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  1. I hope someone has posted a copy to Alistair Johnson. wouldnt like to see it confinded to dusty cupboard gathering cobwebs. And theres every chance that could happen give the stramash that is going on.
  2. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=821&Itemid=2 Over the last month, the 'Setting the Standard' Project has been moving forward with regard to realising some of the aims and recommendations within the report. Firstly, via positive dialogue with the Rangers Supporters Assembly, the STS contributors obtained the chance to take part in a recent Q&A session at Ibrox Stadium to discuss the Assembly and to highlight important issues for the organisation to work on, and most took up this opportunity, which resulted in a positive discussion Secondly, the Assembly has now submitted a summary response regarding the issues within the STS report and is in broad agreement with its findings. Therefore, the STS report and contributors are to take a full part in further Assembly debates as well as exploring methods for extending the forum format to more supporters. From these open debates, the Assembly will take forward the agreed issues both with regard to its own activities and its dialogue with the club. It is important to reiterate that from all the above we want to bring together supporters from a wide range of backgrounds to stimulate debate in an open, constructive environment. This, in turn, will enable more effective and representative communication with the club itself.
  3. We are pleased to announce that Rangers FC - via Chief Executive Martin Bain - have now commented on our 'Setting the Standard' project of the last few months. Mr Bain has made the following points worthy of note by fans interested in the project: - The club have read the report and thanked the contributors for their constructive efforts. - Many of the issues highlighted in the report have been prioritised by the club but should be the subject of continued and informed debate. - The club are open at all times to constructive recommendations and suggestions. - The club welcomes the opportunity to work positively with the Rangers family. - To that end, the club are recommending the report (available for download here) be tabled as a main agenda item at the next Rangers Supporters Assembly meeting where the club will be happy to participate. We welcome this positive momentum and hope that this initial discussion will prove to be the first step towards an open debate between the support and the club in relation to the main points of the ‘Setting the Standard’ report. :spl:
  4. Always puzzled me this, since I joined here. "Chick Young" comes on and posts links to his own stories, generating publicity, hits and some discussion. Very good idea and an example of generating revenue using indirect new media. Very impressed. Having said that, "Chick" never 'gives anything back' by contributing to any discussion or whatever and I think that's a little unfair. I'd like to ask what "Chick" thinks of the Setting the Standard Report, and if he sees anybody at Rangers doing anything about anything that's in there?
  5. In the recent 'Setting the Standard' thread, there appeared to be some doubt as to whether this guy was deserving of our respect or not. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/193429-rangers-fans-launch-another-petition-against-the-anti-rangers-bbc/show_full Let there be no more doubt over the rabid, hate-filled agenda of this scrote. And beware admin this is a guy who openly encourages hackers to destroy Rangers sites.
  6. Hopefully by now a fair number of online bears will be aware of the 'Setting the Standard' project. This has taken the form of 12 articles which were debated in full on various websites. From this debate, a 53 page report was collated with several suggestions, recommendations and conclusions made. You can now download an edited 28 page draft of this via the following link. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/settingthestandard/ For your information, Sir David Murray and Rangers Football Club have been provided with a printed copy of the report and we await their full response with interest. In addition all Rangers fan organisations have been supplied with the full copy as have both fanzines and as many of the fan websites I could get in contact with. I'd like to take this opportunity to again thank RangersMedia for their help in putting this together as well as Russell Brothers Design for their invaluable and extremely generous work in professionally designing the report for submission. As always, if anyone has any comments on the report, or wants to get involved with any future stages of the project, please post here or pm me. Finally, I'd urge any interested fan to download the report and forward it onto as many people as possible. Thanks again for your support and help in putting all this together. We are the people! Yours in Rangers, Frankie
  7. This is the final article of the STS project. It is perhaps fitting that we have an independent academic view which lends credibility to supporter opinion and shows that we are worth listening to despite the attempts by some to dismiss us. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Atton for his STS contribution and invite critics of online communities to heed his wise words. 'Why Fanzines Matter' Written by Professor Chris Atton - Napier University http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=795&Itemid=1 It is easy, perhaps too easy, to dismiss fanzines. Some consider them as the inconsequent ramblings of obsessive’s with too much time on their hands. Others feel that they are vehicles for wannabe journalists who cannot make it in the professional media. With so many fanzines available on the web, some believe that the level of discussion that takes place on fanzine sites rarely rises above that of the gutter. As an academic I have been researching fanzines for over fifteen years. My work shows fanzines in a very different light. I have read thousands of these amateur publications; I have talked with their editors, their contributors and their readers. And I have learned that fanzines play an extremely important role in the cultural life of a nation. The fanzine deals with popular culture, such as football, music, films, television and genre fiction. By its very nature, popular culture is enjoyed by ordinary people – its audiences do not need any special qualifications to appreciate it. In this respect football fans (for example) are no different from sports journalists. Simon Frith, Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, argues that ‘critics of popular forms need know nothing about such forms except as consumers; their skill is to be able to write about ordinary experience’. In other words, the ‘amateur’ fan has the potential to write about their experiences of football just as expertly and just as knowledgeably as the football commentator. The football fan is just as likely to offer a detailed analysis of a game, of a team or of an individual footballer as is the professional journalist. That fan is likely to draw on a wealth of accumulated knowledge, comparing games that have taken place that same day, comparing games and players historically, examining the local game as well as the European competition. These analyses do not take place in a vacuum, however. Simon Frith goes on to say that music fanzines provide a space where a ‘democratic conversation [takes place] between music lovers, a social celebration of a particular kind of musical attention and commitment’. The same is true of the football fanzine. I would add that the conversation in fanzines is ‘democratic’ because the knowledge and authority on which it is based come not from formal education or professional training but primarily from untutored, amateur enthusiasm. The development of online fanzines makes this conversation even more intense: no longer to contributors have to wait till the next issue to have their opinions read, nor wait till the issue after that to read the reaction of others. The online fanzine is valuable not only to local fans. It enables fans scattered across the country – even the world – to participate freely in this conversation. There are negative aspects to this freedom, of course. Much attention has been paid to the display of sectarianism on some football fan sites, and with good reason: hate speech must not be tolerated. But we must remember that the majority of fans do not engage in this shameful activity. More importantly, perhaps, all the football fanzine editors I have spoken with over the years have expressed their strong antipathy to such speech: they do everything they can to prevent it and nothing to encourage it. Sectarian behaviour comes from a misguided sense of loyalty to a club. That loyalty, however, is more often put to much better use, to create a community. Fanzines are produced by amateurs, by non-professionals. They offer great potential for democratic participation. Rather than media production being the province of elite, centralised organisations and institutions, fanzines offer the possibilities for individuals and groups to create their own media ‘from the periphery’, so to speak. But this is not to think of fanzines merely as cultural aberrations or marginal activities: the football fanzine can be central to an especially powerful form of community. The loyalty of fans to a club does not end when the full-time whistle blows. Their loyalty extends to an interest in how the club is run, the facilities it offers and how it manages its finances, even to the price of the match programme. Football fanzines are often places where the corporatism of the big clubs is critiqued, not out of a sense of disloyalty or disruption, but because fans care passionately about the game. For them money should not be the primary concern (though all will concede its importance). Pinned above my desk I have a clipping from the Celtic fanzine Not the View that captures this attitude perfectly: “The problem with having the club run by financial investors is that when they look at Celtic they see only a bunch of assets which make money. When we as fans see Celtic, however, we see something unique and magical.” Replace ‘Celtic’ with the name of your favourite club and you would probably agree. Views such as this can make for uncomfortable reading in the boardroom. Fans, though, have invested heavily in their chosen club, financially (season tickets do not come cheap) and emotionally (this is their passion after all). They might not be actual shareholders, but they have a very significant stake in what they consider to be ‘their’ club. The fanzine is able to bring together this community of fans who care, the better to give them a collective voice. Whether it gives a voice to individual opinion or to collective commitment, the football fanzine offers fans the opportunity to engage with – and perhaps improve - aspects of popular culture that are central to their lives. (Who was it who said that football’s not a matter of life and death, it’s important than that?) In a world where so many of our experiences seem to be mediated by professional critics, where we seem to be constantly told what to like and how to like it, the fanzine is where ordinary people can engage with popular culture on their own terms, finding their own pleasures for themselves and engaging socially in the cultural life of their country. That is why fanzines matter. About Prof. Chris Atton Chris Atton is Professor of Media and Culture in the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. His research specialises in alternative media, and he is the author of four books, including Alternative Media (Sage, 2002) and Alternative Journalism (Sage, 2008), as well as over fifty articles and book chapters. He has made special studies of fanzines, popular music journalism and the media of new social movements.
