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  1. We've waxed lyrical about the board, team, manager, youth set up, supporters groups, membership scheme, infrastructure, share issue and anything else that we might find relevant. So, if you were Wallace, what areas would you prioritise that would shape your strategy? Wee bit of fun but after all the debating it'd be nice to see where we stand and how close our concerns are to the board's intentions.
  2. WITH boardroom civil war on the horizon at Hampden, MailSport unearths secret hijack plot and asks 'Has the SPFL gone power crazy?'. The SPFL’s blindside run at the SFA’s powerbase is about two things – control and cash. But the clubs’ push for power could end up costing the game MILLIONS in grassroots sponsorships. The professional clubs would take complete control of the development budget for football in Scotland if they won the day with their resolution. They believe the money could be better spent under their own umbrella and have also made a play to take control of the main board of the SFA. However, big-money backers of the game – like Tesco Bank, McDonald’s, sportscotland and the government-backed Cashback for Communities scheme – base their contributions on the fact that they are all-inclusive and not aimed at the elite end. MailSport believes all of these relationships – plus others with local authorities – would be in jeopardy if the pro clubs took control and ran the game to their own ends. The two boards will meet on Tuesday, brought to the table for the first time in a year to discuss the proposals – and the pressure will be on to avert a civil war in Scottish football. Revealed: The secret copies of four explosive resolutions the SPFL have proposed for the SFA's AGM. Here’s everything you need to know about the resolutions: Q/ So what do the SPFL want? The resolutions in a nutshell: 1. The Professional Game Board (PGB) provides one representative – Celtic’s Peter Lawwell – to the seven-man main board of the SFA but the SPFL want this increased to two. 2. Currently the president and vice president of the SFA must have served a minimum of a year on the PGB or Non-PGB, as well as four years on the SFA Council and have attended a minimum of eight Council meetings in five years to qualify for a nomination. The SPFL want to do away completely with these criteria. 3. The SFA main board control the budget for football development, from Mark Wotte’s performance department to the grassroots programme for kids and coaches run by Jim Fleeting and Andy Gould in Scotland. The SPFL feel the professional game should control this entire pot and want the PGB – in other words, the senior clubs – to take control. 4. The main board currently control the ability to elect any club for full membership. The SPFL want that right to be passed to the clubs to approve or veto new members. Q/ What’s the grand plan behind them, then? Individually, the four resolutions wouldn’t be as threatening but it’s their cumulative effect that could have grave consequences. The end game? The clubs will have two from the PGB on the SFA board plus control of a hand-picked president and vice president – thereby controlling the seven-man board with a majority of four, thus controlling the SFA. The clubs would also have access to the money currently used to fund the development of the game. They would also control future votes by being able to stifle any additional membership requests which would jeopardise their power of veto if they vote as a group. Q/ Why shouldn’t the pro game be better represented rather than the juniors and amateurs having a disproportionate say? They probably should – but if there are no checks and balances of their powers, is it good for the game as a whole to have pro clubs with vested interests running the entire game from the national team down to the grassroots? If push comes to shove with money and power, who will they seek to serve other than themselves? Q/Okay, but the current system still allows long-term blazers gaining power on the back of nothing but good attendance. Also true, and the SFA main board IS weak – the system does need looked at to allow more appropriate talent to rise to the top. Q/So this resolution is a good thing? Yes – and no! If there’s no need for office bearers to be time-served, you could end up with flavour-of-the-month fly-by-nights parachuted in by the clubs without any examination of their bona fides or their intentions. It’s possible that we could see some real talent and acumen appointed – but you’re relying solely on the judgment of the clubs to find it. Q/ What do they need to pass the resolutions? Each vote requires 75 per cent approval from the 94 members. Q/ Will they get what they need? They’re not speaking for all 42 clubs because a cursory call round indicates they haven’t actually consulted the rank and file. It’s unlikely they would get universal membership approval for all of it – the perception will be that the top 12 clubs will stand to benefit the most. Q/ Hang on, it’s Mike Mulraney of Alloa proposing all of the resolutions, though? He was one of three lower-league chairmen elected to the SPFL board last summer along with Les Gray (Hamilton) and Bill Darroch (Stenhousemuir). The weight of the Premiership members – Stephen Thomson (Dundee United), Duncan Fraser (Aberdeen) and Eric Riley (Celtic) – will be behind this but having Alloa, Stenny and Accies involved lends it an ‘everyman’ look ... not just being driven by the big clubs for their own gain. Q/ What about the cash, then – how much is at stake? Hard to put an exact figure on it but so much of it is ring-fenced for specific grassroots and community use, it’s not nearly as much as they think. The irony is the biggest chunk of the performance strand of it – around £2m – is used for Club Academy Scotland. So the clubs already benefit. Just not to the extent they think they should. Q/Why do the clubs feel the need to control it then? A couple of reasons. They don’t like the way Wotte is running things, they don’t think the performance strategy is worth what it costs, they don’t like the lack of control and input they have over performance schools and, simply, they see money they don’t have and they want it. They still don’t have a sponsor and a lack of cash will see them struggle to fulfil their promise of jam for all down through the divisions. It’s ironic considering the SFA has underwritten the only decent thing they’ve achieved as a body – the Premiership play-offs – to the tune of £1.5m. Q/ Are they right about the performance strategy, though? It’s still early but there is evidence the strategy is having an effect. Scotland won the Victory Shield at Under-16 level for the first time in 15 years. The U-17s have made the UEFA Finals in Malta, winning all three games in their elite round. The U-19s are in the elite round in England next months. The women’s team are well on their way to