Published on 23 Jun 2012

How to detoxify the Rangers brand

It might not seem obvious to some that pleading to play football in either non-league or Division 3 is the way to secure “Rangers” football.

So let me explain. I do so from Istanbul where I’ve spent the past three days with seriously big business beasts. Men who do not have CVs covered in wound-up companies. Men who are not being hounded by tax and other authorities.

Men like Marc Bolland the Marks and Spencer boss enthusing to me about the 100% recycled suit he’s wearing.

Men like Paul Bulke who runs Nestle operating in almost every country on the planet.

Men like Tesco boss Phil Clarke who’s steering stormy waters but still turning in record profits who says: “You know Alex – I’m just a grocer from Liverpool.”

Love or loathe the brands, we are talking serious global empires counted in billions who end up feeding much of the human race.

Interesting people who tend to speak quietly; careful in their language; measured in their approach; attending to the immediate with half an eye on the consequences of the immediate two or three steps ahead.

Men therefore, who will steadily speak of the world they inhabit – a place of strategy, vision, sustainability and the longterm.

And above all, way above all else, an almost pathological focus and obsession on the customer. What he/she wants? Always singular, never plural. An almost desperate desire to engender loyalty.

I find myself in the odd – probably unique – position this week in continuing to investigate “Rangers” from afar whilst in the company of these global corporate beasts close-up, in Istanbul. Two contrasting business worlds alright. The world players so different from those who seem to dominate the football business.

Where you seem to find so many men who brag. Loudly. Men who routinely take fans loyalty as a given – a mere commodity – to be traded, exploited. Men with CVs covered in folded fly-by-night companies you’ve never heard of. Men after quick returns.

Consider when you heard vocabulary like this in football generally, “Rangers” specifically: “sustainability”…”long-term”…”focus on the customer”…”earning and working for customer loyalty”…”doing good by doing good business”…

So I’ve been immersed in men who are the business polar-opposites of football’s spiv-set.

All of which merely underlines why “Rangers” future, their victory, their most potent business plan is staringly simple.

If the Newco was run by serious business people who scent sustainable success the first thing you do is detox the brand.

Face the facts – to many who have followed this sorry tale “Rangers” now equals corruption.  That is what the brand has come to now. There’s no escaping. Denial of this is death by criminal stupidity.

A global brand is now toxic. “Rangers” now means a revolting broth of tax-evasion; threatening corporate aggression ; a profoundly arrogant refusal to apologise ever to anyone for anything; a “case to answer” on years of organised cheating ; the brand name liquidated; the British taxpayer cheated; hundreds of small Scottish businesses, charities, colleges, councils out of pocket…I could go on.

In the end the old brand was so financially poisonous it was killed, abolished by law: liquidated.

Faced with this situation, what would our globally successful CEOs do?

Simple – detox the brand. Draw a line. Start anew. Begin again. And try to reward the extraordinary brand loyalty of fans which is about the one real asset “Rangers” still has.

The detox strategy? Also simple. Politely, humbly request formal rebranding, repositioning and relaunch. The three Rs to ensure the one R (“Rangers”) has a real sustainable future. The marketing will take care of itself.

As will the PR. The essence of top-class PR is being accidentally discovered at the scene of doing something good. So do it. Here’s how:

Request a re-start in Scottish League Division 3. Repositioning’s achieved. The new name takes care of the rebrand already. The relaunch is the blow of the whistle kicking off the first game of the season:

1. Govan Rangers are clean. Living within budget. Paying bills. Demonstrably detoxed unlike almost any other club in world football. Soon respected as such too.

2. Fantastic support and money suddenly injects into lower-league football (just what SFA says it wants under its latest merger plans)

3. SPL is suddenly competitive. Sure Celtic win it but Champions League is coming to St Mirren. Or somewhere.

4. No of league games means a big savings on policing bills and a lot of women not getting abused by men green and blue and Neanderthal all over

5. TV money comes into SPL just the same – as Sky ESPN have said

6. Vlad the Impaler over in Edinburgh has to find other targets for his amusing and trenchant opinions

7. Govan Rangers almost certainly get successive promotions and find they’ve used their Euro-ban years rather effectively. In no time they’re attracting serious talent on sensible PAYE wages because Champions’ League is just around the corner.

8. Suddenly all other club’s fans find there’s successful, clean Govan Rangers with a new history to be utterly proud of – so much so that some secretly begin to wish the old corrupt ways stayed so they could rightly insult a toxic brand allowed to stay in SPL/Div 1. But Govan Rangers were far too smart to fall for that trap, weren’t they?

9. The SPL and SFA, with appropriate psychiatric support and therapy, come to see it’s all a beginning and not the end of the world having GR outwith the top flight as they hurtle ever upwards in the coming seasons

10. The succulent lamb media culture – with similar counselling to the SPL/SFA, also realise you can’t kill the WATP loyalty. It stays. It sells papers. But everyone grows up and realises the days of fawning to Ibrox – or Parkhead are dead and gone. They’re just another club. Questioned, examined like any other. Except they’re not, they’re the one club with nothing to hide.

Ten reasons then to rebrand, reposition and relaunch. And bring Scottish football – not just “Rangers” – back from the brink.

It’s easy. To quote the slogan of a successful global sporting brand:

“Just Do It”

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99 reader comments

  1. disco64 says:

    oooft Don’t hold back Alex.

    1. Marty says:

      More silly hyperbole from Mr Thomson. Rangers used a common tax-saving device (even Celtic had an EBT). As we’ve seen in recent days innumerable people and companies look to reduce their tax bills, with only certain celbrities being thrust into the public spotlight. I suspect very few people or companies would reject the chance to cut their tax bills within the law – and Rangers’ EBT was intended to stay within the law (that’s the whole point of such schemes). Moerover, we await the verdict of the tribunal on the matter.

      This was followed by Craig Whyte not paying the bills. But Rangers are not the first club to suffer from bad owners and the oldco is a long way from being the first company whose creditors unfortunately suffered when it got into financial difficulty. If you genuinely don’t like procedures such as the CVA or the newco where creditors don’t get paid in full, I suggest you complain to the government.

      Rangers have already had several punishments or sanctions. I have no doubt there will be more. But it could never be enough for some people. I understand that there are genuine concerns and objections, of course. But there are some folk who, for whatever reasons, simply want to see Rangers hammered and try to dress this up as “sporting integrity” or some other noble motive.