  8. After a break for a couple of months, the 'Setting the Standard' project reaches its final stages with a couple of closing articles. The first one from 'Lord Nelson' below is a fascinating look at how Rangers could benefit from changes in the boardroom and is especially relevant with various rumours surrounding the ownership. The final STS article (which offers independent academic credibility for supporter opinions) will be published later this week before the overall expanded report is released next week for download. This expanded report has been printed and will be provided to Rangers FC for official comment. Anyway - onto the penultimate article Setting the Standard: Improvements in the Boardroom (Written by Lord Nelson) This article is going to look at one of the most important areas of the club - the place where the decisions that affect the running of the club - the boardroom. It proposes that two independent directors are appointed in a non-executive position to assist in the decision-making process. It was only 4 and a half years ago that the club was Ã?£74 million in debt and in a great deal of financial difficulty. We got out of that debt following the rights issue that was supported by Sir David Murray (SDM) and the cash from the JJB deal, but yet again the club finds itself in financial difficulty after such a short period of time. Our debt could be in excess of Ã?£30m in January, which is a lot when we consider that we only have facilities of Ã?£36m from the bank, and our outgoings will exceeded our incomings in the months prior to the receipt of the season ticket money. We were in the position that we were unable to even bring one player in on loan during the recent winter transfer window. Both situations arose due to overspending which the club canââ?¬â?¢t afford, but was authorised by the directors nevertheless. It is because of this situation arising twice that it is believed that the Board of Directors of Rangers would benefit from having independent non-executive directors appointed, who may force SDM to at least question and re-examine the level of spending and other decisions and bring a freshness and alternative outlook that can only benefit the club as a whole. Background For the purposes of good corporate governance, listed companies on the major UK exchanges are required to have independent non-executive directors. They do not work on a day-to-day basis but attend board meetings. They have no connection to the company but are involved in strategy and have an oversight of management (see Appendix A for a more in-depth description of their responsibilities). There is currently no requirement for Rangers to have such directors as the Plus Markets exchange where Rangers shares are listed do not have the same level of requirements as other, more primary exchanges. Our rivals across the city are listed on a more senior exchange and as such do have independent non-executive directors - Ian Livingstone, Chief Executive of BT and Thomas Allison, Chairman of Peel Ports as well the well known John Reid, and it believed that the former two would benefit their clubââ?¬â?¢s decision making with their vast business experience. The need for a strong set of non-executive directors was highlighted recently with the biggest loss in UK history following the Royal Bank of Scotlandââ?¬â?¢s near collapse, requiring support from the UK government. One of the causes of this is alleged to have been the inability of the non-executive directors to stand up to Sir Fred Goodwin, which highlights the need for a strong board, who are able to make their feelings known. If RBS can be close to collapse then what is to say that Rangers could not run into serious trouble? That is why as strong board of Directors as possible is required. The new directors should be independent of SDM so that they can stand up against him if they believe that he is incorrect and should not feel threatened or intimidated to give their opinions. They must be able to have his respect and should perhaps be regarded as ââ?¬Å?Captains of Industryââ?¬Â. The current position The blame for the current financial problems has to stay with the directors of the club. Matching the supportersââ?¬â?¢ expectations and keeping the club on a financial even-keel is admittedly an extremely difficult thing to do but with strong leadership, it can be done. We appeared to be in the position where we had to sell our top scorer in the winter transfer window and it is worrying to the support that the club finds itself in this position, and means the outlook remains extremely bleak even with Champions' League qualification for next season. Misleading statements It is believed that it was during the 2001 AGM that someone questioned the increasing debt level which was sitting at Ã?£28 million at that point. The shareholders were reassured by the Chairman at that meeting that it would be irresponsible for the board of directors to allow the debt to increase above Ã?£40 million, but in less than 12 months it had increased to Ã?£52 million, and eventually ended up at the well-publicised Ã?£74 million. It is therefore a myth that many have said that nobody complained when the debt was increasing. The issue was raised but it appears that the shareholders, and therefore the support, were misled. Following the cash that was received from the aforementioned rights issue and the up-front payment of Ã?£18 million received from JJB, the net debt was reduced to under Ã?£6 million in June 2006 and again the support were reassured by SDM in August 2006 that they would be ââ?¬Å?maintaining financial prudenceââ?¬Â. It is not believed that anyone can argue that taking the club to within a few million of its borrowing limit in such a short period of time is maintaining financial prudence, and yet again what the shareholders of the club were told does not reflect the way the reality of the situation. Having independent directors may result in more openness in the running of the club, which the support deserves, given the financial commitment they make each season. Options It would be in the clubââ?¬â?¢s best interests to try and ensure that this level of overspending is made more difficult in the future. (It is impossible to prevent when there is a majority shareholder in place). SDM has made it clear that he wishes to sell the club, but it is equally obvious that there are no potential buyers out there. Any solutions therefore have to be within the current set-up of SDM being the majority shareholder. The support need reassurances that the club will be run on a sound financial footing and there appears to be an inability for this to happen and therefore something has to change. What is required is for SDM to make a major leap and admit that mistakes continue to be made and accept that it would be helpful to have assistance in formulating the plans for the club. Conclusion The decision making of the directors of Rangers can only be enhanced with new, enthusiastic non-executive directors. It is acknowledged that SDM will always have the final say due to his shareholding, but additional, experienced businessmen could bring fresh and innovative ideas and perhaps help him prevent the club getting into a more perilous financial situation. APPENDIX 1 - The role of an Independent non-executive director An independent non-executive director should play the following roles: 1. Participating in formulating strategy of the company The board of directors is responsibility for the management of a company. It does not directly take part in the routine management, but it has to participate in the drafting of strategy of the company. They must use the professional knowledge or common sense, experience and specialty, vision and the advice they get from outside or the people and business relations they have developed to help directors solve related problems. 2. Oversight of management Oversight of management covers two aspects: one is to oversee the management and the company in implementing the rules, procedures and plans established, that is, to see whether the company operates along the established orbit; the other is to check the company to see whether or not it has established a proper and effective internal monitoring system, procedure and guide. The former to see whether the company follows its rules and system in force and the other is to see whether the current system is rational enough. 3. Independent stand It is very important for independent non-executive directors to air their affirmative and objective views, take independent decisions. As an independent non-executive director, the law demands impartiality in taking decisions by taking into account all available information, instead of casting votes according to the views of shareholders who have appointed you. First of all, an independent non-executive director must study and get to know all the information provided by the company; secondly, the voting and decision taking are not influenced, directly or indirectly, by individual interests; thirdly, he must honestly ask himself whether any private interests have influenced his judgement. 4. Protecting the interests of all shareholders As an independent non-executive director, an important task is to protect the interests of all shareholders. APPENDIX 2 - Disclaimers 1. It should be made clear that this proposal does not supersede or replace the requirement for supporter representation on the board, which is a separate subject and is not covered by this proposal. References: 1. http://www.cipe.org/ Further reading: The Higgs report - http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file23012.pdf
