THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

Comments (18)
Comment by Ichabod 2012-04-26 13:55:44

There were no 'Draconian sanctions' against a club that had broken all the rules. There is just misinformation pouring out from the media given a slanted view on proceedings. Once again Alex leads the way.
Possibly the WSC editor, who clearly has no knowledge of the Scottish game, could explain why a slanted untruthful view of the Rangers situation is pedaled in what once was a worthy magazine?

Once again we see Whyte held out as the fall guy, yet no comment on David Murray the man responsible for the mess? Possibly Alex has been having 'succulent lamb' once again? Perhaps the Rangers fans, the people who wrecked Manchester, sent bombs to Neil Lennon and who are unwanted anywhere in Scotland, could stop supporting sectarianism instead of threatening a cup final in which they have no place! Their threats to the independent panel regarding the lenient punishment so far handed out is embarrassing to them alone. Following the lead from manager McCoist, who well knew the names of the panelists, the intimidation of any who stand up for the rule of law in the game began.

Scotland does not want nor need the Rangers, Scotland does not want nor need Celtic either. Scotland wants a fair league, a fair share of the money and a fair press. The last is not available in Scotland and now sadly is not found in WSC either!

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-04-26 13:57:53

[quote]"...the Rangers Supporters' Association are fronted by spokesmen every Bluenose can be proud of."[/quote]

You haven't heard [url=

]this[/url], then?

[quote]the traditional idea that Rangers is the most Scottish club in Scotland[/quote]

Is this supposedly "traditional idea" held (or has it ever been held) by anyone other than a small, deluded section of the Rangers support?

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-04-26 14:00:18

So I can't use the same tagging that's used on the messageboard. The second and fourth paras are obviously quotes, and the link was supposed to be:

Comment by McAvennie 2012-04-26 14:49:20

"Draconian" - Draconian is an adjective meaning great severity, that derives from Draco, an Athenian law scribe under whom small offences had heavy punishments.

Let's see then, 'small offences' and 'heavy punishments'...

The 'heavy punishments' are basically a ban from signing anyone in the next two transfer windows and a token 160,000 GBP. Given that Rangers are in administration and have no spare cash to spend, a ban on making signings seems pretty pointless.

And the 'small offences', signing players you cannot afford to pay for - one of whom you still have and who played a vital role in the last Old Firm game.

As one person put it recently in an analogy it is like going into a clothes shop, buying thousands of pounds worth of clothes on the agreement that you pay a little up-front and the balance at a later date, then failing to pay the balance, continuing to wear the clothes or selling them on eBay for a reasonable sum and then being told to pay as a punishment just a mere fraction of what was still unpaid on the clothes and being banned from buying more clothes for a year.

You still have the clothes you haven't paid for in your wardrobe, you still get to have a far nicer wardrobe than 10 of your 11 mates and you have the nerve to complain about the punishment and try and turn the scenario round as if you are the victim...

And the MSM-fed view that this is all Craig Whyte's fault, all he did was be stupid enough to buy the mess that Murray had created. And no mention in your piece about McCoist's role in the naming of the independent panel...

"Who are these people? I want to know who these people are. I'm a Rangers supporter and the Rangers supporters and the Scottish public deserve to know who these people are, people who are working for the SFA. Make no mistake about it, this is an SFA decision. They have appointed the panel so therefore they are working for the SFA, but who are they? I think we have a right to know who is handing out this punishment to us, I really do." - A McCoist

Yet, when they were subsequently named he pulls the innocent face. Dignified as always. Questioning the integrity of an SFA panel clearly not as big a crime as questioning the integrity of an SFA referee.

As Ichabod says, I'd like to know why AA's articles are seemingly just taken as written, grammatical errors and all - it is Rangers' not Ranger's. WSC stands up for fairness and transparency yet seems to happily let the 'official' line be blethered away on this issue.

