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  1. FOREWORD: The author would like to thank the author of The Football Tax Havens Blog for the provision of some of the information used in this article. There is one thing I can say with some certainty regarding the HMRC enquiry into Rangers Football Club and that is that it has left a legacy of confusion, contradiction, misdirection ( some of which may either be deliberate or as a consequence of gross negligence) and of course, last but not least, accusation. The fact that some of the key players involved in the whole process now face criminal prosecution should confirm, for even the casual onlooker, that all has not been above board. Allow me to illustrate courtesy of these two links, which contain contradictory information, but nonetheless, were written in good faith by the respective authors. http://sport.stv.tv/blog/203241-rang...ions-answered/ http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/new...kets-by-gbp73m The former link written by Mike Farrell for STV attributes HMRC as the largest single creditor at the time of rejection of the CVA whilst the second link written by Rachael Singh for AccountancyAge suggests at the time HMRC vetoed the proposed the CVA they were in fact the second largest single creditor. What we do know is that at some point Duff & Phelps added the outstanding potential estimated liability regarding EBT’s to the overall bill due to HMRC. A potential bill which never came to fruition due to the rulings of various Tax Tribunals in favour of Rangers. What is both concerning and alarming is that such “confusion” appears to extend to high level executives within HMRC itself as this Public Accounts Committee Q & A demonstrates. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevi...ral/11443.html In question 54/55, tendered by Anne McGuire MP, Mr Jim Harra – Director General Business Tax HMRC, moves to correct Ms McGuire regarding her apparent “misapprehension” by responding as follows: “It has been in the media. This dispute on employee benefit trusts was not the reason why Rangers went into liquidation. It was for non-payment of their standard pay-as-you-earn and VAT obligations.” No Mr Harra that is not entirely accurate either. That is the reason that Rangers went into administration. The reason Rangers went into liquidation is because, as either the primary or secondary creditor, HMRC the organisation you represent, vetoed the proposal for a CVA. It is really asking too much of HMRC officials, particularly high ranking ones to provide accurate information in response to questions from Members of Parliament who sit on a Public Accounts Committee? Furthermore, just to add some added spice to this bubbling pot of confusion and accusation, the reasons for such refusal are themselves subject to considerable speculation. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/q...0639n.24716091 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...probe.24725771 In the questions aforementioned Ms McGuire also raises the subject of pre-litigation settlement. It is perhaps worth highlighting at this point that Rangers were not the first football club to fall foul of HMRC. In 2005 during Ray Parlour’s divorce proceedings it was revealed that during season 2000/01 Parlour paid tax at a rate of only 22% courtesy of an off shore benefit trust operated by Arsenal. HMRC reacted to this information billing Arsenal for £12 million which they settled in full. While the differing circumstances of each case make a side by side comparison impractical, it does raise the question of why HMRC waited 5 years to pursue Rangers in respect of an EBT payment scheme previously declared in annual accounts) Returning to the subject of settlement Mr Harra responds: “In terms of when we decide to litigate, we have a published litigation and settlements strategy that states we will settle only for what we believe we are due under the law. If we believe that we have a greater than evens chance of getting more by litigating than what we can get by settling, generally speaking that is what we will do: we will litigate. We are proud of the success record that we have in litigation. In avoidance cases, we win about 80% of all the cases that we litigate, but that does mean we are not successful in 20% of them. We are disappointed by the upper-tier tribunal decision in the Rangers case. It is still something that can be the subject of appeal, so I cannot go into too much detail about the litigation itself, but, as I said, we have a very good track record and we may not have reached the end of the line on this one.” Of course such litigation is at public taxpayer’s expense. Perhaps Ms McGuire would care to ask HMRC at the next Q & A why a government agency whose remit is to bring people to account for failing to keep meticulous financial records, cannot themselves keep accurate records with regard to their own operating costs. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...-case.26228807 So in summary we have HMRC continuing to pursue Rangers FC (Oldco) at public expense, having refused an offer of an earlier settlement, in the belief they will be “getting more by litigating than we can by settling” despite the fact HMRC themselves forced the company they are pursuing into liquidation. Perhaps Ms McGuire would care to ask what financial settlement HMRC hope to achieve from a liquidated company. The more you add up the sums the less it makes logical or financial sense, in fact it only serves to add credibility to the accusation that HMRC’s rejection of a CVA was to ensure an investigation into Rangers directors and owners. If the circumstances aforesaid have caused you to utter the words “scandalous” then you may want to re-think your choice of words. In the Rangers Tax Case HMRC considered that the appointment of EBT funds on to a sub-fund or sub-trust for the benefit of a particular employee and/or their family gave rise to a PAYE charge. HMRC were also of the opinion that loans provided from these sub-funds were not loans, but were akin to a bonus available without any chance of repayment and, therefore, again subject to PAYE. What lifts this above even “scandalous” is such arguments have been challenged unsuccessfully before in the cases of Dextra Accessories ([2005] STC 1111) and Sempra Metals ([2007] STC 1559), yet HMRC continue to put forward this argument, at the tax payers expense of course Sometimes “scandalous” is just not enough.