the World Cup in Canada with a 100 per cent record from six qualifiers, a feat that could earn the SFA close to seven figures. Throw in the fact the national team are back up to No.22 in the world rankings and they have a decent claim to their strategy working. Q/ But what about the rest of the game outwith the clubs? That’s the big worry. The SFA has overarching responsibility for the game as a whole and its development from the ground up. At last count, there are 130,768 registered players in Scotland from the youths to the amateurs to welfare to the women’s game. Meanwhile, the SPFL’s development branch – Club Academy Scotland, for pro youths from 11 up – sits at 3,185. Throw in the first teams and the clubs account for around three per cent of the football players in Scotland. Q/ Surely they should be the SPFL’s focus? They are. A working group set up between the organisations is looking at streamlining Club Academy Scotland and clearing out the jersey fillers and creating more ‘best v best’ football at the elite level. However, the clubs don’t like the performance schools and that they have no say in their operation. What some of them do like, though, is the idea of regional academies like the Forth Valley experiment involving Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and East Stirling. Q/ What benefit is there in the clubs taking on responsibility for the rest of it? Very little, if any. All they see is a top-line figure and pound signs. The problem, however, comes with the fact that much of the money is simply used to leverage other funding. For example, £476,000 is budgeted for a community programme that helps fund 70 coaches across the country – however most of their salaries are paid by local authorities through partnerships with the SFA. These partnerships would disappear if councils thought they were simply funding the professional game rather than its community branch. Q/ What about the other backers of grassroots football? Their visions all involve inclusivity and community benefit. McDonald’s work with all the home associations and have invested more than £1m every four years over more than a decade committed to growing the game. Likewise Tesco Bank, with £1.2m over the past four years. The government’s Cashback scheme has pumped in £2.2m over three years. On Wednesday, Regan and Fleeting were in the Isle of Lewis to unveil a new facility at Back that has received nearly £500,000 from Cashback, sportscotland and the Big Lottery. These resolutions would leave the pro clubs responsible for this kind of commitment to remote communities. Would they be interested? The Movers and Shakers The looming SFA AGM is shaping up to be one of the stormiest in the organisation’s 141-year history. Delegates will consider the four resolutions that would effectively hand control of the SFA main board to the clubs. Alloa chairman and successful businessman Mike Mulraney (right) is the name on the resolutions. He wants clubs to elect an extra member to the board – in addition to Celtic’s Peter Lawwell (left). SFA chief executive Stewart Regan (far right) has a fight on his hands. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scottish-football-looks-set-civil-3434596
  3. More or less just an excercise and food for thought: Rangers Top Signing Targets for the Championship Written by - Jonny McFarlane After the disappointment of defeat in the Scottish Cup semi-final, it’s inevitable that with little left to play for on the pitch the focus of the fans and the media will return to Rangers corporate governance. That will be covered in great detail elsewhere, but with the football department having been arguably as poorly run as the business it’s also important to reflect on where the playing squad currently stands and whether it is strong enough to win the Championship. After a sober assessment of the team, most will feel that with a rejuvenated Hearts, signings will have to be made to guarantee safe passage into the Premiership. Assuming that Rangers will be operating on a smaller budget next year and working with what’s made available by the departure of the likes of Andy Little, Kyle Hutton and Emilson Cribari when their contracts expire, I have limited my suggestions to players currently based in the SPL and out of contract. I don’t think it is realistic to expect Rangers in their current predicament to pay any kind of transfer fee and free agents from the English game are also likely to be financially untenable given their high wages. I have identified three areas of improvement in Rangers current squad: 1. Goal scoring threat 2. Strengthening the Centre of Defence/defensive midfield 3. Creation of Chances Goal scoring threat Kris Boyd (30, Kilmarnock) Surely, Rangers number one target. A club legend and a goal machine. It’s so easy and obvious it feels daft to argue for it. I wasn’t Boyd’s biggest fan in his previous stint but this is a very different time and place. His talents are ideally suited to the current predicament and his very presence will be a big boost to the beleaguered support. His game has improved in his nomadic years abroad. Still as predatory as ever, he is better in the air and in his link up play outside the box. It seems like the penny has finally dropped that to be a great striker you have to do some hard work as well as bang in the goals. Boyd be as good as a guarantee of 25 goals in the championship. Strengthening the Centre of Defence/defensive midfield Jim Goodwin (32, St. Mirren) A natural leader on the pitch Goodwin is the St. Mirren captain. A tough tackler that opposition fans love to hate, he is equally adept in central defence or midfield. At 32 he’s no spring chicken but would add a bit of steel to Rangers weak central defensive area where Ian Black has underperformed. Gary Miller (26, St. Johnstone) Versatile and extremely pacey, St. Johnstone’s Miller knows the Championship well from his time at Ross County. A Rangers fan, the 26 year old could offer significant options having played at right back, central defence and midfield in his career. A steady-Eddie who gives consistently solid performances, Miller would provide squad depth across a few positions and would add that rare commodity, serious pace at the back. Kevin Thomson (29, Hibs) Leaving Rangers in 2010 after a successful spell in the engine room, Thomson’s career has dramatically stalled. Three years of injury and poor form have curtailed the development of a player that five or six years ago many predicted to be better than his good friend Scott Brown. Unwanted by Terry Butcher due to his introduction of a more direct style, Thomson would be a superb addition to the Gers midfield especially if he could be secured on a pay if you play deal to cushion the burden from injury problems. Jamie Hamill (27, Hearts) Hearts best player this season and their midfield general, Hamill has shown a rare combination of steel and ability. A deadball expert