It seems that my old ‘friend’ Gary Lenaghan is one of those Rangers fans wanted by Police Scotland in connection with disorder at the Scottish Cup Final.
Lenaghan, who was a prominent member of the Rangers supporters group the Vanguard Bears and a founding member of the loyalist Shankill Protestant Boys flute band, was pictured as suspect number 76 in the Police Scotland’s list of fans they wanted to speak to regarding the violence that erupted after Rangers’ 3-2 defeat to Hibernian last season.
The self-confessed ‘prominent community worker’ from the Shankill area of Belfast, when contacted by the Daily Record, denied that he was a member of the Rangers supporters group the Vanguard Bears. But in an article in the Shankill Mirror in April 2012, Lenaghan speaks to the newspaper about the group.
Lenaghan, at the time, said: “Vanguard Bears are a proactive group set up to defend the traditions of Rangers and all that they stand for along with all aspects of traditions within the PUL community including the right to remain British and all that comes with those rights.”
However, is there a darker reason behind Lenaghan being wanted by Police Scotland or than just plain old hooliganism? We all remember the videos showing a Rangers fan with another trying to snatch a Hibernian kid on the pitch, was Lenaghan party to that attempted snatch?
Watch the above video from 0.42 seconds onwards – you will see a fan in a dark blue top grab the kid, but you will also see a man in a light blue jacket beside him. Compare that with the photo the police released of suspect number 76 – aka Gary Lenaghan.
Here is a clearer photo of Lenaghan posing with former Rangers player Michael Mols at Hampden Park, wearing the same gear as his alleged Police suspect photo and the video footage:
Make your mind up for yourselves.
Lenaghan was part of the ‘Rangers till I die – Northern Ireland group’ attended meetings with former Rangers chief executive Charles Green and then-First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, over what was claimed as ‘the disgraceful way that Politicians in Scotland have shown absolutely no support for Rangers Football Club’.
The group backed Green following the meeting calling him ‘very honest and upfront’ before giving him their ‘full backing’.
A statement issued at the time by an associate of Lenaghan’s Thomas Mathers, read: “All in all we found Mr Green to be very honest and upfront and along with all the other Supporters thought his plans were excellent.
“Therefore on behalf of Myself and R.T.I.D.N.I, We would like to give our FULL backing to Mr Green and his plans for Rangers F.C.
“We support fully, his stance with regards to the hatred towards our club and the Agenda by The S.P.L/S.F.A and fully back him every step of the way in his fight against the haters of Rangers F.C and their Fans.”
“We believe that Mr Green is the real deal and has the full Backing of R.T.I.D.N.I and we would urge ALL fans to do the same.”
Mathers is also a member of the Vanguard Bears and secretary of the Ardoyne Rangers supporters club.
I mentioned Gary Lenaghan as my old ‘friend’ earlier in the article, however this is certainly far from the case. Under his twitter alias impongo2, Lenaghan was reported to Police Scotland by yours truly for making death threats to myself, but more importantly my wife who was pregnant with my four year old son at the time.
Sadly, Police Scotland failed to take any action at the time only advising to block the sickening individual.
The Vanguard Bears opened up a legal defence crowdfunding project in the wake of the Scottish Cup Final disorder, as they looked to raise £10,000 to help those Rangers hooligans arrested, but over three months since their call for funds they have failed to reach their total.