THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

11 April ~ Rangers seemed on the verge of a takeover last Tuesday. So the chairman of the Rangers Supporters Trust was asked by Sky Sports News for his opinion on the tenure of the possibly soon to be departing Rangers owner Sir David Murray. His answer was that the first ten years of Murray's tenure were regarded as successful because we won nine league titles in a row and raised our profile in Europe. The last ten years weren't very good. I'm paraphrasing here because, at the time, I was busy trying not to throw my William & Kate commemorative wedding mug of tea through the screen.

The Rangers Supporters Trust are organised and enjoy great media contact because every journo wants a readily available voice of the fans. Every other club in the UK seems to have a trust these days but most for far better reasons than Rangers. The RST don't speak for the majority. If our dissatisfaction with the way things are going is as marked as Trustees would have the world believe, why are there 45-50,000 at every home game?

Murray has owned Rangers for 22 years. In that time we've won 15 league titles and surrendered two others only on the final day of the season. We've finished lower than second once. Our "European profile" peaked just three years ago when we reached our first UEFA final in almost four decades and in that final Walter Smith – appointed for a second time by Sir Dave – lost to Dick Advocaat, another manager Murray had brought to Ibrox. A Treble (including the ultimate domestic wish fulfilment of securing the SPL title with a 3-0 win at Celtic Park), a Double, record Champions League victories and the first post-Christmas European qualification in nine years were all secured by Advocaat,

That "last ten years" also coincides with the explosion of the internet as a way of legitimising the kind of delusional ingratitude that used to stay in the pub after a rare Rangers setback. Creating an extra tier of consultation between ordinary fans like myself and the team seems to be the main task at hand for the RST. The noise they've created in recent years has resulted in "Murray Out" banners at games, along with flags declaring that failure to field Kris Boyd would mean we won nothing. You can ask Middlesbrough about Boyd – if they remember HIM – but I now ask myself what someone has to do at Rangers to avoid not just the chagrin of the odd reactionary punter but a concerted media campaign to have them removed from the club.

This organisation, barely in its tens of thousands when it began having its first schisms, does not speak for me or for most members of the Rangers fanbase. Most of their wailing has taken place around our financial downsizing of the last few years but Rangers are too big to ever go away and are on the brink of our eighth major trophy in the last 4 years. Yet all the outside world will know now is that those Rangers fans haven't been able to enjoy any of it. Because their Supporters Trust chairman was just on the telly and he seemed utterly miserable and decidedly ungrateful. Alex Anderson

Comments (23)
Comment by jertzeeAFCW 2011-04-11 14:50:42

Interesting article...although one that ultimately says not a lot.

You obviously have something against the Trust, but you don't say what.
You don't mention if or when the Trust have ever claimed to be the spokespeople of the fans (most trusts rarely claim this).

You also seem to measure success purely by on the filed activity.
What about the fact that Rangers, from the few snippets I read here and there, are in financial trouble?

surely better to have a healthy financial club in mid table rather than one that spends above its means and is at risk of going bankrupt or taken over by people who might even inflict worse damage to the club (as has happened on many occassions with other clubs).

Surely the Trust wailing about the financial downsizing is exactly what they should be doing. In fact, what do you think the Trust's objectives should be, if in fact, you know what they actually are now?

Maybe the majority of you that don't think the Trust is acting as it should get together and ensure they do.

Maybe you should ask yourself why the Rangers board kept denying the Trust to have representaiton on the Rangers board??

I could go on but it seems from your article that you have a petty gripe rather than a real reason to be unhappy with the Trust.

Comment by Alloa Dan 2011-04-11 17:05:03

Eck is a dullard, a terminal bore who has never gotten over Trust spokesman Davie Edgar's media profile.

He attacked 'We Deserve Better' for disloyalty, and not for any of the actual points raised.

His "Rangers are too big to ever go away" comment shows how fundamentally stupid and naive he is. His hero took Rangers to £98m in debt, we're currently being run by Lloyds Bank and if the Whyte takeover fails once again on the brink of administration. All thanks to Sir David Murray.

Ungrateful to Sir David? You bet!

Comment by jameswba 2011-04-11 17:15:30

I always promised myself I would never comment on Old Firm articles and I usually enjoy Alex's but one line in this surprised me :

'If our dissatisfaction with the way things are going is as marked as Trustees would have the world believe, why are there 45-50,000 at every home game?'

Seems very simplistic and misguided to assume that big crowds = all round satisfaction with the board.

Comment by jimmyhoffa 2011-04-11 17:17:39

The other week against Dundee United we could only field three substitues who were fit.

Last week Club Chairman Alistair Johnson finally joined Martin Bain, Walter Smith, Ally McCoist, Davie Weir and Steve Davis in confirming that Lloyds are running Rangers. We're £21m in debt and have been up for sale for nearly three years now.

