Defending the Boo boys

For those unfamiliar with Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Boo Radley is a mysterious and reclusive figure introduced early in the book by the author. Her fear of Boo often stems from the author’s overactive imagination and is compounded by a fear of the unknown. It is only at the end of the book the true nature and character of Boo Radley is revealed.

As some of you know I have access to the Vanguard Bears forums, I’m not a member but am allowed full and unrestricted access to their online discussions. As a certain Fanzine editor described in his Christmas Fanzine this type of membership could be described as Vanguard Bears (Soft Toys Section) [Copyright No.1 Fanzine] But more on this later.

Form the reading of WATP magazine more of you will be aware of my recent article which insists on the Rangers support having access to information which allows us to ensure correct governance at our club. I think it is untenable that in this day and age, after all we as a support have been through and given back to this club that we are totally disenfranchised and disempowered from the processes and systems which allow us to be vigilant regarding our club, or for that matter to make informed choices. In the very same article I praised the rise of militancy within our support – far more digestible than dignified silence. I also added that such militancy came with certain caveats.

I was deeply encouraged by reports in the Evening Times that the Sons Of Struth had narrowed the target of their protest to Brian Stockbridge and Jack Irvine. My belief and hope was this would be a cause of unity amongst our support as I was of the opinion it reflected what many of us felt. I was so encouraged in fact; I wrote an article about it, having confirmed this was the case with SOS via Twitter.


This did not go down particularly well with everyone, but as I said to someone privately who wrote to me following its publication I don’t write to be popular. Part of the criticism of this article argued that this was not the correct position of the SOS. This caused me to seek further clarification from SOS that this in fact was their position, and this was duly forthcoming.

It came as a surprise to me therefore that on Saturday en route to the ground I was stopped by a young lady who offered me a red card explaining it to be a protest against the board. On receipt of same and perusal of its contents I was dismayed. Its contents were clearly at odds with the assurances I had been given from SOS via Twitter.

It’s a pity that much of the discussion about Saturday’s card display has de-generated, particularly by the anti-requisitoners factions, into ridiculous computer generated percentages or suggestions that some were fooled into thinking it was an anti-racism display. The message on the card was clear and unequivocal. The problem from my perspective however was that it was contrary to what SOS had informed me, or claimed in the Evening Times. I know some Bears, some of whom will be known to many of you, who participated in the display whilst not agreeing with the card’s content in their entirety.

I sought clarification via Twitter with SOS, and even provided them with a screenshot of our conversation for clarification to date no explanation has been offered as you can see by my Twitter timeline.

Some may not think this is important but for a campaign demanding clarity and transparency is it really too much to ask that the SOS would lead by example ?

I doubt there will have been many Bears, irrespective of which side of the fence (or even on it) you sit, who has not been impressed by Jim McColl throughout this process. He has spoken and conducted himself in exemplary fashion, when he has made attacks he has always sought to substantiate or justify his reasoning.  For many, I suspect his endorsement of Graham Wallace was a watershed moment in this campaign, as well as admitting that Colin Kingsnorth was no-body’s fool.

Are we as a support going to go against the judgement of those who sought change, and if so where do we eventually draw the line ? Furthermore in terms of judging business acumen what are the qualifications of those who are suggesting we do not draw a line in the sand  ?

Which brings me back to the Vanguard Bears. I’m not here to defend them, as they are more than capable of doing that for themselves. Given my propensity for speaking out, via my blog and also on their forums, I’ve little doubt I have pissed some of them off along the way, we don’t agree on everything, but that’s life it’s all about opinions.

But I will not allow them to misrepresented  as has happened in recent weeks. Their position on the current boardroom battle remains as per their statement they remain neutral. I fully accept that some of their members have expressed different views as those held by admin on behalf of their organisation, but is that any different from any other organisation ? Given some of the voting patterns in yesterdays RST poll apparently not.

It’s perhaps significant that some of those responsible for the aforesaid misrepresentation of Vanguard Bears are named on material which has come into their possession.

One is left  to question not only the wisdom but also the propriety of Paul Murray writing directly to a group, let alone issuing instructions, knowing such a group are involved in protesting and campaigning for the removal of the current board, a campaign which if successful would likely be of considerable benefit to him in his own aspirations.

Perhaps in the course of time, and without reading To Kill a Mocking Bird,  some of you will learn for yourselves that sometimes the Boo Radleys of this world are not necessarily the bad guys.