  2. By Donald MacLeod, 1 February 2015 8.03am. New York may have locked down in preparation for a “Snowmaggedon” that never came, but sadly in Glasgow it seems we are in great danger of doing the very same thing Not over dodgy weather forecasting, I might add, but over “dodgy” football fixtures – particularly those between bitter Old Firm/New Co Firm (what does it matter) rivals Celtic and Rangers. This afternoon, in case you’ve been living on Mars, sees the rare return of those footballing titans, who will square up to each other at Hampden. It’s a game which will have the winner earning the right to play against the victor of yesterday’s New Firm match in the final of the Scottish League Cup, but is one that will probably be remembered not for the football but for all the wrong reasons. The media hyperbole and Police Scotland’s overzealous, and at times totally paranoid, approach to the build-up of this game has made sure of that. So much so that the other semi-final, again between two bitter rivals, had barely been given a mention. I pointed this out to my Head of Marketing, an avid and disillusioned bluenose, and he hadn’t a clue there was even a game on. The fact that 40,000-plus fans with cash to spend were about to descend on Glasgow from the North East of Scotland in the early hours of Saturday morning had totally escaped his notice! Time had stopped for him, as it had for many in this city. Sunday was all that mattered. Police Scotland see it rather differently. They have already rounded up known hooligans in both cities and all eyes, ears, CCTV and handcuffs were not just focused on today’s big match but yesterday’s as well. But was another inhospitable ring of steel thrown around the the city to greet all those arriving from the north really the best way to protect and promote the city. It seems so wrong on so many levels. The hysterical hype and threats of severe punishments being exacted on those caught up in the fervour and crossfire of both games, but especially today’s, has reached epic proportions. Not only do we have both sets of fans being warned to be on their best behaviour or else, which is understandable given their past acrimonious encounters, but the players and managers have been as well. Celtic players have been banned from tweeting. Many pubs and clubs have also been told they will face the full force of the law and possible loss of licence if they are captured serving someone who is a wee bit too merry or who bursts into song. Fans have even been told that they cannot now take a flag or banner into the stadium unless they are also carrying a fire safety certificate! Come on, it’s becoming ridiculous! Do we really need such a heavy sledgehammer to crack so few bigoted nuts? We are not only driving football further into the gutter with our OTT hype but crippling business at the same by scaring non-football fans, shoppers, tourists, students, diners, clubbers and residents away from the city. Fear is being used here as a tactic to intimidate and deter and that is feeding the frenzy and creating yet more animosity Glasgow shouldn’t be closed off or be a place to be feared. It should be open and welcoming to all! If we regard ourselves as an open, free and tolerant society then we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become the exact opposite – closed, restrictive and intolerant every time the Old Firm are thrown together. Of course the full force of the law should be applied to those who cause trouble. The book should be thrown at them and the key chucked away. But the vast majority of fans aren’t troublemakers and neither is the general public – and all those trying to eke out a living in very trying times shouldn’t be treated as if they are. http://www.sundaypost.com/news-views/columnists/donald-macleod/over-the-top-old-firm-hype-will-penalise-the-city-1.818620
  3. Excellent statement from The Blue Order. TBO Backs Rangers First and Buy Rangers. 29th Jan 2015 The Blue Order are pleased to confirm that the group has made a £500 contribution to both RST BuyRangers and Rangers First, to include life membership of both schemes. This outlay represents a very significant amount of our group funds but we felt that it was crucial that we played our part in committing to the current collective effort of the Rangers support to attain as many shares as possible ahead of the upcoming EGM. Within TBO, there is a strong appetite for significant and meaningful fan ownership and we wish to urge all our fellow fans to pursue this aspiration as much as possible. The journey to Fan Ownership will be a long and testing one, but the momentum currently carrying all fan share investment schemes is very encouraging to say the least and within our fanbase, is certainly unprecedented. TBO would like to think that the days of the Rangers support sitting idly by, whilst various self-serving custodians take advantage of the club are over. Rangers Football Club should be managed for the benefit of Rangers and the fans, not for anyone else. Given recent events and the latest disgraceful decision to hand more assets and revenue streams to asset strippers, we all know how difficult this will be, but we must campaign and organise for the fight and hope that a successful conclusion to the EGM issue will not be the end but instead will be a catalyst for real change toward significant fan ownership. Ahead of the League Cup Semi Final v Them, TBO had discussed putting funds toward a display as we have done previously at Hampden. Current group issues and logistics meant that this would be difficult to produce, to live up to the standards of previous efforts by ourselves and others. There was already talk of buying shares and we believe that our funds are better to be used at this current time on fan share schemes than a one-off display. Considering this, TBO would encourage all fans going to the game at Hampden to bring a flag or banner. A sea of red, white and blue in the Rangers end can look as good as any organised display. We ask those who have not already joined Buy Rangers or Rangers First to do so immediately, get yourself involved and ask your friends and family members too. This is something that all Rangers fans can be part of, from as little as £5 per month. This is not about TBO or any other group. This is about our Rangers which belongs to us all. This is about a collective effort that can make a difference if we all want it to. Two schemes, join either or both but do join! Are you in? #sharesforthebears www.therst.co.uk www.rangersfirst.org
  4. ...Celtic and Rangers fans ridicule police safety warning ahead of Old Firm clash. FANS who take flags to Sunday's League Cup semi final will be asked to prove they are fireproof by showing safety certificates to police. FOOTBALL fans taking flags to Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Hampden will have to show safety certificates proving they are fireproof, it was revealed yesterday. Celtic and Rangers fans have also been told all banners will be inspected before being allowed into the stadium. Any banners or flags judged to have provocative, sectarian or objectionable messages or images will be confiscated. It’s understood police will return the banners to their owners after the powder keg League Cup semi-final. Celtic tweeted the warning to their fans and also told them that canes supporting flags must be a certain size or come with a safety certificate. Celtic fan liasion officer John Paul Taylor said: “All banners will be subject to inspection and must be fire retardant material. Take a certificate if you have one.” An insider said: “This is not a new requirement but it’s being enforced due to the background of the teams playing. Police are being extra cautious.” Fans took to social media to mock the rules for attending the sell-out match, which will see the bitter rivals meet for the first time in three years. Chaznoon tweeted: “Fireproof? Really?! In a non-smoking stadium? It’ll be no shell suits next!” Another user, Croppybhoy69, said: “I take two flags to home games. No certificate ever asked for. Police are ridiculous.” And Rodfather67 mocked the conditions imposed by Police, saying: “Obviously they are all proper militia fire retardant issue.” Celtic have advised fans to attend their local fire station with their flags and firefighters will be able to check them and issue a safety certificate. Police refused to comment. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/prove-your-flags-wont-burn-5062138