And relying on how many loan signings? Foster, Diouf, Bartley, Weiss, Healey, all of whom will go back to their parent clubs.

Alex, you might think that's no cause for alarm but I don't and I know the Trust don't either.

As for "Rangers are too big to ever go away", go talk to fans of Leeds United or Portsmouth about pride coming before a fall.

PS "Creating an extra tier of consultation between ordinary fans like myself and the team"?????

How does that current consultation work, exactly?

Comment by donedmundo 2011-04-11 17:58:59

It is the natural sate of affairs that football fans are negative and pessimistic. (Man U - Glazers out, Arsenal - lack of trophies, Chelsea - no European Cup, Spurs - not winning every game 4-0. I could go on.) If you are not negative and pessimistic then you are obviously not seeing the big picture.

Comment by Analogue Bubblebath II 2011-04-12 00:15:02

[i]Murray has owned Rangers for 22 years. In that time we've won 15 league titles [b]and surrendered two others only on the final day of the season[/b]. We've finished lower than second once. Our "European profile" peaked just three years ago when we reached our first UEFA final in almost four decades and in that final Walter Smith – appointed for a second time by Sir Dave – lost to Dick Advocaat, another manager Murray had brought to Ibrox. A Treble (including the ultimate domestic wish fulfilment of securing the SPL title with a 3-0 win at Celtic Park), a Double, record Champions League victories and the first post-Christmas European qualification in nine years were all secured by Advocaat,[/i]

They also won two titles on the final day.

All of the above was achieved by Rangers spending far more money than they actually possessed.

Rangers under Murray have had scarcely more of a grip on financial reality than one of their most famous fans.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/02/07/article-1249209-02C376E40000044D-368_233x416.jpg

That's why, these days, they have been reduced to parading the likes of El Hadji Diouf as marquee (loan) signings.

Comment by Alan Chambers 2011-04-12 12:41:13

After reading Alex Anderson’s article on the Rangers Supporters Trust then all I can say really is best of luck to him. If he is happy to measure his satisfaction with his club simply in the number of trophies won then he should be about as happy as you can get and he seems so.
But perhaps I can outline why I and some of my fellow Rangers fans feel the need for an organisation like the trust, who Alex claims don’t speak for the majority. Now I don’t know our exact membership number but Alex’s use of the word ‘barely’ tickled me. “This organisation, barely in its tens of thousands...”, now by my reckoning a membership figure over 10,000 is roughly 25% of our average attendance yet Alex sees fit to use the word ‘barely’ to describe such a significant representation.
On the subject of our attendances this season, despite another decent run in Europe and being on course for another record breaking title win, are running at about 90% capacity and only the Celtic games and 2 of the 3 Champions League home games have been sell-outs. Yes there are hard times at hand but let’s face it the West of Scotland has never had it that good yet we’ve always found the cash for those season tickets. Long gone are the days of waiting lists and part-season tickets were still on offer well after Christmas.
Alex mentions Kris Boyd, never mind what Middlesbrough fans think of him, perhaps they’ll say he never got a decent run of games and when he did play he was playing in a struggling team whose style of play didn’t suit his talent for scoring goals. What I know is that this same Kris Boyd was scoring goals at a rate that the great Ally McCoist could only have dreamed about yet what kind of transfer fee did Rangers get for him? About £400,000 less than we did for Kenny Miller, that’s right 47 goals from 2009-10 gone for only £400k .