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-04-26 15:36:35

McCoist's comments were an absolute disgrace and totally irresponsible.

Subsitute 'Rangers' for 'Celtic' in that quote and imagine if Lennon had said them. The Rangers fans would have been absolutely frothing at the mouth with fury and indignation.

Comment by the_dude 2012-04-26 16:15:30

This is a really poor piece, Alex. I'd suggest you take your blue tinted specs off and listen to what supporters of the other clubs in the SPL are saying.

If it was my club, I'd be wanting to know what had actually happened in the boardroom, not reacting furiously at the SFA for following through with their rules (you know, the rules every single club in Scotland signed up to, and five of which have been broken by the Ibrox club)

I find it hilarious how the Rangers support blame the SFA for the Craig Whyte scenario. Can you imagine if they'd stepped in and blocked the takeover, the same takeover where the media and every Rangers fan in the world was telling us he was "a billionaire"? There'd have been riots.

However, who decided he should take over? The old board, clearly, the same board who've put the club in this mess by not paying their way, who've potentially allowed double contracts for the past 10 years. All the while Rangers have signed players they couldn't afford, winning trophy after trophy, yet the Rangers support now talk about "a level playing field"?

There will be no level playing field until Rangers pay other clubs what they owe them, and most importantly, their tax bills. To then complain when the club have been punished just seems pathetic to me.

For what it's worth, I'd suggest WSC have another writer produce a piece from the perspective of other Scottish fans, simply for the purpose of balance. This is the type of piece I'd expect to find on a club forum, not on the website of a respected magazine.

Comment by geobra 2012-04-26 16:41:23

Perhaps Rangers should relocate to Italy. Some years ago Lazio were given 23 years to pay off tax arrears of 138 million euros at 6 million a year. And they had Jaap Stam in their team for well over a year without having paid a penny of the transfer fee due to Manchester United.

Meanwhile small clubs with, in comparison, miniscule debts, but which don't come from the capital and don't have the support of the political elite, are simply allowed to go to the wall.

Is there a logical flaw in the clothes shop analogy? I can't see one, but perhaps those who think Rangers are being unfairly treated can.

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2012-04-26 19:39:36

Rangers deserve everything they get, as do Portsmouth, Port Vale and any other club that can't run itself properly. If the fans of these clubs feel they are being punished well tough, your clubs have been living way beyond their means. As much as I feel for the supporters, your loyalty means nothing to the people out of pocket and allowing the clubs to take no responsibility doesn't get them their money back. Get them liquidated, start again as a fans owned project so you have control and live within your means in future.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-04-26 19:59:24

I too would like to ask why a once veritable institution like WSC - or should I say "WS'C" - has allowed such cras's, pro-Ranger's propoganda on their magazine which I'm reading on the internet. One has to wonder why their logo is a man bearing s'ponsorship by a firm called "The People"??!! Mmm? It can only be a reference - and not a very s'ubtle one - to that favourite genocidal chant of Rangers fan's: "we are The People".

And why does WSC ("What Shameful Content"??!!) allow Alex Anderson to use the word "sanctions" in relation to Rangers getting away with 14 decades of cheating? I've looked it up in a dictionary (I'd post a link but when I cut the page out and paste it onto the computer screen it seems to slide off the thread ... I wonder why! NOT!!) and "Sanctions" comes from a French word derived from Latin for "Sacred". Yes - you heard me right - sacred! AA is trying to say that Rangers are sacred (Sacre Bleu = sacred blues!) and any editor worth his s'alt would know their Franco-Latinate etymology and, if he/she had any principles's's at all, would never allow Anderson to slip that kind of sectarian drivel under their nose.

Instead of using lines like "ruining the first all-Edinburgh Cup final since the 1800s will ensure that is how we are regarded for decades to come: petulant bullies", why doesn't AA say something to stop Rangers fans threatening a cup final in which they have no place??!!

