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  1. ...Atheist says terror attacks reinforce his belief all faiths are nonsense. FORMER trainee priest, ALEX MOONEY, claims terrorists are killing in the name of a god that does not exist. HOLY men calling out the names of 10 journalists before systematically killing them one by one in a Paris office – in the name of a loving god. Holy men taking seven hours to end the fledgling lives of 132 school children and setting their teachers alight in front of them in Peshawar, Pakistan – in the name of a loving god. These two barbarous acts in the last month disgust all decent people and must surely hasten an end to the absurdity of religion. Sentient beings who promote ancient fears, rituals and superstition must learn that their ludicrous beliefs are ultimately dangerous. Holy wars belong to the Dark Ages – as does all religion. There are no gods, no heaven, no hell, no miracles. There never has been. There never will be. This is way beyond reasonable doubt now. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere to prove the existence of a supernatural entity. Thanks to science the greatest story ever told is not in the Bible, or any sacred scripture, but can be found from the Big Bang onwards. If you must have faith then believe in that because it is more wondrous than anything in holy texts. But we still live in a world that is predominantly religious. At my Catholic primary school in the 50s, pupils were told their faith was the only true one. I recall one ridiculing Red Indians – as they were described then. A teacher said they were savages and heathens because they prayed to totem poles. We laughed with her. In a science class, we were given moulds and shown how to make plaster statues. By the time I was 15 I had been in a cloistered seminary for three years, training to become a priest. Hidden away from the world, we prayed a lot. One day I knelt before a statue of Jesus and as I prayed a *question disturbed me. What is the difference between praying to a lump of wood or a mould of plaster? There is none, of course. That epiphany was the end of my *vocation – and my faith in God. Yet, 50 years on, blind belief still has a hold on billions of people who cling to the hope of eternal life in a heaven. Many are becoming fanaticised. One atrocity after another is done in the name of protecting their god. Religious leaders denounce the perpetrators as “not being of the true faith” – until the next barbaric beheading is filmed live and fed to the world’s social media like some grotesque trailer for a reality show. Apologists for religion blame fundamentalism for these despicable acts. Really? Well the one thing fundamental to fundamentalism is belief in a god. In America’s Bible Belt millions of Christians, split into sects, are fleeced by charlatans and snake-oil salesmen. TV and radio stations make a fortune from pandering to deluded believers. In a clinical environment some of those who swoon before the pastors and faith healers would be diagnosed as having mental health issues. Astonishingly, though, throughout the world atheists are facing ever increasing persecution. A new report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union shows that 19 countries punish their people for apostasy – in 12 of those the sentence is death. In Pakistan the death sentence can even be imposed for blasphemy where the threshold is very low. In all, 55 countries, including several Western ones, have laws against *blasphemy. The sentence is prison in 39 countries and death in six. In Saudi Arabia, a new law equates atheism with terrorism. And the *Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak branded humanists and *secularists as no less than deviants. That this is happening in 2015 should trigger massive concern. Yet politicians and governments shy away from confronting the issue in the hope religion’s followers and its *influence will wither away as believers increasingly look at science to explain the world rather than discredited theology. While the number of believers is falling in the West there is a danger that those remaining will also become fanaticised as they are isolated. Historians 100 years on will surely wonder why so many people were deluded and perhaps conclude that some form of mass brainwashing was in play. The truth is, we don’t need scriptures or 10 commandments to be good folk. Just be fair and decent in everything you do – and that applies to people, businesses, politicians and *governments. If you want a better world then believe in that. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/religion-belongs-dark-ages-atheist-4952352