Comment by Alan Chambers 2011-04-12 12:42:01

But there are numerous reasons not to like Sir David Murray over and above this inability to hold on to or capitalise on valuable assets, his use of Rangers as a proving ground for his own companies is one. Azure catering was a company initially funded with help from Charlotte Ventures, owned of course by Sir David, and now on match days where does your catering or hospitality money go, to Rangers or Azure catering? So before this deal you’d go to Ibrox, buy a burger and coke and the money went to the club, now it goes to help Elior’s profits now that they have completed the purchase of all remaining shares in Azure catering from Charlotte Ventures. Would you like some competitive tendering to go with your burger sir?
However I have two big favourites and these are reasons often cited by some Rangers fans for David Murray’s greatness and I guess this is supposed to be about football and not business deals.
Murray Park they exclaim, look at what he did there. Yes, he built the club a training ground which the club pays rent for on an ongoing basis, yeah thanks for that, and when it does produce decent players this unique deal sees Rangers or whatever club buys the players pay Murray Park for these players. Yes ladies and gentlemen, we now support a club which rent’s its own training grounds and has to buy its own academy graduates, but don’t worry we rent the grounds and buy the players from Rangers Youth Ltd, a Murray International Holdings company.
We we’re £80m in debt and he rescued us they’ll tell you. Now the picky amongst us will say that he didn’t actually put any money in and pay off any debt and that all he did was some fancy footwork accounting wise and transfer the debt into the group of companies which is Murray International Holdings. This is fair enough, Sir David is ultimately still responsible for this debt but removed it from Rangers, so fair’s fair there, but my main argument on this one is that he’s the one who oversaw a regime that got us £80,000,000 in debt in the first place. It could also be argued that this entanglement of the finances of Glasgow Rangers FC within those of the Murray group of companies is one of the major reasons why it has taken around 3 years for the club to not be sold despite no shortage of interested parties and one seemingly very determined purchaser in the shape of Craig Whyte.
And Alex and other Rangers fans can’t see why we need ‘an extra tier of consultation’ they should open their eyes and look beyond the shiny trophies and maybe they’ll see why.However I can see a future where Alex and I agree, after all we both seem to care about our club.
If Craig Whyte does buy Rangers then I can rest assured that at least we having nothing left to sell other than our history so it can’t be any worse than it already is and as Alex says we’re too big to ever go away so we can look forward to more titles to add to our 53 and counting.
Perhaps then we can discuss the problems of Scotland’s declining European co-efficient and what that means for national and club football, the quality of football in the SPL, league re-organisation and the subject of sectarianism in Scottish society and how that manifests itself in football. As we say, nae bother.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-13 19:16:31

@jertzeeAFCW

Sorry but if you can't see from my article what I have against the Trust then I doubt you have in fact read it. I'm quite clearly saying that Sir David Murray's tenure as Rangers owner has, for me, been utterly tremendous and that the RST have continually griped about the man. Our current finances - brought about by the world wide economic downturn on top of concerted efforts to bring ALL the Rangers fans exactly what they wanted (no-one was complaining about our overdraft during Nine-In-A-Row - they were all wanting a team which could compete in the Champions League so Sir Dave started shelling out again. We wanted it - we got it.) - mean mid-table is about as much as we should expect, and yet we're reaching European finals and winning league titles.

My contentment as a supporter IS about on-field success. Yes. And this is the essential diversion in our attitudes - I don't want a supporters Trust at Rangers because it's not required. Other clubs - for example, AFC Wimbledon - very much require them and I admire what they do. Because the circumstances at Wmbledon were extraordinary. At Rangers the only thing extraordinary is that we've won so much in the last 22 years despite a growing body of fans who seem to despise the very people who brought them that success.

You are clearly very defensive of the Trust system in general and I respect that but I think your stated desire that dissatisfaction with the trust should itself be organised into YET ANOTHER tier of pressure denotes your love of a Trust is becoming blinkered. Organising zeal is required when a club is on its last legs but when that body of Trustees and its supporters display not just ingratitude but near dismay at the fact your club has achieved so much on the field then I don't trust those people. I don't trust their motives. When they actually HINDER the success of the club then that's not a Trust - it's a clique who know they can escalate the gravitas of their bar-room gripes (which we all have, no matter how successful our team)simply by shovng a shirt and tie on a jerking knee and calling it "representation".

If you think on-field success and a wish to have it given the relevance and gratitude it deserves is "petty" then I suggest you're so board-room battle-hardened that you're becoming blinded to the real point of a football club: You stick with them when things are shit and you laud them when things are great. But the most important aspect - community - is totally lost when those who've done most for you are treated like pariahs simply because the balance sheets make more depressing reading than the team sheet.

The fans ARE the Trust. At Rangers, right now, as always, gathering in the same stadium, wearing the same colours is all the organisation we need.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-13 19:26:59

@Alloa Dan

I've been to Alloa, Dan so I'll have to admit you'll know a dullard when you see one. And David Edgar's media profile is indeed what motivates my black, cancerous, jealousy-driven campaign to make myself as famous as possible.

Rangers? Pah - they're just a front. I, like you, could care less what cups they win, what finals they reach. Look at the time - it's almost 7.30 on Wednesday night and I'm on the internet so I can't even be at Pittodrie, can I.

I'm a sham , Dan - and you've exposed me. You and the 7 other people on here who've helped make me even more famous than I was yesterday when only 5 of the 4 people I know thought I was dull. (Damn! Just realised one of the posts on this thread is the same guy twice - must get onto my PR people about that) You've exposed me but now, Jordan-like, I'm off to Hello and OK magazines with the story of "my shame at being exposed" ....

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-13 19:35:36

@jameswba

"Seems very simplistic and misguided to assume that big crowds = all round satisfaction with the board". Not as simplistic and misguided as it is to think all of those fans actually give a sh*t about the board, mate, or are there for anything other than the football.

