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  1. I watched a wonderful short film this week, on the effect the reintroduction of wolves has had on Yellowstone National Park in America. Wolves were wiped out in the area 70 years ago but several packs were brought back twenty years ago in the hope they would breed and reestablish them. A highly controversial move, the wolves were closely monitored and the effect they had on Yellowstone was studied during this period. As a large carnivore there was much apprehension about the wolves; would they decimate other species, clear large parts of the park of other mammals, indeed would they endanger man? The actual findings were mind blowing. The wolves mainly hunt deer and prior to the wolves return the deer had enjoyed decades with no natural predator except man. As such, they grazed where they wanted for as long as they wanted, they moved slowly through the landscape and their numbers grew and grew. The reemergence of the wolves changed this. The change wasn’t that large numbers of deer were killed (there aren’t that many wolves and there are tens of thousands of deer) it was that the return of the deer’s natural hunter led to a dramatic change in deer behaviour. Previously the deer grazed where they liked but now they were much more cautious and this was particularly noticeable near rivers. The grazing is good there, but it is open, and the deer were easily hunted. As the deer modified their behaviour and avoided grazing on the lower ground the vegetation changed, grass grew longer, bushes and trees reached maturity instead of being stripped back by hungry deer when small. This led to insects returning which in turn brought birds. The longer grass brought rabbits and the eagles who hunt them. Bears returned to eat the berries that now ripened on the bushes, beavers returned and used the mature trees to make dams. Most astonishingly of all the course of the river changed. Previously it meandered, it flooded regularly and the rain ran off the surrounding land quickly eroding the area. Now the increased vegetation soaked up much of the rainfall and its roots held the soil together. So the river ran deeper and faster, it no longer meanders it flows true. The wolves had indirectly been responsible for changing the course and flow of a river. What must be remembered is that wolves weren’t artificially introduced to the area; rather their absence in the first place was artificial. The ecology of Yellowstone evolved over thousands of years and at the top of the food chain was wolves. This large carnivore was meant to be there, nature had decided that a long time ago, the rest of the park actually depended on it. Its removal caused the damage, not its reintroduction. Every aspect of the park relied on the wolf directly or indirectly. Rangers play Stenhousemuir for the fourth time this season on Saturday. We’ve won our two previous league meetings and our meeting in the cup. Our last match at Ibrox saw us triumph by eight goals, our subsequent meetings have been much closer affairs. This match is being played against the backdrop of continued problems in Scottish football. The removal of Rangers from the top flight has upset the trophic cascade, the natural order of things evolved over more than 100 years is seriously out of kilter. Celtic have no serious rival as such and they are now meandering, their club is selling its best players, their manager speaks openly about being unsettled and their support, as well as showing apathy towards attending matches now fill their time by promoting songs about Irish murder gangs, making ill-thought-out political statements or indulging in good old fashioned hooliganism. The game’s governing bodies now no longer even hold the pretence of parity. They award cup finals and semi finals to grounds months in advance rather than wait to see who’ll contest them. Their decisions regarding cup matches and Inverness have bordered on the corrupt, the ticket allocation for the League Cup final being only the latest example. The side who finished second in the country last season, Motherwell, still managed to make a loss of nearly £200,000. The prize money they should have received was drastically cut half way through the season you see, no surprise there. This happened despite them cutting their player budget the previous close season. Still the league has no sponsor, in the top flight the champions and the side relegated was decided before a ball was kicked and the standard of play and player continues to drop. Without its largest animal the competition is reduced, the drive is lost and the revenue that follows it dries up. All of these things are interconnected, remove something from the natural order of things and it takes a long time to recover, if it ever does. Stenhousemuir go into this match with a new manager, former Scottish international and feted wunderkind Scott Booth. Although the current Scotland under 17 coach doesn’t take up his post for a few more weeks we can expect his new players to be eager to prove their worth to him. So motivation shouldn’t be an issue for stand-in coach Brown Ferguson’s side. Stenhousemuir are in a bad run of form with no victories this year, only their early season good results afford them the relative safety of sixth place. Rangers go into the match without Moshni who remains suspended. Cribari did well against Ayr and should retain his place although I expect McCulloch to return to the defence and Foster to drop out. Beyond that the side should pick itself, MacLeod should come into contention if fit again but I expect Bell, Law, Wallace, Black, Daly, Faure, Templeton and Aird to start. I don’t expect a repeat of the early season 8-0 but half that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow particularly if we score early. Stenhousemuir have both suffered and benefited from being in the same league as Rangers. Having the largest carnivore in the country close by drastically reduces the likelihood of promotion for every other club in our division, but it does offer them other tangible benefits. Our presence is artificial though, man made and it is upsetting the natural order of things. The trophic cascade refers to interconnectivity, how removing something from the top of the food chain has consequences all the way down that chain, how these changes can’t all be foreseen or managed and it is vital that chain isn’t allowed to be tampered with artificially. Recent meetings aimed at securing a voice for Rangers supporters in our boardroom should be welcomed, not only by all Rangers fans but also by all football fans. Whatever your feelings towards our club, we are all connected and interdependent, it’s in everyone’s interests that we’re back where we belong believe it or not. The only thing that should prevent that happening is our side not being good enough. Financial stability and accountability are vital, not just for our sake but for every club in the country. Nobody should fear the return of the wolf, its return should be welcomed by all.
  2. Scottish Youth Cup quarter-final against Dunfermline Athletic at Murray Park today, kick-off 1pm. Put the Pars in their place. I hope the overnight weather has not ruined the playing surface of the pitch?