that guarantees goals from free kicks and penalties Hamill works his backside off from the first whistle to the last. Taking on the responsibility of being the most senior player in the Tyncastle dressing room, anyone watching Hearts can see that it is Hamill, not captain Danny Wilson that bosses his team. Gavin Gunning (23, Dundee United) One of the Premiership’s best central defenders, Gunning has been a lynchpin for Dundee United’s successful season. Still young at 23, he has plenty of room for further improvement and could be a real asset for Rangers in the years to come. Physical and good in the air, he is also a threat in the opponents box and can chip in with the odd goal. His organisational abilities have helped bring out the best in his 17-year-old defensive partner John Souter and has shown maturity beyond his years at the heart of an inexperienced but exciting team. Creation of Chances Alexei Eremenko (31, Kilmarnock) A player of immense talent, Emerenko lit up the SPL in his first spell and was nominated for Player of the year. Quick feet and an even quicker brain he is a terrific passer who can thread the ball through tight defences. Another whose career has stalled, Emerenko would represent a gamble, and Rangers would have to play around his inability to defend but he would add a potent attacking weapon to the teams armoury. A fit, mentally attuned Emerenko has the talent to be playing in a major European league, at only 31 surely the challenge to get him back there wouldn’t be beyond Rangers coaching team. James McFadden (31, Motherwell) A player who has seen his career fail to take flight in recent years, McFadden’s return to Scottish Football has been a disappointment with only fleeting glimpses of his old self. A maverick in the Ted McMinn mould, a move to a massive club like Rangers could just be what the doctor ordered for this big game performer. Able to play on the left or through the middle McFadden gives attacking options to any manager that coaches him. A player sure to excite the fans with his wonderful natural ability, McFadden would be a big gamble but one that could pay off as a creator and scorer of goals. Paul McGowan (26, St Mirren) With the tumult of a recent court case behind him, McGowan can now concentrate on the footballing career that has seen him hailed as one of the most naturally gifted attacking midfielders Scotland has produced in recent years. Comfortable in central or attacking midfield, McGowan is an accomplished chance creator with an eye for goal and a blistering shot. Rangers Report
  4. FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has contacted the Lithuanian ambassador to the United Kingdom in a bid to help Hearts complete their exit from administration. Salmond, a Hearts supporter, remains hopeful that the deal can be completed, although last night both club administrator Bryan Jackson of BDO and a spokesperson for the Foundation of Hearts said there had been no further developments. Jackson is still awaiting an invitation to return to Lithuania to resume talks with his counterparts at Ukio Bankas. Those talks stalled last week, on the same day that creditors of Ubig, another company formerly controlled by Vladimir Romanov, approved the sale of their 50 per cent share in the Tynecastle club. Ukio have a smaller shareholding of just under 30 per cent, but hold a security over Tynecastle. If they agree to sell both shares and security, Hearts will be able to proceed with the Company Voluntary Arrangement they have made with the Foundation, the supporters’ umbrella body which aims to buy control for £2.5million. Jackson warned last week that the club was fast running out of money, and that a deal had to be finalised by around the end of this month. Foundation chairman Ian Murray, the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South, has also said that his organisation needs to complete the takeover soon in order to allow planning for next season to begin. Murray and Lord Foulkes, a former chairman of Hearts, have had several meetings with ambassador Asta Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene in recent months in the hope of speeding up the process. It remains uncertain how much direct influence any politician can have on the arcane workings of the Baltic republic’s legal system, but Salmond believes that he too should be seen to be doing everything he can. “At the request of the Hearts administrators I phoned the Lithuanian ambassador to try and facilitate the important moves that are being made,” the First Minister said yesterday. “I should say I’m a Hearts supporter, obviously, I declare an interest, but I’ve made the same approaches when necessary with other football clubs in Scotland who’ve been similarly struggling. “And of course I would always do that as First Minister, because it’s part of the First Ministerial role to help Scottish football, to help Scottish clubs when you can. And I’m sure that everyone in Scottish football, whatever team they support, wants to see Hearts back fighting fit, and part of the firmament of our national game.” Salmond declined to give details of his talks other than to suggest they had been positive. “They were helpful conversations and of course progress has been made,” he continued. “But the people behind the eight ball here are the administrators, and like every other Hearts fan in the country, I’m anxious to see more progress made. However, we know progress has been made and we’re hoping that things will reach a successful conclusion.” Unless Ukio’s creditors come to an agreement with BDO soon, Jackson would appear to have little option but to start planning for the liquidation of the football club. Hearts should be able to fulfil their fixtures for the rest of the season – they have five league games left, starting with a home match on Saturday against Ross County – but as things stand they will have no money to continue on into next season. Last night Labour peer Lord Foulkes welcomed the First Minister’s intervention, while pointing out that similar activity had been going on behind the scenes for some time. “It is good he is supporting Ian Murray and me who are in regular contact with Lithuanian ambassador & UK ambassador in Lithuania,” he said on Twitter. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/i-need-to-do-all-i-can-for-hearts-alex-salmond-1-3377777
  5. Rangers Youth ‏@RFC_Youth 25m #Rangers U20 to face Celtic: Gallacher, Halkett, Perry, Gasparotto, Hegarty, Burrows, Dykes, Gibson, Telfer, Stoney, Gallagher. Rangers Youth ‏@RFC_Youth 25m #Rangers U20 Subs: Kelly, Murdoch, Ramsay, Finnie, Roberts Rangers Youth ‏@RFC_Youth 11m #Rangers currently sit second in the SPFL U-20 league table, a point behind Hibs who have played two more games. Rangers Youth ‏@RFC_Youth 2m Five minutes to go until kick off at Auchenhowie in tonight's SPFL U20 tie against Celtic. Live tweets from tonight's game to follow.