By "the way things are going" I'm again talking about Rangers in its most important aspect: On-field success. This is what it's all about, James - this wee article of mine - it's all about how the RST are so hung up on the board room and the debt and a hysterical emotional blackmailing ("But if the club goes bust then we can't win any trophies" is right up there with "but you only won all those trophies because the refs are all masons") of anyone who fails to see forensic analysis of the balance sheets as the most important aspect of football fandom, that they've lost the point: We're most of us there, at Ibrox, to see our team do the best they can - and they have done so much better than that for so long that I'm SICK of it being drowned out by their bleating.

Comment by jameswba 2011-04-13 21:19:12

Alex, firstly, as with all your work on here, the article and your responses are interesting, passionate and (mostly) well-argued. I'll admit I'm pretty dispassionate myself on Rangers, being English and based in Central Europe, so no way would I argue with you on the specific Rangers, Murray, trust issues.

That said, aren't you in danger of doing what you clearly despise the trust for doing, ie assuming you speak for significant numbers of your fellow fans? I never said that all 50,000 of your home regulars give a sh*t about the board, but I did imply that you shouldn't see those numbers as necessarily meaning that the majority of fans are satisfied.

I'm on safer ground if I apply the logic to a few other clubs ; Villa's crowds held up well when Deadly Doug was chairman. Does that mean the fans didn't want him to go? Liverpool kept getting full-houses even through the latter days of Hicks and Gillett. Old Trafford is always full despite the Glazers etc etc.

But then the last sentence of your comment suggests that perhaps there are more dissatisfied punters than you initially said there were - otherwise, surely, they 'wouldn't be drowning (your success) out by their bleating'.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 11:47:41

@jimmyhoffa

Sorry, mate, but the whole tone of your post exemplifies exactly from where my distrust of the trust comes. Culminating in the inevitable citing of Leeds United which, to be fair, is usually followed up by a detailed corporate history of Azure Catering and their part in Sir Dave's evil empire.

Leeds plummeted down the leagues. Portsmouth went down and both, of course, went through all sorts of drastic downsizing but - as always - these examples (which have been used for 8 years now, despite teh fact Rangers have won titles and performed in Europe during these 8 years of Leeds' fall) are used to emotionally blackmail any fans of Sir Dave by people like yourself who are ignoring on-field achievement as if it doesn't count. Why do you want Rangers to be on a secure financial footing? for the same reason as me, i'd imagine - so they'll be around to win games for us to celebrate. Well, that's happening NOW and you don't want to know. this projecting into the future by doomsayers has been happening for a decade now and Rangers have CONTINUED TO WIN BIG. If you can't appreciate or celebrate that then why the hell would anyone WANT to buy Murray out of they're gonnae be hounded back out the door for failing to win more than 16 league titles in 22 years??

Yet what is the worst that can happen? In both examples you give the clubs still exist, still playing at the same ground - in Portsmouth's case they were in the FA Cup final less than a year ago and Leeds could well be back in the Premier League next season. So the only thing which has been affected is - erm - their levels of on-field achievement.

As I'm continually trying to point out, your Trustees are so obssessed with the financial state of our club that you're mssing out on/or choosing to ignore (a) the extra romance it imbues our every success with - no more cries of "you just bought the title" and (b) that bankruptcy does not mean the end for Rangers FC. THAT's how great and many our fans are - we'll NEVER go away.

Motherwell FC are a much better example of what you're threatening with the "wake up and smell the coffe" routine - they've done administration within Rangers' domestic football enviroment and they're now one game away fronm their first Scottish Cup final in 20 years, and they're the club,outside Aberdeen and the Old Firm which has gone the longest without relegation.

The Trust are ONLY judging Rangers on their financial state and use the same kind of language as yourself - "pride before a fall" - which, most insultingly of all, attempts to tell Rangers fans they should not be proud of their club. Well, not until we've sorted out our direct debits ...

Where's the celebration of what we've done on the pitch during our "finacial melt-down"? Where's the lauding of the fact Walter is getting SO VERY MUCH out of a team riven by injuries, suspensions and elastoplasted together by loan signings and youths? Rangers, like Leeds United, WILL ALWAYS ULTIMATELY BE OKAY off the pitch - we went through a decade playing to near empty houses and not winning a league title and that didn't kill us - but what I can't understand is why guys like yourself are missing out on the opportunity to relish the "against-all-odds" beauty of what we're doing o the pitch in Walter's second coming.

It makes me think that you actually lack the ability to be openly happy or proud of who you support because you're so afraid you might look like that most naive of things - a wide-eyed football fan.

