A dinosaur rears it’s head

I’ve often been referred to a “dinosaur” – mostly by the new breed of Rangers fans (though age does not seem to be a determination in this equation)  who see our Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist and British identity as something… not exactly to be ashamed of…. but quite clearly something they would prefer not to be there. I of course would disagree, but then again as a Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist, British Rangers supporter I would wouldn’t I ?

Furthermore I appreciate there are those who follow our club,  and may I add, are as passionate as I am about her, yet who are not the slightest bit interested in being a Protestant, a Unionist etc. etc. Times change and so do attitudes and beliefs, often for the better. But for several generations, including my own, Rangers were not just a football club. They represented who we were, what we stood for and the things which we believed in.  And it still does today, no matter how society moves on to other things.

No Rangers were not founded for overtly religious reasons, nor were they a bastion of Unionism, Presbyterianism or anything else for that matter, it was simply 4 boys with dream to form a football club for football reasons. But it would be foolhardy and erroneous to suggest that the characteristics and identity alluded to in the opening paragraph did not evolve over time and I would contend, if one was to examine our song repertoire,symbolism and flags, is still very prevalent today.

We are not just supporting a football club, but a set of beliefs, of standards, when we sing we do so with a passion which goes beyond sport, into the realms of a celebration of identity and culture. They are our club and we are their people. I appreciate all do not feel this way, but those who do will know exactly what I refer to.

On Wednesday 24th July, 2013, that celebration of a football club intertwined with the beliefs of its people erupted in spectacular fashion in Sheffield. The people of Sheffield heard what we are, saw what we believed in, and the things we considered important, those worth celebrating, defending and, perhaps most importantly, in the case of Lee Rigby, were most worthy of our utmost respect.

They watched, they tweeted and they stood in awe and admiration at the Rangers support. Remarkable how an audience how are not motivated by a hatred of the things many of us cherish, can be so complimentary rather than derogatory. It makes one wonder where the problem really lies ?

Rangers are not a platform for these other views and never should be. Nor should our expression of our Protestantism, our Unionism, our Loyalism or our British identity ever be done in a manner which brings shame upon our club or for that matter that which we seek to celebrate. There is a delicate balance at work  weaving it all together,  and I would remind those of similar beliefs to my own, there are people out there who are determined to destroy that fine balance and eradicate it forever.

The power and passion on display at Sheffield is the reason why. They are frightened of it. Its the same power and passion which rescued a football club against the odds , which broke world records last season and filled stadium after stadium. To the consternation of many, that power and passion is on the march once again, and it does not intend to stop.

As the many Owls fans testified post match – no other set of visiting supporters has ever come close to matching that power and passion.

Let us celebrate our club’s identity and culture with responsibility, and in such a way which makes us as many new friends as we did in Sheffield.

An insult to the Rangers support ?

It must be great being a journalist rather than a blogger, the former seem to have a considerable degree of latitude when it comes to “the truth”, bloggers on the other hand live or die on the accuracy of their most recent efforts.

Hugh Keevins latest piece in the Daily Record is a master-class in the art of the curve ball.

“YOU come back from a very pleasant trip to Germany and Holland in the more than affable company of Ally McCoist and what do you get?

There’s a fight for the moral high ground involving two sets of supporters who are as bad as each other.
Some of the singing during Rangers’ trip away was deeply regrettable. The same could apparently be said for the behaviour of the Celtic fans in Brentford on Saturday.

“Apparently” ?

It should come of course as no surprise to a support who Hugh decided to compare to Nazis with his now infamous “Nuremberg Rally comment” A comment which duly earned him a 6 month suspension from Radio Clyde, but not from the Ibrox. In fact it seems Hugh would have to embark on genocide to earn a ban from Ibrox.

http://www.dailyreco…t-takes-1267457

Some would argue, that comparing a group of football supporters, to one of the most vilest regimes ever to have inhabited this earth, is a feat of such dehumanisation that it ranks right up there with genocide.

For when it comes to Rangers, Hugh seems to think that this dehumanised group are not entitled to the right of a trial and hearing.

http://www.dailyreco…carried-1167116

I doubt I’m the only one angered by Keevin’s Judge Dread impersonation. In fact, I know I’m not as it features and is highlighted in the excellent “Follow We Will” publication.

Furthermore, some of Keevin’s recent rants appear to have caused angst within Ibrox. Keevins appears to be fascinated with our signing of Jon Daly given the attention devoted to it it by Mr Keevins.

“There was a difference of opinion arising from the interpretation of something I’d written about Rangers last week and the chairman took me aside for a quiet word.