  3. IAN Black has vowed to earn a new deal with Rangers - and help the Ibrox club complete every stage of 'The Journey'. The former Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hearts man is out of contract at the end of next season. But he is keen to pledge his future to Rangers so he can help them compete against their Old Firm rivals. Black said: "I have been consistent this season and the manager has been happy enough to play me every week. I have been doing something right. "I just need to work hard, keep my head down and try to earn myself a new contract. "I have got this year and next season just now. When you have got a year-and-a-half left then you obviously look to get a new deal and a bit of security for my career and for my family as well. "I just want to work hard and hopefully things behind the scenes can work out for me." He added: "My aim is to play in the top flight. Coming here when we were at the bottom my aim was to help the club get back up. "Hopefully I can be rewarded with getting a deal to play in the Premiership with a club this size. It is up to me to keep playing well and trying to get one." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/black-aim-is-a-ticket-to-ride-on-journey-152249n.23438571
  4. Gribz

    Hullo Hullo

    Can someone please explain to me why we don't sing this greatest anthem anymore The "authorities" (define them) have said we cant so we follow like sheep. It is legally proofable (is that a word) that this isn't a bigoted or sectarism song....so say lets start a campagn to bring back our anthem. If it means missing a word then so be it....but they cant ban 1 and not for another Hullo Hullo
  5. ...........by bigging up small achievements HUGH believes under-achievement is being covered up at Parkhead while talk of Trebles involving the Ramsdens Cup embarrasses Ibrox club. WHEN Albion Rovers go further than Celtic in the Scottish Cup it’s time to hold your hands up and come clean. And when you’re photographed holding an advertising board aimed at selling tickets for Rangers’ ‘title run-in’ when your team is 23 points in front with 13 games left to play you might at least have the decency to look embarrassed. But part of the deal now with Scottish football is you agree to have your intelligence insulted at regular intervals without ever complaining about it – or even admitting that it’s happened. A properly-developed grown-up, however, should reserve the right to examine the nonsense they’re being fed and give the now traditional answer in return – are you having a laugh? Neil Lennon tells everybody Celtic have had a “brilliant” season. But how can a brilliant season possibly contain an extra-time defeat at home to a lowly championship side in the League Cup, and without managing to score a goal in two hours of play against Morton? How can a brilliant season include a Champions League group stage in which, for the first time, Celtic looked as if they were out of their depth? Finishing bottom of the group while taking a six-goal beating in Barcelona, and failing to make the consolation prize of the Europa League, is what it is. A worrying glimpse of a difficult future at that level for Celtic while their squad is voluntarily diminished in quality season after season. Also, how can another season without a Treble being won during Rangers’ time in the lower orders be excused on the basis that only Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill have managed that distinction throughout Celtic’s history? If those two men could manage it when Rangers were battling them for everything then they should be left out of the argument. The question is why can’t a Treble be won by Celtic when the championship is a given at the start of every season for the current team? And on the subject of perspective, Rangers fans are now supposed to swallow industrial quantities of guff about their team’s current standing. I’ve no doubt Lee McCulloch was only delivering the party line when he was used as the frontman to sell tickets for the remainder of this season. But he can’t possibly believe in his heart of hearts that reaching the Scottish Cup Final in May would be the equivalent of the run that took Walter Smith’s side to Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final against Zenit St Petersburg. Lee was part of that run and must know the difference between beating Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina and getting past Airdrie, Falkirk, Dunfermline and Albion Rovers. It’s an insult to the memory of those involved in Europe to compare their efforts to a romp through the lower leagues. Whatever Rangers have done in the Scottish Cup this season is no more, or less, than they should have done under the circumstances. And spare me this ongoing fantasy about the Ramsdens Cup forming part of a hoped-for “Treble”. That word is being used by those who clearly don’t mind having their intelligence insulted. The truth is Celtic and Rangers are not what they once were and have chosen to live in a world of their own invention for the time being. Lennon asks if it’s realistic to expect Aberdeen to challenge Celtic for the title next season when there’s an obvious gulf in points between them at present. “Have you looked at the league table?” he asked during his press conference at Lennoxtown on Thursday. So the manager uses realism when it suits him, and questions reality when there’s an inconvenient argument to be made for saying Celtic’s season has been inadequate. He should have a look about him this afternoon when Celtic get a skeletal crowd for the visit of St Johnstone and take a reality check. Celtic fans are disgusted by under-achievement and if Rangers are cavorting around Celtic Park with the Scottish Cup after the final is staged there then their disenchantment will rise to a new level. Two clubs are trying to take two lots of fans for mugs, and only the gullible are falling for it. The rest have used the evidence of their own eyes, exercised adult judgment and decided to stay away until these two clubs are more recognisable. That’s why season tickets are still on sale in February. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/hugh-keevins-celtic-rangers-conning-3150978
  6. That our squad of players are capable of playing short passing, possession based football with creativity in the final third. Against the second best team in our division. Over to you Ally.