  2. American football remains a minority sport in the UK, and especially in Scotland, where the urban English fascination with US culture, especially those of minorities, is less firmly felt. Even so, some of you may have read about the 'inflategate' scandal which erupted after last week's semi-finals, in which Boston's New England Patriots were, apparently, found to have deliberately under inflated the footballs used, presumably giving them an advantage. Quite how it did so I can't explain: perhaps their players are more used to handling squishy balls than the firm-tested team they beat. But the comeback against the most successful side in recent years in the NFL has been swift and bitter. Patriots' owner, Robert Kraft (presumably of the atomic-orange 'Cheesey Pasta' and suspiciously mushy, not-very-cheesy Dairylea Triangles family) has angrily stepped up to the plate, to mix our American sports, and lashed out at the coverage his side has received. Get this: “I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon,” Kraft said, pointing directly to reports citing anonymous sources. “We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.” Sounds mighty familiar. I doubt many folk in the Greater Boston area would be thrilled at a comparison with Rangers, the bastion not only of quintessential Britishness but the Protestant Ascendancy, Conservative Values, Stout Monarchism etc etc. Just the same, it does sound familiar to the bluenose ear (now there's an image), does it not? “I am confident that this investigation will uncover whatever the facts were that took place last Sunday and the science of how game balls react to changes in the environment,” Kraft added. “This would be in direct contrast to the public discourse, which has been driven by media leaks as opposed to actual data and facts. Because of this, many jumped to conclusions and made scarring accusations against our coach, quarterback and staff questioning the integrity of all involved.” At least throughout all Rangers' travails no-one accused them of under inflating their footballs. Balls of a different sort will be needed on Sunday, when probably the least anticipated Rangers - Celtic game of all time rolls around. The air has certainly gone from this fixture, and it would be appropriate if Rangers turned up on a series of old Raleigh bikes with flat tyres. Clown horns would not be amiss either, given the standard of play we've seen. I daresay Celtic fans can't wait for it. If I was in their shoes I'd be hoping for double figures. All very defeatist and in line with the mood of gloom which not only surrounds but suffocates anything and everything to do with the Ibrox side, but I don't apologise for that. On the pitch, in the boardroom, on the stands, can anyone see any light? As a long established handwringer, I'm split 3 ways between worrying about a total doing, the off field ramblings of various boards, and the potential for embarrassment from the stands. My wishy-washy attitude to this last has never been about being personally offended: as someone of no religion I shed few tears for sensitive clerical types of whatever stripe. It's always been about what hurts Rangers; but there's no sign of anyone else giving much of a toss. An afternoon long Sash Bash awaits, say some. Oh, the joy. I just felt it would show more balls, inflated to maximum, to call for decorum before the game, rather than wading in afterward. Who knows? Maybe it will all pass off in a manner which doesn't damage the club's image, what's left of it. Can't see it, though. And it's all such a waste of energy, anyway, shouting meaningless insults which don't insult the other side and bring harm to your own. I suppose everyone - and certainly, every club's fans - is guilty, from time to time, of saying things they don't mean. Only last night on the radio, Soviet Jim Spence, the Tayside Trotsky, suggested that the 80% of football fans who don't follow Rangers are bored with the saga. He might be more convincing if he didn't spend quite so much time talking about it, mostly in the manner chastised by Robert Kraft above. I doubt the US capitalist rotter, who seems more than a little aggrieved at being questioned at all - a sense of entitlement is rarely attractive - had the Couthy Commissar in his mind when he complained about 'circumstantial leaked evidence' but if the caps fits...and if 80% of fans don't care about Rangers, they've a funny way of showing it! Certainly, football worldwide is often the refuge of the unreconstructed, simple minded soul, and a sense of social awareness has never been a qualification for media work at all, let alone in sport. Last week's superb game in the FA Cup between Arsenal and Brighton, for example, was marred only by Robbie Savage's shrieked commentary, in which he not only encouraged Brighton players to put opponents into Row Z, play long balls into the channel and hoof it clear from defence, but persistently referred to co-host Ian Darke as 'darkey'. Even allowing for 'PC gone mad' considerations, this was brutal, throwback behaviour, as if the last 30 years on and off the field had never happened. I was ready for him to suggest Albion start the second half in flares before going on strike. But the game doesn't have to be so stupid: who in their right mind wants to use Robbie Savage as an exemplar? Maybe we can set an example for whatever future awaits our club by ignoring the existence of opposing fans and trying to lift the team. Well, there you have it, the depressing thoughts of a depressed handwringer on a depressingly wintry morning. We wait to see what happens on the pitch. I am sure the ground staff at Hampden will have the balls at the right pressure. I wonder what pressure mine will be come kick off.