      1. donnybhoy says:

        Try saying “sorry” – that will go a long way to turning the tide of approbation.

        ETBs may or may not transpire to have been legal as far as the oldco are concerned, but what was not legitimate was obscuring the nature of payment to players from the football authorities. Given Ogilvie’s position in the hierarchies there can be no excuse for this.

        Just try it – say “SORRY” – just once for godsake.

      2. Andy says:

        The EBT may well have been a legal loopehole that Deadco chose to exploit, however failure to divulge details of side contracts to the SPL/SFA and the shredding of the side letters is still a very serious issue. You cant bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened. Time to take responsibility, regroup and start over.

      3. Alan McG says:

        You. Just. Do. Not. Get. It.

      4. DougInOz says:

        Mate, even if the EBTs were run inside the law – they were outside SFA contract rules; RFC broke the rules of the competition they were playing in. Do you get it yet?

      5. scarlet says:

        It’s been a while since I’ve been here and it’s sad to see you still spouting the same nonsense. Rangers have not had several punishments so far. They got a ten point penalty that had no effect whatsoever and fines that will never be paid.

        Everyone knows EBTs are legal. It’s Rangers use of them which made them evasion and not avoidance. If you think that because HMRC haven’t announced anything yet means there’s still a chance oldco RFC will get away with it then you and others like you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

  2. Len Northfield says:

    This is almost exactly what I was saying this afternoon. Excellent piece, I genuinely hope they listen.

  3. Celtic gossip says:

    Alex great prose as usual but the key element missing is the realisation that an integral element of the RFC brand is sectarianism and hatred of catholic culture and people. RFC are not a FMCG brand they are a community. This community unless a miracle occurs will not be detoxed.

    Hatred fascism and a superiority complex can not be air brushed away by a corporate rebrand and repositioning of the client proposition. This target market does not want to change!

    Hail Hail

    1. ScottyB says:

      Whilst I agree with what Alex has written and with what you have written, I somewhat think that you are the person/people with the sectarian/anti-Irish problem. Let me explain:-
      Yes there is an element (however large) of Rangers fans that still condone this behaviour and live their lives by it (it’s hard to deny that) yet there are a lot of us Rangers fans who are not like that (I for one, and there are many I know of, who is married to a catholic, got married in a chapel and had our children baptised in the same chapel). About 40-50% of every post I read is about sectarian this, sectarian that. I do believe that things can’t be brushed under the carpet and the issue should be dealt with but that is time and again the only argument “Celtic” fans come up with when asked for an informed view. At Ibrox this behaviour is very few and far between but I do accept that at away games it is the norm. So, surely the away Police Forces must take action and help eradicate this problem. I appreciate everybody’s view on this matter and I wish your team all the best for the coming seasons.

    2. Craig Beaton says:

      Surely the same can be said of the Celtic brand? Given what I have been reading over the months, both are as bad as each other.

    3. alexthomsonmustresign says:

      as usual green tinted glasses rewrite history ala 1984 who threw bananas at mark walters ??? convenient or selective memories sums celtic supporters up

  4. grward says:

    Thsat of cours makes complete business sense from the perspective of Rangers.

    But there is the wider toxification of the integrity of the Scottish football establishment. Those in the SFA who really think that the EBT-holding SFA President should not be told to leave have no place in a future de-toxified Scottish game.

    Related to that is the clear need to understand who are the remaining 15 EPT beneficieries; until that is clear the rumours of “slush funds” and the impact of Ranger’s bullying and cheating direcly on the Scottish football establishment and media will remain unanswered.

  5. BMerrick says:
  6. Arabest says:

    Detoxification is the way forward. With a history of 140 years, mostly respectable and successful, a few years rebuilding will be a blink of the eye to future generations.

    A fresh start won’t involve some cobbled compromise to parachute into the First Division of the SFL. At present, the Rangers rescue plan seems to either involve spivs on the make, or club treasures wheeled in to revert to the status quo ante as soon as possible. The game is up. A new Rangers will be welcomed back to the fold after detoxification, by which time other clubs will have adapted to new circumstances. If Motherwell really believe they will lose £900k, they had better take advantage of their Champions League opportunity, or start making savings.

    You never know. By saying NO to Rangers, that quintessentially British club, perhaps the masses will try saying NO to the bankers and see if the world really does end.

    1. john says:

      140 years mostly respectable? you are having a laugh, many catholics such as myself wouldn’t see the years of sectarian discrimination that way!

    2. Kev says:

      ‘140 years history of mostly respectful and successful’ you should really go back and learn your own history abt them this is a team who had a sectarian signing up until a few years ago the have caused riots all over Europe throughout ther 140 year history there still the only team who could not collect ther only European cup winners cup trophy on the park due to their own fans rioting on the pitch scotland shame for 140 years

  7. Sandy, Paisley says:

    Nice idea, but if we are to believe the latest news, the SFA, still presided over by one C Ogilvie, is disbanding its tribunal so as not to punish “The Rangers,” and plans to demote them merely one division and not to Division 3.

    Plus ça change…

  8. johnnym says:

    Frighteningly simple and straightforward and yet I await with interest to see the level of abuse you’ll receive from ‘ra peepul’.

    To continue your business links, 3 years out of the SPL would still be classed as the short term in strategic terms and yet…..so i guess we’ll see if the claim that ‘the majority of rangers fans are decent people’ really holds up.

    If they are, then it’s a no brainer, but if we keep hearing that scottish football can’t survive without them in the top league, well we know where the no brainers are.

  9. Googybhoy says:

    Thommo’s article is written in the real world not in Scotland. It describes a business world devoid of sectarianism and ant Irish sentiment.

    Detoxing the brand would have to include losing the sectarian element in the product. Others in here have compared the situation with that in Sourh Africa after apartheid. Reconciliation is needed in Scottish society.

    It will not happen as long as Glasgow has over 200 Orange Walks.

  10. Govan Rangers 2012 says:

    They need to cleanse their cheating souls, otherwise it’s an eternity of hell for them.