  6. http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2986&newsID=13171&newsCategoryID=1 In response to recent speculation and comments made by Dundee United officials, the Scottish FA is compelled to clarify the club’s ticketing allocation for the forthcoming William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final between Rangers and Dundee United at Ibrox. At the pre-operations meeting held on Tuesday, 11th March, Dundee United were made an initial offering of 11,063 tickets, allocated in the entirety of the Broomloan Road Stand, the Govan West corner and a section of the Govan Stand Front and Rear. The number was offered on the basis of Dundee United’s ticket sales for recent semi-finals. For last year’s semi-final against Celtic at Hampden Park, with a 12.45pm kick-off, Dundee United received an allocation of 10,686 tickets and sold 6783. For the 2010 semi-final against Raith Rovers at Hampden Park, with a 3pm kick-off, Dundee United were allocated 11,806 tickets and sold 9969. The Dundee United official present stated that in order to ensure a maximum attendance, in the first instance the club would not require the additional allocation in the Govan West corner, Front and Rear and, instead, would prefer the Broomloan Road stand, capacity 8012. He was invited to revert to the club for confirmation but declined. Notwithstanding the present allocation of 8012 – as requested by the club – Dundee United retain first option on the Govan West corner, and a section of the Front and Rear, an additional 3051 seats. Should the club a) request that additional allocation and b) sell it, then there remains the opportunity to extend the allocation subject to agreement between the clubs and the relevant police and stewarding advice.
  7. A top Tayside police officer has said plans are already being prepared to prevent any violence at Dundee United’s Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Rangers next month. Bad blood between the two clubs has grown over the years, partly due to United’s stance on Rangers playing in the bottom tier after the Ibrox side went into liquidation. And after venue and ticket arguments over the upcoming match, Arab Trust chairman Steven Hughes has admitted some fans are “nervous from a safety perspective” about travelling through for the game on April 12. Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith, the commander for Tayside Division, said his staff were in contact with colleagues in the west to make plans to prevent any violence. He said “We are already in dialogue with the Greater Glasgow Division and we will assist them in any way we can. Our primary role is to get everyone in safely and then get them home to their families safely. “If we have achieved that, then we’ve achieved our primary goal, which is keeping people safe. “We always prepare for the potential of violence and we’ll use our intelligence nearer the time to get a picture as to how exactly we structure the plan. “There’s a good quote from the Hillsborough Inquiry that says ‘complacency is the enemy of safety’ and that’s a mantra I will always adhere to, no matter how big or small the event is.” Tangerines’ chairman Stephen Thompson has also caused controversy by going to war with the Scottish Football Association after trying to get the game switched to Celtic Park. Another fallout followed when the SFA claimed United declined their original seating allocation for the Ibrox game and asked for less seats. Mr Thompson initially rejected the claim, although he soon backed down from his statement. However, Mr Smith, who was the match commander at the last Old Firm game in 2012, said their early planning had nothing to do with comments from the United chairman. He said: “This is just a normal response. “That’s how we plan for high profile football matches. “We will be performing our usual duties, which are working with the football clubs to make sure the venue is secure and we have tried and tested plans to make sure buses are stopped and searched for alcohol.” http://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/news/local/police-in-talks-to-keep-dundee-united-fans-safe-at-ibrox-1.288176?