And when he spews bile like "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" and "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", does he SERIOUSLY expect us to believe this piece is more concerned with the behaviour of the Rangers s'upport than the (so-called) punishment's being doled out by the S'FA??!!

No. Too late. "Drancoian", Anderson! You used the word Draconian - the horse has bolted from the stables like David Murray from M&S' men's's's department with millions of suits he hasn't paid for.

Despite making no mention - NO MENTION - in his piece about McCoist's role in the naming of the independent panel he tries to slip under the fence a stamenet that McCoist "did, however, demand transparency". The death threats to the panel have been caused by McCoist's demands things are more transparent - I'd like to demand WSC are more transparent

Honestly, I couldn't tell the diference between this' article and todayses' testimony from Charles Taylor. And the flag of Liberia is red, white and blue with only one star - just like Rangers' next season!

Comment by D.S. 2012-04-27 09:40:22

Nice one Alex, that doesn't make you look petty at all.

Comment by Hofzinser 2012-04-27 10:53:53

Classy as ever.

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2012-04-27 11:35:26

Alex, when you comment on your own stories it just seems to reinforce all the criticism about you that hitherto appeared a little harsh.

Comment by Leon Tricker 2012-04-27 13:20:32

Alex, you may be many things. But Wingco you are not.

Comment by geobra 2012-04-27 19:59:26

My club has played all season with a 6-point penalty for its involvement in the Italian betting and match-fixing scandal. It may well soon be hit by another points deduction. This could result in one of the best ever seasons on the field ending in relegation. But if some of the players and/or directors are found to have broken the rules in a big way, I will not be complaining or playing the victim. As fans we have to accept that if our clubs transgress, they must be punished. It may not be fair on us, but not to take punitive action would be even more unfair on the fans of innocent clubs.

The importance or otherwise of the club that has transgressed is (or should be) irrelevant.

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-04-28 14:50:02

100% agree, Geobra. It embarrasses me to see Rangers fans doing anything which even approaches "playing the victim". Some of us are marching on Hampden today to protest. Most,including me, aren't. But I'm having a daily argument with other Rangers fans about whether they're playing the victim or I'm just lying down and BEING a victim. And, as usual, the answer's somewhere in the middle.

The constant dynamic with Celtic eventually gets to you so you sometimes end up, counter-intuitively, judging your own club by how different they are to your most grating rivals (or maybe, in the case of the Old Firm, it's just that they're so frighteningly similair to each other from an objective POV that any differences of any real substance just stand out like a shining beacon of hope :-)). It seems to my obviously and admittedly biased mind that Celtic assault arbitration at every level of the game in this country - from individual refereeing decisions upwards - in a way which, for a club of their size, amounts to bullying. This continually reinforces my desire to see Rangers conduct themselves like a large club which KNOWS it's a large club and takes that responsibility seriously. This could indeed include taking a larger punishment than smaller clubs would expect to receive - we win all the trophies, we have all the best lawyers. To see any Rangers fans encourage anything which even approaches that Alex Ferguson-esque steam-rollering of officialdom when things don't go your way is anathema to me and, I feel, most other Bluenoses.

In terms of money, history, crowds and media coverage, Rangers and Celtic - whether we like or hate it - make up 2/3rds of Scottish Football. In my view Rangers are so massive that we actually have a duty of care to the rest of the game in Scotland and a huge part of that is, as you and MoeTheBarman are saying, taking your medicine when you're in the wrong.

I can fully understand why Rangers fans and, especially, current Rangers staff might see this particular medicine as too large a dosage, especially when so much stress is fogging the thinking. I can't condemn them wanting to protest because so many people just need to feel they're doing SOMETHING to stop their club going to the wall. What concerns me is that an instinctive desire to be proactive will be skewed into the kind of behaviour or attitudes which go against the better nature of our club. What truly horrifies me is that a small group of Rangers fans who've always snottily looked down their nose at the rest of Scottish Football are taking this week's decision by the SFA as an opportunity to divert two and a half months of frustration at the wrong target.

