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Found 7 results

  1. Some more analysis from Graham McLaren on TRS: http://www.therangersstandard.co.uk/index.php/articles/current-affairs/331-what-now-for-dave-king
  2. Robert Marshall and his son, Greg, have been heavily involved in the formation of Rangers First. Rangers First is a fan-led membership vehicle that aims to buy shares and achieve greater supporter involvement in the running of the Ibrox club. Matthew Lindsay of SportTimes met the lifelong Rangers fans and season ticket holders to speak about the ambitious project and their hopes for the future. How did you get involved in Rangers First? RM: I was invited up to the Supporters' Direct Scotland offices in Stirling. So I went and listened to two lads speak and I liked what they had to say. I thought: "If it can help Rangers I will give it a go." It was just about helping the club. As a fan, I was in. Then we had a meeting here (The Louden Tavern, Ibrox Stadium) to see if the body of the kirk, if you like, wanted to take the idea further. Richard Atkinson, a volunteer with Supporters' Direct who has been involved at quite a few clubs over the years, spoke to us. We had around 50 people here. And not one voice was dissenting. I think it is important to state that this is not anti-board or pro-board. It is pro-Rangers and pro- Rangers fans. At the first meeting we said: "Leave your egos at the door. Leave the politics at the door. Let's just see if we can do this." GM: We have people who attend our meetings who are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to their attitude to the club board. If it is about individuals then it will fail. It is a vehicle that should be analysed on its own merits. What are the objectives of Rangers First? RM: The first target that Rangers First has is to obtain 5% of shares in the club. GM: That gives you powers in terms of calling a general meeting and getting answers to questions. It is all about getting what is called ACT - authoritative consultative transparency. That basically means the fans having a voice and the club having to listen to and engage with us. This is about the board engaging with the fans so that we know what the situation at the club is and we can all move forward together. It is not about getting a fan on the board. Our members would have to vote on having a representative on the board down the line. It has still to be decided. But, personally speaking, I think we would want a professional representing us. GM: The money the Community Interest Company spends must be to the benefit of the Rangers community. We can't just spend money willy-nilly. Initially, we just want to get shares until we can get the ACT. Once we get that then it will be up to the members to decide what we do with the money after that. We can fund specific projects that are and are to the benefit of the club. BuyRangers already exists. Why is Rangers First necessary? RM: By law we (BuyRangers and Rangers First) have to work together publicly because the schemes have the same principles and the same goals. We want to work together. But I think this vehicle could unite fans. GM: The key point about Rangers First is that it is not partisan. It is trying to unite the small groups into a bigger group. We are saying to them: "You are still allowed to have your differences. This is beyond that." There have been lads at the meetings we have had so far whose personal opinions I do not agree with. But their ethos is right. They genuinely want to put Rangers first. We need to engage with a wider fan base - and especially with fans abroad in countries like Australia and the United States. That is one of the advantages of Rangers First - we can accept payments from abroad. A CIC is to the benefit of the Rangers community and the Rangers community isn't defined by geography. It is what we decide the Rangers community is. And the Rangers community is global. It is basically anybody who considers themselves to be a supporter. They can contribute to it from abroad. The main strength of the CIC is its flexibility. For example, my father and I are going to donate our shares to it. We bought £1,000-worth of shares at the IPO. As well as money you can put shares in. A few of us are going to do that. RM: One of our representatives is going to Hong Kong this week to do a presentation to the Rangers Supporters' Club out there. Richard (Atkinson) also did a presentation with Orsa (Oceania Rangers Supporters Association) recently. We are really trying to engage with the ex-pat fans because it must be really hard for them looking in and not being able to do anything. What has the response to the scheme from Rangers fans been? GM: It is still in the process of being put together. But we have 1,000 members already. That is not bad after two weeks. We are due an update on that any day now. We were at a pub in Lanarkshire a couple of weeks ago at which 10 Rangers Supporters' Clubs were represented. Three of them joined up on the spot and seven took it back to their members. Nobody was against it. When people engage with it they say: "This is a good idea." It genuinely is a good idea. But we do need the support of the fans to make it work. At a small level, we could build up a small shareholding. But if we get larger numbers we will get the transparency the fans want. Has the ongoing financial uncertainty at Ibrox increased the interest in Rangers First? RM: I think it does increase enthusiasm for what we are doing. But I am keen for this not to be seen as a criticism of the board. I am not against them. I know they should not have