Heroes in our time

It’s a funny thing when you open yourself up to the various resources open to aspiring writers, you are met with the usual deluge of “must have” resources, in addition to invites to workshops or seminars “no aspiring writer should be without”. Fortunately, for my bank balance, most of these are geared towards those of the craft inclined towards fiction, though I freely confess the opportunity to access the thought processes of Sol Stein was a temptation too far. It proved to be an invaluable investment as his ability to inject a storyteller’s narrative into non-fictional work is quite simply, seminal.

Our club like every other business has moved with the times in catering for the supply and demand of commercialisation. Some of you reading this will be old enough to remember a time when our megastore was little more than a cupboard where only the brave (or reckless) would dare to swing a cat. In fact were the late great Ian Redford alive today he could provide testimony of that, after his encounter with a young Marine on leave who, in the excitement of coming face to face with one his heroes, clumsily, almost knocked him spinning such was his desire to get an autograph.

Of course the premise for all good fictional stories revolves around a fairly tried and tested “Holy Trinity” consisting of plot, hero and villain. A quick rewind of events at our club over the last few years allows us to see how the plot, hero and villain formula can easily transcend fiction and penetrate real life events. You can pick your own plot and villains, the hero part which I will get to later, is non-negotiable.

Another weapon in the writer’s arsenal is that of rhetoric. Not the empty kind so often relied upon these days and which is soon exposed for what it is – shallow and without foundation. I refer instead to the rhetoric used to such effect by Churchill, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, which has not only stood the test of time but altered the course of history. The significant common denominator in these masters use of rhetoric was that it was rooted in truth.

We have our plot. A football club so enshrined in Scottish society as to be considered an institution, a focal point for thousands of Scots and Ulster Scots in every part of the world, not merely a badge of sporting identity but the very representation of a people and everything they stand for and cherish. For generations of us the baptism of a son, daughter or grandchild on the slopes of Ibrox Park was a necessary Rite of Passage. To put it in its simplest terms, this is more than just a football club.

Add to the mix a whole cast of villains. The egotistical, the unscrupulous, the greedy, the opportunistic, the liars, the deceitful. Aided and abetted by incompetent authorities, the jealous, the spiteful, those whose motivations have been determined by living in the shadow of Rangers for so long.

Furthermore let us dispense with all the legal foundations upon which our country was built, instead let us declare a guilty verdict without trial. Let us then impose draconian punishment upon them and to hell with the consequences. Where courts and the law rule in their favour – let’s simply ignore them. Banish them to obscurity – hopefully to endure a slow, agonising lingering death.

So we have our plot and we have a whole host of villains, what we need now is some heroes, but firstly, let’s have some rhetoric.

Though the straits be broad or narrow it’s follow we will,
Follow we will follow we will,
Though the straits be broad or narrow it’s follow we will,
We will follow in the footsteps of our team, [God Bless Them]
Follow follow we will follow Rangers,
Everywhere anywhere we will follow on,
Dundee, Hamilton, Aberdeen and back again,
If they go to Dublin we will follow on,
For there’s not a team like the Glasgow Rangers,
No not one and there never shall be one,
Celtic know all about their troubles,
We will fight ’til the day is done
There’s not a team like the Glasgow Rangers,
No not one and there never shall be one.

But remember the writer’s rules – rhetoric must have at its foundation truth.



Remember what I said in the opening about supply and demand? Temporary stands and overselling tickets are the manifestation of supply and demand. But they are something else. They are testaments to a support who refused to let their club die, who steadfastly refused to follow a script written by others, instead creating their own story in the process.

Against such a backdrop of villains and plot we need heroes whose actions transcend both language and culture and appeal to readers the world over.


You want heroes in our time?

Then go and look in the mirror.

Garlic Bread?

Yesterday I tweeted a picture of a packed Sandy Jardine Stand courtesy of my mobile phone, from my usual haunt of the Copland Road Rear. Within seconds it had been re-tweeted several times over. In the course of its re-tweeting it reached the other side of the world. I doubt the young bear who stood in almost the same spot 40 years or so ago would have been able to grasp such technological progress. A phone without a land line? A phone which takes pictures? Internet? Social what? You can almost understand where Peter Kaye’s father was coming from when he questioned the validity of “Garlic Bread”?

I’ve been blogging about Rangers for nigh on 20 years now. It started off on the old footymad Follow Follow boards where a few of us would regularly write articles to re-dress the balance of a very anti-Rangers press. In fact “re-dress the balance” is too kind, counter the lies and attacks of the Odious one, and others of his ilk would be a far better description. Defending both club and support was the motivator for all us, and although the musings of Rangers commentators sometimes splits opinion, I doubt anyone would argue, it’s sure been one helluva 20 years.

We have been kicked, ostracised, vilified and castigated, more often than not unfairly and unjustifiably. We as a club have been characterised, deliberately and maliciously I may add, due to the actions of 2 totalitarian and egotistical owners, neither of whom had the slightest idea about what the Rangers tradition demands of all of us. In many ways the need to defend the club is every bit as prevalent as it was when a group of us decided to fightback against the press onslaught. What has been particularly invigorating over the last few weeks has been the sight of a Rangers board willing to add their weight to the defence of the club. The manner of the official response to the Raith Rovers attack on our club was worthy of particular praise.

That willingness to defend and protect the interests of the club is critical for the future. A future which recognises the need to see bridges built and Rangers men returned to the top echelons of Scottish football. Anyone who doubts the need for this only needs to look at the omnishambles which has unfolded during our absence. But don’t confuse building bridges with forgiveness for what was done to us by others – that I’m afraid, for me at least, is the proverbial bridge too far.

Forty years ago when I looked to my right from the Copland Road I would have seen the Centenary Stand. The man whose name now adorns that stand was a hero on the pitch. In later life he was to become a hero off the pitch, and one who stood shoulder to shoulder with all of us as we demanded justice and fairness for our club. Sandy was familiar with crisis, he made his debut for Rangers a week after our exit to our Berwick namesakes in the Scottish Cup. Sandy Jardine is a constant reminder to all of us that acting with dignity and class can be consistent with resolutely defending our club.

Some will say that despite the kickings, the vilification, the ostracising that Rangers are still standing. They would be wrong. We are not standing, we are coming.

See you soon.