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  1. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/former-football-star-ian-redford-3009308?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter FORMER Rangers and Dundee United star Ian Redford, who was once Scottish football's most expensive signing, has been found dead aged 53. Police today confirmed that they have recovered the body of the former midfielder in Irvine earlier today. Redford, whose autobiography was serialised in the Daily Record last year, signed for Rangers for a then-Scottish transfer record of £210,000 in 1980. Over the next five years at Ibrox he made over 200 appearances for the club, winning the Scottish Cup and playing his part in three League Cup victories. He then returned to his native Tayside to join Jim McLean at Dundee United in 1985 where he played in their UEFA Cup Final defeat. The talented goal-scoring midfielder, who was called up on several occasions but never played for the national team, played for Ipswich Town, St Johnstone and Brechin in his latter years before finishing his career as a League Cup winner with Raith Rovers in 1995. More news to follow at dailyrecord.co.uk and in tomorrow's paper.
  2. You know, some had to do it! Barrie McKay might be off to Morton for ONE months. Greenock Telegraph
  3. From BBC website. Couple of statement in bold that gives his detractors more ammo. Rangers: Ally McCoist defends squad's four-star hotel stay Rangers manager Ally McCoist has defended the club's decision to book his squad into a four-star hotel before their win at Forfar. The players stayed at the Carnoustie Hotel before Monday's League One game at Station Park. "I can understand people questioning it," said the Rangers boss, whose club reported losses of £14.4m for the 13 months to July. "But it's my job to give our players the best opportunity to perform." “ It's my job as Rangers manager to give our players the best opportunity we can to perform ” Rangers manager Ally McCoist Chief executive Graham Wallace is aiming to reduce costs at the cash-strapped club and last week proposed a 15% wage cut for the playing staff, which they rejected. McCoist, who recently accepted a 50% cut to his £825,000 salary with the League One leaders, backed his players' decision to reject the wage cut. And he said the decision to stay at the hotel was simply a question of "preparing professionally". "We are still Rangers Football Club and have always attempted to be as professional as we can," he said. "That will never change as long as I'm manager. "To give the players the opportunity to play as well as they can you have to prepare as well as you can. We will continue to do that until I'm told otherwise."
  4. A DEAL to transfer Ukio Bankas Investment Group’s 50 per cent shareholding in Hearts to the Foundation of Hearts has been agreed, the Evening News can reveal. The agreement needs to be ratified legally in Lithuania, but would see a token £50,000 payment for the shares made to UBIG’s administrators, allowing the Edinburgh club to exit administration with the Foundation as their new owners. Hearts’ administrators BDO are proceeding with caution in the hope that the deal can go through despite UBIG’s assets being frozen. Foundation of Hearts already have a £2.5million Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in place to secure 29.9 per cent of the club’s shares from Ukio Bankas, who are also in administration. The CVA is conditional upon the fans’ umbrella group getting UBIG’s 50 per cent stake. BDO have been in talks with UBIG’s administrators Bankroto Administrativo Paslaugos for some time trying to negotiate the handover of shares. This is the only remaining hurdle to Hearts exiting administration after the CVA was voted through last November. There is now a verbal agreement between both parties for the transfer of shares at an agreed price.
  5. After a month away from the online madness, I thought I'd better start writing again: http://www.therangersstandard.co.uk/index.php/articles/current-affairs/306-mountains-molehills-and-murder-hill
  6. I once met John Wark and nearly burst into tears. I was 38. Anonymous Ipswich fan. The news that greeted us on Saturday morning, that the body of the wee boy missing in Edinburgh has been found, is another sad reminder that childhood is fleeting, precious, and not always golden. At least for those of us on Gersnet, the vast majority of whom are (well) past childhood, our own youth has come and gone without such horror being visited upon us. We, the lucky ones, get to carry our memories into middle and older age, like everyone some good and some bad, though hopefully precious few as awful as what has happened to poor Mikael. He whose life has been one uninterrupted series of happy events is rare indeed, but I'd guess that at least we share in common memories of a time in our lives when our beloved football team losing made us cry, when the stadium loomed up above us like a colossus, and when the thought of actually meeting one of the Titans who wore a Blue Shirt would have reduced us to jelly. These childhood affections many of us, to judge by the amount of time we waste on online forums, carry with us well into maturity. And elsewhere, too. I still regale strangers with the time our present manager touched my shoulder and said 'excuse me, mate' in a Blockbuster sometime in the 90's; I also once, when he did some shopping in the store I was managing at the time, went before him crying 'make way! make way!' (I kid you not), quite brutally hustling innocent shoppers out the road lest they impede his Majestic progress. At least he had the decency to be embarrassed at my behaviour, which only stopped short of bestrewing his path with rose petals because we had sold out of roses by that point. On both these occasions I was well past childhood, but the football remained a link between me and mini-me, between the rather disappointing man I turned out to be and the child who dreamt of playing for The Rangers, and maybe one day coming into the presence of my heroes. I wonder how many kids still have that dream? Maybe loads do. They'd have to be very unworldly, though, as another week of internal combustion to make James