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  1. Reading elsewhere that Jim Spence when talking on radio today about us said "the club that died". Anyone on here hear the cretin say that?
  2. Gordon Waddell in the Sunday Mail compares Hearts and us. WITH the right kind of leadership and governance, Rangers could have been golden by now. Miles back down the road. Instead their fans have had to watch a seemingly endless line of charlatans, con-artists, chancers and liars pass through their club. It’s been like some kind of anti-Disney parade, as they looked to see what they could make from it, not what they could make of it. Which is why they should be looking on with interest at where Hearts are headed this morning. See what they COULD have had. Day one of the draw-down on the direct debits of their membership scheme. The cornerstone of their recovery. More than 7000 people signed up and counting. Yes, the Foundation of Hearts are still only preferred bidders for their stricken club. Yes, they’ll be hostages to fate as long as uncertainty surrounds the insolvency of UBIG 1700 miles east of them. But it’s what they’re trying to create that’s so important. They’re not the first – but they’ll be the biggest fan-owned club yet. And if it works for them? They could be the template for everyone. Fan-owned and controlled, sustainable wage bill, sensible leadership with a presentable public face, people with some corporate smarts and business acumen behind the scenes. They’re all eminently achievable for a club of Hearts’ size. People say fan ownership can’t be trusted – but why not? In a crowd of 10,000 you’ll have everyone from brain surgeons to brickies, from lords to layabouts. If you can discern between them. They’ll all be as diehard as each other so why not amalgamate the expertise in your stands to help make it work? Look at the way Ian Murray has steered the Foundation of Hearts so far. He hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s a compelling speaker, who talks the same language as the fans – in a literal non-Lithuanian sense as well as figuratively. He’s that rare breed who’s an MP and yet still has some moral fibre. It’s all there for Hearts if they can just get through administration. They’d have the stadium and have already done the hard work getting their wage bill down from the ludicrous excesses of their bampot despot. They are also shaking off the shackles as well – last weekend their PR staff brought in players for all arms of the media in the wake of their win over Aberdeen, something they hadn’t been allowed to do in five years. They already have one of the best family-oriented community trusts in the country in Big Hearts, an independent charity arm with a fine record of engagement. And if they can get 10,000 people paying a membership of £100 a year, that’s a million quid right there as your bank of last resort. The foundations are there. After that, you just need to make sure what goes out never exceeds what comes in. To be honest, they’ve already got a decent model to follow when it comes to the transition from an egomaniacal, overspending benefactor into fan ownership. It’s exactly 18 months since I wrote about the Well Society. The membership collective charged with proving they had what it took to inherit John Boyle’s 73 per cent stake in Motherwell and make it work for the community as a whole. They were given targets, milestones they had to meet in a five-year plan to prove themselves viable – and so far so good. They met their first funding target to get half the shares, two members were co-opted onto the club board – although to be fair, every current director at the club is also a member of the Society. Now they’re a third of the way down the road to meeting their next target of raising £1.5m. They have 1250 members around a third of their core support so it’s a work in progress. But if and when they get there, they will inherit a club that’s already a model of good governance with no bank debt and no facility for it either. Which is the way it should be for everyone. The club makes a profit, their PR is peerless, they have a sharp chief exec and directors whose CVs wouldn’t look out of place in any big business boardroom. All from one of the smallest fan bases in the top division. Now multiply that by three or four for Hearts and tell me it’s not sustainable. Then multiply THAT by another four or five for Rangers and tell me they don’t have the money, the manpower and the motive to make a similar scheme work? Of course they do. But has their chance gone? Clubs like Hearts, Dunfermline and Motherwell saw an opportunity for a fresh start, a new baseline borne from their crises. The problem with Rangers, sadly, is that they WERE the opportunity. And look around their boardroom at what it got them.