Nothing so vulgar as a row, simply the subtly-put expression of the club’s standpoint accompanied by that cold-eyed stare that reporters used to get when Walter was running the team and had been caused upset.

An ear bashing but without any visible scarring that would show up in court, if you know what I mean.

And no concessions for the over 60s, not when the one advancing the club’s point of view was a year older than me.
No harm done. Happens every day in this line of work. Nothing to see here

Actually I beg to differ Mr Keevins – I think there is plenty to see. I see a man whose treatment of our club and it’s support has been deplorable. You have misrepresented the facts, you have attempted to set the agenda of our guilt and you have described our support in manner which is quite frankly unforgivable.

Allow me to adorn that Judge Dread outfit for a moment and simply say that your continued presence and access to Ibrox is a considerable insult to all who support Rangers.

Return of the King

Posted Today, 06:50 PM

It was not agony, because even agony allows for a moments reprieve. It was worse than that. It was an endless physical and mental torture which allowed for no period of respite whatsoever for its victims. There was no escape for it consumed you to your very core. In the pit of the stomach was sense of sickness, caused by worry, anguish and uncontrollable anger. The mind fared no better however, starved of sleep, a consequence of restless nights; frenzied by a continuous stream of misinformation and speculation, it raced continuously searching, forlornly, for a foothold or an anchor of hope or encouragement. None were to be forthcoming.

It was not an “isolated case” but rather a pandemic to those of us of blue persuasion. Rangers were indeed in crisis, and a crisis very much of our own making. Had it remained a “self inflicted injury” then, ironically, perhaps our subsequent recovery would have taken far longer. But the life lesson for today is that bigotry, hatred and jealously appear to go hand in hand with opportunity. In Scotland, in particular they appear to make very strange bed fellows.

Fundamental principles, which have underpinned our society since time in immemorial, were asked to take a “pit stop” in the clamour to condemn Rangers. We are no longer a society which proudly boasts “Innocent until proven guilty” but shamefully, a society which operates on a mantra of “Guilty until proven innocent”. And boy does it “operate”. If an authority, footballing body or otherwise, usurps the laws of the land, and resort to blackmail and extortion to invoke a ruling which the laws of the land have declared “unlawful” can they really claim any right to exercise “authority” ?

http://www.telegraph…d-unlawful.html

Mr Regan, are you so small minded, so full of your own self importance, so lacking in impartiality, so far removed from a sense of justice that you resort to such such appalling behaviour just to get one over on Rangers ? My goodness what will UEFA think ?

Well hopefully we will know soon – because I have asked them.

But your schemes, your hatred, your Machiavellian exploits have not had the desired effect. The sick have risen from their beds, and they are now aware of the hatred towards our club, whether that be footballing authorities or the press, or those who covet what they can never have – all you have done is exposed the depths of your jealousy hatred and bigotry. You have enlightened the unenlightened, which only serves to make us so much stronger.

Look to the horizons. And look closely, and with fear and trepidation.

The clouds you see are not just an impending thunderstorm, but an army on the march. A King is coming to reclaim his throne, backed by an army whose loyalty and faithfulness are without equal. Anywhere.

The King is dead ?

Long live the King.

Rangers are coming.

And we will not forget those who, prematurely and erroneously, chose to dance on our grave.

“Scotland might surprise you”

“Scotland might surprise you” –  according to the Scottish Tourist Board promotional advert. It would certainly surprise you, had you flown into any of our country’s airports and been greeted by the billboard which welcomed visitors with the claim  “Scotland – probably the best small country in the world”

Because any visitor would be more than surprised at the manifestation of hatred towards one of Scotland’s oldest and most respected institutions – Rangers Football Club. Furthermore temporary guests to our shores would be even more surprised to learn that this outward pouring of hatred, venom, poison and bile, often from behind the safety of a keyboard, was neither condemned nor challenged by Scotland “moral guardians of society” – the press.

But the surprises will just keep on coming for our visitors. They will learn of the journalist who saw fit to support Scotland’s Hate Crime Bill

http://www.bbc.co.uk…otland-14800819

and yet, surprisingly,  described the festering festival of hatred conducted by a hate-filled mob against Rangers FC as follows : “A voracious, voluble, impassioned type of democracy has won the day.” Scotland may surprise you with her shameless levels of hypocrisy.

