26 April ~ If Tuesday's draconian sanctions from the SFA are the final nail in the Rangers coffin then the club's reputation could be sealed by the subsequent reaction by Rangers fans. Right now it doesn't look pretty. Some fans are proposing boycotts of the Scotland national team and are even considering hijacking this year's all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final. After months of taking administration on the chin, Bluenoses seem to have finally cracked. Worse still, members of the panel appointed by the SFA to devise the sanctions have been "outed" on the internet and have duly received threatening abuse, which demanded police involvement.
An independent inquiry by the SFA into Craig Whyte's asset-stripping sabotage of Rangers has caused outrage among the Rangers community. Rangers fans are not so much angry with the findings, but with the proposed punishments and the timing of the announcement. As the club searches for potential buyers, the imposing of a year-long embargo on the signing of all but youth players has been described by manager Ally McCoist as potentially fatal to Rangers' existence.
Whyte now stands in Scottish footballing infamy alongside Third Lanark's last chairman, Bill Hiddleston. If Rangers go out of business, as Third Lanark did in 1967, Whyte's will be equally culpable. But the effect on the national game will be far more devastating.
One would think that the SFA should be applauded for banning Whyte from our game for life and that the end of Rangers would serve no purpose to those who run our national game. But the transfer embargo and £160,000 fine at a time when we are surviving on only gate money and charity donations seems to be punishing the club for the SFA's failure to deem Whyte not "fit and proper" at a much earlier stage.
Ranger's administrators have asked for an immediate chance to appeal and will most likely get it within the week. The governing body is probably covering itself from future accusations of pro-Rangers bias. They are going in heavily knowing that Rangers' litigious administrators (who are suing Whyte's lawyers to the tune of £30 million for their part in his illegal takeover) will have any initial punishments curbed at a tribunal. This does not hide the fact that the SFA are hitting a member club hard at a time when that club needs to remain attractive to potential buyers.
The Rangers Supporters' Assembly and the Rangers Supporters' Association are fronted by spokesmen every Bluenose can be proud of. Even in their anger, they are remaining reasoned judges of the situation. The Rangers Supporters' Trust, however, has been at the forefront of giving the tabloids the kind of "civil war" threats they love.
Looking at boycotting SFA sponsors is one thing, but the idea of Rangers fans ruining the first all-Edinburgh Cup final since the 1800s will ensure that is how we are regarded for decades to come: petulant bullies who could not stand to see anyone else have their day.
Proposing that Rangers fans and players boycott the national team not only looks like blackmail but goes against the heart of the traditional idea that Rangers is the most Scottish club in Scotland. It plays up to the stereotype of us as England-loving self-haters rather than just plain British.
Managing Rangers is stressful enough when everything is going well. Since February, McCoist has acted as a chairman, chief executive, negotiator, PR man, football tactician and motivator of a stricken squad. When Tuesday's announcement delivered another body blow in what is his first season as a manager, he made it clear he was in no way blaming the SFA panel for Rangers' plight.
He did, however, demand transparency. He wants to know who the members of that panel were. Now the most diplomatic, affable man in our game has to qualify understandable comments because some idiots see hyped-up outrage as proof of their loyalty.
Perhaps two and a half months of administration have drained the fear from me, but a year without new players is nothing compared to the constant threat of liquidation. Anyone who wants to buy Rangers should be doing it through a desire to save the club rather than with concerns about points deductions or transfer sanctions. Otherwise we end up with another Craig Whyte.
I am hoping that an as-yet uninvolved player is out there waiting until the existence of Rangers goes right down to the wire. If I was going to buy the club, I would do it at a time that would guarantee as much "saviour" status as possible. This tactic would also guarantee the best bargaining position with administrators and creditors. That time is now. We are beginning to lash out and that does nothing to make us more saleable. Alex Anderson