  3. Excellent article submitted by der Berliner A view from afar â?? The Reconstruction Lie? A little more than a year ago, Rangers FC went into administration. In the process of the club being handed over into the hands of a new company, the SPL board went out of their way to hand responsibility about its member's â?? i.e. Rangers' â?? future into the hands of their supporters. Those people at the board simply declining to do their job, or even contemplating that Rangers might have been led into administration by a criminal â?? as has been confirmed over the course of last year (and you hardly find a journalist north of Hadrian's Wall to say so). So off it went to the impartial fans of all the other SPL teams and had e.g. Bayern Munich been in a similar position and faced a vote from the BL fans, they would have played Bundesliga 2 football for a year or so too. A farce from top to bottom. Not that this was unexpected by the SPL bosses, who obviously assumed that the challenge for silverware and European places would be greater, people would come back to watch their teams in the new one-horse race in droves. Those same fans who cried blood-and-vengeance at their clubs, should they not vote Rangers out of the SPL. Those same fans who apparently developed a greater liking to gardening, video-gaming, or curling during the course of the season. It did not take the SPL board long to resume its powers after that, urging (to say the least) the SFL to place Rangers not into the lowest tier (according to the SFL rules), but into the First Division. For anything else would imperil the SPL's TV deals, constructed neatly around 4 to 6 Old Firm games per season. The SFA jumped in and told the SFL that for the greater good of the game, that was the way to do it. The â?? naughty and unruly - SFL stuck to their own rules though â?? as well as the opinion of their chairmen and fans. Rangers were included in the set-up like any new team, in the lowest tier. The SPL quickly got back into stride after that stumble and coerced the SFL into accepting a TV deal that included the screaming of the SFL's Rangers, much to the benefit of the SPL clubs. That did not help the state of affairs of the SPL though. Facts and figures show that its income has dropped, attendances went down at an alarming rate, despite what the SPL's boss Doncaster tries to tell the audience. With the SPL facing various legal bills now, a TV deal only known to Doncaster and possibly his close ally Lawwell, and many SPL clubs hardly able to sustain themselves, does anyone actually think that this same body is actually able to keep up with the financial backing of the SFL, the back-up they proposed alongside their 12-12-18 reconstruction? A recent survey was clearly telling that the football supporters were opposed to the 12-12-18 plan the SPL tries to sell as the last-possible option (why?). SFL clubs were asking their supporters about this and while they all agreed that change was required, there was a clear understanding that 12-12-18 was not the format to move forward, nor was it required straight after this season. But this time, the SPL bosses â?? along with those at the SFA â?? seem to disregard the opinion of the clubs' supporters, not least those of the SFL. Selective democracy? Rather on the contrary, the chairmen of Dundee United and Aberdeen show great endeavour to discredit other chairmen like those of St. Mirren and Ross County, who appear to stand firm in their critique of the proposed changes. Those who were fore-runners of fan-power and the call for â??sporting integrityâ?? - which essentially ignored that fact that Rangers FC on the park were indeed the same Rangers FC as before, despite new owners (â??not guilty until provenâ? springs to mind) â?? now deny this very same right to their fellow chairmen and supporters? And in fact blame them for being self-interested and not looking for the greater good of the game? These people certainly don't do irony! Last season, the whole lot of them acted purely out of self-interest when voting Rangers out of the SPL, looking for greater gains and more money than ever before, not least the likes of the New Firm, Aberdeen and Dundee United. How could they have envisaged that they will end â?? again â?? up in mid-table of a weakened SPL, crowds dwindling, quality dropping? How could they have envisaged that the likes of Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Ross County put up a more sterner challenge to the league race than their own distinguished teams? So why the urgency in the reconstruction, a reconstruction lead and essentially forced through by the SPL, a reconstruction that is being tauted as â??now or neverâ??? Casting aside the rather convoluted split system that does not help Scottish football develop or being any more attractive than it is now â?? not least for those teams in the 18-league. There is only one real reason why the SPL teams need their way here, the reconstruction under their terms: the plight of the SPL. It faces up to law cases with regards to money owed to a pub-owner (1.7m), prize money owed to Rangers FC (2.3m, oldco or newco does not matter), and face the legal bills of their very own EBT-case chase from Harper McLeod. Apart from the TV deals that only Doncaster and probably Lawwell have seen, TV deals that should help them pay the SFL teams after the reconstruction? TV deals that are not yet signed and delivered? You wonder why no-one in the media has ever had the audacity to ask the SPL about their financing programme? Or shall I say moonbeams? And with those Doncaster and Co. run about and try to bully their fellow SPL chairmen and those of the SFL into agreeing to their deal? You wonder if they actually check their accounts every now and then? Let's make no mistake here. The SPL is walking on empty and if the reconstruction is not being pressed through this year, there might not be a SPL left in 6 months time. Which in turn leaves a dozen teams without a league and facing the prospect of asking their way back into the Scottish game via the SFL and â?¦ the Rangers route. The SFL teams should be very aware of this. They hold nigh all the aces after the SPL dug their own grave last summer. They may actually start to invite the likes of St. Mirren and Ross County into the SFL under their terms of reconstruction. There's nothing that should stop the SFL taking over the reigns of all four divisions in Scotland again this summer, keeping the current format, but under a hierarchical structure â?? again. And while the TV deals et al are being utilized by one body for all, learned people can start to create a model better suited for the Scottish game as such, in time for the season after next. The SPL and a cabal of chairmen have ruined the whole Scottish set-up, mainly out of self-interest. It is time that they are removed from the game, for the better of the game. In that respect, stand firm Ross County, stand firm SFL! Fan Survey
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