17 Apr 2012

Rangers fans’ decency not matched by the fat cats

It was certainly a big day for Rangers FC – a great send-off for a fine player and former captain David Weir. Photographers on hand to record the occasion on the Ibrox turf as club chairman Craig Whyte presented Weir with a premium Glencairn glass decanter and blue glass trophy with the Rangers crest and players’ signatures beautifully engraved upon it.

Weir received the souvenir to mark his five years at the club at half-time in a match against Aberdeen on 21 January this year.

No doubt the glassware’s been well used chez Wier since then. The only blot on the celebration being that Glencairn were not paid the £354 that Rangers owed for the glassware.

Week after week it went on.

“I wasn’t that bothered,” says Managing Director Paul Davidson. “They’ve been customers for years – like Celtic – and you don’t kick a customer when they’re down. They’ll be back.”

And then came the call, on Easter Monday.

A Rangers fan. Turned out they’d seen from the published creditors’ list that the company hasn’t been paid and the indignity was just too much. The fans got together and held a Northern Soul evening fundraiser.

A few days later they were at Glencairn’s East Kilbride factory south of Glasgow. With the £354 in cash.

“Well,” says Paul, “I couldn’t take it. We had a half hour’s spirited discussion. In the end he just sort of threw the money down and said take it – it’s yours – we’re leaving.”

He picked it up. But when Rangers eventually pay – as he still feels they will one day – he’ll donate the cash to a fans’ charity.

Across Glasgow and beyond, many have similar stories to tell. It speaks well of the ingenuity and commendable sense of honour many Rangers fans feel. Embarrassment even, that things should have come to this.

Across Glasgow the long creditors list is a painful footprint of bad business and debt across a city. The roots of a long-established FC cruelly laid bare in its community.

The newsagent up the road from Ibrox… a picture-framer here… a cab firm there. Individuals without the large bank balances of the men in suits inside Rangers, who ran a once-proud football club and global brand into the ground.

Susan Thomson has a surprise caller as well. She talks about it, as she completes a bright pink butterfly on the face of a toddler at a Southside Glasgow playgroup.

Her company – Your Sonsie Face – was owed £40 by Rangers, who’d hired her in-demand face-painting skills. Of course, Rangers hit the buffers and she never saw her invoice paid. But she too got the visit – another Rangers fan appearing on her doorstep one day with another envelope full of cash.

Not everyone’s so lucky. In the fabulous new building which is North Glasgow FE College in Springburn, Principal Ronnie Knox looks out over the spectacular atrium.

He’ll happily explain how this sector of education’s been hit hard by government funding cuts. This is the bit of planet education which turns out things we need – plumbers, engineers, technicians, designers – and they come from all over the world.

So he needs his invoice paying please – £11,000 or so owed by Rangers. They could pay players thousands a week but not a premier league city college which – irony of ironies – often helps young footballers who don’t quite make it find another path in life.

The money was owed for a variety of training programmes run here for Rangers. And at this figure, you won’t find groups of even the most well-intentioned fans turning up with envelopes.

Nor, though, are we seeing all those wealthy men who put Rangers into this mess helping out. I could be mistaken but the former directors have not been sending cheques to the college to help the debt.

Men, already well-off and many on fat salaries, who we know have yet to pay back any of the loans they received whilst Rangers went to the wall.

It would be good to report that these men are inspired by the fans of the club they love, to open their chequebooks to needy creditors across Glasgow.

But sadly, as yet, little sign of it happening.

Tweets by @alextomo

43 reader comments

  1. Stu says:

    Sadly the problem with these good news stories is that there also stories like the one where the rangers fighting fund decide to pay Dunfermline the cash they’re owed from Rangers buy decided not to pay Dundee United as Dunfermline are an b”honourable” club and Dundee United aren’t. Great advert for Scottish Football that guys. Take a bow.

    1. Marty says:

      The Rangers fans group had a dispute with Dundee United after fans were charged a second time for an abandoned match which was replayed. I suspect many genuinely neutral fans would sympathise over the objection to what Dundee United did. Whe not every bill can be paid, decisions ahve to be made.

  2. Iain says:

    Celtic fans won’t like this.

    1. mtq1000 says:

      I think many will! This shows that there are decent people connected to Rangers FC and not just those you see constantly on TV in suits telling us all how they will make the world a better place if they own Rangers.