  9. CammyF throws down the gauntlet to the club s he asks Rangers to provide a museum at last to celebrate our proud history (with valued contributions from the Curator of the Scottish Football Museum). http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=772&Itemid=2 Part One ââ?¬Ë?The Scottish Football Museum exists to promote the unique football heritage of Scotland, to build and maintain a national football collection, and to educate and inspire future generations.ââ?¬â?¢ The above is the mission statement for the Scottish Football Association Museum Trust which through hard work and dedication has opened the impressive Scottish Football Museum at Hampden. I have a personal interest in this museum as my Grandfatherââ?¬â?¢s junior and amateur medals are now held in the museum and are occasionally on display. Richard McBrearty, Curator of the Scottish Football Museum kindly supplied detailed information that is used within this article and we at Gersnet are indebted to Richard for taking the time to add his input to this article and project. The above mission statement rings true when evaluating and showcasing Scottish Football and the same could be said for Rangersââ?¬â?¢ uniqueness and having our own museum is something that I know some fans have been suggesting for many years now. I believe that the first time I personally became aware of the need for a Rangers museum was after the tragic death of Davie Cooper. Many Rangers fans at the time rightly stated that a Rangers Museum would be lasting and fitting tribute to Davie Cooper. The idea of a museum has been muted and discussed at various AGMs, but as yet, there has been little, if any movement on this front. If you have been lucky enough to have visited the Ibrox Trophy Room you will know that there are many unique, interesting and quirky exhibits that deserved to be showcased in a dedicated museum ââ?¬â?? the ââ?¬Ë?Loving Cupââ?¬â?¢ instantly springs to mind. Indeed, the club feel that the stadium is a museum in itself and while that opinion has validity, we could build upon the existing tour by providing new stand-alone facilities for such an initiative. This existing tour has positive feedback but there is no doubt improvement, as always, can be sought. The best stadium tour that I have ever undertaken was the tour of the Santiago BernabÃ?©u Stadium in Madrid. Not only does this take in the wonderful Real Madrid museum, the tour is unique in-itself as there are no dedicated guides for the tour, you pay your money and allowed access to the stadium and complete this at your own leisure. All the exhibits on the tour and in the museum are showcased in Spanish, German and English. Real Madridââ?¬â?¢s museum is also interesting as it isnââ?¬â?¢t solely a footballing museum. Realââ?¬â?¢s basketball team are also well represented in the museum as are other sports like tennis and athletics. The history of the club is told as you wander through the museum and this is done in such a way that you leave the museum with all the historical information that makes Real Madrid the institution that they are. At the end of the museum, which takes up the majority of one stand, is a tribute wall that lists every player ever to play for Real Madrid and they are separated into the countries of their birth. There is only ever been one Scotsman to play for Real Madrid, a certain Mr John Fox Watson - 1948 ââ?¬â?? then player/coach and is credited as being the first British player to play for Real Madrid. . The BernabÃ?©u model is an example that Rangers could follow. Ibrox Stadium whilst being the famous home of Rangers Football Club has also housed various other events over the years; from the annual parades of the Boys Brigade and Orange Order to the Rangers Sports Days that were a highlight of the sporting calendar in the 1950ââ?¬â?¢s. There is some wonderful footage of the sports days on ââ?¬Ë?YouTubeââ?¬â?¢ and they did draw impressive crowds to Ibrox. All this information, photos and memorabilia will be currently lying around Ibrox somewhere gathering dust. We do have an unofficial publication, 'The Rangers Historian' that details our glorious history and Robert McElroy as well as the Club Historian David Mason would be ideal supporters representatives on any museum project. Ex-players, such as Sandy Jardine who is, according to Richard McBrearty, the Rangers representative on the ââ?¬Ë?Scottish Football Heritage Networkââ?¬â?¢ and has done a fair amount of work for that organisation, should also be included. There are also on-line resources that the club could use to supplement their official records. The Manchester Utd Archive site, the ââ?¬Ë?Stretford Endââ?¬â?¢ is a fantastic example of how fansââ?¬â?¢ hard work, dedication and love for the club could be used. Off course, we have our own unofficial and less complete Rangers Archive which is another empirical example of how much can be achieved without financial input. Richard McBrearty does warn that the idea for a museum would be hard to sell to the club as a money making scheme as very few museums actually do make a profit - Barcelona and Man United being the exceptions to the rule. Man Unitedââ?¬â?¢s museum was making profits in the region of Ã?£200,000 while he Barca museum has generated over 2 million visitors a year as a direct result of it being on the official tourist route. The same can be said of the BernabÃ?©u, this is on the official tourist route and, as a result, all tourist buses pass and stop directly outside the stadium. I have to admit that I havenââ?¬â?¢t managed to ride the Glasgow Tour Bus so I donââ?¬â?¢t know how close to Ibrox these go. If they take in the Science Museum then it wouldnââ?¬â?¢t take much to persuade Glasgow City Council to get the buses to go an extra mile to Ibrox? CONTINUES
  10. Another fine article from the lads at RangersMedia as BlueIsTheColour and therabbit explore the problems with the existing retail arrangement and, as usual, offer a few suggestions to address it. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=759&Itemid=2
  11. Another lengthy (but quality) article in the STS series with bmck examining the interesting very public and most unnecessary 'battle' between the internet loyal, the media and the club. Well worth taking 10mins to read this. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=758&Itemid=2
  12. An excellent addition to the project from Pete - detailing his opinion of how Rangers could look to Holland for inspiration on improving the club. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=755&Itemid=1
  13. Another splendid article in the STS series - this time from Tannochside Bear who discusses the existing flawed links between the club and RSCs and how these can be improved. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=752&Itemid=2 As part of the 'Setting the Standard' series of articles, I would like to discuss the role of Rangers Supporters Clubs (RSCs) in todayââ?¬â?¢s game, the links between them and the club, and how we can get the best working relationship between them. At the moment, all official RSCs are registered at Ibrox through the Worldwide Alliance (WWA), with claims of over 600 registered clubs and a membership of 30,000 supporters. From within this comes the Rangers Supporters Assembly, with 10 elected representatives taken from the Worldwide Alliance. There is also the Rangers Supporters Association, the much longer-standing organisation which used to distribute tickets to RSCs for matches both at Ibrox and away from home. Sadly, this has diminished much in recent years, forcing it to sell their headquarters within the Wee Rangers Club to pay off itââ?¬â?¢s debts and now has only around 20 member clubs. RSCs take many shapes and forms throughout the world. From the many Glasgow based clubs with decades of history behind them and a million stories of follow following, to the many overseas RSCââ?¬â?¢s that show games in clubs and pubs for exiled Bears all over the world. I personally have been a member of a Glasgow based RSC for 20 years, 10 of which as part of their committee, so I really believe in the value of the RSC and have some experience of how they are run. RSCs in this country are mainly run with one primary function: to arrange travel and tickets for Rangers supporters to follow the team. The clubââ?¬â?¢s contact with RSCs throughout the course of the season almost entirely consists of ticketing issues. Most RSCs will know very little about the WWA, when it has meetings in its area, who are the area representatives, and what it is there to do for them. Outside the UK, they are mostly social, a gathering of supporters to watch the game together at all hours of the day and night. We all know that the current situation does very little for either party. It gives virtually nothing to the RSCs and the club gets virtually nothing back from them. The club certainly undervalues the power of the RSCs to influence fan thinking. Not only does the club have to do more for RSCs, but the reverse is also true. The best example of this was when the club was under fire in the Spring of 2007 for ââ?¬Å?The Billy Boysââ?