  7. RANGERS supporters will seek new assurances from chief executive Graham Wallace about the club's finances today - as Lee Wallace edged nearer the exit. Wallace will hold talks with representatives of the three main fans' organisations, the Assembly, the Association and the Trust. And officials at all three bodies hope this afternoon's talks will be the start of a long-term working relationship. But the former Manchester City chief operating officer is set to face tough questioning about the money situation at the SPFL League One leaders. Sky Bet Championship club Nottingham Forest have had two bids - the second believed to be for £1million - for Wallace turned down. But there is mounting speculation the Scotland left-back will be allowed to leave if an offer of £1.5million is received. The 26-year-old stayed loyal to the Light Blues when they dropped down to the bottom tier last season and it is uncertain if he would agree to go. But the first-team squad was asked to consider taking a 15% pay cut earlier this month to reduce significant monthly losses at the Ibrox club. And the former Hearts player could be put under pressure to leave in order to generate income and drive down the players' wage bill. Rangers Supporters Association spokesman Drew Roberton stressed that fans remain concerned about the future despite being told that administration is not a possibility. He said: "I definitely see these meetings as a positive step. I think it is important for the club to have a constructive relationship with the fans considering what has gone on in the last couple of years. "Whoever is in charge of the club has to establish some sort of working relationship with the supporters. Let's hope that these meetings are the start of some kind of regular dialogue between us in the future. "The club needs all the fans fully behind them if we are to get back to where we were before at the forefront of the Scottish game and hopefully this is Graham Wallace's way of ensuring that happens." Roberton added: "But in light of the recent requests for the players to take a pay cut, and given that our former financial director said that we would be down to just £1m by April, there is real concern among the fans that the club has the money to continue to the end of the season. "To be fair to Graham Wallace, he has stated on more than once occasion that he doesn't see a problem arising and he has access to information and facts and figures that we as ordinary fans do no have. "But if the club do sell Lee Wallace it wouldn't go down well at all with fans. It would certainly add fuel to the fire about fans' concerns over club finances. "If there is no risk of administration then why bother selling your best player? Selling Lee Wallace is not a move with the future of the footballing side of the club in mind. "I am sure Lee would be one of the highest earners at the club. But would selling him really be worth it in the long run? "It may be the chief executive's and board's thinking for the future in terms of finances. But it would be a concern from a playing point of view as we prepare to move up to the Championship next season." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangers-fans-seek-cash-vow-at-wallace-summit-150246n.23307892
  8. It seems like the succulent lamb has moved fields. I doubt there would be many Rangers supporters who, after what has transpired over the last three years, who would suggest some of the articles written about our club were merely “puff journalism”. Of course they didn’t have to dig too deep – after all the Rangers Tax Case Blog and BBC Scotland’s “The Men who Sold the Jerseys” had done all the work for them - all our media had to do was apply their own opinions to the information which was readily available – despite the questionable source and interpretation of that information. And apply their opinion they did, as we all know. Time and time again. They drooled, they dribbled, they salivated over questionable events surrounding our club. But what they didn’t do was dig. No small wonder then that Thomson is also on record as saying : And you know what ? He is right. It finally dawned on me when Lord Nimmo Smith’s SPL Commission report contained the startling revelation that the material used by BBC Scotland in the aforementioned documentary was actually evidence which had been stolen from the Rangers Tax Case. And the response from our media ? Not even a murmur. The fact that the evidence in a case they had milked, salivated, opinionated, discussed in such minute detail had been stolen, appears not to even have raised an eyebrow of curiosity. Imagine for a moment the OJ Simpson trial – and it was discovered the infamous glove had been stolen from the evidence cabinet and the media hadn’t raised a murmur ? Nope – I can’t imagine it either.. But of course this is Scotland land of lazy, sycophantic and incapable of asking awkward questions journalism. Perhaps no-one in the Scottish media wants to ask questions of their own – the journalists at BBC Scotland who received and retained the stolen evidence – a kind of “closing ranks” if you like. Or could it be that for a Scottish Print media in dire trouble, evidenced by the recent voluntary redundancies at The Scotsman, the occasional appearance on BBC Sportsound is a nice little earner in uncertain times ? When the Rangers Tax Case received the Orwellian Award it was hailed as :- It seems history may be on the verge of repeating itself. As the blogger behind Football Tax Havens, ably assisted by the tenacious PZJ, asks searching questions of land deals between Glasgow City Council and Celtic FC, one could be forgiven for thinking that this topic appears to be “off limits” for the Scottish media. Perhaps in the near future another blogger will win an award hailed as ““Displaying focused contempt for those who evade difficult truths, and beating almost every Scottish football journalist to the real story” And if he does – you can bet your bottom dollar there will be even more voluntary redundancies within the Scottish Print media.
  9. by EWING GRAHAME Rangers would be deducted 25 points should they be forced into administration this season – even though Hearts were given just a 15-point penalty last year. Under new rules introduced last summer when the SPL took over the Scottish Football League to form the SPFL, clubs which suffer more than one insolvency event in the space of five years will be hit with a 25-point penalty. The SPFL board believes that, since Lord Nimmo Smith ruled, at a hearing last February, that the current club was a continuation of the same entity which went into liquidation in October 2012 when finding them guilty of not disclosing payments to their players, Rangers should face the heavier sanction. Rangers are currently 23 points clear of second-placed Dunfermline at the top of League One. The Ibrox club first entered administration in February 2012 and former director Dave King has warned that it could happen again. SPFL sources also confirmed that Hearts will start 2014-15 on minus 15 points if they have not emerged from administration before the beginning of the season. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-administration-25-point-penalty-threat-1-3281694
  10. Down to 30.4p, is there only one way for the shares to go with the present board ? Does the share price really matter?