    2. bigaleighty1 says:

      I’m a Celtic fan. I think it’s a good article, yet again. There are good, decent, respectable Rangers fans. Good on them for sorting out their clubs mess. The former directors and players of Rangers should be ashamed of themselves.

    3. Auldheid says:

      I always applaud decency and having many decent friends who support Rangers I am not surprised.

      The less decent ones in the fat cat category I thankfully do not know.

    4. Gorillaintheroom says:

      Erm….why will they not? This is an excellent article. Somehow in the rush to offer a pennies in the pound deal and help rangers carry on as normal by fair means are foul then this vast cabal of “other creditors” are forgotten about. They are in a lot of cases normal everyday people who face being shafted and swept under the carpet. Good to see their story here. Funny but I haven’t heard of their story being told in the scottish media. Didn’t take a superscoop to ask from a few words from those on the creditors list.

      The actions of the rangers fans recognising their plight is to be applauded. They are at least admitting to their club’s failure and trying to put wrongs right. fair play to them. It’s just a pity that whilst some decent fans are doing this duff and duffer are draining the club’s bank account of millions for their own pockets in fees instead of paying these creditors.

      1. Iain says:

        All I seem to keep hearing from many is that Rangers fans are not victims and actually at fault for the mess, even for something as simple as celebrating trophies, like normal supporters should have known at the time what the cost was and not celebrated.

        Certain men have done these things, I’m not blind to the moral side of it and sadly it’s been done in our club’s name. But Rangers fans very much are victims as well, nobody wanted or expected this, vast majority of Rangers fans would give up everything won under David Murray if it ensured we’d have a club to support next season.

        I’m glad at least a couple of Celtic fans seem to have a more balenced view when it comes to the supporters.

      2. Marty says:

        As regards the “pennies in the pound” deal, let’s remember that that’s how administration tends to work. It’s the law of the land and has been for a long time. If anyone is unhappy about it I suggest they complain to the government.

      3. Magnus says:

        Marty, it doesn’t have to be “pennies in the pound”. It would sit a lot better with the ordinary taxpayers (football fans or not) if RFCia were proposing to repay a much heftier chunk than “pennies”.

      4. Marty says:

        Magnus, the club (or its new owners) can only pay so much. Dundee paid 6 pence in the pound when they came out of administration, just to put things in perspective.

      5. Magnus says:

        Marty, where’s your sense of “perspective” when Dundee went into admin for a tax bill of a mere 365,000 pounds?

        No comparison I fear.

    5. John C F says:

      Iain
      Why wont Celtic fans like this? I am one and I find the the conduct of most Rangers supporters in this mess to be honest and honourable. However there is still a large block with the ‘some big boys did it and ran away’ mentality who cannot see this crisis for what it is – the death throes of Scotland’s one time behemoth and a sad day for Scottish football. I wish you and yours well.

    6. Althetim says:

      Iain,
      Why on earth would Celtic fans not like this? I for one am pleased that genuine Rangers* fans have made these generous gestures to help out small creditors during this difficult time.

      If the senior management of the company had behaved in such a conscientious manner during the past 10-15 years, perhaps Rangers* wouldn’t be in their current predicament.

      (In Administration)

  3. mtq1000 says:

    I am no Rangers fan but when you hears stories like that it really does bring it back to you that this mess has been caused by the haves not the have nots! Football is not like any other business, in no other walk of life (I know of) would the clients of a business going to wall go out of their way to pay off the debts of their once supplier. Another great article Alex. Keep up the good work please for all our sakes!

  4. ben says:

    nor do other creditors. RFF being somewhat selective. just ask Dundee Utd

    1. Euan says:

      Stop with the celtic rangers tit for tat. We’re all sick of it. And every creditor will be pleased at this. The more debts they pay off the larger a portion of the liquidation pie they will receive. Well done to this group for actually doing something. Just goes to show that the shower that ran that club into the ground did not represent everyone that supports the club.

    2. Marty says:

      Some relatively small bills are being paid. This is a good thing. Of course, some people would criticise Rangers and Rangers fans no matter what was done. Just as some folk would do the same for Celtic or some other club.

      1. Bruce says:

        ‘Fraid that appears to be a bit premature.

        Though it does seem inevitable.

