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  1. ....we won title by 21 points one season and lost it by 15 the next. BARRY says the next meeting between Rangers and Celtic can't come quickly enough and reckons, should they meet in a cup this season, his beloved Gers will prove they are closer to matching their rivals than people think. THEY might have been kept apart in the League Cup quarter-final draw but there is definitely a feeling an Old Firm collision is getting closer. A clash of the Glasgow giants could yet come in that tournament this season or even in the Scottish Cup with Rangers now getting deeper into knockout competitions. If it doesn’t then few would bet against Rangers winning promotion from the Championship which means we’ll have to wait only until next season for one. Personally, it can’t come quickly enough because it’s been badly missed and that has been the feeling of many Celtic fans in the past two years. But I’m not so sure they’re as eager for a crack at Rangers now. I’ve heard so much talk in the past couple of years about how Celtic are 10 years ahead of my old club. It’s a phrase that seems to have been trotted out whenever Celtic were at their highest or Rangers at their lowest. But there is no doubt the gap is closing. In fact I believe the squads are pretty evenly matched in terms of quality. But regardless of that I don’t think you can ever say one is 10 years ahead of the other. The thing about the Old Firm is that superiority goes in cycles. That’s always been the case and it probably always will be. They simply don’t get so far ahead that the other one can’t quickly catch up. And one of the best examples of that comes from a period when I was playing at Ibrox. Under Dick Advocaat we won the league title by a massive 21 points in his second season charge. It came on the back of a treble in Advocaat’s first season and, having won the final Old Firm game of that season 4-0, many believed the gulf had never been so great. Celtic were seen as being in disarray with Kenny Dalglish in temporary charge after John Barnes had left the club but Martin O’Neill was brought in that summer and things quickly changed. And what happened the following season? Celtic won the league by 15 points. So that was a 36-point swing in the space of just 12 months. If that doesn’t prove how much and how quickly things can change, nothing will. Nothing much at Rangers had changed and Celtic made only two signings, Chris Sutton and Joos Valgaeren, before the opening league game of that campaign (Alan Thompson and Didier Agathe followed in September, Rab Douglas in October and Neil Lennon in December). People have their opinions on the state of Rangers and Celtic just now but for me talk of being 10 years between them is exaggerated. It’s nothing like that. And it would be great to see them going at it for the first time since Celtic won 3-0 at Parkhead in April 2012. For a lot of people the Old Firm fixture is the only thing they associate with Scottish football and it’s been a difficult couple of years for our game without them. That’s a bit disrespectful to the other clubs but it’s the truth. I know Celtic fans would have loved a crack at Rangers at their lowest ebb in the last couple of seasons but it’s changed now. I don’t think Celtic have gone backwards because they still have a very strong squad. The personnel is pretty much the same but they have lost a manager in Neil Lennon who knew the Old Firm derby inside out while Ronny Deila is still learning aspects of our game. But I just feel Ally McCoist, right, has improved his Rangers squad greatly. He’s had a lot of younger boys in the past couple of seasons but now he has guys with Premiership and Old Firm experience. Plus it’s the old cliche of form going out of the window in an Old Firm game. Even those who do feel Celtic are 10 years ahead of Rangers would probably agree that in a one-off game anything can happen in that fixture. Again I can go back to that 2000-01 season for proof of that. Celtic beat us 6-2 at Parkhead in the first Old Firm derby of the season and we went out and beat them 5-1 in the next. Another big swing – this time all in the space of just three months. I feel Kenny Miller, although he’s been injured, and Kris Boyd are two huge signings and their experience is vital. I’m sure any Premiership manager would snap your hand off for those two. I know Boydie has yet to score in the league but it will come. It might just take one to go in off his backside and he’ll be on fire again. A lot of my friends are asking me if there’s anything different or wrong given the fact he hasn’t scored as many as some might have expected. But nothing has changed, apart from the fact he’s a much better all-round player than in his first spell at Ibrox. I don’t have any concerns about him. He’s a confident guy who believes in his own ability. That’s the kind of player you want in there and he’ll soon stick one in the top corner. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/barry-ferguson-you-cant-say-4326012?
  2. Liverpool are one of seven clubs under investigation by Uefa for potential breaches of financial fair play (FFP) regulations, European football’s governing body announced 
yesterday. The Merseyside club were absent from European competition last year and only recently submitted detailed accounts to the governing body, which dictates that losses must be restricted to £35.4 million over a two-year window. Liverpool are one of seven clubs under investigation by Uefa for potential breaches of financial fair play (FFP) regulations, European football’s governing body announced 
yesterday. The Merseyside club were absent from European competition last year and only recently submitted detailed accounts to the governing body, which dictates that losses must be restricted to £35.4 million over a two-year window. Liverpool reported losses of £49.8m for the 2012-13 season, and £40.5m for the ten-month period before that, and join Monaco, Roma, Besiktas, Inter Milan, Krasnodar and Sporting Lisbon in being subjected to investigations relating to “potential break-even breaches”. A Uefa statement read: “The CFCB (club financial control body) has opened formal investigations into seven clubs as they disclosed a break-even deficit on the basis of their financial reporting periods ending in 2012 and 2013. “These clubs will need to submit additional monitoring information during October and November upon the deadlines set by the CFCB, subsequent to which an additional communication shall be made and conservatory measures may be imposed.” Liverpool face no immediate sanction as they prepare to provide further details to Uefa throughout the next two months, though the provisional withholding of Champions League funds lingers as a potential next step. The Reds are thought to be confident they will avoid such penalties by virtue of lucrative new commercial deals and writing off some previous losses. FFP allows certain spending streams, including youth development and stadium expenditure, to exist outside of its strict guidelines and Liverpool will argue that a £35m chunk of their 2011-12 deficit was attached to former co-owner Tom Hicks’ aborted plans for a new stadium on Stanley Park. Manchester City and Paris St Germain were the clubs hit hardest by Uefa last season for breaching FFP rules – they were each fined £49m and handed restrictions on transfer spending and a reduction in Champions League squad size. Uefa has also announced that prize money has been held back from five clubs – Bursaspor, CFR Cluj, Astra Giurgiu, Buducnost Podgorica and Ekranas – as a result of non-payments to other clubs, players and/or tax 
