30 years on, a different perspective

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Earl of Leven

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Rightly I suppose most fans buy the line that the signing ruined Celtic and changed us for the better. We were now to be inclusive, modern and PC.

On the field he did okay. No impact in Europe or the cups, but hard to say what else could have changed Europe for us back then. That's a huge thread on its own. We did win one cup but he didn't feature in the 2-1 over Shame FC.

What certainly didn't happen was hegemony. After NIAR continued its merry way we lost focus and since his signing it's 15 titles each. The idea this might finish them was flawed. Our own mismanagement was so much more crucial than one signing.

We also got nowhere in terms of "Oh you signed a Tim, well done. Mainstream society loves you now". It's got worse and worse. We're now more hated than ever. The advent of devolution for example is worth a million more posts than 1989.

It's also left huge issues for us with identity, modernity, and what we represent. Our enemy remains unchanged since 1887....and yet has still hidden behind the cloak of being "politically correct". We're now closer to fans attacking our own traditions, history and foundations than attacking Nonce FC. Everyone wants everything watered down or removed. Did 'the signing' open the doors to this wave of self loathing? Was the smug reaction of Souness and Murray that they had taught people like me a lesson misplaced?

I'd argue the signing changed very little for us.

Anyway it's just an opinion and hopefully thread can stay polite and fair.
 

Taki

Well-Known Member
There's an excellent post by @deedle elsewhere on the forum that addresses the historical realities prior to the signing.

Rangers has been caught in a culture war since the 1960's and has never really come to terms with it. The club allowed the signing to be too 'big', too much of a groundbreaker when there was no need to do so. The club's own audio history in 1993 devoted a huge segment to the signing with Murray, in particular, waffling his own misguided interpretation of history and culture. It means that, 30 years on, the club is almost defined by it. It is damaging and ridiculous.

At the time, I thought it was a signing that stuck it to Celtic. I now think it was a mistake. Would Ally Dick or John Sheridan been any worse? We had signed John Spencer and made enquiries of others. Was the idea pre-Souness to just gradually sign whoever, no fanfare? I can't help but think it wouldn't have been worse.

In fairness to Souness, I think he bought Johnson primarily as a good player, as he thought.
 

RabSpackman

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If the club thought that signing Johnston would see an end of being hounded by the media they were wildly optimistic.
The signing itself was rounded on by many of those who had been crying out for Rangers to sign a Catholic player as being inflammatory, as being all about money and as being tokenism.

On the pitch, the partnership with McCoist was strong and had done well for Scotland in the previous season (victory at Hampden v France as an example). For Rangers the two linked up well but the goals didn’t flow as freely as they did with McCoist & Hateley a couple of years later.
Johnston was a top class footballer though - anyone who watched football at the time would see that.
It was a good signing for the football team - regardless of anything else around it.

As a political statement & gesture it was never ever going to change the perception of Rangers.
 

Blaze Of Glory

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The notion that we would be given a break by the media and society in general by signing a Catholic was misplaced. The main reason we were - and are still - hated is because of our Britishness, not any perceived signing policy.
 

Earl of Leven

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The notion that we would be given a break by the media and society in general by signing a Catholic was misplaced. The main reason we were - and are still - hated is because of our Britishness, not any perceived signing policy.
All that's happened all along has been when we've given in at all they've accepted and moved to next demand. Nothing is enough and nothing will ever be enough.
 

Barryhopez

Well-Known Member
It's widely viewed on here (going by other threads) that they've never recovered from the manner of the Johnston signing etc.

Not disagreeing with your post OP, but it seems to go against the grain.
 

DylanGer

Well-Known Member
What we were doing by any measure simply wasn't right. I get the context of course of how we arrived there.

Souness actually played a masterstroke by going for a local known Celtic-minded Catholic.

It proved the support loved the club more than it worried about Catholics.

The impact on them was irrelevant. Made it a doddle for the likes of Neil McCann.......
 

DylanGer

Well-Known Member
The notion that we would be given a break by the media and society in general by signing a Catholic was misplaced. The main reason we were - and are still - hated is because of our Britishness, not any perceived signing policy.
Nobody really considered that a factor at the time though. And weirdly the demonisation of the club became a factor after MJ left the club.......however not to consider the policy to be a factor in where we ended up is nonsense in local terms.
 

omegaman

Well-Known Member
The notion that we would be given a break by the media and society in general by signing a Catholic was misplaced. The main reason we were - and are still - hated is because of our Britishness, not any perceived signing policy.
I don’t believe there was any great sense of appeasement in signing Johnston - I think he was signed primarily because he was an excellent footballer and secondly because it would deal a huge blow to Celtic who clearly felt his return to Parkhead was a formality.

