What Price a Heritage?

What is it that constitutes the heritage of a football club and what price do you place on it?These are big questions that each and every Bear would do well to consider during the coming festive season, for it would appear that our new CEO may have decided on a price tag.Ethos and Heritage are the twin pillars upon which all great institutions build their history. To develop them they must be nurtured and cared for, it takes time to build them, but they are precious and fragile they can be irreparably damaged by a moments carelessness. They define the real value of an institution and they are beyond mere monetary consideration.Ethos is intangible, yet it is the very essence of belonging. It is what draws people together in a common cause. It unites and in unity lies strength. In recent years our ethos has come under concerted attack by our enemies. They have been joined in this by morally bankrupt journalists and politicians, blinkered, unbalanced and cast adrift in a sea of subjective ‘political correctness’. These are people with no conscience, so embittered in their hatred of Rangers that they turn a blind eye when footballers, that many will see as role models, align themselves with terrorists and murderers. With enemies such as these we must be particularly careful to defend our culture and ethos.

If ethos is our soul then heritage is the physical embodiment of our club. It is the traditions, the history, the folklore, the trophies and the buildings. They have been earned and developed through the hard work and devotion of our predecessors and handed down from generation to generation over 140 years since we were formed by the Gallant Pioneers. We are the current custodians and it is heartening to note that we have stood firm against those vested interests who on the one hand profess that our history ended with the crimes of Craig Whyte, yet who still seek to re-write our history by contrived accusations based upon charges that have already been dismissed by a First Tier Tax Tribunal.

Since his takeover Charles Green has made great strides to repair much of the damage left by his immediate predecessors and for this I am, like most bears, extremely grateful. Sadly he is now risking his personal heritage to our club by promoting the rebranding of Ibrox, purely for commercial reasons. It is of concern that a commercial justification (if ever one could exist) for this has not been forthcoming. We are told that ‘some’ of the money raised by diminishing our heritage to future generations will be available to spend on the playing squad, yet we are also told that the overall levels of funding available for sporting purposes are to be constrained (quite rightly) to financially prudent levels. The suspicion must be that the vast majority of any monies raised by rebranding Ibrox will leave the club in the form of dividends to select investors. There is no basis to believe that this disregard for our heritage will significantly enhance the teams competitiveness either at home or abroad. In spite of his ‘everything is for sale’ pronouncement he has not indicated that spending on the squad will increase as a proportion of revenues if he succeeds in growing these. The prospect is that individuals get richer whilst the team treads water.

I have heard some bears express concern that if we allow Charles Green to sell naming rights that we will lose out to our enemies as they will immediately negotiate a better deal by leveraging their status in Europe and, temporarily, in a higher league. This is not a fear I share. What I fear is that they would consider the sums of money involved to be relatively trivial and deliberately choose to do nothing,

Think about that.

Mr Struth knew the importance of ethos, heritage and tradition. It resonates in one of his most famous quotes.

“To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him.”

We must strive to ensure Charles Green FULLY understands the significance of those words and that he does not allow us to become the generation that fails.

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There are none so blind as those who will not see.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

Attributed to John Heywood, the 16th century English playwright and poet, this proverb has echoed down the generations. Based on the premise that the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they know to be the case, Heywood’s words of wisdom have particular relevance in this day to Scottish football – that is, if the ArabTRUST and The Federation of Dundee United Supporters Clubs’ recent joint statement is anything to go by.

Published in response to Rangers’ decision not to accept any tickets for the Scottish Cup Fifth Round tie due to be played at Tannadice next February, the statement sought to take the high ground by stating:

“In a time when Scottish football needs to look to the future and how we can rebuild our game, it’s sad that some parties choose to refer to past alleged indiscretions against their club as an excuse to not attend the match.

In the instances referred to by Rangers supporters, a court of law decided that Dundee United had acted appropriately in respect of ticketing post the abandoned game in 2009.”

Where does one start with this doggerel? The following are a few humble suggestions.

1. It is surely beyond parody for Dundee United supporters groups publicly to state that forward-looking and progressive attitudes should prevail. They say that Rangers’ stance is symptomatic of an obsession with the past, that the club is allowing the festering sore of historic indiscretions to get in the way of progress.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Indeed, a mere three letters is all that is required completely to torpedo Dundee United’s righteous indignation: EBT. One of the focal points of the fiasco which has surrounded Rangers’ operation of this remuneration scheme has been the Scottish Premier League’s determination to strip titles and cup wins from the club for allegedly failing to disclose certain payments to players.