Watt green with envy puffs its way to an end, without even a Saturday game to 'take the taste away', as my Mum used to say when giving me a sweet treat after some ghastly medicine. Who is developing a romatic attachment to a club which seems be determined to set a record for employing the most amount of executives for the least amount of return in sporting history? Just as Monty Python once sent out two teams of philosophers, Greeks v Germans, we're well on the way to being able to fill the bench with accountants...a shame none of them appear worth taking a chance on, even for the last two minutes. It's just not the same. Being able to hide inside the mind of 10 year old me at the football has been a lovely pleasure these last 30 years, but I might as well face up to the fact that that pleasure has gone now. It's not as if I could only handle success - growing up in the 80's I despaired of ever seeing us beat Dundee, let alone celtc or the dominant Aberdeen or Dundee Utd of the time. What a shock it was to me when Ally McCoist got selected for Scotland squads from about 1985 on - such a thing didn't happen in my youth. No, it's not that I can only support Rangers with childish fervour if we are winning: it's just that the thing I fell in love with aged about 8 or 9 doesn't seem to be there any more. Probably this is more due to a long overdue opening of my own eyes rather than anything else: Rangers under David Murray was hardly an shining example of philanthropic goodness along the lines of Dickens' Mr Brownlow. But now, with the club run and owned by Mr Downlows, it just seems...soiled, somehow, and all the more painfully because it's killing off the last little bit of my childhood I could hold on to. Obviously I only speak for myself, but this, to me, will be the legacy of people like David Murray, Craig Whyte, Charles Green Jack Irvine or the Easdale brothers. You may imagine how I view such people. In the grand scheme of things, forcing a delusional 40 something to open his eyes is not such a big deal to anyone other than the person himself, I suppose: certainly, compared to other things which could have happened, it is of no importance at all. But it feels like it is, to me. And that's why it hurts so much. For what it's worth, we play Forfar on Monday night, and will no doubt turn in another performance of depressing mediocrity. My 12 year old rarely lasts more than 10 minutes watching us on TV and I can't say as I blame him. Sheer habit will drive me to sit in front of the telly come half seven Monday night, but I can't seem to be able to tap into the decades long, childlike joy that the Blue Shirt used to give me. Perhaps, on this weekend when one childhood has been so cruelly cut short, that is appropriate enough.
  7. https://mobile.twitter.com/AyrUnitedFC/statuses/424310007862001664?screen_name=AyrUnitedFC
  8. by ANDREW SMITH A BUMPER crowd is expected as Celtic bring in the bells at home to Partick Thistle on Wednesday. With free tickets dished out and buses laid on, who knows, the Parkhead ground may even be at least half full. It hasn’t been that way recently. Indeed, the past two league games are the first back-to-back such encounters to have attracted crowds of less than 30,000 while the championship has been a live issue since the stadium became a 60,000-seater arena in 1998. Then, accurate attendances were given out. Now, these require freedom of information requests, with the club aggregating the number of paid-for-seats, which amounted to 46,000 for each of the victories over Hibernian and Hearts this month. If that appears undoubtedly healthy then what is not is that around 20,000 season ticket holders – around half the entire figure, in fact – are electing to think better of occupying seats they have already parted with their money for. It will be pointed out that the weather and time of year led to a dip in attendances throughout the country but that doesn’t explain what is driving down Celtic’s capacity to have punters come out to watch them. In the year-and-a-half the top flight has been devoid of the Rangers brand, Celtic have made great play of the fact that they have a standalone strategy not dependent on rivalry with a club playing out of Ibrox. And, having turned a debt into cash in the bank and posted a near-£10 million profit last year, they are making good on their assertion. Yet the declining interest from Celtic fans in watching a procession to their third championship demonstrates that they would struggle to operate at their current level if there was never again a team called Rangers in the top flight. The last two home games offered a glimpse of what would be the norm if the club operated in an environment in which they had no major – even from a numerical and cultural sense – rival. The 20,000 no-showers among Celtic’s season ticket holder base probably retain their tickets currently for two reasons: they received a £100 reduction on them last summer and it will probably be only 18 months before there is a Rangers to ridicule and lord it over in the Premiership. Without that promise of ding-dong derby days, most of these fans would probably chuck their tickets. In a non-Rangers world, then, Celtic would have a rain-or-shine hardcore of around 25,000. When they won the last of their nine-in-a-row run of titles in 1974, that was roughly their home average, as it was when they hit rock bottom in 1994. To live within the means that a 25,000 season-ticket-holder base generated, there is no way Celtic would operate with the £30m playing budget they have at present, or spend even sums of £2m on a couple of players every summer. Such a reduced season-ticket-holder figure – with child and younger person reductions taken into account – would bring in around £8m. Celtic’s ticket sales for the Champions League last year alone were £10m. In the Martin O’Neill era, season tickets sales coined in £23m. Celtic are too cautious to rely on Champions League income every year to prevent major losses. However much their club’s supporters may want to be in denial about it, then, with no Rangers permanently in their domain, Celtic would undergo serious downsizing and most home games the club’s stadium would be morgue-like. In turn, a