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  1. http://www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/latest-news/272-rangers-being-held-hostage-stockholm-syndrome It’s been a stressful week for those interested in the well-being of Rangers Football Club. Not only does the club admit to the Stock Exchange that if the latest share offer is under-subscribed it will be unable to pay its creditors; we have key board members who represent the interests of the vast bulk of existing shareholders conceding that his and our CEO’s intentions are different, confirming a split at board level. Meanwhile the negative detail of each onerous contract placed upon the club are drip-fed to concerned fans on a week-to-week basis: from retail deals where the money is yet to be released to our struggling accounts to stadium naming rights which appear to be the result of self-interest rather than good value. Never has it been more obvious that our club is being held hostage to the whim of chancers. Yet, bizarrely, almost in a comedic fashion, we have some fans absolving these people of blame. Wikipedia describes Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, as ‘a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them.’ The syndrome itself is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken in Stockholm, Sweden, in which several bank employees were held hostage in a bank vault from August 23 to 28, 1973, while their captors negotiated with police. During this standoff, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, rejected assistance from government officials at one point, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. Ok, I’ll admit at the outset the analogy is a bit strong but if we examine the last few years – from the excesses of Sir David Murray to the actions of Craig Whyte right through to the present day incumbents, there are examples of the above. These include the eyes-wide-shut worship of Murray onto the lauding of Whyte’s supposed net-worth despite all the evidence to the contrary at the very outset to some fans insisting the ‘current’ board are not to blame for the club’s position now. Indeed, not only do we have bloggers continue to suggest Charles Green remains interested in the well-being of the club but we have various fans eager to hold their own as culpable in Rangers’ problems. Apparently it’s Dave King, the Union of Fans or Sons of Struth’s fault that the club cannot pay its bills. Similarly, possible investors such as Dave King who has proven his good intentions to the tune of £20million previously are mocked and pushed away. Conversely, some supporters are eager to extoll the virtue of Mike Ashley’s ongoing involvement despite many Newcastle fans being desperate to rid their club of him. He’s a billionaire they cry – without acknowledging the reason for his success is the kind of questionable retail and naming deals he strikes with clubs such as ours. Let’s be clear: the future of the football club is again in serious question and the danger should not be under-estimated. There has been a shortfall of at least 12,000 season tickets and it’s this lack of working capital that is directly impacting upon the club’s ability to trade. Thus, those that suggest the fans are to ‘blame’ for the financial problems are at least partly correct but the reasons are worth examining as well as the club’s inability to address this serious problem. Never has it been clearer that our money runs the club year on year – not Sir David Murray’s, not Craig Whyte’s and certainly not the anonymous investors currently in control of it. Therefore, engaging with the support should be a priority for any regime looking to make a success of the club. For all his faults, Murray realised this and while he was by the dominant partner in that relationship, we did have a nominal seat at the table and aside from a few small issues (comparatively speaking anyway!) crowds were always high and only his cowardice led to the Whyte debacle. Yet even in the dark days of that era attendances didn’t drop and after administration we had capacity crowd after capacity crowd. The same can be said after we fell to Division Three – our support did not dissipate and our loyalty should never be questioned. Not by anyone – least of all our own. Unfortunately the last year or so has seen attitudes change: not due to fans becoming lazy or greedy but because of a combination of factors. Firstly it become clear that much of the substantial monies raised in backing the Charles Green ownership were wasted and his associates less than ideal custodians of the club. In the face of this criticism, board changes were made and supposedly extensive reviews into the business carried out but the paucity of these contributions didn’t provide much solace. A poor quality (or at best inconsistent) product on the park wasn’t helping but promised changes highlighted in the review to address this have not been forthcoming. Thus, reluctantly, and by way of protest, many fans chose to withhold their investment and, if we’re brutally honest, that’s understandable. Generally, the last year has seen fans become ever more frustrated with their club and increasingly obvious evidence that the incumbent board – or more accurately the decision-making investment groups – cannot turn things around. Not just in terms of the £30million investment talked of in their empirical reviews but the kind of credible and transparent leadership required to rebuild trust in the boardroom and entice fans back to Ibrox. With almost 250 staff members and overheads of aging stadiums, training grounds and dilapidated white elephant buildings, is it any wonder a new administration event looms large on the horizon? Consequently, where does that leave us? Well, I’d suggest we have two distinct pathways ahead. One: if as seems likely, the share offer is subscribed enough to defer our problems to another day; we’ll have the fait accompli of 75% share-holding levels for approval of AGM/EGM resolutions related to the sale and/or leaseback of club assets ¬– such as the Auchenhowie training ground which has consistently been ignored by club representatives when talking about such revenue sources. Or, two: investment groups are able by way of this issue to consolidate their holdings enough to enable a sale to other interested parties. Now, I won’t try to predict the outcome but I’m certain both the existing ownership and the likes of Dave King and/or Mike Ashley will have planned for these eventualities over the last year. The events of the last week won’t be a surprise to them. What is easier to predict is that without one of these outcomes an insolvency event is inevitable as things stand. However, misguided suggestions that this may be an agreeable solution make me uneasy. For example, will onerous contracts be removed by this process, would ownership be guaranteed to change after it and what of the club’s league position after the fact? We don’t know so, simply put, no-one should look at administration with anything other than horror. On the other hand, neither should fans be emotionally blackmailed into providing what appears to be an ever-more toxic board and ownership with a mandate to stumble on in charge. The time for making excuses for these people has long gone. There is no defence of Charles Green and, whether he’s still involved now or not, his associates on the ‘current’ board are equally tainted by their deficiencies. With that in mind, what options are available to fans? Not many is the desperate answer. Yes we have worthy share initiatives like Buy Rangers and Rangers First but with further financial uncertainty abound, can we really expect fans to invest in shares after the events of 2012? Even so, we absolutely must consider such projects with an open mind but with the greatest will in the world, they’re arguably not a short term solution. Nevertheless, possibly buyers engaging with these groups going forward would go a long way to cementing the fans’ contribution in a better future. Indeed, it’s only through that kind of undertaking that we may finally achieve the kind of bond between supporters and ownership that has been missing for so long. Unfortunately, such a positive conclusion seems difficult to attain. The coming weeks and months will define the future and it may well be beyond the fans abilities to impact upon this. Nevertheless, neither should we be held to ransom by people who will never understand the love we have for our football club. We have a choice and while I’d never begin to tell my fellow fans what to do, at some point we have to stop identifying with people who don’t share our love for our club. In that sense Stockholm syndrome is not a workable survival strategy – it just prolongs our inability to escape from the status quo and it’s that kind of clarity every fan needs for our battles ahead. Either that or be held prisoner forever.