authorities. Reflecting on the recent work of CFCB and the FFP regulations, the Uefa statement continued: “The introduction of the Uefa club licensing and financial fair play regulations has already had a very positive impact on the scale of overdue payables, as they have decreased from 57 million euros in June 2011 to eight million euros in June 2014. In addition, aggregate losses reported by Europe’s first-division clubs in the 2013 financial year have gone down to 800 million euros from a record-reported deficit of 1.7 billion euros in 2011.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said the club are comfortable with the Uefa investigations because they support the FFP system. Rodgers said: “It’s obviously something that will be dealt with by the directors. It’s something we’re comfortable with because we’re great advocates of financial fair play. It’s ongoing with the club.” Rodgers is neither surprised nor alarmed by reports linking Real Madrid with a bid for Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old forward, whose contract at Anfield runs until 2017, is one of the brightest talents in the Premier League and has had an impressive start to the season. “It shows that he’s playing exceptionally well,” said Rodgers. “I think you could probably link Raheem with every club in the world at the moment. He’s a fantastic young talent. I’ve nothing really to add to it. There’s obviously lots of speculation every day about players coming and going here at Liverpool. “He’s a wonderful boy who’s developing very, very well here. I think him and his representatives and the people close to him know how comfortable he is here and I’m sure at some point in the future, whatever contract we’re looking to work with will be sorted, but he’s still got three years left and there’s no rush from my perspective.” Sterling is likely to be a key figure for Liverpool in tomorrow’s Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield, when both teams will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League. Rodgers has not ruled out having Daniel Sturridge available, with the England striker having been sidelined by a thigh strain suffered on international duty earlier this month. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/english/uefa-probes-liverpool-over-potential-ffp-breach-1-3553588
  3. .....says Luca Gasparotto. THE Canadian defender is on loan with the Diamonds until January having made just a handful of appearances for the Light Blues. LUCA GASPAROTTO insists Airdrieonians can help him fulfil his Rangers dream. The Canadian defender is on loan with the Diamonds until January. Gasparotto has made a handful of appearances for the Light Blues – but not yet established himself in Ally McCoist’s first-team plans. Now the 19-year-old has promised to use his stint in League One as a launchpad for his Ibrox career. Gasparotto, who was one of seven young Gers farmed out in the closing days of August’s transfer window, said: “I’m enjoying every minute of my time here. “The coaches and the boys have been great to me and I’m looking forward to staying. “Going out on loan is great for me as I’m getting the chance to play against stronger, more experienced players. “This can only help me become a better footballer. “That’s my goal and I’m trying to get as much out of this loan as I possibly can. I’m stepping up to the task at hand. “Some of the boys are on loan at full-time clubs. As a young player, it’s good to get out as it builds up your confidence and experience. “I’m signed to Rangers until the end of next season so I want to kick on after this loan spell.” Gasparotto grabbed his first senior goal against Stranraer on Saturday but was gutted when the visitors forced a 3-3 draw late on. Airdrie will attempt to bounce back from their last-gasp disappointment when they travel to leaders Ayr United this weekend. “I’m delighted to get my first goal but just disappointed we conceded the equaliser so late on,” Gasparotto added. “On a personal note, I thought I played pretty well and to score my first goal is a big moment for me. “I think three at the back went well. I’ve played that with Rangers under-20s so it’s something that I am used to. “It’s better in that you have a bit more cover at the back and it feels safer. “To score three goals at home and only come away with a point is pretty frustrating. “Everyone’s heads were down but we’ve got to pick ourselves up and try and get that first three points next weekend.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/airdrieonians-can-help-become-rangers-4315767
  4. Now he is delighted to see the 20-year-old Gers star continue his superb comeback from injury and illness by shining for club and country. Macleod has become a key part of Ally McCoist's plans since making his Light Blues debut three years ago. He helped them clinch the Third Division and League One titles, but missed the closing stages of each campaign. After fighting his way back to full fitness, the midfielder has shown his class in the Championship and netted the only goal on Tuesday as Gers beat Premiership outfit Inverness Caley Thistle in the League Cup. McCoist has refused to heap extra pressure on Macleod's shoulders but Wotte reckons he is as good as any of his peers in Scotland. The SFA's Performance Director said: "We were very pleased with the comeback of Lewis, who wasn't able to play for six months. He is a very talented player. "Lewis is of the level of Ryan Gauld, who is now at Sporting Lisbon. Lewis was with the Under-18s and Under-19s when I started and I said he was one of the gems of his generation. "Then he got his setbacks because of a heart condition and a virus. They kept him out for over six months, which is always very hard to take for a young boy. "But I think Lewis has a great future in front of him. These players have composure. We tend to judge players by their ability but their ability also has to be good when under pressure. "Boys like Ryan, Lewis and Aberdeen's Ryan Fraser can perform under pressure. They are in control of situations. "They have such good technique that they can dictate what the ball is doing instead of the ball dictating what they do." Macleod's fine form for Rangers was rewarded on the international stage earlier this month when he was recalled to the Scotland Under-21 squad. He then scored in the 3-0 win over Luxembourg after starring against Slovakia just days before. Macleod has proven he can handle the pressure of playing week in, week out for Rangers, and Wotte is delighted with the starlet's progress. The Dutchman said: "I was very encouraged to see Lewis back with the Under-21s. I think Scottish boys are very strong-minded and have a great mentality. But sometimes you have to manage the game and take better decisions. Decision-making is key at the top level. "When I came to Scotland everyone told me that we needed more technical players. I said yes, we have to drill the skill, but we also need to train the brain. Technique is always number one, but the decisions players make are very important, too." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/wotte-relief-to-see-return-of-rangers-star-lewis-181018n.25357429 How much did Ryan Gauld go for ? Interesting what Wotte says about "train the brain"
  5. I know we have a dozen or so players out on loan to other clubs, been a pretty consistent feature of the club during the on going turmoil. Currently, are we recipients of any loan players? Have we been recipients of any loan players in the last two and a bit seasons? I ask, because I don't think we have any loan signings and this must be unique in the Scottish/British game. Why we would we not bring in a few loan signings?
