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The Dignity of Rangers Football Club and the Fans LACK of it

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Rangers Football Club is split. On the one side you have those campaigning and support attempts to rid the club of sectarianism and bigotry. And on the other you have those who want to uphold their ‘Protestant beliefs’ sing about being up to their Knees in Fenian Blood and every other ‘Protestant/Loyalist/Rangers’ ditty they believe they have a right to sing.

And yes we all know that NO Club and NO Fan from other clubs have a right to preach when their own fans are far from angels. However what has been clearly evident in the past few years, is that the unsavoury, bigoted and sectarian element within Rangers Football Club is growing because of the inability and the inaction of Scottish Football’s governing bodies. And these cretinous elements are taking advantage of that inaction.

For so long we have heard that Sectarianism is a stain on Scottish Football, however there’s a difference between talking about it and condemning it, to actually pulling your finger out and turning those words into action. It is only NOW that the Police, Government and Football Authorities have become increasingly involved in trying to weed out the cancer in our game. And that is another stain on Scottish Football, the lack of action from those with the power to stamp Sectarianism out of our game for good.

Rangers Football Club has, they have stated on numerous occasions has ploughed millions into the campaign to stamp out bigotry and sectarianism. But what can be done if those who sing the songs and chants see it as only banter?

  • Ban them from games – Yes. But they can always get tickets from someone else and it has happened in the past and continues to happen now.
  • Arrest them – Yes. Arresting and charging these ‘people’ is another way of helping to stamp out bigotry. It won’t stop the current generation, but it will make the next lot coming through the ranks sit up and take notice of the consequences. Sadly the Police have failed in their duty to date, to come down hard on the fans for the bigoted singing and chanting, even fans singing the racist Famine Song are not arrested. Why? Because the Police do not want to cause a riot in the stadium, if they went in and arrested numerous perpetrators.
  • Fine & Punish the Club – Yes. However the football authorities must follow through with their threats of severe punishment. It was only a few years ago that Rangers were given their final FINAL FINAL warning by the SPL over sectarian singing on the first game of the season up in Inverness. And this year alone, a source has claimed that Celtic and Rangers fans have been reported 8 times and 12 times respectively for the songs they sing. And yet no action from the SPL. Now why is that?
  • Dock Points – Another Yes. If the fans do not listen to their own Chief Executive, Manager or Assistant Manager, nor the governing bodies, then dock points off the club. Maybe then the message will get through to the scum that they are harming their club. And for every match a match delegate reports sectarian singing they are docked points – a set minimum of 3.
  • Play Games behind Closed Doors – Yes. This is the last resort and hits the club financially, as they lose the ticket revenue that would normally have received through the gate. It also punished EVERY fan because of the unsavoury elements. This may lead to those decent fans reporting the scum, the cretins and the cancer within their support.
  • After the recent news that Neil Lennon has been targeted once more, likewise Trish Godman and Paul McBride QC, we heard from Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and Chief Executive Martin Bain who condemned these ‘terrorist’ acts. It was another sign that Scottish Football has had enough of it. The media, the police, the football authorities, the government and even rivals have united to condemn the targeted and systematic terror campaign against any high-profile individual with Celtic Football Club. And it has now been reported that Celtic Director Brian Wilson and Cardinal O’Brien were targeted also. It showed the dignity of those in a position of power at Rangers FC, a club now being dragged through the mud by the continued bigoted, sectarian and vile behaviour of its fans.

    If this terror campaign was not singling out people linked with Celtic, then Rangers fans would not be under suspicion, but the fact is they are. It is ONLY people linked with Celtic that are being targeted, and therefore those cretinous and hate-filled elements within the Rangers support can be classed as Suspects #1690. Those within the element that have links with Loyalist terror groups the UDA, UVF etc that is. The majority that sing the songs and chants, and resort to facebook or twitter hate-filled comments, are nothing but keyboard gangsters, cowards if you will, trying to play the hardman or woman. But that does not excuse them from blame – they are after all still bigots and vile creatures.