  8. (John Greechan - Scottish Daily Mail 20.3.2014) I suppose if Mr Greechan's article had appeared in the “fiction section” of the local library, perhaps he could at least offer a plea in mitigation for the fable he passed off yesterday as fact. Its not particularly difficult to establish the true facts – all that is required is a search engine on a computer : http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/rangers-newco-ally-mccoist-says-rangers-have-to-drop-into-third-division-1-2395196 http://news.stv.tv/west-central/109964-rangers-supporters-group-calls-for-newco-club-to-start-in-division-three/ Fast -tracked ? Dont make us laugh Mr Greechan. Then again as a support, we Rangers fans are getting used to our true feelings being misrepresented within the media. That's not to say Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson enjoys popular status amongst the Rangers support, but the reasons for this are not as alluded to in Mr Greechan's article. It's perhaps worthy of re-visiting those reasons, particularly in light of recent comments by Mr Thompson, and exposing the levels of hypocrisy he is engaging in. In recent days Mr Thompson has accused the SFA of being “economical with the truth”, making statements which he classed as “awful” and “aggressive”. http://www.thecourier.co.uk/sport/football/dundee-united/who-do-they-think-they-re-talking-to-dundee-united-chief-rages-at-aggressive-sfa-statement-1.275406 Perhaps Mr Thompson would do well to remember his own comments and conduct. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18365480 “There's been a lack of remorse” Really Mr Thompson ? Really ?? I have spoken to hundreds of Rangers supporters online and in person these past few years and I am yet to meet one, one, who was not filled with remorse over the circumstances surrounding Craig Whyte's tenure at our club, the damage he caused and the hardship he caused for many many people. Who is being “economical with the truth” now Mr Thompson ? "Taking things to a court of law hasn't helped. That's certainly hardened views of people within the game. “ Hold on Mr Thompson, the Court Of Session found in Rangers favour – so asking for justice and being awarded it is in your eyes likely to cause a hardening of attitude against the victim ? And you have the audacity to label others “aggressive “ ? The truth is Stephen Thompson was happy to be at the forefront of the pack of wolves who savaged our club when it was down. I would imagine when Ally McCoist remarked at those swinging a kick at our club whilst it was down – many Rangers fans thought of Stephen Thompson. Much of the discussion surrounding the boycott of Tannadice certainly centred around this fact. The emotive and inflammatory language utilised by Mr Thompson, as well as those involved with the Arab Trust, have certainly done their club no favours at all. It is up to both the SFA and Police Scotland to deal with such unedifying language. The Rangers support will rise above all this nonsense and do what we do best – Support our team. Dundee United and their support would do well to follow our example. Perhaps if they did so, they would be afforded some measure of credibility when they ask for a 50/50 split of tickets.
  9. The Rangers Supporters Trust (RST) is deeply concerned by the comments attributed to the Arab Trust Chairman Stephen Hughes. Specifically that he feels Dundee United fans would not be safe at the upcoming Scottish Cup semi-final between the two sides. In making this statement, Mr Hughes does not provide any evidence to back up his wildly inaccurate claims. Unfortunately, it would appear that the Arab Trust is actively trying to create additional tension between the clubs and fans ahead of the game. Furthermore, the Arab Trust does have a history of trying to antagonise the Rangers support, having called the club and the support 'huns' on numerous occasions on their official Twitter account. We would like to point out that, in 2011, Rangers were awarded the SPL Family Champions Award at a time when the Dundee United Chairman was on the SPL board. There is also a great deal of irony in Mr Hughes' fanciful claims given that an Arab Trust board member is actively promoting a 'family only' bus travelling to the game. This would appear to be yet another unprovoked attack trying to damage the fantastic reputation of the Rangers support. Recent remarks regarding safety attributed to United chairman, Stephen Thomson are also of concern, and we would expect the Rangers board to be actively seeking clarification in this regard
  10. Ally McCoist has been to Brechin and back on a journey that he accepts has some distance yet to go, so he has asked to be forgiven if he cannot get exercised about a spat over ticket allocation for a Scottish Cup semi-final. The Rangers manager yesterday looked ahead to Sunday’s League 1 return to Brechin, where his side came perhaps closest to surrendering their unbeaten league record in a see-sawing 4-3 victory in October. It is also the ground where Rangers’ journey back up the Scottish leagues began in July 2012, when they travelled to face Brechin City in a Ramsdens Cup tie that the Ibrox side eventually won after extra-time. He remembers sending former ITV punditry colleague Andy Townsend a photograph of the much-loved hedge at Brechin on his phone. “He just sent me back a reply, saying: ‘what?!’” recalled McCoist. “But that’s the beauty of the journey we have been on, some of the places we have been to.” It hasn’t always been so fulfilling, however. Continued off-the-field financial struggles and boardroom dramas mean McCoist believes he is in a good position to apply some perspective to the issue that has dominated the back pages this week. “In the grand scheme of things in the last two years it’s been a very, very small issue,” said McCoist, with reference to the continued controversy surrounding semi-final opponents Dundee United’s complaints about both choice of venue and the number of tickets they have been handed ahead of the 12 April meeting at Ibrox. “I think we as a club and as a team have got far bigger things to worry about than having a mump and a moan with individual clubs,” said McCoist. “We have got to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and concentrate our energies on getting back to the top flight and playing semi-finals and finals on a more regular basis than we are doing at the moment.” One spokesperson for a Dundee United fans’ group suggested that some supporters are nervous about attending due to safety concerns after another war of words between