lower spend on player wages would inhibit the calibre of individual that could be recruited, which would result in the team being weaker and potentially more vulnerable across the three rounds of Champions League qualifiers they require to negotiate to reach the group stages. It is perhaps surprising just how quickly almost half Celtic’s season ticket holders have canned watching domestic games. Two years ago, their team wasn’t even champions. The apologists would claim that the club’s treatment of the now dispersed Green Brigade and its perceived attempts to “sanitise” the support has helped turn off sections of the support, but few are buying that. In the Glasgow domain, for a great many it is quite clear that hatred of the other side fuels interest more than love of their own club. And without this adversarial outlet, it is noticeable how the stuggles of both Celtic and Rangers have become internalised. When it was put to Celtic manager Neil Lennon that some of his supporters appear to have short memories, he said: “And a self-destrcut button. And it’s not helpful.” The Irishman said he “can’t look at” the possibility that some Celtic fans have turned to navel gazing about their club as a more satisfying pastime than actually attending games. “My objective is to take the team forward,” Lennon said. “I am aware of the point being made because it is almost as if they need something to fight or argue about. But I can’t do anything about that.” In terms of the lowly 25,000 crowd estimated to have turned up for the 12.15 visit of Hearts last Saturday, Lennon pointed to mitigating circumstances beyond climate. “It’s the first time we’ve had a home game televised for a while and it’s Christmas as well which might have had a big effect on the crowd. We are always looking to give fans value for money and we’re always looking to bring a player in who might capture the imagination as well. But we’re 16 games unbeaten and we can’t do much more than that. Our away form has been very good but it’s a little bit different at home where teams camp in for long periods of the game. I know it’s up to us to try and break them down but we try to give the fans value for money at home as well. “I don’t think [what has happened with the Green Brigade] has had any effect. There might have been a Champions League hangover as well. We’re out of that competition now. I would expect over the festive period the crowds will pick up again and we have Partick Thistle on New Year’s Day and I would imagine there will be a decent crowd for that one.” A “decent crowd” these days, is very different from what it was five years ago. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/poor-attendances-suggest-celtic-need-rangers-1-3249508
  9. Bell; Faure, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Black; Peralta, Law, Macleod; Clark, Daly
  10. .......three years after causing referee row that led to strikes MCDONALD has been instated as a Development Officer at Hampden after his 2010 Tannadice blunder forced him to quit the game completely. Former refereee McDonald is back at the SFA, three years after quitting amidst Tannadice row CONTROVERSIAL former referee Dougie McDonald is back working for the SFA as a Development Advisor. McDonald quit as a Category One whistler in November 2010 after coming under intense pressure for lying to Neil Lennon about changing his mind on a penalty he had initially awarded to Celtic against Dundee United at Tannadice. The aftermath of that shook the game to its core and the incident resulted in his assistant referee that afternoon, Steven Craven, resigning. Weeks later refs chief Hugh Dallas also quit the SFA and the whistlers went on strike as they felt they weren’t protected enough by their Hampden employers. On the day he stood down, McDonald claimed Category One refs had been treated in an “outrageous way” and blasted the SFA for a “lack of support”. Such an attack would normally lead to someone being banished from Hampden but McDonald is back on board. The 48-year-old is highly rated and referee chiefs feel his input and advice to young officials will be invaluable. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/ex-official-dougie-mcdonald-back-2969113
  11. YOU can’t blame Ally McCoist for not wanting to do the sums. Too many of the numbers might add up to ten if the Rangers manager puts his mind to counting the cost of the position the Ibrox club finds itself in. Last week, chief executive Graham Wallace admitted that it would be a five-year mission to make the current Rangers competitive in the top flight. Which suggests there is little chance of the club challenging for a Premiership title much before Celtic should surely be homing in on a record ten-in-a-row. Moreover, Wallace stated that Rangers would need to scale the heights by living within their means. McCoist interpreted this as a top-flight Rangers operating with a £3 million playing budget while Celtic worked with ten times this figure. This illustrates the monumental concern for Rangers supporters and McCoist. If the Ibrox club and Celtic both live within their means, then the near £30m Celtic can generate from the Champions League puts them out of sight of any domestic challengers. It is a vicious circle. Rangers need Champions League money to mount a challenge to Celtic in sustainable fashion. But they can’t obtain that income because this very Champions League money puts Celtic on a different level to them. “The worry is Celtic are off and running with the Champions League money,” McCoist accepted. “That’s obviously a big concern. It would be wrong for me not to look at Celtic’s finances and not appreciate the gulf between the two, but what we need to do is concentrate on our own club at the minute. Celtic aren’t an issue for us at the moment. They’ve handled things well and fair play to them, but until we’re back competing against them then that’s when we’ll have to assess the situation. At this moment in time we can’t concern ourselves with Celtic. I don’t mean that in a rude way but they’re in a different place from us at the moment.” How on earth Rangers get to that place before Celtic achieve an unparalleled decade of domination in the top flight is what gives