  2. by Andrew Smith BY THE end of the current campaign, Celtic will have a record of four competitive victories in the Champions League group stages across the past seven years. They had a fifth win in 2008-9, but that came in their final game when they were already condemned to prop up the section. The club, then, are hardly heavyweights in the most glamorous European domain. They aren’t even light middleweights. The furore engendered by the 1-0 home defeat against Maribor in midweek that meant Celtic will have contested the Champions League only three times in seven years was, as the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell said the other day, not “rational” but “reactive to a bad, bad result”. Yet, Celtic themselves are partly responsible for the fact the fans will flog them for failure in the qualifying stages of the Champions League since they continually set themselves up as “one of the best-run clubs” in the universe. A club so spectacularly well-run would not flop against (in Legia Warsaw and Maribor) not one but two clubs boasting a fraction of Celtic’s budget, it is legitimate to contend. Even with a new manager, as Celtic have in the yet-to-convince Ronny Deila. Not so, Lawwell contended. “It happened to Gordon [strachan], 5-0 [away to Artmedia Bratislava], happened to Lenny [Neil Lennon], with Utrecht, Braga and Sion, and it happened to Martin [O’Neill] , in Basel, and we never threw the towel in. We said ‘these things happen’; it is transition. It is happening to [Louis] van Gaal [at Manchester United], it happened to David Moyes. It is transition. In big clubs, it takes time. So that is wrong what you are saying.” Celtic’s strategy isn’t wrong. It doesn’t require a complete rethink. But they must do the right things correctly, and that is where questions are entitled to be asked. Overall, they have signed a bad crop of players in the past two years, and been too sluggish to replace the players they have cashed in handsomely on. It is not a matter of being done in by downsizing, however easy that line is to trot out. If Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic succeeds in filling the No.9 hole that has existed since the departure of Gary Hooper last season, then Celtic will have made £2.2 million work for them better than the near £6m they forked out in the previous two windows on Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde and Leigh Griffiths, three forwards Deila patently doesn’t trust. Celtic require to show a little more humility about the element of luck that determines whether their policies end up appearing visionary or vacuous. Lawwell at least offered up that the other day. “I hope you don’t think we are being immodest but when you are the target of the criticism [we have had], you have to defend yourself. And it’s not just us that are saying we are one of the best-run clubs in Britain and Europe… are we not that? “It is difficult. With the uncertainties, the risk. We don’t think we are God’s gift, we don’t think the strategy is flawless. Of course it is flawed, because it is football, and it is chance. Karagandy last year, they hit the bar. Callum [McGregor’s shot the other night] might have not hit the bar. In football you have to prepare for that and not think you are fallible, and prepare for being fallible. Which I think we have done. “Economically, we are far stronger than Elfsborg, Helsingborg, Karagandy, far stronger than Legia, far stronger than Reykjavik and Maribor. Far stronger. But these things happen. Far stronger than Inverness. But these things happen. If it was done on economics purely, then we should be in the Champions League every year. But there is a football element, a sporting element If we are in it three years out of five, we are doing well. We should be beating Maribor.” There is a tedious attempt to put Celtic’s recent struggles down to the absence of a Rangers in the top flight. Yet, Celtic now have a £10m reserve when, with the Ibrox club as top-flight rivals, they are in debt. Lawwell, though, doesn’t downplay the squeeze on finances caused by the disappearance of the rivalry, offset by nearly £30m player sales inside the past 15 months. “When Rangers went down, we took £100 off the season tickets. So that is £4m [down] for two years. The Rangers games bring in at least another £3m. The fact that there is a perception among our supporters that there is no competition and you are going to win anyway, and so you don’t go to the game, means you could have lost £10m a year, quite easily, on the back of Rangers going down. How we have coped is seeing that ahead and the strategy over that ten, 11-year period, has seen us successful on the park and stable off it, as Hearts and Rangers have gone bust. And yet we are still getting it [in the neck].” Deila might consider himself fortunate that he is not getting it more, with grumbles over his failure to convert a 1-1 draw away to Maribor into a home result that took his team through to the group stages. The Norwegian was willing to defend his tactics, which seemed higgelty-piggelty, for the fact he opened up in the second half when Celtic only needed to contain. “We were too passive in the first half and would have lost if we had kept going that way,” Deila said. “We need more offensive power and controlled the game and looked more of a threat with Kris [Commons]. And then they scored.” Deila has not seen new signing Scepovic in the flesh and said he has no reason to do so because of the trust he has in John Park’s scouting department, which has been “pretty successful” over four or five years. The manager is placing great store in the Serbian being the target man required, and the signing must work for him as Celtic go into a Europa League campaign against Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Astra. Against the Austrians, Croatians and Romanians, none of who can match Celtic’s £32m football wage bill, he must show the team is progressing. Deila admits it is not acceptable for Celtic to lose in Champions League qualifiers to far more modestly financed opponents, but appealed for judgments on him to be reserved for now. If he wants a crumb of comfort, no new Celtic manager since Billy McNeill in 1979 has made any impact in their first tilt at European competition with the club. And, not coincidentally, McNeill had been in the job for a season when his first campaign arrived, after Celtic missed out on Europe in predecessor Jock Stein’s final campaign. “If we meet those teams [Legia and Maribor] next year and we lose like we did against Legia then I have to take the criticism. But it’s very unfair right now because a lot of things have happened, it’s coming straight into something and we’ve been losing players. “It has been tough, a tough ten weeks. I can assure you of that. It has been much tougher than I thought it would be. You can’t ever know what you are going into this job – you have to experience it. But I am enjoying it. I am in pain also sometimes. But you always have to have in your mind that you have to bounce back, that you have to find a way out of it. “We need time to get the squad back into the same order that it’s been in before. Consistency – you can see Van Gaal is buying the whole of Europe and isn’t winning so many games either. It takes time. Previous managers have come in here as well and not been the best in the first year but they have been allowed time to build his ideas and structure. Next year when I sit here – judge me and harshly if I haven’t done the things. This year the most important thing is to win the league and we want to do well in the cups too. To get the triple would be fantastic. “I want to use all the matches in Europe to see how good we are and develop through that. I hope we go through. Next year I hope we can go into the Champions League group stages and go into the qualifiers thinking: We look stronger, this is going to happen.” And if it doesn’t happen next year, the name calling won’t just be against Lawwell from the small cluster of malcontents that will gather at the front door. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/andrew-smith-celtic-need-to-show-more-humility-1-3526234
  3. CELTIC last night suffered a major transfer window blow as their £2.2 million deal for Stefan Scepovic collapsed. The highly-rated Sporting Gijon striker, 24, had been identified as Celtic’s main transfer target and looked certain to put pen to paper on a four-year deal with the Scottish champions. But the club, who last week exited the Champions League, were left deeply disappointed when the Serbian’s representatives indicated he would not be signing and will now move elswehere, with Getafe believed to be the front-runners. Manager Ronny Deila now faces a frantic final day scramble to bring in a forward before the transfer window closes at 11pm tonight. Deila also insisted that Leigh Griffiths will not be allowed to go on loan to Hibs after the striker came off the bench to score the equaliser in his team’s 1-1 draw with Dundee. Virgil van Dijk, who had hoped for a move to England and was left out of the team yesterday, has also been told he is going nowhere. Speculation about a short-term return to Easter Road by Griffiths has grown as the closure of the transfer window neared, and was heightened on Saturday night after current Hibs front man Farid El Alagui was injured in his club’s humiliating defeat at Alloa. But Deila refused to confirm that any club had approached Celtic about the player, and said his emphasis was on adding to his squad. “I don’t know,” he said when asked about a bid for Griffiths. “I haven’t heard that, but that’s no option. Leigh Griffiths is going to stay. No players are going out. It is important to get people fit and back from injury, get the new players in and get them playing matches so we have a strong and good squad for the fantastic games we are going to have after the next 14 days.” Celtic were far more potent in attack after Griffiths had come on, and they were also a lot more vulnerable at the back without Van Dijk, going behind in the opening minute to a James McPake header. “There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of thinking for him,” Deila said of the 23-year-old defender. “He’s a very important player for us, a very good player – and we’ve told him there’s no chance he is going to leave. He’s too important to us, so there’s no chance we’ll let him go during this window. We couldn’t replace him. So he is going to stay here. Of course it’s hard for him and he’s had a lot of thinking to do. But it will not be a problem. His girlfriend is also pregnant and due soon. So he hasn’t had the right focus. He wouldn’t have been 100 per cent today – that is why he didn’t play. “He needs a couple of days to get this out of his system, get thinking positively again. He’s a player we want to have and we’d like to sign him on an even longer contract. That’s how it is. We need good players here and we need to have his kind of player if we want to get the results we need. So that is no problem. “He had, of course, wishes to get to a new stage. He is a young player and he’ll get many chances in his career. But now we need him here and he knows that and that is how it is going to be.” Deila refused to say whether he or Van Dijk had made the final decision that the Dutchman would not be in the squad at Dundee. “We talked about it,” he added. “When you are not 100 per cent at Celtic you can’t play. Then other players can do a better job and that is how it is.” Deila hinted more signings were possible before the window closes, saying the club were “working all the time to see what the options are”. He refused to say whether Amido Balde would be allowed out on loan, and declined to comment when asked if he had made or would make a bid for Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong. “We’ll see what’s happening. On Tuesday everyone will see what the squad is.” http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/blow-for-celtic-as-stefan-scepovic-deal-collapses-1-3526698
  4. Yet another Sinky got wrong Just got a move to Norwich City that could net Falkirk £1 million. I watched him play in the same youth team as Darren Ramsay and Charlie Telfer for a couple of years, where as he may not have been the standout he wouldn't have been a candidate for release in my opinion. Gary Oliver who recently scored for Hearts, Lewis Spence and Lewis Martin who are now regulars at Dunfermline also played in the same team on occasions although they are a year younger.