¬Â. The club desperately wanted the fans to stop singing it after UEFA effectively outlawed the song. The club tried everything it could to get the fans to stop. Finally they appealed to a couple of the well known RSC chairmen to see if they could do anything. After a hastily arranged meeting of representatives of over 60 RSCs held in April 2007 in the Wee Rangers Club, an agreement was reached to get members of RSCs to ââ?¬Å?self-policeââ?¬Â in this area. A policy that was worked extremely well and continues to work to this day. So what changes can we make in order to set the standard in this area? There are 3 questions that I want to look at in this topic. 1. What can the club do for the RSCs? Issue a membership card for all members of an RSC. The card gives them a small discount in the club shop, (online for overseas members) stadium tours, etc. Not too much that it costs a fortune, more a token gesture to make them feel part of the family. Use the clubââ?¬â?¢s buying power to have deals in place with certain companies to give RSCs some good deals. Perhaps with a clothing manufacturer to give the best prices on RSC polo shirts and flags. Individual RSCs all go off and get their own polo shirts done. Let the club be part of it. The club will make a small commission, and the RSCs all get a good deal. Give RSCs the option to seat their members together at Ibrox. This will of course help the atmosphere at Ibrox as well as binding the RSCs more together as a group. Negotiate strongly with other SPL clubs for a larger allocation for matches. It appears we do not actually want more tickets for games as it is too much bother for us to deal with them for not much reward. This is not the standard we should be setting. We must put the interests of our fans first. Without them there is nothing. I am quite sure Kilmarnock and Motherwell for example would love to give us more tickets, even share a stand in order to get more fans to the game. For shared stands, the Rangers section would be all family tickets. 2. What can the RSCs do for the club in return? If the RSCs knew that they were getting a fair deal on tickets and that the club were right behind them, they would be far more interested in putting something back. RSCs are well trained in running successful fundraisers. From race nights to sportsmanââ?¬â?¢s dinners to sponsored football matches to just selling scratchcards and much more. The truth is they have to just to survive. I am quite sure that most RSCs would happily run a fundraiser every season with the proceeds being split between their own club funds and the Rangers Youth Development programme, or the museum fund. The club would provide a signed shirt and ball for a raffle at the event, and where possible a player, former player or coach in attendance, this could be a real source of income throughout the year. RSCs are already the clubââ?¬â?¢s best selling tools. Already, many RSCs are agents in the club lotto, raising large sums of money every week. This could easily be expanded upon if the RSCs thought the club were really looking after them and making them feel part of the club. 3. Who is going to do all the work? We need a new organisation who will look after the interests of the RSCs. It would be self-funding from membership dues collected from the RSCs. I would split them into two categories. Ticketing RSCs and non-ticketing RSCs. This means that the RSCs who take tickets every week are treated separately from the RSCs from abroad. The ticketing RSCs would then pay more than the other RSCs. I would suggest ~Ã?£4 per member per year for ticketing RSCs and ~Ã?£2 for non-ticketing RSCs. The RSCs would be easily able to pass this on to their members with their dues if they knew what they were getting back for it as outlined above. I would also reintroduce the Rangers Rally, which would be supported by the club and a large turnout of players, past and present, would be guaranteed. The funds raised would pay for the salaries of the staff whose job it would be to run the organisation. It would take quite some organising to make all of the above work, but with the right Rangers-minded people employed, it would become a professional office that would be the contact for any RSC enquiries and would have its separate ticket office for the distribution of RSC tickets. It would have a committee of elected Rangers fans that would be elected by the RSCs themselves in a postal ballot to all RSCs on a one-member one-vote basis. The staff would be answerable to the committee, and the committee answerable to the RSCs at monthly meetings, and all up for re-election annually. A full record of the minutes would be sent to every club every month to keep them involved, and RSCs would be allowed to send in questions in advance of meetings without having to attend personally. A website with all the up to date information, including a private section for RSC organisers to learn of more sensitive information (financials etc) would also form an important part of this. To summarise, the RSCs are such an important part of our club, our history, our heritage. Most Rangers supporters have used one at one time or another. Most have probably been to a function run by one of them. Most will have seen the banners with the RSC club names on them in various places all over the world. Personally, there is nothing better than seeing the convoy of RSCs thundering out of Dundee or Aberdeen after an important victory. The club should be embracing this collective of (in my biased opinion) the most passionate supporters anywhere in world football, and by working together making things the best they possibly can be for the ultimate benefit of Rangers Football Club.
  14. RM poster 'BlueIsTheColour' gives his recommendations on how the club could look to improve via a more refined and wider-ranging scouting network. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=748&Itemid=2 Part One The Rangers of 2009 is not the club we all once knew. No longer can we attract Europe's best players when they are at the top of their game. In fact, nowadays we would struggle to pay their appearance bonuses, never mind their weekly salaries. The club is suffering the effects of an economic downturn and poor money-management from the Boardroom to the Manager's Office. In correlation with this fact, we are seeing a decline in the quality of performances produced on the pitch. There is no doubt about it; we are in the midst of a decline. Every year we have to sell our top players, qualify for the Champions League and continue to fill Ibrox with 50,000 fans, just so as we break even and don't record a loss year on year. Something has to change. David Murray and Walter Smith have constantly reminded us as fans that the days of big spending are over and that we cannot compete financially with the top European sides that are paying ludicrous amounts of money for players. But why are we making excuses for our predicament? We should be creating a new vision for the club, one which will see us compete in the Champions League, assert dominance in the SPL and become an attractive club again. I have such a vision; it is neither complicated nor costly. It is the creation of a multi-level scouting network which can identify the best young hidden talent from across the globe, find players who are within our price range and who will improve the squad and also give the manager a chance to explore avenues never before open to him. It is the future. At present, our transfer policy is very limited and many would say is failing. Our main source of players is close to home, from either the English Championship or the SPL. Due to the inflated transfer market in England, we are being forced to scrounge for bargains that may or may not improve our first team, or even be good enough to play for us at all. Walter Smith has spent �£30 million on players since returning to the club and only a handful of those signings have made a big impact on the first team. Too much money is being wasted when we can least afford it. The problem is that we have no real process of identifying players. It appears that our scouting system consists of looking to the over-priced English market, snapping-up the best talent in the SPL and attempting to sign any players that have impressed against us in Europe. That's hardly constructive, I'm sure you will agree. The whole system needs to be scrapped and reinvented. The pressure should not be on the manager to identify, scout and sign players whom he thinks can do well at Rangers. He also shouldn't have just one or two men who can go and report on players who catch his eye. I believe that the club should firstly appoint a Director of Football who will oversee the development of youth players, a new scouting system and will answer directly to the manager and Chairman. Following this there should be the process of hiring around ten top scouts, who will each bring a different wealth of knowledge to the club. For example, one or two scouts who have their finger on the pulse of the South American game, another two each for the Asian and African games, and the remaining 4 to report on the European game. This would only be a starting block, over time the network will inevitably expand and the more contacts the scouts can establish the more players that will be brought to the Director of Football's attention. Each scout will be responsible for creating an ever-changing dossier of players in their respective Continents who are great prospects, proven players or under-rated professionals. A list of between 15-20 of their top recommendations should be created, and constantly updated, for every playing