Souness had made it clear from the word go that he wanted to be free to sign a catholic, not because it was a personal crusade of his, but because he wanted to sign the best available players irrespective of their religion in order make the club stronger.

I disagree that it was the wrong decision though, that we should have somehow resisted and would have been a stronger entity today had we done so.

As you say, our overt unionist tendencies became the new cross to nail us to in the wake of devolution, which for me would have happened regardless of our so called signing policy.

In fact, it could be argued Johnston’s signing only intensified the desire to find another bigger stick to beat us with.

Remember that when we signed Spencer comparatively little was made of it.

It was almost as if the establishment didn’t want to acknowledge that we had effectively ended our signing policy by doing so and his Ibrox career was virtually ignored in the hysterical rush to paint Johnston’s arrival as year zero.

Regardless of the way Murray especially used the event to intensify his own presence in the media I still think it was something of a master stroke in footballing terms given the adverse effect it had on Celtic and conversely the advantage we gained as a result.
 
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The Meik's Crombie

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After picking my jaw up off the floor on hearing of Maurice Johnston’s signing, I was always willing to give him a chance. I must have attended every Rangers v Celtic game he played in a Celtic jersey so I know what my opinion of him was during those games.

I did not want him to resign for Celtic because I thought he was a dangerous player and did not want them to benefit. With hindsight, I thought of him as a modern professional ie he played for the team offering the most money.

I can’t remember how far they were behind us in the league in his first season with us but it did not go to the last game. I much preferred his goals were for us and not them. I had no complaints about the effort he put into his game when he put on a Rangers jersey. Maurice Johnston also scored a number of important goals for us and he played his part in our NIAR.

Could we have won more or did better in Europe when Maurice Johnston played for us? The answer is almost certainly yes. That was not down to exclusively Maurice Johnston’s fault. Imo Graeme Souness was brave in making the signing and Maurice Johnston was just as brave signing on the dotted line for us as there are doubts he could ever live here again without fear for his safety from a significant section of the current Celtic support. It did not forever affect Celtic, unfortunately, but it was one almighty GIRUY at the time.

Thirty years on, his signing made the news on BBC Scotland. I don’t remember the 30th anniversary of Alfie Conn signing for them being mentioned on prime time TV. Enough said.
 

Marstonbear

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Signing Johnston got a monkey off our back. 30 years on, no one gives 2 fucks about the religion of any potential signing or employee.

Johnston was an excellent player for us and suffered only because of the brilliance of the Hateley/McCoist partnership
 

BL11

Well-Known Member
It's widely viewed on here (going by other threads) that they've never recovered from the manner of the Johnston signing etc.

Not disagreeing with your post OP, but it seems to go against the grain.
The OP has never recovered.
 

BrooklynBlue

Well-Known Member
We moved on. They haven't. Thus, a big thing is still made about the signing in an effort to cast a pall across the Club.
 

omegaman

Well-Known Member
It did not forever affect Celtic, unfortunately, but it was one almighty GIRUY at the time.
That notion that it could have ever dealt a fatal blow to Celtic is ridiculous.

It did however have the effect of accelerating their decline to such a degree that it took them half a decade to recover from it and by then we were firmly on our way to NIAR.
 

Papac

Well-Known Member
It's also left huge issues for us with identity, modernity, and what we represent. Our enemy remains unchanged since 1887....and yet has still hidden behind the cloak of being "politically correct". We're now closer to fans attacking our own traditions, history and foundations than attacking Nonce FC. Everyone wants everything watered down or removed. Did 'the signing' open the doors to this wave of self loathing? Was the smug reaction of Souness and Murray that they had taught people like me a lesson misplaced?

I'd argue the signing changed very little for us.

Anyway it's just an opinion and hopefully thread can stay polite and fair.
If by us you mean you and a few hundred other lunatics then yes I'm sure it has 'left huge issues'.
 

sheddensbear

Well-Known Member
Signing MJ (or John Spencer) greatly increased the volume of players available to us, so it was better. SDM was our biggest problem. He did not understand the Rangers/Celtic rational. He believed that if you treat a Celtic man with respect, they will reciprocate. My view is give them nothing and expect nothing back.
 

tony_gunk

Well-Known Member
That notion that it could have ever dealt a fatal blow to Celtic is ridiculous.