  6. I'm not clear on what is classed as repetition so perhaps we can have 1 topic where we can say what we like (within reason) and let off steam. Also, certain people can just stay away from this thread and then they won't be offended.
  7. If this can be corroborated then Regan must go ... http://vanguardbears.co.uk/stewart-regans-succulent-lamb.html Stewart Regan's Succulent Lamb Written by: Admin Thursday, 21st of August 2014 The date was 27th of July 2012 and Scotland's biggest and most successful football club faced oblivion. Just two days before the club were due to face Brechin City in the Angus town, Rangers FC had no licence to play football. This doomsday scenario had been created by twisted individuals representing the SFA, SPL and others. Their determination to see Rangers punished to the full for an as yet unproven "charge" (a charge which the club was subsequently found not guilty) was matched only by an underlying driven agenda to see Rangers damaged as much as possible, perhaps beyond repair. The club had been given a stark choice - accept sanctions and trophy stripping or be granted no licence to play football, in any league, anywhere. Rangers, with Ally McCoist and Charles Green representing, had fought bravely to retain the clubs' history, heritage and sporting record in the face of those determined to steal it away at any cost. In defiance of the Scottish Football authorities equivalent of a firing squad they fought valiantly for a club that had already lost most of its first team squad following SPFA and agent interference allied to greedy individuals who saw a fast buck. The future of the Scottish game lay in the hands of those men sat round a table. Their dirty game of chess had reached stalemate; their attempted "Five-Way Agreement" had morphed into a carefully contrived monster that included: •stripping of 5 SPL titles •stripping of 6 Scottish Cups •a signing embargo The message delivered was loud and clear. Accept "guilt", and accept our punishments or we put you out of the game. We feel it's necessary to repeat this; no ruling had yet been made on EBTs from Lord Nimmo Smith, and two years and two appeals later, the EBTs are still judged in law to be loans that did not give Rangers any footballing advantage in the years the scheme was in use. Whilst SPL Chief Ralph Topping was regaling anyone who'd listen with tales of Armageddon and insisting the SFL accept a club the SPL had thrown to the wolves, the SPL looked to maximise revenue from that same club they had just kicked out. So, on that day 27th of July 2012, the last possible day that agreement could be reached, the SFA's lawyers Levy & Macrae hosted all senior stakeholders in the Rangers issue to their office in St Vincent Street, Glasgow. By this stage, Rangers had forced the title stripping off the agenda, however, they were not to be meekly handed a punishment free passage in to the SFL. Other measures were being quickly discussed. The determination of some to punish the club as much as possible at a late stage where desperation saw them more likely to accept to get the licence and keep the club alive hadn't waned. The presence of Duff and Phelps could not help the Rangers cause; they were now bystanders only interested that the business entity they were representing wouldn't have any financial liability thrown in its direction. With a draft agreement on paper and separate signature pages at the back (to be signed upon all attendees reaching agreement on the conditions of Rangers re-entry in to the SFL and SFA), talks got underway. All in attendance agreed that a conclusion had to be reached and papers signed off that day, no matter what. The future of Scottish Football and that of its biggest member club was at stake. Reaching agreement on any issue was difficult, and the meeting was interrupted several times as Stewart Regan answered his mobile phone and left the room. An expectant wife was calling from Yorkshire. Mr. Regan was reminded he had a dinner date that evening. With no indication that middle ground could be found regards the many sticking points and Scottish football facing disaster the SFA Chief Executive took a remarkable and shocking decision that reinforced the belief of many that he is inept and has zero interest in the welfare of the beautiful game here. At 5pm, with the document far from finalised and even further from being agreed, he took the SFA signature page from the table and signed it, informing all of those present that he would put his name to whatever was agreed, had a dinner engagement with his wife and friends in Leeds, and wasn't going to cancel. In essence, Regan signed a blank piece of paper. The Chief Executive of the SFA, with overall responsibility for the game in Scotland, was more interested in having dinner, than leading the decision makers to reach an agreement to safeguard the future of both Rangers, and Scottish Football. The meeting lasted approximately another four hours before a conclusion was reached. Rangers were forced to accept their second transfer embargo in 4 months, and various other financial penalties including the signing over of television rights, and the payment of football debts, on the agreement that they wouldn't have rights to SPL prize money, or debts owed to the club. There were a number of revisions to the draft document in Regan's absence which already had his signature, as he travelled to Leeds and made his way out to dinner. To the best of our knowledge Regan didn't phone anyone in attendance after his departure for a progress update. Regan's signature page was simply inserted into the final document and issued as the Five-Way Agreement. This absolute disdain for the future of Rangers and Scottish football has never left that room, until now. One month earlier, Mr Regan had shown a similar lack of interest when an email written by him had been leaked to the press. In his email, amongst a bunch of 'decisions' he had pre-determined, Regan revealed that while Scottish Football was in disarray, he was off on holiday. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/Regan-controversial What would Regan have done the following day if any of the people in the room had simply scribbled 'I, Stewart Regan, knowing that I am unfit to hold the position of Chief Executive of the SFA, hereby tender my immediate resignation.' Vanguard Bears henceforth ask that members of the SFA, SPFL and SFL demand Stewart Regan's resignation. This man should not be heading up Scottish Football, especially at this very crucial time where attendances are dwindling and sponsorship is drying up. The phrase "NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE" has never been more apt.