Save the "reality bites" patter for real life.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 11:51:29

@donedmundo

:-) I'd like to reply but I'm too worried about the state of my club to comment on anything else ... see, I actually GET what's going on at Rangers ... not like the idiots who think football's all about what the "players" do. Sheesh .. huh! ... thinking 11 guys kicking a ball about is "football" - pah! These guys should just GROW UP ... the balance sheets is where it's at ... come on ye accountants ...

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 12:00:08

@Analogue Bubblebath II

Aye - very good mate. But I do think your kind of jealous hysteria and childishly wilful misreading of any Rangers achievement - any Rangers breath, for that matter - is what the RST take as their lead.

Instead of just leaving you and your many fellow anti-Rangers obsessives to your own self-destructive world, they've actually taken your kind of patter seriously and it's led to them having the inability to enjoy their own club while someone out there can invent a reason to slag it.

That you and the RST are united by a desperation to change the subject of football fandom from pitch to balance sheets, and imbue it all with a fire and brimstone presbyterian warning tone of eternal damnation, is all the evidence one needs as to why the Trust works against us.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 13:42:37

@Alan Chambers;

"they should open their eyes and look beyond the shiny trophies". And that, in a nutshell is it, Alan. That right there is my instinctive problem with the RST's mindset - you're patronising people who think football is all about winning cups. Unbelievable mate. Absolutely unbelievable. Ther really is nothing I can say or do to change the mind of someone who is so far gone as to be MOCKING his fellow fan for taking pride in the winning of trophies. You mean well, mate - but that kind of patter leaves me with two instinctive options: to feel sorry for you or to call your sentiment disgusting.

So I'll take a step back and walk away from both of those equally insulting options as you clearly care about Rangers. I'll run the risk of being as equally patronising and say I hope I can help you get back on the right path.

For me, an owner who can't do a dodgy deal is the same as a holding midfielder who can't go over the ball without the ref noticing: Neither man is welcome at my Football Club because they're of no use to themselves and, therefore of no use to my club. The tone and language of the RST towards Murray-admirers is always, as you've reinforced above, one of "wake up to yerself". You're accusing me of naivety yet you seem to lack the basic street knowledge that anyone who can't look after themselves - be it sorting out a hatchet man in the opposite team or keeping his own pocket lined - has absolutely no place trying to look after others.

I don't remember any Rangers fans up in arms about the millions Gazza or Laudrup were taking out of our club coffers and travelling back to England and Denmark with. No - because they were BRILLIANT for the club and it's a 2-way deal we happily take part in. Because Murray doesnae personally score the hat-tricks against Aberdeen we somehow need to demonise his personal profiting from the club, irrespective of the fact the TEAM IS CONTINUALLY WINNING!

Like so many RST people, your sport - your passion - seems not be football but business. Rents, deals, profit, loss and well-rehearsed one-liners about "competitive tendering". This is where you come out. fair dues. But take it somewhere else - take it into, for example, running your own business. I go to Ibrox to get away from work, money, bills etc. I go to Ibrox to get caught up in the sight of the Blue Shirts, the white sorts and the red and black socks trying to get that white bouncey thing into the white netty thing so we can - on special days - lift those big shiney things. If we can't I'll happily earn my stripes again just being there, cheering them on as they win nothing. In many ways when they're winning nowt or things are supposedly hard (when have they ever been THAT hard for Rangers??)it's a whole different kind of enjoyment - knowing you're closer to the club than ever and able to be truly "Loyal" in one of the rare moments you can't be accussed of glory hunting.

But What remains constant is a desire to see us TRY - to know Rangers men are giving it their all - so STUFF Competitive tendering!That's the kind of "real life" demand which, when transposed onto the heightended reality of football fandom, results in Rangers and Celtic beginning the season with 30 point defecits so we can give Dundee United and Hearts a chance of winning a handicapped SPL.

We have the best stadium and facilities in cotland certainly, britain probably and Europe arguably - you slag it. We've won more trophies under Murray than under any other steward in the post war era - you slag that. When I first started going to watch Rangers we were playing to an empty stadium and were in the midst of a nine year run without winning the league. Guys at my school were supporting Aberdeen and Dundee United (from AYRSHIRE!!) and slagging me rotten for where I'd been on Saturday and Celtic fans had a European Cup and nine-in-a-row to slate us with. By the half-way point of Murray's 22 years we'd made NIne In A Row our record too, we'd come to within one goal of the European Cup final - the best effort in the club's history - and I began noticing all those school days Arabs and Dons were popping up in the Govan and the Copland wearing Rangers scarves. Murray presided over all THAT, Alan.

I'm sorry, mate but WHY ARE YOU WATCHING FOOTBALL? You need to get on that board alright - but not because you want fan representation but because you clearly only get excited about balance sheets, ledgers etc...