It did however have the effect of accelerating their decline to such a degree that it took them half a decade to recover from it and by then we were firmly on our way to NIAR.
Absolutely spot on.
 

Papac

Well-Known Member
Really? You never ask why or how you get to watch your team in huge stadium with passion despite terrible league and no real similar set up anywhere globally? Why aren't we a Glaswegian Hearts? Any ideas?
We've won over 100 trophies in a relatively rich (in a global sense) and football daft country. We're in a city that can call on about 1.2 million residents in the greater area and a country that has around 5.5 million people. Every country in the world will have its bigger clubs and fans all over the country. It's a bit like asking why Man Utd can get 75,000 or whatever they get. If you think there's anything particularly special in bringing in 50,000 people with that background, feel free to show me where it isn't the case.
 

The Meik's Crombie

Well-Known Member
That notion that it could have ever dealt a fatal blow to Celtic is ridiculous.

It did however have the effect of accelerating their decline to such a degree that it took them half a decade to recover from it and by then we were firmly on our way to NIAR.
Agree 100%
 

BL11

Well-Known Member
Just utterly laughable. Nonsensical.
You’ve lost, Old timer.

The world has moved on and it’s never going back but it’s not too late to jump on but it will move further away from you if you stay still and the disappointment will grow.

For your own sake, realise that it was never that important and swallow your pride.

We are all still Rangers fans and we will always love our team.
 

DylanGer

Well-Known Member
The fact we are hated because we are Unionists is also only really a recent development in the context of an independent Scotland only really being a hot potato politically in reasonably recent times.

Just like times changing the reason Rangers were hated/disliked changed also....actually back in the day there wasn't any great media debate on the issue of the policy but to think as times changed and the world changed that holding onto the policy didn't damage us on a lot of levels is hard to swallow.

What's really changed is the opposite and created a new anti-Protestant/Unionist bias and that's the emergence of Catholics mixed with a new Tartan Haggis liberalism into positions of power and influence within government, media and wherever you look.

It has to be said at the same time the traditional Protestant culture simply didn't progress and we got lazy thinking nothing would change-the power swing has been massive and due to us having a egotist who was only interested in himself at a key time in this cultural shift left us badly adrift.
 

DylanGer

Well-Known Member
Rangers are the Protestant club in the country-always were likely to always will be. But the nature of that mixed in with football leads to a complex picture.

Those who argue that in simple terms can never really explain the decline in the late 70's into the 80's because the ethos of the club never changed but the football went down the tubes....to suggest there wasn't a cultural shift then would be wrong also...of course the club held together but if the Protestant badge were such a big sway we wouldn't have dropped in attendance the way we did.

Scottish football changed again massively with the arrival of Souness and the very quick development of the season ticket era something unheard of in the previous 110 years of the club. It's interesting MJ happened at the same time but I agree 100% it was largely a footballing decision by Souness with a real sting in the tail...it probably reflected his personality quite strongly....like one of his tackles that took everything out in it's path.
 

Commodore Carbuncle

Well-Known Member
At the time it was huge, it was a massive kick in the nuts for them, you cannot underestimate that and you cannot say otherwise. I was 16, I was at that SCF, I had Celtic fans as pals at the time and they were genuinely fucking devastated.

I think Earl is correct though, looking at it long term we’ve not gained anything at all in terms of the relationship between the club and the wider Scottish society. Maybe that’s something to do with the blood fest of 2012, who knows.

My beef with the whole ‘big bad Rangers, won’t sign Roman catholic’s’ is this. They forever went on about it and used it as a stick to beat us with. Did they WANT us to sign Roman Catholics? I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll have a guess, did they %^*&.

Jock, the knowing one once said, we would always sign the Protestant because we knew the catholic wouldn’t end up at Ibrox.

Paul McStay is from Larkhall, would they have been happy about a RC coming to us? Just one example.

Those bastards probably got decent RC players cheaper than normal given that selling clubs knew that no bidding war would take place.

It’s faux outrage and we should expect nothing less from the bigot wing of Scottish Christianity. Not to mention the fact that most of them probably wouldn’t have signed for us anyway.
 

westenclosurebear

Well-Known Member
We signed a player that improved our starting 11. We stuck it right up them at the same time.

Alex Cameron the Sports Writer who had campaigned for years for us to sign a big name RC told us after the signing we had signed the wrong one.