  3. ByPAUL THORNTON The Sun Published: 18 minutes ago CHEEKY Celtic fans are planning to light the blue-touch paper on next week’s long-awaited Old Firm clash - with a full page ad explaining why Rangers are a new club. Sections of the Hoops support have clubbed together to take out the message in a Sunday newspaper one week before the tie. The lengthy message sets out why some Celts reckon the Gers are a different outfit from their historic rivals following the oldco’s liquidation in 2012. After organising through forums and supporter sites a group of dozens of fans have clubbed together a four-figure sum to place the statement. The message states: “As Celtic supporters, we regrettably recognise that our club had an association with Rangers (1872) through the collective descriptive term, The Old Firm. We believe this term is now redundant following the liquidation of Rangers (1872). “On 1st February Celtic supporters will support our team in the semifinal against a new club, which came into being in 2012. “This will be the first ever meeting between the two clubs and the purpose of this statement is to place our position on record so that Celtic supporters can enjoy the occasion for what it is and without playing any part in what we see as the Rangers ‘club continuation’ fiction.” The stunt is sure to wind-up Bears who were buoyed by Lord Nimmo Smith’s report which saw Rangers retain their titles in 2013. At the end of December SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster firmed-up that view when he insisted the team were “absolutely” the same club. He said: “It’s the same club, absolutely. “The member club is the entity that participates in our league and we have 42 member clubs. “Those clubs may be owned by a company, sometimes it’s a Private Limited Company, sometimes it’s a PLC, but ultimately, the company is a legal entity in its own right, which owns a member club that participates in the league. “It was put to bed by the Lord Nimmo Smith commission some while ago – it’s the same club.” Bosses at the paper where the ad is due to run contacted Police Scotland to make sure it would not spark trouble between the supports. Last night the force said: “We are aware of the advert.” Rangers declined to comment. But Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham said: “We’ve been over this time and time again. The football authorities have said it’s the same club and Lord Nimmo Smith has said it’s the same club. “I don’t think Rangers fans are paying any special attention to the online crackpots among the Celtic support who continue to put forward this notion. I’d have thought they’d have better things to spend their money on.”
  4. Who gives the lowest dealing charges. Decide to do my wee bit and up my share holding. Halifax £12:50 per trade.
  5. Noticed in the Metro this morning that all of the Murray Group of Companies are being wound up, notice served on 5th January 2015. Seems rather strange to me that this was not front page news?
  6. 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.
  7. For anyone who isn't already aware, I have been elected to the Rangers Fans Board to represent fans who attend away matches. Rangers are creating email addresses for direct contact with the Fans Board Members but they will not be live until after the first meeting on 6 October. In the short term if anyone has any particular issues or concerns that affect “fans who attend away matches”, can they please post them here. I said that “I will arrange an early meeting with Susan Hannah”, the Ticket Office Manager. I have kept this promise. The meeting will take place on Monday when I will try to get answers to any immediate concerns. TB has already raised a number of points: Possible profiteering by charging Rangers fans higher than normal prices. I responded that “I think that there is a league rule about that but there will be ways round it I'm sure. I did notice at Alloa that £18/£9 was posted at the away gates and that is what we were charged, well I was anyway, not quite old enough for a concession.” Children’s ticket availability and pricing. I replied that “If that is a league issue I will pursue with Mr Doncaster.” Small allocations and how to divide between supporters’ buses and those who travel independently. If anyone has recent evidence of any of these situations can they please post here or PM me as appropriate. SB commented about “the variables Ulster Bears must contend with and the size of support travelling over for home games”. This is not my constituency per se but I responded that “If you have an issue that relates to travelling or attending or otherwise is relevant to away matches please let me know”. STB commented about “the short notice between being allocated a game and the payment getting taken.” I replied that “I think the issue is the short notice Rangers often get from the other Clubs and the fact that they need to collect and pay for the tickets within a certain period.” More information on any of the above issues would be helpful and feel free to add anything else. On a more general note, I have taken on board the comments about the categories and would welcome any other comments about organisational issues since these will be discussed at the first meeting.