    However there is another section to blame. The Internet Rangers Family. The websites Follow Follow and the Vanguard Bears are breeding new generations of bigots and racists. Only a few days ago we reported on the sectarian and racist comments by Follow Follow members towards those linked with FARE. And I myself have had an ongoing battle with the hate-filled bigots of Vanguard Bears, who are not only still hunting for my home address ‘to teach me a lesson’ but have also resorted to the odd death threat now and again.

    William [Wilhelm] Anderson, once head of the Vanguard Bears, led the campaign to try to ‘teach me a lesson’ to find out where I lived, and despite numerous attempts as well as posting a total stranger’s house up on their forum,claiming it was mine, they have still failed to teach me that lesson. And this is them defending their traditions then, as they have eloquently put it. The VB were so bigoted and sectarian in their website articles, that the Newsnow network first suspended them for a few weeks after numerous complaints, and then subsequently banned them altogether, ridding these hate-filled individuals of thousands of readers. For the time being they have gone back down into the gutter, where they belong, but they will surely pop their head out now and again unless Rangers Football Club,the authorities and the company running their server close the site down for good.

    As for Follow Follow’s head honcho Mark Dingwall. He has obviously not resorted to the sort of campaigns that the Vanguard Bears have and still are perpetrating. And Dingwall has been targeted by the Vanguard Bears also, with further threats. But this does not excuse him nor his admin staff on Follow Follow, for keeping threads showing clear racist and sectarian comments up on their site. In fact despite one or tweets from myself to Dingwall’s personal twitter account, he has still failed to take action. And specific threads, which have now been merged into one massive hate-filled thread, dedicated to the Parcel Bombs sent to Neil Lennon, shows hundreds, possibly even thousands of comments, celebrating Lennon and his family being targeted, not to mention Godman and McBride also. From celebrating the terror campaign, to sectarian comments and wanting fans to sing a wee kids song on Sunday to mock Neil Lennon and the ordeal he and others have been put through, Mark Dingwall and Follow Follow have shown what they are all about, by allowing said comments to still be on public display.

    And you won’t be surprised to hear either that Mark Dingwall was a co-founder of the Rangers Supporters Trust and is a current Board member of the Trust. A Trust that has more things to say about Celtic Football Club and Neil Lennon than their own club at times. A Trust whose former Spokesperson David Edgar, was targeted with abuse and threats by his fellow supporters. A Trust that published an OFFICIAL statement that The Famine Song was not racist, that it was just banter aimed at Celtic fans who perceived themselves to be Irish – and utilised the term ‘Plastic Paddy’. A Trust headed up by Stephen Smith. A Trust headed up by someone masquerading as a Trade Union Equality Officer.

    Yes that’s right the Rangers Supporters Trust, a body who publicly stated their support for a clearly Racist song, is headed up by a Trade Union Equality Officer.

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain on his website exclusively revealed all about Smith’s double life as the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) official for Equality and Training. According to the Irish-based journalist the Union stated ‘they had no idea that Smith is currently the public face of the RST’.

    You can check out Phil’s eye-opening article on the Famine Song apologist Stephen Smith here: http://www.philmacgiollabhain.com/trade-union-equality-officer-is-famine-song-defender/

    So while the club continue to head away from their past, and continue to show the dignity that is evidently lacking within a significant element of their fans. The question that must now be posed, what will the club do with the likes of Follow Follow, the Rangers Supporters Trust and the Vanguard Bears? Will they publicly come out and condemn the actions and comments from its members or will they ignore the issue and state that they have done all they can do rid the club of sectarianism and bigotry.

    Dignity is something to be earned, sadly the only thing that these cretinous and hate-filled elements within the Rangers support will earn is possibly a move from one gutter to another.

    dig·ni·ty
    n. pl. dig·ni·ties
    1. The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.
    2. Inherent nobility and worth

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    About Author

    scotzine

    Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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