position. Any specific talents or frailties should be noted as well as an in-depth description of how each player operates, the price tag and the possible sell-on value. Of course, this will not all happen overnight or be a quick-fix to our current problems. It is a clear and concise plan for the future which will have many benefits for both the club and the supporters. First and foremost it makes the job of manager so much easier. When he identifies a position that needs filled within the team he doesn't have to start his search from scratch, there will already be a vast wealth of information available to him on many players from around the globe. He has a knowledgeable Director of Football to consult with as well as each individual scout who can help find the player(s) who would be most suited to the manager's playing style and structure. This could inevitably reduce the amount of signings who are unable to make the grade in the Rangers first-team. There are also the financial benefits to such a system. It will uncover many talented young players who have yet to appear on the radar of the big European clubs and in doing so, give us a conveyor belt of talent from all over the world. If these players are successful they can then be sold on for much larger fees than the club originally paid without leaving gaping holes in the first team. The club can also save money by buying from poorer leagues than the English Championship, which will undoubtedly see superior players available for a fraction of the price of their over-valued English counterparts. The clubs' image will see a massive benefit, as will merchandise sales if an ambitious but prudent marketing structure is put in place. With the club finding players from all over the world, we can create an image of being truly global and use this to attract merchandise sales from football-mad countries like China, Japan and the USA where there is huge potential for massive revenue in this department. I won't go into too much detail on this point as it will hopefully be covered in more depth within another article. [CONTINUED]
  15. A splendid 4-part in-depth article from 'therabbit' which discusses the obvious problems at Rangers with regard to player contracts. Well worth a read along with your sandwich over lunch... Part 1 "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains” Life is good if you have the abilities to become a modern professional footballer. The Bentleys, the broads, the bank accounts, the buffed up egos and the bumper contracts. Such short footballing careers are nowadays followed by long forays into the media circus, property, showbusiness, modelling or literally anything that takes their whim. They have the capital to do as they please. Gone are the days when players had to accentuate their meagre pay packets with second jobs and 'retire' only to start their lives again as a member of the workforce at large. Nowadays distinctly average players can retire to a better and more comfortable life than a large percentage of the population could ever dream of. From the onset of professional football, the players gracing the hallowed turf across the land quickly realised that they were being paid more than the loyal fans who came to watch as their escape from the rigours of their weekly grind. With the rise of unionism (in the workforce) players began to seek employment rights and players' associations were born. With these rights came contracts. Stories of players now agreeing contracts readily with clubs without some form of barter, agent provocation or underhand tactics are tough to come by. This paucity is broken by some commendable examples including Paul Scholes, who notoriously turns up for contract talks with his dad and calmly thumbs through the pages in front of him before uttering the words, “that’ll do” and putting pen to paper or Lee Evans lookalike James Milner, representing himself with only some advice and representation from the English PFA. Perhaps the strangest story recently is that of England striker Jermaine Defoe, who ended up in a contract dispute as he was being represented by his mother who wasn’t a registered agent. However, sadly the trend is much more obtuse, sometimes sinister and more money hungry than these three pro’s. Wranglings over player ownership, image rights, agent fees, relocation bonuses and sponsorship, are far more common than anything else – especially with a figure of around 90% of the UK’s professional players represented by some form of football agent. But I suppose that in these times of multi-million pound contracts, Arab sheiks, Israeli super agents and Willie McKay; that kind of contract pontificating is to be expected. No one needs to be told about the recession that we find ourselves in, both individually and in this case, as a collective support and football team; but the issue of the football contract is a multi-faceted one. A football club's financial stability is largely dictated by payment to the members of staff that it has on its wage bill, as it is one of its main expenditures year on year. All football clubs are facing uncertain times financially, even some of the richest clubs in the world are feeling the pinch relative to years gone by. It is simply untenable for them to maintain payment of large contracts and bonuses to large squads of players. This is the quandary that Rangers have found themselves in of late and the topic for this discourse into 'Setting The Standard'. In actuality, it is a quandary that Rangers have been in for a while; too many players on the books with bloated wage packets that were never justified. It seems to run in cycles too. All too often have we seemed to have been lumbered with the contracts of a Capucho or a Lovenkrands or a Burke. As soon as we manage to trim one squad down, it is again swollen with players that do not deserve the wage packets they are on. Yes, getting players via the Bosman ruling is going to mean they are on slightly better wages than they would usually be, but the players we have signed using this method have not been of the required standard – perhaps with the exceptions of Boumsong and Prso. Does this lay the blame at the door of the manager, Martin Bain or is it the scouting system (or lack thereof)? The situation regarding contracts in contemporary football is an interesting one. The playing field was changed for good when the European Court of Justice ruled in the favour of the then unknown Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman and another sweeping change seems imminent as the case of Article 17 of FIFA’s transfer regulations (‘Webster Rule’) filters into the transfer system. The Bosman ruling means that players over 23 can move freely between employers once their contract runs its course and the Webster ruling means that players who sign contracts when aged under 28 are able to unilaterally break those contracts after three years. If the player is 28 or over, he can break his contract after two years. Compensation is payable, but crucially, a player's destiny lies in his own hands. Still with me? With that in mind, a key point of note is that the balance of power in terms of football contract negotiation has shifted in the favour of the player and not the club. Players now have the same rights as employees in every other sphere. Something that is not lost on Sepp Blatter at FIFA, who is still battling to convince the EU that football is an ‘exceptional’ industry in which ordinary labour laws should not apply. Nevertheless, the best employees (footballers) have full control over their own career and can move to whichever club offers them the best wage and they can demand a pay packet that they feel is befitting of their talent. This has several implications for football contracts. [CONTINUED]
  16. Next in the STS series, is an excellent article written by AMMS (from RangersMedia) who explores the difficulties in rearing successful young players and how the results could be maximised. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=742&Itemid=2 BEGINS My first job was an apprentice printer, it was a small place employing about 8 or so people at that time and I was their first ‘apprentice’. Times were hard then (sound familiar?) and rather than take me on I was employed through the government run Youth Training Scheme on the princely sum of Ã?£27.50 a week and Ã?