  5. ...bring back memories of administration at Ibrox. AFTER Mike Ashley stepped up his Ibrox power grab with another huge loan this week KEITH asks; is the Sports Direct supremo actually asset-stripping Rangers or is he preparing to negotiate with a new board? IS Mike Ashley asset-stripping Rangers ? That’s the question asked under parliamentary privilege at the House of Commons on Tuesday and one the Newcastle owner will have to answer if, as expected, he is summoned to attend a Westminster enquiry . On the face of it, there seems a strong case for the prosecution. In the last few days, and without even stepping foot in Glasgow, Ashley has managed to sweep through Ibrox, scooping up just about everything of value that wasn’t nailed down. Had he bothered to turn up in person he might have made his way home on the famous old St Etienne bike, testing the integrity of its 37-year-old frame to the full. Integrity. Now there’s a word that might cause Ashley more discomfort than half an hour on a racer’s saddle. There are 7.125billion people on the planet. Only 292 of them have more money than Ashley. And yet this champion of the zero hours contracts dumped 200 workers from his high street fashion store USC on to the dole just after Christmas without so much as a lump of coal for a thank you. Integrity? In Big Mike’s world that’s for wimps. Little wonder then that he has acted so brazenly in his Ibrox power grab. With one hand he has fed Rangers with a succession of life-saving drip-feed loans while with the other he’s throttled it into submission. His latest £10million handout was his way of parcelling up an entire institution into one of those vulgar, oversized Sports Direct carrier bags. As bargains go, this one takes some beating. For the price of a fully repayable loan (or in other words for not a single penny) Ashley controls every last bit of Rangers FC, from the old boardroom to the dressing rooms inside Murray Park. His commercial contract has been massively beefed up – Sports Direct now own 75 per cent of the club’s own retail company – which means the badges and crests are now in Ashley’s name too. Also as part of the new agreement, if Rangers should strike a multi-million shirt sponsorship deal, the vast majority of that money will go straight into Ashley’s back pocket. So, in summary, a business already teetering on the verge of insolvency has now taken on a mountain of new debt, while giving up huge chunks of its only existing revenue. Now I’m no Lord Sugar but even so, the logic being applied here seems so flawed that it’s bordering on insane. This business now has its bare toes curled around the summit of Everest, having pawned off its safety harness. With one puff of his chubby red cheeks, Ashley could blow the whole thing into oblivion. In fact, this latest decision by a board which is itself not fit for purpose has a very familiar and nasty whiff of madness to it. And the similarities don’t end there because another red flag was raised in Tuesday’s Stock Exchange statement and it came in the form of two words that became part of the Rangers discussion during Craig Whyte’s chaotic end of days – floating charge. Now Ashley too has placed a floating charge over the club’s assets and although this may be purely coincidental, while his motives and strategy remain a complete mystery, it ought to raise the general level of alarm. So is Ashley actually asset-stripping Rangers right in front of the eyes of its supporters? Or is this latest move the latest part of some other plan for the Ibrox club? Those who study Ashley’s dealings closely describe him as the ultimate high-roller poker player. They are quick to point out too that, deliberately inserted into Tuesday’s statement, was a line about all of these agreements being reversible upon repayment. It could be, in tieing up all of the above, Ashley is merely about to spread them down like a massive pile of casino chips. That he is preparing for defeat at an egm in the knowledge that Dave King’s requisition already has majority support among the club’s shareholders. Certainly, if any of these city types were previously undecided as to which way to cast their votes, the terms of Tuesday’s £10m loan shark deal would have helped make up their minds. If anything, by accepting Ashley’s deal over a rival offer from Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, the board may have significantly bolstered the mood for regime change. Where the numbers are concerned, King’s hand has just been strengthened. Even so, Ashley heads into this showdown holding all the aces. Even if the board is obliterated, King will still have to deal with the man who controls the club’s assets. And Ashley will call the shots. What he will not do is roll over. He’s had serious skin in this Rangers game for too long to fold now. Ashley has been at the table for more than two years, ever since he handed £1m to Charles Green in advance of the £22m IPO of December 2012. Sports Direct has been stuffing its tills with blue pounds ever since courtesy of Green’s incredible generosity. His old pal Derek Llambias was even invited into Ibrox around the same time to strike a deal which saw Ashley buy the stadium’s naming rights for a pound. Llambias now sits at the head of the board in his role as CEO but he too has been around this saga for longer than most will have realised. He owns 51 per cent of a PR firm called Keith Bishop Associates who, around the time of that IPO, were invoicing former Finance Director Brian Stockbridge for all manner of sums without ever appearing to engage in any actual PR for the club. Stranger still, these payments were being signed off at a time when Green was hiring his own PR guru. Ironically, Llambias was appointed to the Rangers board late in 2014, not long after the Keith Bishop contract had been terminated by his predecessor Graham Wallace. Intriguing isn’t it? So on Monday afternoon I contacted Keith Bishop, who acts as Ashley’s official spokesperson, by phone earlier to ask him about some of this mysterious stuff. He requested I submit any questions via an email. That email landed in his inbox less than half an hour later. It took him until last night to respond in an email which read: “This company’s relationship with its clients are, and remain, confidential and not open to be discussed in the public domain.” All of which just goes to prove that it’s getting harder and harder to get a straight answer to anything Rangers related these days. So is Ashley really asset-stripping Rangers? Or is he gearing up for a massive game of negotiation poker with King and a new board? That would certainly seem the more logical view. But then again, this is Rangers. Logic left the building some time ago. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/keith-jackson-mike-ashleys-rangers-5062140
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP7xL2Eco6c This was a flag that the Standard Liege supporters unfurld at their game against Anderlecht. The flag depicts the beheading of Steven Defour who played for Standard before moving to Porto and now returned to join Anderlecht. The player was obviously distraught on seeing the flag. Surely this is going past the borders of supporting your club.For me it is dispicable.
  7. keith jackson ‏@tedermeatballs I'm not going to use the phrase 'statement klaxon' again. But, yes, I think one will be along very shortly....
  8. The Union of Fans is calling on Rangers fans to stage a "mass demonstration" outside Ibrox 45 minutes before kick-off tomorrow night.
  9. Just heard that one of them has loaned the club 500,000 pounds to keep things ticking over. Anyone else heard this
  10. The Second Official Semi-Annual Gersnet Dinner (with Special Guest Star Dave Smith) will be held at Malaga Tapas, 213-215 St Andrew's Rd, Glasgow G41 1PD http://malagatapas.co.uk/ at 5.30pm on Saturday, 6 December 2014 (subject to alteration if the Rangers v Cowdenbeath fixture is moved). Rangers Hall of Fame Legend, Dave Smith, who played in our second and third Cup Winners Cup Finals, has kindly agreed to give a short talk on THE ROAD FROM NUREMBERG TO BARCELONA and will answer questions thereafter. (Edit 21/11/2014. Now that we have exceeded 20 persons we will have private use of the new café next door to the original restaurant. The owner, Cristobal has obtained a special licence for the event.) All the other arrangements will be the same as last time. The price of the dinner itself will remain at £18.00. However, in order to cover the cost of Dave’s dinner, the final price will be £19.50. The sharp mathematicians amongst you will note that this is based on a “minimum” of 12 people attending i.e. the same as last time. If we get less than 12, then those present will have to make up the difference; if more than 12, then the balance will go into the drinks kitty. The dinner price really only covers the standard Malaga Tapas deal, which is for 3 tapas per person and a dessert of your choice; however, in our case it will include a primer plato of meats and bread and choice of paellas after the tapas. Again, as last time there will be at least 6 different tapas, x3 per person and three different paellas. If anyone has any particular favourites on the menu http://malagatapas.co.uk/menu/ please post and Cristobal will do his best to oblige. I don’t think anyone will go hungry. To quote GS “Never seen so much food as was at Malaga” Deposit & Payment Whilst it would be easier if everyone paid the full amount up front, I am happy to take a £10 deposit p/p by the end of this month and the balance whenever it suits before the event. For those who were there last time, the bank details are the same. Newcomers pleased PM me and I will supply the bank details. When making any payments please use your Gersnet nom de plume as a reference and PM me a confirmation with your full name and a contact telephone number. (I lost most of the details I had when my phone went into sick bay.) I am very confident that with your support we will build on the success of the first dinner.