  11. gav says:

    Sorry Alex, I am a fan of your work but you have fallen for the old mantra about green and blue. We are not two cheeks of the same backside. Beaten women largely belong to the blue side, as strathclydes finest will deny (or lose the records conveniently). As for fawning of the press to Parkhead, well if you can give me five examples from the last five years where this is true then I’ll ignore the 5000 examples where this has happened for the cheats accross the city. We are not the same, there is no ‘old firm’, and you are doing yourself a disservice by suggesting otherwise.

  12. Gambi53 says:

    Good article!
    Clubs’

  13. John C F says:

    Why is this simple solution beyond the ken of the authorities and clubs? Well done again Alex.

  14. Paddy Garcia says:

    The thing is Alex, the brand is the fans, and the fans are also toxic. To detoxify the club you have to detoxify the fans, and if the amount of drunken, bigoted fans whom I saw walking in Orange marches in the West of Scotland today with Rangers* tops on is anything to go by there isn’t enough detoxifying liquid in the world to clean them up.

    1. Weavers19 says:

      Rangers tops? How very RETRO:-)

    2. McLean C says:

      re. Paddy Garcia post.
      Does that not also apply to Hibernian walks and their followers? Alex has a very sound idea here and you just want to point score…

  15. Brian McLean says:

    How to you rid a club of it’s sectarian baggage – a baggage that the majority of its “loyal support” so readily adhere to?
    The fans of the club will take that baggage with them when visiting the smaller clubs throughout the length and breadth of the country.
    If you truly want to “detox” this club then you have to start with trying to eradicate the sectarian baggage that is deeply intrenched in everything they do and I think that is never going to happen.

    1. Marty says:

      I would suggest that folk who are making wild, generalised, sectarian-based allegations such as ‘it’s sectarian baggage – a baggage that the majority of its “loyal support” so readily adhere to’ and ‘the sectarian baggage that is deeply intrenched in everything they do’ need to examine their own attitudes. This sort of intemperate agenda-peddling is part of the problem, not the solution.

  16. Paul says:

    As I have mentioned before privately Alex, anti-Irish / Catholic bigotry was interwoven into the fabric of Scottish society – in the shipyards, foundries, factories, banks, police, judiciary, etc and strong remnants remain despite the newer legislation and the snazzy PR statements purporting to promote justice and equalty.

    The SFA Equality Standard for Sport:
    “The Scottish FA is fully committed to promoting equity. Fairness, justice, respect for each other, inclusion, addressing inequalities and removing barriers are just some of the principles of equity that influence the Scottish FA’s development, delivery and decision making.”

    And yet the SFA President (deeply conflicted) Ogivie remains in situ, the organisation retains the right to fine others for bringing the game into disrepute (!!)and the wishes of the fans across the country are ignored.

    They must be challenged by a national reaction by fans of all clubs. Without integrity it is not sport.

    1. Paul Paterson says:

      Paul can you give us some tangible examples of this in normal mainstream society?. Please do not cite orange walks as the vast majority of my fellow fans have no interest in this. I feel a lot of Celtic fans like yourself are showing your own prejudices by constantly referring to bigotry, when surely this is a football matter. I find that fans of most other SPL clubs seem to want RFC put down without constantly referring to anti catholic bias.

  17. Gerry McKenna says:

    Great report as usual sir.I have never believed from the start of this football fiasco that the punishment would fit the crime.The SFA,SPL and SFL just cannot help themselves when it comes to protecting their ‘establishment’ team.If their ‘establishment’ newspaper,and you know the one I mean,is to be believed then a re-structuring is to take place to secure a future for their team.My forebears have all been football loving people.They have all played,some better than others,and when too old to play they began to pay to watch the game.If the powers that be allow the offending,corrupt team,whatever they are called,to take a place at the top table,my family’s involvement in football stops here.

  18. AndyM1874 says:

    Some great points raised here Mr Thomson.

    There certainly has to be an acceptance of wrongdoing by the Rangers people before they can be accepted by the rest of Scottish football. Show some humility and proper reasoned thinking.

    As big a scandal as the Rangers situation is it is almost equaled by the scandelous way it has been covered by the mainstream media in Scotland. The lack of understanding of the situation by the so called journalists and the self protection displayed by some of the local newspapers has been astounding. It seems a lot of them are unable to publish bad news stories about Rangers as they are so reliant on Rangers fans for readership and distribution numbers.

    Time will tell if any of the 10 points are actually put into action by someone at New Rangers, sadly I do not think Mr Green has the humility or the finances to pull any of this off.

    Meanwhile, the rest of Scottish football is looking on, watching and waiting for those at RFC to take responsibility and apologise for what they have done.

    1. Jim Wood says:

      How can Scottish football behave properly, when the EBT receiving head of the game doesn’t even have a garden?
      Is this man also involved in the new plan for SPL/SFA that would “save the game,” but as a direct consequence would reduce the chances of first division teams making it to the SPL, whilst saving The Rangers fc Newco two years in the football hinterland?
      Just an opinion.

  19. William says:

    Absolutely pathetic again Alex. I’m afraid your hatred of Rangers FC and being used as a useful idiot by known Republicans is now doing your reputation a whole lot of harm.

    After your pathetic rants about being threatened and then realising it was a Celtic fan, your repuation in Scotland among the blue 2/3’s of Glasgow is at rock bottom.

    Time to change the tune and get back to being the useful idiot of someone else.

  20. Sam says:

    What a load of nonsense Alex. You continue to spew the bigoted hate inspired lies fed to you by the small minded group of vultures in Scotland. Rangers have not been found guilty of anything. You know that this is down to two men and yet you don’t have the courage to take on David Murray head on and whyte would have you in court faster than you can say jealously is shameful. We shall not fall alone.

    1. Stuart says:

      ” Rangers have not been found guilty of anything.”???

      How about “bringing the game into disrepute” then?

  21. zicoinexile says:

    Given the pond life that follow that mob, you will NEVER de-toxify the brand.

  22. Michael says:

    Alex, i agree with the article…but the media have never fawned over Celtic..it is quite the opposite. I understand the reason to mention Celtic the odd time when you legitimately chastise Newco Govan Rangers for their years of tax evasion,staggering level hubris and downright low-life corruption! However i feel the need to reluctantly point out that Celtic are not on a par, nor have never been remotely near on a par, with Rangers in terms of fawning from the MSM. The succulent lamb was never on the menu at Celtic Park (not Parkhead..sorry again Alex) But please let this not deter your pursuit of the truth and as i say, i do understand the reasons you feel the need to reference Celtic, however it is probably a bit of a cop-out. You are a top quality invetigative journalist..with an eye for the story. Bringing Celtic into it only serves to muddy the waters of this incredible story/saga, a bit unfairly I believe. But you are great!

