aspects of our Club. Disrespect for the punters, hostility to those like the RST who sought to change things for the better, apathy towards those in the media slinging mud at us weekly, inability to recognise or engage with anti-Protestant bigotry, incompetence in holding those running our Club to account. All of us - and yes, I do mean you – are guilty and must learn our lessons.
One easy win is in how we, as a support, behave and act. Now that we are playing at places like Annan, Peterhead, Berwick and Brechin, the initial signs are that many Rangers fans are more reconnected with the reason they are football fans. One of the main reasons Rangers are hated is quite simply because we’ve let accusations of bigotry go unchallenged. But we also need to stop giving our enemies any ammunition in that department. Anti-Roman Catholic bigotry, even if only a few numpties is unacceptable. Racism, in any form, is unacceptable. And if you want to cry about restrictions on your freedom of expression, political suppression or living in a Police state, do it somewhere else. We’re a football club, not a political movement and if anyone thinks being relegated gives freedom or licence to act stupidly, think again. If anything, we are a softer target.
And will acting like dicks make us friends? Or show other football fans we’re the same as they are? Wising up is not an option, it is essential if we are to survive and prosper. It doesn’t mean ignoring our heritage, it means respecting it, putting it in perspective and being positive.
5. Taking charge of our future. Finally, we have the big question of where Rangers is going and what part we will play in that. Right now our Club is owned by people we don’t even know, run by a guy who has no Rangers background and one where the fans have never been more important. We’ve already bought huge numbers of season tickets and voted with our feet but the truth is that Rangers fans have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure the Club and support become one.
If we have learned one thing from the Murray years - and make no mistake he shoulders the vast majority of the blame for this situation - it is surely that we can’t let unaccountable men run our Club. Rangers must be owned by Rangers fans, our investment must be in exchange for shares, the opportunity for us to take a huge stake in our Club will surely come within the next 3 years and if not, then we have to force it. Marx once said that history repeats itself first as tragedy and secondly as farce. We need to ensure that neither of these happens.
|17 Aug 2012|
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