spent the £22million that was raised at the IPO. But, as far as Rangers First is concerned, we are simply for the club. We are there to help the Rangers support. How many members do you hope to attract? RM: We would like to get to 20,000 to start with. Personally speaking, I think we can get 50,000. Now, I know people may laugh at that. But you had 200,000 at the Uefa Cup final in Manchester in 2008. You also have however many thousand abroad who are all desperate to help the club. I think we can have a worldwide membership of 50,000 within two years. How much does it cost fans to join Rangers First? RM: There are three boxes on the website - http://www.rangersfirst.org - you can join for £5 a month, £10 a month or £18.72 a month. There is also a life membership, Club 1872. That entails a £500 one-off payment. You get nothing out of it other than the satisfaction you have helped Rangers. Plus, as a member you get a vote. GM: If we can get 1,872 signing up for a life membership it will give us enough money to buy circa 5% of the club. Dave King has stated he is prepared to put money into Rangers "along with the fans". Could that funding come from Rangers First? GM: It could. Buying shares as individuals has not given us any dividend so far. Individual fans have roughly 12% of the shares. But we don't have anything to show for that. Buying as a collective, through Rangers First, would. RM: There is also a vehicle you can use. Say, for example, Laxey Partners were prepared to sell their 12% stake in the club, but Rangers First did not, at that time, have the money to buy it. We could say to them: "We will pay you for 4% a year." GM: We could provide them with a dividend and take the proxy for their shares and subsequently buy them a few years down the line. That is not something that necessarily is going to happen. But the CIC is flexible and you can do that. The other thing is we can approach the Rangers fans who currently own 12% of the club and ask them to proxy their votes to us. We would need to collect the signatures of the 4,500 fans who have shares before a general meeting. One of our committees is looking at shareholder engagement. Community ownership failed at St Mirren. How can it work at Rangers? GM: Amongst the clubs where this has been tried it has never been exactly the same. There are technical elements which are similar. St Mirren was a wholly-owned club. They had, for some reason, to buy 52% to make it work. They put in a legitimate bid and Stewart Gilmour, as was his perogative, decided not to accept it. There are successes. Dunfermline got over 1,000 members after they had already been saved. Hearts got over 8,000 fans paying in £15.50 a month. We want to achieve ACT at Rangers. The members will decide where we go from there. How optimistic are you about the future? GM: If this kind of vehicle had been about prior to administration I think it could have had a significant influence on the club. Maybe we wouldn't be in the position we are in now. Having said that, I think it will take off now. It may be a slow burner, but I think it will take off. Whoever puts money in can be assured that it will go towards the betterment of Rangers. I think we are getting there as a result of the meetings. We are starting to unite. Very few people want actual fan ownership. They want fan participation. What we are saying to the club is: "Be accountable to us." That is all we want, accountability. RM: We get nothing other than the satisfaction of helping Rangers and the Rangers community. I am not negative at all. I think Rangers are a sleeping giant. A good analogy would be they are a bear in hibernation. It is time the bear woke up. Get Rangers News Alerts by Email http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/it-is-time-to-unite-the-small-groups-and-waken-the-sleeping-giant-157872n.23841953
  3. Supporting Rangers has never been quite so difficult. Doesn’t matter if it’s new beneficial club owners from one year to the next, executive directors that are replaced quarter by quarter or turgid on-the-field performances which would struggle to excite the most positive of football fans, it’s not easy to find a bear without a sore head nowadays. This headache soon becomes even worse when you try to examine the minefield that forms our supporter group landscape. Let’s go through them for clarity – take a deep breath: a) The Rangers Supporters Association – the oldest group which represent a range of RSCs all over the world. Nowadays, pretty small, perhaps old fashioned and primarily scoped to deal with ticketing issues you’ll nevertheless find their latest secretary Drew Roberton commenting in the media on a regular basis. b) The Rangers Supporters Trust – an independent group formed in 2003 mainly working towards fan ownership via share purchasing; the RST account for up to 2000 members. Their chair Gordon Dinnie is also often credited in the media on their behalf. c) NARSA and ORSA – two foreign associations which look after the interests of the North American and Oceanic RSCs respectively. It’s not often they’ll be quoted in the media but they do have lots of members with a fair amount of clout behind the scenes. NARSA especially have a solid historic relationship with the club. d) The Rangers Supporters Assembly – the original umbrella group which encompasses all of the above (and more) and was setup around ten years ago. Since then they’ve really struggled to capture the imagination of those they insist they represent (including season book holders). President Andy Kerr remains vocal in the media and usually aligned with a) and