  11. Thought this worth sharing from FF: "Lifted this from another forum, some things we didn't know about players, training etc!! Training seems like a hoot! http://www.hat-trick.fr/sebastien-fa...st-jimmy-bell/ You’ve been here for two years now. What does “Rangers” mean to you? (After a long time spent thinking) Well it’s easy to say this and a bit of a cliché, but it’s a religion. There’s football here which is one thing, but then there’s Rangers, the fans, and everyone else associated with the club, it’s amazing…even after the club was relegated to Division 4, people kept their jobs at Ibrox or at Murray Park. And they are just so proud to work here, and they so proud to say “I work for Rangers”. When you are a professional player, you tend to move from club to club, it’s part of the job. It’s not easy to really absorb the culture and ethos of a club, apart from those who stay for years and years and really become ingrained in the fabric of the club, like Lee McCulloch. Sometimes, the supporters shout at you or get angry. But you can’t let it get to you, you can only do your talking on the pitch. They’ve had so much good football over the years that I think they sort of have a right to be angered, to be honest. In any case, playing at Ibrox is far from easy. There’s so much pressure. You can be winning 2-0, but if you misplace just one pass you’ll be whistled. I mean I heard a few boos at the Gerland (Lyon stadium), but never like the one’s you get here sometimes! (laughs) Did it take you long to learn what it meant to play for a club like Rangers? What did you expect when you came over? No, I didn’t expect it to be honest. I knew Rangers were a massive club, but I didn’t know how they were perceived by the other Scottish clubs. The Glasgow clubs really are hated by the other Scottish clubs. It’s incredible! What’s more, you have to understand that I was a but unsure about coming over here in the first place. I said to my agent: “You’re kind, but I’m not sure if I want to be dropping down to play in Division 4 in France” and he said “It’s Division 4 in Scotland”. He said: “Seb, please, just go over for a few days, check out the facilities and the stadium, you’ll soon change your mind.” On the first day of my trial I trained with the reserves, and it went well. That night, I went to see the first team play in the League Cup again East Fife. It was a Tuesday night, we won 4-0 and almost 40, 000 fans were there. It was…mad, just mad. I called up my agent and said: “If you can sort it out for me, I really want to stay here!” Everything you do and say is reported on and scrutinised at a club like Rangers. Has the press had an influence on the atmosphere at the club? First of all you need to understand that the press and its reporters here are a million times worse than in France! I’m sure I’ve seen the word “crisis” used to describe our club just about every day of the year, even when we win. Taking this into consideration, I do think that it’s had an influence. I must say, not on me personally. To be very honest, I don’t read the papers, apart from when they discuss politics or cover stories from France. But at the level of the club more generally, they have definitely had an influence. Ten days ago, an old team mate of McCoist’s, John Brown, said to the Sun: “You are a disgrace!” The coach brought us the article and he had an argument with Kenny Miller. After we got beaten by Hearts, apparently Miller had called up a journalist wanting to speak to him to tell him the manager had made some bad decisions, although it turned out that he hadn’t. McCoist got so angry: he threw the paper, he stamped on it, he was shouting and screaming! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him like that. Blacky brings the Sun in every morning, and we read it. McCoist reads all the papers every morning in his office at Murray Park, which by the way is enormous (laughs). I think that its mainly at the level of the club staff that the papers have an impact. In your eyes, who represents the soul of the club? Jimmy Bell the kitman. He’s been here since 1972, I think. It’s amazing that he was taking care of McCoist and Durrant when they were players, and now its them who are in charge. It’s an amazing story and an amazing history, one which you wouldn’t get at many clubs at all. Jimmy’s got his own room in Ibrox where he displays all the Rangers kits and all the Rangers photos that he’s collected over 40 years. In his office at Murray Park, there’s a room, which we are forbidden from entering (laughs), which has all of his souvenirs, his trophies…it’s his very own museum! When it looked like they might be re-possessing Ibrox, he had to pack up all his stuff because he was scared that it would be taken off him. He is really the soul of the club, its him, its Jimmy. He’s a great guy, even if he’s always sulking. You need to get to know him…I remember when I arrived on trial, I didn’t speak English. “You don’t speak English, ****ing French!?” he said (laughs). But I mean really nasty to me! But nowadays, along with Bilel, he tells us loads of stories, loads of jokes. He’s really a top guy, he’s golden. I’m trying to help our readers understand the complete devotion that Rangers inspires in people. To give us more of an insight, is it true that one of the players has got the logo of the club tattooed on his calf? Yeah its Danny Stoney! He’s a good lad who we’ve loaned out to Stranraer. He’s got a tattoo that’s blue, with red around it, and five golden stars in the middle. It’s amazing, simply amazing. When I was at Lyon, even though I was also a Lyon fan, I would never have got a Lyon tattoo. It would never have crossed my mind! It’s just a different type of relationship to the club here. At Lyon, if I’d have got a club tattoo while I was at the academy I’d have had the piss taken out of me! “Suck up!” they’d have said. Here, it is praised! But by contrast, at Lyon if you change your hairstyle or your clothes, people will talk about it. Here, no one cares! The outfits people wear here, and I’m talking about the players, are just….Take Lee Wallace for example, I’ve never seen him wearing jeans (laughs)! At Lyon, you dress well to be stylish or whatever, but here, not at all.
