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Lest WE forget: Are Rangers really 140 years old?

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We have read in the mainstream media, on Rangers-minded blogs and on twitter from the Rangers supporting community that the Ibrox side and its fans will never forget those clubs who chose sporting integrity over a few extra pennies in their pocket.

This warning or threat, whatever you want to call it, should serve as a reminder to all of what the Ibrox club is all about. Remember they told us throughout the summer, they wanted Third Division football and screw the rest of us.

Ever since the club committed seppuku by spending a tenner for every fiver and not paying tax that was owed to HM Revenue & Customs, they have been acting like a fatally wounded animal pinned against the wall- no way to go except for death – but striking out in one last desperate act.

Their statements since February 2012, were inflammatory, aggressive, reactionary and above all dangerous.

Why dangerous?

A fan base that watches on helplessly or unwilling to help, as their club slowly died before their eyes are a dangerous force . Fueled by aggressive and reactionary statements, their hatred and anger is whipped up even more and it would take just one spark to set them off.

Disagree? Just don’t switch the telly off when they are watching their team play. Manchester did and it proved costly for them.

We have heard from rent-a-quote Charles Green who has labelled unnamed clubs, chairmen and supporters bigoted because of their stance against a club that they felt should be punished for their indiscretions.

The club – Rangers 1872 – went into administration and is in the process of being liquidated. Green and his cohorts came in and bought the assets over for around £5.5 million and then claimed player contracts and the history of the club tupe’d over also. The latter flying in the face of what he claimed previously over what would happen if a CVA was rejected.

In fact numerous media outlets from the Daily Record to the Herald and BBC Scotland reported that the 1872 club and its history came to an end.

Since then a campaign of attrition has been conducted by Rangers Football Club, club employees, players and supporters over their historical timeline.

When Rangers 1872 died they were 139 years old, yet yesterday the new club, Rangers 2012, celebrated their 140th anniversary. As some Stirling fans stated today – 140 days old?

If players, who refused to transfer to the new club, state that the club they played for is no more – why should they be ignored? Why should these initial news reports?

One mainstream journalist stated on a radio programme recently that the reason why he discontinued the stance of Ranger sin Division Three was the continued hassle and antagonism from certain club officials spitting the dummy and supporters targeting him over twitter and in phone-ins etc.

Newspapers take an editorial decision on what stance to take on a variety of issues, whether politics, current affairs or sport – for one reason or another – but above all they make those decisions to try to sell more copy and to boost circulation.

The papers initially stated that the Ibrox side died and that their history came to an end. Those headlines boosted their ailing circulation significantly during that period.

Now their stance is one of the club celebrating its 140th anniversary, why? You could list a few reasons for this change of heart.

  • Due to dwindling circulation figures they don’t want to run the risk of alienating sizeable section of their readership.
  • The threat that Rangers FC would ban them from Ibrox and therefore lose at least half of their sports stories on a daily basis straight away.
  • Finally, the continued threats, abuse and aggressive comments aimed at their journalists and editorial staff.

A sweeping statement you say? Maybe so but here is just one example.

Just look at the statement The Scottish Sun issued after they decided to drop the serialisation of Irish-based journalist Phil MacGolla Bhain’s book Downfall: How Rangers FC self-destructed.

The newspaper’s switchboard was jammed with hundreds of Rangers fans calling to complain, fans took to twitter also, while Rangers talked to the paper and threatened to ban Sun journalists from its ground. They also mentioned that there had been physical threats to The Sun journalist who wrote the interview with Phil MacGiolla Bhain.

Despite the leading article, published 24 hours later, declaring that the serialisation was pulled because of a satirical blog posting called ‘The Incubator’ and labelled MacGiolla Bhain as being tarred with a ‘sickening sectarian brush’.

But according to Roy Greenslade of the Guardian, he heard from two journalists, who believed that the Sun editor was shocked by the level of hostility from Rangers fans and feared a possible sales boycott – similar to that suffered by the paper after its infamous accusation against Liverpool fans following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Greenslade further stated that the Sun’s editor was ‘relieved to find an excuse’ to cull the serialisation – a view which has been strenuously denied by senior colleagues of the editor.

The newspaper, in fact, kowtowed to the internet bullies and those who threatened Simon Houston – the author of the article – but more importantly they backed down over the loss of access to Rangers Football Club.

So with this one instance in mind – and there are significantly more out there – do you think that newspaper editors trying to stave off their circulation figures dropping further, would stick with such a stance that would see them lose a significant proportion of their readership and sports stories?

Of course it is all about opinions and there will be many, including journalists, who would take a different stance on why they ‘recognise’ the 140-year-old Rangers – the young pretender to the Ibrox throne – rather than the true club Rangers 1872, which died in its 139th year.

Even the new Head of Communications at Rangers Football Club, James Traynor, believed that the club we all knew as Rangers is no more, that it died.

Social media and fan power was used for good, to uphold sporting integrity in the Scottish game, rather than looking to chase the quick buck as per usual. However, it is now being used to wage of war of attrition against those critics and detractors of Rangers Football Club. Those who challenge the club’s stance, the people’s stance or divert from the mainstream media’s party line are targeted not by one lone wolf sitting with his full Rangers kit on in his mum’s basement, but by wolf packs angry, aggressive and resentful fans gathered together by using twitter and forums denouncing the heretics and using their byword of the moment for any opposition – bigot.

Charles Green changed his stance to win over the hostile natives who were massing at the steps of Ibrox under the behest of former Rangers legend John Brown. Brown, who has now disappeared from the scene is now being painted as a fool by Rangers fans, whether a happy or a delusional one.

Given the sizable wages being paid out to Green and his fellow directors, will they face the wrath of Billy? As Martin Bain did when details of his wage was published by Rangers-minded internet bampots, at the height of their hatred for all things Murray and Bain, and the height of their support for Craig Whyte.

Either way, while Rangers and their supporters celebrated their 140th year anniversary [or 140 days if you believe the Stirling Albion fans display from yesterday]like a 40-year-old women trying to claim that she is still 39, the rest of Scottish football will not forget that this new Rangers Football Club is less than a year old.

The club is still in nappies – quite fitting really – given the amount of meconium that comes out of it.

Happy 140th birthday Rangers. Lest we forget. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Please note: At Scotzine we do not have an editorial stance on issues unless we announce it to our readers. Our contributors are free to make a stance on whatever side they agree with or believe in.

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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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