followers of the Ibrox club sleepless nights. “I understand 100 per cent where the fans are coming from,” said McCoist. “We’ve lost £50m-worth of players. We could argue about valuations but that’s what we’ve lost and had to replace them with free transfers. It’s not rocket science. You’ve got no divine right at the best of times to challenge for the top league, so when you look at the facts and figures you shouldn’t be challenging all of a sudden. But that’s not to say we can’t bring in some more youngsters and if that’s what it takes to move forward then that’s what we’ll do.” To plan to win a Premiership title with a crop of youngsters would be cock-eyed optimism, cautions McCoist. “You’ve got to get a blend. There may be exceptions but other than Manchester United I can’t think of too many teams that have had seven or eight youngsters come through and gone on to be a top-class European team. We’ve never, as long as I can remember, had seven or eight youngsters in the team who have come through Murray Park. You’ve got to get a balance. I think we’ve done fine in recent years when you look at the likes of [Alan] Hutton, [Allan] McGregor and [Charlie] Adam, [Chris] Burke and so on. I don’t think you’ll get too many cases like that Manchester United team. That said, it’s really important we get as many through as we possibly can.” And hold on to them. When the old Rangers was liquidated, the likes of McGregor declined to have his contract transferred over to the new company then formed. McCoist has had plenty to say about the fact that the keeper and other high-profile players “headed to the hills”, as he put it at the recent agm. But he was more conciliatory when asked what McCoist the player would have done in 1992, had Rangers gone bust. “I don’t know what I would have done,” McCoist said. “It’s the easiest thing for me to say that I’m a Rangers man but I don’t know. I’m not going to look back and start criticising people. I wouldn’t want to move back into hypothetical 1992 situations.” How McCoist must wish there was a Rangers currently enjoying the situation the Ibrox club did in 1992, though. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/numbers-don-t-add-up-for-rangers-boss-ally-mccoist-1-3249510
  12. Kris Boyd will end a three-year international hiatus by joining the Scotland squad on the flight to Norway tomorrow ahead of Tuesday’s International Challenge Match in Molde. Boyd was drafted in to the squad by Gordon Strachan to replace Steven Fletcher, with the Sunderland striker permitted by the national coach to return to his club after playing in Friday night’s 0-0 draw against the USA at Hampden Park. The 30-year-old Kilmarnock striker last appeared for his country in a 2-1 victory against Liechtenstein in the UEFA European Championship qualifier at Hampden Park in September 2010. Boyd, who played under the Scotland national coach at Middlesbrough, has stated his desire to add to his 18 caps and seven goals for his country since returning to the SPFL Premiership and rejoining his home-town team, Kilmarnock, after a spell in Major League Soccer with the Portland Timbers. “I never gave up hope of playing for my country again and I am grateful to Gordon for giving me that chance,” he said en route to the team hotel. “I have always felt I can make a contribution at international level and knew that if I kept working hard my chance would come again. Hopefully I can get involved against Norway and show people what I am still capable of at the highest level.” Gordon explained he had no hesitation in turning to Boyd to supplement his attacking options after losing Fletcher, Matt Phillips and Jordan Rhodes from his original squad. “Kris has always said he was determined to return to the international squad. Now he has that opportunity again and I am delighted for him,” said Gordon. “He is a terrific professional who works hard on his game. Having spoken to a lot of people about him, they are of the same opinion as me – that Kris is an asset to any squad with his goalscoring capabilities. “He is playing regularly again at Kilmarnock and that sharpness made him a natural choice when looking for a striker to replace Steven.” Scotland have allowed Grant Hanley to return to his club after experiencing muscle tightness after his part in Scotland’s draw on Friday night, with Charlie Mulgrew also given leave for the trip to Norway.
  13. http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/aberdeen/257293-fourteen-for-14-our-list-of-young-players-to-watch-out-for-in-2014/ No Rangers players included, I know this type of thing is subjective but Sinclair released THREE of them !!! How much is he on ?
  14. http://www.ecaeurope.com/PageFiles/6175/ECA%20Youth%20Report%20on%20Academies_A4_SECURE_final.pdf Really interesting read above - All clubs of a similar stature to ourselves and their youth academies! How do we view our youth academy(is it one?) as of now? I was really encouraged by the number of young players we brought through last season. However this season I have been quite disenchanted by the number playing for us. Looking at the current XI we have Clark, MacLeod, Aird, of an age where we can real sell on value. The likes of Crawford, MacKay, Macausland, Gasporotto all seem to have went backwards in their development - However this is just an assumption looking in. I was encouraged by the new CEO comments on youth development as I see it as a major growth area for our club in the next decade or so. The last midweek game at home to Forfar we changed McCulloch for Cribari at 4-0 - this is what worries me on how Ally views are youth at the moment. Is he the right man for this plan if this is the route we will take. How can we improve it? It might be a bit unpopular but signing Smith, Foster is absolutely crazy for me. How on earth can these players improve Rangers in the future? It would be interesting to see if the club has a set philosophy on developing talent.
  15. A cloud cluckoo land thread on RM is questioning whether fans miss the old firm games. Very bizarre given it is the highlight of the season aside from occasional CL games. Watching us is absolutely terrible at the moment and I can't wait to get back in the SPL playing them again.