  12. Not only do we love to do names, we have become adept as a support at pigeon holing people. “****”, “Fan ****”, “ “Pro board” “Anti board” “The enemy within”, not forgetting the latest addition from the AGM - “Rats” - there seems little room for manoeuvre for those confused bears who wander around in a kind of no man’s land not knowing how to take the latest serving of propaganda from one of the various groups. In fact some would have you believe you are the “enemy within” if you dare to occupy that no man’s land, or more accurately, don’t agree with their viewpoint. I’ve never been a fan of emotional, descriptive terms to stir up feelings – they are a very poor substitute for cold hard facts. Ally’s shambolic departure was the perfect case in point. Some felt it necessary to leap to his defence as some kind of weapon against the board, whilst others indulged in less than complimentary negative emotional language. The sum total was to exacerbate an already extremely messy situation. I understand some even planned to sing “Super Ally” at the AGM in an effort to shame the board – you know at that point to wave goodbye to rational thought and reasoned thinking. A quick glance at our financial accounts, or the state of our club overall would tell you that we don’t need to sing songs glorifying a manager who has failed comprehensively to shame this board, the state of our club and the way they have “governed” is an indictment in itself. The masochist in me delights at mentioning our on field problems, only because they serve to remind us we are a football club and not a soap saga, though it’s hard sometimes to differentiate in this day and age. But for a support already disillusioned with off field events the added component of a failing team only compounds the problem. It not only rips into but comprehensively invades the world of the supporter who cares not a jot for boardroom politics and falling attendances along with absent season ticket holders bear testimony to that. It is a dangerous concoction and one any normal board would do well to take cognisance of. Of course some of us have seen it all before. It took David Holmes and a considerable amount of cash as well as revolutionary thinking to remedy the situation. Whether there is such an “out of the box” thinker or the necessary cash today is open to debate. What is not open to debate is the debilitating effect of the omnishambles both on and off the park and sadly, I see little or no evidence to suggest that it is being addressed. So as you sow, so shall you reap. Rangers is not a business, nor merely a football club it is way of life for so many of us. It’s not just about success on the park, it’s about the way the club conducts and carries itself, it’s about the standards it sets and seeks to uphold. We don’t wax lyrical about the “Rangers Way” for nothing. I’ve mentioned Harry Reid previously, an Aberdeen supporter who contributed to the book Born Under a Union Flag. Harry contributes much of the eroding of our standards and identity to the Murray years. “A club’s identity, or, to be more highfalutin, its soul, is a particularly precious thing. Forfeit it and you lose everything. If a club becomes the plaything of over-ambitious folk who have no understanding of it, there is serious trouble ahead. If it becomes the plaything of people who have no knowledge of its traditions and its values, then the trouble can be noxious.” I’d respectfully suggest we are now at security state “noxious” to use Harry’s words. If I had a pound for every Rangers fan who has said to me our club bears little semblance to that which they grew up with well we wouldn’t need a lottery winner to have a Rangers man in charge. I even know of one dyed in the wool bear on Gersnet forums who even muted starting up all over again, such are the levels of disillusionment. I’m reminded though of a chapter from Mary Pyper’s book “Writing to save the World”. She speaks of people displaced from the corridors of power, disempowered from the decision making processes, watching forlornly as, in some cases, their country’s become a mere shadow of what they once were. But rather than surrender or acquiesce to the unacceptable standards being foisted upon them, she directs the reader to those who have struggled to keep the social and moral conscience of their nation alive and in doing so ensure that the flame to which so many aspire to is never extinguished. It is up to us, the Rangers support to do this. We have to carry that mantle, because quite simply there is no-one else fit for purpose at this moment in time. The standards and values we cherish so dearly should be applied to one and all consistently, without fear, without favour and without malice, these are the standards we were raised with and safeguarding them together, I dare anyone to try and take them away. The greatest threat to that flame being extinguished is not from the SFA, the media, or any number of Rangers haters, the clear and present danger comes from ourselves and our inability to apply those standards we value so much, towards one another. “There is more power in unity than division” (Emanuel Cleaver)
  13. Keith Jackson on Twitter "Rangers new Nomad i understand will be WH Ireland." PLC website http://wh-ireland.co.uk/wh-ireland ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Green and Whyte Leach Ireland Someone somewhere is taking the p**h If you don't laugh, you'd cry......
  14. Ok, so it's silly season again! Post the latest transfer rumours in here please! OUT: Emilson Cribari - Out of contract. Andy Little - Out of contract. Signed for English League One side Preston North End. Chris Hegarty - Contract terminated by mutual consent - signed immediately for Linfield. Charlie Telfer - Contract extension rejected - signed immediately for Dundee Utd. Ross Perry - Contract terminated by mutual consent. Scott Gallacher - Contract terminated by mutual consent - signed for Hearts. IN: Kenny Miller - signed 1 year deal (with optional 1 year extension) on 4 June 2014. Darren McGregor - signed 1 year deal (with optional 1 year extension) on 11 June 2014. Kris Boyd - signed 1 year deal on 27 June 2014. Marius Zaliukas - signed 2 year deal on 11 July 2014 Lee Robinson - signed 1 year deal on 25 August 2014
  15. Noticed this amusing quote in the article by Michael Ballie earlier: Do elaborate Ally .
  16. Just curious as it appears Ashley can only own 10% and does so by just under this, yet he seems to have the power to vote in the way which only benefits him. Thus being Easdale and the "26%". Is it possible Ashley is in someway involved with a Laxey/BPH/Maragrita etc? They all have links to CG.
  17. DARREN McGREGOR has revealed he’s on course for an automatic contract extension after a solid start to his Rangers career. The defender signed a one-year deal with the club in the summer having left St Mirren at the end of his deal there. Ally McCoist had been a huge admirer of the stopper for some time but he was given only 12 months at Ibrox initially because of his injury history. McGregor suffered two cruciate knee ligament injuries during his four-year stay in Paisley but was fit enough to play 38 times for the Buddies last term. When he switched to the Light Blues, he had it written into his terms that he’d earn a second campaign with the club if he was fit enough for at least half of the games in 2014/15. Given he has been both available and involved in all of the 15 fixtures Gers have had to date, the 29-year-old is on track at this stage. McGregor said: “I think what a lot of people don’t know is I’ll get an extension if I’m available for 50 per cent of the first season. “Just because of the injuries I’ve had, the club has wanted me to be available that often but that’s not necessarily to say I have to play in them. “There is something in place whereby if I’m available, I’ll be here for a second year. Fingers crossed that happens because you can’t complain at working at Murray Park every day. “On the face on it, I just wanted to come in, do well and give the gaffer some food for thought. “To have been involved in every game so far, I’m pinching myself. I’m taking every day and every week as it comes though. “I don’t get too high or too low because it can change in an instant. I just need to focus on motoring on. “Getting a contract with Rangers was great but the hard work just started there. I have to keep showing what I’m all about and try to improve the squad. “Hopefully I’m helping the younger guys out and I’ll continue trying to do that as long as I’m here.” http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/7904-on-course-for-deal-extension