  8. When we went into administration I almost instantly (within the first month) had some major concerns because I quickly came to thinking that I didn't trust the administrators, didn't think they would get us out of it via a CVA and didn't think they seemed to be doing their jobs properly because if they had been, then they would have tried to rescue the company as a going concern. To do that, they would have needed to quickly address the cost base and stop the monthly loss-making, but they just went for a short-term fix/bandage to see out the season instead of properly cutting costs to address the going concern like administrators do in most football club administrations. After the shambles of their bidding process and finally bringing in Green & co (like they seem to have planned well in advance!), when D&P did their first presser with Green a feeling of dread & despair came over me because I could tell immediately that he was a bullshitting patter merchant and didn't trust him right from that point. It was a case of 'who the f**k is this clown?' and a distinct feeling of disappointment. Then we had to endure the failed CVA, being wrongfully stripped of our SPL share and kicked out of our league, left with no league at all for a period and questions hanging over our SFA license as well. When we finally got it sorted out and started the season in the 4th tier there was a sort of positive buzz that I never really understood, because I never felt as if it was right that we should be down there in the 3rd Division. I could obviously understand the positive buzz in the sense that we were still here with our history and titles despite the best efforts of our enemies and those who wanted (and tried) to kill us off, but didn't understand the positivity from numerous other perspectives, like the unprecedented treatment of our Club and the worries from footballing and financial/business perspectives. Not only did many of our fans think that it was just a simple case of 3 seasons of a journey back up through the lower leagues to the top flight, but many actually believed that it was an 'opportunity' to rebuild not only the business, but some kind of fabled & mystical footballing 'philosophy'. There was talk amongst fans of not only winning every single game in the 4th & 3rd tiers, but battering the opposition 8-0, 9-0 or 10-0 every week. I didn't buy into any of that because I thought it was always going to be more difficult than many of our fans thought it would be. Yes, we would dish out some hammerings along the way, but it was always going to be a battle too, both on and off the park no matter how many SPL-standard players we signed and no matter how many crazy moonbeams Green & co served us up. What we need to do now though, is completely forget about any mythical 'opportunities' or lost chances to create new 'footballing philosophies' and face the stark reality of where we currently are. I'm not saying forgive or forget (far from it!), but we urgently need to get up to speed and deal in the here & now. Depending on how things go off the park this month, we might be heading for another insolvency/administration event, but we don't know for sure either way because nothing is certain on that front, just as nothing is certain on the pitch either. We might drop points or lose a match, but no matter what happens, I think we all know that the 'journey' is getting tougher and tougher and that's something which was always on the cards both on & off the pitch, so it certainly shouldn't come as a surprise. The idea of an easy journey back up over 3 or 4 years while creating golden seeds for the future amidst new philosophies for the Club was a total and utter pipe dream. Even if we had been taken over by good guys instead of chancers and liars like Green & co, we were still realistically facing trouble along the way and potentially a period of 5 years or more before getting properly back on our feet and challenging in the top flight again. We might not be in a good position right now, but essentially, nothing has changed and we're still on the same path albeit a slightly more windy & rocky one than many of our fans seemed to think it would be. Our progress back to where we belong might still be set back even further by current and/or future financial issues, but we don't know for sure yet. What we do know for sure is that the people running the show need to collectively get their acts together, steer the Club in the right direction and ease the worries of the supporters, not through more moonbeams and lies like were served up in the past, but by addressing the immediate future as openly and honestly as they can without damaging the value of their precious shares.
  9. Mike Ashley to up his stake in Rangers to 9.9% through the current share issue. Source SSN” Sources close to Mike Ashley say there are no immediate plans to invoke the naming rights at Ibrox stadium #Rangers @charlesp_sky: It's understood Ashley views his interests in Rangers as purely strong commercial ones which he intends to protect
  10. THE MAN THE BHEASTS CAN'T TAME N.O.R.W.I.C.H A saucy acronym that lovers write on valentines day just like S.W.A.L.K But it could also be used to describe the special relationship between Celtic and Norwich. I was watching the transfer deadline day or as its known in Scotland these days as MONDAY. Whilst I was childishly tittering at what appeared to be a purple marital aid being thrust into the face of a Sky sports presenter outside Everton’s Training complex. My mind was cast back to transfer deadline day a couple of years back. That night I sat down to watch that Excellent Transfer deadline day hosted by the equally excellent Sky sports Jim White, as a neutral spectator. Since my club couldn’t buy any players because of an illegal transfer embargo as ruled by a real law court, the court of sessions. A sanction, the club were blackmailed in accepting so that they could be allowed to play football in the bottom rung of the Scottish football establishment. T’was a bit of a damp squib. With only David Beckham’s move to PSG and Peter Odemwingie’s chaotic embarrassing saga grabbing the headlines. But there was one that grabbed my attention. As I have said before that pantomime season is all but over but there was still one set to unfold. Gary Hooper attempted “transfer” from Celtic and Norwich City. More: http://themanthebheastscanttame.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/knickers-of-and-ready-for-when-i-come-home/
  11. DR publishing interview with Sandy Easdale tomorrow.....and also running a headline that the naming rights of Ibrox being sold for £1!! Rumours are that the naming rights are given for £1 plus underwriting the share issue. Not 100% sure though. Looks like more grim news on the way bears....buckle up!!