Despite the First Tier Tax Tribunal’s decision that Rangers operated the EBT scheme legally, and that payments made were discretionary loans and not wages, the SPL has continued its crusade to punish the club – an exercise in nothing more than flogging a dead horse out of spite. Given Charles Green’s comments regarding Dundee United, we can be reasonably certain that Stephen Thompson’s club were one of the main players in having the club refused entry into the SPL and, one can reasonably assume, in orchestrating the process to have Rangers stripped of silverware.

So how does that sit with this new-found desire at Tannadice that we all just move on with our lives? Answers on a postcard.

2. The irony is compounded when one considers the outcry which went up among Dundee United supporters when Rangers applied for SPL membership. Almost 100 per cent. of ArabTRUST members polled stated that a “newco” application to the SPL should be refused. While 45 per cent. said that they would refuse to purchase season tickets at Tannadice if Rangers were admitted. All in the name of sporting integrity no doubt.

And now the very same group seeks to chastise and berate Rangers fans for boycotting a single cup match against one of the most poisonously anti-Rangers clubs? Gie’s a brek pal!

3. Ah, the infamous double charging. That which is dismissed as a “past alleged indiscretion” was in fact a cynical and immoral (remember that word) attempt by the Dundee United board under Stephen Thompson’s leadership to fleece the Rangers support.

It should be noted that at this point the ArabTRUST and its counterpart really outdo themselves in the hypocrisy stakes. I quote: “In the instances referred to by Rangers supporters, a court of law decided that Dundee United had acted appropriately in respect of ticketing post the abandoned game in 2009.”

Perhaps the irony is so blindingly clear that I could end the article at this point. But I’m warming to my task too well to stop now. Throughout the First Tier Tax Tribunal’s hearings and deliberations, we have heard no end to the allegation that Rangers “cheated” Scottish football; that Rangers “cheated” the tax man; that Rangers’ “cheating” meant that schools and hospitals were going unbuilt.

Since the Tribunal’s ruling which, to use the ArabTRUST’s own construction, “decided that [Rangers] had acted appropriately…”, the legal argument has fallen away. What Rangers did was legal and legitimate. Has this stopped the hand-wringers and professionally outraged? No chance. The moralising has continued – “aye, but you still cheated” has been the war cry of our detractors. Never mind the legality of it, focus on the morality of it we are incessantly told.

But when it comes to “past alleged indiscretions” perpetrated by Dundee United we are now being told to focus on the legality of it, never mind the morality of it. Never mind the morality of charging full price for a fixture re-arranged because of a waterlogged pitch. Never mind the morality of cynically seeking to lift the Rangers support by their collective ankles and shake them for every last penny.

Dundee United is in no position to take anything like the moral high ground on our situation. But it takes a special kind of blindness to moralise and pontificate about another club’s misfortune while ignoring the moral quagmire into which your own club has sunk.

Just ask John Heywood.

Radio Clyde’s SuperScoreboard – Operation Only Show In Town

Last week we posted an article highlighting the need for participation in this phone in to counteract the agenda driven nonsense that not only regularly smothers the show, but plays it’s part in contributing to the lies and perception becoming reality in relation to our club.

The article was met with some interesting feedback on various forums including some incredible backing and indeed some hesitancy.

So we decided to test the waters and on a day where Celtic play their biggest game in years and this show should be overrun with Celtic supporters slevering over potentially reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

35 of us arranged to call the show tonight and absolutely bombard it with Rangers related calls to really show both the station itself that we will no longer sit idly by and allow lies to be spread and to show fellow Rangers fans that think if we don’t listen, they’ll just go away, exactly what we can do when we want to.

17 of us got through and live on air to have our views heard – and clearly others called in on their own behalf to follow on with what we said and to make their own point.

If we allow them to spout their lies and spread their agenda – they will. If we don’t allow – they can’t.

Are Celtic playing tonight by the way? You wouldn’t know it by listening to SuperScoreboard tonight.

Rangers FC  – The only show in town.