  16. AS a listed company, the members of the Rangers Board have to be very careful and professional in the way in which we communicate information. This is clearly not the case for the requisitioners, who can make all sorts of wild and spurious allegations. My concern is that these unprofessional, wild allegations are being used just like bogey men were used when I was a child. But in this case, they are being used to frighten our supporters and shareholders. So, within the bounds of what I can say, I would like to put some of these bogey men to rest. Firstly, I read wild accusations that I may not be independent. This is usually accompanied by a list of names from the club’s past. Let me say categorically, that until I joined the Board a mere 4 weeks ago yesterday, I had never heard of Charles Green, Imran Ahmad, Craig Whyte, or any of the other characters in Rangers’ history. To my knowledge, I have never met them, nor had business dealings with them. Nor would I recognise them if I passed them on a street. When I was approached to join the Board, the Company had only two directors and the immediate priority was to preserve the AIM Listing. Surely it is naïve to think that there is any way the Nominated Adviser could have allowed anyone not totally independent to take on this position at that time? I have now read over two years of board minutes and they make very depressing reading in terms of the scale of their lack of professionalism and worse. The minutes make it clear, in my mind, that the boards of recent years have been totally unfit to run this club. The mystery to me is why people should now be considering that members of these boards, which presided over the problems we face today, should be considered for re-election. Although I have learned one lesson, which is that if you shout long enough and loud enough in the media, you may be able to reinvent yourself. Recent inaccurate and, in fact, completely untrue allegations have included a new bogey man about Jack Irvine's contract. I have looked at this and can say that he has a normal contract, with no bonuses attached and the figures quoted by Mr Scott Murdoch are utter nonsense. Let me also say that Graham Wallace and I are beginning a complete review of every contract that is in place. You can imagine that this is going to take weeks and then more time where contracts need to be changed. I have been on board four weeks yesterday and Graham less than that, but we have already begun this critical process. One area, where we are conscious that we need to focus, is in improving our communication and engagement with all Rangers supporters. We have already commenced work to identify what is required to fully engage with our fan base and we will be bringing forward some significant proposals in the near future. The Board is fully behind improving the communication and engagement with the fans. Another bogey man relates to the club's finances. We have said publicly a number of times that any talk of the club going into administration is completely untrue. Yes, we will need to make decisions to improve cash flows and strengthen the business, but these will be the right decisions at the right time. Another new bogey man thrown about by the Gang of Four is the suggestion that we might be thinking of selling Ibrox. We are not thinking about this. Where do the requisitioners get these ideas from? I promise you we have no intention of a sale. Brian Stockbridge suffers most from the lies thrown around by the people in the process of reinventing themselves. Even the requisitoners must understand that finance directors are members of boards and their actions are largely dictated by the board. Reading the minutes of the last two years or more, I see that Mr Murray was involved at board level for long periods covering contract and financial negotiations. It is not that Finance Directors make mistakes, rather that boards make mistakes, or worse. Without Brian, the club would, in my opinion, have been de-listed months ago and ironically the club should owe him a debt of gratitude for holding things together. Going forward, his new CEO, Graham Wallace, needs time to evaluate the whole structure within the business and the people within it. This will be true for Brian as for everyone else. For the good of the club, for the good of the supporters and for the good of the shareholders, I sincerely hope that the shareholders will get behind the existing board and vote for us. In addition, I encourage shareholders to vote against the four requisitioners. Firstly, because some of them were members or chairman of boards which failed this club in the past. Secondly, we need a Board selected from the best available people. Not just from fanatics who put their own personal interest ahead of the greater good of the club. If these people were to join the board they would be taking up positions which should be held in future by the best, professional people with Rangers true best interests at heart and not having their involvement driven by their own personal self interest. Best regards, David Somers http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/5759-an-open-letter-from-the-chairman
  17. Anyone know anything about this guy? Only on twitter at the moment. Ian Cathro is the name being touted as the man, who will be brought in to see over Auchenhowie new youth development programme.
  18. Another weekend with no game...sigh. Here's your Sunday morning 'long piece' a day or so early. Today's musical accompaniment is Hannah Georgas with 'Enemies'. Takes a while to get going but grows on you, kind of like a modern Suzanne Vega. Living with other people isn't always easy. Look at cities - the number of urban dwellers who look for ways to escape tells its own story: living with other people creates tension. So it's no wonder that many of the 20th century's finest thinkers on cities and how to live in them from countries which suffered the most devastation to their cities: having seen their countries convulsed for the better part of the entire 100 years, you can't be surprised that so many French and German intellectuals turned their minds toward how to improve the world for the future. Le Certeau, Foucault, the wonderfully named Lyotard...but what about the Germans? Unfortunately, for many Brits raised on a TV diet these last 40 years, mention of the word 'Germans' brings on a kneejerk reaction where an image of Hitler appears unbidden in your mind, either sauntering 'neath the Eiffel Tower or giving it laldy at one of the lads' night's out he and the rest of the gang were fond of. There he is at the podium, one fist turned backward on his left hip, his right hand karate-chopping an imaginary swarm of bees as he yells 'Niemals! Niemals! Niemals!' A strange man, indeed. But hardly the definitive image we want to take forward of that country, surely? Adolf's ubiquity on British cable TV is now such that it is only a matter of time before someone decides to hive off another arm of the History Channel into a dedicated Hitlery Channel. They may as well: from serious, academic studies such as The Nazis: A Warning From History or The World at War, through well meaning but poorly (cheaply) made cut-and-paste jobs like Secrets of the Nazi Gold to the recent, alarming trend in US low budget movie making to use Nazis as almost a comedy stooge - Nazis From the Moon, anyone? It's a real film, although even it is eclipsed by the appalling bad Nazis From the Centre of the Earth. What Jake Busey, so effective as the ghostly psycho the in Michael J Fox movie The Frighteners, is doing in this trash is anyone's guess: but any answer other than paying off a gangster's bill will reflect very badly on him. Hopefully America, given it provides pretty much the cultural compass for the world, won't go down the Nazi obsessed route the British media is addicted to. If you