the two clubs. United chairman Stephen Thompson has also revealed he will choose to sit among his club’s fans rather than in the directors’ box at Ibrox, due to fears he might be the target for the home fans’ venom. The ill-feeling between the clubs stretches back to a row following United’s decision to charge Rangers fans a reduced price to watch a replayed league match in 2009 after the original game had been abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch. Some Rangers fans also feel Thompson was instrumental in blocking plans to fast-track the Ibrox club back to the top-flight in 2012. But it is United who have now been outraged by having to face Rangers at the Ibrox club’s own ground in next month’s semi-final and the Scottish Football Association’s initial offer of 11,000 tickets. McCoist admitted that he could “understand” some of the points made by United, but then the choice of venue was made long ago. In any case, he has other worries. “The ticket allocation is a problem between Dundee United and the SFA and whoever, so they will sort that out between them,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to get involved in an issue that doesn’t really bother me, to be honest.” As for fears about safety concerns raised by some United fans as well as Thompson, McCoist added: “I would be hopeful that was maybe taken a wee bit out of context. I didn’t read the quotes so it would be wrong of me to comment on them. But certainly in this day and age, the one thing you expect is any travelling supporter of any club going to any game would like to sit down and watch it in comfort and safety. I would hope that is just about guaranteed in all the stadiums in the country and ours is no different.” It was understandable that McCoist wished to concentrate on football matters. For the first time in what feels like a very long time, the near future looks to contain some exciting on-field possibilities for Rangers. The agreed month-long ceasefire between the board and former director Dave King has meant there is some chance that the spotlight can fall on the team, who secured the League One title last week. Rangers also have a Ramsdens Cup final to contest on 6 April against Raith Rovers before facing United in the Scottish Cup last four. “It’s probably as positive as it has been for a while in terms of the football side of things,” noted McCoist. “So we are actually quite enjoying that – if you will spare us that little bit of enjoyment.” Two concerns impacting on the manager’s current good cheer involve the fitness of Andy Little and David Templeton, who have respective thigh and groin injuries. Both players could be in a race to be fit for the Ramsdens Cup final and the Scottish Cup semi-final. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-ticket-spat-a-small-issue-for-mccoist-1-3348743
  11. Over two weeks now since Neil suggested that Craig Thomson had been responsible for Celtic losing at Aberdeen. Could it be that Mr Lunny has been absent from his desk and that is why that no action has been raised against Neil. Or is is it possible that a more likely reason for this to be overlooked is that. Vincent agrees with Neil's opinion?
  12. Jack Irvine "tell your pals that soon we will take everything off one of them, someone's going to lose their house, savings,cars the lot". Reply Retweet Favorite
  13. alex thomson ‏@alextomo 28m Rangers to go into Administration on Wednesday? At least one senior Glasgow accountant is saying so tonight. https://twitter.com/alextomo
  14. 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.
  15. As the draw is to be made after the Dundee Hibs v St Midden game, I just thought I'd start a thread on it. What will be the best draw for us?, I want Albion Rovers @ Ibrox:rfcbouncy:
  16. [h=2]Club Statement[/h]WRITTEN BY RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB THE Club has received many calls in recent days from fans, shareholders and other interested parties with regard to the contents of an Irish-based internet blog which has published numerous allegations about the business affairs of Rangers Football Club. The Club wishes to make clear that these allegations are totally inaccurate and that the Chief Executive and Board of Directors are fully focussed on the restructuring and rebuilding of Rangers Football Club as previously announced. The Club has decided to make this statement as unchallenged, ill-informed and inaccurate comments are damaging to the reputation of Rangers Football Club. Graham Wallace Chief Executive Officer
  17. Ignoring the usual sycophantic nonsense, I find the quote in bold crass in the extreme and I'm amazed both Easdale and his PR advisors found it appropriate.
  18. 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.
  19. Barry Ferguson is targeting the play-offs for Blackpool, regardless of whether he is their manager or a player. The Seasiders captain held talks with chairman Karl Oyston last night about taking the vacant manager’s job on a permanent basis. He’s told the Pool chairman he would only consider taking the role if it was offered to him at least until the end of the season. Ferguson isn’t interested in a caretaker position, and if that’s the only role on offer he would continue to serve Blackpool as a player only. It is expected that Ferguson, who turns 36 in 10 days, will be named as the 11th manager of the Karl Oyston era ahead of home Saturday’s game against Doncaster. He was due to take training today and aims to bring in former Dundee United coach Malky Thomson as his assistant. There may also be roles for former Rangers duo Bob Malcolm and John McGregor. If Ferguson does take the hot seat, there would clearly be a change of thinking at Bloomfield Road. Paul Ince always insisted survival was Pool’s only aim this season but Ferguson wants the club to set its sights much higher. He told The Gazette: “I never look at the negatives – I always remain positive. “At the start of this season my aim was to get promotion and it will always be the case. “If it’s not promotion we still have to look at the play-offs. As a person and a player, I still want to make a push for the play-offs.” Pool are 14th in the Championship, eight points above the relegation zone and nine outside the top six. If Ferguson is named today it’s believed he’ll move quickly in the transfer market, with Scottish duo Kris Boyd and Alan Hutton high on his wish-list. And speaking earlier in the week, Ferguson said all his team-mates remain optimistic. He revealed: “I’m a positive person and all the lads in the dressing room are