15 Mar 2012

Rangers fans have their say

Over the past week I have blogged the views of non-Rangers fans about what is happening at Ibrox and across the game in scotland generally. Now it is the turn of Rangers fans themselves.  Celtic fans promised me I would get a great deal of abuse, bigotry and arrogance. They are wrong. What they delivered was considered constructive and informed.

True, far fewer Rangers fans emailed than the deluge of non-Rangers supporters last week and I am still unsure quite what the reasons are for that. Frankly you couldn’t blame them for being catatonic with shock given the shenanigans around Ibrox. I just hope the previous blogs have not put them off. However plenty have got in touch and here’s what these Ibrox faithful have to say.

Like most, Simon took it on the chin, no ducking the issues now:

“Rangers FC, from the boardroom to the supporter have been bereft of any real leadership for more than 2 decades. At a corporate level we suffered the autocratic and egotistic rule of Sir David Murray. He used a fire-fighting style of management…and overspends…”

Further – and this is significant as fans of all persuasion keep on pointing to this across Scotland – he alleges that an all-too-cosy relationship between Rangers and the local media (newspapers in particular), became so serious that people simply lost touch with financial reality – in fact reality full stop. Simon again:

“His (David Murray’s) control of the support was excellent and was via his contacts in the media. This created a culture within much of the support that forgot any critical awareness they may have had when it came to the football club. This meant Craig Whyte was able to ride into town (takeover may be a huge story in itself) and stay on the saddle for so long despite what was out there in the public domain.”

And if I hear the phrase “succulent lamb”  once more,  I’ll go vegan. A notorious story written by a Glasgow journalist praised David Murray’s taste in fine wine and succulent lamb dinners. It’s become a Glasgow by-word for a local media who bought unquestioningly into the lavish claims being made by the likes of Mr Murray at Ibrox.

So on this Simon speaks for many more: Rangers, Celtic, Heart of Caledonian Thistle Academicals, you name it.

Many Rangers fans said critcs just want to see the club destroyed – but that is not borne out by my inbox at any rate, of many thousands of responses.

That said, most  Rangers supporters accepted the fans had been ‘duped’ – to coin Mr Murray’s favourite current word – and  many Rangers fans really are facing it square on and dealing with it. Many say it’s not about football results any longer at all. It is about re-establishing a credible identity for the entire football club so many cherish across Scotland – across the world.

Ross took the chance to put me firmly in my place (rightly) and point up the true losers in all this:

“While you are doing your little blogs and reports from London, remember there are good honest people who have been victims of this, they have paid thousands of pounds to follow their team under the stewardship of men who are not fit for purpose. We, the Rangers supporters are the biggest victims in this situation.”

Agreed. Ross, I can make the blogs bigger if you really want. And for info I’ve not done any reports on TV from London – just Glasgow. I intend keeping it that way.

And for all those out there – many, many of them – who seek to portray the relationship between Rangers and the SFA as some kind of cosy club, well many an Ibrox regular would disagree. Rangers Football Club has been convicted of no crime thus far and should be presumed innocent until the Tribunal and other investigations show otherwise, say many. But they feel shunned by football’s authorities in Scotland in their hour of need. Here’s Frank:

“The SFA and SPL appear to be the only two bodies in world football that do not wish to assist a member club in times of trouble…why is this?  As yet Rangers have been found guilty of no crime!”

It was repeatedly pointed out that Employee Benefit Trusts (the means by which many Rangers were paid, and at least one director we now know) are entirely legal and will bother nobody if properly administered – though much hinges upon that ‘properly’. Robert suggests this is a sideshow and not the real issue at Ibrox at all:

“There is a real anger towards David Murray and Craig Whyte for the position we now find ourselves in. Rather than governance of the SFA and the SPL and looking at a conspiracy that doesn’t exist – I would suggest a more pertinent line of investigation which would be welcomed by all at Rangers Football Club would be into the actions of the Murray Group …”

That being of course, David Murray’s group which bought Rangers, undeniably took it places and to resounding success on the field .

So was due diligence carried out upon Mr Whyte? Undeniably fertile ground in which to dig .That is something Robert, and surely  other fans across the country could agree upon?

On that, as on so many other aspects of Ibrox, much more will no doubt come out in the days and weeks to come.

For now, I’ll get this out, say thanks to all Rangers fans for helping me out when you’ve all got better thngs to be doing, and book my Easyjet passage back to Glasgow for next week – watch this space.

Read Alex Thomson’s previous blogs:

Punish Rangers if they’re guilty, say fans

The dangers of Rangers’ tax shambles

A level playing field?

Follow Alex Thomson on Twitter

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