  5. ..........but we want the 'right kind' of partner on board. THE need for a sponsor has never been greater, with clubs missing out on Celtic's Champions League cash bonus, but Iain Blair says that the powers that be won't be rushed into making a decision. Iain Blair of the SPFL SCOTLAND’S top clubs may have waved goodbye to a cash bonanza because of Celtic’s exit from the Champions League but SPFL chief Iain Blair says the season isn’t a write-off. Every Scottish Premiership club would have picked up £100,000 from UEFA had Celtic not crashed out to Maribor on Tuesday night. And with finances stretched, Blair admitted there was still no sign of a sponsor for our domestic league or the League Cup. He said: “We’re talking to people who are interested in the title and the cup sponsorship. Will it be this season? I can’t say. “We’d like there to be and we’re working towards that but I can’t say there will definitely be a sponsor this year. “People tend to have longer-term plans for their budgeted spend for sponsorship. “We only got to grips with it this time last year and although people think that’s a long time, with this kind of expenditure companies plan significantly in advance.” The news will not please club chairmen, especially with Blair insisting sponsorship had to be “the right kind”. So what type would the SPFL reject? He said: “We want someone who shares our values and ambitions. “It’s not simply a case of looking for someone who wants to publicise something, we want someone to partner us. “We need someone we’re comfortable working with. The guys are working on it as we speak and I’m confident we’ll get there.” Blair refused to adopt a pessimistic view after Celtic’s Euro flop, even though club bean counters will be putting away their calculators. He said: “Celtic can still progress in the Europa League and that could even help our co-efficient. So let’s not write the season off completely.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/spfl-chief-still-no-sign-4122017
  6. THE Ibrox side face Inverness in round two and have been told the winner will go straight into the hat for round three as one of the eight seeded sides. THE SPFL are braced for a backlash after it emerged Rangers could end up being seeded after today’s League Cup last 16 draw – despite the club being ranked 23rd. The Ibrox side face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in round two and have been told the winner will go straight into the hat for round three of the competition as one of the eight seeded sides. Aug 27, 2014 10:08 By Gavin Berry, Michael Gannon 3 Comments THE Ibrox side face Inverness in round two and have been told the winner will go straight into the hat for round three as one of the eight seeded sides. 19 Shares Share Tweet +1 Email SNS Group Rangers will be seeded if they beat ICT THE SPFL are braced for a backlash after it emerged Rangers could end up being seeded after today’s League Cup last 16 draw – despite the club being ranked 23rd. The Ibrox side face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in round two and have been told the winner will go straight into the hat for round three of the competition as one of the eight seeded sides. Do Rangers deserve to be seeded in the Third Round of the League Cup? YES NO The SPFL say they had to make the move as Gers are a round behind other clubs due to Ibrox being out of use during the Commonwealth Games. If they see off Caley, Rangers would avoid the big guns while the eighth-ranked side would get a tougher tie. But the SPFL insist their hands are tied ahead of today’s draw. Operations chief Anton Fagan said: “This was done to ensure the smooth running of the tournament.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/spfl-risk-fan-backlash-rangers-4114100
  7. THE TV station where Graeme Souness operates as football’s No 1 pundit is more of a small town than anything else. Studios and offices sit like apartment blocks on a grid of roads and pavements and at some corners trees flourish. On the streets of Skytown, you don’t want for anything, not a courtesy bus nor an over-elaborate high-five. “They’re putting in swimming pools just now,” says the skinny-trousered lad taking me to meet the Scotland legend as construction crews dig. “Look,” he adds, as we pass an on-site shop, “you can even get your hair and beauty here.” Maybe Souness popped into the salon today because on Sky Sports the night before last he was modelling a beard and now he is clean-shaven. The beard was much-discussed. It was, as they say, “trending”. And amid the cyber-chatter a text was pinged to his mobile at the very moment he was opining on Real Madrid’s revival of the gallactico concept – “Get rid of it.” “The wife didn’t like it,” laughs Souness. “I grew it on holiday and came back to work straight off the plane. Her message was: ‘Don’t come home with that’.” It made him look kingly, I suggest. “No,” he insists, “it made me look too bloody old.” There is a generation of Scots who used to have a little bit of a man-crush on Graeme Souness and I’m one of them. In the 1970s and early 1980s no other footballer played like him or looked like him – no Scot at any rate. Next to the standard-issue carrot-tops and comb-over guys, the peely wallys and the wee bauchles, Souness resembled nothing so much as a Greek god. Sounessyus carried a book of his philosophies with a secret compartment for a dagger. He was the playmaker with the haymaker, the smiling assassin who behind the fearsome moustache probably wasn’t smiling at all. Of course we winced when the confrontations got even fiercer to compensate for the player getting slower, but everything considered, we were glad he was on our side. How he was a bad tackler and, in his mind, a bad husband and father It is admiration laced with trepidation which prevents me from suggesting that with his attire today – the skinny-trousered look in zazzy electric blue, co-ordinated trainers – he’s trying to look too bloody young. No need for any timidity, however, for he will talk about anything. How he was a bad tackler and, in his mind, a bad husband and father. What the great football city of Liverpool thinks of him these days. Why there’s nothing new in the game. He will even go all way back to Argentina 1978 for those of us still obsessed by that World Cup. First though he wants to tell me more about his holiday. “The reason Karen [the second Mrs Souness] wasn’t there was it was a dad-and-lad vacation. Just me and my son James, eight days in Montana, an unbelievable trip. The first two days on horseback to get there, then floating down a river trying to catch trout. This was the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He sounds like he might have been Scottish, doesn’t he? [Roots in Bavaria, actually]. In his life Bob campaigned for the area to be protected as the great outdoors but this only happened after he died. No drilling or fracking can happen there, not even farming. There was no hot water, hence the wilderness beard. But James and I had a fantastic time, camping out among the bears and wolves.” Fracking is only a modish technical term for what used to happen to the earth below football pitches when our man – of Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Sampdoria, Rangers and on 54 occasions Scotland – stomped across them, showing who was boss. James is 15, which was his old man’s age when he left home in Edinburgh to begin asserting himself at Tottenham. Another chuckle. “Tottenham had Alan Mullery, England captain. They had Martin Peters, World Cup-winner, ten years ahead of his time. They had Steve Perryman. And there was this little squirt from Carrickvale Secondary knocking on Bill Nic’s [Nicolson’s] door demanding to know why he wasn’t getting a game.” Our chat is happening amid sofa-heavy informality where earwiggers might be surprised to hear Souness,