  8. 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.
  9. 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."
  10. 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?
  11. Some info for any that wished to do this for their continued wilfull slaughter of hundreds of innocents. Bar codes start with.............. '7 29'
  12. Born Under a Union Flag: Rangers, Britain and Scottish Independence (Luath Press) will be an interesting read for those yet to open its cover, and I would strongly suggest you do. It allows the reader access at times, to the mindset of the authors of the various chapters, some of which will challenge you, some may even alarm you, but having drawn me in, it was one of those books I had to read from start to finish without interruption. It may seem strange for an avid Unionist to highlight a chapter written by a pro-independence author, Gail Richardson, but I do so for 2 reasons : (1) Gail asks questions relating to the motto of a group of which I am a member – Vanguard Bears (2) Of all the pro-independence chapters within the book, Gail’s was unique in that it offered a cohesive, rational and positive argument for independence which was free from negative subjective experience often cited by her peers, nor did it seek to demonise Britain as a justification for exercising a yes vote, in short it offered vision rather than vilification. I use the word “demonise” deliberately. When Alan Bissett argues that Britain is responsible for, amongst other things, “the mass slaughter of World War 1” you can perhaps begin to understand why I suggested in the opening paragraph that you may be challenged, even alarmed by its contents. Gail opens her chapter with a question : Do the Loving Cup ceremony or the portraits of Her Majesty the Queen hanging in the home dressing room at Ibrox not qualify as traditions ? Both are long standing practices at our club, with club historian David Mason, opening this year’s Loving Cup toast describing it as “A very important tradition in the history of Rangers Football Club since 1937”. Furthermore are they merely traditions or, additionally, a powerful statement of identity i.e. this is a club which values the traditions of monarchy ? The foregoing example serves as welcome introduction for another area of such debate which is often overlooked by many. Gail asserts : It is madness. But what about the flip side of that coin ? What about the instances where the beliefs and values come from within the club itself ? Are they in themselves not statements of identity ? If the historical commentators such as Graham Walker and Bill Murray are to be believed, and there is no good reason not to, then Protestant identity evolved due to a number of factors, primarily though that the Protestant indigenous Scot sought a football club which reflected their faith and culture in the same way that the newly formed club, Celtic, reflected the faith and culture of the Irish immigrant population. If Gail is guilty of overlooking symbolisms and traditions which emanate from within the club, perhaps because they don’t quite fit with her assertions and beliefs, I confess, I could be equally as guilty of reading something into symbolisms from within the club because they do happen to fit with my particular assertions and beliefs. I have difficulty accepting however that Church and Boys Brigade Parades, the holding of the Orange Order Annual Divine Service at Ibrox, our refusal to play football on the Sabbath, the welcoming of Kings at Ibrox, Armed Forces Days, amongst other things, are not statements of identity. Furthermore these take no account of the erroneous, which again have their formation from within the club itself. Gail makes reference to Rangers signing policy, I would add to that the comments of Rangers vice chairman Matt Taylor in 1967 when he stated in interview relating to it, “part of our tradition....we were formed in 1873 as a Protestant boys club. To change now would lose us considerable support.” However mis-guided, however ham-fisted, however opposed to true Protestant ideals and values the foregoing examples are, I would suggest they are a clear attempt to attach a Protestant identity to our club from within the club itself. I cite these examples not to usurp Gail’s questioning of their relevance today in an increasingly secular Scotland, but to demonstrate that the club itself over the years has actively encouraged an identity with which it is often associated, therefore to suggest that it’s our supporters who have projected their beliefs onto the club and asked them to uphold them is incorrect. When Gail states : “I’ve said that I don’t believe Rangers Football Club is a Protestant club or a Unionist club.” how does such a statement equate to a football club who have just released their 3rd strip which has as its centrepiece, the flag of the Union itself ? Particularly in view of the current political climate in Scotland. Strangely, the answer to Gail’s original question comes from an unlikely source, in chapter 3 of the book. Harry Reid, an Aberdeen supporter speaking of the demise of Rangers identity under Sir David Murray: And later in the chapter : Harry continues: Later in the chapter Harry emphasises the importance of any football club seeking to expand its aspirations, remaining true to its core fan base. There is really not a lot I can add to Harry’s quotes. The values, traditions and people Harry alludes to are very much at the core of what we at Vanguard Bears, seek to defend. I hope this article not only answers Gail’s questions, but also challenges her to examine her own vision of our club, as much as her chapter from the book caused me to examine my own.