think the next four years, with day by day accounts of World War One are going to be full on, just wait, if you're old enough, until 1933 - I should think you will have a minute by minute account of what Herr Schicklegruber was up to from the day he assumed power until the Fuhrer's butler served up the cyanide and Lugers in the bunker. Given I'll be 63 in 2033 I imagine I will be either (a) dead or (b) gaga so it won't matter to me. I don't envy the rest of you, though! I suppose it shows how getting your image, your public perception out from under some kind of media imposed identity is not easy. Hence the reluctance in Britain to take people seriously who have names like Mearsheimer, Gadamer, or Bauman. Stuck in a Dr Strangelovian timewarp, we see them as sinister candidates for the experiment room rather than people who may offer something positive. Michael Schumacher, it's true, was popular, but his popularity in the UK was of the grudging respect kind last seen in veteran Desert Rats when they were talking about Rommel. In my lifetime I can think of only Prof.Heinz Wolff, woolly-haired boffin of TV science-fest The Great Egg Race, who has been accepted in Britain. Even he was looked upon with grave suspicion by my mother, although admittedly she was bombed out by the Luftwaffe in the 40's and has never forgiven 'the Germans' since. We as Bluenoses know all too well that if you don't control your own image, others will happily control it for you, and those others will almost certainly have nefarious intent. Our current status in the game - if this were India we would rank somewhere between pariah dog and untouchable street sweeper - have led many, me included, to adopt a defiant stance of 'get it up ye!' and to hold ourselves apart from the rest. They'll need us more than we need them, I have said, and meant it. Now, I'm not so sure. When veteran sociologist Zygmunt Bauman recently took a look at urban life, he diagnosed it to be suffering from two separate but connected illnesses, which, in the time honoured fashion of the intellectual, he gave the unfriendly names of mixophobia and mixophilia. The former sees fear of other groups than one's own run rampant, and those who can do so barricade themselves into gated communities with security guards, gradually losing the ability to communicate with the others outside, the fear of whom grows the more they become unknown. A self-perpetuating cycle where no one wins except, presumably, Barratt Homes. Mixophilia, meanwhile, seems a bit optimistic to me, a happy city with lots of mixing between classes and sects, Bauman foresees 'benign, and often deeply gratifying and enjoyable daily encounters with the humanity hiding behind the frighteningly unfamiliar scenic masks of different and alien races, nationalities, Gods and liturgies'. I remain doubtful how enjoyable daily bumping into hordes of celtc fans would be, especially in a city with trams, but I do take his point: hiding ourselves away in a ghetto will, in the long run, do more harm than good. Hang on , though, I hear you cry. What about Timmy? When O'Neill appeared, they drew back into the cultural enclave, they've never come out of it since and they're doing alright, aren't they? Well, not really, no. Although they have people at the top of the game and are very much the country's strongest side, there are two caveats. First, obviously, we handed it them on a plate, both due to our implosion and our mismanagement of the game during the SPL period. If we were to pursue the Germanic theme of this piece a little further, you could call the SPL period the Weimar Republic and the present lot the early days of Adolf. It certainly looks like a one party state, anyway. Given the delusion which appears to run rampant through their support - 'we bring smiles wherever we go' must rank up there as one of the best lines of this or any other year - perhaps Stalin's self-delusional Soviet Union would be a better comparison. Secondly, in broad terms they are dying every bit as much as the game as a whole. Although many Bears see the Sectarianism Legislation as directly only at them, it reflects a wider belief in Scotland that the day of Old Firm bigotry is past. Teams may be multicultural but the fans you are obliged to step past, usually pished and almost always giving it something from some idealised Irish folk history song book certainly are not. Scottish society, which seems to have been taking a look at itself in recent years (probably due to devolution and the independence referendum) has clearly concluded that shibboleths like the Old Firm are shibboleths no longer and must either change or wither. I think we're both doing a pretty good job of withering at the moment, crowds or no crowds, the mutual hate and societal impact of recent events causing disquiet among those who are fans of neither club. How appealing will the present antipathy be to the generation which comes along after us, which has to have the last few years explained and which, like all new generations, will probably look at us with the same unconcealed contempt my son directs at me when I tell him to cut his nails or tidy his room. Certainly it will keep me going for years, this hate, but as a long term marketing strategy it is lacking. We exist in the Scottish leagues, and we're going to have to come to some kind of understanding with the Scottish leagues. Hans Gadamer, in a book called Truth and Method, explained that mutual understanding can only occur when there is a 'fusion of horizons' between peoples. This fusion can only come about through shared experience and that shared experience can only come about in a shared space: if we exist in a vacuum, our horizons, whatever they may be, will be ignored in favour of everyone else's. Given how much everyone else's appear to accord with those of celtc FC, this is a genuine worry, but more broadly, if the OF continue on their road to cultural isolationism, they may well both be victims of the rest of society's impatience and end up moribund. This may seem needlessly pessimistic to celtc given their CL money, but it goes out as soon as it comes in and even it is far from guaranteed. Another German, philosopher Emmanuel Kant, talked about a general association of mankind: 'allgemeine vereinigung der menschheit'. For this Scot, who suffered at school trying to get his bunged up nose and gutteral, throaty accent around the romantic cadence of French, German is a godsend - it is basically 'say what you see' and none of that Froggie rubbish about silent letters or nasally stops. It even sounds like English. How two countries with so many similarities as the UK and Germany ended up so far apart is one of the great questions of the century gone by, but it's generally ignored in favour of endless programmes about Hitler, Goering and the rest. Unless we take steps to address our current position in the game: no power, no influence, no friends, nothing other than a sometimes useful chip to throw down for small clubs looking for a payday - we may end up more a curiosity rather than a vibrant player, and contribution we might have to make ignored in favour of bone-picking over the last few years. Given the present shambles that is the club, any kind of future vibrancy may seem like lunatic optimism but we fans have a duty to at least try and shove the club into engaging with the outside world. A voice which is constantly telling everyone else to go stuff themselves is unlikely to win many arguments. I suppose at some point we have to engage: even if the ultimate aim remains the annihilation of certain clubs,we don't have to shout it from the rooftops. The AGM is coming up: there will be a possibility of change, though it varies from day to day and depending on who you read. How I hope we seize this chance, for the alternative is terrible: Rangers from the Centre of the Earth, anyone?