  11. ....yet they'll prepare for Forfar match at four star Hotel. KEITH hits out at Rangers' lavish pre-match routine ahead of tonight's League 1 clash with Forfar claiming they are living a champagne lifestyle on an Irn-Bru budget. HERE’S a thing. You know those Rangers players involved in conceptual discussions about theoretical wage cuts last week? And who metaphorically booted the hypothetical idea into touch? Well, here’s today’s reality. Did you know they’re all being bussed to the Four-Star Carnoustie Hotel this morning? Where they’ll enjoy some fine dining for lunch, possibly at the hotel’s own AA Rosette-winning restaurant? Rooms will then be provided in order that they can enjoy an afternoon nap, for those not getting treatments in the spa. All for an away trip to Forfar? To take on Gavin Swankie and Darren Dods? Is it any wonder these players don’t know if they are coming or going? Or that, as he unwraps the chocolate on his fluffy cotton pillow this afternoon, manager Ally McCoist might pause to reflect on where it has all gone wrong. Talk about mixed messages? Talk about champagne lifestyles and Irn-Bru budgets? Talk about hubris, arrogance and over-indulgence? Talk about sledgehammers and walnuts. The constant noise and confusion around Rangers is truly head-melting stuff. No wonder the club’s new chief executive looked slightly ruffled last week when news emerged from Murray Park of his polite suggestion that the first team might consider 15 per cent pay cuts. For a man of his experience Graham Wallace, below right, ought to have known such a proposal would be unlikely to remain within the walls of the dressing room for longer than it takes a player to hit the speed dial button to his agent. It was bound to result in an outbreak of panic among a support that has seen this movie before and which was so badly traumatised by the way it ended. But Wallace can be excused because, not only is he new here but also there must be a million and one different, more pressing thoughts, pinballing around inside his head as he attempts to tackle this latest financial crisis. Commendably, he has promised to deliver a business model that will finally allow Rangers to live within its means. Sustainability, transparency and a bit of common sense would go a long way to sorting out the internal mayhem over which he presides. Today’s unnecessarily lavish road trip, though, is just more proof that, when he agreed to take on this position at the top of a dysfunctional board, he was in fact stepping into life through the looking glass. Wallace in Wonderland. Or not. It’s his job now to make some sense of the numbers, to crunch them down and to crush this club’s recent culture of big bonuses and eye-popping extravagance before what little cash is left in the bank has evaporated completely. There is a rich irony about the fact that, in Philip Nash, he has hired yet another big-earning accountant to assist him in this urgent cost-cutting review. But then this job is so big Wallace might need all the help he can get. And from people in whom he can trust. Wallace’s planning is all that stands now between Rangers and another financial catastrophe. At the present rate of spending, the club’s last reserves will be gone before the end of the campaign. In fact, the prediction of financial director Brian Stockbridge that Rangers will be down to their last million in April now looks hugely optimistic. It is quite incredible this man remains in charge of the books given his standing in the eyes of the fans. It was not long ago he was talking confidently of growing turnover to in excess of £100m. Only then to predict a £7m year-end loss. Which, in fact, turned out to be a £14m black hole. And if, as is being strongly suggested by people on the inside of this basketcase, Stockbridge has got it wrong again then the situation at Ibrox could soon become dire. Perhaps as soon as next month. At a time when every penny counts, thank goodness then that Stockbridge has handed back that £200k bonus he pocketed for watching Rangers win last season’s Third Division title. Right? And has the financial director and the rest of the board actually signed off on the halving of McCoist’s eye-watering £825k annual salary? After talking about it for months, why on earth would it not have been rubber-stamped by now? If all this financial remedial work really has been completed then Wallace should announce it to the Stock Exchange and also reveal the current state of the accounts. It should be done in the name of sustainability and transparency – and in the hope of forcing common sense to prevail. Wallace must be astonished at some of the numbers that have flown across his desk. It is not his fault this club has blown its chance to stockpile cash on its journey up the leagues and there is nothing he can do now to address this grotesque overspend. That ship has sailed. Had Rangers plotted a more sensible course they would be arriving in the top flight in 18 months in a fit and healthy state, with millions squirrelled away. But, in their vulgar rush to cuddle up to McCoist, former chief execs Charles Green and Craig Mather put their own popularity ahead of proper prudence. By doing this, they kept the fans onside and the tills ringing. All Wallace can do now is address the crisis this pair and Stockbridge created. He’s not helped by the fact that, simply by agreeing to join a broken board and glue it back together, he himself is now viewed with varying degrees of suspicion. But, unlike Green and Mather, he must not allow his own popularity to get in the way of protecting the club’s interests. Which is why it was encouraging to see the first steps towards a more austere future being taken last week. But, crucially, if Wallace is serious about grabbing the bull by the horns then he must do so in the boardroom because this is where the biggest excesses have recently been committed. It is hard to think of another club that spends millions less on its players than on the rest of its employees but that’s precisely what the accounts showed to be the case at Rangers last year. No wonder the players refuse to take the first hit when there are other far more bloated and obvious targets at the top of the marble staircase. These players may well feel treated like disposable window dressing when they are supposed to be the very heart of the club. And here’s another thing. They were asked to ponder a 15 per cent cut over a period of 18 months, while also being told the club hopes to sign even more players in the summer. Which means some of them might be volunteering to help finance their own replacements. And you thought lunch at Carnoustie was mad?
  12. I think some people have completely lost all perspective. We've played some lovely stuff at times this season scoring barrow loads of goals in the process, we've also struggled in games yet still won the vast majority of them. I don't think anyone is happy with the latter, other than the results, but recognise that he's in a no-win situation until we're back at the top. We've all been puzzled by some of the selections and tactical decisions. But equally, the football is better than last season and some of the changes made etc.. have made a difference. McCoist has shown little so far to suggest he is a world beating manager, but he hasn't shown that he is a totally clueless fool either. I think two points which invariably get lost in these debates is that there has been a clear improvement from the dross last season and that McCoist may not be the answer long term, but that remains to be seen. At the moment he is meeting expectations and that should be good enough for the majority of the support.