Social media simply confirms what we already knew, the majority of Celtic fans are rabid and hate us with more passion than they will ever show love for their own club. We will always be called out over anything and everything, that's their DNA. And Rangers fans generally couldn't care who plays or helps us to win matches and trophies as long as they show the right attitude at all times, skill when required and celebrate with the fans. And back to Mo Johnston, that's why many fans did take to him. His performance versus Bayern endeared him to the fans despite a loss and his last minute goal versus them sealed the deal for many.

We need to move with the times while fondly remembering our history and background.
 

DylanGer

Well-Known Member
At the time it was huge, it was a massive kick in the nuts for them, you cannot underestimate that and you cannot say otherwise. I was 16, I was at that SCF, I had Celtic fans as pals at the time and they were genuinely fucking devastated.

I think Earl is correct though, looking at it long term we’ve not gained anything at all in terms of the relationship between the club and the wider Scottish society. Maybe that’s something to do with the blood fest of 2012, who knows.

My beef with the whole ‘big bad Rangers, won’t sign Roman catholic’s’ is this. They forever went on about it and used it as a stick to beat us with. Did they WANT us to sign Roman Catholics? I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll have a guess, did they %^*&.

Jock, the knowing one once said, we would always sign the Protestant because we knew the catholic wouldn’t end up at Ibrox.

Paul McStay is from Larkhall, would they have been happy about a RC coming to us? Just one example.

Those bastards probably got decent RC players cheaper than normal given that selling clubs knew that no bidding war would take place.

It’s faux outrage and we should expect nothing less from the bigot wing of Scottish Christianity. Not to mention the fact that most of them probably wouldn’t have signed for us anyway.
You make several valid points I've made up over the years- but there were generations who grew up in the shadow of the policy-to suggest this wasn't one aspect that motivated RC's to turn the tables is denying the obvious- those generations have been gathering influence in Scotland for decades now and arguably it'll be another 20 years before that era is a history that didn't touch people. The tables turned slowly but surely in my second job a short stint in retail after redundancy in the early 80's was met by a RC who simply almost never promoted Protestants...reasonably unusual then but a real sign of where things were heading......

What has to be remember after the near destruction of the club we are rebuilding strongly and it is a matter of time before we regain number one spot-that in itself will be one of the most remarkable things in our club's history-especially when we have had so much against us.
 

Earl of Leven

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
You’ve lost, Old timer.

The world has moved on and it’s never going back but it’s not too late to jump on but it will move further away from you if you stay still and the disappointment will grow.

For your own sake, realise that it was never that important and swallow your pride.

We are all still Rangers fans and we will always love our team.
I've read almost every thread from the new type of Rangers fan. Extremely glad I was there in the glory days and delighted I'll be dead and gone before you lot take over.
 
Rightly I suppose most fans buy the line that the signing ruined Celtic and changed us for the better. We were now to be inclusive, modern and PC.

On the field he did okay. No impact in Europe or the cups, but hard to say what else could have changed Europe for us back then. That's a huge thread on its own. We did win one cup but he didn't feature in the 2-1 over Shame FC.

What certainly didn't happen was hegemony. After NIAR continued its merry way we lost focus and since his signing it's 15 titles each. The idea this might finish them was flawed. Our own mismanagement was so much more crucial than one signing.

We also got nowhere in terms of "Oh you signed a Tim, well done. Mainstream society loves you now". It's got worse and worse. We're now more hated than ever. The advent of devolution for example is worth a million more posts than 1989.

It's also left huge issues for us with identity, modernity, and what we represent. Our enemy remains unchanged since 1887....and yet has still hidden behind the cloak of being "politically correct". We're now closer to fans attacking our own traditions, history and foundations than attacking Nonce FC. Everyone wants everything watered down or removed. Did 'the signing' open the doors to this wave of self loathing? Was the smug reaction of Souness and Murray that they had taught people like me a lesson misplaced?

I'd argue the signing changed very little for us.

Anyway it's just an opinion and hopefully thread can stay polite and fair.
Lol. How strange he must feel now that he has changed places and is now the old grumpy conservative man on sky sports, instead of the usher of diversity and change like he used to be
 

Steve Snedden

Well-Known Member
I don't think that we can just take the signing gf Mo Johnston in isolation.

Everything that we allegedly stood for has been under a cultural barrage for at least the last forty years.

It didn't help that our supposed Sugar-Daddy offered up the fans as a sacrifice to protect his own interests.

And then while we were sleeping they managed to achieve almost total control of the media and all the key narratives.