  19. I think the best thing about this long piece is the trailer, but anyway, here's your Sunday morning... When we got kicked out the SPL, one thing I thought would be good was that when international breaks came around, we at least would have a game to look forward to. The idea that we could have internationalists playing for us down amongst the dead men never occurred to me, and while these dreary weeks without even a competitive international game to watch are dull, they do at least give you a chance to look a the bigger picture. As usual, it's a dispiriting one, with the main news of note being the appointment of a raft of directors at Rangers - temporary or otherwise, time will tell - and celtc's continuing attempts to remove Rangers entirely from the game in Scotland. Booooring!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsSbhdo0kQI So instead of waxing gloomical about the same old stuff I've groused above before, I shall this week offer a menu of possibilities for the future, things the game could engage with and maybe create a freshness about that stalest of products, the SPFL. These are all nicked from other sports, but that's no reason to dismiss them. Other sports are booming, thriving even, in these difficult financial times by innovating: we could learn from them. First up, a boring marketing/community bonding opportunity. BT show French Ligue 1 games, and you see every side has the regional tourist board advertised on their strips. Watching the Aussie football this weekend, I see they are the same. 'Do the CG experience!' exhorts the brightly coloured either Adelaide or Perth shirt (my Australian geography is not great). Given that there's plenty of space available on SPFL shirts, they ought to employ this device to get as much exposure (limited, I admit) for each club's region or city. Given how fast Scots clubs are declining, anything which re-engages them with their communities ought to be embraced. The current rugby world cup is attracting huge audiences in England, Wales & France; at the end of the game, both teams take a lap of honour, during which players pose for photos and sign autographs for fans. Perhaps this ought to be home fans only, and only then after a win, but it's an idea which would take an extra 10 or 15 minutes for the players and which would reinforce the bond between fan and player. And to any player who couldn't be bothered, they would have to shoulder the consequences should they dip in form! Cricket's 20/20 competition has brought in many innovations since it appeared about 10 years ago, nowhere more so than in the magnificent Indian Premier League. Features include an audio link between a fielder (usually the skipper) and the commentators while bowlers are walking back to their mark, or during a drinks break; while the heat doesn't require such a break in Glasgow very often, there's no reason why keepers could not be linked up by an audio tech behind the goal while their team are up the other end of the pitch - in cricket the interviewed player just breaks off should he have to, and goalies could do the same. Likewise, since there have been trackside reporters for decades, let's get them broadcasting the actual sounds of the sideline, rather than some mediated, filtered, cleaned up version. If this causes issues for managers or coaches who can't go 45 minutes at a stretch without effing or blinding, that is their problem - if they want TV money, they can behave to minimum live TV standards. This kind of technical innovation would allow the SFA or SPFL or whoever to approach broadcasters with a fresh product, offering superior access to players or staff, rather than a pale imitation of England's success. The IPL also require their grounds to build a little VIP booth, which is for competition winners rather than high heid yins, and include big comfy armchairs and fridges filled with Pepsi products. Practicalities might make this hard, but we are too much in the habit of saying 'we can't' when we need to be saying 'we have to'. Such competitions and prizes must be a money spinner as well as ideal product placement, an area we need to maximise in order to tempt what appears to be a highly reluctant commercial sector back to our moribund product. Joint managerial press conferences could be introduced, which ought to go some way to enforcing managers to act like adults. I think we can think of the one exception who would still stick out his petulant lower lip, and no doubt the media would be annoyed at losing their precious controversial moments, but the aim is to make the product better and financially healthier. Childish and whiny complaints will not bring in investment, a relatively mature product might. No doubt every reader will have ideas of their own. We all know that the game needs radical change at a purely functional level, especially the 4 games a season nonsense, but there's lots of room for tinkering around the edges and freshening up what is a sorely tired product. Just sometimes we need to turn our thoughts toward what we can do to make the game better, rather than the understandable constant harping on about what's wrong with it. Let's hear it for positive thinking, even just for a week!
  20. Scotland's claim to be fighting the cancer of sectarianism and hatred took a severe dent at the weekend. Perhaps sadly, the decision not to hold a one minute silence prior to the Ross County vs Celtic match, came as no surprise to many of us. Its embarrassing, unedifying and sickening to hear a one minute silence being disrupted and dishonoured. But there is something worse, far worse in fact - not holding such a ceremony at all. Because in failing to do so we have acquiesced to the morons, the bigots - we have handed them victory on a plate. Let the moronic and shameful actions of bigots within the Celtic support shame all the devils in hell - rather that than our country is forced to fail to remember the fallen whose sacrifice ensured our freedom from evil and tyranny. This morning I wrote to Ross County asking for an explanation into such an omission on Saturday and in particular who made the decision to dispense with the one minute silence - was it from someone in the club or from outside the club? The Ross County support have previously made their club aware of the importance of Remembrance Day and its significance within their support. http://www.north-sta...oldiers-667.htm Furthermore this is an issue which must ascend Old Firm rivalry and the often tit for tat churlish and pedantic tribalism. It is time for the Scottish press and media to stop avoiding the issue and to speak out - ignoring it will not make it go away. It is untenable and unacceptable that men who laid down their lives in order to defeat that which is unacceptable cannot themselves be remembered and honoured due to the actions and behaviour of some in our society which is in itself – wholly unacceptable.