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 15:04:15

@Alan Chambers (part II)

Pedantry is not an argument, Alan. I'll happily remove both the connotation and denotation of the word "barely" (think you're judging me by your own standards with that little rant, mate) and say that the RST membership is OVER 10,000. I'll also ignore facts to agree with your knowledge of "West of Scotland" crowds, which seems to have begun around 1990 (in the pathe news days big Glasgow games could attract 100,000plus crowds but Rangers have rarely, in our entire history, averaged over 40,000 at Ibrox before Murray's time),to say that 10,000 is indeed one quarter of a Rangers home crowd this season. A quarter is not anything like a majority but, yes, agreed, it is a significant amount. THAT is one of the reasons I feel the need to just say to people "But it's not me!"

However, I remember driving home from Ibrox one day last year, listening to the car radio and hearing a member of the RST phoning Jim Traynor (why the hell anyone would want our club even mentioned by that tabloid shit-stirring nonentity is beyond me but - hey - youse wanted the publicity and it IS the BBC). Your representative sounded sleazily disingenuous, like an oily politician (John MacMillan, gen secretary of the Rangers Supporters Association, is a man I have never met but instinctively trust and respect whenever he talks publicly. And he DOES talk for me. Youse guys just don't have that kind of authenticity - because, well, it just can't be faked)and he was oh-so-loadedly inviting Sir Dave to a meeting to discuss, amongst other things, why we were in so much debt when even the number of replica Rangers shirts he saw at Manchester could have made the kind of mney which would have got us back in the black. He was making the same kind of naively over-detailed yet scarily simplistic point you're making with your figures, Alan - namely that 200,000 Rangers shirts at £50 a pop meant millions of unaccounted profit. The one thing I take from your fellow trustee's point is that this means the number of active Rangers fans who are NOT members of the RST is, by your organisation's own calculation, "barely" 190,000. And then there's the crowd which turned up at Ibrox to watch the UEFA Cup final on big screens, and then there's all the ex-pats and - och - ye get the idea, Alan. Ten thousand out of hundreds of thousands is significant but, in response to the inevitable closure of our club which you guys have been preaching for the last decade, it's a pretty paltry effort from the overall fanbase. We just don't trust youse.

Your other mistake is in actually mentioning the economic downsizing of all western economies in your attempt to distract from it. Dead giveaway, mate. You know this is the sole reason for Rangers crowds being down a bit this season and "always finding the money for that season ticket" is just a myth. As I've just stated, people will NOT fnd the money in Scotland if the product is not there. The season ticket boom at Ibrox took place under Sir David and no-one else. He's unable to spend at Rangers because of the world economic crisis ad nothing else. RST guys slagging us despite seven trophies, a Euro final and counting in the last 4 seasons, can be the only other possible reason we have lower crowds because, as far as I know, crowds turn up at football matches to watch winning teams and ours JUST KEEPS WINNING. Why would anyone who cares about Rangers - particularly anyone like you who wants to make us attractive to a potential new owner - want to distract from our success?

And, like success under Murray, there's more to come ...

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 15:04:52

@Alan Chambers (part III)

But you've given me the hard facts of Murray's business dealings that you know about (which, disturbingly, you seem to be setting out to COUNTER Rangers' trophy wins in the last 22 years, as if a Rangers victory is BAD NEWS for your argument. Again, this is why I don't trust the Trust)so I'll provide you with the hard fact of my very limited "a posteriori" knowledge of Sir Dave's dough: A few years back I worked for a temping agency, doing clerical work. Next thing I know I'm a desk jockey in a processing centre for Halifax Bank of Scotland. Everyone discovers I'm a Bluenose (because that's the first thing anyone talks about, of course, when they make the aquaintance of a new colleague) so one day they give me the honour of personally processing a CHAPS payment by Sir David Murray. You'll know the exact amount better than me, Alan - what was it? £54M or £53M? Anyway, I put it through the account with my own two hands ... and my mouse.

So, you bitch about rents, pies, cokes and Murray Park (People like yourself were screaming it didn't pay for itslf but then it produces a great but injury-riddled full-back called Allan Hutton who has 6 great months and we sell him for £9m so he can get injured at Spurs: BRILLIANT bit of business! Even the people who have so little football knowledge as to be unable to appreciate why their club should have state-of-the-art training facilities or that they're better off renting it from a guy who owns the club than anyone else could surely see that Murray Park was paid for by ONE SINGLE PLAYER??? Nope. Youse can't see that coz yese don't want to), I'll just do the naive thing and say I've seen the actual money this guy shells out for Rangers in one day. He put his money where his mouth is and got absolutely no thanks. Yet he keeps doing it. And it's not veen that he gets no thanks - it's that there are concerted campaigns to oust him.