  12. http://www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/latest-news/272-rangers-being-held-hostage-stockholm-syndrome It’s been a stressful week for those interested in the well-being of Rangers Football Club. Not only does the club admit to the Stock Exchange that if the latest share offer is under-subscribed it will be unable to pay its creditors; we have key board members who represent the interests of the vast bulk of existing shareholders conceding that his and our CEO’s intentions are different, confirming a split at board level. Meanwhile the negative detail of each onerous contract placed upon the club are drip-fed to concerned fans on a week-to-week basis: from retail deals where the money is yet to be released to our struggling accounts to stadium naming rights which appear to be the result of self-interest rather than good value. Never has it been more obvious that our club is being held hostage to the whim of chancers. Yet, bizarrely, almost in a comedic fashion, we have some fans absolving these people of blame. Wikipedia describes Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, as ‘a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them.’ The syndrome itself is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken in Stockholm, Sweden, in which several bank employees were held hostage in a bank vault from August 23 to 28, 1973, while their captors negotiated with police. During this standoff, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, rejected assistance from government officials at one point, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. Ok, I’ll admit at the outset the analogy is a bit strong but if we examine the last few years – from the excesses of Sir David Murray to the actions of Craig Whyte right through to the present day incumbents, there are examples of the above. These include the eyes-wide-shut worship of Murray onto the lauding of Whyte’s supposed net-worth despite all the evidence to the contrary at the very outset to some fans insisting the ‘current’ board are not to blame for the club’s position now. Indeed, not only do we have bloggers continue to suggest Charles Green remains interested in the well-being of the club but we have various fans eager to hold their own as culpable in Rangers’ problems. Apparently it’s Dave King, the Union of Fans or Sons of Struth’s fault that the club cannot pay its bills. Similarly, possible investors such as Dave King who has proven his good intentions to the tune of £20million previously are mocked and pushed away. Conversely, some supporters are eager to extoll the virtue of Mike Ashley’s ongoing involvement despite many Newcastle fans being desperate to rid their club of him. He’s a billionaire they cry – without acknowledging the reason for his success is the kind of questionable retail and naming deals he strikes with clubs such as ours. Let’s be clear: the future of the football club is again in serious question and the danger should not be under-estimated. There has been a shortfall of at least 12,000 season tickets and it’s this lack of working capital that is directly impacting upon the club’s ability to trade. Thus, those that suggest the fans are to ‘blame’ for the financial problems are at least partly correct but the reasons are worth examining as well as the club’s inability to address this serious problem. Never has it been clearer that our money runs the club year on year – not Sir David Murray’s, not Craig Whyte’s and certainly not the anonymous investors currently in control of it. Therefore, engaging with the support should be a priority for any regime looking to make a success of the club. For all his faults, Murray realised this and while he was by the dominant partner in that relationship, we did have a nominal seat at the table and aside from a few small issues (comparatively speaking anyway!) crowds were always high and only his cowardice led to the Whyte debacle. Yet even in the dark days of that era attendances didn’t drop and after administration we had capacity crowd after capacity crowd. The same can be said after we fell to Division Three – our support did not dissipate and our loyalty should never be questioned. Not by anyone – least of all our own. Unfortunately the last year or so has seen attitudes change: not due to fans becoming lazy or greedy but because of a combination of factors. Firstly it become clear that much of the substantial monies raised in backing the Charles Green ownership were wasted and his associates less than ideal custodians of the club. In the face of this criticism, board changes were made and supposedly extensive reviews into the business carried out but the paucity of these contributions didn’t provide much solace. A poor quality (or at best inconsistent) product on the park wasn’t helping but promised changes highlighted in the review to address this have not been forthcoming. Thus, reluctantly, and by way of protest, many fans chose to withhold their investment and, if we’re brutally honest, that’s understandable. Generally, the last year has seen fans become ever more frustrated with their club and increasingly obvious evidence that the incumbent board – or more accurately the decision-making investment groups – cannot turn things around. Not just in terms of the £30million investment talked of in their empirical reviews but the kind of credible and transparent leadership required to rebuild trust in the boardroom and entice fans back to Ibrox. With almost 250 staff members and overheads of aging stadiums, training grounds and dilapidated white elephant buildings, is it any wonder a new administration event looms large on the horizon? Consequently, where does that leave us? Well, I’d suggest we have two distinct pathways ahead. One: if as seems likely, the share offer is subscribed enough to defer our problems to another day; we’ll have the fait accompli of 75% share-holding levels for approval of AGM/EGM resolutions related to the sale and/or leaseback of club assets ¬– such as the Auchenhowie training ground which has consistently been ignored by club representatives when talking about such revenue sources. Or, two: investment groups are able by way of this issue to consolidate their holdings enough to enable a sale to other interested parties. Now, I won’t try to predict the outcome but I’m certain both the existing ownership and the likes of Dave King and/or Mike Ashley will have planned for these eventualities over the last year. The events of the last week won’t be a surprise to them. What is easier to predict is that without one of these outcomes an insolvency event is inevitable as things stand. However, misguided suggestions that this may be an agreeable solution make me uneasy. For example, will onerous contracts be removed by this process, would ownership be guaranteed to change after it and what of the club’s league position after the fact? We don’t know so, simply put, no-one should look at administration with anything other than horror. On the other hand, neither should fans be emotionally blackmailed into providing what appears to be an ever-more toxic board and ownership with a mandate to stumble on in charge. The time for making excuses for these people has long gone. There is no defence of Charles Green and, whether he’s still involved now or not, his associates on the ‘current’ board are equally tainted by their deficiencies. With that in mind, what options are available to fans? Not many is the desperate answer. Yes we have worthy share initiatives like Buy Rangers and Rangers First but with further financial uncertainty abound, can we really expect fans to invest in shares after the events of 2012? Even so, we absolutely must consider such projects with an open mind but with the greatest will in the world, they’re arguably not a short term solution. Nevertheless, possibly buyers engaging with these groups going forward would go a long way to cementing the fans’ contribution in a better future. Indeed, it’s only through that kind of undertaking that we may finally achieve the kind of bond between supporters and ownership that has been missing for so long. Unfortunately, such a positive conclusion seems difficult to attain. The coming weeks and months will define the future and it may well be beyond the fans abilities to impact upon this. Nevertheless, neither should we be held to ransom by people who will never understand the love we have for our football club. We have a choice and while I’d never begin to tell my fellow fans what to do, at some point we have to stop identifying with people who don’t share our love for our club. In that sense Stockholm syndrome is not a workable survival strategy – it just prolongs our inability to escape from the status quo and it’s that kind of clarity every fan needs for our battles ahead. Either that or be held prisoner forever.