And such visitors would be right to ask what kind of “democracy” is Scotland where football authorities usurp the fundamental presumption of innocence, who seek to impose draconian and excessive punishments on the untried, and who ignore the rulings of Scotland’s courts to inflict unlawful transfer embargos on the aforementioned Rangers FC. Small wonder then that “Scotland might surprise you”

And they would be surprised by the lack of contrition shown by those who declared the innocent “guilty” before trial, yet were subsequently vindicated of the allegations against them. They would be even more surprised that the guilty have gone unpunished, remain in their respective posts and still weave their web of chaos with regard to our national game.

But they wont be surprised that the hate filled mob reneged on their promises to sell out Saturdays or support their own clubs. For this was never about devotion but hatred motivated by petty jealousy and bigotry, among other things. Scotland’s visitors will be further surprised to learn the only tale of devotion was that shown by the supporters of Rangers FC, despite their club being castigated to the lowest tier of Scottish football.

Perhaps what would surprise them most however, is that this country, so capable of such unbridled and unchallenged hatred, and which is more than willing to turn a blind eye to injustice against her own, has aspirations of self-governance.

It would not surprise me if our departing visitors were to commit an act of graffiti on that billboard as they leave our shores…

“Scotland – probably the best small-minded country in the world”

A cobbler, a season ticket & splendid isolation

Its funny how the time affects perspective. Many years ago I sat atop the Cobbler mountain in the Arrochar Alps. It’s not even a Munro by Scottish hill climbing standards, standing at 2900 feet, 100 feet short of Munro status. Ben Arthur, to afford it its more anglicised name, is nonetheless one of the most exhilarating climbs in Scotland, due to would be conquerors having to pass through what is known as the “eye of the needle” – a hole in a rock near the top which leads onto a ledge overlooking a sheer drop onto Glen Croe, which provides access to the summit.

Years ago, passing through the eye of the needle gave a young Marine a much needed adrenaline rush – 30 years later however, it terrified me ! But personal pride provided sufficient motivation to overcome those fears and reach the summit for the second time. Whilst the reckless courage of youth may have deserted me long ago at least advancing years have replaced it with an ability to reflect quietly.

Sitting atop this magnificent mountain, with its panoramic views my thoughts, as always, turned to our football club. In the 30 years which had passed since my first ascent of this mountain, time has been kinder to the institution which is The Cobbler, than the institution which is our beloved Rangers. The Cobbler of course does not have to combat petty jealousy, bigotry and unreserved hatred. I use the term “unreserved” because it appears to have no bounds. What kind of hatred would see the Advertising Standards Agency being brought into adjudicate on a football club ?

Probably the same kind of hatred which would see broadsheet journalists such as Graham Spiers and Tom English sacrifice their journalistic integrity to have a pop at our club. When either of the latter wish to include facts, legal rulings, the judgements of footballing authorities, then perhaps we can have a discussion – but in the interim period, please gentlemen continue to embarrass yourselves with your ability to omit essential facts. (Oh and Tom….I know Craig Whyte accrued considerable debt; and like every other Rangers supporter I am deeply ashamed of his conduct – but perhaps its wholly appropriate that time and perspective come into play here. Why not write an article asking why the SFA delayed so long, given the information they were privy to regarding this chancer ?

I don’t expect Tom English to feel our pain. He will never have experienced those sleepless nights through worry, the sickness at the very pit of your core, the feelings of utter betrayal at everything out club once stood for, but I do expect him to acknowledge that the 9 month carnage of one man does not reflect the identity and character of an institution which boasts 140 years of otherwise, exemplary conduct.

But Spiers and English, and the articles they pen, are merely symptoms of a problem which Charles Green highlighted, during his short, but nevertheless eventful, tenure. Let me address this once and for all, for those (Spiers) who would reduce themselves to arguing that our club has “died”.

What do UEFA, the European Clubs Association, The SFA, the SPL, Lord Nimmo Smith, and, quite ridiculously, the Advertising Standards Agency, say ? Over to you Mr Spiers…..I note your recent article chose to omit their various rulings on the matter. You sir, give a whole new meaning to the term “selective journalism”. Let that be your indictment.

And here is the real ball breaker. Rangers are not dead – despite your efforts. They were kept alive by two vital ingredients – a Yorkshireman who saw a good investment opportunity (good on him) but more importantly a support who refused, against insurmountable odds to let an institution die. They are our club and we are its people. You will never, ever, understand this. You were not chosen.

You threw everything you could against this club. Lies, injustice, mistreatment, false testimony, misguided and erroneous journalism. But you could not overcome what we feel deep within our core, we came, we saw and we conquered. And while you failed to sell out your Saturdays, we caused men to board aeroplanes in other continents to report on our loyalty and devotion. Your hatred is your shame, our devotion and loyalty only adds more post script to the legend which is Rangers.

