12 Angry Men

If the Rangers support were a jury, I think it would safe to say we had reached a majority rather than a unanimous decision on Pedro. An early exit to European minnows from Luxembourg on the back of an embarrassing defeat to our greatest rivals at home, whilst losing our long-established home record to the sheep would suggest that a fairly compelling prima facie case had been established by that majority.

Furthermore, an inauspicious start to the season makes it all the more difficult to introduce a reasonable element of doubt into the minds of those who are currently sitting in the majority camp and whose minds are clearly made up so to speak.

Should we pause for a moment and recall Advocaat’s multi-million £ squad, albeit not with home advantage, losing 6-2 at Parkhead? Should we consider that even some great Rangers managers, with far more settled squads suffered worse starts in their first 3 games of the domestic league? Should we ponder the fact that abysmal refereeing had a major say in 2 of our last 3 league games?

Perhaps we could reflect on the fact we are into a rebuilding programme which is clearly not yet complete, before we decide to sack the architect.

The first few years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Manchester United were characterised by something of a roller coaster ride which saw them take a few backward steps before their record winning period of success. Having been appointed in 1986, it was season 92/93 before the Reds won their first championship under the tenure of Sir Alex. While such a comparison certainly qualifies as an “apples and oranges” evaluation, the virtues of patience and a realistic assessment of the challenges faced should not be excluded either.

As always, the OF games will have a considerable bearing on the manager’s future. We have to hope Kranjcar’s recent interview where he suggested we could lose all 4 OF games and still challenge for the title is a form of delusion exclusive to Niko, and not the rest of the dressing room or the management.

There is a popular saying that the “league table never lies”. Would it be prudent to wait until the end of the season and put this theory to the test rather than jump on the managerial merry go round prematurely?

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Consistent inconsistency

Apologies if this journey appears a tad confusing, I can assure you none of it is my doing. It starts with Rangers player Andy Halliday receiving a red card against Morton for a goal celebration which officials deemed had the potential to incite a riot. Further along the road we have a security guard gesturing a 5 – 1 sign whilst posing for a photograph with Hibs manager Neil’s Lennon. A gesture the Edinburgh club described as “insulting” and which merited a complaint. Our journey ends at Ibrox with Neil Lennon aforesaid, gesticulating a GIRUY to the Rangers support during a match Police Scotland had expressed concern about. Despite all of the foregoing this incident was deemed neither insulting nor likely to incite a riot, apparently it could be categorised as “banter”

I have read and listened to several comments from bears in response to the Club1872 statement regarding Lennon’s conduct. “Ill-advised” “Misjudged” as well as the suggestion it has deflected from other matters e.g. the very one-sided refereeing display. If any of you think Beaton’s performance would have been subjected to forensic examination by the Scottish media you are clearly more optimistic than me.

For example. Keith Jackson’s Monday column appeared to have been prepared based on the ongoing boycott of the Daily Record and the introduction of a camera to the Rangers press conference, both subjects which have attracted his ire. There is almost a suggestion of Rangers fans having temerity and audacity to choose to boycott a newspaper which has been shown to print lies about them. His own newspaper’s lies in respect of Rangers supporters is something Jackson’s fails to mention in his column. Furthermore, as he sets out to compare our club to the North Korean regime, hinting that the presence of a camera to record proceedings is some kind of “sinister sub text” he neglects to mention its primary purpose is so that our manager can analyse his performance at press conferences. Those of us who had undergone even the briefest of media training will know such practice is commonplace.

The only sinister element at play here appears to be the very selective presentation of facts in a manner befitting a totalitarian despot regime.

There has also been the suggestion the club itself should have taken the lead on the response and highlighted the refereeing. I refrain from using the term “bad” or “abysmal” refereeing as it would suggest it was consistently bad across the board – it was anything but. But as someone who has been particularly critical of “dignified silence” from Rangers’ boards I find myself in a strange place. However, the issue of the refereeing performance is a matter for the club to pursue and they appear to be doing so courtesy of the appeal of Jack’s red card. Would it be appropriate to comment prior to the conclusion of the judicial proceedings which will determine the outcome of that appeal?