  13. CELTIC could not push through the transfer of the one player who arrived at Parkhead on the final day of the transfer window - but managed to sign another player who failed to turn up. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell started the day in bitterly disappointed mood after Serbia forward Stefan Scepovic pulled out of a move. Lawwell then targeted Manchester City striker John Guidetti, who arrived at Celtic Park for talks. Guidetti, who scored 20 goals in 23 appearances for Feyenoord on loan in 2011-12 before injury derailed his career, remained at Parkhead in the evening but a loan deal for the 22-year-old Swede was not completed before the deadline. And now the Hoops are set to got to UEFA and claim extenuating circumstances prevented them from lodging the paperwork in time. One scenario is that the Swedish striker could negotiate his release from Manchester City, which would make him a free agent and thus able to sign for Celtic outwith the transfer window. Guidetti has spent five years with City, but is yet to make a first-team appearance. Scepovic U-turn Scepovic revived his interest in a move to Celtic and signed the contract that had been prepared for him after he passed a medical and secured a work permit in Paris at the weekend as the clock ticked down towards the end of the window. The 24-year-old, who joined in a £2 million-plus deal from Sporting Gijon, had seen an alternative move to Getafe fall through because of Spanish financial fair play rules. Celtic did release four strikers with Amido Balde joining Beveren on loan for the season and Teemu Pukki and Holmbert Fridjonsson both moving to Danish side Brondby in similar deals. Bahrudin Atajic, who made four first-team appearances, was released. Celtic held on to Virgil van Dijk on the day the defender earned his first Holland call-up for a friendly against Italy and a European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic. But another player leaving Celtic was Dylan McGeouch, who moved to Hibernian on loan until the end of the season but the Easter Road side failed in a bid for Leigh Griffiths. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/latest/celtic-to-appeal-to-uefa-over-john-guidetti-loan-1-3528085
  14. RANGERS fan George Letham has reluctantly agreed to give the Ibrox board a short extension to repay the £1million loan that was due last week. The wealthy supporter stepped in to lend his boyhood heroes the seven-figure sum earlier this year as chief executive Graham Wallace was forced to seek a quick fix to the Gers' cash crisis. As part of the agreement, Rangers were scheduled to give Letham his money back by the close of business on Friday, but after the Light Blues announced plans to raise around £4m in a share option last week, the prospect of him receiving his money appeared bleak. SportTimes understands Letham held full and frank discussions with Wallace on Saturday and agreed to a short extension to allow the under-fire board more time to come up with the money. With cash reserves running low at Ibrox, a refusal from Letham would have left Wallace and his fellow-directors with a huge financial headache. But after stepping up to the plate to help Rangers in their hour of need in March, the lifelong Light Blue was not prepared to pull the rug from under the board's feet at this time. The full extent of the Gers' financial plight was laid bare in a statement to the Stock Exchange last week when the board admitted that the future of Rangers International Football Club plc would be 'uncertain' if all 19 million of the new shares were not snapped up by existing investors in the coming weeks. Any funds that are raised will be used to pay off Letham's £1m loan and the £500,000 deal that was agreed with Sandy Easdale, both of which were secured against the Albion car park and Edmiston House. The Ibrox board originally clinched a deal with major shareholders Laxey Partners but that move came under huge criticism from supporters after it was revealed the Hedge Fund would collect £150,000 in interest payments for the short-term loan. Rangers had a cash balance of just £4.2m at June 30 this year, but with £2.7m of that unavailable as use for working capital, the board have been forced to issue more shares in a bid to repay Letham and Easdale and provide much-needed money for the coming weeks. With the financial picture once again bleak at Ibrox, boss Ally McCoist was unable to make any last-minute moves to bolster his squad before the transfer window closed last night. The Gers' two most valuable assets, Lee Wallace and Lewis Macleod, remain at the club, but seven players have gone out on loan - Barrie McKay (Raith Rovers), Calum Gallacher (Cowdenbeath), Danny Stoney (Stranraer), Luca Gasparotto (Airdrie), Robbie Crawford (Morton), Tom Walsh (Stenhousemuir) and Craig Halkett (Clyde). http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/letham-gives-rangers-extra-time-to-repay-1million-loan-178673n.25212709
  15. 2013 - European transfer deadline 11pm on Monday 2nd September as the 31st August fell on a weekend. 2014 - European transfer deadline 11pm on Monday 1st September as the 31st August fell on a weekend. 2014 - SFA follows other European countries without any fuss, statements or similar. 2013 - SFA closes deadline on Sat 31st August, as to extend it to Monday in line with the rest of Europe was not following "Sporting Integrity" Whats the difference I hear you ask? In 2013 Rangers illegal transfer embargo finished on 31 August 2013, therefore giving our club a very short window to sign players before the European deadline passed on the Monday. It was nothing to do with the Rangers situation according to the SFA it was to do with sticking to the Sporting Integrity of the deadline. Seems nobody in Media-land has the balls to bring up this clear breach of their own Integrity laws. Rhegan must be pissing himself all the way to Yorkshire with another pay cheque successfully banked.
  16. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail.html?announcementId=12066370
  17. LIKE so many Rangers supporters of his generation, Lewis Macleod grew up idolising both Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller. So to find himself in the same side as the strike duo at Ibrox this season has been nothing short of a surreal experience for the youngster. "I watched Kris and Kenny when I was a boy so to be playing alongside them now is pretty weird," he said. "But it is brilliant as well. I am loving every minute of it." It has been obvious from his performances so far this term that Macleod has relished taking to the field alongside the two high-profile acquisitions. It was anticipated that the 20-year-old midfielder would take some time to rediscover his best form this season. He was, after all, sidelined for the second half of the last campaign with a debilitating virus that at one stage started to affect the muscles around his heart. Even Ally McCoist, a huge admirer of the skilful playmaker, felt he would have to be eased gently back into competitive action after he got the all-clear from medical staff to resume training. Yet Macleod has picked up where he left off last year and has been arguably the most consistent and effective Rangers player in their first seven competitive outings. He's also netted four goals in all competitions - a brace against Clyde and one apiece against Hibs and Falkirk. It was no surprise when he was linked with a move to English Championship club Wigan earlier this week. The speed with which the Scotland Under-21 internationalist has adapted to the demands of first-team football has surprised even him. However, he feels that the new arrivals to the Glasgow club have helped him to settle back into the side effortlessly. McCoist added five players to his squad before the transfer window shut on Monday night: Boyd, Miller, Darren McGregor, Marius Zaliukas and keeper Lee Robinson. The veteran strikers plus central defenders McGregor and Zaliukas slotted straight into the side and, after a shaky start, are performing well. "The new boys have fitted in perfectly," said Macleod. "In the first few games Boydy didn't really get