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Our current situation - It's time to face the inevitable then rebuild for the future.

 

When you drill down to it, The Rangers support, to a man, has known at the back of its collective mind that the situation we are in is dire. Many of us will be in agreement that we�ve been urinating into the proverbial wind for 3 years yet miraculously, we have managed to avoid getting wet.

 

Sooner or later, the stranglehold that being owned by Sir David Murray has placed us under was always going to come close to killing us. I say Sir David Murray rather than Lloyds bank specifically, as our current situation has been clouded by the usual sea of half-truths, speculation and contradictions that we�ve now come to expect from the Ayrshire millionaire.

 

I won�t sit here and try to claim the moral high-ground by claiming recent results against the filth haven�t had any impact on what I�m about to write: They have, and I�ll get to that later.

 

However, let me start from the very beginning of this, probably the most sorry episode in the never-ending series that is ââ?¬Å?The David Murray Showââ?¬Â..

 

It all started in January 2009. Rampant speculation built up suggesting that our top goal scorer was subject to a bid from Alex McLeishââ?¬â?¢s Birmingham. The source was originally an article from The Scottish Sun that was brief and lacking in quotes ââ?¬â?? normally the tell-tale signs of a non-story. Unfortunately, it didnââ?¬â?¢t quite work out like that, the bid from Brum was legit ââ?¬â?? and the then-chairman was about to inform us of news that would utterly stun us.

After coming off of our most commercially lucrative season ever...Iââ?¬â?¢ll write that again for extra emphasis ââ?¬â?? After coming off of our most commercially lucrative season EVER ââ?¬â?? The chairman was about to confirm that despite all of this, in no small part down to a historic European run the year before ââ?¬â?? our finances were once again down the toilet...

 

Murray told the Guardian at the time...

 

"If we did not take this action [selling Boyd], it could have been bad but there are far worse situations developing around us and I will not allow it to spiral again. Rangers have to be run on a sound fiscal basis."

 

In typical Murray style, however, he was soon to contradict himself completely after the transfer window closed when he said..

 

"The Boyd situation is simple. We received an offer that we believed, collectively, Walter Smith, manager and Martin Bain, chief executive represented good business.

 

"The player then went to Birmingham and refused terms. That is where it stands. But Rangers will go on whether the player goes or not. In that sense, it is immaterial whether he stays or goes."

 

I don�t know about you, but I see two statements that glaringly contradict one another.

 

That wasnââ?¬â?¢t the end of it, however, a leading football agent told national commercial radio station TalkSport the same month, that literally ââ?¬Ë?every Rangers player was for saleââ?¬â?¢, with the likely culprit Wullie McKay later declaring that Rangers CEO Martin Bain had instructed him to sell a raft of high earning first team stars, citing McKayââ?¬â?¢s ability to ââ?¬Å?get the job doneââ?¬Â as the reason behind him being allocated this particular mission. Murray issued a ââ?¬Ë?denialââ?¬â?¢ in The Sunday People soon after which actually confirmed McKayââ?¬â?¢s claim in a roundabout way.

 

So we were back up the financial creek without a paddle. Despite a debt that was dwindling, a tremendous run to a European Final, solid season/match day ticket sales and several impressive fees recouped for players that we sold that culminated in what was officially the most commercially lucrative season in the history of Rangers Football Club ââ?¬â?? Our debt somehow increased and we needed to make drastic cuts It was truly one of the most shocking revelations in our recent history, and it left us wondering where our money was actually going. In the summer of the sale year, Rangers managed to cut the wage bill by well over Ã?£200,000 per week (Over Ã?£10m a year) by moving on a raft of first team squad members. To the credit of Walter Smith and the board, the club maintained most of our key players but we were left well-short of numbers in the squad, a huge potential problem that thankfully was not exploited by faltering then-Celtic manager Tony Mowbrayââ?¬â?¢s inability to field a team capable of challenging for the SPL title.

 

To make matters worse ââ?¬â?? our solitary signing that season, Jerome Rothen, had his loan spell at the club cut-short after an ineffective first half to the season. Despite the support rationally assuming that we would be able to bring in a player or two using Rothenââ?¬â?¢s estimated Ã?£18,000 per week wage, an assumption further justified by the departure of another high-earner in Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon, the Rangers support were again left scratching their heads as there were no incoming transfers to the Champions in the January window of the 2009/2010 SPL season.

 

ââ?¬Å?Mystifiedââ?¬Â just didnââ?¬â?¢t do justice to the general feeling of the Rangers support then, or indeed now.

 

After we won the SPL title for the second consecutive season in 2010, it appeared that following some pleading words from Walter Smith himself, those big bad bankers who had been subject to a tongue-lashing or six from him over the previous months decided to relent and kindly let Rangers buy players ââ?¬â?? with money raised from selling yet more players from our already thread-bare squad. We were all left pleased with the quality of players we brought in but once again, the number of players who moved on last summer was more than the number that came in, and with our continued reluctance to promote youth in decent numbers...or use youth in Cup competition domestically given our hectic schedule, we were again left to face a season at home and abroad with a woefully small squad.