£5 travelling expenses. Part of how the YTS was sold to potential employees was that there would be college based training as well as on the job skills. This sounded good; rather than just being exploited slave labour I got 2 week stints at the Building and Printing College every month and more ScotVec modules than you could shake an inky rag at. Eventually after a month or two my boss approached me and asked how I was enjoying college. The reality was I loved it, you didn’t start until 9am, it was a very relaxed atmosphere, and you got to ogle at the hairdressers in the College of Commerce across the road. However if truth be told, I wasn’t learning a whole lot about printing which was what I was supposed to be doing. Lots of theory and not a lot of practical was my diplomatic reply. My boss, who had spent his entire working life in the printing game paused for a moment and reflected on my reply and his slightly confusing words have remained with me until this day; ‘Aye son’, he ventured ‘theory is alright in theory but when you want to learn to swim sooner or later you need to get into the water’. The training of young footballers seems to be a thing of great difficulty for Rangers recently. Part of that problem seems to have been our reluctance to move with the times. In this day of public/private partnerships, you have to wonder why Rangers (and other clubs) haven’t got a genuine tie-in with a local school. A residential aspect to youth development is common place on the continent where boys are schooled from 13 to 15 in conjunction with a club or FA. The acclaimed Clairefontaine centre outside Paris and the famous Ajax Academy all include ‘normal’ schooling as part of their curriculum; these people are children after all. Curiously, a local school to Ibrox, Bellahouston Academy, is Scotland’s first ‘school for sporting excellence’. The school has over 130 pupils who are only there because of their sporting talent. These kids still get a full education but they also get access to specialist coaches, advice, conditioning and sports psychologists. Football isn’t currently one of the sports covered at the school - perhaps Rangers could consider helping to change that? Engendering good habits, influencing technique and seeing at first hand the personalities, weaknesses and the strengths of these young players must be good for the players as well as the club. Tie it in to a trusted, local authority run school environment and you have the perfect ‘academy’ system for a fraction of the outlay running a residential school would cost. If the kids are rounded, focused and aware of the different facets that make up a successful sportsman when they leave school, they might conceivably be in a better position to make the most of the opportunities that come their way later. ‘Specialist’ schools are becoming popular throughout Scotland, becoming centres of excellence in music, dance or sport is relatively prestigious and Rangers could assist this process whilst it is still in it’s infancy. Once at the club however one thing that does seem to be clear is that if a young player isn’t getting a game regularly between the ages of 16 and 20 he is unlikely to make a genuine impact. Now roughly one in every generation seems able to do this currently, be it Durrant, Ferguson or maybe now John Fleck. However these guys are the exception, they were such prodigious talents that they couldn’t be ignored. But for the vast majority games is what they need. Professional football is a trade and they can have many reserve, youth and bounce games but ultimately they need to learn their trade and they’ll need to play in competitive games to do that. Examples of this are all around us. Pedro Mendes had played 31 senior games by the age of 19, by the age of 20 Ross McCormack had only played 11. By the age of 19 Ally McCoist had played 57 times for St Johnstone, Rory Loy will turn 21 this year and has played about 6 games of first team football. Now Mendes played his games for a team you’ve never heard of and McCoist, having been rejected by St Mirren, was learning his trade at the always unfashionable St Johnstone. Both McCormack and Loy on the other hand were both deemed good enough at 16 to be recruited by Rangers where they enjoyed the finest training facilities in the country, trained alongside some exceptional players and by some experienced coaches, so what’s gone wrong? Well to put it simply too much theory and not enough practical. Still not convinced, have a look at the current first team of any successful side and try and find a player who wasn’t playing regular football at senior level by the age of 19. Getting our young players playing at a high level as early as possible can only be in everyone’s interest. If an 18 year old can’t hold his own in Division One he won’t make it at Rangers later. It also makes financial sense, if they aren’t deemed good enough for Rangers, and most won’t be, these boys will leave Rangers on free transfers with some first team experience. At least a player with 30 to 50 games at Division One level is worth something. Ideally Rangers should consider formal or informal links with several clubs, an ideal ‘roster’ of clubs would include some Scandinavian clubs, perhaps a Dutch one, certainly some English ones, and maybe even an Italian or French club. None of these clubs would be in their top divisions obviously however many smaller clubs are looking for good players who are relatively cheap so free young players from the best club in Scotland might well be of interest to quite a few of them. Without improvement in the young players at Ibrox it is folly to continue to invest in youth. Arguably, financially it would make more sense to save the money and take the best from Hibs, Hearts and Kilmarnock etc. However long term, transforming talented young players into professionals has to be Rangers goal, it makes sense on every level. Young men literally schooled correctly, positively influenced at an early age, approaching a career as a professional footballer already knowing about diet and fitness and knowing they’ll be given opportunities at various professional levels during their time at Rangers must be the ultimate goal for the club.
  17. The 'Setting the Standard' project continues with another fine article by CammyF. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=739&Itemid=2 "When the routine bites hard And ambitions are low And the resentment rides high But emotions wont grow And were changing our ways, Taking different roads Then love, love will tear us apart again" Writing an article on the merits, success (or failure) and ambitions of Murray Park (and any Youth Development programme), it would probably be more apt opening with the lyrics from say Teenage Kicks rather than the poetic prose of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. However, the ââ?¬Ë?Setting The Standardââ?¬â?¢ project covers every facet of Rangers Football Club and will touch on every aspect of ensuring that The Rangers are the standard bearers, the example that is used when case-studying a football club. Rangers should be innovators, Rangers should be leaders, Rangers should be ââ?¬Ë?first classââ?¬â?¢, exemplary. The opening lines to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' are very apt at the moment in relation to supporting The Rangers. Rangersââ?¬â?¢ routine is biting hard, and is hard to stomach as second best appears to be acceptable to the current regime. Our board or directors and our custodian have set their ambitions low and arguably, this has led to a rise in resentment for growing section of supporters. As for changing our ways, hopefully, the ââ?¬Ë?Setting The Standardââ?¬â?¢ project is a tiny step in that direction. Hopefully we wonââ?¬â?¢t take different roads, as to ensure that we set the standards and are successful (in the long-term) we require all of the fans to be united and to push for the improvement that is required. Love of Rangers tearing us apart? Well, weââ?¬â?¢re all well versed at having our emotional strings tugged and our hearts torn-apart by follow, following The Rangers! Of course the difficulty with offering criticism of the club is that you often have the present Ibrox incumbents informing anyone that willlisten, that those behind such criticism are 'faceless and clueless'. However, the twist to this accusation was that those of us who were termed 'faceless and clueless' were then offered the platform to reveal ourselves and to offer solutions for the identified problems. Firstly, Iââ?¬â?¢d like to introduce myself as I was one of those deemed as ââ?¬Ë?facelessââ?¬â?¢ (Iââ?¬â?¢ll cover clueless later - it may not be as easy to argue as faceless is!). I, like every Rangers fan requesting positive change at the club, am simply that: a Rangers fan. Therefore, I am not faceless, I am present wherever and whenever Rangers play. Rightly or wrongly there are those within our support who put supporting Rangers as their main priority ââ?¬â?? it is what they live for and it is what they spend the majority of their income on. I do not fall into that category, I spend the majority of my disposable income on supporting Rangers, I suppose I am lucky (at the moment) to be able to do this but like many others, this may change due to the current economic climate. Anyway, I am digressing. Given that the above covers the ââ?¬Ë?facelessââ?¬â?¢ part of the accusation, lets tackle the more important and less clear cut, clueless part. I will agree with Sir David Murray, I am no 'captain of industry'. I will also admit to the fact that I am not a football manager nor am I a tactical genius. However, I do have and am entitled to an opinion on any matter relating to, or directly affecting Rangers Football Club. I appreciate sometimes criticism maybe overly aggressive or pointless without solutions so I'm glad Gersnet (and RangersMedia) are tackling this via constructive suggestions for improvement. As such, I would like to offer a solution regarding youth development which would also benefit first team players due to what I believe is the failure to completely utilise the facilities at our disposal at Murray Park. Dick Advocaat encouraged Sir David Murray to invest in a training facility that was in all honesty long over due. This training facility was to serve as a state of the art venue that would supplement and improve our players skills and be used to groom the best young talent so we wouldnââ?¬â?