  13. Former Rangers chief executive Charles Green is launching a bid to return to Ibrox as a director by fronting a £10 million investment in the club from an American billionaire. New York based George Soros has told Green to make his move within the next 7 days by offering existing Rangers shareholders 20p per share to become the company’s biggest shareholder. If that move fails, Soros and Green will offer the current board a £10 million loan at 5% interest, with the Murray Park training ground taken as security on the deal. Clyde Sport understands Green would then return to the club as a director with a new chief executive to be appointed to replace the current man in charge, Graham Wallace. The move would also throw into question the future of Rangers manager Ally McCoist with both men known to be fans of club legend Brian Laudrup. Green still has close contacts with the current Rangers board through Sandy Easdale. Mr Soros has been involved in Major League Baseball in the United States and currently has a 1.9% stakeholding in Manchester United. He played a significant role in the transition from communism to capitalism in his native Hungary in the 1980s and is a well known currency speculator who gained the title, “The man who broke the Bank of England” in the 1992 Black Wednesday currency crisis. Forbes magazine has listed 83 year-old Soros as the 27th richest person in the world as recently as 2 weeks ago and he’s the 7th richest man in America with a net worth of £23billion. http://www.clyde1.com/superscoreboard/green-eyeing-ibrox-return/
  14. RFC Maybe we can talk about this without any unecessary snyde remarks about the board?
  15. Looking forward to reading and reviewing this book in the coming few weeks: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Born-Under-Union-Flag-Bissett/dp/1910021121/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404410171&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Born+Under+a+Union+Flag%3A+Rangers%2C+Britain+and+Scottish+Independence I know Ally and Alan (and the other contributors) have worked hard on this so it should be an interesting read and useful accompaniment to the Referendum debate.
  16. THE Rangers family have taken Calum Gallagher to their hearts. But the Ibrox kid has revealed his biggest fans are Celtic supporters. Gallagher emerged from the Murray Park ranks to impress for Ally McCoist's side in the closing weeks of the League One campaign and will be part of the squad that will bid for Championship glory next term. The forward was snapped up by Rangers after being spotted while playing for local side Giffnock after leaving Dundee United early in his teens. After forging his way into the first team, scoring on his debut against Dunfermline and helping seal a third tier title, Gallagher is living the dream in Light Blue. And the 19-year-old is delighted to be able to repay his nearest and dearest for their backing as he continues on the road to glory with Rangers. "I come from a really supportive family and now that I am where I am I think they are more Rangers fans than Celtic fans," he told SportTimes. "I get teased from a lot of them but a lot of them are at every game and they are really supportive. "I have got to live my dream and play football. Now that I am where I am, I love the club and everything it stands for. "I am so lucky to be where I am and long may that continue." It may have taken until the closing weeks of the campaign for Gallagher to get his big break but it was to prove well worth waiting for as he impressed in League One and the Scottish Cup triumph over Albion Rovers. He has quickly settled into a first team filled with SPFL Premiership-quality stars and, in the cases of stalwarts Lee McCulloch and Lee Wallace and keeper Cammy Bell, players who have turned out for Scotland. The transition from Murray Park kid to Ibrox star could have been a daunting one but Gallagher admits the warm welcome he received made the first team dressing room feel like home sweet home. "When I first came in, Lee McCulloch was amazing with me," he said. "I felt that he put a lot of attention towards me and really helped me settle in. "He is still a great influence and he is amazing around the dressing room. "He is deserving of the club captaincy, there is no doubt about that. "Guys like Jon Daly have been great for me, as a