If these sanctions ARE the final nail then it's only being hammered into a coffin of our own making. And perhaps we're marching on Hampden because that's closer than Craig Whyte's Monaco hideout.

The old addage about crisis providing opportunity isn't always meant positively. If there's a straightforward commuting of these sanctions at appeal, the actions and proclamations of some Rangers fans can now be seized on by detractors as evidence of Rangers bullying the very bodies they need to support. Without an SFA or SPL, like referees, there'd be no football. And amid all the pseudo-politicising by our fans of what's happening at Rangers, we really need to remember that sport is what it's all about. If you're not respecting the rules then it just isn't football - unless, of course, you take your punishment when you break them.

Comment by geobra 2012-04-28 16:29:27

'In terms of money, history, crowds and media coverage, Rangers and Celtic - whether we like it or hate it - make up 2/3rds of Scottish football'.

I find that a terribly sad statement, if it is true. Probably it is, and maybe it could also be said of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and, for example, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos in Greece.

But why do so many people ignore their local clubs and support these behemoths? We all know what one of the reasons is in the case of Rangers and Celtic, but surely it cannot be the only one.

And it prompts me to ask a question which has been nagging at me for a long time. Do all these supporters actually love and appreciate football in all its beauty and all its ugliness, its joy and its despair? Or is there something else that has nothing to do with football as such behind their support?

No doubt these are naive questions to which the answer lies in history. The Civil War in Spain, the troubles in Ireland, though I don't know what in Greece. Perhaps just Athens v Piraeus. But surely the time has come for football to rid itself of these chains.

Me, I love football for itself, and I support the team that I do because it's where I live. But if they're not playing, I'll watch anything. And I wouldn't dream of supporting a more successful team from a distant city.

A possible riposte to Alex's statement might be that if it is true, Scottish football would be more healthy without Rangers and Celtic.

We often hear that nobody is indispensable. Can we also say that no team is indispensable?

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-05-03 20:57:53

Absolutely, Geobra - there absolutely is something else, other than sectarianism, which causes people like me to ignore their local club and fall in love with a behemoth. It's an interesting point you bring up so, I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to rant on about it over more than one post:

That "something else": I can't speak for Portugal, Holland, Greece, Turkey and wherever else this happens (I remember sitting stunned in a bar in Milan - MILAN! - as the place went crazy when Juventus scored against Lazio on the big screen)but in Scotland it's glory-hunting - plain and simple.

Hampden Park holds almost every European crowd record there is. For a country of 5 million this is pretty amazing. We have, in Glasgow, 3 all-seater, modern stadia with capacities over 50,000 - almost SOLELY used for football. In a city of less than a million people, n a country which has never made it to the knock-out stages of a major finals, this is phenomenal. And look at Scotland's record against England in the longest running international fixture in the world - after 140 years we're almost dead level with the nation which invented the game and which, to hammer the point home, has TEN TIMES our population.

Basically, Scotland is mad about football to a degree very few other countries are. If your obsession is football but your country is Scotland, glory can be quite thin on the ground. So in club football you have an almost preternatural desire to see success. And, in Scotland, there is a ready-made excuse, a horrible "validation" for going over to either of the old firm at the expense of oh, say, I dunno - Kilmarnock perhaps: "I was born a Catholic/Protestant therefore I've really ALWAYS been a Celtic /Rangers fan ...".

Luckily, the Old Firm tend to get their comeuppence in Europe, where we experience decades of inadequacy dotted with the most meagre high points to cling on to and re-hash to new generations of fans for years to come. But, mostly, Rangers and Celtic provide that filip to those who don't have the time to waste on more misery - that is, Scottish people. As some of the posts in this thread demonstrate, however, the other price to pay for leading such a shallow existence is a constant need to convince yourself there is a deeper, socio-political point to your fandom - this results in hysterically blinkered reactions to, well, really, anyone who doesn't support your half of the old firm. We're all trying just a bit too hard to attack the imagined motives of others so as to avoid looking too closeley at our own...