¢t have to rely on huge transfer fees to ensure that we remained as the top domestic club. At the same time, we wanted to use such a facility to make inroads into the European Elite (before going any further, this is where Rangers should be, end of story). Can any of us claim that Murray Park has delivered on these worthy aims? Of course it hasnââ?¬â?¢t (John Fleck, Alan Hutton and Alan McGregor arguably being the exceptions rather than the rule). Coaching wise, we are still witnessing the inability to retain possession at a throw-in. We struggle to effectively defend nor attack at a set-piece. Our ââ?¬Ë?shootingââ?¬â?¢ is nothing short of awful. Yet, we have the perfect setting for addressing all of the above, and if nothing else, Murray Park should ensure that we can get the basics right. All of the above is just systematic of our overall problems. Unable to get the basics correct, our problems snowball from there. This issue is easy to rectify and is something that shouldnââ?¬â?¢t have to be discussed. All our players should be coached in these skills and made to practice them time after time until they can deliver on a consistent basis. If this requires extra and/or longer training sessions, then so be it. Our wingers and full backs should be able to (9 times out of ten) deliver a ball into the box that doesnââ?¬â?¢t strike the first defender. All outfield players should be able to consistently hit the target from distances up to 30 yards from goal. All our players should be able to take an effective set piece. None of this is rocket science, just something that has to be coached into players and continually worked at. The issue of Youth Development is something that I have written about on websites and fanzines since the inception of Murray Park and before. If the custodians had utilised and set in place a true youth development model (say modelled on clubs like Ajax or Auxerre) we would be reaping the rewards already (both financially and player wise). However, once again, we were undone by our Board's continued short-termism. The good news is, this can be address and rectified. This will require funding (hence the reason it should have been addressed during the days the custodian was throwing money at managers and players), logistics, administration and, most of all, time to work and a determination for it to work. The fans would need to play their part by being patient as well. Such a youth redevelopment strategy is an essential part of our future. This goes beyond having the cream of Scottish youth players at Murray Park. This is about having youth teams, scouts, coaches etc entrenched in every footballing region in the world. This would require having ex-players working on our behalf in their region. These players would set-up / utilise a network of contacts to identify and sign the best talent from their region. These players could be brought to and schooled at Murray Park, or we could leave them to flourish were they are. Imagine someone like Jorg Albertz covering Germany, Arthur Numan covering the Netherlands, Craig Moore covering Australia, Claudio Canigga covering South America and Brian Laudrup covering Scandinavia. All these ex-players were internationals who served their countries with distinction, who embraced being a Ranger and whose opinion would matter to a kid deciding on where his future lay. As far as I am aware this idea has never been considered within the corridors of power at Ibrox. If tackled correctly, it would ensure that we had a steady conveyer belt of talent not only to take Rangers to the next level, but to sell on when and if required. Again, this isnââ?¬â?¢t rocket science and has been done to varying levels of success on the continent. We have close links to Dutch Football so getting an insight, report, feasibility study et al shouldnââ?¬â?¢t take that much effort or resource. The hard work would be implementing, managing and ensuring that this project was the success that it could be. Again that would take time but the benefits would surely be worth it? Another possible money-making idea relating to the Youth Development is insisting on a sell-on clause to be inserted into any Youth players we sell. As an example, Motherwell sold Ross McCormack to Cardiff and we, as developers of McCormackââ?¬â?¢s talents went unrewarded. Martin Bain should ensure that any young player leaving Ibrox for pastures new has a sell-on clause inserted into their contract allowing Rangers to benefit from any sale of these players. Any money raised from this should be ring-fenced and used and reinvested into Murray Park / Youth Development. Of course, all of these ideas and suggestions can't be successful overnight. They would take years to bear fruit and problems would occur throughout. But would we be any worse off? Challenges are not insurmountable and the risk surely smaller than our short-term high player turnover strategy? Over to you Rangers.
  18. After Big_Spliffââ?¬â?¢s fantastic article yesterday, I felt it was important to write this report while his general point of improving the match-day experience was still fresh in peopleââ?¬â?¢s minds. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=735&Itemid=2 I doubt any Rangers fan would disagree with me in saying that in recent years the overall experience of attending a home match has steadily worsened. Not just from an atmospheric point of view but the overall quality of the service. Poor quality catering, aggressive stewarding/policing, lack of atmosphere, aging stadium, poor facilities outwith the stadium, awful shop, lack of security in the locus, terrible sound system, broken jumbotrons ââ?¬â?? we could be here all day, so Iââ?¬â?¢ll stop there. OK, criticisms made; how can we improve; how can we set the standard? Letââ?¬â?¢s start at the beginning and go through a typical match-day. Personally, like thousands of other fans, I go to most games along with a few mates. We live well outside of Glasgow so we leave early to ensure we miss any traffic problems and get through early enough to enjoy the afternoon. We have a few hours to spare and money to spend so whatââ?¬â?¢s on offer once we arrive? An official Rangers restaurant/cafÃ?© selling reasonably priced food ââ?¬â?? no. An official Rangers pub selling quality beer with organised entertainment ââ?¬â?? no. A museum where we can take our children, learn more about the club and educate away/foreign supporters ââ?¬â?? no. A few spacious shops with a range of different products relevant to the club ââ?¬â?? no. Entertainment and comfortable facilities inside the ground to get fans in early and build up the atmosphere ââ?¬â?? no. What do we have at our disposal then? A couple of burger/pizza bars and vans with no association to the club. A few local pubs ââ?¬â?? full to capacity - with only one or two accepting children. No museum to find out more about the club. One medium-sized, over-full shop with no space and a minimal effort at providing merchandise. A dirty, aging stadium with over-priced tepid food and minimal effort to entice you in early. Is it any wonder we have thousands of people milling around the place looking lost and bored? Welcome to Ibrox indeed! Now, I do think it would be unfair to suggest the club donââ?¬â?¢t recognise some of these issues. Recent improvements have been made: the stadium has been cleaned and painted in parts; Bar72 seems to be popular (if unaffordable for most bears); reports have been made into further extensions; corporate hospitality is adequate; and the club have tried to mimic singing section displays on the odd occasion. Unfortunately, this is as far as the budget seems to reach. But finance alone surely isnââ?¬â?¢t the only problem here? After all the stadium catering is already outsourced for what I assume is an acceptable fee. Why not do the same with other services? Iââ?¬â?¢d be surprised if certain pub/restaurant chains wouldnââ?¬â?¢t be interested in a development outside Ibrox. Argyle House already seems to do good business so imagine a larger version of that open most days which incorporates a museum. Iââ?¬â?¢m told the Hampden football museum cost less than Ã?£2million to build and recouped the money within 18months. For a wee bit more, surely we can put together the kind of finance to offer something similar and better? I also know the current administration views the stadium (e.g. the blue room//trophy room/changing rooms etc) as a museum in itself. Of course a tour should be part of any package but surely it can be based in a stand-alone building to maximise revenue? Attach a good value restaurant/pub then we have a museum that caters for all and would be an excellent daily tourist attraction ââ?¬â?? never mind a suitable supporter hub on match-days. The refurbished ââ?¬Ë?Wee Rangers Clubââ?¬â?¢ has shown what can be done on an affordable budget. Rangers should be able to do even better. The stadium corporate hospitality generally seems well thought of but a lower-price, more accessible alterative is undoubtedly required. To coin a phrase:ââ?¬â?¢ build it and they will comeââ?¬â?¢. Moving onto inside the stadium, again communication with the fans should be paramount. We pay upwards of Ã?£400 a season; Ã?£23+ a game for our tickets so surely our opinion counts? Yet, when are we ever asked to contribute - other than surveys to see if weââ?¬â?¢d pay double the price for a leather seat with small screen to bet? Martin Bain is often at pains to describe us as customers; so more chance to offer feedback would be nice. Related to this point is the one of security. All too often now overzealous stewards and police appear desperate to confront fans for the smallest of things. Harmless banners, gesturing to opposition supporters, swearing or singing the latest non-politically correct chant amongst other stuff. Fair enough, football isnââ?