  23. Sontse says:

    You mean imitate how Celtic are governed.

  24. John Smith says:

    Alex…shut up man, you talk drivel

  25. Lord Wobbly says:

    Request a start in Scottish League Division 3.

    Fixed that for you Alex.

  26. Timothy Jellington says:

    Even I would have a bit of respect for a detoxed, rebranded Rangers. I just can’t see that ever happening. They will cling to the old past. Secrets and behind closed doors handshakes. Even the new owner Green, who is neither Scottish nor a Rangers fan, has picked up the traditional arrogance, secrets and lies which the rest of us know as everyday business at RFC.

    This will drag on with it’s sour misery until they finally burn all bridges and vanish.

  27. wullie foley says:

    just shut the stinking place down

  28. JohnnyBGoode says:

    erm – what exactly do ‘those at RFC’ have to take responsibility and apologise for ?

  29. Dan Winters says:

    The bigotry show on here is unbelievable the lunatic fringe are out in force tonight.

  30. Auldheid says:

    The term Alex is “metanoia”. Only when that happens is real detoxification possible.

    The metanoia will not happen until the pain of the consequences of previous behaviour becomes so hard to endure it causes introspection in an attempt to assuage it. Not quite there yet but if/when that happens all that you write of can become a reality, not just a brand change but a heart change.

    Khalil Gibran had it right when he wrote:

    ” Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

    Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

    And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

    And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

    And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

    MUCH OF YOUR PAIN IS SELF CHOSEN.

    IT IS THE BITTER POTION BY WHICH THE PHYSICIAN WITHIN YOU HEALS YOUR SICK SELF.

    Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

    For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

    And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”

    Definition of METANOIA
    a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion

    Origin of METANOIA

    Greek, from metanoiein to change one’s mind, repent, from meta- + noein to think, from nous mind
    First Known Use: 1577

  31. jewel says:

    Another great blog Alex
    Agree with other responses regarding bigotry towards Catholics !

    I am amazed that no journalist that I know of has approached our first minister to ask if he now regrets getting involved with hmrc regarding rangers tax affairs and if he still feels that rangers are the fabric of our society.

    If your boss where to put you on this story full time I think we may have some very worried people!

  32. Beano says:

    I see that the SFA are planning on creating a new league structure Alex, would be interested to here your views? I reckon they are going to bend over and do all that they can to keep a corrupt, cheating institution in the top league? Hope not but the SFAs statement all but needed ‘this will be to help rangers fc ‘ sick off the whole thing and will be gone from Scottish football like many others.

  33. NetRaider says:

    Straight to the point Alex and a great summing up of the situation. I just wish the Scottish media had your obviously impartial take on the Rangers situation and Scottish football in general, I guess being objective wouldn’t sell newspapers.

    As always looking forward to your next blog.

  34. Ballybough says:

    As usual the quality of your report is excellent.
    Why is Ogilvie still in post Why is Reagan on holiday when reports are suggesting he has disbanded the Appelate Tribunal to avoid the inevitable justice to the establishment club, it appears the forces of darkness are alive and kicking.

  35. reilly1926 says:

    Your analogy is perfectly true regarding business men with integrity and those who don’t.

    I’ve seen both ends of the business world and Mr Charles is clearly at the shady double glazing end.

  36. justshatered says:

    Alex what incentive do Rangers have to rebrand when the authorities, both SPL and SFA, simply refuse to use the current rule book to punish the club.
    We now have the ridiculous sight of the SFA refusing to charge the club over going to civil court over a year long transfer ban.
    The ban was not in the list of sanctions available and the court said so and sent the decision back to the independent tribuneral. The court also said that this could end up a worse result for the club because the most likely outcome is suspension or revoking of the clubs licence to play football. The SFA are now refusing to set a date for the independent tribuneral to sit because if they do they know that the they will at the very least suspend the club.
    This is now the sad state of affairs in Scotland.
    The rules are a bit like the ‘pirate code’ in the film ‘Pirates of the Caribean’ more of guidelines actually.
    Scottish football is now held hostage by one club and a bunch of yes men who make up the SPL and the SFA and a media who who are even worse.
    Unfortunately for the above the mask has slipped and the rest of Scottish football and the wider society are now beginning to ask questions and fight back.
    Every time we think we are starting to win the people in charge come up with some excuse NOT to do their job.

  37. Iniquitous says:

    Alex:

    If only Doncaster or Regan had seized the moment months ago and issued a statement akin to your 10 point manifesto!

    As it is, they appear desperate to reward a corrupt entity for its corrosive influence on the Scottish game by disbanding or indefinitely postponing Lord Carloway’s independent panel, and by shoehorning the shambles that remains of the club formerly known as Rangers into an SPL2.

    It is almost incomprehensible. Have they satisfied themselves that Green is not some charlatan opportunist, and that a financial plan is in place to avoid yet another administration? I don’t think so. One despairs that those charged with administering our game are so removed from public opinion, and are so grievously weak, inept or corrupt, that our National game will sink so far into the abyss that it will never recover.

    It is absolutely paramount that it be impressed on these administrators that a critical juncture has been reached. Fail to impose just sanctions for years of cheating and tens of thousands of fans will walk away from a set-up that favors the conspirators.

    Iniquitous

  38. RevStu says:

    “SPL is suddenly competitive. Sure Celtic win it but Champions League is coming to St Mirren. Or somewhere.”

    Everyone takes for granted that the other 11 clubs will be playing for second place. But remember – Rangers regularly take 9-12 points a season off the likes of Motherwell or Hearts. Give those sides those points and suddenly the league just got a lot closer.

  39. john clarke says:

    Difficult to disagree with you, AT, except perhaps that I would suggest that generations of RFC owners/directors, while not using the language of modern business, nevertheless did look to their customers, their brand and the sustainability of the business into the future by playing unrelentingly to their (significant in numbers) core support of anti-irish, anti-Catholic bigots.