  5. cp1888 says:

    Credit where its due. Its not the fans’ responsibility to be paying creditors so when they do they can be as selective as they like.

  6. Gfficom says:

    A nice and timely tribute to under represented decent Rangers fans.

    A decent Celtic fan

  7. Billy says:

    One wonders how many Rangers’ fans made the trip down to Manchester to repay some of the clean up operation bills after they wrecked it in 2008.

    1. calscot says:

      Rangers fans spent something like £20m in Manchester. It was a windfall they were grateful for and akin to holding a new year in a city with 200k people attending. The mess was no worse than cities like Edinburgh who get on with cleaning it up before daylight and don’t ask the revellers to pay directly for it.

      As to the damage you have to ask who is culpable when police herd thousands of drunk fans into a small space and antagonise them and then switch the screen off minutes before the fans’ first European final for many decades? And follow that up with aggressive policing. (It’s funny how police get blamed and are hated when they are over aggressive with others but not Rangers fans.)

      With that many people you are going to get a small percentage who riot which adds up to a number of people. In fact the number rioting was similar to that of Chelsea fans who rioted in Fulham after they lost a final a few year back. What was their provocation and what was the percentage of fans who partook?

      Can I also ask, what is Manchester’s reputation for football trouble normally? Old firm games which are highly contested tend to have a small numbers of arrests – what was different here?

  8. Illinois Enema Bandit says:

    Blue Knights Do Do Walking Away !!

  9. old codger says:

    some people just can’t help themselves! can they I E Bandit?

  10. Simey says:

    Maybe these decent Rangers fans could write an apology to the family of Jock Stein, whose memory they continue to desecrate and deliver that also. Maybe also another to every single Roman Catholic for their club’s 116 years of a sectarian employment policy. These crimes are bigger than the £40 owed to the face painter. I won’t hold my breath.

  11. markus says:

    To be fair, the fans have an issue with Dundee United over the fact that they feel they were charged twice for the same game a few years ago. The game was called off at half time and United charged the full amount for the replayed game. I can understand their ill feelings towards them for this.I am sure any other club’s fans would feel similarly hard done too.

  12. Bhoy says:

    Stories like this never reach the papers. stories of decent people doing the decent thing. The Rangers fans are clearly embarrassed by what’s happened and are trying to make a mends especially when it’s the working class who are owed money.The lazy media would rather report what Neil Lennon says on Twitter rather than report the good people do. Has Bain handed back his £100k yet? Don’t hold your breath.

  13. BankieJohn says:

    Good point Alex shaming the fat cats – who have indeed ‘walked away’ with fat wads of Rangers’ cash over the years. Where are they now? Rangers football club must have nurtured and created many millionaires by now, albeit, not always fairly and above board, but surely the right and dignified thing would be for them to help out by paying back some of that cash. Perhaps help pay off some of the smaller creditors, those last in line. Ah well, maybe Rangers wisnae such a tight wee football family after all.
    Well done to those Rangers lads who did their part by paying some of their club’s debt. You’re a credit to your community and a good example of the fine values sadly lacking in not just the previous and present directors and owners of Rangers, but many businesses out there. It’s hard to find people, organisations or even professions you can trust. Nearly everyone seems to be at it nowadays.
    Not that I’m excusing Rangers here. Like many football supporters in Scotland, I’m glad Rangers were stupid enough to get caught because Scottish football now has the opportunity to create long-overdue revolutionary change. Not just footy, Scottish sports journalism too. And I doubt we’ll be happy till we see the same revolution at the SFA. The rules governing how the game is governed will change now because the fans all have new technology which gives them a louder and clearer voice. BIG Change is needed. BIG Change will come and the fans will be more in control than ever before. Rangers’ demise should be a warnng to all clubs.

  14. John says:

    The whole situation is shambolic. Fair play to the fans who took abit of action.Minimal as it is.Maybe if they had taken bigger action sooner and took notice of the warnings coming from various sources the whole thing wouldn’t have snowballed but for some reason they chose not listen. Everything will be alright,we’re to big to go into Administration was their thinking and no one can deny that. Too be fair its what known as a “pure red neck!”

