A light in the darkness

Not only do we love to do names, we have become adept as a support at pigeon holing people. “Spiv”, “Fan Spiv”, “ “Pro board” “Anti board” “The enemy within”, not forgetting the latest addition from the AGM – “Rats” – there seems little room for manoeuvre for those confused bears who wander around in a kind of no man’s land not knowing how to take the latest serving of propaganda from one of the various groups. In fact some would have you believe you are the “enemy within” if you dare to occupy that no man’s land, or more accurately, don’t agree with their viewpoint.

I’ve never been a fan of emotional, descriptive terms to stir up feelings – they are a very poor substitute for cold hard facts.

Ally’s shambolic departure was the perfect case in point. Some felt it necessary to leap to his defence as some kind of weapon against the board, whilst others indulged in less than complimentary negative emotional language. The sum total was to exacerbate an already extremely messy situation. I understand some even planned to sing “Super Ally” at the AGM in an effort to shame the board – you know at that point to wave goodbye to rational thought and reasoned thinking. A quick glance at our financial accounts, or the state of our club overall would tell you that we don’t need to sing songs glorifying a manager who has failed comprehensively to shame this board, the state of our club and the way they have “governed” is an indictment in itself.

The masochist in me delights at mentioning our on field problems, only because they serve to remind us we are a football club and not a soap saga, though it’s hard sometimes to differentiate in this day and age. But for a support already disillusioned with off field events the added component of a failing team only compounds the problem. It not only rips into but comprehensively invades the world of the supporter who cares not a jot for boardroom politics and falling attendances along with absent season ticket holders bear testimony to that. It is a dangerous concoction and one any normal board would do well to take cognisance of.

Of course some of us have seen it all before. It took David Holmes and a considerable amount of cash as well as revolutionary thinking to remedy the situation. Whether there is such an “out of the box” thinker or the necessary cash today is open to debate.

What is not open to debate is the debilitating effect of the omnishambles both on and off the park and sadly, I see little or no evidence to suggest that it is being addressed. So as you sow, so shall you reap.

Rangers is not a business, nor merely a football club it is way of life for so many of us. It’s not just about success on the park, it’s about the way the club conducts and carries itself, it’s about the standards it sets and seeks to uphold. We don’t wax lyrical about the “Rangers Way” for nothing. I’ve mentioned Harry Reid previously, an Aberdeen supporter who contributed to the book Born Under a Union Flag. Harry contributes much of the eroding of our standards and identity to the Murray years.

“A club’s identity, or, to be more highfalutin, its soul, is a particularly precious thing. Forfeit it and you lose everything. If a club becomes the plaything of over-ambitious folk who have no understanding of it, there is serious trouble ahead. If it becomes the plaything of people who have no knowledge of its traditions and its values, then the trouble can be noxious.”

I’d respectfully suggest we are now at security state “noxious” to use Harry’s words.

If I had a pound for every Rangers fan who has said to me our club bears little semblance to that which they grew up with well we wouldn’t need a lottery winner to have a Rangers man in charge. I even know of one dyed in the wool bear on Gersnet forums who even muted starting up all over again, such are the levels of disillusionment.

I’m reminded though of a chapter from Mary Pyper’s book “Writing to save the World”. She speaks of people displaced from the corridors of power, disempowered from the decision making processes, watching forlornly as, in some cases, their country’s become a mere shadow of what they once were. But rather than surrender or acquiesce to the unacceptable standards being foisted upon them, she directs the reader to those who have struggled to keep the social and moral conscience of their nation alive and in doing so ensure that the flame to which so many aspire to is never extinguished.

It is up to us, the Rangers support to do this. We have to carry that mantle, because quite simply there is no-one else fit for purpose at this moment in time. The standards and values we cherish so dearly should be applied to one and all consistently, without fear, without favour and without malice, these are the standards we were raised with and safeguarding them together, I dare anyone to try and take them away.

The greatest threat to that flame being extinguished is not from the SFA, the media, or any number of Rangers haters, the clear and present danger comes from ourselves and our inability to apply those standards we value so much, towards one another.