  13. Many years ago as a young Marine on leave, I had ventured over to Ibrox to visit the club shop for some mementos to adorn my bed space. No matter where I was serving in the world there was a little corner which was forever Rangers. For the younger Bears amongst us, there was a time the club shop was not so much a mega store but a glorified broom cupboard with barely enough space to swing a cat. The sole staff member was serving a guy about ages with myself, who I immediately recognised as Ian Redford. After Ian had left the shop the female member of staff apologised for the previous customer taking so long “That guy took ages “ she said. I informed her who “that guy” was and she looked suitably embarrassed. Yesterday, along with 42,000 other Bears, we paid our respects to Ian Redford as our club observed a minute's silence in respect of his passing. Bears of today paying appropriate respect to a club servant of yesteryear. Elsewhere in Glasgow however, BBC Scotland with it's cabal of Rangers hating individuals and no doubt well rehearsed guests, were plotting their latest flouting of the BBC Trust ruling regarding Rangers. I’m sure there was much back slapping, mutual praise and schoolboy giggles following the latest BBC Scotland assertion that “Rangers are dead”. Of course the theft of evidence in the Rangers Tax Case, nor an EU preliminary investigation into alleged state aid involving Celtic Football Club and Glasgow Council raises not a murmur of journalistic curiosity, after all, “Rangers baiting” requires far less effort – especially when it is broadcast from a platform paid for by the public. Sometimes “vile” just isn't descriptive enough. When the Rangers Tax Case Blog won the Orwellian Award it was cited as “Bringing you the story that Scottish journalists seem unable to do” Thats the funny thing about history – it seems to have a habit of repeating itself. Freedom of Information is truly an enlightening thing.
  14. Hopefully he gets a chance with Rangers next year as McCulloch is getting too old for the top divisions.
  15. Billy Brown believes the time has come to allow Hearts to add to their meagre squad as injuries and suspensions mount at Tynecastle. With a transfer embargo still attached to the club while they battle to exit administration, Hearts were again unable to name a full quota of seven substitutes in Thursday’s Edinburgh derby defeat to Hibernian. Hearts have 14 fit players to choose from, with further places in the squad having to be handed to youths from the Under-17s. Brown questioned whether the sight of kids just out of school having to be called into the first team could damage the reputation of the game in Scotland and declared that “enough is enough”. He said that the sanctions on the club were punishing the wrong people, with former owner Vladimir Romanov now out of the picture. Brown said: “We’ve taken our punishment on the chin and as far as I’m concerned the punishment should end now. “We should be able to sign players now. Everybody speaks about sporting integrity and it is about time the ban was lifted. “It is not the people here that are at fault for what happened. The man who caused it has gone. “We have about 13 or 14 players to pick from and we can’t fill the bench. Jamie Hamill is suspended on Sunday and Scott Robinson will be suspended [later in the month]. “This isn’t a bluff. Within three or four injuries and suspensions we are having to put 15 and 16-year-olds in. “You tell me if that’s a benefit to Scottish football. “I think the time has now come. Enough is enough and we have to be given a bit of leeway.” http://m.stv.tv/sport/football/clubs/hearts/258929-billy-brown-enough-is-enough-hearts-transfer-ban-must-be-lifted/
  16. ALLY McCOIST has hit out at the SPFL for forcing Rangers fans travel to three away games in just six days. The Ibrox club will take on Stenhousemuir in a rescheduled League One fixture at Ochilview tomorrow afternoon. The game follows meetings with Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium on Thursday and Dunfermline at East End Park on Monday. And with a trek to Forfar looming a fortnight on Monday McCoist is furious with the governing body. He said: "The game against Stenhousemuir shouldn't have been played this Sunday, it should have been played in midweek. "That's our fourth game in 11 days. The way our club has been treated is not on. And then to make matters worse, they're sending us and our fans up to Forfar after that. So we play four games in 11 days, nothing for nine days and then they send our fans away up to Forfar on a Monday night. "So I just think there's something not right about that." McCoist revealed that pleas from Rangers to the SPFL to rethink the punishing run of matches have fallen on deaf ears. Asked if Rangers had any input into the scheduling of the games, he said: "Yes, but it shows you how much they listen to us. "At this time of the year, when money is scarce for everybody, it is ridiculous to ask our fans to travel a third away game and fourth game in 11 days. "As I say, different initials, same old story." McCoist added: "I understand more than anybody that we have to attract sponsors and attract television audiences, "But I just feel once again our supporters are being asked to go the length and breadth of the country. "That shouldn't be the case all the time. It's just as well our supporters are a strong bunch." McCoist is also concerned about the impact so many games away from home in such a short space of time will have on his players. He said: "Four games in 11 days for any set of players is very difficult. "Lewis Macleod went down against Airdrie and and Ian Black has picked up a couple of kicks against Airdrie too. In an ideal world, they would have longer to recover." Meanwhile, McCoist, who will meet chief executive Graham Wallace next week, has admitted he has targeted players he would like in the January transfer window. He said: "If we get the green light to go, then we certainly have possible targets. "We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/mccoist-spfl-is-driving-us-mad-147205n.23093383
  17. The Trust Secretary had a short but positive conversation with club CEO Graham Wallace last week. Mr Wallace called our secretary last week, prior to hopefully arranging a meeting early in the new year, and similar calls were made to representatives of our sister organisations the Association and Assembly. We informed him of how our members had asked us to vote at the AGM, and he was pleased to hear our members were generally supportive of him. Mr Wallace took note of the various areas of concern our members have at present, principally in finance and governance. During the brief call, Mr Wallace outlined the need for the club to engage with supporters and also reiterated the importance for clubs with ambition to own their own stadium and training centre, as well as the need for a suitable scouting system. We are encouraged by our CEO's keenness to engage with us, and we look forward to meeting him, as discussed, in the new year.