  18. BEARGER

    Lost flag

    Copied this from FF, we do have some cretins in our support. I know it's a long shot but the Fifes Finest flag was taken yesterday at the game. These guys are not Ultras or wannabe casuals but just football fans that did a helluva lot to save their club. After the fundraising they had money left over and put it towards this flag...They just want it back no questions...It would reflect well on our club if they were given the flag back. If anybody has it i ll pick it up and drop it off to them
  19. After last night’s extraordinary scenes in Belgrade, where the Serbia-Albania match was called off when a drone flew a pro-Albanian flag over the pitch, we look at sport’s other great incendiary political gestures, from Souness to Gazza. • Souness plants flag on enemy territory Graeme Souness was never one to back down from conflict and he certainly found it while managing Galatasaray in 1996. Facing fierce Istanbul rivals Fenerbahçe in the Turkish Cup final, Galatasaray, who had won the home leg 1-0 at home, secured the cup with a 1-1 draw in Fenerbahçe’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. Souness, perhaps emboldened by the victory, decided to celebrate by taking a gigantic Galatasaray flag and planting it in the middle of Fenerbahçe’s pitch. The incident sparked a predictably violent response from the home fans who rained objects down on the pitch, while medal presentations had to be temporarily halted after the Turkish President was hit by a bottle Press reaction was equally furious. Souness was condemned for his insulting gesture and considered responsible for the Fenerbahçe supporters’ riotous behaviour. Funnily enough, Souness didn’t have his contract renewed at the end of that season, having lost out on the Turkish title . . . to Fenerbahçe. Souness though was unrepentant. “One day I would’ve got round to planting a flag at Celtic Park if I’d stayed on as manager of Rangers,” he said later. • Gascoigne plays the pipes Paul Gascoigne could hardly be considered a political animal but he managed to stir up some serious controversy after he played a mock flute during an Old Firm match at Celtic Park while warming up as a second-half substitute. The gesture, which is symbolic of the flute-playing of Orange Order marchers, is considered a Loyalist symbol insulting to Catholics. Gascoigne first made the mime after scoring his first goal for Rangers in 1995 with the suggestion he had been egged on by team-mates and knew nothing of its significance. But this time the gesture infuriated Celtic fans who had been taunting him and Gascoigne was fined £20,000 by Rangers after the incident. He also received death threats and left Rangers at the end of that season. • Baghdatis sparks furore Marcos Baghdatis, the Cypriot tennis player, found himself at the centre of a storm at the at the 2008 Australian Open when a video posted on YouTube almost a year earlier showed him holding a flare chanting slogans such as “Turks out of Cyprus” at a barbecue hosted by his Greek Australian fan club. The local Turkish Cypriot community claimed it was a “racist attack” and a “straightforward provocation of our community”, and called for him to expelled from the tournament. However, he was allowed to play on with Baghdatis claiming he was not calling for Turkish Cypriots to leave Cyprus, but rather an end to Turkey’s military occupation since 1974. • Football goes to war Perhaps the only time that a sporting event has resulted in conflict, the “Football War” between El Salvador and Honduras was sparked by best-of-three World Cup qualifiers in 1969. Honduras, who won the first match 1-0, lost the second 3-0 in San Salvador after Honduran players endured a sleepless night before the game, with rotten eggs and dead rats allegedly thrown through the broken windows of their hotel. Honduran fans were also attacked at the game By the time of the third match, won 3-2 by El Salvador after extra-time on June 27, tension had ratcheted up so much that Honduras broke off diplomatic relations By July 14, El Salvador had invaded Honduras. When the conflict ended on July 20, between 1,000 and 2,000 people had been killed and 100,000 had lost their homes. It took 11 years to negotiate a peace treaty. Ironically El Salvador hardly shined in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico either. They lost all three of their group games without scoring. • Black power salutes In perhaps the most famous political protest made in a sporting arena, Tommie Smith and John Carlos both raised a black-gloved fist during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City in a silent demonstration against racial discrimination. The Afro-American pair had finished first and third in the 200 metres with Smith triumphing in a world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Smith and Carlos also wore human-rights badges on their jackets along with Peter Norman, the Australian silver medal-winner. “If I win I am American, not a black American,” Smith said later. “But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.” The response from the IOC was swift, banning both American athletes from the Games and dubbing their actions as “an act of racial protest.” The pair were largely ostracised on their return to the US and Norman was also censured by Australian athletics for his involvement. But their brave action is now regarded as one of the most eloquent statements ever made in the fight for racial equality.
  20. Rangers Youth @RFC_Youth · 10 mins 10 minutes ago 51' - GOAL! Captain Andy Murdoch doubles the lead with a stunning shot from 25 yards which soars into the net beyond Stewart. 2-0 #Rangers! 0 replies . Rangers Youth @RFC_Youth · 13 mins 13 minutes ago 48' - The striker did well to get the right side of his man before placing low under the keeper from a tight angle on the left. 1-0 Gers! 0 replies . Rangers Youth @RFC_Youth · 14 mins 14 minutes ago 48' - GOAL! It's an ideal start to the second period for #Rangers as Ryan Hardie breaks the deadlock to make it 1-0 against Motherwell! https://twitter.com/RFC_Youth?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gersnetonline.co.uk%2Fvb%2Fforum.php&profile_id=351838853&tw_i=522087898234232832&tw_p=embeddedtimeline&tw_w=382261353282412544
  21. RECORD Sport asks eight key questions about the Sports Direct Tycoon and attempts to discover the reasons behind his bid for power at Rangers. AS the power struggle within the Ibrox boardroom intensifies it would appear “Iron” Mike Ashley is spoiling for a fight. The Sports Direct tycoon last week launched a dramatic bid to remove chief executive Graham Wallace by calling an extraordinary general meeting. If Ashley succeeds in ousting Wallace and director Philip Nash it could deal a knockout blow to Dave King’s hopes of assuming control. King is preparing a £16million rescue plan along with Paul Murray and George Letham – which has the backing of finance expert Nash and the CEO. However, Ashley has increased his shareholding to 8.9 per cent, sparking rumours he’s preparing to sell Newcastle and plough some of the cash into purchasing Rangers. And if he secures enough support to remove Wallace and Nash it would almost certainly kill off any hope of King pumping money into the ailing club. The outcome of the scrap could go a long way to deciding the future of Rangers although it is abundantly clear the supporters would much prefer the South Africa-based businessman to the secretive Ashley. The billionaire Londoner is a loathed figure at Newcastle and has already had several run-ins with the Toon Army. A reluctance for making public statements only serves to increase the sense of mystery surrounding Ashley and his interest in Rangers. A hugely controversial yet influential figure, the Newcastle owner already has the naming rights over Ibrox and is reported to want control of the club crest in exchange for an emergency loan. But just who is Mike Ashley and what are his motives in football? Does he deserve the hatred he gets from some Newcastle fans and should Rangers fear his bid for power? Is he a ruthless tycoon who tramples on tradition and ambition? Or is he a sharp businessman whose challenge to the status quo, and ability to put up his own hard cash rather than borrowed money, should be welcomed? Here Record Sport asks eight key questions and attempts to discover the reasons behind his intervention: Q: Who is the real Ashley? Colleagues describe him