(Podcast Extra with Omnishambles Audio )
I will never forget where I was when Rangers started to die. I was in a meeting in Livingston, the office had a wall of windows and the sun was streaming in. It might have been February and the day might have been cloudy but for the hour I was in the conference room sun split through the clouds and the sweat was forming on my brow. Suddenly my phone (on silent but not off) started to buzz, and buzz AND BUZZ. It was going crazy. I apologised and made my way over to switch it off, glancing at the 25 (twenty-five) messages that had all arrived in 5 minutes – ADMINISTRATION! We’d known it was coming for months but to actually see it was happening…I smiled the broadest smile and resumed the meeting as best I could. Over the next few weeks and months I listened to phone ins and watched with glee as they spiraled to oblivion, finally dying later in 2012, a new club replacing them under the same name in the 4th tier of Scottish football.
Since then I have lost interest in the Ibrox soap opera. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had the occasional laugh and the one day of frustration but on the whole, whilst I’ve taken more interest in the new Rangers than most teams, it has been about the same as the recent travails of Hibs, Hearts or Dunfermline – all clubs whom, like new RFC, friends support. There have been far more interesting and exciting things happening at our club.
Obviously this season with their debut in the top flight I have had more interest in events down Ibrox way or more specifically I have been unable to avoid discussions about their shenanigans, from the unfounded predictions of title challengers through to this past week and the demonization of their once master and saviour. In all of this, I (possibly averaging one tweet in 50) I will comment on these catastrophes and occasionally have some loony claim I’m obsessed (a loony I have no dealings with but who patently follows me – how’s that for irony!). I find the concept that by tweeting once in 50 – 100 tweets comments about RFC is obsessive very odd, but then for these people the concept that anyone is capable of considering more than one thought at a time is no doubt perplexing.
I suppose in summary I am saying I am aware of their nonsense and I take a passing interest. No more and no less…except today!
You see I will always find time to celebrate the day they started to die and I will never make excuses. Being a football fan is about the joy of the moment and the celebration of history and they stole that from me. During the 1990’s and 2000’s they cheated the taxman, they broke the rules and they won trophies by cheating. They went down owing upwards of £134m. Of that an estimated £90m was owed to the taxman. That’s not some unknown debtor, that’s you and me.
They spent money they didn’t have and they hid the contracts from the SFA. This is fact. In the words of the Scottish Football’s own lawyer in the recent Coral court case, they operated tax avoidance schemes for 20 years. To paraphrase one of their managers during the cheating – if we hadn’t cheated we wouldn’t have won the trophies. Some may say that they got their punishment. They had the embarrassment of liquidation and formed a new team in the 4th tier. Unfortunately since then we have seen all sorts of lies and contortions to counter this uncomfortable truth. For the last 4 years football fans in Scotland have been bombarded with alternative facts on the death and reformation of Rangers. Some journalists have gone along with the false narrative following intimidation, some out of laziness. Some for an easy life and some because they want to believe it but all who have gone along have peddled falsehoods, alternative facts, LIES!
Rangers went bust, liquidation, like death is final…except in Scottish football. On this site we have published the UEFA letter that effectively says “We couldn’t punish Rangers even if we wanted to because the old club died.” To again paraphrase the Scottish Football lawyer in trying to explain how new Rangers get away with wearing the clothes of a dead club “we have a different definition of a football club than UEFA.”
Rangers died, but as long as some in the media and the authorities of our game pedal the lexicon of liquidation myth and pretend that they somehow survived I will mark every Administration Day with the same gusto I enjoyed the first and then…I’ll get back to celebrating the joy of Celtic.