  15. JP says:

    Well done to the fans who are trying to clear up their clubs debts, but why has it come to this? The Scottish media,the ”succulent lamb”brigade, have been disgraceful in their non-reporting of what’s been going on at Ibrox. The Rangers fans could have done a lot more to head off what has happened if they had been informed properly. The hacks have been incredibly lazy in just taking the word and printing what they were told by the pr machine used by Craig Whyte and hir predecessor David Murray, they are culpable.

  16. Mark says:

    Alex, you have the cheek to give ‘stick’ to the MSM in Glasgow/Scotland and yet this blog is another rehash from stories that have been written about in local newspapers never mind national.

    C’mon Alex, when’s this interview with D&P taking place and will you ask them challenging questions instead of the usual ‘how many sugars in your coffee?’

    Umpteen blogs. Promises of names named as far as threats go and all we’ve had is rehashes of old stories & a dodgy Twitter account. It’s almost a case of move along now folks, nothing (new) to see here.

  17. Bee says:

    Alex, I don’t tweet so I’ll ask you a wee favour here.

    You are investigating the Glasgow media and I’m sure you have learned, if you didn’t already know how powerful the media can be.

    Unfortunatley football reporting isnt seen as that important and the dire effects of the powerful propoganda machine that is the Glasgow media are ignored.

    I just listened to a recording of your discussion on Radio Clyde. You are very obviously aware of the influence that the Old Firm supporting Media have in this country.
    This support and influence, so obvious in the media extends to the powers at the very top of our game and right down to our match officials.

    All the other clubs appear to accept this. There is the weekly grumble from whatever manager is at the receiving end of the match turning refereeing decision that helps one of the O.F win a game, he accepts his SFA fine for complaining about it, then moves on to the next game.

    The supporters of the Non O.F. clubs don’t have a voice… our Scottish media don’t let us have one.

    The favour I ask is could you please talk to the owners/chairmen of the non O.F. clubs and ask them why the hell they put up with it.?

  18. tambo says:

    Former Rangers Directors haven`t even apologised for the so called “cheating years” that went on on their watch and right under their noses some of them partaking in tax free payements (see what I did there) themselves !

    So Rangersfans have got no chance of seeing any of them contribute any meaningful sums in the clubs most desperate hours of need.

  19. tambo says:

    Alex, can I just remind you of what the rest of Scottish Football is up against here.

    Even tonight on Real Radio Sandy Jardine player and spokesperson for Rangers said tonight that Sir David Murray had 17 GREAT years at Rangers. Even now they wont accept the damage Rangers have done to the rest of Scottish Football as they were pressing the self-destruct button.

    Sandy could and should have laid the blame at Sir David Murrays door.

    However , not only would he not do that he PRAISED Sir David for what he has done.

    Even though Rangers1873 have been destroyed by Sir Davids behaviour going at least as far back as 1995 according to ex Director Mr Adam, he,SDM, has got off Scot-free thanks to the ineptness of Scottish sports journalism and dare I say the laptop loyal aka the succulent lamb and fine red wine brigade.

  20. The Iceman says:

    I like this article – it paints many Rangers fans in a positive light. Most Rangers fans are like most football fans, communally spirited and essentially decent. We know this – or at least we all should know this.

    My issue is with their failure to act over a year ago when RTC went online – when Murray scammed the lot of them with his wee switcheroo to Whyte – where were they then? They seem ridiculously trusting and compliant ( Loyal to a fault and then some.

    Even now they screech of “anti Rangers forces” – who will be getting it big style when the glorious Gers emerge “stronger then ever” and of SFA witchhunts against them, when any other club would by now have been flung out of Scottish football for acting even remotely like Rangers have acted over all of this.

    David Murray put them in this mess, Walter dug a bigger hole when he returned and multiplied the debt by a factor of 6, AJ then compounded things when faced with a tax liability he chose not to economise but buy more and spend more recklessly leaving the club broke and broken.

    The Rangers fans who get this reality have my sympathy – their number and volubility is thankfully increasing albeit there were too few, of them, they did not shout loudly enough, and it is now far too late.

    Sandy Jardine is a disgrace! The RFFF petty and pathetic picking favourites to give debt to and declining others whose roots don’t fit with the spurious nonsense that passes for Tradition amongst many Rangers fans.

    No other group of fans would have done so little or expected just to be saved because they are who they are.