ostensibly on promotional duty for the new English Premier League season, detail his peak-years grooming regime. Earwigging the adjacent sofas we can hear jokes about Liverpool being workshopped for the Soccer AM show. Souness, of course, was an Anfield icon, lifting three European Cups. But all that changed when he sold the story of his triple heart bypass to the Sun, a paper which enraged Merseyside with its claims of Liverpool fans pickpocketing the dead in the Hillsborough disaster. The Reds’ charge to the title, faltering at the last, was one of last season’s great stories, but when the cameras panned to Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen in the posh seats the third member of the holy Scotia trinity was absent. Also remembering his fall-outs while an unsuccessful Liverpool manager, I ask how he would describe relations with the city and the club now and he says: “Permanently damaged. I think I’ll remain unpopular there and that’s the price I’ll have to pay. I made an error of judgment but I can only apologise so many times. I’m just going to have to live with that.” There are a few Souness images in the fitba’ tapestry, one being Liverpool’s tartan triumvirate threatening to run off with the 1978 European Cup. Scripted? “Totally spontaneous. Although after that, every trophy the club won, we had to repeat it. The photographers would go: ‘Give us the Jock picture.” Another unforgettable image is Souness on a sweltering Malaga night of ultimate heartache explaining our third World Cup exit on goal difference in succession and he’s bare-chested. “Scary,” he says, but only if you don’t know that as a lad he won a Tarzan-o-like contest at Butlin’s in Ayr. “I don’t remember taking off my shirt but it sounds likely, doesn’t it?” At this point I mildly offend him by asking how his Italian adventure of a few years later shaped his personal style. No no, he was always fairly “continental” as far as his Scotland team-mates were concerned. “I used cologne – unheard of among the guys. I used conditioner in my hair – unheard of. I used a hairdryer – unheard of.” It’s written in legend that room-mate Dalglish, possibly glimpsing his first-ever barnet-blaster, was too nervous to be left alone with Souness, thinking he might be gay. “Absolutely true. I think that was 1974 when I just got into the squad for a friendly in West Germany before the World Cup. Poor Kenny. “Among the rest of the lads I was regarded – quite correctly, incidentally – as cocky, vain, arrogant and the rest. Archie Gemmill called me the Chocolate Soldier because I’d most likely eat myself and he was dead right. But one of these things was essential for professional sport. You need to be a little bit arrogant. You certainly needed it the way football was played in my era.” Strains of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina Maybe the most famous image, though, is from the ’78 World Cup when the cameras panning along the team changed too late to the strains of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, pausing at Souness for the line: “The answer was there all the time.” “Well,” he says, “I became a manager myself later so I understood why Ally [MacLeod] played the guys who’d got us to Argentina, [bruce] Rioch and [Don] Masson.” Even though they’d come off the back of poor seasons for their clubs? He doesn’t take the bait. “Ally had to show them loyalty. But maybe I should have played in the second game [against Iran] because that was one we had to win.” Sounessyus came down from the mountain or rather the prefabs in Edinburgh’s Saughton Mains, “Maybe where we lived wasn’t the most salubrious but I had everything a boy needed.” Dad James, a glazier, took on a second job and mum Elizabeth worked, too, but Souness is really talking about love. “My father doted on me, never once raised his hand.” His mother was firmer, reminding him he wasn’t yet the great player he reckoned himself to be. Now he is laughing at the memory of a photo of Tynecastle Boys Club Under-10s, him with a face like thunder because as captain he wasn’t sat in the middle of the front row clutching the newest trophy. “But as a young footballer I had a tremendous slice of luck having two older brothers who I was
always trying to beat but who also looked out for me.”
  8. Racing Genk have tonight confirmed him as their new manager.
  9. As many of you will already know, Frankie published an obituary this morning following the extremely sad news of the recent passing of Gordon Young who was a regular contributor to the site and very well known to Gersnet forum members as Bluebear54. Tragically, Gordon finally lost a year long battle with cancer on Thursday night, but he goes with our love and best wishes as a knowledgeable, passionate and witty Bear who we will all remember very fondly indeed. Back in October 2013 I asked Gordon to write the article for our very first regular Gersnet magazine column, which at that time was for Seventy2 magazine. They were running a Dutch themed special and published below is the full 2500 word article Gordon submitted as an initial draft before he cut it down to the final 1400 word piece for the magazine submission and before the news of Ricksen's illness broke causing some slight changes to the wording. Gordon knew that his full article draft would be published at some point because we discussed what a shame it was that he had to cut it almost in half to meet the word count requirements for the column and that once a period of time had lapsed where it would no longer affect magazine sales, we could put the whole article out on Gersnet. So in remembrance of Bluebear54, here is his article 'A Glimpse of Glamour': A Glimpse of Glamour Written by Gordon Young (Bluebear54) The Early Years Although born and raised on the East Coast of Scotland, a maternal grandfather and a father, both passionate Rangers supporters, ensured that I was destined to follow follow in their footsteps when pursuing my lifelong passionate affair with football - an affair which has been split into three distinct phases due to the dice that life has spit out at me. The Rangers teams of that first phase of my love affair were epitomised by hardy, athletic, spirited Scottish players, such as Caldow, Shearer, Greig, MacDonald and Jardine. That’s not to say there wasn’t any skill around. Those guys had enough to go along with their other skills, but the Rangers of that era were also blessed with superbly gifted players such as Baxter, Wilson, Henderson and Johnson. Not mentioning any further names is a severe disservice to many great Rangers players of those generations. But they were Scottish, and the style was undeniably Scottish. We didn’t expect any fancy possession football, we hadn’t heard of the beautiful game, and “totally mental” was more often on our lips than “total football.” We preferred tanner ba’ wingers belting it down the wings, bruisers of centre forwards giving it more elbow than they took, and defenders who didn’t ever take prisoners. On the terraces, like some latter-day Colosseum crowd, we bayed for blood and actively encouraged our heroes to bury or waste opponents. It was expected, it was part of the game and it made for an entertaining spectacle. In 1972, not long after Rangers had finally won – at their third attempt - the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972, I ventured out again into the world, this time not to return to Scotland until well over a score of countries had worn out my shoes and nigh on thirty years had etched their lines on my face. In my travels, I have found that there are not many better things to bring two different nationalities together than a pint and a talk about football. I thus unknowingly set out on what in retrospect was further education in the art of football. It was clear that most fans I spoke to had scant regard for Scottish football and saw it as kick and rush and a tad barbaric. Fine I thought, youse lot are a bunch of pansies. In those days, most I spoke to were drooling about the Dutch style. And to be honest, from going to