  18. http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/449976/Fringe-Rangers-players-face-an-Ibrox-exit
  19. http://www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/latest-news/209-is-it-time-to-move-on It’s been a long time coming but finally the Rangers AGM arrived and at last we have some clarity on just how well supported the incumbent board is. In fact, the result was pretty conclusive – certainly for most of the Directors up for reappointment while those externally up for nomination struggled to achieve as much support. Therefore, whilst the issue of backing may not be as straightforward as it seems, no-one can deny it should now be time to move on and allow the club some space to consolidate its position. Such an abeyance of hostilities is essential for two main reasons: one, to give the ‘new’ board some time to deliver on their promises, and, two, to hopefully ensure the support doesn’t rip itself apart after a quite ludicrous period of belligerent disagreement between so-called rival factions of fans. So where are we now? Yesterday’s AGM statement to the London Stock Exchange revealed a short term ‘120 day strategic focus’ for the board on a range of important matters: including a detailed business review and attempts to re-engage with the fans to better capture our opinions. Along with other strategies highlighted in the statement, the aims are impressive and I doubt many fans would challenge them. However, we’ve heard similar buzz-words and phrases before – from Sir David Murray, Craig Whyte and Charles Green – all of whom failed to take the business forward during this modern era of austerity. What can this mandated ‘new board’ do differently? Let’s start with its make-up. Despite the institutional confidence placed upon most of the nominated incumbents yesterday, the scenes at the AGM were quite frankly incredible with specific focus on Finance Director Brian Stockbridge. It seems clear now that not only do thousands of fans have an issue with his position but also the vast bulk of the 1600 shareholders present yesterday. Moreover, the fact over 30% of other investors do not consider him re-electable arguably makes his position untenable on its own. However, add in his flawed performance and questionable behaviour of the last year then if the board is serious about trust, transparency and staff ‘pride’ in Rangers then Stockbridge must be moved on. Anything else would cast serious doubt on those that wish to lead the club back to success. Of course the rest of the board, other than Graham Wallace, don’t convince either. Neither Easdale brother speaks well or commands the respect of the support while new chairman David Somers appears inconsistent in his approach – one day signing his name to daft and inflammatory ‘open letters’, while the next saying he has no problem with people he previously labelled as selfish ‘fanatics’. It seems clear Mr Somers needs to familiarise himself with the high profile nature of the Rangers chairmanship and quick. Fortunately, new CEO Graham Wallace has been more measured in his approach so it’s not a surprise to see him warmly received by all so far. Mr Wallace can and should use this to his advantage by acting as a conduit to both investors and fans in the months ahead. With the above in mind, it seems obvious the board will need strengthened if the club’s 120 day plan is to be successful. I’m not sure adding either Murray to the mix will help but I’d hope Scott Murdoch and the impressive Alex Wilson are considered given Cenkos already gave their approval to their applications earlier in the year. That would go some way to bringing everyone around the same table ahead of the April finances ‘D’ Day. Speaking of which, obviously Dave King should be another who must be consulted with, even if his past and recent performance remains worthy of debate. I’m sure there are others out there who could add the right mix of independent business talent and Rangers-mindedness to improve the board. One such name I’ve heard mentioned is John McClure of Unicorn Asset Management who own(ed) upwards of 400,000 pre-IPO shares in the club. No matter who joins this board, the pressure will be high to deliver on their statement of yesterday. However, they do deserve time to implement the changes promised – just how much time may be reliant on their ongoing performance. For example, the issue of Jack Irvine’s retention cannot be kicked into the long grass. Moving on from the board the next important issue is that of the fans. The way many people (mostly online) have turned on each other over the last 6 months has been nothing short of remarkable. It seems polite disagreement cannot happen nowadays with insult and abuse being preferred instead. This has to stop and stop now. If not, our club will be easy pickings for those who wish to use it in a way to benefit themselves only. It also offers an easy excuse for the club not to engage with the fans as it should. Of course it doesn’t help that our fan groups seem so badly advised while struggling generally as well. I don’t blame the Trust, Assembly or Association for believing in the likes of successful businessman Jim McColl but jumping into his camp with both feet meant any sort of negotiation with the board was always going to be difficult. Add in their collective failure to achieve widespread support within the fan-base (via active membership more than anything else) then it’s debatable just how important the club will see them in the future. This is a great shame when we examine fine initiatives such as BuyRangers but perhaps something new can arise from embers of the existing groups? Hearts and Dunfermline fans have shown the way in this respect so we should be looking to them for inspiration. I’d certainly suggest each fan group outlines its own 120 day plan to show they’re capable of improvement. Only then may the club (and most importantly more fans) feel engagement with them is worthwhile. All in all despite yesterday’s conclusive AGM vote, uncertainty remains and that should be a concern for us all – the club director, the investor and the ‘ordinary’ fan. Indeed, financing the club is the biggest issue ahead and this can only be achieved by everyone working together for the greater good. We can all make sacrifices in that regard so I’d urge all involved to examine their contribution and ask if the betterment of Rangers is really their aim. If it’s not, then yesterday’s farcical AGM scenes will only be the start of more stormy waters ahead. That cannot be allowed to happen. Thus, in the spirit of Christmas and New Year, this is an opportunity to offer goodwill to others and start afresh in 2014. In that regard I’d like to wish all my fellow fans a happy holiday season and all the very best for the next year. Rest and be merry as, for the boardroom and the fan groups at least, the clock is ticking: 120 days and counting!