 

For just over two years, Rangers have been fire-fighting and, as I said above, urinating into the wind without getting wet. Nobody should be surprised that this is happening, it was only a matter of time.

 

The reality is that on-field failure and the ââ?¬Ë?huge problemsââ?¬â?¢ I speak of are hopefully going to be the precursor to change at Ibrox. Walter Smith and Martin Bain have done an outstanding job of keeping the club together during these turbulent times ââ?¬â?? that should never be forgotten and both men, Walter in particular, should be commended for this. His contribution since coming has only furthered his status as a legend despite the split opinion of his on-field approach.

 

Something from the previous two years that I sadly canââ?¬â?¢t spare the Rangers management team and board from, however, is the constant stream of contradictory information and statements that has come from them. One minute ââ?¬Å?everyone is for saleââ?¬Â, the next ââ?¬Å?we donââ?¬â?¢t have to sell anyoneââ?¬Â. On other occasions weââ?¬â?¢ve told the world ââ?¬Å?the bank runs the clubââ?¬Â only to play it down days later. Our current chairman, who appears to have vanished without a trace, has justified our constant flip-flopping on the issue by saying our relationship with Lloyds bank is ââ?¬Ë?a fluid situationââ?¬â?¢ i.e. our status with the bank changes all the time as per their business needs. Sadly, that statement has never quite cut it for me, and the only thing fluid about this whole thing is in the way weââ?¬â?¢ve had the piss taken out of us by those who run the club.

 

Fiscally, they�ve done a remarkable job with a fair-share of luck involved. Keeping Davis, Bougherra, McGregor and others when we�re so up against it financially is something to be proud of.

 

 

I personally decided that Rangers would not get another penny from me after that cup game. I don�t need to state the obvious about the difficulties many of us have paying for tickets when we have families to keep in this climate, the team�s approach in this one-off must win fixture, along with yesterday and the other league game in January really symbolised the problems we have.

 

Our first team appear to be a spent force ââ?¬â?? lacking in interest and focus because they have zero competition for a first team place. Our manager, like him or not, just doesnââ?¬â?¢t do squad rotation or youth promotion unless his hand is forced. So we now face a situation where our first team at the moment isnââ?¬â?¢t good enough and we canââ?¬â?¢t and wonââ?¬â?¢t change it. But we still pay our money and I think despite the small decrease in numbers, the club have taken our blind loyalty a little too for granted by anyoneââ?¬â?¢s standards.

 

Weââ?¬â?¢ve all wanted a change of approach, change of ethos and a complete shift from the short-term, ââ?¬Å?boom and bustââ?¬Â mentality that has saw us teetering on the financial brink twice in less than ten years. Sadly, due to the furthering financial problems in recent years we have regressed even from that. We do not have the talent on or off the pitch to run Rangers effectively anymore. As a support, we have been very kind to the board and management team ââ?¬â?? weââ?¬â?¢ve taken everything said to us at face value. But the time has come for proper communication with the man who truly holds all the cards, Sir David Murray.

 

Questions about the ongoing HMRC tax investigation, links between Murray�s companies and the aggressive attitude of Lloyds bank to Rangers over what is a perfectly manageable debt from a club who have implemented some shrewd fiscal measures in recent years have not been met with satisfactory answers.

 

Rangers quite like it when we pay our money, sit down and shut up. We canââ?¬â?¢t do it anymore ââ?¬â?? we just canââ?¬â?¢t.

 

Answers to many, many questions are required, and only the man who has disappeared into the night can answer them properly, he still holds all of the cards.

 

One wonders if the warning that Sir David Murray claimed he was trying to send us by selling Boyd in January of 2009 is the real reason behind the financial handcuffs that have been placed on us, with anonymous, invisible bankers quite happy to take the blame and be the ââ?¬Ë?faceââ?¬â?¢ behind the cuts as it gives them just cause to get their money back quicker. There arenââ?¬â?¢t too many other arms of Murrayââ?¬â?¢s empire that can raise seven figure sums by selling off assets relatively quickly.

 

Our club bemoan financial pressure from the bank on one hand yet announce excellent half-year profits on the other, they blame the bank for the restrictions yet charge us through the nose for games we�ve actively tried not to win, they demand we pay for our season ticket in advance over a short timescale at inflated prices while warning us that we can�t spend money and are open to offers for our star players despite the relative success we�ve had recently in maintaining them.

 

On field failure is the excuse the money men need to make further cuts ââ?¬â?? and itââ?¬â?¢s the excuse many of our support will need to get off their backside and demand change at Ibrox ââ?¬â?? along with clarification on what our real problems are.

 

Enough is enough, our expectations have been managed very well by the club ââ?¬â?? weââ?¬â?¢re quite tolerant of the hardships we face now...because weââ?¬â?¢ve so splintered and blindly loyal that we refuse to speak up en masse.

 

So long as the season ticket cash keeps rolling in, change will be delayed that little bit longer.