striker. He has been able to impart his wisdom in a positional sense and talked me through a few things. "It has been great to work with the gaffer as well and it can only help me working with someone who was as good a player as him. "It would be unfair of me to single out anyone, everyone really pulls their weight and helps integrate the younger players into the squad. You couldn't ask for a better staff and group of team-mates." Gallagher may have had to quickly make new acquaintances on his maiden venture into the Gers first team arena but there were a couple of familiar faces for the forward to chew the fat with. His Murray Park peers Fraser Aird and Lewis Macleod have shone since given their chance by boss McCoist, with the pair once again impressing in League One as Rangers eased to the title this term. It was to prove a frustrating end to the campaign for Macleod as a virus saw him forced to hang up his boots with several weeks of action still to be played. The champions will return to pre-season training in a couple of weeks and Gallagher is confident his fellow Light Blue protege can shine once again next term. He said: "Lewis is one of the most gifted players I have ever played with. He has got everything you need in a footballer. "Fingers crossed everything works out for him. If he is able to keep himself fit and healthy then there is no knowing where he could end up in the game. "It must have been really frustrating for him not being able to play in the second half of the season. "It is something all players go through, everyone gets injuries. It is horrible coming in and feeling the energy about the place but not being able to exert yourself and play your part. "I am sure it was torture for him but here's hoping he comes back better than ever next season." It is less than a month before McCoist will start putting his players through their paces ahead of the big Championship kick-off but there has only been one arrival at Ibrox thus far, Kenny Miller clinching his third Gers switch last week. Having allowed Andy Little to leave after his contract came to an end, another striker is one of McCoist's top priorities as he looks to bolster his squad, with former Ibrox forward Kris Boyd linked with a return to the club. And Gallagher, who has spent most of his first team career in a role on the right of the Rangers midfield, is eager to show what he can do in front of goal. He said: "That is where I have always played, through the middle. "But I know that I have the traits that let me play wider as well. I am happy to play anywhere in a Rangers top.As long as I am on the pitch and doing my bit for the team I am delighted. "I would love to get a run out in what I see as my natural position. But you never know where you will end up. Lee McCulloch has played in just about every position during his career. "If you can make an impact in multiple positions then that is great. Doing that gives you more of a chance of getting on the pitch than if you were restricted to one position. "It is not something I grudge or anything like that. I am delighted to play wherever the manager wants and I will go out and give my all for Rangers." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/calum-ive-got-bunch-of-celtic-fans-proud-of-my-role-in-rangers-family-166655n.24435761
  17. Not exactly Rangers chat but I think most people will enjoy this Chris Graham article which comprehensively destroys Kevin McKenna's Lennon article of last week... http://www.therangersstandard.co.uk/index.php/articles/current-affairs/324-neil-lennon-the-bravest-man-in-scotland
  18. I'm staunchly Conservative and detest the left wing but Farage will be getting my vote. I agree with every single thing he says.
  19. Neil Lennon is to part company with Celtic after four years as manager following talks about his future. It is understood that the former club captain had been considering his position for some time despite securing a third straight Scottish title. He has been concerned about this playing budget for next season. The 42-year-old Northern Irishman took charge of the Glasgow club in 2010, leading them to three league titles and two Scottish Cups. Lennon, who also previously led Celtic to Champions League last 16, is believed to have been concerned that his present side would be able to negotiate three rounds of qualifying next season.