as gregarious, enthusiastic, passionate, ruthless. Always ready to challenge the perceived wisdom and act on instinct. Loyal to those who show him loyalty. Socially he’s personable, far from being the introvert people think. Those who have crossed him are less flattering in their assessment. His business practice is to aggressively pursue opponents until he’s won the battle, leaving losers in his wake. Q: Why is he in the football business? Surely it isn’t worth the flak? Initially he claimed to be a Newcastle fan – a colleague says Chelsea and England were his teams – who wanted to “have some fun and win trophies”. But in reality he is a football speculator who has worked out the game is the perfect platform to promote Sports Direct’s global ambitions. There are more than 130 Sports Direct signs around St James’ Park – and they don’t pay for the ads. Sports Direct also made £3.4m by taking over Newcastle’s commercial sportswear business. Q: But no football club owner makes money, do they? With TV cash rolling in, a policy of selling the best players at a huge killing, and tight financial controls, he has made Newcastle one of the most profitable clubs in Europe, making £9m last year. Flush with cash from floating Sports Direct, he bought Newcastle seven years ago for a cheap-looking £133m, and has loaned £129m of his fortune to settle inherited debts and keep the club running after relegation in 2009. Q: Attempts to sell Newcastle have failed and now he is snapping up nine per cent of Rangers. Surely this comes at a price to the club? Renaming St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena to “showcase” it for future sponsors, and bringing in pay-day lenders Wonga as shirt sponsors, show cash wins over sentiment, tradition or business morals. Ashley has also ordered Newcastle to put survival in the league over cup glory, which the club argue risks relegation. That has infuriated supporters. The Magpies owner made this public through a fans’ forum because he wanted the message out with no PR flannel, typical of his brazen, controversy-courting decisions. “Mike makes decisions from his gut instinct,” says a close business pal. “It is hard to argue because he has built up a huge empire.” Q: Has Ashley actually done any good at Newcastle? Most fans will say no, fearing the ambition and excitement have gone. But the £129m loan is interest free. A commercial loan that size would cost millions a year in interest. Just ask Manchester United and the Glazers. He instructed staff to keep the stadium full with well-priced ticket deals. Ashley also told them he hates “overpaid freeloaders” such as agents who demand the going rate of 10-14 per cent of a deal in commission. “Just because that is the way football has always done it, isn’t a reason to keep doing it for Mike,” says one source. “He’ll want it done differently.” Q: But what about the current plight? Why won’t he listen to the fans, check the terrible 2014 results and sack Alan Pardew? Perhaps out of loyalty. Pardew has gone along with all Ashley’s policies, including selling players such as Andy Carroll and Yohan Cabaye, and never taken his boss on in public. There’s a theory that Ashley can’t be bothered with the upheaval of finding another manager. “Patience is the word,” said one source. Q: So does he not care? Ashley has been a regular at games this season, sometimes flying into the city in the business helicopter with what is close to a personalised reg: G-MAOL. This could be support for Pardew, or to check out how poor the team has been, ahead of making a decision on his future. Q: Has he got the fortune to own Newcastle and a big slice of Rangers? Ashley’s stake in Sports Direct, which he founded, is worth £3billion. His holding company MASH has assets of £581m and makes an annual profit of £281m. He has the clout to bail out Rangers immediately but will exact a price for any financial help. Newcastle fans soon found his fortune won’t be used to bankroll a bid for glory. He will stabilise his “asset”, use it to help Sports Direct, and hope it increases in value over time. One source said: “Mike won’t be drinking with fans on the terraces again, and understands many of the reasons why supporters are unhappy at Newcastle, but he is doing it his way.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-power-struggle-eight-questions-4433421
  22. A huge day ahead of every Scots person and I make no apology for posting about the referendum in the main forum today. I hope everyone takes another few minutes to fully consider the implications of their vote. Our decision will impact fully on the rest of our and our children's lives. This should not be a decision easily taken or based on hubris. I'd contend the overall quality of debate has been poor and I doubt any of us can say either side has won it. Nevertheless you must vote with a clear conscience and I'm glad that this website has people of opposing opinions while remaining neutral and, well independent, of trying to influence anyone. It's going to be one of the most important 24 hours in Scottish and UK history. Good luck to all.
  23. I didn’t think it was possible for the Rangers support to be more fractured and lacking consensus than we were in the first half of this year but rather depressingly we’ve managed it. In the maelstrom of a referendum on Scottish Independence the boardroom turmoil that has dominated the forums, social media and old fashioned conversations took a back seat to Loyalism, Unionism and the bogey man topic of Nationalism. Such is the ineptitude of our board, they missed the opportunity to bury some negative news in amongst the fog of the ideological war that raged throughout the month of September but I digress. Being a pro-Independence Rangers supporter these last few months has been a real challenge. I’ve been confronted by many fellow fans on social media and called everything from a “timpathiser”, (whatever that is) to a Nazi and Quisling. One particularly poorly adjusted and misinformed fellow told me I was a “traitor to Rangers Loyalist Unionist roots…” The idea that a Rangers supporter could support Independence just would not compute for many and my follower count on Twitter tumbled dramatically, I won’t lose any sleep over that however I must admit to now facing somewhat of a crossroads. Do I plod on attending matches listening to chants about where people like me can “stick your Independence” and the Loyalist songbook which was given an airing in George Square on Friday night amidst scenes of thuggery and hatred? Do I carry on turning a blind eye to the continual linking of Rangers Football Club to Loyalism and The Orange Order just as I have done for many years? The thought of turning my back on the club I’ve supported since I was five years old and which has provided myself and my (now deceased) Father so many happy memories makes me physically ill. The thought of a future devoid of one of the precious few constants in my life so far is unthinkable and so that is not a road I’m willing to go down just yet. So what are my options? I could become the archetypal armchair fan and refrain from discussing football matters on social media but we are in an age where it’s almost impossible to avoid. I could fool myself into thinking that it’s not so bad and the majority of my fellow fans are reasonable, open minded individuals but I’m not capable of cognitive dissonance on that scale. It seems that the core of our support are labouring under the misconceptions that being a “real” Rangers man means that you must also be many other things. I’ll use this juncture to clarify what I mean by “core of our support”. There are probably thousands of Rangers supporters (I don’t like term “fan”) who are feeling similarly disillusioned at the moment and those are probably a large percentage of the several thousand fans who’ve been missing for the last few home games joined by those who are boycotting, suffering from boardroom related malaise or simply disillusioned with how we are playing. What’s left are a core (match attending group) and of those I’d estimate that 75% fall into the category as described previously in this article. There’s also a large group of fans who, for one reason or another don’t regularly attend matches and again I’d estimate that a large percentage of those are politically and ideologically aligned with their brethren sitting in the stands. I’m conscious that I’m in danger of pigeon holing large swathes of people here and would only offer the fact that this is how I see things in basic terms. I’m