  21. Your Sunday morning thoughts on the man who needs a grievance like normal people need air. The SPFL are coming under fire from the permanently disaffected manager of celtc, Neil Lennon this weekend. The monotonous drone of the Ulsterman complaining is as much part of the landscape in Scots football as long balls, a lying media and lunatic supporters, but this time some may feel he has a point: sending his team north to Dingwall immediately after a Champions League match, in which he and his footballing troubadours carry the hopes and good wishes of all Scottish fitba fans, seems scant reward. Leaving Holland immediately after their game - unsurprisingly, given the state his club's supporters left it in - Lennon's team will have gone to bed late on Thursday morning, possibly coming in for light physio or a rubdown that afternoon, leaving only Friday for the tactical plans for the Ross County game to be discussed and players assessed. One session is not enough for any coach to form a coherent plan, but is Neilly right to have a good at the SPFL? I don't think so, since it's the TV companies who are calling the shots. And since the SPFL, which is in effect run by his boss at celtc, Mr Lawwell, signed up to the deal it's a bit rich complaining about it now. The bad luck for celtc is that this weekend is a Super Sunday in England, with first Spurs v Newcastle at lunchtime; then Sunderland v Man City; topped off with the mouth watering Man U v Arsenal clash in the evening. They don't even have space to fit in the always pleasing Swansea game, so what chance of them fitting in what is, frankly, a game which won't interest anyone outside of Celtic or Ross County fans? With FA Cup kicking off this weekend as well, there was no space on the Monday night schedule for the celtc game; and it obviously couldn't be played on Friday night. The bottom line is that the game panicked and sold a rubbish deal to Sky & BT; the only teams they are interested in are Rangers and celtc; therefore they will do as they are told and lump it. The sight of SPFL bigwigs in China this weekend crowing about another deal - £20m this time, which unless it is broken up in a hugely unfair manner means an average of £50,000 per club; one might even raise the spectre of sporting integrity here - drives home the mistake they made when signing up to Sky. The need to get the game on TV and bring in some money is seen as paramount, not just for financial reasons but also because they were terrified lest the absence of Rangers drive away coverage, revealing the rest of the game outwith four Old Firm clashes to be what it is - of no interest to TV companies. All right, if they feel that way, sod them! I might not care about Dundee United games but no doubt Dundee Utd fans do, shouldn't the SPFL be looking after them first? I might not ever look at a St Mirren game but I imagine Saints fans do; why aren't the SPFL watching out for their interests? It's all been said before, but poor old Lenny's latest whinge brings us back to where we started: small leagues and 4 games a season is killing the game, and instead of finding some medicine we are doing the equivalent of buying smack from Sky and ignoring the real issues. Lennon is right that the SPFL is out to lunch: but given who runs it and given which club it appears to be run for the exclusive benefit of, whose fault is that? The chance was there to revamp the game and instead the head burying, the claims of a bright new dawn, the willful refusal to notice the ever emptying stands and the ever diminishing quality goes on. I watched AFC Wimbledon v Coventry last night and the London club had better players than I saw watching Ross County v Inverness the week before. This is not something that fills me with joy but there's no point lying about it. Anyway, no need to run crying to the press, Neil. Just walk along the corridor to Mr Lawwell's office and get him to explain why his Professional Game Board signed up to a shit TV deal. I warn you in advance though, you won't like the answer: because when it comes to football on Sky or BT, celtc (or Scotland) doesn't count for a fart. The shoehorning in of this celtc game at Ross County is proof if ever it were needed that we are nothing more than an afterthought once the real games, the proper football, has been scheduled in. Perhaps in the future we will reject a deal which doesn't allow a certain percentage of each club's games to be played at 3 on a Saturday. Since in effect this only applies to two clubs it ought not be that difficult to manage. Perhaps the resultant coverage of other teams will spread TV money a bit more fairly, creating a more level playing field. Perhaps more fans may turn out to watch if teams play with less fear, although it may be too late already. But perhaps the people who dropped the game in the shit will have the decency to stop moaning about it when they get some on their shoes.
  22. It's pretty safe to say we have won our second title on the way back up, and yes the road has been smoother this year compared to last. Yet I personally feel uninspired by how it is being accomplished, and I'm interested in what the consensus is. When we agreed as a support that we would rather start at the bottom than be handed some 'charity' i.e. a halfway house (did you notice the clamour of the press to praise the Rangers support for that? No I didn't either) I think we all saw an opportunity to create a football philosophy, a new ethos, away from the pressures of playing in the same league as them. OK, after a while last season, it was clear that it wasn't going to be that easy. So get the first season over and then start to see something new. No? Am I just in the wrong mood but are there any signs that we are going to accomplish any of this by the time we get back to the top? Already Ally is talking about "needing millions to do better than top six"!!! I watched our route one football to beat East Fife. I watched Nicky Law excited at the start of the season talk about how we were going to play a very high line due to our superior fitness and always be on the front foot. Nicky started on fire, scoring great goals, and then what? Ally tells him to lie a bit deeper and the rest is there to see.... If it is better than my mood is telling me then I'm open to criticism - no problem. Can anyone say hand on heart though that these won't be wasted years?
  23. New Pitch Laid At MP WRITTEN BY ANDREW DICKSON http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/5251-new-pitch-laid-at-mp
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