going. But he is certainly off the mark now. "He got a hat-trick against Clyde and two against Queen's Park. He is also playing well for the team and is creating chances for others. "Kenny was injured for a few games but came back last Saturday and scored against Queen of the South at Ibrox." THE Ibrox starlet admitted: "It is strange to be playing with Boydy and Kenny and Lee McCulloch, too, as I grew up watching them. "I just put that to the back of my mind and concentrate on doing as well as I can. "It is fantastic to be alongside them in the Rangers starting XI as they are great players and can hopefully help us push on to more success. "It has been enjoyable to play with them. Hopefully they can keep doing as well as they've been doing so far and we can enjoy a good season." Winning the SPFL Championship and completing "The Journey" from the bottom tier back to the top flight is the first priority for Macleod and his Rangers team-mates in the months ahead. Their next task in that league quest will be a tricky trip to Kirkcaldy to face Raith Rovers a week on Friday. But with so many experienced players in the squad at Ibrox, their other objective will be to do well in the cup competitions - Petrofac Training Cup, League Cup and Scottish Cup. Macleod's call-up to the national Under-21s squad was a contributing factor in the postponement of the Petrofac Training Cup quarter-final tie against East Fife that was originally scheduled for Bayview this Saturday. Last week he helped the Gers beat Queen's Park to book a tantalising League Cup second round match against Premiership leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It will be fascinating to see how the League One champs fare against their undefeated top-flight opponents at Ibrox on Tuesday, September 16. Macleod is confident his side can overcome the Highlanders, who beat them 3-0 at Ibrox in the same tournament two seasons ago. He feels that would show this Rangers side is capable of holding its own in the Premiership. "Inverness are an in-form side," he said, "but we are all looking forward to the match. "Hopefully we can beat Raith in our next league game and continue our good run of form into that cup tie. "We obviously want to beat Inverness. It would be brilliant and would prove a point. We did not play well the last time we met Inverness. It was even in the first half but they got the better of us after the break and won the game. "We will be looking for a different scoreline on September 16. The young boys who played that night, myself included, are more experienced now. "We all have over two seasons of senior football under our belts. "Plus, we've brought in some new players who have added a lot of quality. "A lot of things have changed here since we played Inverness the last time around. I hope we can see the difference when we play again." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangers-star-lewis-its-fan-tastic-to-play-with-my-heroes-178818n.25218452
  18. Bill Leckie; Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. If they don’t heed those words as the vultures circle Ibrox once again, then hell mend them. First time their club went to the wall, they manned the barricades to protect it from a big, nasty outside world. For that, no matter what other thoughts you have on the matter, their loyalty surely deserves to be applauded. But now? Two-and-a-half years on? If, despite being given a second chance to repair the horrendous mistakes of the past, a club with this level of support goes into administration AGAIN? Sorry, but if it was me I wouldn’t give them another penny. On Saturday, once more, thousands turned up brandishing red cards to express their unhappiness at the way the love of their lives is being mismanaged. And, once more, those responsible for the mismanagement laughed up their sleeves at the pointlessness of the protest. Because to brandish those red cards, you have to pay your money to get inside the stadium. Which hands yet more cash to the people you’re protesting at so they can go ahead and waste it. Listen, what do I know? They’re not my club and the one I do follow has never been to the heights Rangers have reached to suffer such a humiliating, disorientating fall. I’m just someone looking in and wondering how the hell, in all good conscience, Bluenoses can carry on regardless if and when the accountants take over the asylum once more. Actually, don’t answer that. It’s not a can of worms that’s worth opening, this We-Are-The-People, Rangers-Till-I-Die, stick-your-fingers-in-your-ears-and-sing-Follow-Follow mindset. So, for what it’s worth, let me instead pass on my suggestion for what they should do if their club re-enters the abyss. Sod it. Turn their backs on it. Give it, as a man on the other side of Glasgow once said, not one more thin dime. And instead, invest in the future of Scottish clubs who DO run their affairs honestly and who DO have respect for those who click the turnstiles. Go and back your old skipper Barry Ferguson as he tries to make things happen at Clyde. Go and see what another ex-player in Gary Bollan’s doing with Airdrie. If you’re from Fife, go and watch East Fife or Cowdenbeath. If you’re in Angus, hand your tenner to Arbroath or Brechin, Forfar or Montrose. If you donÂ’t want to give up your wee jaunt over from Northern Ireland, get off the ferry and stroll up to Stair Park. There’s been a school of thought among some these last couple of years that Rangers being forced to do the grand tour of the colonies meant the lower divisions should have been grateful for the gate receipts and the TV handouts. For me, this always got it the wrong way round. It was those inside Ibrox should have been thankful that they were in still in business and ABLE to head for Elgin and Berwick and Stranraer. Now, as fresh financial catastrophe looms, I’d put it to Rangers fans that they could do far more good for far more people if they stopped pouring money into what has long since ceased to be “their” club and started drip-feeding it to those who genuinely are the game’s lifeblood. Why? I’ll give you three good reasons. One, those halfwits in your directors’ box shouldn’t be trusted with the remote for the telly, never mind your wages. Two, that 30,000-odd of you spread among the country’s 20-odd part-time clubs would not only create better atmospheres but also help to cement football in communities for the long term. And three? You might just get to relax and enjoy the game, rather than always being angry and stressed about it. Watching Ayr United play Stenhousemuir might just extend your life. The alternative to this is a simple one. Stand your ground and, by your very presence, condone the halfwits in the directors’ box. Two-and-a-half years on from that first administration and the liquidation that followed, these halfwits need to scramble together £4million in a matter of days to keep their heads above water. To achieve this, they may need to flog their saleable players before the transfer window closes, which will hamper your hopes of promotion back to the top flight. If they don’t raise the money, they stand to suffer a 25-point deduction as punishment for a second spell in administration, all but ending those promotion hopes. How, with the wages they pay and the crowds they attract and the sheer intimidatory force of their name that is a two-goal start against far smaller opposition, can this possibly be? How the lumping hell can the people running a club the size of Rangers be handed the chance they were to start again, to build sensibly, to tool up for their return to where they want to be, and yet fail so utterly miserably? How? The clue is in the word halfwits. So maybe I’ve got this all the wrong way round. And it’s those Ibrox directors who should be sent to the outposts of the footballing empire instead. Maybe Graham Wallace and the Easdales and whoever else is a player in this embarrassing saga are the ones who need to go out into the real world and see how real football people operate. Trust me, if a month shadowing the treasurer at Albion Rovers didn’t shame them into living within their means, liquidation’s too good for them.