A fair media could applaud Souness, Murray and Mo and highlight the truth about that mhob and all they stand for.

I think I agree with you regarding our identity issues although because I haven't lived in Scotland for so long I am perhaps reaching beyond any genuine experience.

I just don't think signing our first high profile Catholic in living memory was the catalyst.

We live in a time where we're more or less brought up to be ashamed of our culture and our heritage. Particularly if you have any aspirations of joining the chattering classes. In fact, prior to 2012, I was probably what this forum would describe as a "hand-wringer"

They seem to be bred to wear their persecution complex like a badge of honour, a la Reid, Galloway and McConnell. They use their positions for influence. Absolutely nobody from our side is coming out with statements about our proud heritage.

There is a fundamental difference that they are indoctrinated into a cult and we're taught to think for ourselves. Add in a heavy sprinkle of cultural Marxism/critical theory and it was always going to go this way.

There's also the theory (|and I can't remember who put it forward) that it takes an immigrant culture 150 years to gain control of the host country.

The timeline fits.
 
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deedle

Well-Known Member
Younger people might not fully appreciate that prior to 1986 Rangers (or indeed other Scottish clubs) signed almost exclusively Scottish players. When the media talked about Rangers 'signing a Catholic' it was widely assumed that this would be a Scot.

However, following Graeme Souness's appointment Rangers had already signed several well-known English players by 1989. Realistically, we couldn't extend a restrictive signing policy to such footballers without attracting adverse publicity and David Murray understood that. Although the recruitment of players from the continent had yet to take place in large numbers, this would only have made our stance on signings even more problematical.

It also has to be appreciated that although the full impact of the Rangers-haters in politics and the media was yet to hit, it had dawned on them that this was the perfect issue that could be exploited to embarrass or hinder the club at a point when it was beginning to dominate the Scottish game financially.


On another thread I raised the point that for half a century or so Rangers' 'policy' was not discussed in the media. This changed following a newspaper interview with Ralph Brand after his departure from the club (this seems to have been a case of someone not fully realising how his comments would be pounced on). During the next couple of decades the 'policy' was used a stick to beat the club with. This ranged from what seemed to be an orchestrated campaign in the Sunday Mail to comments from Jock Stein claiming it handed Celtic an advantage. Desmond White even argued it was a factor in the 1980 Cup Final riot!

The signing of Maurice Johnston didn't really change anything. The attacks on the club simply became more shrill (the 'old guard' in Scottish newspapers were being replaced by the Celtic-minded) and overtly political following devolution. Murray was only ever interested in his own public image and stood by as Rangers FC became a useful scapegoat.

So where are we now? Having mentioned the Sunday Mail it is only fair to point out that it ran an editorial in 1976 calling for an end to segregated schooling. Scotland's intellectual and moral decline is encapsulated by a politics-media class effectively rendering such opinions taboo in line with the late Cardinal O'Brien's request. Of the Scottish Catholics signed by the club over the past three decades I can think of only one who has been an undisputed success and rated highly by the support on a personal basis.

Think of all the words devoted to Maurice Johnston and then consider the deafening silence on the elephant in the room.
 

omegaman

Well-Known Member
I think Earl is correct though, looking at it long term we’ve not gained anything at all in terms of the relationship between the club and the wider Scottish society. Maybe that’s something to do with the blood fest of 2012, who knows.
Was that really an expectation of the signing? Did people really imagine it would heal west of Scottish society of its sectarian blight?
I know this was often said, usually as way of attacking the club, but who really believed that would happen?

All it ever meant to me was that we would be free to pursue any player irrespective of religion which would surely make us stronger, especially as it was an unprecedented period in the club’s history in terms of our wealth going through the roof and our burgeoning aspirations to compete with Europe’s best.

I didn’t give a f**k about building bridges and making the country a more tolerant place to live in or any of that old guff.

It was always about us, about what made us stronger, and it did, it undeniably did.
 

Taki

Well-Known Member
I've read almost every thread from the new type of Rangers fan. Extremely glad I was there in the glory days and delighted I'll be dead and gone before you lot take over.
To be fair, the new Rangers fans have presided over the loss of the Billy Boys and Rangers playing in the Third Division. Their strategy seems to be working. I wonder what they'll do for the hat-trick. Host the Pope at Ibrox?
 

bornabluenose

Well-Known Member
Different times maybe but the song remains the same.

If you are asking if the Johnston signing accomplished what it set out to do off the park , no , nothing like it.

Never even a remote possibility of that being the case.
 
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