games with other fans, I started to see their point. I really did. It took its time, I didn’t initially find it entertaining, but I eventually saw another beauty and another excitement in the game. Now, when I look back through an old man’s eyes, Rangers were to eventually produce a true glimpse of the beautiful game and that glimpse would be Dutch inspired. In the course of their 141 year history, Rangers are reckoned to have provided a footballing home for more than 50 nationalities of footballers. With a total of 11 players having played first team football for the Gers, Holland tops that table. And their inspiration topped the table in how we played. The Early Birds The first ever first team appearance at Rangers by a Dutch player first team was Peter Huistra in 1990. He was a speedy winger, not far removed from the Henderson/Johnson mould and, as such, he became a firm favourite of the fans. Signed by Souness, he didn’t score barrowloads, but he certainly scored some vital goals for the Club, and won in all five League medals, two League Cup medals and a Scottish Cup medal, including a Treble in 1992-93. Despite a lack of goals, he was superb at making openings, and in my mind he’s still up there with the best we’ve ever had at taking corners. Shortly after the departure of Huistra for Japan in 1995, two Dutch players arrived almost simultaneously at Ibrox from quite different destinations. In 1996, Theo Snelders arrived at Queen Street from Aberdeen, and Peter Van Vossen arrived at Glasgow Airport from Turkey. It always says something to me about Rangers that Snelders is held in such high regard by Aberdeen fans, yet many Rangers fans have extremely vague memories of him. Of course, he was a back up to our very own special legend – the Flying Pig – and also Antti Niemi, so he certainly had a job on his hands. Despite this, or probably more to do with injuries to the other two, Theo Snelders managed to make a fair few first team appearances for Rangers between 1996 and 1999 without ever setting the heather on fire. So, while one of those arrivals in ’96 was destined to be fairly anonymous, the other was destined for almost total notoriety and guaranteed an indelible place in Scottish football folklore. Yes folks! Roll up! I give you the man who taught us all how “to do the Van Vossen.” Don’t get me wrong now, Peter came to Rangers with a great track record. Ex-Ajax, ex- European Cup winner, a fair number of international caps. It all looked good. And we were also getting shot of Salenko, whom many fans thought was yet one more momentous waste of money. Which in fact, he was. Couldn’t be better, so Van Vossen was part of the master plan to punt Oleg Salenko to Istanbulspor. Sneaky. Looking back, I can imagine simultaneous moments at either end of Europe when Walter Smith was sitting down in Glasgow with a whisky and Cem Uzan was sitting down in Istanbul with his coffee, both of them laughing like hyenas and thinking “Yes, I got rid of him.” That moment Albertz unselfishly laid off a pass opening up an empty goal for Van Vossen lives with everyone who witnessed the match. It was the striker’s Old Firm debut, he skied it from all of 7 yards, and his only saving grace was that we were winning 1-0. Peter didn’t last too long needless to say, and after 22 appearances he was on his travels again. In time, in 1998, like some kind of expectant grandfather, I returned to Scotland, having been kept up to date on a Rangers-rich diet of SKY television, and fully anticipating a bright new future for Rangers where Dick Advocaat had bulldozed in and begun what has been referred to as the Dutch revolution. And if the truth be known, coinciding with my return, those two seasons of 1998-99 and 1999-00 (and also partly 2000-01) showed a real glimpse of glamour. Here we finally had a Rangers team who were not being routinely dismissed by the European hoi polloi. This was a Rangers team who would win a treble followed by a double and who would go on to demolish a top class PSV Eindhoven side and other noteworthy continental sides such as Parma, Monaco and the best that Germany could offer. Not so much in a Scottish style, but in an entertaining continental style. I could have been forgiven for thinking I had arrived in Heaven. The Orange Invasion – A Glimpse of Glamour Advocaat’s first Dutch signings were Arthur Numan and Giovanni van Bronckhorst followed later by Michael Mols, and they were a class apart indeed. Of all the Dutch players to have played for Rangers, Gio van Bronckhorst is arguably the one that fans have been most fortunate to have seen grace Ibrox’s turf. He was a true thoroughbred, and it didn’t take such a long time for fans to realise that he was maybe a wee bit too good for us to hope to hold on to. Gio ended up being sold to Arsenal in 2001 for close on £9m after winning a treble and a double for Rangers. Gio went on to score went on to score 22 goals for us, 13 in the league, 3in the Scottish Cup, 1 in the League Cup, 3 in the Champions League and 2 in the UEFA Cup. However, these statistics still belie the fact that this player was an essential cog in the machine that Advocaat was assembling, and he very much made that Rangers team tick with his guile, finesse and vision. As confirmation of van Bronckhorst’s quality, he went on to become a Barcelona stalwart while also playing well over 100 internationals for Holland and becoming the Dutch international captain. In much the same way as van Bronckhorst, Arthur Numan oozed class in the left back position, and after initial problems with injuries, he settled down to become a key part of both Advocaat’s and latterly McLeish’s teams. Signed from PSV Eindhoven, Numan had a respectable international career and became a very welcome sight for fans whenever his name appeared on the team sheet. As with almost any Rangers player, a cracker of a goal against Celtic, especially when it either wins a game or saves one, ensures legendary status, and Numan’s 25 yard stunner at Ibrox to earn a 1-1 draw was no different in cementing his name into Ibrox folklore. Of Advocaat’s first batch of signings, Michael Mols probably promised least and I must admit to not being aware of him before he signed for Rangers, but superb goalmouth turning skills and goals against FC Haka, Hearts and then a memorable four against Motherwell followed by two against Aberdeen soon ensured that – like most fans – I wanted to see his name in the starting eleven every week. Another two goals in the 4-1 roasting that Rangers gave a top class PSV side seemed to promise a Rangers career to remember. Unfortunately, in a Champions League match which Bayern were fortunate to win, he suffered a horrific injury in a collision with Oliver Khan. The injury was to keep him out for a season and a half, and unfortunately for both Mols and Rangers, common opinion has it that he was never quite the same player again. Tragic.
  10. West Brom chase Commons for £7m WEST Brom have been linked with a £7 million move for Celtic star Kris Commons. The former Derby midfielder had an outstanding season last year, scoring 32 goals and picking up a raft of awards. But West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine could test Celtic’s resolve with a hefty bid as he looks to supplement his Hawthorns squad. Commons was also voted one of the top 25 players in Europe in a recent poll. (The Mirror) http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/rumour-mill-commons-to-wba-celtic-rangers-1-3499231#.U-CoOxEEjlA.twitter
  11. Anyone and everyone with a twitter or Facebook account can you please spread the word about the disgusting corruption that took place at Uefa today and i have included a link to Uefa to let them know your feelings on this matter. http://www.uefa.org/about-uefa/organisation/contactuefa/index.html
  12. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail.html?announcementId=12043401 Looks like the £5m button isn't as easy to press as they think...