Everyone else can do that other stupid, silly, immature, naive thing and judge him - ultimately - on how our club has performed on the pitch during his 22 years: Better than they ever have. End of.

Why has Murray not sold? Because no-one can guarantee they'll look after the club well enough. H's a true custodian. If you think Craig Whyte is a clean, trustworthy 100% straight businessman then I pity you - see this week's Private Eye, page 31 and 32. If you think he could do more for us than Sir David then you're just plain wrong. If you think Sir Dave ha been conning us all then you have to take that argument to its logical conclusion - he's been conning EVERYONE at Rangers since November 1988:

Does Walter Smith strike you as a mug? Does Dick Advocaat or Alex McLeish appear to you to be the sort of person who Sir Dave could fool into coming to Rangers? A hardened mercenary like Graeme Souness was told by Murray he was making the biggest mistake of his life leaving Rangers - and he was right and he was unable to stop himself damaging a friendship with Souness despite the fact Graeme introduced Murray to Rangers - that's how much Murray cares about us and that's how much he knows about football. More than you or I.

The thing with football fandom is you're following people who can do things you never could - on the pitch and off it - and I think some of us get to a point in life where we need to be always in control ... or at least believing we are. If you don't want to surrender that control to someone who gives us three trebles and our two best runs in the two European trophies we haven't already won, then you really need to move on mate.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-15 15:25:42

@jameswba

thanks for getting back again, James. I've been all round the country this week and have been sorely late in responding to these posts - you're probably the only guy who's gonna read the novella-sized responses-to-the-responses I've posted on here. So cheers!

Fair point, mate. I just feel that, ultimately, people still mostly judge their team by the product on the pitch and, for me, it s the only judgement we can make with any degree of reliability. Christ, even when the product is right in front of them, Stamford bridge regulars were even slagging Mourinho at Chelsea for being "boring", so how can we hope to be objective about Board Room machinations when hey are so so so much more difficult for us to observe at all, never mind do so with any degree of clarity or relevant personal experience.

My hope, of course, is that the RST are only able to temporarily drown out the success on the pitch and that even this is only because they get regular access to SKy, the BBC, the Daily Record etc. I'm as concerned as anyone should be by the levels of debt at Rangers and our inability to pay it off but if there's no voluble media appreciation of what we're doing under such corcumstances then there's no pioint in anyone else buying the club.

Ultimately,though, I'm speaking for myself only. I obviously HOPE most other Bears agree with me - coz that's always nice - but I am indeed placing my faith in this being the case in the fact the ground is mostly full most of the time and that days like last month's League Cup final just reverberate with searing mass joy rather than fatalistic acknowledgement that we'd just witnessed the last flicker of a terminally dulling lightbulb.

And because you're threatening to win this argument can I now, in true Celtic style, change the subject: Can I assume yer a Baggie? I went to a Birmingham-Wolves early kick off in the championship a few years back then realised WBA were at home to Burnely at 3pm - I got there at half-time and the ticketing people and stewrds went out of their way to get me in and charged me only half price for my ticket. Lovely ground, lovely club and I was glad you won 3-0 (and played some smashing football under a guy called Mowbray??!!), even if all the goals were scored in the first half while I was having Magners bottles hurled at me by the Zulu while I tried to find The Hawthorns:-)

And a nice MacDonalds directly cross from the Jeff Astle gates from what i can remember of my post-match experience!

Comment by jameswba 2011-04-15 18:46:06

Likewise, cheers, I'm very much on the fence regarding the specific issues, but it's interesting stuff nonetheless

Yes, I'm a Baggie but long-distance these days. Glad you liked the Hawthorns and that they looked after you, nice antidote to Blues v Wolves I'll bet.

If I can be allowed a return question ; I live in Slovakia now - were you in Bratislava for Artmedia v Rangers in 2005? Tehelne pole is in a tragic state these days (it was bad enough back then, of course).

Comment by Alex Anderson 2011-04-18 21:08:18

I was indeed, mate. We were ahead twice in the game and ended up drawing two-two which, while better than the 5-0 stuffing Celtic got there in the qualifying round that season, was slightly gutting at the time. Not least because, paired with the terrible 0-0 we endured at ibrox with Artmedia, it was part of a 10-game unwinning streak under Alex McLeish.

As it turned out, though, it was part of the only time we've ever progressed from a Champions Leaue Group. The mud-bath draw Artmedia enjoyed with Porto in the final group games saw us through as we held Inter 1-1 at home. Our game finished first and we had to wait for 5 tension-riddled minutes, 50,000 punters in the stands and the players on the pitch, for news of the final whistle in Bratislava - a victory for Artmedia would have put us out and it wasn't til we got home and watched the highlights on telly that we realised Artmedia had had a shot on an open goal in the final minute but the goal-mouth mud was so thick it stopped the ball inches from the line. Had I seen that live I wouldn't be here right now.