  19. CELTIC last night suffered a major transfer window blow as their £2.2 million deal for Stefan Scepovic collapsed. The highly-rated Sporting Gijon striker, 24, had been identified as Celtic’s main transfer target and looked certain to put pen to paper on a four-year deal with the Scottish champions. But the club, who last week exited the Champions League, were left deeply disappointed when the Serbian’s representatives indicated he would not be signing and will now move elswehere, with Getafe believed to be the front-runners. Manager Ronny Deila now faces a frantic final day scramble to bring in a forward before the transfer window closes at 11pm tonight. Deila also insisted that Leigh Griffiths will not be allowed to go on loan to Hibs after the striker came off the bench to score the equaliser in his team’s 1-1 draw with Dundee. Virgil van Dijk, who had hoped for a move to England and was left out of the team yesterday, has also been told he is going nowhere. Speculation about a short-term return to Easter Road by Griffiths has grown as the closure of the transfer window neared, and was heightened on Saturday night after current Hibs front man Farid El Alagui was injured in his club’s humiliating defeat at Alloa. But Deila refused to confirm that any club had approached Celtic about the player, and said his emphasis was on adding to his squad. “I don’t know,” he said when asked about a bid for Griffiths. “I haven’t heard that, but that’s no option. Leigh Griffiths is going to stay. No players are going out. It is important to get people fit and back from injury, get the new players in and get them playing matches so we have a strong and good squad for the fantastic games we are going to have after the next 14 days.” Celtic were far more potent in attack after Griffiths had come on, and they were also a lot more vulnerable at the back without Van Dijk, going behind in the opening minute to a James McPake header. “There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of thinking for him,” Deila said of the 23-year-old defender. “He’s a very important player for us, a very good player – and we’ve told him there’s no chance he is going to leave. He’s too important to us, so there’s no chance we’ll let him go during this window. We couldn’t replace him. So he is going to stay here. Of course it’s hard for him and he’s had a lot of thinking to do. But it will not be a problem. His girlfriend is also pregnant and due soon. So he hasn’t had the right focus. He wouldn’t have been 100 per cent today – that is why he didn’t play. “He needs a couple of days to get this out of his system, get thinking positively again. He’s a player we want to have and we’d like to sign him on an even longer contract. That’s how it is. We need good players here and we need to have his kind of player if we want to get the results we need. So that is no problem. “He had, of course, wishes to get to a new stage. He is a young player and he’ll get many chances in his career. But now we need him here and he knows that and that is how it is going to be.” Deila refused to say whether he or Van Dijk had made the final decision that the Dutchman would not be in the squad at Dundee. “We talked about it,” he added. “When you are not 100 per cent at Celtic you can’t play. Then other players can do a better job and that is how it is.” Deila hinted more signings were possible before the window closes, saying the club were “working all the time to see what the options are”. He refused to say whether Amido Balde would be allowed out on loan, and declined to comment when asked if he had made or would make a bid for Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong. “We’ll see what’s happening. On Tuesday everyone will see what the squad is.” http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/blow-for-celtic-as-stefan-scepovic-deal-collapses-1-3526698
  20. Yet another Sinky got wrong Just got a move to Norwich City that could net Falkirk £1 million. I watched him play in the same youth team as Darren Ramsay and Charlie Telfer for a couple of years, where as he may not have been the standout he wouldn't have been a candidate for release in my opinion. Gary Oliver who recently scored for Hearts, Lewis Spence and Lewis Martin who are now regulars at Dunfermline also played in the same team on occasions although they are a year younger.
  21. RANGERS boss Ally McCoist is hoping his squad can remain intact after new fears were raised over the future of the Ibrox club. The troubled Glasgow giants announced yesterday that they need to raise at least £3million from a new share offering later this year. That shock admission led to speculation that Gers stars like Lewis Macleod and Lee Wallace could be sold to generate much-needed cash. Light Blues left-back Wallace has been linked with a move to English Championship club Brighton during the summer. However, McCoist has not been told he has to offload anyone and is hoping the transfer window closes on Monday night without his top players leaving. He said: "I'm happy with the squad I've got. In an ideal world, we'd have tweaked it a wee bit here and there but we have a good pool of players. We have strengthened up front and at the back. "Like every other manager and coach in the country, I would like to add a little bit here and there. "But if we don't have the opportunity to do that then I'm delighted with the boys I've got. "I haven't been told people have to go before people come in. Without stating the obvious, in the current climate I don't see much incoming activity at the moment." However, McCoist accepted the financial uncertainty at Rangers could result in rival clubs making knockdown bids for his leading players in the coming days. He said ahead of today's match with Queen of the South: "I would obviously hope as a manager that bids would be turned down. "I'm happy with my squad and I don't want to see it being depleted. "But I do know what's involved in football and I know that sometimes people make decisions that can alter your squad. That's part and parcel of football. "I could understand if clubs felt we may have to sell players, but I would hope that no bids come in for any of the players. We'll just have to wait and see what happens." He added: "If we did lose someone we'd just have to regroup and get on with it. "As I say, I'm not expecting to lose anyone. I'm expecting to go with the squad we've got and hopefully that's the case. "You obviously look at the squad and would like to add in one or two departments to make us stronger. "But the whole thing is a very slow process. We are absolutely miles away from where we want to be, but at the same time we are definitely stronger than we were a year or two years ago. Hopefully we will continue to grow in strength. "I spoke with Graham this morning and met him earlier this week. " There haven't been any budget talks as such but we have spoken about players and the squad. He didn't say that we had to sell. "I could let this get me down if I allowed it to. But I'm looking forward to a good game against a really good team. "That's how you keep yourself positive and focused because this will be a real game." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangers-boss-mccoist-in-transfer-plea-to-board-178352n.25188235
  22. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22037966 Hopefully this will herald a bigger sportlight on the shady goings on in the east of the city by CFC, GCC et all...
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