  13. Celtic 1-6 Tottenham http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2714050/Celtic-1-6-Tottenham-Roberto-Soldado-Erik-Lamela-Christian-Eriksen-target-Mauricio-Pochettinos-easy-win.html
  14. Bit off topic for a gers site, but how do people here view the future for scottish clubs? The top five leagues are now so far in the distance that any future european success for a scottish club now appears to be fanciful. England are never going to allow us to play within their leagues. The bottom english club now earns more than a quarter of a billion from tv every five years whilst SPFL winners will receive around 10 million. Personally, I'd approach the dutch and belgian leagues and try hammer out a northern european amalgamation before the damage done to these countries is irreparable, with promotion and relegation from national setups. The old firm both made a second tier euro final last decade. Both clubs spent 30 million (on debt) or so achieving it. Now I'm not so sure that 30 million will come close to providing the squad capable of euro success. IMO the football landscape has changed into a place we have never been before. We are in danger of being permanently left behind, despite the fact our fans are possibly the best in the world. Our grand children will grow up as barca / munich / arsenal fans first, scottish clubs second, if we don't arrest the situation.
  15. RANGERS Football Club has today announced a commercial supply deal with the UK’s leading cider and beer business, HEINEKEN, who join our growing portfolio of international partners. HEINEKEN will become Official Beer and Cider Provider for hospitality facilities at Ibrox Stadium including its flagship Heineken® premium beer, a global brand with a proven football pedigree, through its long term association with the UEFA Champions League. Chief Executive Graham Wallace commented: “Rangers Football Club is delighted to announce a commercial deal with HEINEKEN, one of the world’s premier brewers, and the latest in our growing portfolio of international partners. “HEINEKEN, like Rangers, is a massive global brand with a high profile in football given their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League and this will undoubtedly benefit both parties. “We are in the process of rebuilding this great club, and developing partnerships with world leading businesses such as HEINEKEN demonstrate the progress we are making. We welcome them and their great brands to Ibrox, and look forward to working with them next season and beyond.” John Gemmell, Trading Director for Scotland, commented: “We’ll be working closely with the club to help build on hospitality guests’ match day experience, and to ensure that those who chose to enjoy a beer or cider will benefit from great choice and quality. We’ll also bring our knowledge and unrivalled track record in promoting the responsible enjoyment of our brands.” For more information on HEINEKEN, log on to http://www.heineken.co.uk. http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/7339-gers-agree-heineken-partnership
  16. Well!, will the SHEEP carry on the BHEAST embarrassment from last night?,or can they get a result tonight?
  17. Some thoughts on yesterday's HMRC appeal result: http://www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/latest-news/256-rangers-v-hmrc-a-pyrrhic-victory
  18. BRIAN LAUDRUP today appealed to Rangers chiefs to patch up their differences with supporters - and work together to restore the Ibrox club to its former glory. Laudrup revealed he had been saddened to see the Glasgow giants continue to be plagued by off-field problems since dropping down to the fourth tier of Scottish football. The legendary winger had hoped the Light Blues would go from strength to strength after they emerged from their financial difficulties two years ago. However, unhappiness with a succession of directors and executives has steadily escalated as tens of millions of pounds of income has been squandered. Matters came to a head this summer when many fans decided not to renew their season tickets - until they received assurances over the future of the stadium and training ground. The bitter stand-off has resulted in vastly reduced numbers of supporters signing up to watch Ally McCoist's side in action at home in the SPFL Championship in the 2014/15 campaign. The club has now admitted that additional funding will have to be found to meet running costs in the coming season and another share issue will be held for existing shareholders later in the year. And at the weekend around 3,000 disgruntled fans marched on Ibrox in a rally organised by the Sons of Struth protest group to demand guarantees over the stadium. Laudrup still takes a keen interest in the fortunes of the Glasgow club, where he spent four years during a glorious spell in the 1990s, from his homeland in Denmark. He stressed he would like to see senior Rangers officials to do everything in their power to mend their fractured relationship with a sizeable section of their followers. Because he feels they need to work as one if the 54-times Scottish champions are to become a dominant force again in football in this country AND get back into European competition. His appeal came as Rangers announced they had set up a nominations committee whose job will be to draw up a shortlist of supporters to be elected to an official fans' board. He said: "I just hope Rangers supporters can look forward to watching the club playing at the level they deserve to be at in the top flight and in Europe once again soon. "I hope they will be back where they once were soon. That is what the supporters deserve. They love the club so much. I am keeping my fingers crossed that that is what is going to happen. "But I know there have been more setbacks along the way. I have read online there are still problems off the park and there are still issues between the club and the supporters. "I hope that these can be sorted out soon. The club need to have the supporters behind them if they are to get Rangers back to the level they should be playing at in Scotland and in Europe. "I think whatever concerns the fans have about the club and the direction it is heading in need to be looked at because Rangers need to have them firmly behind them." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangers-legend-laudrup-in-plea-to-ibrox-board-172466n.24818886
  19. RANGERS legend Brian Laudrup today revealed how his transfer to the Ibrox club 20 years ago today rescued his foundering career. Danish internationalist Laudrup put pen to paper with the Glasgow giants in a £2.5million deal back on July 21, 1994. The winger went on to enjoy enormous success over the next four years and helped Walter Smith's side to complete nine-in-a-row. He won the Scottish title three times, the League Cup once and the Scottish Cup once, and was also named SFWA Player of the Year twice. The skilful attacker is now widely considered by supporters to be one of the greatest-ever players in the 142-year history of Rangers. But the 45-year-old has recalled how his playing days were in freefall over in Italy where he had endured unhappy spells with Fiorentina and then AC Milan. And he has told how his father - former Denmark star Finn - had warned him that the transfer to Scotland HAD to work out if he was to revive his career. In an exclusive interview with SportTimes, he said: "I can remember a conversation I had with my father at the time I was going to sign for Rangers. "He said to me: 'Brian, this is going to be the most important switch in your career. This move has got to be a success for you'. "Up until then, I had been at Bayern Uerdingen in Germany for one year, Bayern Munich for two years, Fiorentina for one year and AC Milan for one year. "My father told me: 'If you want to be a successful player then you can't be finding a new club every season. You need to find a club and stay there'. "Rangers was that club. Joining Rangers turned out to be the best move of my career. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was very successful for me and very successful for my family. "It was the best four years of my career in terms of playing and the best in terms of my private life. I was happy in Scotland on the park and my family and I were very happy off it." This week in SportTimes Laudrup looks back on the circumstances that resulted in him agreeing to sign for Rangers 20 years ago. He reveals how he realised it would be the correct decision just a few minutes after meeting manager Smith for talks at Cameron House Hotel. And the Scandinavian, now a television pundit in his homeland, also tells of his distress at the off-field difficulties the 54-times Scottish champions have experienced in the last two years. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/laudrup-my-lifetime-debt-to-rangers-172216n.24803808?