positive. We need to look at it that way. We need to get out of this mess, then creep into the play-offs.” Ferguson has been backed to be a huge success in management by former Holland manager Dick Advocaat. The 66-year-old, who managed Ferguson at Rangers and is now working with Dutch side AZ, said: “Barry is someone with very good pedigree and knowledge. I brought him into the Rangers team when he was just a young boy. “I didn’t think about him as a future coach because he was so young, but they do say midfielders make the best coaches. I’m confident he can have a good career as a coach.” One manager who has ruled himself out of the Blackpool job is Neil Warnock. The former Crystal Palace and Sheffield United boss said: “There’s no chance of me going to Blackpool. It’s a tough job because there’s hardly any money there. “I think Barry Ferguson will do a good job until the end of the season. I don’t think they’ll go rushing to appoint people.” http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/sport/blackpool-fc/ferguson-takes-charge-and-wants-to-make-the-play-offs-1-6390967
  20. I had the pleasure to read a tremendous article recently on the Do The Bouncy forums, by Locutus :- http://dothebouncy.com/main/threads/sharks-trolls-headstones-and-apathy.59319/ I love articles you can tell come from the heart, oozing in sheer passion for our club. One particular phrase though set me thinking “Politics should have no place in football , but thats a debate for another day.” Perhaps with events elsewhere – that day has come. Of course in a nirvana state – Politics should have no place in football, neither for that matter should Racism, Sectarianism nor Illegal betting. Unfortunately we do not live in such a sporting utopia and from time to time we have to cope with things invading our game which are neither welcome, nor enhancing for the reputation of our so called “Beautiful game”. In fact, if we are totally honest, at times it is downright ugly rather than beautiful. But if Politics has no place in football – what about Political influence ? For the Rangers support these last 3 years or so have been a real wake up call. As our club lurched from crisis to crisis and was subjected to a catalogue of unjust treatment, the silence from politicians in Scotland was deafening. Compare and contrast such silence with the political response to an illegal procession organised by The Green Brigade. http://news.stv.tv/west-central/218177-celtics-green-brigade-protest-results-in-msps-policing-question/ That’s not to say of course that Scottish Labour MP’s were silent over the crisis at Rangers, some in fact were only too happy to have something to say. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/913 Some of you will remember Jim McGovern, Labour MP for Dundee West from some of my previous articles. He has been particularly vocal of late. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/westminster-mps-table-motion-condemning-2867719 http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/dundee-mp-calls-for-probe-into-champions-league-trouble-in-amsterdam-1.158942 The Courier article in particular saw some particularly critical online comments directed towards Mr McGovern – particulary as he was not so much vocal but noticeably silent after Celtic supporters misbehaved in his constituency of Dundee. Scenes described by Dundee Operations Manager Jim Thomson as “a throwback to the 1970′s” and “I have never seen anything like the behaviour of the Celtic fans in the 20 years I have been running games at Dens Park” warranted not a murmur from Mr McGovern. Not surprising then with conduct such as this that Mr McGovern requires annual staffing fees of £ 115, 581.17 ( as opposed to his Party leader, and Leader of the Opposition – Ed Miliband’s £ 93, 747.42 ) perhaps his staff are particularly busy answering constituent’s questions about his apparent double standards. With Baron Reid of Cardowan a recent chairman, as well as Brian Wilson currently serving on the board of Celtic FC, it would be foolhardy to suggest our footballing rivals are suffering from a lack of political influence, particularly within the Scottish Labour Party. Though such influence appears not to be confined to the bigger stage but also on a more localised level and has been highlighted previously http://www.vanguardbears.co.uk/same-city-council-same-old-story.html With the Co-op Bank, with their historical links to the Labour Party, now subject to both scrutiny and investigation, it begs the question if the favourable loan rates afforded to Celtic FC were as a consequence of Celtic’s rather cosy relationship with the Scottish Labour Party ? And as preliminary enquiries into land deals run their course in Brussels and Tory researchers work long into the night scouring over Co-op loan arrangements, I have a question for the Rangers support. Is it time we sacrificed “politics has no place in football” – for the love of our club ?
  21. You can only hope that things will change if enough people point out the bleedin’ obvious: shiny new Glasgow, city of the Commonwealth Games, needs to take a long hard look at itself and try to come into the 21st century. I refer to Glasgow’s bizarre blindness to racism, bigotry and all manner of criminal activity which would scarcely be tolerated in any other British city outside N Ireland. Yet, in and around Glasgow it’s scarcely noticed. But like I say, if enough people call it out things can change. Nobody around the West Coast seemed to think David Limond’s foul online racist bigotry and intimidation of a woman was odd, or wrong, or unusual. Still less, racist. - See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/scotlands-modern-millwall-celtics-toxic-public-image/6921#sthash.FtpXMgQc.ycectwk8.dpuf'>http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/scotlands-modern-millwall-celtics-toxic-public-image/6921#sthash.FtpXMgQc.ycectwk8.dpuf http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/scotlands-modern-millwall-celtics-toxic-public-image/6921