  40. Gary Porter says:

    Every so often I’ve thought to myself; they could do this. They could say sorry, recognise and publicly acknowledge that what has happened has been so wrong, and then set about rectifying it and atone.
    It’s what I would want if my club had been revealed as cheating, greedy, completely lacking in integrity and to have been responsible for making the last 20 years of Scottish football a total sham and waste of time. (Yes, 20 years, Bears – the first ten years of Murray’s success having been funded by Bank of Scotland at the expense of other clubs who shared the same lender during that period. Effectively a rigged league.)
    However, you only have to spend 5 minutes listening to Rangers fans whine about persecution and/or the influence of Irish Republicanism/the Catholic church in Scotland, to realise that they genuinely don’t get it and never will.
    I had the misfortune to get held up in Glasgow city centre by an Orange walk today. There they were – the defiant hangers on in all their Rangers finery. You “the people” are the manifestation of so much that is wrong with Scotland in 2012. When are you going to wake up to yourselves and grasp that defining yourselves on the basis of what you hate is actually holding you back. Lose the fear, step into the light and join the rest of us (or the third division) and start to make it better.

  41. zin says:

    Mr Thomson,you just don’t get it do you.It’s not about a football club,it is about a gathering place for anti-Irish,anti-catholism in Scotland.People from all over Scotland not just glasgow congregate there every second week to show their hatered to Irish/catholics.Where will the “peepel” go now to show their hatred?Forget the football,The big hoose must stay open for Scotlands bigots.

  42. Rustyy05 says:

    Hit the nail on the head. From a Rangers fan.

  43. The Octagon says:

    The key question for me is why will RFC fans choose to go to Div 3 ? If it’s to spite other clubs then the essential lesson hasn’t been learned. Without that we’re back to square one – still maybe 3/4 years down the line.

    If however the motivation is to cleanse the club and come back afresh then every other club’s fans has a responsibility to receive the new club into the league without rancour.

    The initial onus rests clearly with the RFC people to acknowledge what has been done wrong, their collective cupability for it and to say how they’ll it right. Then everyone should say ‘fair enough’, dues have been paid and we move forward together.

    Without that contrition I’m afraid we’re destined to a bleak future. I sincerely want to be optimistic but…..

  44. Mr. Bojangles says:

    Easier said than done alex. The sorry fact is that r angers are rotten to the core. Always have been, always wll be in whatever shape or form IF they manage to come back in whatever shape or form. Their misplaced sense of superiority ” we arra peepul” and all that nonsense will never change. You have to live in amongst it alex to truly see their archaic, outdated and pre-historic ways. Truly, the best alternative would be for them to be gone for good. And, it may well happen yet by the looks of things. And, it certainly will be no bad thing if it happens.

  45. Carntyne says:

    I think your article suggests a very reasonable and attractive way forward for Sevco.

    Unforunately the club will not be run by what you refer to as serious business people who scent sustainable success, but by those who are looking to make a quick buck.

    Another factor is the historic collapse in crowd sizes when Rangers aren’t winning trophy after trophy, and I think David Murray understood this very well, which led him down the path he took, spend, spend, spend, to keep the crowds up and the fans happy.

    I foresee, after early enthusiasm,that the fans will get tired of watching a much lower standard of football whether it be in the 1st or 3rd divisions, and just like in the past there will be a dramatic fall in attendances.

    As earlier posters have pointed out, part of the problem is a largely bigoted support who contribute to the toxicity of the club.

    I genuinely hope that your vision for the future comes to pass, but 60years of experience tells me that any major shift in attitude from ex-Rangers fans will not happen overnight.

    And may not happen at all.

  46. Jerry says:

    As usuaul Alex your articles hit the spot. However unfortunately as can be seen by the comments left, this is not a restructuring of a business such as M&S,Nestle or Tesco. There is a complete restructuring of a society needed here where the “establishment” has had its own way for the last 140 years and the people who are in “control” such as the footbal authorities, MSM and even politicians do not really know what to do to change the society, as they have always been told what to do.However, now that they have the chance of freedom of speech or opinion they are afraid to do so in case someone suddenly appears and brings the “establishment” back to life and they will be punished.Until these people actually start to look at things in our country the way that you do Alex we will never progress. Not only in football but most importantly as a society. With what has happened in this debacle we have had an opportunity to change our society and drag it into the 21st Century, but do the powers that be really want that ????

  47. Deansy says:

    Sorry Alex but the ‘business’ is as toxic as it’s ‘customers’ – Get rid of both.

  48. Bassmidget209 says:

    This is exactly what needs to happen to fix scottish football. Rangers need to completely overhaul their perceived opinion in scotland by being humble and accepting responsibility for the horrendous repercussions brought to the scottish game. Regardless Rangers are prohibited from european competition; why be near the SPL when the greatest prize in unobtainable. In recent years I would say rangers has been one of the top producers of youth talent and that is precisely the route that they should be taking. They are still and always will be one of the top names in scottish football, any youth player should understand the potential in featuring in a diminished rangers. Away from rangers the other SPL teams will hopefully have a fan resurgence, making up for any drop from a lack of rangers-based income. Alongside this they should continue along the route of producing or attracting young players. Dundee united stick out in my head as a team introducing exciting young players to the league but they are of course not alone. The Scottish league has long been maligned but I feel it is unfairly criticised. The vast majority of our teams play a passing, attacking style of play. This combined with an increasing necessity to play younger home grown players can only be a good thing in the long term for our game.
    In reality I feel that this is how all fans of all teams should look upon this opportunity. Scottish football has been declining ever since money came into the game up here. regardless of who started it we all joined in, ironically it is the propagators of this short term-ist ‘speculate to acumulate’ culture who are suffering most. However we must all pull together to help our game. How long is three, four, or ten years of ignominy? For some it is too much but they are not true fans. In time rangers will return, potentially as strong as they ever where, with a core of young, exciting players to continue our ‘poverty revolution’. Scottish football was probably in its healthiest state in the 80s: a competitive league comprised primarily of scottish players good enough to keep the english based players out of the national team.
    Lets all get together without petty rivalries, pathetic bigotry or elitism to get in the way of firstly delivering FAIR & JUST punishment along with restructuring our game to provide exhilaration to the average fan, not just the ones who can pay the most.

