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Follow, Follow but for how Long?

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[media-credit name=”© Vagelis Georgariou | Scotzine” align=”aligncenter” width=”590″][/media-credit]

The day of Tuesday 14th February will go down in the history of this great club as one of the darkest days that the football club has had to endure and the days that have followed on have not been any better!

When a club the size of Rangers goes into administration, you know that there is something seriously, seriously wrong and it could be a battle with HMRC and not Celtic which could see a result which no one involved with Rangers Football Club wants to see.

As well as their constant tax problems which have resulted in the club heading into administration, things on and off the pitch have not been rosy for some time and the continued feud and fall out with the BBC in Scotland over a programme which was aired about Craig Whyte and his business dealings in the past, lead to a ban on the broadcaster which still stands to this day and the company has even had a protest outside its Pacific Quay headquarters from angry Rangers fans which was organised by the Vanguard Bears and neither of these things have helped.

The whole situation at Rangers is worrying and there is a genuine concern among those who love the club, the fans that they really could go out of business.

The fans have the right to protest and demand answers but staying away is not an option for the Rangers fans that I have spoken to, they will do as they sing in their song and Follow, Follow, no matter the state of the club or whichever division they are in and I must say, I applaud them because their team and manager needs the support to stay loyal even more so now than ever before.

Some Celtic fans may laugh or poke fun at their oldest, bitterest rivals but in truth, they both need each other and if Rangers went under, Celtic would suffer as a result as their only competition for the title would have gone, yes it may seem great to start with the Hoops fans thinking they would walk the SPL title season after season but where would the fun be in that?

I know that in 1994, Celtic almost came within minutes from going under and had it not been for a wee man called McCann, Fergus McCann, Celtic would have been no more!

Many Rangers fans may have been sitting on their chairs at home, hoping it would happen but others would still want the rivalry with both teams and banter with their workmates on the days after an Old Firm match, a win for either side is celebrated like no other win in the SPL, these victories are bragging rights on the streets of Glasgow and beyond.

After Rangers entered administration, they have already been deducted 10 points and with Celtic already 4 points ahead, the Parkhead side have almost certainly won the title…unless Rangers do a Celtic and overturn the difference but can you see that happening?

Many non-Old Firm fans and fans of clubs may say, “We had to go through a difficult time and had to get relegated or even had to go out of business, why should Rangers be any different?”

Rangers are a big pull, for small clubs up and down the country and for TV and have fans all over the world, for some Rangers are a way of life if not their whole life!

I know many Rangers fans who have put money into the club for years and years and will follow the club no matter what state they are in or what Division, these guys are the ones I feel sorry for should Rangers go to the wall.

Family and friends who have followed the club from birth and know only going to Ibrox on a Saturday to show their support and love for Rangers, these people could not love another club as much as they love Rangers, the Celtic fans would be the same.

No one is saying Rangers are the perfect example of a football club, they have had their traditions over the years but they have slowly come round to signing players from the Catholic faith, so that cannot be brought up over and over again as it used to be.

I was sick and tired of bitterness and hatred ruining our game and to hear some Celtic fans gloat over the fact that Rangers could cease to exist, has made me feel sick. If Celtic win the league at the end of the season, yes the support will be happy but it has been won in a tainted way, some may say so have some of Rangers title or cup wins, it could in fact be an argument that I could never win!

With most clubs, you always get banter but it seems that this has gone over board this time and there is genuine hope that, from some of the Celtic fans, NOT all, that they will be happy to dance on Rangers grave if it comes to that!

Taking the worst case scenario on board, suppose Rangers do go out of business, supposing they do knock down three sides of Ibrox, what then?

A football club dies, Scottish football loses one of its biggest assets, Govan and surrounding areas lose trade, trade they have been doing well in for many years, jobs are lost at the football club, players, manager, clearers, catering staff and hospitality events are no more, programme sellers, JJB Sports store at Ibrox closes, pubs lose their trade as fans have nothing to watch, what if all this happens? Could Craig Whyte sleep easy at night? Would he care?

I am not a Rangers fan but I can say I am a football fan and Rangers going out of business would not only be bad for the SPL, it would be horrendous for Scotland as a country to lose one of its biggest assets and a successful football club into the bargain, this simply cannot be allowed to happen!

TV deals would cease to happen if Rangers did not exist! The Sky money and money from the BBC for highlights would be no more and cup matches (which this season have dried up after the 2-0 defeat to Dundee United at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup and a 3-2 defeat away to Falkirk in the League Cup) have meant that there is no more extra cash coming through either, add this to the exits from two European trophies and you can see how the problems are mounting for the Rangers manager.

Although, for the sake of a wee argument, if Rangers do end up going bust and into Liquidation and have to start as a new club in the Third Division, can you imagine the coverage the Third Division would get for the visit of this new Rangers?

For the moment the fans are sticking with Ally and I hope they back him for the rest of the season, the results beforehand in the cup competitions could have been better and watching Celtic overturn their lead which almost looked untouchable at one stage, cannot be good for the Rangers board and fans who are watching Ally’s every move.

When he was at Ibrox as a player, he was idolised but before that came the hard times and the supporters turned on him on more than one occasion but Ally just dug in and through hard work and dedication, became one of the club’s greatest ever players.

Super Ally was the chant that once rang round Ibrox Stadium, as they watched McCoist score goals for the club every week to become the clubs record goal scorer and Ally needs some of his magic to rub off on the players who are there at the club right now.

Selling Nikica Jelavić to Everton on transfer deadline day has not helped matters but Ally has to try to keep the bandwagon going,making sure that the club do all they can do on the field and win matches, starting with Kilmarnock on Saturday !

The Rangers fans sing, “No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care”, the truth is, many football fans do care and not just the Rangers fans, Scottish Football would suffer without Rangers and although many would say it is only right that they are punished but not flogged to death!

For now, the Rangers supporters will have to continue to Follow, Follow and hope the worst they come out of this whole sorry episode is finishing this season empty-handed, if this is the case Rangers will still be able function as a football club and before anyone gets on their moral high horse just remember, it may be a football club that you love or hate but just think about this, maybe, just maybe there will be people losing their jobs over at Ibrox, who have never known anything else but working for Rangers.

They take pride in their job and the fact they have been chosen to work for the club they love. There will be men, women, kids who will lose their jobs through no fault of their own, people who are just as important as the players who get paid a handsome wage for playing football but are not in the limelight.

From cleaners right up to top-level management, this latest blow will send a shudder right through Ibrox and I only hope that not only the people who I know and are in my thoughts at the moment but everyone at the club comes through this whole nightmare safely, I don’t ever want to see another Gretna in my life time.

Look at the SPL table today and tell me, do you think it would look better minus Rangers, I don’t think so and I certainly hope not!

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About Author

Chief Features Writer for Scotzine.com. Sean has written for various publications and websites over the years and has been involved with making documentaries on Aberdeen Football Club, Dundee United Football Club, Henrik Larsson, Paul Lambert and Jock Stein and also Radio programmes, one of which "Old Firm Day" won a Bronze Sony Award. He also worked in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. His love of writing started off with The Punter and has gone on to write for the following FIFA magazine, 442, Scotland's Oracle, Players Inc, British Football Week, ESPN, Give Me Football, Inside Futbol, 67 Fanzine and the matchday programmes of Aberdeen, Carlisle United, Montrose, Partick Thistle, Stockport County and Queen's Park. He has also been asked to write a blog for Youth Football Scotland on St.Mirren YFC such was his passion for football at every level from Grassroots to the professional game.

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