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Rangers: The Dignity, the honour and the lack thereof

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McCormack said at the time: “Consideration was also given to using some more of the funds to pay off money owed to Dundee United. But that was rejected as there were strong views that, in recent times, Dundee United had treated Rangers and their fans with disdain.

“Rangers fans were angry when Dundee United levied an extra charge on Rangers ticket holders if they wished to attend an abandoned game at Tannadice.”

The club eventually paid some of the money they owed Dundee United, however to claim that one club was dishonourable is laughable when their own club owe around £140 million to numerous creditors, including several football clubs, small shops and even a face painter.

With a change to the rules and articles of the SPL being discussed, Rangers could be set to face further sanctions over the coming months and years if they decide to liquidate in a bid to escape paying the debt they owe, by starting again as a newco.

The new rules and articles being proposed by the SPL hierarchy are seen by many to be a prelude to a Rangers newco being welcomed back into the SPL, rather than starting life in the Third Division as some believe they should.

However, the Rangers Supporters Trust feel that they should not face such proposed sanctions and see them as severe. Because of this they are contemplating calling for a boycott of away fixtures next season.

In a statement on their official website, the Rangers Supporters Trust said: “The board of the Rangers Supporters Trust, like other fans of the club, are not in the least surprised by the actions and timing of the SPL decision to vote on rule changes which has now further delayed a future takeover of Rangers.

“Given the severity of the possible sanctions, and their impact on any club who may also fall on hard times through mismanagement, it leaves us little option to give serious consideration of calling for a boycott of away fixtures by Rangers fans next season; specifically targeting those clubs who have rushed through the proposals to punish our club with these excessive and draconian penalties.

“We will discuss this in the near future with our sister organisations the Rangers Supporters Association and Assembly to maximise impact and collate ideas on how a boycott could be facilitated if deemed necessary. There appears to be a change in attitude within our support and a unified determination not seen before as we again see another attempt to persecute our club whilst we are at our most vulnerable.

“It may also be important to consider how these severe penalties, currently aimed at one club in particular, will impact future league and club sponsorship and have a secondary impact on all clubs reducing the stature of Scottish football as a whole. With this in mind we will contact several of the main sponsors to seek their thoughts on how these sanctions would affect their level of investment given the obvious inevitable decreasing level of competitiveness in the SPL in future.”

Despite the Rangers Supporters Trust seeing the proposed sanctions as severe, other fans groups in Scotland see them as far too lenient for a club that has resorted to financial mismanagement and are wanting to escape any punishment altogether by starting again as a newco.

The Dundee United fans group ArabTRUST issued their own statement after the SPL announced the proposed sanctions, it read: “ArabTRUST has representation in the Boardroom of Dundee United, so as a supporters’ group we are in a unique position to be kept fully informed of and indeed, where possible, influence, the policy of the Club.

“Our position has always been that we fully support the introduction of stringent and pro-active financial fair play rules and support moves to make the SPL more democratic.

“We believe that the majority of our members and indeed United supporters, would agree with any measures which would help prevent the difficulties experienced at Dundee FC, Motherwell, Livingston, Gretna and now Glasgow Rangers and the ongoing situation at Hearts.

“You may be aware that strict financial fair play rules were called for in the Supporters Direct ‘Fan’s Plan’ which came about from a survey of Scottish Trusts last year (well before, for example, Rangers went into administration). Unfortunately this did not attract much attention at the time, but now of course appears prophetic. Details of the fans’ plan can be found on the Supporters Direct website.

“We will reinforce these views and discuss the new developments announced this week with Chairman Stephen Thompson at an early meeting. We have also asked Supporters Direct to raise the matter at a meeting with Neil Doncaster and Stuart Regan which is scheduled for later this month as we believe a collective approach on these issues carries more weight.

“We think it is fair to say that these individuals are well aware that the vast majority of Scottish football supporters do not wish to see any club receive preferential treatment with regard to financial fair play or in facing the consequences of any breaches in the rules.”

The Celtic Trust were somewhat more scathing of the proposed SPL sanctions calling for the sporting integrity of the game to remain intact or they could consider their own boycotts of away fixtures if the decision is made to re-instate a Rangers newco.

It read: “The announcement by the SPL of the proposed rule changes to deal with Clubs who fall into administration and/or liquidation has angered many Celtic fans and fans of other Clubs. The fact that it has also angered the RST on the grounds of being too severe is, at one and the same time, bizarre and entirely predictable given the state of denial in which that particular organisation exists. More importantly, however, is what we are going to do about it.

“The Celtic Trust have asked for a meeting, as a matter of urgency, with Celtic to ascertain what their thinking is in relation to the vote on these resolutions. There have also been a number of calls from members and other supporters to look at boycotts of away games. In addition there has been a proposal from within the membership to let the sponsors of the SPL know that we will take action, in the form of boycotts and other actions, against them if they fail to bring pressure to bear on the SPL to maintain the sporting integrity of the league competition. Other members have already suggested that Celtic should tender their resignation from the league in protest if these resolutions are passed.

“Whatever happens, and whatever action we choose to take, it is absolutely vital that we stand together on this one. Not only should all the Celtic supporters’ organisations and individual supporters unite to defend the integrity of the game but, if at all possible, we should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Club in opposing the introduction of a ‘get-out’ clause for Clubs who have effectively cheated for years on end and who have defrauded the citizens of this country.

“If the SPL think they can be all things to all men on this one they need to be informed, and quickly, that nothing short of a robust and impartial defence of the integrity of the game will do.

“A competition without integrity is not one which many people will be willing to pay money to watch – not now and not ever.”

While the threats of fans boycotts from both Celtic and Rangers fans always make me chuckle, it is clear that such an issue and the proposed sanctions which will effectively welcome back a Rangers newco has united fans of the eleven clubs in standing in opposition to it happening.

An opposition that I doubt many of their club chairmen would consider given that most merely think about the financial implications rather than the integrity of the game itself. The £80 million TV deal with SKY and ESPN is one reason why many club chairmen would sell their own sporting integrity for a few extra quid.

The title of this article is not only very apt in regards to Rangers, the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund, the Rangers Supporters Trust, but also those clubs who will – and you know they will – vote in favour of a Rangers newco being welcomed back into the SPL spitting in the face of sporting integrity.

Would they vote a Dunfermline, a Dundee, a Livingston back into the SPL if such an issue happened to them? If you think they would then you are even more gullible than those Rangers fans who fell hook line and sinker for what Craig Whyte was saying via the club’s official website and some of those trusted PR gurus in the mainstream media.

Dignity and honour until it hits their purse strings then they would sell their grannies for an extra buck. I wonder just how many fans would turn their back on the Scottish game altogether if a Rangers newco is welcomed back into the SPL?

For Rangers and their supporters, they now have no right to use the words honourable and dignity. In fact the only words they should utilise are dishonourable and a lack of dignity. Knock down that pedestal they have stood on for so long and sell the rubble to pay off some of their debts.

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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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