The Tehelne Pole was not in a great state when I was there but I was delighted by the fact it was almost unchanged, save for the bucket seats shoved on top of the terracing behind each goal, from the photo in Simon Inglis's The Football Grounds of Europe: Anytime I've been on the continent on holiday I've always tried to get inside a stadium or two and most of this pseudo anorakishness was inspired - or more lilkely just augmented - by that book. Got it when I was 19 years old, at a time when Czechoslovakia was still one country, and remember reading how when the national side played in Prague crowd trouble would see beer bottles chucked onto the pitch but in Bratislava it would be wine bottles (not that I want to play up to any kind of stereotype of what interests the travelling Rangers fan, you understand).

I absolutely loved the kind of "Mitropa Cup" feel about Tehelne Pole and have to confess to being very aware of the fact it was the sight of the last game ever played by the Third Reich National XI - a fact made more prescient by the robo-cop getup of the riot cops who surrounded us at the game and outside the opera house in the city centre (it's not as if Rangers fans have ever been associated with any trouble in Europe!!) - and I very distinctly remember the trees looming high over the home end and the dinky-looking smnaller of the two stands almost opposite me as we were penned into that corner near the main stand.

I also remember the "Artmedia" fans chanting their club's non-sponsored name - even though I can't remember off-hand what it was. Petr-something? It was a warm enough night for the time of year and the only thing making it all less than perfect for me was the fact we couldn't win the game. You couldn't throw your money away in that town and I suddenly understood why it was becoming such a popular city for stag does when I nipped round to Tesco for a few beers and could have had two dozen cans for what amounted to pennies. There was a small kind of sports club-type bar somewhere just behind the stadium and the guy running the place bartered me "up" to something like 30p for a pint. It was ridiculously cheap and I still have a little framed sketch which I bought, of the old town architecture, up on my wall.

The crowd that night was only something like 7,000 as it turned out but I was glad they played the game at Slovan's ground rather than Artmedia's own place because I really enjoyed being in one of the more famous European venues.

So what have they done to it since then, mate? Do you go to see Slovan or the national side? And is that Tesco still as cheap And is that Hrad still as scary??!!

Look, I've got us way off topic. If yer up for more of my inane football chat just look me up on facebook - my profile pick is the Bosnia-Hercegovina FA's crest (coz I'm, like, sooo political) - but I have to warn you I will ask lots of very, VERY boring questions about football in Slovakia :-)

Comment by britskibelasi 2011-04-19 18:33:12

Alex, please excuse me jumping in here, but James directed me to this discussion and I just read your account of your trip to Bratislava with absolute fascination! Together with James, I run a Slovak football blog, which is promoted through Twitter, Facebook and Flags under the name Britski Belasi. A quick google search should get you there.

Personally I follow Slovan quite closely, my love for Bratislava and especially the football started just late enough to have missed all kinds of messy politics involved in Petrzalka's main money-man selling up and moving across town. I actually live in Petrzalka and recently on the blog we've been talking a lot about the demise of the football team, you'll find all kinds of information and pictures through our articles and links and I'd love to hear more about that season's Champions League campaign.

I may just point you in the direction of this piece, which I actually wrote today http://sfunion.net/?p=513

I did try to find your facebook page, without success so far, as there are a rather large number of Alex Anderson's especially on the other side of the pond! Again, a quick facebook search for Britski Belasi should point you in my direction.

Hopefully hear from you, so we can discuss this further away from an article on .. what was it, the Rangers Supporters Trust?!

Dan Richardson

Comment by LobeyDosser 2011-05-08 17:30:24

Supporters Trusts were set up to give fans who want to get involved in the running of their clubs. They are legally registered democratic organisations and backed by all parties in both the Scottish and UK parliaments.

As in all activist organisations there will always be a larger percentage of people who support the concept but do not get actively involved. The labour party received over 8 million votes in the last election but has less than 100,000 members. The percentages are similair for all politcal parties and indeed all kinds of campaign groups in general.

So the arguement about numbers is completely irrelevant as Supporters Trusts can be legally viable with just a couple of dozen members.


As far as criticsms of the Rangers Supporters Trust are concerned, it is bizarre to suggest that the largest shareholding fans group in the clubs history may not ask pertinent questions of the majority shareholder.

The RST has also been active in providing extra revenue streams for the club via its share schemes etc and has also sponsored the Walter Tull trophy as part of a UK wide football against racism initiative.

There are many others things the Trust has done and will do for the benefit of the club, but no matter the petty whinging from those who are not involved in them, Supporters Trusts are here to stay.

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