¬â?¢t just about tribalism and stressed working class men but neither should it be sanitised to the point where people are being driven away. There is a fine line so why not ensure it isnââ?¬â?¢t crossed via dialogue, regular meetings and assisting the general public with information on the alleged crimes they are supposedly committing? Not to mention actually ensuring our property is safe while we do watch the game. Just how far is Helen Street police station from Ibrox again? First point of contact in this situation should be the singing sections and fan groups. From the Blue Order to the Club Deck Loyal to the Union Bears and the East Enclosure sections; there are a range of fans ready and willing to work with the club security (and each other) to find common ground. Yet, we have them dotted around the stadium minimising the effect they have. Surely, one large singing section would be more agreeable. Obviously it might not be easy to find a suitable location given many fans wouldnââ?¬â?¢t want to move but it could be investigated surely? As should a standing section ala teams in the German league. Make the singing section a focal point ââ?¬â?? not a dot at the back of a stand suggesting they are an inconvenience or an embarrassment. All the above isnââ?¬â?¢t rocket science. It is just a general outline of where improvement could readily be found on an affordable, exciting level. Iââ?¬â?¢m sure we all have our own ideas which could be put forward. I also appreciate some of the difficulties within these suggestions ââ?¬â?? cash flow; space; staffing; time etc etc. However, these obstacles are far from insurmountable and we should challenge ourselves to face these challenges and improve. Rangers FC led the way in stadium development last century and Ibrox Stadium is still a place we can be proud of. But itââ?¬â?¢s not perfect and, coupled with the overall drab experience, the club are testing the patience and loyalty of fans by offering a product that, with every passing season, seems poor value for money. As we enter a worldwide two year recession, attempting to retain over 40,000 season ticket holders will take more than a lukewarm burger, a wet seat and a policeman desperate to arrest you for the temerity to back your team. In conclusion, the club should commission and facilitate a review of the match-day experience based on research and best practice elsewhere in the UK and beyond. Of course, supporters groups could lead this and, as weââ?¬â?¢re doing via this project, provide initial feedback to the club, leading to prioritisation and feasibility studies etc. The standard must be set. Improvement must be sought. Itââ?¬â?¢s time to welcome the supporters back to their home.
  19. As part of our 'Setting the Standard' series of articles, Big_Spliff offers a model for how the club could be bought, then run - considering the problems with the status quo. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=734&Itemid=1 For those that prefer to read on the main forum, I'll post it in 2 parts below..
  20. Superb article from Big Spliff as part of the 'Setting the Standard' project. Lengthy read (make a brew and grab a biscuit) but well worth it. Might be better to read it via the following link as to avoid hurting your eyes on here... http://www.newsnow.co.uk/A/323943426?-11344
  21. http://www.newsnow.co.uk/A/323733752?-11344 I’m sure we’ve all read with interest over the last week the debate about whether or not Rangers fans ‘deserve better’. I'm also sure not many fans would disagree with that sentiment even if the ‘campaign’ has so far been limited to media criticism without much constructive contributions thereafter. Nevertheless, over the last week since the campaign was launched by the RST, much debate has been had surrounding the principle and the reasons behind it. Indeed, a cursory look at their statement doesn’t show much one can argue about. Our club has under-achieved for the last 8 years and it appears the same financial mistakes have been made (to a smaller scale) than in the early part of this century. Therefore, the RST are quite right to suggest ‘we deserve better’. The reaction to this criticism has been most interesting. Everyone and their lapdogs have had their say on the subject – from wee Chick and big Mark to Walter Smith and Sir David Murray – even Davie Provan has had his say! The papers, phone-ins and forums have been full of talk about the issue and if the RST were attempting to garner publicity then they certainly have been most successful. But surely publicity wasn’t the sole aim of the campaign? After all, if one does want the club to improve then simply complaining isn’t likely to gain the immediate support of the kind of numbers the Trust requires to further their credibility. Further, there have been valid concerns about the arguably premature way the RST have launched the campaign. No consultation with their members, no backing from high-net worth investors and no comments of support from their honorary members – some of whom are ex-players who would have added much weight to their argument. Couple this with a failure to offer any workable alternatives or solutions then the campaign is easily (if erroneously) dismissed or ignored by the majority. I say erroneously because, again, their points of concern are valid. The club does need improvement, mistakes are being made and we are under-performing on and off the field. Therefore, it was most disappointing to read the reaction from key club figures such as the manager and chairman. Instead of accepting the criticism, taking it on the chin and admitting responsibility for the recent mistakes that have been made; more denial and deflection is the result. Deny the problems exist then deflect the issue onto ‘faceless’ internet supporters who are not real fans. Hardly a pro-active reaction when the evidence shows the club can do better. The ultimate result of all this is further division and not the unity the Trust are struggling to provide. Tens of thousands of loyal internet fans insulted and the club retreating further into its shell won’t address Ã?£30million of debt and a 3 year wait for the SPL title. How can we bridge this gap? Well, as leaders of the campaign, the Trust should have expected this result and planned for it. They profess unity but seem incapable of delivering that. They themselves struggle to accept criticism and lack the solutions to increase their small mainly online sourced membership to a level where the offline supporter can appreciate and back their point of view. Not to mention achieve the primary aims they state on their website which seem to have been shelved in favour of a more militant strategy. As such they must go back to the drawing board and provide up-to-date solutions and suggestions for club improvement. References to a 2 year old 15 point plan are all well and good but how relevant is that plan in today’s climate? To pressure the club to improve, they themselves must do better – as must the other supporters’ organisations who are failing their members with under-performance. Meanwhile the club must also take their hands off their eyes/ears and, just once, see where many fans are coming from. Acknowledge the mistakes, take responsibility and provide the improvement requested. Not all of that need take humble climb-downs, apologies or finance we can’t afford. It just takes hard work, imagination and ambition. And don’t forget that the people who have every right to ask questions are the ones that will be buying season tickets in a few months as well as the latest new strips. By all means argue their point but be strong and ask yourself if you can improve the situation. We’re not saying this can be done overnight but there should be a plan of action. The same goes for the fans generally. We can mump and moan our way through games. We can complain about certain players being unable to take a set-piece. We can take umbrage at the club unfulfilling its potential. But, if we’re going to do that, then we should be prepared to examine ourselves and what we offer. Yes, we are the biggest investors into the club – both emotionally and financially – but if we want seats on the board or to own the club then these ambitions must be backed up by intelligent debate. It is on that note Gersnet is launching a new project for fans to get involved in. Yes, we agree with the ‘we deserve better’ slogan but only on the premise that we help facilitate that in a positive sense. Ergo, over the coming weeks, we’ll have a series of articles from our writers discussing many of the concerns raised by the campaign and how these could be addressed. We've got great, constructive ideas we want to develop and present to the club and we're looking forward to debating them with you. We’d also like all our readers to get involved. Comment on the articles using the main site software, join the forums to give your opinion and contact us by email if you’d like to offer more. To that end we hope this project will catalyse change while showing the club that ‘faceless’ internet supporters are capable of more than just sniping. Keep an eye on the site for each article and we look forward to you joining the debate!
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