  20. This story was posted about a week ago. I have just seen it today. These numbers are staggering. If the torture thing goes through, how many more? http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vatican-says-848-priests-defrocked-for-abuse-since-2004-1.2634174?ref=fh%2cwww.mywinnipeg.com Vatican says 848 priests defrocked for abuse since 2004 New wave of lawsuits possible if sex abuse classified as 'torture' The Associated Press Posted: May 06, 2014 9:12 PM ET| Last Updated: May 07, 2014 12:23 PM ET Related Stories ■Pope Francis' tougher stance on church sex abuse focuses on accountability ■Vatican slammed by UN human rights committee over sex abuse ■Pope Benedict defrocked 400 priests in 2 years, document reveals ■Vatican grilled by UN panel on child sex abuse by priests ■Pope seeks decisive action against sex abuse The Vatican revealed Tuesday that over the past decade, it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled the more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004. The Vatican's UN ambassador in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, released the figures during a second day of grilling by a UN committee monitoring implementation of the UN treaty against torture. Tomasi insisted that the Holy See was only obliged to abide by the torture treaty inside the tiny Vatican City State, which has a population of only a few hundred people. But significantly, he didn't dispute the committee's contention that sexual violence against children can be considered torture. Legal experts have said that classifying sexual abuse as torture could expose the Catholic Church to a new wave of lawsuits since torture cases in much of the world don't carry statutes of limitations. ■Pope Benedict defrocked 400 priests in 2 years, document reveals ■Vatican slammed by UN human rights committee over sex abuse ■How Pope Francis is reshaping the Vatican Tomasi also provided statistics about how the Holy See has adjudicated sex abuse cases for the past decade. The Vatican in 2001 required bishops and religious superiors to forward all credible cases of abuse to Rome for review after determining that they were shuffling pedophile priests from diocese to diocese rather than subjecting them to church trials. Only in 2010 did the Vatican explicitly tell bishops and superiors to also report credible cases to police where local reporting laws require them to. Annually reported cases fairly constant The Vatican statistics are notable in that they show how the peaks in numbers over the years — both of cases reported and sanctions meted out — roughly parallels the years in which abuse scandals were in the news. And they showed that far from diminishing in recent years, the number of cases reported annually to the Vatican has remained a fairly constant 400 or so since 2010, the last year the scandal erupted in public around the globe. These cases, however, concern mostly abuse that occurred decades ago. Sexual abuse as torture? Victims' advocates and legal groups have said the Catholic Church could be exposed to a new round of litigation if courts agree that abuse can constitute torture. Other legal experts, however, have expressed doubts that U.S. courts would be swayed by an attempt to reclassify rape as torture merely to get around the statute of limitations. The statute issue has proved to be a major stumbling block for many victims, since many are unable to cope with the trauma of the abuse until it's too late to pursue civil damages. — The Associated Press The Associated Press reported in January that then-Pope Benedict XVI had defrocked 384 priests in the final two years of his pontificate, citing documentation that Tomasi's delegation had prepared for another UN hearing monitoring a treaty on the rights of children. That documentation matched data contained in the Vatican's statistical yearbooks. Tomasi told the AP on Tuesday that the January figures were "incomplete" and that the data he provided to the UN committee Tuesday was the first ever comprehensive year-by-year breakdown of cases reported and adjudicated. The figures, however, only cover cases handled directly by the Holy See, not those handled by local diocesan tribunals, meaning the total number of sanctioned priests is likely far higher. The data showed that since 2004, the Vatican had received some 3,400 cases, had defrocked 848 priests and sanctioned another 2,572 to lesser penalties. There are over 410,000 Catholic priests around the world, according to the Catholic News Service. ■Vatican grilled by UN panel on child sex abuse by priests ■Pope wants decisive action on priests' sex abuse ■Pope Francis' tougher stance on church sex abuse focuses on accountability The latest spike began in 2010, when 464 cases were reported, more than twice the amount in 2009. Starting in that same year, the Vatican began resorting more and more to the lesser penalty of sentencing accused priests to a lifetime of penance and prayer rather than defrocking them. The Vatican often metes out such sentences for elderly or infirm priests, since defrocking them would essentially render them destitute in their final years. Prior to 2010, these lesser sanctions were only handed out to about 100 or so priests each year. Pressed on torture definition Tomassi stressed the