The Celtic-Rangers rivalry was one of the fiercest and toxic rivalries in all of world football for reasons we all know. And then it stopped. Rangers went burst. FACT! In the narrative of Scottish football however this has become an inconvenient truth, a truth which by ignoring and even denying will result in the vilest of atmospheres when Celtic play the team called Rangers playing out of Ibrox. Property will be damaged, people will be arrested and A&E wards will be on a heightened level of alert and whilst I accept that this is nothing new as a consequence of a Glasgow derby, it has been made worse by our media not reporting the facts and legacy of cheating and liquidation of Rangers football club.
Rangers began their spend spend philosophy when there was scope for market expansion in football. The game was changing from being paid for by guys on terraces to a mix of punters, corporate and tv paying the wages. If you speculated, you could accumulate and They had the stadium to accommodate it. David Murray was not the genius many in the media had us believe, he took over the reigns of the finished article and just kept on with the policy of spend. The problem was, like a politician who’s been in power too long, he was incapable of understanding when the policies of yesterday had become outdated. The ability to speculate was diminishing but he kept spending, creating a problem.
With Fergus McCann transforming Celtic with fresh thinking, David Murray kept spending and kept having to come up with more innovative ways to get that money. Businessmen lost their shirts through diluting share issues but he kept spending and kept being lauded. He used his close relationship with bankers to fund his entire empire beyond its means. The legacy was £1bn black hole at the banks created by Murray and his ego, unpaid taxes to the state and most recently Murray Group pensioners taking a reduction on their hard saved retirement planning. Lauded and knighted, this man patently has no shred of humility nor possibly humanity. His legacy for the taxpayer has been toxic. His legacy to the club of Struth, Wallace and Greig was terminal.
Rangers took creditors with them to their grave. By the time BDO got their hands on the club the debts created in trying to compete with Celtic amounted to almost £100m.
I could go on, but the points are well known to all and none of them can be disputed. Rangers went bust owing £millions. FACT. These millions were not wasted on vanity housing projects or running a basketball team or hockey team by some overarching group structured business. These were not even debts created whilst running a football team and building a brand new stadium. Rangers were debt free when Murray arrived. All these Rangers debts were created by the ego of a failed businessman who thought only of spend spend spend when it came to running a football club. Pure and simple – Rangers went burst spending too much on putting players on the park. Football debts killed Rangers. FACT!
Since the failure of that football club a new narrative has arisen around the name Rangers, one that ignores the facts and ignores the law. One which has perpetuated animosity between fans of Rangers and the other 41 clubs in Scotland and one which has fueled the fires for whenever the new Rangers play in the top flight and specifically now for when the new Rangers play us.
As recently stated by Peter Lawwell, whilst this is a newco and new club, they are a team playing in the same ground, with the same fans, same colours and the same name. What SHOULD have happened was confirmation by everyone that liquidation has the same legal position whether you’re a football club or not. Someone at new Rangers should have had the humility to apologise for their cheating and in return accepted the bending of the rules by the SFA/SPFL to have this newco admitted into the Scottish football professional set up. Whenever this newco then did play us, of course there’d be animosity, but it would tempered. The new narrative of Scottish football, pushed by the authorities but given life by the media has put paid to that. Indeed this false narrative will be a contributing factor to the vile bile and the myth peddlers will abdicate their responsibility.
The atmosphere at this game will be worse because of the feeling of resentment on all sides but especially theirs. From us we resent their decades of cheating unpunished. From them the belief they are the same club, unfairly treated, wrongly destroyed by HMRC, demoted by vindictive clubs and all that supported by media peddling the same club myth. There will be people in A&E due to that myth & media will accept no blame. Yes the game will happen and I’ll endure it. Unfortunately too many will endure its consequences.