b) above. The future of the organisation within the club since the 2012 administration is unclear. e) Sons of Struth (SoS) – a more recent phenomenon is two fans that have been at the forefront of various protests against figures at the club. Most controversially, their spokesperson Craig Houston was threatened with legal action by club director Sandy Easdale for defamatory comments on a social network page. This has prompted much comment which we’ll explore further below. f) Union of Fans – even more recent is this new umbrella group which is made up of a), b), d), e) and the two Ibrox singing sections. Again, this group appear most concerned with the short-term future of club and their statements are geared towards this political aim. Spokesman Chris Graham is a keen blogger on the club and is featured regularly on two popular websites. g) Buy Rangers and Rangers First – not to be outdone, we now have two share vehicles specifically interested in achieving fan ownership via the purchase of shares as part of government backed schemes. The former is organised by the RST while the latter is a new development also promoted by Supporters Direct. At first glance both appear attractive to the interested supporter. h) Rangers Fans Fighting Fund (RFFF) – set up in 2012 this fund was put together to raise money for the club post-administration. Despite having Assembly and official club connotations, the Fund has been blighted by a lack of communication and transparency. Indeed, its website is no longer available and uncertainty remains with respect to the £500,000 surplus in its account. i) The Rest – as well as the TEN groups above, there are a variety of other clusters of fans which one may or may not perceive as ‘formal’ groups. These are often backed up with websites/blogs and can be made up of thousands of shared members; though usually these can be concentrated down into smaller lobbies of key opinion formers from group to group. It’s difficult to recognise all such bodies in a formal sense but there’s no doubting their contribution can be worthy. The above really is quite incredible when put down on paper – even with what I’d concede is a very superficial outline of each group. Quite simply, there’s no wonder confusion and division exists when we have so many groups all competing against each other. Despite regular assurances to the contrary (and so-called umbrella groups speaking for all), the chances of genuine fan unity and convincing representation remain as far away as ever. This is confirmed by the most recent issue which has caused further splits in the support. As touched on above, the Sons of Struth has been one of the most prominent groups of late. Despite only being made up of two individual supporters with no formal constitution, their stadium protests and media profile have resulted in much debate over recent months. Undoubtedly in my view their lobbying of Rangers and its support has contributed to the decision-making of the club hierarchy – even if I may also disagree with their methods and words from time to time. This is especially disappointing when using (or allowing) derogatory language to make their point. As someone who has experienced legal contact in such matters previously, there’s a fine line between fair criticism, unfair falsehoods and petty name-calling. Therefore, it was no surprise to see the main SoS figure Craig Houston served with a legal notice by Sandy Easdale to desist from such alleged behaviour or face a £200,000 court action. At this point the debate became polarised with those generally supportive of the SoS eager to source funds from the hitherto inactive RFFF to help Mr Houston in his defence against Mr Easdale. However, this suggestion seemed at best unlikely and at worst flawed given the RFFF monies were primarily setup to be used for the club only (despite some cash being used to pay small oldco debts such as Dunfermline Football Club in 2012). With that in mind, even those who had sympathy with the SoS predicament felt it was best a separate fund was setup should legal action go ahead. Hence, it was a great surprise to many bears when the RFFF subsequently voted to put the decision to a general vote of fans rather than immediately reject the suggestion. Despite this curiosity it could be argued this was perhaps the most reasonable course of action. After all, while many fans didn’t agree with this non-club appropriation of funds, what should happen if another more popular non-club opportunity arose: should it be declined automatically or debated by the fund contributors? Furthermore, the volunteer RFFF committee were put in place to act on our behalf so it’s difficult to argue with the democratic process being followed – even if the lack of clarity surrounding the decision (and RFFF work generally) is of valid concern. In any case, no matter our thoughts, the reaction has been furious from some quarters with one website and NARSA both calling for the resignation of those who voted for the issue to be decided via a ‘general meeting of fans’. Suffice to say the response to that has been equally negative with all sorts of insults permitted in some online communities. Once again the fan-base is split – often based on their website or group of choice rather than actually examining the issue without prejudice. Indeed it’s this kind of division that is now becoming very difficult to ignore when looking at most issues related to the club. Rather than such subjects being analysed with balance and in unison, we have some coming to most debates with a pre-determined opinion already in place. Quite simply if person/site/group A says one thing, you can be sure person/site/group B will say another and vice-versa. Such disagreement may actually be healthy in some respects but when it is increasingly accompanied by the kind of nonsense we usually see for those hostile to our club then such puerile debate just becomes counter-productive. Is it any wonder our club and fan-base have been taken advantage of in recent years when we can’t agree on the most basic of issues? Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to this ongoing tribal warfare. Existing ‘umbrella’ groups have tried and failed for many years to capture the imagination of the widespread support while those not already interested in such ‘political’ matters won’t be swayed by a long list of fan organisations they may struggle to identify with. In addition, resignations, fall-outs and abuse appear to tarnish any good work such groups do. Meanwhile, a club fighting with itself on a month-to-month basis appears to have neither the will nor the way (not to mention the funds) to put in place a new scheme which can accommodate fans of every possible background. Yet, in my opinion, if such a group is to be successful, from the club it must come. It needs that formal official status, along with the backing of high-profile relevant figures, to take fan representation from social clubs and websites to the boardroom. However the only certainty is that when such a proposal does see the light of day, it may be strangled at birth by a minority of people who will always insist upon throwing out the baby with the bathwater for the most ridiculous of arguments. In the meantime, the moderate (and usually silent) majority can only hope for better. And until we concentrate ten bizarrely disparate groups into one then that day may be a long time coming. What part will you play in achieving that positive change: are you part of the problem or the solution? Will the real Rangers support please stand up?
  4. YOU couldn’t give a section of Celtic’s support a red neck with a blow torch, never mind the green flare they threw on to the pitch at Fir Park. There they were with their banner asking that Nelson Mandela, the ultimate man of peace, be allowed to rest in peace. And then they got on with the wanton damage that saw seats destroyed while Motherwell boss Stuart McCall was subjected to chants about being a “sad Orange b*****d”. Some people just have no sense of irony. The team the misguided had paid to watch is currently in the best form it has enjoyed for a long time. But the football is never enough for those who have taken a weird turn since Rangers went into liquidation. The obsession with insisting that Gers died – and the current side has a history 18 months old – has come with an arrogance that was unpleasant to watch at Motherwell. Lennon said his heart sank when he saw the banners depicting William Wallace and Bobby Sands which disfigured the Champions League game with Milan. Now the manager and his chief executive, Peter Lawwell, have to speak out against supporters who are blemishing the club’s reputation. Celtic have just updated and republished the book detailing their history over the last 125 years – and it is a story well worth the telling. A team started for charitable purposes has always had what their greatest captain Billy McNeill described as a fairytale aspect attached to it. Celtic’s appearance in the Nou Camp on Wednesday night vouches for their decent standing in Europe. And the derision their efforts receive from the rival support at Ibrox is an irrelevance since that is based on the need for something to camouflage their current, lower-league status. It is as unthinking as the damage that’s being done to Celtic’s good name by the unruly element who will now make their club the object of the SPFL’s attention. But all of that unwanted attention is meaningless to the vandals, flare throwers and obscene chanters. If you can embarrass your club while the team is 5-0 up then you don’t do sober reflection. And what’s even worse is that any attempt to draw attention to the supporters’ misbehaviour is always met with a hostility based on a belief that no such incidents ever happened, or could happen, where the Celtic support is concerned. There are signs of old-fashioned hooliganism returning to Scottish football. A flare was thrown on to the pitch during Rangers’Scottish Cup tie at Falkirk causing damage to the artificial pitch. Money is a constant source of concern at Ibrox, particularly when serious-minded men-in-the-know don't rule out the possibility of a second insolvency event. So how regretful should the culprits feel when they see to it that a cheque for damages has to be forwarded from Ibrox to Falkirk? The answer is they’ll probably feel no remorse whatsoever and they won’t until somebody does something to halt a growing menace. The Old Firm game used to be a safety valve that was periodically released to take the steam out of a poisonous rivalry. Now they live separate lives and the result has been the misfits have to release their troublesome instincts in another way. Confession, they say, is good for the soul. The first thing the majority of decent Celtic fans have to admit is they don’t recognise the kind of person they can find beside them today. I also got a close-up look at Motherwell’s incendiary division last weekend because they were fouling the air, and making a nuisance of themselves, in the vicinity of the press box at Hamilton’s ground. They go through their dance routines then let off their toys, at which point several people emerge from the crowd to film their smoke-shrouded