“There is more power in unity than division”

(Emanuel Cleaver)

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“All I want for Christmas…”

Grandchild No.3 arrived a few weeks ago, he has proven to be a welcome distraction from the normal shambles at our club. The fact I use the word “normal” is an indictment in itself. With 3 grandchildren to “baptise” into the Ibrox experience at some point in the future, you do wonder just what you are getting your offspring into.

It’s no exaggeration to say our club is an omnishambles from top to bottom, both on and off the park. The term “off the park” includes the fractured and debilitating malaise affecting our support. At least during the dark times during my 45 years following, there was a mentality amongst our support that we were all in it together, good and bad, through thick and thin. As a starting point we really need recapture that spirit of togetherness – that means working together for the good of the club. The problem is of course there are many interpretations of what is good for the club.
Perhaps navigation would be a whole lot easier if we were to find some points of agreement of what is not good for the club – but let’s attempt to do this without recourse to emotive descriptive language or unhelpful adjectives.

Firstly the current board.

It was nice to see David Somers taking the time to endorse the Bentley showroom salesman on Linked In. In between of course writing letters terminating the jobs of Ibrox staff just before Christmas. Crass, insensitive and vulgar. I didn’t think anyone could ever outdo Charles Green in the vulgar stakes but Somers appears intent of giving him a run for his money. (Or to be more accurate – our money) Still it could be worse, given Somers’ recent difficulty with figures we should be thankful he’s not doing the financial projections for the club. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt.

Of course no week at the club would be complete without the regular playground ping pong between the Man who won’t be King and Sandy Easdale. If the latest exposure of e-mails are to be believed they really do provide some insight into the latter’s judgement. It would appear, despite denials, that the latter is desperate to remain on the Rangers board even if King were somehow to sweep into power. Maybe it’s just me but I would be embarrassed and ashamed to be part of a Rangers board which have systematically failed the club and support at every single conceivable level.

Who appear to be impotent and clueless in addressing falling attendances, failing performances on the park as well as presiding over a financial meltdown causing them to go begging cap in hand to any would be suitor. I use the word “suitor” as our club appear to be the dowry. The financial deals this lot are “thrashing” out for our club makes Wonga look like the Sisters of Mercy. I think we should all bookmark the phrase “onerous contracts” for the future.

And here’s the rub – you don’t have to be a Dave King aficionado to arrive at the conclusion that the current shower in the Ibrox boardroom are just not fit for purpose.

Of course it’s easy to lay the blame for falling attendances at the doorstep of the militant fan groups. I doubt very much though that would be an accurate prognosis. In fact I’d be willing to bet that the the numbers of fans who signed up for Dave King’s trust fund in no way reflects the numbers of stay away fans – the numbers of missing ST holders last weekend is ample evidence of this. It’s the product on the park which is doing the damage.

Quite simply Ally is not up to the job. With the most expensive squad, the best training facilities by a country mile, our main competitors are still disappearing over the horizon. Please let’s not offer paltry excuses – most of the manager’s in the country would give their right arm for the problems Ally has to contend with – juggling Daly/Boyd/Clark/Shiels/Miller.

I find it hard to share some of my fellow bloggers complimentary tone towards Ally. Blaming Charles Green, the wind and finally – in the absence of an a.m Chares Green statement – publicly lambasting individual players for his team’s lacklustre performances is not what I expect from a Rangers manager.

Those who felt we needed a “Rangers man” on the inside perhaps would like to note that Ally has publicly backed every regime – hardly the sentinel we hoped for. He also availed himself of the penny shares which, if you were not Ally McCoist, earned you the title “spiv”.

So whilst it’s disappointing that a club legend on the park, is unable to cut it in management, Ally is not the first and will be by no means the last to fall into this category. In fact those of who are old enough will remember he’s not even the first at this club, as the John Greig management era attests.

The ongoing failings in the dugout only serve to highlight the ongoing failings in the boardroom, and together these serve to cause fans to vote with their feet.

Now where’s that Christmas wish list, Santa this is a big, big ask…