It was the devotion of the Rangers support which gives this club a platform to stand in splendid isolation. We can live without you whereas you cant appear to live without us. No matter the injustice (see 5 way agreement – something Spiers & English appear reluctant to talk about) no matter the enemies ranged against us, Rangers rely on only one thing to ensure that “splendid isolation” – the commitment of the Rangers support.

I have been asked in recent weeks by many of my readers whether I will avail myself of a season ticket next season. Many of my friends,some very solid Bears will not be renewing and they provide some very concrete argument for not doing so,

But I don’t follow a boardroom or the quality on the park. I follow Rangers in “sickness and in health. But more importantly in this very anti-Rangers climate I feel it is imperative I ensure that the ability to maintain “splendid isolation” is continued. So to those who asked – yes I will be a season ticket holder next season.

In another 30 years my grandson will stand atop The Cobbler. As he too reflects, he will remember a long gone grandfather, who stood and could do no other but support his team. And he will do likewise.

That’s why we will never, ever. be defeated.

Wake Me Up Inside

It was in another century that my love affair with Rangers started. There were 144 pennies in the pound and an evening read of the papers offered you the Evening Citizen in Glasgow. The world was still reeling from the near nuclear Armageddon of the Cuban Crisis but I didn’t care a jot.

I had found the Rangers.

An appetite whetted by an older brother’s scrapbook which contained  the heroes of yesteryear – Baxter, Wilson, Caldow and Brand to name but a few.  In years to come I would have my own scrapbook with Parlane, Greig, Stein, Jaws, Johnstone and Cooper the photographs from newspaper cuttings forever enshrined in the moment, capturing their brilliance for time immemorial.

The Ibrox Disaster delayed my first visit to Ibrox, as parents all over Scotland became all the more anxious and protective following those dark, dark days. But eventually my parents gave in to the pressure, and chaperoned by an elder brother, I had my first taste of Ibrox. And like the character from the Dickens novel I just had to go back for some more, and more and more. Rangers have a permanent seat of residence in the very core of your soul.

Rangers excelled my greatest expectations. Like so many of us, they were and still are, everything to me. For young men from the tribe of the Scots, your first solo Rangers game is akin to a Rite of Passage. But you never felt alone – you were always surrounded my like minded individuals who too, had made that journey, that rite of passage. One of those individuals, with whom I used to travel regularly to get our “Ibrox fix” is now manager of Manchester United.

It seems ironic to say this now, in the age of internet forums, the worldwide web and electronic mail, but there is still within me a sense that our club and support were more together in those times than they are now. There was a oneness and togetherness about club and support in those bygone times which was not forced or contrived. “Rangers First” is not a new concept men, like Willie Waddell and Jock Wallace, lived and breathed it every single day of their lives.

To this day the conversation between David Holmes and Jock Wallace at Strathclyde Park which saw Big Jock being ousted remains a secret forever.  Despite the sadness and anger Jock quite rightly felt, he remained silent rather than risk harming the club. The absolute epitome of a Ranger.

I have watched in considerable anger  and disbelief as “dignified silence” became a euphemism for “I cant be bothered defending this club or its support”. I have come to realise that wearing a club tie or blazer does not necessarily make you a “Real Rangers Man”. Defending the club and its support from attacks for both outside, and sadly of late, from within, does tick the required boxes however. At times I have been left numb at the levels of apathy and intransigence inside Ibrox. It’s like the club which I once knew is in hibernation.

Craig Mathers spoke recently about humility. Humility is fine so long as it not used as an excuse for intransigence. Several articles ago I spoke of serving the SFA with legal papers in respect of our club’s diabolical treatment. It will be interesting to see what transpires from within Ibrox given recent newspaper “exclusives” which revealed the worst kept secret in the history of Scottish sport – Rangers were crime victims.

I want the men in charge of Rangers to put Rangers first. To be unafraid of confrontation if it means speaking out against injustices which are foisted upon our club. Charles Green may not have been perfect but at least he got this part. He made a statement of intent – and his continued popularity demonstrates just how long the forlorn blue legions have waited for a figure to champion our club. Furthermore I want them to rally the masses of leaderless blue legions into an effective force against the enemies of this club. The defence of this club should not be left to a few internet bloggers or pro-active Rangers forums users.

So come on Rangers, awaken from slumber, you have an army awaiting to be led.

Go on I dare you Rangers, bid my blood to run.