  22. EIGHTEEN months and counting. A year and a half left of this one-horse race before we have a proper championship again. Assuming Ally McCoist gets Rangers back into the top flight on schedule. He had better deliver, an extra year of the current nonsense and we?ll need chloroform. On occasions I?ve found myself at English grounds where everyone in the media centre was glued to the lunchtime Old Firm game. Southern journalists couldn?t get enough of it. Last Thursday at Newcastle, one of them asked me which division Rangers are in right now. That?s the extent of the interest. If the essence of any sporting contest is uncertainty, the wise men of the SPL gave our top flight a lethal injection two summers ago. Under the guise of ?sporting integrity? they sentenced Rangers to three years hard labour and killed their own competition while they were at it. Clever, eh? It was arguably the most idiotic decision in the history of Scottish football. Boycott threats from the anonymous halfwits of cyberspace saw our Premier League chairmen fold, condemning our biggest league to three years of decline. SFA chief executive Stewart Regan was ridiculed for predicting ?Armageddon? in Rangers? absence. He wasn?t far wrong. Why did every club in the league have to pay the price of Craig Whyte?s ransacking of Ibrox? Did Rod Petrie and Co really believe that ?Sell-out Saturday? nonsense? Did they believe the internet eejits who promised they?d turn up every week to fill club coffers? So much for the moral high ground. Sporting integrity has put Scottish football up against the wall. Yeah, Celtic have been insulated from the fallout by reaching the Champions League proper in successive seasons. But as the growing rows of empty seats prove, Hoops punters are bored stiff with the extent of their domestic dominance. Trust me, if it was Neil Lennon?s call Rangers would be back in the top flight next season. Likewise, I?m told Peter Lawwell wanted to keep Rangers in the big league with a points penalty, before he too bowed to the mob. Thanks to Lennon?s European success, Celtic?s balance sheet is in good nick but defeat in next season?s Champions League qualifiers will have accountants reaching for the valium. Elsewhere the rest of the SPFL is suffering. Rangers? demotion saw every budget in the top flight slashed. When costs have to be cut, youth development is the first casualty. At a time Dundee United are producing a special crop of youngsters, who would vote to shut down the production line? Some silly people have suggested Celtic?s recent hammering in Barcelona was no reflection on the standard of Scottish football. Really? Celtic won the league by 16 points last season without breaking sweat, yet they managed just three points from 18 in the Champions League. What does that say for the rest of the league? Our other European representatives? Scottish Cup finalists Hibs got a crack at the Europa League and lost 9-0 on aggregate to Malmo. Motherwell lost 3-0 over two legs to Kuban Krasnodar, currently ninth in the Russian league. Thankfully, St Johnstone flew the flag briefly with a great win over Rosenborg before losing in the third qualifying round to FC Minsk. Putting Rangers in the poorhouse gave a lot of people satisfaction but was the price worth paying? Under the yoke of the Old Firm, attendances were better, sponsors easier to find and the league table was worth looking at every weekend. With the pair at each other?s throats for Champions League cash, both had to spend to stay in front. A lot of that money went to fellow SPL clubs. Dundee were weighed in for Rab Douglas, Nacho Novo and Gavin Rae. Hibs got an Old Firm auction going for Scott Brown and Kevin Thomson. Kilmarnock punted Kris Boyd and Steven Naismith. Dundee United got a million plus for Barry Robson, while Celtic outbid Rangers for Motherwell?s Scott McDonald. That Old Firm arms race kept both clubs on their toes and helped subsidise the rest of the league. Now we?ve got Celtic trying to get through the entire season undefeated while the rest play for second place and a brief skirmish with the Europa League qualifiers. League One is no less of a freak show where you can watch Rangers playing keepie-uppie with their part-time opposition. Eighteen months and counting.
  23. 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.
  24. Some of you may remember Jim McGovern from my previous articles. He and I exchanged a number of, less than courteous letters a few months ago. This was as a result of his support for George Galloway's Early Day Motion 913, with McGovern being the only Scottish based MP to pledge his support to the motion. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/913 During the aforementioned exchange I asked Mr McGovern to provide any evidence that Rangers had “side stepped” their tax liability, as such an allegation ran contrary to what we as shareholders had been informed in writing. Needless to say Mr McGovern failed to provide any evidence whatsoever which would would justify the allegations set out in EDM 913, or warrant support for them. Perhaps we should not be surprised by Mr McGovern's support of this motion which are a slur on our club, he has a tendency to make allegations without reasonable foundation. http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/3614-scottish-labour-mp-refuses-to-apologise-for-offensive-racism-slurs.html Its interesting that Joe Fitzpatrick MSP uses the word “hypocritical” to describe Mr McGovern. Depriving the British public of tax revenue is not something Mr McGovern can himself claim a clean sheet on. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/392012/MP-Jim-McGovern-s-24-rail-fare-row-costs-taxpayers-27k But Jim has raised his head above the parapet once again, much to the chagrin of a number of his constituents, and suggested the Foreign Office investigate claims by Celtic supporters regarding events in Amsterdam. http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/dundee-mp-calls-for-probe-into-champions-league-trouble-in-amsterdam-1.158942?regType=site&reg_success=true This has left a number of his constituents in his parliamentary constituency of Dundee West somewhat bemused. And understandably so. Many of them remember a December weekend last year which saw some of the worst football disturbances in Scottish football in recent times and which were described by Dundee FC Operations Manager Jim Thomson as follows :- The people of Dundee are still waiting for a statement from Mr McGovern condemning such behaviour. But it's refreshing to see Mr McGovern embark on a journey demanding, clarity, accountability and transparency. Perhaps in a similar vein he could provide such clarity with regard to his annual staffing expenses which amount to a staggering £ 115,581.17 for a back bench MP. To put this into some kind of perspective his own party leader, Ed Miliband, and of course leader of the opposition has annual staffing costs of £ 93,747.42
  25. I did not know about this. http://iainduff.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/death-of-a-goalkeeper/
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