  20. ........and get back to supporting the team BARRY says it's vital the re-elected board members are given time and space to fulfill their promises that can take Rangers back into a position where they can challenge Celtic at the top of the Scottish game. I HAVE no doubt a lot of Rangers fans are angry and disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s agm which saw the entire Ibrox board survive. But you know what? I am sick to the back teeth of all the fighting, the back-stabbing and the name-calling that has dragged the club I know and love through the gutter for two-and-a-half years. I don’t expect every Rangers supporter to agree with what I have to say today but I’ll say it anyway – it is time to move on and get behind the directors who have been elected in a democratic and legal manner. Yes, we can still scrutinise them and examine everything they do but we have to give chairman David Somers and chief executive Graham Wallace the chance to lead the board and put into place their plans to make Rangers a force again. And we have to give them time to do it. There is very little trust in this board among the rank and file Bears who fill Ibrox every fortnight. I get that. But from even before I could walk and talk, I was told that Rangers fans stick together and support their club through thick and thin. There’s absolutely no doubt they have done that since Craig Whyte set the ball rolling on this awful period in the club’s history and I hope they continue to do it. I hate to hear talk of boycotts and the like. That will cause terrible harm to the team and I don’t see anybody winning out of that situation. Also, it’s not the Rangers way. Look, the directors won the vote. Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch did not convince the institutional investors that they were worthy of a place at the top of the marble staircase. That’s democracy and now the agm is over, I hope a line in the sand has been drawn. We don’t have to like the people who are running the club. But it is vital they are now given a bit of time and space to get on with fulfilling the promises they have made and to set in motion business plans that can take Rangers back into a position where they can challenge Celtic at the top of the Scottish game. They have said the current turmoil has held them back from attracting new investment but now the agm has come and gone and all of the directors got through it with comfortable majorities, they can now go out there and find the funding that is needed to make Rangers strong again. I was encouraged by what I read from Graham Wallace after the meeting. He said the board realises that there has to be greater communication with the supporters and that they have to build bridges. Damn right they do but the way to do that is by proving they have the club’s best interests at heart. Chairman Somers also said the playing budget is way too high for the level Rangers are currently operating at. I can’t disagree with that. Let’s face it, the squad Ally McCoist has assembled will skate League One and will win the Championship with something to spare. I say that with no disrespect to the guys who play in those leagues – some of them are pals of mine – but you look at the likes of Jon Daly, Nicky Law, Lee McCulloch and Lee Wallace and they are clearly top-flight players. So I can see where the chairman is coming from when he says that the budget will have to be looked at. Right now, the priority should be to strengthen the financial position by cutting costs from within the club and by attracting new investment from outside it. But here’s the thing. If the directors want Coisty to slash his team budget then they have to take a hit as well. The climate of taking huge bonuses for winning things in the lower leagues has to stop immediately. It was a disgrace that Brian Stockbridge was getting £200,000 and Charles Green more than £300,000 for winning the Third Division last year. In fact, they should announce that nobody at the club gets a golden handshake or a bonus until Rangers are back in the Premiership winning things or qualifying for Europe. That would send out a message that is in line with the fans’ way of thinking. And there is something else Somers, Wallace, Stockbridge, Norman Crighton and James Easdale have to remember as well. If things don’t change – and I firmly believe they will – and if fans and ordinary shareholders continue to feel ignored and angry at how the club is being run, they can still be called to account at extraordinary general meetings and also at next year’s agm. But I hope it doesn’t come to that. As I said earlier, I’m fed up talking to my mates about all the off-field stuff and I can’t wait for the day we are all sitting praising or moaning about the team’s performances on the pitch. Rangers is a FOOTBALL club. Our football club. And that fact seems to have been forgotten over the past couple of years. I hope yesterday’s events can begin to change all that. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/barry-ferguson-its-time-forget-2945153
  21. Not going myself so am hoping a few lads I trust to tweet accurately will keep us informed through the meeting. The Rangers board have already arrived ahead of the 10.30am start.
  22. Leicester v Man City Stoke v Man United Sunderland or Southampton v Chelsea Tottenham v West ham The old sticky balls might have been used there to keep the big 4 apart to gain interest in the competition and so they start to field stronger teams. They will all fancy their chances to get to the semi's, but Stoke and Southampton may scupper that ideas. Plus West Ham have won at White Hart Lane once already this season.