    Every club from Forfar to Falkirk, Aston Villa to Wimbledon – whoever – would have had fans far more on side , more hands on and more useful than the Rangers fan base, For the greatest fans in the world they have shown themselves to be impotent, gullible, and angry but essentially ineffective.

    Their club is essentially a walking corpse. All the ludicrous machinations of phantom bids and wacko administrators who spend rather than cut costs, the talk of NEWCCO’s emerging as if by magic , the salvation by SKY tv deal, the SPL rule changes, the deals with HMRC wee eck’s tuppence worth all worth nothing.

    There is one culprit here for Rangers and that is David Murray – he could not stand the competition from O’Neill’s Celtic and bankrupted his ( well he treated it as his vanity project ) club to preserve his ownwarped sense of self.

    Virtually the entire Rangers support and officialdom foolishly went along for the ride. No questions asked. Sad but inevitable.

    The pain has just begun. Liquidation will come – hours, days, weeks I don’t know but it will come.

    No Newco will emerge this season, I suspect not next either – and quite possibly never. The Scottish media have not prepared Rangers fans for this – that is their shame – recklessly feeding lies and nonsense to keep hope alive. I fear black days for RFC – the end of the line indeed – and corresponding death pangs amongst its support.

  21. iki says:

    Keith Jackson wins sports writer of the year.

    The man who wrote that fateful phrase “wealth off the radar”

    You could not make it up ……… but he and his colleagues frequently do just that.

  22. ross says:

    Hi Alex

    Rangers fan here.

    I thought you sounded good on Clyde the other night to be honest.

    However is there any truth in the rumour that the threat you received from a journalist came from a fake twitter account?

  23. JP says:

    Once again the Daily Record is telling us that Bill Miller is the man who’ll win control of Rangers. By my reckoning that’s three different winners they’ve printed in three days.We’ve had Ng,Kennedy and now Miller in the last three days alone.When will they stop printing this rubbish. No-one is going to buy them, they WILL be put into liquidation.The Rangers fans should wake up to that fact and prepare for their team being wound up.A newco will be formed but who knows what division they will have to start in? Just get used to it and let these journos know that you’ve had enough of their ridiculous reporting. they have been giving you false hope for the last year. let them know how much they have let you all down.

  24. Happy Buddie says:

    It’s obvious that the Fat Cats are still looking for more cream, and having someone else paying for it. Just look at the Blue Knights’, and specifically Paul Murray’s, pffer to buy RFC. He wants investors to put up money to buy the club, then he’ll be the big figurehead as Charirman/CEO, the Blue Knight in shining armour, but not putting up one thin penny of his own. They even went to Ticketus to ask them to fund the fee for preferred bidder status. That’s why the BKs backed off, the were all fur coat and nae knickers. As soon as push came to shove, they hadn’t the balls or bottle to keep the bluff going, cos that’s all it ever was, bluff.

  25. Bruce says:

    So now Bill Miller’s the only show left in town. And his masterplan…screw the creditors, all of them. Years of financial doping, but let Rangers face none of the consequences and keep all the prizes.

    Not a chance the SPL/SFA can agree to this nonsense. Nor should they, for the sake of football in this country.

    Not a chance HMRC will agree to a CVA on that basis. Not a chance Ticketus will agree to it either.

    Liquidation it is, then.

  26. The Iceman says:

    How will a newco be formed?

    We don’t know who owns the ground, they will have no players, who will run it? We might have ten vying newco’s or none – we are within days of an unruly and complete liquidation of assets – no newco can acquire a licence to compete in either SPL or SFL without three years of audited account.

    There is no means by which a newco can be formed and be up and ready to operate in any league next season – nor probably for a couple of years – at least – thereafter. . When Rangers are liquidated they die. Leeds was a curious one – it had a newco and oldco owned by same individual and both ran parallel then a CVA in which assets were transferred to newco – no such option exists here.

    Rangers are essentially dead!! There will be no Rangers There can be no Rangers – grim but that is now the truth. Time has run out.

    Only feasible option is now a takeover and relocation and renaming of another club a la Airdrie – and that will be deeply resisted – Cowdenrangers or St Johngers looks like only feasible means of having any version of rangers playing at Ibrox stadium in foreseeable future/

  27. @jhggns says:

    youve got some neck marty,”laws of the land”is it,your team have been bending and breaking the laws and the rules for years

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