TO BE CONTINUED:

Comment by Alex Anderson 2012-05-03 20:58:56

@Geobra, (part II! Sorry but it's nice to get a sensible chat so I'm gonnae go for it):

The Scottish top flight has always been ridiculously top heavy. No question. And this is undeniably sad. The constant re-workings of the league structures down the decades reflect the continual yo-yoing from competitiveness to getting a share of the Old Firm pie when the chairmen get together. But while an SPL without Rangers and Celtic would certainly be more competitive, the crippling worry is that without the knowledge you're playing in competitions frequented by 50,000 and 60,000 crowds, the Scottish domestic game might lose some of its lustre ... despite losing, hopefully, a sh*t load of its horrible bile.

More competitive doesn't always mean better quality or a healthier national set-up. Penarol and Nacional is the most consistent domestic duopoly after Rangers and Celtic - in a country with an even smaller population - but the Uruguay national team has a staggering record on the international stage (reaching the semis, minimum, of the world cup every 20 years and for a long time winning more Copa Americas than their biggest rivals put together)so the old firm can not be blamed for Scotland's poor record in tournaments. the argument is that the intnse rivalry and huge crowds generated by the old firm gives a taste of high-pressure environments which would usually escape a player raised in such a small country: What happens in England could never phase Sir Alex after the way he was crucified by the Rangers support for his part in the disastrous 1969 Scottish Cup final, in front of 120,000.

When every media outlet in christendom has, for the last few years, been telling every punter on earth that failure to play like Barcelona is a sin, can we rally blame young kids for thinking a consistently winning team is the only place for their affections? And where are these fans of other clubs? Why are they just letting the Rangers, Benficas, Panathinaikosss'sss and Feyenoords of the world dominate the domestic set up? If the behemoth situation is so abhorrent to most football punters why don't people swamp EVERY club in the league?

As you say, Geobra, the suspicion is that the big clubs are followed by huge swathes of football ignorami. I've certainly been sat next to my fair share of clueless gits over the years at Rangers - "GET IT UP THE PARK - KICK IT!!!" and booing us off the pitch at half-time of the first leg of our first european semi in 36 years, which we eventually won, because it was nil nil - and when Rangers have a Saturday off I will go along to Queens Park, Partick Thistle or wherever and I don't see the crowd swelled by the 40,000 Ibrox season ticket holders who're going spare that day.

I was never baptized/Christened/whatver it is you do in those church things. My parents are one Catholic and one Protestant and they'd had enough of the garbage surrounding their marriage so that they knew better than to get me involved in the whole god-botherng mularkey. But football is my religion and Rangers bit me first and I utterly, ridiculously, head-over-heels ADORE them in a way I wouldn't change even if I could. But that's why I and so many other Rangers fans welcomed the idea of Rangers dropping down the divisions in order to retain our history as we pay off our debts - it's a golden chance to prove we love the club, not the glory. There's no trophy shines as bright as those red and black socks :-)

But - a few quick related points for you: I now live in Glasgow, having moved here from Ayrshire years ago, but it was always, throughout my childhood, as quick to get to Ibrox as it was to get to Rugby Park, Kilmarnock as the crow flies. So definitions of "local" can be blurry. However, I go to all the home games of the Scotland national team - rather than, say, England, Northern Ireland or Germany. AND I Know Kilmarnock fans who now travel to see Man United as often as Killie - something I instinctively deem traitorous - AND I had, when I was a school kid, a season ticket for the junior/non-league team IN the town of my birth. I will still travel back to the town of my birth to see them, or around Glasgow to watch them when they're playing away. So, in many ways, I'm more "local" than fans of their local league club :-) and what happens if you're born in Govan, Parkhead, Salford? :-)

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