What now for Rangers fans?
For some time now I’ve been struck by how little Rangers fans are sometimes consulted at key moments in this long-running saga.
Wednesday night’s BBC film is another of those moments. Knowing it was coming though, I have done a wee bit of asking around this time.
Specifically, on what the Ibrox faithful really want. And time and again the talk comes back about dignity, pride and tradition in the club. Fans want to cling to that. They cherish it. Controversial to many – but they want it intact, out of this grinding, slow, dismantling of many of the things they thought their club stood for.
So where now for fans?
I have a small proposal. It’s called a DVA, rather than CVA. Dignified Voluntary Agreement and I have drafted it to address many of the concerns Rangers fans have sent to me in recent weeks.
Under the DVA a number of key things are achieved for Rangers:
— The club that’s come to epitomise sleaze in the modern game regains the moral high ground.
— It sends a resounding message not just through Scottish football but through world football, world sport.
— It gets the SFA, SPL and UEFA off all kinds of hooks.
— It let’s Sky news know that football runs football, not Murdoch-influenced TV.
— It reduces Strathclyde’s policing bill on taxpayers and saves scores of women from serious domestic violence.
— It shuts up Celtic fans (to a degree maybe).
— It creates a sustainable strategy for long-term successful football at Ibrox in the SPL and no doubt Europe.
By just doing what so many Rangers fans want.
By acting like all successful major businesses do in this century: nurturing long-term sustainability above short-term success-at-any-cost (the Murray/Whyte formula of destruction).
The DVA works like this. Rangers petition SPL/SFA/SFL to leave the top flight and begin again in Division 3. A line is drawn and an astonishing message of sporting integrity is sent which fans all over are crying out for.
Although players will leave Ibrox this summer the buy-ban is only a year. RFC will likely be promoted, perhaps twice in two seasons. Soon they’ll be attracting players with the real prospect of Champions League football again.
A lull on old firm games means respite for the police to say nothing of other teams getting a crack at European football.
But what do I know?
Here’s what just one fan of many made of this:
“I’ve paid my tax and I’m shamed that the club I love has not done so. I’d be happy to take the drop and fight back fair and square. A clean club that pays its way.”
Many think the DVA has merit but raises problems of course. One fan says:
“Some of it does sound reasonable and I agree with some of his thoughts but I have a couple of reservations: Many reasonable supporters of other teams would consider this the right thing to do. However many less reasonable will consider anything other than our total destruction a let-off.”
Which is true of some anti-RFC fans of course. Many thought this will be more problematic if Rangers is liquidated into a Newco too.
Many say the SPL doesn’t want to let Rangers go at any price of course. But the DVA rests on the unusual concept of football seeing long-term sustainability and integrity above this season’s silverware. And all parties buying in. Weird, I know.
Others, while accepting Div 3 don’t buy the moral argument and think I’m naïve in even suggesting Celtic fans would applaud it:
“I think, predictably, Alex misses the point. RFC fans have talked of going to Division 3 but only under a newco scenario where SPL clubs try to impose further penalties (points deductions, financial penalties etc), over and above those which were available to them prior to RFC going into admin.
“Nobody wants a newco, RFC fans, Celtic fans, Kilmarnock fans. Nobody. That doesn’t alter the fact that the SPL should either enforce their current right to refuse to transfer the SPL share to Rangers (meaning division 3) or that they should leave it alone. On the hoof sanctions are not acceptable to the Rangers support. RFC have already been punished more than any previous Scottish club which went into administration.”
But others, like Marc, are more sanguine about the DVA concept though for different reasons:
“Alex after what has happened I think a lot of fans would take 3rd division even if it was more to do with taking money away from SPL than moral high ground.
“I don’t think it’s the worst idea I’ve heard but money men etc might have a different view.”
And many fans still see it wrong that the club takes the rap for dodgy management – whatever the law might say:
“I have no worries in joining Division 3 and working our way back to the SPL and I truly believe with the will and support RFC have they could do it year on year. Division then so be it.
I think the DVA albeit a nice frilly idea does worry me slightly as it apportions ALL the blame onto Rangers Football Club instead of onto the bad management that caused this debacle. As a loyal fan I have plenty of dignity and feel absolutely no shame in supporting the club just sickened by bad management and ill informed/advice that was given.”
Sadly, as one says above, money and shortermism will likely triumph over absurd concepts like dignity and integrity. If so, it is these very fans who will get whacked all over again.
You can follow Alex on Twitter @alextomo