  49. John C says:

    4. No of league games means a big savings on policing bills and a lot of women not getting abused by men green and blue and Neanderthal all over

    Hopefully you can back up this accusation that ones as bad as the other, why have you brought the green into this. Previously you told the Celtic support to accept how they are seen by other teams supporters and that was fair enough.
    However this lazy attempt at two sides of the same coin is too far. Do the homework there is no comparison. Policing costs are deliberately exagerated to continue the myth to provide succour for the ignorant, you spent hours trying to pacify rangers supporters with the ‘corporate governanace is all I’m hightlighting’ then drag Celtic supporters into every vile generalisation you accuse the Rangers support off.
    Coward, either do the job you proclaim to be doing or dont, this is not a Celtic story, the Celtic support do not trash cities they visit, the only place in the world the Celtic support get a bad press is Scotland, yet you refuse to question why.
    Rangers trash Barcelona, the press sanitise it, the Rangers support trash Manchester the press blame the English, and you are now falling into line like a tramp into hot pies.
    You’ve been harping on about the lack of investigative journalism in Scotland, but your only too happy to play the same game casting the same aspersions (sp) to suit your fear of loosing the the sympathy of the peepil who have spent their lives trying to convince the world Celtic supporters are worse than Rangers supporters, addressing the issue without fear or favour appears to have become a casulty of your insecuriy.

  50. Holger Danske says:

    What a spectacular life you live Alex,one week you’re out foxing the assassins of the free Syria army,the next you’re mixing with the cream of world corporate business”seriously big business beasts”They think that you are such a great guy that they confide in you that they are wearing 100% recycled suits and they think that much of you they speak to you like a long lost friend“You know Alex – I’m just a grocer from Liverpool.”In between this hectic schedule you’ve managed to become the useful idiot for one Phil Macgorillabrain the self styled spokesman for the so called ethnic Irish community in the west of Scotland,a fantasist and attention seeker much like yourself.
    Why don’t you you go back and give and give the Free Syria Army another chance,hopefully they’ll get it right this time.

  51. Johnny Farrell says:

    Alex, your ideas are seriously desirable, yet seriously flawed for one reason only. No-one who is involved with oldco, newco or wannabeco believe that rangers or anyone involved with them over the last 140 years have done anything wrong enough to warrant any kind of censure or punishment. Least of all, the sitting President of the SFA. The best thing that can happen is for them to be quietly buried for ever and a monument erected in Edmiston Drive to remind us all of the old adage about power and corruption.

  52. Bill Reilly says:

    Alex, agree with the piece but one thing missing and disagree on one part of the business model. Rangers as a brand to shed all the bad social things they are perceived to stand for need to become an FC Pauli. The other thing is that Scottish football needs a business model that stands with minimal/no tv money. In the future I can see tv football going the way of recorded music and being so widely pirated that it’s value plummets. To put the strength back into the spl you therefore need collective bargaining so that no matter where you finish in the spl you get the same money (like the states) and that you can buy a season ticket to the spl that shows all games for say 200 a season. If its at the right price it’s not pirated and will show an inverness is as important as a hearts or as a celtic to the health of the league. Also need the German rule that forbids debt. How many portsmouths will there be in England when tv money plummets from over50 mil each to a tenth of that? Would make a good blog

  53. rab-c says:

    well said alex but you have to zoom in on the sfa ect their rotten from top to bottom expose them please go for it alex.

  54. tambo says:

    They couldn`t have the word “rangers” anywhere in their rebrand name Alex.
    Have a wee read at this……….

    …. Directors intending to use a similar name or trading style for a newco should bear in mind Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
    This states that if a company is placed into insolvent Liquidation (ie Compulsory or Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation), directors or shadow directors in the preceding twelve months are prohibited from being directors or shadow directors of a company with a name by which the liquidating company was known by in that period of twelve months or a name which is so similar as to suggest an association.

  55. JP Gallacher says:

    Great article as usual. just one wee point, the new club are not banned from european football they simply do not meet the criterea to play in european competitions.

  56. QMC says:

    Alex, well argued and logical but when was that relevant to the situation. From what I can see the average Rangers fan still thinks they are getting unfairly put upon and that the answer is to be become even more toxic.

    Unless Rangers fans want the club to be detoxed it wont happen. Still lot’s of work to do to show that they are as culpable as Whyte, Murray et al.

    Their WATP attitude and lack of challenge to those in charge are at the root of why this was allowed to happen to their club. Own the issue or allow the spiral of decline to continue.

  57. Edinjag says:

    That’s all very well, the cheating and stealing being laid aside and a new squeaky clean Rangers appearing miraculously to wide acclaim from those who rely on it for their living.

    However it does nothing about the attitude problem that this club have which ranges from the Sandy Jardine threats of sanctions, to the downright bare faced bigotry of a significant section of its fanbase.

    They were the people and we will not forget that.

  58. Alan Smart says:

    I think this article is cowardly as it totally dodges the big detox new Rangers needs. Ditch the bigotry and with it all the dated loyalist imagery. The new owner should say all this garbage was “old Rangers”, now bust and binned. The new co wants none of it, not one thing to do with it. So no union flags, pictures of the Queen. lodge based supporters clubs, or talk of 1690. Oh, and we are a Scottish club, so if must bring flags bring Saltres, conveniently blue, the club’s new colour – the red bit has been dropped permanently, as has the Red Hand,. And current fans, recruit us some new ones. Especially a few of your palls from local chapels who the old co was absolutely shit at attracting. And give them the guarantee they wont be abused with sectarian signing as we, the new owners, will immediately life ban anyone we hear using sectarian language, including all the suited types in our hospitality suites, and we will not exempt them even if they happen to be former directors or players. Do this, and the new Rangers brand’s potential market will have doubled in the city it operates from. Face facts – the current Rangers’ brand equals bigotry. Not a great seller in the 21st century, as Alex’s masters of brand management would surely tell him?

    1. kenzo says:

      And I thought the Union Jack was a British flag….we’ll ditch that as long as the other mob ditch the “Tricolour” which you conveniently forgot to mention. Not sure when you were last at Ibrox or indeed if you have ever been however, I cant remember the last time I heard sectarian chants at Ibrox…oh old on I do,the last visit of Aberdeen, who never stopped singing anti Rangers songs the whole match

      1. Deansy says:

        “I cant remember the last time I heard sectarian chants at Ibrox” – But at the same time, you managed to hear Aberdeen Fans sing ‘Anti-rangers songs’ – do you honestly expect ANYONE to believe THAT ??. (btw, what a Shocker – visiting fans sing anti-home team songs ??)