sure there are reasonable folks in amongst the core who do not fall into any of my hastily preconceived notions and that I do not think the situation has reached the point of no return just yet and this leads me to the only other option I feel I have left. I’d urge everyone who considers themselves to be a Rangers supporter to distance the club from toxic and divisive affiliations. To seriously consider for a moment that we are in real danger of losing thousands of people like me who feel marginalised by their fellow bears and more importantly that we are in danger of losing the next generation of season ticket holder who have shown throughout the referendum run up and beyond, that they are increasingly well informed and turned off by Northern Irish politics, by far right-wing rhetoric and the kind of vulgar displays of aggression that we’ve seen both online and in the streets of Glasgow from both Unionists and Nationalist factions. Next time you’re attending an Orange parade maybe leave the Rangers merchandise at home, remove the Loyalist symbolism from Rangers flags and banners, try not to marginalise your fellow supporters who don’t care about that kind of stuff really, that’s all. Is that too much to ask? For some, what I’ve asked is probably tantamount to singing rebel songs in a tri-colour but to me it’s just common decency, something that has been eroding away for many years and something that the gallant pioneers probably had in abundance. Try to be a bit more like a Moses McNeil or a Tom Vallance and live the values which built the very thing that we all hold so dear. If we want a positive future for our club we all have to sow the seeds of that starting from now after all, we share much more in common than we do which divides us. I’ll remain a supporter and will try to live by my own code, respecting others right to support the club any way they choose but speaking out against intolerance, negative affiliations and polarizing attitudes. Let’s see if we can build a stronger and more together support from the rubble. The alternative I’m afraid would be a very dark period in Rangers history. It’s only a matter of time before we will be back attempting to compete with Celtic. It may be only a matter of time before we see major boardroom change. Do we really want to be facing these challenges with a support that can’t agree on what colour the sky is? The answer is obvious to me.
  24. I`m sure some on here will have an interest in this announcement ... http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/orange-order-may-stage-pro-union-march-on-eve-of-scottish-referendum.24188536 Orange Order may stage pro-Union march on eve of Scottish referendum Tom Gordon Scottish Political Editor . Sunday 11 May 2014 THE Orange Order is planning a massive parade in support of a No vote days before the independence referendum. The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland hopes to attract up to 15,000 members to Edinburgh on the Saturday before the historic vote. Although most of those taking part will be from Scotland, the fiercely pro-Union Protestant movement also expects some Orange bands from Northern Ireland "to show support". The pro-Union Better Together group last night distanced itself from the Order, insisting it would "never" be part of its campaign. Robert McLean, executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge, said the organisation was already in positive talks with City of Edinburgh Council about the September 13 gathering. He said: "It's basically an Orange parade. It's not just a parade for anyone. You would expect the Orange organisations to come out for a No. "We are looking for between 10,000 and 15,000 members in the parade. The majority will be from Scotland but we would expect some of our lodges from Northern Ireland and England to show support." The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland has its own pro-Union campaign group, British Together. On its website, Grand Master Henry Dunbar says the Orange Order in Scotland is "fervently opposed" to the break-up of the UK. "Ever since the first Orange lodges were constituted in Scotland in 1797, we have been committed to a United Kingdom, headed by a constitutional monarchy. "We are primarily a Christian and charitable fraternal organisation - we rarely step in to the political arena. However, the Union ... is a matter that unites us all. "I remain convinced that with your help, the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland can help ensure that we remain 'British Together'." After the debacle of the CBI registering and then de-registering as an official campaigner in the referendum, McLean said the Grand Lodge had considered whether it should become a "permitted participant", but decided against this, as it would not spend beyond the £10,000 threshold. "It's an educational programme we are trying to run here," he said. "We feel quite clearly that we are better together. As far as we are concerned, [the Union] is not broken so it does not need fixed. We are quite happy to stay within the UK." Despite the increasingly heated nature of the independence debate, McLean said he did not expect the Edinburgh parade to be a flashpoint for disorder. "We never get a counter protest at an Orange parade. We accept that for this one we could. But I'm sure the police will deal with that." The parade promises to be one of the few large gatherings before voters go to the ballot. In 2012 and 2013, supporters of independence staged marches and rallies in Edinburgh, first in Princes Street Gardens and then on Calton Hill, which attracted thousands. However, plans for a third and final rally this year have been ditched, with organisers urging people to focus on local events instead. Regarding the Orange order parade, a Better Together spokesman said: "This organisation isn't part of our campaign and never will be. The best way for people who believe that we are stronger and better together as part of the UK to get involved is by speaking to undecided voters, not marching in the streets." Yes Scotland said: "We fully respect that others have a different view and support their democratic right to express it in any legitimate and peaceful way they wish."
  25. In a relatively short time the changes that have taken place in our country, and at our club, have taken the breath away. Our club has survived after a prolonged and unforeseen crisis but it belongs to strangers now and is almost as remote from supporters as London is from Glasgow. Scotland is on the brink of fundamental and irreversible change and whether it remains within the UK or goes it alone, things will never be the same again. Those who grew up thinking that Rangers and the Union were forever must have been visibly shaken by this cataclysmic turn of events. Identity is important to us, and having already endured a period where our football club almost died, we are now seeing Britishness at the cliff-edge. Coming on top of the shocking collapse of our banking institutions, this is a bizarre period in our lives. It seems that nothing is forever any more, and much of what is dear to us is under threat. Even the Church of Scotland is languishing. It seems to have slipped back in the country's pecking order behind another strand of Christianity, the Catholic Church. Like Rangers, this cornerstone of society has seen better days. When the 21st century chimed in, who expected this? Inside a relatively short time, our world has been turned upside-down. The Church always had a fight on its hands to retain flock, but the Scottish parliament, which was specifically designed to stop nationalism in its tracks, has completely failed to do it. Within the Rangers family, the widespread belief that the club was immortal has been smashed, and the idea that two 300 year-old banks could fail was thought to be too outlandish to be seriously contemplated. Here we stand, days before a vital referendum, and much of what, historically, has been important to us, has either changed, is presently changing, or could change in the not too distant future. The iconic Union Flag, perhaps under a new name, could be redesigned if Scotland becomes independent, and no-one can be sure what currency we are going to use or even if the Queen will still be our monarch in another ten years. The times, they are a changing - and much faster then we ever thought possible. If Rangers gets through this period, I wonder, how much will it have to change to be at ease in this new era?
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