lesser sanctions still amounted to punishment and the abuser was "put in a place where he doesn't have any contact with the children." It was the second time this year the Vatican was called to appear before a UN committee to face uncomfortable questions about how it has handled the crisis of priests who raped and molested tens of thousands of children, and the bishops who covered up for them. Pressed by committee vice-chair Felice Gaer about whether the Holy See considered sexual abuse to be a form of torture, Tomasi said "I'm not a lawyer." But he didn't dispute the contention, saying merely that the alleged torture and the behavior of the person inflicting it must be "consistent with the definition of the convention." The UN convention defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person" to obtain information, to punish or coerce and is inflicted with the "consent or acquiescence" of a public official. Gaer said afterward that she considered Tomasi's response to be a clear admission by the Holy See that sexual violence can be a form of torture. © The Associated Press, 2014 The Canadian Press
  21. By mutual consent. Oh dear! Striker Kenny Miller moves on May 4, 2014 VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that the club has parted ways with striker Kenny Miller. The club and Miller have mutually agreed to a contract termination. “We are thankful for the contributions Kenny made both on and off the pitch during his time in Vancouver,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "He has been a great role model, a constant professional, and someone who I consider a very good friend. We wish him and his family all the best.” Miller, 34, joined Whitecaps FC in June 2012 and during his time with the club the native of Edinburgh, Scotland, made 45 appearances in all competitions, registering 13 goals and adding three assists. Conference call audio from head coach Carl Robinson and Kenny Miller will be posted on whitecapsfc.com this afternoon.
  22. Just back from this meeting at the Louden tonight , it lasted just over 3 hours and had approx 40 in attendance ,before I start , this was the first meeting of the group I had been to so I had no preconceived ideas as to what to expect . The meeting opened and Richard Atkinson ran through the entire history and aims and objectives of rangersfirst , why a CIC , what the positives were , how it worked etc etc , the entire first part of the meeting , infact the vast majority was being filmed and I believe it will be used when they make presentations to supporters clubs etc.It was very impressive and very professional , now in the past I have written about what I perceived was the apathy of the Rangers support , tonight totally changed my mind , I have never felt so optimistic as I did leaving the Louden in a long time .There was a section on how members should behave with regards to online arguments/debate which given the recent outbreaks on twitter and on certain sites brought everything perspective , this is 100% about Rangers , what peoples views are on , race , religion ,politics, gender , sexuality etc etc is their own business ,none of that matters all everyone was focusing on was Rangers , and to be honest it was a breath of fresh air. There is still a long long way to go , but with over 1000 members after a very soft launch on social media , which includes over 100 taking the club 1872 £500 life memberships already signed up , I think in this present time when there is so much uncertainty , the problems we are facing both on and off the field , the 120 day review , the DK situation where fans are obviously waiting to see how it all transpires , over 1000 members is pretty good going , there will be a full launch via the msm soon , however the club announcing the 120 day review has thrown a spanner in the works regards that , there is also a slight issue with certain people who support rangersfirst not wanting to be seen rocking the boat with regards the club , but I am sure when the launch happens the rangers family will be delighted with what they see and hear. Various supporters clubs have taken out the club1872 life membership and I was wondering if there is an appetite for this small free thinking forum to band together and take one out in the gersnet name , it could be held in one of the admins names .As I have already said I have taken a club1872 life membership out myself but would be more than happy to donate £25 to get it started , if there is a desire it might be something that we could continue even by donating a £1 or £2 each month into an account which goes into rangersfirst ,like I said its only an idea . Finally massive thanks to WATP_Greg and his dad and all the staff at the Louden for their hospitality tonight , much appreciated.
  23. It was on the Dutch news tonight about the misuse of young people in the Catholic church in Holland and Scotland. The Catholic church should have done everything in their power to bring them to justice instead of hiding them away. It is a criminal offence to hide a criminal which is what the Catholic church did. Why are they not being charged for their actions?
  24. http://kickoff.blogs.lequipe.fr/les-rangers-religion-decosse/ Someone care to translate?
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