pals on their mobiles. Older Well fans, meanwhile, were congregated well away from them and getting progressively more irked by their team’s performance. They made displeasure known in the traditional, verbally-colourful manner then started to leave before Albion Rovers scored the winner. But the dance troupe didn’t have any real sense of how badly their team had played due to the fact they didn’t appear to be that bothered by what happened on the pitch. In the meantime they had caused damage to seats belonging to the club who hosted their game as a courtesy to both Lanarkshire neighbours. That will cost Well money they shouldn’t have to pay at a time when every penny’s a prisoner. Those supporters also threw another canister on to the pitch, forcing the people in wheelchairs to take evasive action. You’d think supporters of a club whose manager was involved in a stadium disaster that claimed the lives of 56 people because of a fire would consider his feelings before setting light to canisters in a stand containing thousands of their fellow supporters. One of the most harrowing conversations I’ve ever had with McCall recounted his memories of that day in Bradford. The hand-burning sensation he felt when he tried to open his car door two hours after the dead and the dying had been removed to hospital. The search for his father that ended in a case of mistaken identity when Stuart was pointed in the direction of a man with first-degree burns. He had only recovered from a deep sense of shock in the hospital ward when he heard his dad whisper: “Son, I’m over here.” Now McCall is working in an environment where we’ve started to breed our own pyromaniacs. It is an offence to enter, or attempt to enter, a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke canister or firework. Possession of either one carries a custodial sentence if the court believes that’s in order. So why are so many being allowed to endanger health and safety on a regular basis? That’s as much of a mystery as the suggestion that McCall has destroyed his own managerial reputation because his team had an off-day in a Scottish Cup tie. Put that in your canister and smoke it. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/hugh-keevins-must-stop-rogue-2904421
  5. A simple but effective message from this bear which I enjoyed reading earlier. http://www.therangersstandard.co.uk/index.php/articles/fan-culture/293-the-possible-dream-fan-ownership
  6. Statement on behalf of the Rangers Supporters Association, Rangers Supporters Assembly and the Rangers Supporters Trust. The events of the past week have caused further anxiety among Rangers fans and we now call upon the club and their advisers, Daniel Stewart, to clarify a few matters as quickly as possible. The next few weeks are a critical period for us all and, after what we've been through, we need some measure of reassurance that there will be stability soon. Firstly, when will the club AGM be held? The delay resulting from the Court of Session ruling last Monday followed by the resignations of Craig Mather and Brian Smart leaves the current Board of Directors extremely vulnerable. Whilst we welcome the words of reassurance from Brian Stockbridge that the club's finances are stable and operations will continue as normal, we feel it is imperative that the AGM is convened as a matter of urgency. Secondly, given the level of concern among fans regarding the ownership and finances of the club over the recent past, and the various investigations that have been undertaken, we feel it is vitally important that the individuals that are behind both Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings are made known to remove any doubt that there are connections to either Craig Whyte, Imran Ahmed or Charles Green. Both Walter Smith and Ally McCoist have spoken of the need to "cleanse" the club of all the rumour, speculation and innuendo. The identity of the individuals behind these two shareholder groups is a significant part of that "cleansing" process. Thirdly, we call upon the Easdale brothers to clarify their position going forward. They are now in a prominent position both in terms of their shareholding and influence on the Board and it is important that fans understand their view of the future structure of the Board and the running of the club. The club has adopted a very defensive position recently in efforts to rebuff allegations and clarify misinformation. Now is the time to take a positive stance and provide the fans with the clarity and factual information we request and to take the lead in shaping the way forward.
  7. Don't post often here (or the other boards) but did a wee Q&A by email with Matt for our ORSA Newsletter and got his reply today. It's posted to the ORSA site but someone can cut and paste after my post and I'm sure it'll end up doing the rounds anyway. http://www.oceaniarsa.com/news/34-general-news/121-matt-mckay-ready.html Plenty of threads on various forums about our midfield and this player in particular so I'm sure it'll be of some interest. My take is that he seems to be settling in and finding his feet. It sounds to me like he understands the dynamics of a big club and he's prepared to knuckle down, work hard and earn his spot. I think everyone who's watched him on and off the park here in Brisbane/Oz knows that he'll take his chance when it comes and won't let anyone down. He seems upbeat and positive (things you'll not find on many messageboards at present). Off to feed the bub/my kip. Will check in for your thoughts tomorrow. Cheers ORSA Sec
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