  59. Bill Fraser says:

    Great ideas but as others have said the problem is that the fans are as toxic as the club. I’m sure that, like me, you have looked at the various forums where you are branded an enemy of ra’peepul, a taig, a f*nian bhastard. You just cannot detox these people. The average fan will accept that the club needs to be punished and heavily but those who are most vocal are the same types of low-life who walk the streets menacing passers-by with 2 or 3 Rottweilers. They are the dregs of society and without removing them there is no hope for the club.

    Only a total banishment to the junior divisions followed by a request to join the SFL after 3 years of accounts will ever cleanse this club as by that time the slime will have dripped off them and gone away to support Chelsea or Man C. This is the only solution for the future of Scottish football and The Rangers.

  60. Brian Mac says:

    All ok but what about playing an Irish Catholic. That policy should be specifically introduced in the Newco rules and be publicly stated by the directors and management before entry to their new league whatever that may be.
    Oh and by the way, I really don’t thing Govan Rangers, or any title connected to the previous corrupt and bigoted “establishment,” is a good idea. The Newco fans should be made aware that all the rotten and corrupt baggage is well and truly left behind. Perhaps ‘Govan F.C.’ or something similar might be a more apt title.

  61. Stuart says:

    Good points Alex, and very valid input from all those who have highlighted the sectarian cancer at the roots of this club and it’s “loyal customer base”.

    But reviving a business is about more than just brand detoxification. It is about generating income and investing these resources effectively. As a business model, football is almost unique in that income depends enormously on which league a team is playing in and whether or not it plays in the lucrative European competitions. I have never believed that Rangers’ recovery from consignment to the third division back to the Champions League will be the simple progression that many assume.

    How will will Rangers’ SFL income compare with that of the SPL days? How many of the fans who thronged to Ibrox to cheer their team on to SPL success will pay to see the club host third division football and how much will they pay at the turnstiles for the privilege? How serious will the loss of TV income be? What kind of company will be prepared to be associated with this toxic brand as shirt sponsors and how much will they be prepared to pay given the lack of TV exposure and the possibility of a commercial backlash from the fans of other clubs?

    Yes, Rangers will win promotion back to the SPL, but what kind of club will they be when they get there? The international quality players will have long since gone, as will the coaching and scouting staff on SPL/Champions League size wage packets. Will three years of SFL sized income have been enough to meet the running costs of Ibrox and Murray Park?

    The only thing guaranteed not to change will be the sectarianism!

  62. Stan Laurel says:

    It would have been a good idea for Alex to have googled ‘Tesco Tax Avoidance’ before writing that article.

  63. Roy Wood says:

    Why should any forgiveness be forthcoming for a football team where sorry seems to be the hardest word?
    The extreme views held by most of the Sevco persuasion does not, and will not, allow admission of guilt.
    Just read the latest words of the Sevco football coach in respect of players wishing to secure their future earnings if you want a lesson in hypocrisy and denial.
    Crimes may have been committed here so let’s not dance around and get all nicey nicey with them. Being nice is not in the Sevco DNA and any gestures to soften the blow will not be reciprocated by Sevco once they re-establish their power base, in fact, I predict a riot.

  64. Patrick says:

    When you have performed the miracle of de-toxifying the Rangers’ brand perhaps you could move on to Cameron’s cabinet,the Royals and the English Defence League. I suspect however that you might have more success in becoming the next leader of the Loyal (and Royal) Orange Order of Scotland!

  65. Patrick says:

    “With a history of 140 years, mostly respectable and successful”—-that would be apart from their decades long policy of refusing to sign Roman Catholics!

  66. JBWalsh says:

    Alex, well written: a broader perspective (much needed in Scotland). I was brought up in a large, Catholic family in Fife. My 2 brothers supported Hibs & Kilmarnock. I myself was of the Celtic persuasion. Actually, we all should have supported a Fife team, but that’s another argument. Anyway, various posters have made the very valid point that Scotland is unusual in it’s religious bigotry. Possibly even worse than Northern Ireland. Are you convinced that an economic or market approach will tackle & solve that cancer? I no longer follow any religion, am married to a non-Catholic and have no interest in anyone’s affiliation. But it is a problem, is it not? All I know is that the vast majority of Scots (whatever their background) are fundamentally gentle & generous souls. Maybe the country needs to lose both Rangers & Celtic to enable them to be what they would like to be….

  67. jinky44 says:

    None so blind as those who will not see!!

  68. Colin Sime - Gorgie Jambo says:

    Somebody up there actually had the audacity to claim that most of Rangers’ history was “respectable”. 117 years of a sectarian employment policy followed by 20 odd years of cheating is hardly respectable.
    Charles Green should start by saying: No more orange strips to pander to the bigots, no July trips to Linfield, no £16.90 Christmas lunches or keycodes in the management suite at Ibrox with the same 4 numbers as the code, believe me I’ve been there. A new club which pays its way and is welcoming to all irrespective of nationality or religion. How many Republic of Ireland players have been deemed good enough to play? Time for it all to go. Sure they’ll lose some of their traditional support, but you’d want to lose them anyway. Others, not steeped in seatarianism will take their place.
    Firsty though, perhaps Charles Green and Ally McCoist could stop moaning about players leaving on the cheap and set about paying for the players they have like Lee Wallace.

  69. donnybhoy says:

    As long as there is an Orange Lodge and the schools are segregated [on religious grounds] the toxic stench will persist.

    1. dougiebhoy says:

      Thin ice there Donny. Schools in Scotland are non-denominational…unless you CHOOSE to go to a school that specifically teaches Catholicism.
      Make them ALL non-denominational – get your religious education somewhere other than school.
      That might work.