 

We need to stop propping up a system that is not sustainable in the medium to long term, a regime of noble-yet-helpless individuals fighting the tide of faceless penny-pinchers...who for all we know may include our current owner, and face being flattened by the big truck we�ve been waiting to knock us down for two years.

 

As I have no doubt that with the unrest this could all cause, we will emerge from the wreckage a much stronger force, able to plan effectively for the future.

 

This is and always has been about more than one title or season ââ?¬â?? itââ?¬â?¢s about getting our club back.

 

Sorry if this is negative, but I donââ?¬â?¢t care how we get that ââ?¬â?? the sooner we face the inevitable, the better as far as Iââ?¬â?¢m concerned.

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A fine post but as with other similar articles, there is no strategy for change to buy into.

 

As ever , Frankie is there a real desire from Murray to go , until that day arrives it is all bluster , maybe we should take a leaf out of the middle east and storm Edminston drive , no wait Charlotte square , no hang on some Chateau in the South of France....lol

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A fine post but as with other similar articles, there is no strategy for change to buy into.

 

Can't agree with you. There have been people putting forward a strategy to buy into for several seasons, the problem is the unwillingness of so many people to do the buying, preferring instead to soldier on under the guise of self-interest, loyalty, the Rangers Way, or whatever. I refer to routine calls to boycott ST sales, protests inside and outside Ibrox, and so on. I've posted for years that ST sales are the only practical way of levering the owner and executive. No one needs to buy in but what you can't say is there nothing to buy into.

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Can't agree with you. There have been people putting forward a strategy to buy into for several seasons, the problem is the unwillingness of so many people to do the buying, preferring instead to soldier on under the guise of self-interest, loyalty, the Rangers Way, or whatever. I refer to routine calls to boycott ST sales, protests inside and outside Ibrox, and so on. I've posted for years that ST sales are the only practical way of levering the owner and executive. No one needs to buy in but what you can't say is there nothing to buy into.

 

Of course there are solutions but they have to be credible ones.

 

You and I may agree that protest and/or ticket boycotts may be the only way to force the club to listen to what we have to say but the appetite is not there. Especially not when we can still win leagues and we need season ticket money to maintain our competitiveness - or indeed or very future.

 

However, there must be some way we can make our annoyance known before people start to drift inevitably away anyway. Season ticket sales have fell a fair bit over the last 2 seasons when we've won leagues. How much will they fall if we lose the SPL?

 

I've been saying it for long enough that we need a credible focal point to help us publicise the valid criticisms and concerns we have. I'm at a loss as to who or what that could be. Neither of the fan organisations seem able to lead/unify. No former player seems interested in standing up. We have no friends in the media to speak of. When was the last time our fan reps had their say in the Scottish Executive? Do we even have any celebrity fans anymore?

 

If we get beat tomorrow night, lose the SPL and the cups to Celtic then any protest movement may naturally increase. But we lost everything in 2007/08 without as much as a whimper from the support as a whole. It would take another year at least before momentum was strong enough to really worry the club.

 

Protest is all well and good (and I'd buy into it right now) but it needs to be tactically perfect for it to work. Amongst all the articles like this one painting a balanced view on the status quo, I see absolutely no protest strategy per se offered from anyone to change it. That's my point.

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It's the Manager and the Players who will get the stick if we are not successful on the park. The majority of the customers will never blame the owner.

 

Absolutely - and in many ways that's understandable as the majority of fans will take little interest in the club's overall politics.

 

After all, they'll just see Walter Smith being given millions and not spending it well and/or the players not working hard enough on the pitch. SDM or MB or AJ can quite rightly say they can't effect performances per se and have to work within our financial limitations.

 

The rest of us know it goes a bit deeper than that but merely pointing out that fact amidst no credible alternative won't be enough to persuade existing sceptics never mind casual supporters who enjoy going to the game nothing more.

 

On a different tact, some people are so desperate for change they'll welcome any new owner. Yet we still know nothing about the validity of his bid/background. As such, there are probably as many bears not wanting a new owner as well.

 

The online community is quite a difficult one to gauge in comparison to the whole of our fanbase. What seems like a majority opinion online (or even in one forum) can be the opposite when you go offline. That's another very difficult challenge to overcome for anyone wanting to disseminate a message that will most probably be unpopular or unwelcome.

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Guest carmylebear

Very accurate article and well written but at the end of the day does nothing to solve the problems. SDM will not just go away and lets face it the more the debt goes down the easier it is for him to sell the club so there is a real chance that it is not only the bank who refuse to spend more money.

Season Ticket sales are our biggest input and a vast number of holders will never support a boycott of renewal. Only when sales of these drop dramatically are Rangers likely to react and by then it is possibly going to be too late. I know of many who said they were giving up their ticket for one season only for them never to return.

Rangers fans have sat back for years, probably because vast numbers only remember the good times, and have accepted everything fed to them. This imo has resulted in a complete lack of willingness to become involved even at supporters club level where more and more members are more than happy to sit back and let a few do all the graft.

Worrying times even if we win the league.

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