“Unlawful Tom” appeared to be concentrating on the “indignant” nature of Rangers fans regarding Beaton’s performance rather than offer any analysis of it. (As a side note, a few have contacted me regarding the initial response from the BBC regarding complaints. My suggestion would be to escalate if you are not satisfied with the response – if they refuse to do so I’d suggest addressing your concerns via Ofcom)

When Butcher/Woods/Roberts and McAvennie were deemed to have fallen foul of the law Sheriff Archibald McKay was unequivocal in his summation at the end of the trial.

“A large percentage of supporters are readily converted by breaches of the peace into two rival mobs. That they were not so transformed is no credit to you. You must have been aware of your wider responsibilities and you failed to discharge them”

There is a clear message within that summation of both the standards of behaviour and responsibility of those on the park. If you think Neil Lennon satisfied either on Saturday then your opinion is different to mine. A person does not require to be offended to recognise irresponsible, reckless and provocative behaviour.

Of course the easy option for Club1872 would have been to remain silent, to say nothing, to ignore all the foregoing.  And in doing so they would have fulfilled the brief provided recently by others :-

“Know your place H** scum”

The baton carriers

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

(Sun Tzu –  The Art of War)

Those who have followed both the reporting and coverage of the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Rangers use of EBT’s could probably hazard a fairly good guess guess as to who the enemy is. It would be inaccurate to say, “they broke cover” as many entering the fray would be filed under the category of “the usual suspects”. Perhaps my favourite observation at the time came from not within our support, but from the Head of Sport at the Herald, Stuart Weir who reflected via Twitter

“Still folk out there who’ve only watched Kavanagh QC (while evidently downing bottles of QC sherry) arguing with real QC’s

Pass the popcorn”

Stewart would probably have required an extra-large bag if the dogged stance of Tom English was anything to go by. The latter’s debate with QC and Tax Specialist Joylon Maugham was the twitter equivalent of “death by a thousand tweets” as the assertions of English were ceremoniously and clinically lanced as if the BBC reporter’s line of reasoning was little more than a septic boil.

Of course, that didn’t stop BBC Scotland running with the erroneous and inaccurate “unlawful” accusation in their news bulletins. And its at this point I would respectfully suggest our enemy recognition becomes somewhat clouded. Who approved the inclusion and creation of the word “unlawful” and who, with editorial responsibility deemed it appropriate and accurate?

It is refreshing that this inaccuracy will not go without challenge, and Club 1872 have already intimated that this will be subject of a complaint. I suspect those of us who have previously trodden this path could predict the pattern – rejection and escalation, rinse and repeat until it is eventually deferred to Ofcom for a ruling.  (From 3 April 2017, Ofcom replaced the BBC Trust as first regulator) When it does arrive on their doorstep I hope Ofcom reflect that it is not the first complaint from Rangers supporters regarding the accuracy of the organisation’s output north of the border.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-22951447

It didn’t require tax experts and QC’s however to punch fairly large holes in BBC Scotland’s adopted stance. Frankie from Gersnet skewered BBC Scotland’s Chris McGlaughin to the point the latter was unable to form a reply to some probing questions. However, as with Tom English , Frankie  makes a critical observation in response to Joylon Maugham.

“What you may not realise Jo, is that BBC Scotland’s default position on Rangers has to be maximum negative. Tom merely carrying that baton.”

Might I respectfully suggest that there is a very large ball about to land in the court of Ofcom. Merely adjudicating on the matter is not sufficient, not given the previous failings of the organisation as alluded to earlier. The role of the unnamed, unseen baton carriers needs to be examined thoroughly, including systems and processes which allowed inaccurate and erroneous broadcasting to once again pass as acceptable, accurate and impartial.

Sometimes adjudication like a medical diagnosis is not sufficient, merely identifying a septic boil is not enough – it requires to be lanced and cleansed.