  70. Sparts says:

    I can only agree with some of the other comments regarding the vile sectarianism that in engrained within this club and it’s support. This is an opportunity for Rangers to lose that baggage and change the face of the club forever. Has it dawned upon Rangers fans/directors just how hated the club is by the rest of Scottish football? People are not irrational by nature, even when football is concerned. Not always anyway. By not apologizing and going down “fighting” the SFA/SPL other clubs at every opportunity is making things worse. Were Rangers to hold their hands up, apologise and take their punishment without bleating how unfair the world is then a lot of this ill feeling would disapate.
    I see a lot of Celtic fans posting on here – you lot are almost as bad, people in glass houses etc…

    1. Carntyne says:

      Until you have been on the receiving end of the Huns hatred and discrimination you are not qualified to pontificate on this matter.

  71. The Iceman says:

    I think there exists in Scotland an appetite for a non-sectarian club which can represent some kind of modern Scottish identity and take it to a larger stage.

    Celtic are a unique club with a specific anti- establishment culture which appeals not just to catholics, but those on the political left, those who feel in some way outsiders within the Scottish presbyterian mainstream, or those who are simply rebels that like some kind of cavalier approach to the playing of the game on the park. As such they have a much wider appeal than the crude assumption that they are a “catholic” team would imply, but they cannot have a universal appeal.

    For Rangers to adopt that mantle they need to change and change radically. At present the ‘Gers on the whole appear shell-shocked and defiant to the end clinging on to the less appealing aspects of their traditions for dear life. This has been a sick and broken club which had lived on borrowed resources of time, money and ideology for decades. It deserves to die.

    Perhaps a new club could occupy Ibrox when reconstruction happens and a new space could be found in the regional leagues of the pyramid (two years from then and it could reach the top division) with a whole new fan base drawn from existing non-sectarian elements of the present support and new supporters attracted by the shedding of past tribal loyalties.

    Any attempt to re-brand any new club: ( that is what we are talking about here) “Rangers” with the present fan base and culture is doomed to lead us to at best a stagnant reiteration of the present divisions within Scottish football and, if any “launchpad” – not a “parachute” a parachute falls, and as things stand Rangers are the lowest of the low in that they are not at present in any form a constituted football club – is given to propel them into SPL2 or some such, a magnification of the present cultures of Sectarianism and Entitlement which make the Rangers support so uniquely despised within Scotland.

    1. Auldheid says:

      In 2008 I wrote this to Graham Speirs at The Times. He either never got it or declined the challenge. The questions are as if not more relevant today.

      Date: 17 Oct 2008

      Dear Mr Spiers

      In reading what Celtic Chairman John Reid said in his statement to the Celtic AGM on the singing of The Famine Song, where he defined who Celtic are and what they stand for (see in bold below), I thought his statement begged the question of Rangers:

      Just exactly who are Rangers and what do they stand for?

      As a Celtic supporter I have my own often biased and cynical views but I was seriously wondering could Rangers come up with a statement about themselves about who they are and what they stand for that would not suffer greatly when compared to Celtic’s?

      I ask because whilst I agree with Dr Reid that we are NOT the same at this point in time, I see that not as something to crow over but as a matter of regret. Perhaps if Rangers could define themselves in the same positive terms, which might mean accepting and stating that past attitudes were mistaken, they might create a more solid foundation to move onwards and upwards from.

      I have taken the time to write to you because I admire the courage and clarity with which you have dealt with the behavioural issue of the worst element in the Ranger’s support and hope that in asking the question you might be prompted to

      a)Make an attempt at defining the ideal answer
      b)Assess just how far short of that ideal Rangers are falling so that the gap can be positively closed.
      c)Publish your views.

      Yours faithfully

  72. Janice Thompson says:

    Alex…Just a wee recent example of the disdain shown to Celtic fc and the “Cant do no wrong” attitude towards the non Irish Catholic community in Glasgow. When Celtic won the league the team were refused permission by Glasgow council to parade in an open top bus to provide the fans with an optimal view of the trophy. (to avoid any trouble) This prvilege is afforded to most teams in most cities in the UK, but not Celtic. Then a couple of weeks later the same district council authorised 22… yes TWENTY TWO Orange walks throughout the city…….

  73. Sparts says:

    Next project – how to talk SFL members into voting no to Rangers joining the SFL.
    Only 8 required to say no. This is an opportunity to wipe this stain from Scottish society forever.

  74. Stuart says:

    The situation has gone too far for a simple detox. Current business practice in cases where toxicity is too entrenched to be eradicated is to split the company into a “toxic” brand and a “clean” brand. So for me the only way to detox the Rangers brand is for their supporters clubs to get together and launch a new club at non-league level.

    Call it something like A.F.C. Rangers. Make it clear that the club is only about the football. Ban overt sectarianism and enforce that. Leave the toxicity behind in SEVCO5088. The pyramid league structure is on it’s way. It will happen. You can rebuild your club all the way up to the SPL.

    Yes, SEVCO will keep Ibrox, but so what? You outgrew Govan and became an institution decades ago. Other clubs have lost their grounds without losing their identities. Some even managed to buy their grounds back again as success brought renewed resources.

    1. Deansy says:

      “Other clubs have lost their grounds without losing their identities” – But when that club’s ‘Identity’ is Sectarian bigotry – what then ??.

  75. manandboy says:

    Alex, I am one of your biggest fans.
    But even the very best of strikers miss the odd sitter.
    Pas de probleme.

    Lest you missed it elsewhere, Alex.
    The SFA have 2 Rule Books.
    The second one is headed ‘Rangers Only’, and all the pages are blank.

    As long as CO remains as Chair of the SFA, Rule Book 2 will continue to be the rule of thumb among regulators in Scotland.

    Rebranding? Whatever . . . .

  76. Franco says:

    Hmmm sectarianism ? racism ? discrimination ? is it not all the same ? I am a catholic rangers fan and every time it comes to light with anyone who does not support rangers I am asked how could I support they orange b’s and the worst and most offensive abuse always comes from fans of celtic and aberdeen. On the other hand if it is a rangers fan who comments on it the comments are always possitive and welcoming. At 37 years old I feel disgusted at how “SECTARIANISM” OR AS I LIKE TO CALL IT “DISCRIMANATION” STILL PLAYS SUCH A BIG PART IN SCOTTISH FOOTBALL. Regardless to what ground you attend in scotland, england or any other nation throughout the world Discrimanation is used loosely in the stands. Regardless to wether it is race, religion or nationality or even which part of the country you come from every football team has supporters that are ignorant and behave in such a way. so to say its an old firm problem or even a scottish problem is just narrow minded and its time to look at the wider issue.

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