  20. CARLOS BOCANEGRA admits he would happily have spent all of the nine years he had playing in Europe at Rangers. The former USA international captain signed for the Light Blues in August 2011 but left on loan 12 months later for Spanish side Racing Santander after financial difficulties at Ibrox. Bocanegra then had his contract ended early by mutual consent last summer with his salary higher than Gers could afford. But the short time he did have in Glasgow made a significant impression on the Californian and hindsight tells him he’d have loved to sign for the club much earlier than he did. Now at MLS side Chivas USA, Bocanegra spent his day off yesterday travelling up the coast from Los Angeles to meet the touring Rangers squad at their pre-season base in Ventura. It brought memories of his stay with the 54-time Scottish champions flooding back as he spoke with manager Ally McCoist and some of his former team-mates. Popular defender Bocanegra experienced top-level football in England and France with Fulham, Rennes and St Etienne prior to his switch to Gers. But no other club got under his skin the way the Light Blues did and he said: “In football, you move so many times but when we arrived in Glasgow it felt like home. “We really embraced the city, the people were very friendly and it became about more than just on-field stuff. That was amazing. “Playing in front of 50,000 fans at Ibrox every second weekend and experiencing the support we got around the country otherwise was fantastic. “But my family and I loved the club, the city and the culture too. Everything came together in a really nice mix so when I had to leave it was a very difficult decision. “I would have liked to stay but there was the issue with my wages and I was trying to keep my national team dream alive ahead of the World Cup but we had dropped down the leagues. “The timing of things didn’t quite work out when I came to the club but I loved my time there. I really enjoyed it and I would have loved to retire there. “I’d have loved being there sooner. In all honesty, I’d have loved to go straight from Chicago Fire in 2004 to Rangers and played my career there. “Playing in the Champions League, winning titles and cups would have been great. The atmosphere there is amazing and I loved everything about being part of that club. “I guess the only regret I have is I didn’t get the chance to go there earlier but during my time at Rangers, we had a great team. “The level was high and I got to play in the derby matches. The short time I had there was special and I really cherish it because I know how lucky I was to experience it. “You always wish you can have everything perfect in life but being able to be part of Rangers for just a short amount of time was awesome.” http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/7209-playing-for-gers-was-awesome?
  21. RANGERS are pleased to announce match ticket pricing for home games in the new SPFL Championship season. There are two categories of games for the 18 league matches played at Ibrox next season. Category A games are league matches against Hearts and Hibs, while games featuring the other seven teams in the division are in the Category B classification. Match ticket pricing for Category B games range from £17 to £29 for adults, £12 to £20 for concessions and £5 to £6 for juniors. Category A prices range from £21 to £33 for adults, £15 to £23 for concessions and £5 to £8 for juniors. Tickets for the first two games of the season – the Petrofac Training Cup tie with Hibs on Tuesday August 5 and the first league game of the season at home to Hearts on Sunday August 10, will go on sale online and via the Ticket Hotline from Friday July 18 with the Rangers Ticket Centre beginning to sell from Monday July 21. Matchday ticket prices are between 5 and 8% higher than the price of the equivalent Season Tickets for Ibrox next season. Rangers Chief Executive Graham Wallace said: “The new match ticket pricing structure provides excellent value for money in what promises to be the most competitive league in Scottish football next season. “Our policy is to keep tickets as affordable as possible – especially for junior supporters – while reflecting the increased standard of football our fans can expect with visits from both Edinburgh clubs the highlights of the fixture calendar.” “The excitement is building for the new campaign and everybody here is raring to go.” The Club is making special access arrangements to allow supporters to use the Ticket Centre while Ibrox is being prepared for, and then de-rigs after, the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens. The Ticket Centre will be closed for the two days of the rugby competition on Saturday July 26 and Sunday July 27. Tickets can still be purchased on those days via the Club website or Ticket Hotline. The Club has produced a ‘Questions and Answers’ document that will provide supporters with most of the information they require about buying tickets. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE Q&A DOCUMENT http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/7180-rangers-announce-ticket-pricing
  22. Fusion to Host Rangers F.C. (Scotland) in July Friendly Written by Danny Page One of Britain's great teams visits Ventura County for training camp, match on July 15th PURCHASE TICKETS HERE - http://www.vcfusion.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/Pages.Page/id/1076 Over the last eight years, Fusion has made a habit of bringing world class soccer to Ventura County, playing friendly matches against a handful of clubs from the English Premier League, as well as other teams from top leagues around the world. Today, Fusion is proud to announce an exhibition match against one of the UK’s most decorated and supported clubs, Rangers F.C. from Glasgow, Scotland. The match will take place Tuesday, July 15th at the VC SportsPlex in Ventura, California. Presale tickets can be purchased for $25 (Adult)//$15 (Youth 14 & under) at VCFusion.com, with ticket prices rising to $30 (Adult)//$20 (Youth 14 & under) at the gate on the day of the match, as available. Rangers F.C. has won 54 Scottish top-flight league titles, dating all the way back to the club’s first championship in the 19th century. “This is another special occasion for Ventura County Fusion to show it’s one of the west coast’s leading soccer franchises and bring a celebrated team to Ventura,” Fusion General Manager Ranbir Shergill said, “The match on July 15th against Rangers F.C. should be quite a thrill for our supporters, players, and soccer fans throughout Southern California.” Rangers last visited the United States in 2007, and are preparing for a key season in the Scottish Championship, the nation’s second division. Rangers will open their North American tour with a six-day training camp in Ventura before taking on Fusion. Rangers then head north to face Sacramento Republic FC on July 19. “The trip to America is a fantastic opportunity to re-introduce Rangers to the North American fans and I am confident the tour will be a success on a number of levels,” Rangers Manager and legendary midfielder Ally McCoist said, “We have a wonderful global fanbase and I am sure the members of NARSA (North American Rangers Supporters Association) will turn out in huge numbers at all of our games.” Ticket Availability and Pricing Tickets for this historic friendly are immediately available and can be purchased via phone (805) 830-8005 or on the team’s website, www.VCFusion.com. Tickets start at just $25 for adults and $15 for Children, with ticket prices rising to $30 (Adult)//$20 (Youth) on the day of the match. The match is expected to sell out, so please purchase tickets via the presale to guarantee your seat at the game. Rangers F.C. will be Seventh British Opponent Fusion has Faced With the upcoming match, Fusion continues its long-standing tradition of bringing renowned British clubs to the region. Fusion has faced half a dozen Barclay’s Premier League clubs over the years, including matches in Ventura County against West Bromwich Albion (2011), Swansea City (2012), Burnley (2009), & Portsmouth (2010). Fusion has also played exhibition matches against Everton (2008) & Manchester City (2011), although these games were not open to the public. About Rangers F.C. Rangers Football Club is steeped in tradition, has a rich and proud history and is a name that conjures up magical memories in the minds of thousands of supporters around the globe. The Light Blues are also one of the most successful club sides in world football - with a record-breaking 54 top flight League Championships, 33 Scottish Cup Final wins, 27 League Cup Final victories and one European Cup Winners’ Cup Final triumph to date. Rangers have made a number of memorable appearances recently in the UEFA Champions League, reaching the group stage 5 times in the last dozen years. During that span, Rangers faced a number of marquee European clubs including Manchester United and FC Barcelona. In 2008, Rangers defeated Panathinaikos (Greece), Werder Bremen (Germany), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) & Fiorentina (Italy) en route to the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, a match they ultimately lost to Zenit St. Petersburg, 2-1, at the City of Manchester Stadium. Recently the Club won Division 3 and the Scottish League One title following administration. Since Rangers humble beginnings in 1872, the Club has earned a worldwide reputation and lifted many honors and accolades, including becoming the first club in the world to win 100 major trophies, a distinction earned during the 2001-02 season. About Ventura County Fusion The Fusion, established in 2006, plays in the Premier Development League (PDL) of the United Soccer League (USL). Considered one of the most successful franchises in the leagues history for multiple milestones. Since our inaugural season in 2007, the Fusion have reached the third round of the US Open Cup, claimed two Southwest Division Championships, and have been crowned PDL National Champions in 2009. Fusion has hosted training camps for more than a dozen Major League Soccer teams, and has met six Barclay’s Premier League clubs in friendly matches. Other past opponents include Chivas Guadalajara (MEX), Independiente (ARG), & GAIS (SWE). Fusion has also faced the national teams of Canada and Mexico as they prepared for major tournaments. http://www.vcfusion.