  23. ALEX SMITH believes Scotland’s football authorities are failing both Hearts and their manager, Gary Locke, by denying them a chance to rebuild. Chairman of the Managers and Coaches Association, Smith stressed Locke is in an impossible position at Tynecastle and is suffering by enduring such pressure so early in his managerial career. Hearts’ descent into administration last June triggered an immediate SPFL registration embargo and a 15-point deduction for the new league season. That left Locke effectively with hands tied and mouth gagged. Experienced players had left on freedom of contract and the manager, having only been appointed in March, found himself with a squad full of under-21 players to fight against relegation. Locke will be unable to replenish his squad during the January transfer window as Hearts will still be in administration well into next year. They are currently 14 points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership. Smith feels the punishments meted out to Hearts have gone on too long and are having a detrimental effect on Locke’s early days in management. He blames previous directors and disgraced former owner Vladimir Romanov for the club’s demise. Now 73, Smith admitted that, throughout his time in football, he couldn’t recall a manager in a more harrowing position than Locke. “I’ve never known a manager to be in a more difficult situation,” he told the Evening News. “Here we have a young manager in the first few months of his career, managing a club like Hearts, but not able to bring in players. Then there’s the 15-point deduction. I just think it’s ridiculous. “It’s ridiculous that we’re making a top club like Hearts suffer like this because of the poor management of other people. They did things in a way that was running that club towards a multiple crash. “The authorities are making it worse with the sanctions and denying Hearts the right to try and get out of this trouble. They did it with Rangers, another massive club. They didn’t just take action against them, they almost slit their throat. We need these two clubs and we need them in our top league. We don’t need them in the lower leagues.” Locke has pledged to fight on in the hope that Hearts can reel in teams such as Ross County and Kilmarnock at the bottom of the table and avoid relegation. Time is not on their side. Many feel one positive from slipping into the Championship would be the breathing space accorded the Riccarton youth academy graduates to develop as footballers. Smith points out that life in the second tier is likely to be fraught with just as many problems. “Gary would be entitled to expect the chance to take Hearts back up if they did end up relegated, but football nowadays doesn’t always work like that, does it? Hearts could go down into the Championship. Rangers and Dunfermline could come up [from League One]. “Then you might have three out of the four chasing promotion this season possibly still there. It’s going to be some league. The pressure next year would be exactly the same, only the sympathy vote won’t be there. It will be expectation levels there instead. Either way, it’s going to be difficult.” Smith called Locke to offer a pep talk in the wake of Hearts’ 7-0 Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic earlier this month. He will do the same again before Hearts head to Parkhead on league business this weekend. “I feel for him. If he’s feeling like a chat he just has to phone any of the more experienced managers in the game and he’ll get any amount of their time,” explained Smith. “I’ll give him another call this week sometime. He really just has to keep going. It will only take winning a couple of games and he will see an opportunity to turn things round. He can’t lose sight of the fact Hearts are a massive club with a massive support. If there is any sign of a revival, Gary will have everybody 100 per cent behind him. “That’s not always the case when you have to please 15,000 people at your home games. One or two people will just see the jerseys on the field, regardless of who is in them, and assume that because they’re Hearts, they should automatically be winning games. “The majority of Hearts supporters know the situation. The young kids are good players, all they need is that wee glimmer of a chance. If they come onto a run and start getting points, the fans will be right behind them. A lot of people now go to games, sit down and expect to be entertained. Gary will have the siege support and he’ll realise he has to harness that. “There’s no doubt we’re getting a false impression of what he can do at the moment. He can’t bring in players. He’s just to get on working with the young players he has. They’re all very talented, but if things start going the wrong way, it affects them all as a group. You need a few stabilisers in the team to steady them. “That’s why guys like Ryan Stevenson and Jamie Hamill are so important. They’ve been lumbered with this responsibility, which even for them is massive. They have to take on the responsibility of going out and winning games of football. How do you do that? “There is a great art to winning games. The first thing is you don’t lose bad goals, so you need a strong back line and a good goalkeeper. If you do lose a goal, you keep the ball till you get an opportunity to get back into the game. “The key is not to lose a second, so your defence and goalkeeper need to keep you in the game when you’re under pressure.” http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/authorities-have-given-hearts-boss-impossible-task-1-3237607
  24. http://news.stv.tv/west-central/256830-rangers-supporters-trust-suspend-spokesperson-over-improper-conduct/
  25. ANDY MITCHELL hopes to return to Rangers and challenge for a place in Ally McCoist’s team after a successful spell at Annan Athletic. The Northern Ireland youth full-back has been on loan with the Galabankies for the last three months but his spell there ends after this weekend’s home game with Queen’s Park. Scott Gallacher is another player who is due back at Ibrox next week, with his temporary stay at Airdrieonians also about to expire. As yet, no decision has been made on whether either player will come back into Ally McCoist's first-team squad or will be sent away again to gain further experience. Mitchell has done well in his time with League Two Annan, making 15 appearances in that competition and the Scottish Cup so far as the team has moved to fourth in the table. Of course, the 21-year-old made a good impression last term when he played in the last four games of the season for Gers and won two man-of-the-match awards. He didn’t think he would move on earlier this term after signing a new one-year deal with the Light Blues in the summer. But having embraced his switch to Jim Chapman’s team, he hopes performances there work in his favour as he prepares to come back to Glasgow. Mitchell told RangersTV: “I’ve been doing pretty well. I wasn’t expecting to go out on loan after finishing last season on a high but I’ve kicked on. “Hopefully what I do at Annan can influence the gaffer’s decision and maybe when I come back and he sees I’ve been doing well so he might give me a chance. “Him and Kenny McDowall are always asking me how I’m getting on down there and I think they’ve been getting reports on me. “I only played a few games at the end of last season and if I hadn’t done well in them I could have been released. “I showed I could do well at this football club though and hopefully being at Annan has made me a better player. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Rangers but I’m also happy I’ve been at Annan and have been playing games.” Mitchell has also scored his first senior goals in recent weeks, finding the net against Stirling and East Stirlingshire in respective 4-4 and 1-1 draws. He added: “I had been coming close with a few efforts and I was hitting free kicks off the post and the bar. “I was really happy to get my first goal and hopefully I can kick on and get a few more this season as well. “I’ve been really enjoying my football and I’ve been bouncing into training because I’ve been playing every week. “You work to play games and I’ve been really happy to get lots of minutes under my belt. My sharpness and fitness have definitely improved and I’ve come on leaps and bounds. “I’ve been playing at a wing-back and it has basically been a free role down the right-hand side so I’ve been getting a lot of space and time on the ball. “The arrangement has been great. The lads and staff down at Annan have helped me and it’s a really good community club. Everyone gets behind the team.” http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/5805-mitch-ready-to-return
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