The slow death of Rangers FC looks like it is coming to an end, as HRMC cast their mighty vote and condemn Rangers to liquidation. However the saga is not over by any means. There is still a lot to be uncovered about how Rangers got into this mess in the first place and just who the guilty people are. There is also the matter of the actions of Duff & Phelps, the club’s Administrators who seem to have acted more in the interests of Rangers than in the interests of the creditors. Though the current Rangers FC looks likely to disappear a new Rangers will almost immediately emerge. This of course will raise more questions about where will they play – the SPL or the third division? Will a new Rangers have to take on some of the punishments handed out to the old Rangers? How new will a new Rangers really be? For more information about all these questions and how they pan out I can recommend a couple of very good websites – here and here.
My father was a staunch Rangers supporter, though living in St Andrews he hardly ever got to see his team in action. I am therefore in some sense part of the Rangers family. However despite this I do not regret the demise of Rangers FC. I feel great sympathy for the thousands of Rangers fans who have had nothing to do with the demise of their club. That once proud club has only itself to blame as it allowed itself to degenerate into an anachronism in modern Scotland.
There are three key reasons why the demise of the current Rangers FC could be a blessing in disguise for Rangers fans and for Scottish football in general. The first point to make is that Rangers deserve to disappear because over decades their owners and managers participated in a series of tax frauds – criminal behaviour in plain language. Such fraud cannot go unpunished. A new club can begin afresh with a solid committment to run the club in an ethical and financially sustainable manner. Secondly, in the past Rangers allowed their club to become a bastion of anti catholicism and proud supporters of a perverted Protestantism. This I am pleased to say has been jettisoned by recent owners. However, at least some of the supporters still rejoice in anti catholic diatribes as can be witnessed by the songs and verbal abuse to be heard at Ibrox. A new club can expressly disown this part of the old Rangers and ensure that its committment to an inclusive approach is manifest in everything the club does. Finally the old Rangers was happy to portray the club as a bastion of Unionism. This to a large extent went with its Ulster protestant and anti catholic past. However it is amazing that no-one at Ibrox was able to sense the profound changes taking place in Scotland. Opposition to devolution and staunch support for the UK is hardly the mark of an inclusive club. It is all the more self defeating as it is clear that many Rangers supporters are in favour of Scottish independence. A new club will allow a new Rangers to fully embrace the new Scotland that is emerging. This is not to suggest that a new club would come out in support of independence. Rather that the new club would not exhibit any position on the constitutional future of Scotland. The majority of Rangers supporters may well continue to prefer the Union to independence, but that would remain a personal choice and nothing to do with supporting Rangers.
For all these reasons I hope that a new Rangers does emerge. I hope that this new Rangers will accept the heritage of the old Rangers – the good and the bad. And that the new Rangers will seek to build on the best of the past and visibly and forcibly reject the worst of its baggage from the past. Scotland is unique in having two such large and well supported clubs in a country of only five million people. What would be even better would be for these two clubs to be completely sectarian free. A new Rangers offers a wonderful chance for Rangers supporters to be in the vanguard of this change – for the good of Rangers and the whole of Scottish football. A new website has been started by Rangers supporters, which looks like a promising development. You can find them here.