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/pages.page/id/812/article_fuse/detail/aid/335
  23. teams: Germany: Neuer, Howedes, Hummels, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Klose, Muller, Lahm ©, Kroos, Boateng Argentina: Romero, Garay, Zabaleta, Biglia, Perez, Higuain, Messi ©, Mascherano, Demichelis, Rojo, Lavezzi Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy) 2-0 Germany for me. Klose and Muller. point on referees, I think they have generally been good and let play flow, except the European referees who I thought have been very picky. PS I'm watching BBC coverage as I cannot stand Adrain Chiles
  24. ....and beat Celtic to one last Premiership title before I go. Kenny Miller has revealed his wish to retire as a Rangers player, ideally with the parting gift of one last top-flight winners’ medal as he plans to plunder more prizes before hanging up his shooting boots. The 34-year-old is back with the club for a third spell this summer and would like to make his return signing the 10th and final move of his nomadic career. Miller flew out to Los Angeles on Saturday as Ally McCoist’s squad embarked on a four-game North American tour that will take the striker back to Canada, where he starred for Vancouver Whitecaps in a previous pit-stop. For Miller, though, there is no place like the football home that he regards as Ibrox. Yet this is no comfort zone for the former Scotland international, who stresses his ambitions stretch further than helping hoist Rangers into the Premiership next May. He would love to finish his playing days with his current employers and, feeling fresh into a new pre-season, has no interest in setting a time limit on that. So he still has a top-flight title challenge within his career compass and a desire to add to the three Scottish Premier League medals he won for Rangers back in stint two under Walter Smith. Miller’s motivation on the first step towards that goal is to contribute sufficiently to a successful promotion campaign against former club Hibernian and Hearts so that he earns the optional year on his new Rangers contract. He’ll then take aim at bigger prizes. ‘You never know because if they kick me out of the door at Rangers after a year, I’d imagine I’ll still want to play on,’ said Miller. ‘But it would be my intention to finish up here. I’ve got a year with a year option, depending on games. So it’s pretty much on me. ‘As long as I’m fit, playing and performing then, hopefully, it will turn into another year. It’s going to take a good season this year for us to get there and then obviously some serious competition next year to get back challenging. ‘But that’s the aim for me anyway — to be back at the top of Scottish football where we belong. To top things off would be to win the league back in the Premiership. ‘Rangers shouldn’t go in to any competition thinking of accepting second best, so that’s what we’ll be aiming for next year if we get there. ‘I hope to be around for that. I want to play as long as I can. I feel strong and fit right now. Of course, only time will tell if the performances follow but, if I do that, then there’s no reason why I can’t be around for a bit longer.’ The highlights of Miller’s 67 goals in 147 appearances so far for Rangers were in SPL and Champions League competition. The second tier of the Scottish game, though, is nothing new to him. As an Easter Road teenager, he played seven games either side of a loan spell at Stenhousemuir as Hibs bounced back at the first time of asking in 1998/99. Franck Sauzee, Russell Latapy, Paul Hartley and Mixu Paatelainen were among the heroes of Alex McLeish’s team that year as crowds flocked back to Leith to see a team canter to the First Division title. Not since that campaign has there been such a buzz about the division now known as the Championship. As Miller recalls the year that one of the traditional top-flight teams had to claw their way back up, he admits he can’t wait to sample the curiosities of a season like no other as three giants of the game collide in an unfamiliar environment. ‘I made my debut the season Hibs got relegated and made a few appearances while the team was promoted,’ he said. ‘It was a big season for me. They brought Latapy and Sauzee — that pair must have sold 5,000 tickets alone each week, given the standard of players they were. ‘Hibs had a fantastic season. To draw those players to the club was phenomenal and what they went on to do was amazing. ‘A winning team on the pitch can create a fantastic atmosphere within the club and the crowds were up. I can see big crowds and huge games in this division. It’s going to be a fantastic season and one I’m really looking forward to. ‘To come back to Rangers not in the top division is incredible in itself but for Hearts and Hibs to be there also is phenomenal. I never thought I’d be back playing against them in the Championship. ‘It will be a competitive league and a big challenge for us. But it’s a challenge I feel this squad probably needs after the last couple of years. ‘No disrespect to the opposition Rangers have been facing but I feel the challenges coming our way this year will really raise the standards of the players we’ve got.’ Miller and strike partner Kris Boyd were reunited last weekend as both players got off the mark on a two-game Highland tour. The next phase of pre-season will involve the long-haul journeys to which he was accustomed as a Vancouver Whitecap. After games on the west coast of the United States against Ventura County Fusion and Sacramento Republic FC, Miller returns to British Columbia for a game against Victoria Highlanders a week tomorrow, before the final game with Ottawa Fury on July 23. He called Vancouver home for two years after joining the Major League Soccer side from Cardiff City midway through their 2012 season. Under the Scottish coaching team of Martin Rennie and ex-Scotland international defender Paul Ritchie, Miller helped guide Whitecaps to a first-ever appearance in the MLS Cup play-offs that year. However, he admits there were facets of professional life in Canada that he found difficult to embrace. ‘If you are a guy like myself who if he doesn’t win the weekend is ruined, then that side is not there so much,’ explained Miller. ‘You see others who don’t have that. It’s not that they don’t care — far from it — but just not as much as I did. ‘In Scotland, you lose and you don’t want to go out. It’s straight home on a Saturday, a Chinese and the X Factor. Here we live, breathe and eat football. Across there, it’s not quite as life or death as it is for us. I found that mentality towards it a bit hard to get used to. ‘This is not any slight on anyone I played with. It’s just the way they are brought up. This has been my life since I was four. Ever since I could walk, I had a ball at my feet. ‘I’d argue till the cows come home that it doesn’t mean as much to them, whereas it’s a way of life for us. That’s what I’ve come back to at Rangers. ‘Vancouver is a beautiful place and there are amazing cities to live in or visit for players going to MLS. ‘There’s a more relaxed lifestyle, so I can understand why people want to do it. I’d just say it’s a very different attitude to football. ‘I was grateful for the opportunity as it was something I’d always talked about trying. I enjoyed some aspects but not others. I was fortunate that there were British guys as coaches, we had good people in charge. ‘Being so far from home and away from friends and family is always tough, though. ‘Towards the end, I had an eye on moving home somewhere — and Rangers was always that No 1 option.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2690178/Kenny-Miller-exclusive-I-want-finish-career-Rangers-win-one-Premiership-title-I-go.html
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