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I didn’t think it was possible for the Rangers support to be more fractured and lacking consensus than we were in the first half of this year but rather depressingly we’ve managed it.

 

In the maelstrom of a referendum on Scottish Independence the boardroom turmoil that has dominated the forums, social media and old fashioned conversations took a back seat to Loyalism, Unionism and the bogey man topic of Nationalism. Such is the ineptitude of our board, they missed the opportunity to bury some negative news in amongst the fog of the ideological war that raged throughout the month of September but I digress.

 

Being a pro-Independence Rangers supporter these last few months has been a real challenge. I’ve been confronted by many fellow fans on social media and called everything from a “timpathiser”, (whatever that is) to a Nazi and Quisling. One particularly poorly adjusted and misinformed fellow told me I was a “traitor to Rangers Loyalist Unionist roots…”

 

The idea that a Rangers supporter could support Independence just would not compute for many and my follower count on Twitter tumbled dramatically, I won’t lose any sleep over that however I must admit to now facing somewhat of a crossroads.

 

Do I plod on attending matches listening to chants about where people like me can “stick your Independence” and the Loyalist songbook which was given an airing in George Square on Friday night amidst scenes of thuggery and hatred? Do I carry on turning a blind eye to the continual linking of Rangers Football Club to Loyalism and The Orange Order just as I have done for many years? The thought of turning my back on the club I’ve supported since I was five years old and which has provided myself and my (now deceased) Father so many happy memories makes me physically ill. The thought of a future devoid of one of the precious few constants in my life so far is unthinkable and so that is not a road I’m willing to go down just yet. So what are my options?

 

I could become the archetypal armchair fan and refrain from discussing football matters on social media but we are in an age where it’s almost impossible to avoid. I could fool myself into thinking that it’s not so bad and the majority of my fellow fans are reasonable, open minded individuals but I’m not capable of cognitive dissonance on that scale. It seems that the core of our support are labouring under the misconceptions that being a “real” Rangers man means that you must also be many other things.

 

I’ll use this juncture to clarify what I mean by “core of our support”. There are probably thousands of Rangers supporters (I don’t like term “fan”) who are feeling similarly disillusioned at the moment and those are probably a large percentage of the several thousand fans who’ve been missing for the last few home games joined by those who are boycotting, suffering from boardroom related malaise or simply disillusioned with how we are playing. What’s left are a core (match attending group) and of those I’d estimate that 75% fall into the category as described previously in this article. There’s also a large group of fans who, for one reason or another don’t regularly attend matches and again I’d estimate that a large percentage of those are politically and ideologically aligned with their brethren sitting in the stands. I’m conscious that I’m in danger of pigeon holing large swathes of people here and would only offer the fact that this is how I see things in basic terms. I’m sure there are reasonable folks in amongst the core who do not fall into any of my hastily preconceived notions and that I do not think the situation has reached the point of no return just yet and this leads me to the only other option I feel I have left.

 

I’d urge everyone who considers themselves to be a Rangers supporter to distance the club from toxic and divisive affiliations. To seriously consider for a moment that we are in real danger of losing thousands of people like me who feel marginalised by their fellow bears and more importantly that we are in danger of losing the next generation of season ticket holder who have shown throughout the referendum run up and beyond, that they are increasingly well informed and turned off by Northern Irish politics, by far right-wing rhetoric and the kind of vulgar displays of aggression that we’ve seen both online and in the streets of Glasgow from both Unionists and Nationalist factions. Next time you’re attending an Orange parade maybe leave the Rangers merchandise at home, remove the Loyalist symbolism from Rangers flags and banners, try not to marginalise your fellow supporters who don’t care about that kind of stuff really, that’s all. Is that too much to ask?

 

For some, what I’ve asked is probably tantamount to singing rebel songs in a tri-colour but to me it’s just common decency, something that has been eroding away for many years and something that the gallant pioneers probably had in abundance. Try to be a bit more like a Moses McNeil or a Tom Vallance and live the values which built the very thing that we all hold so dear. If we want a positive future for our club we all have to sow the seeds of that starting from now after all, we share much more in common than we do which divides us. I’ll remain a supporter and will try to live by my own code, respecting others right to support the club any way they choose but speaking out against intolerance, negative affiliations and polarizing attitudes. Let’s see if we can build a stronger and more together support from the rubble.

 

The alternative I’m afraid would be a very dark period in Rangers history. It’s only a matter of time before we will be back attempting to compete with Celtic. It may be only a matter of time before we see major boardroom change. Do we really want to be facing these challenges with a support that can’t agree on what colour the sky is? The answer is obvious to me.

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You could also simply do what you want to do, whilst affording others the same opportunity. Just a thought.

 

Whether you like it or not, Rangers, through both it's fans and it's history, are linked with some areas of society which make you squeamish. Deal with it however you wish, but the whining and bleating you did in the OP won't do you many favours.

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I find myself in the same position as the OP. The fact that there were guys in Rangers tops running about with the "Scottish" Defence League the other night really made me ask if it is worth it any more.

 

You cannot have lived your life up to this point being under the impression that all Rangers supporters had political beliefs which matched yours. That would be preposterous.

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You cannot have lived your life up to this point being under the impression that all Rangers supporters had political beliefs which matched yours. That would be preposterous.

 

No but havent the arseholes got another tshirt they could wear for the evening.

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You could also simply do what you want to do, whilst affording others the same opportunity. Just a thought.

 

Whether you like it or not, Rangers, through both it's fans and it's history, are linked with some areas of society which make you squeamish. Deal with it however you wish, but the whining and bleating you did in the OP won't do you many favours.

 

Rangers are only linked with areas of society because people like yourself continue to be apologists for them. Tell me exactly what about Rangers history links it to King Billy please?

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You could also simply do what you want to do, whilst affording others the same opportunity. Just a thought.

 

Whether you like it or not, Rangers, through both it's fans and it's history, are linked with some areas of society which make you squeamish. Deal with it however you wish, but the whining and bleating you did in the OP won't do you many favours.

 

The OP looks for dignity and respect, some of the core values quite a few Rangers people have tried to install into the club and its support throughout its history. You, IMHO, lack both in abundance and it shows again.

 

From the late 80s onwards, the club much as the support has shed quite a bit of the sectarian and bigotted baggage - even though either term is rather loosely defined, not least nowadays in Western Scotland. While we have a wide variety of supporters when it comes to loyalism, royalism, religion, and politics, we only got dragged back into the old stereotypes because of the antics of the green-gray hordes from about 2007 onwards, supported to no end by the mhedia in the West of Scotland. The bout of nationalism - as opposed to patriotism - that swept through Scotland was, IMHO, caused to a large extent by the way the Yes-campaigners went about their business. It will take some time before logical reasoning will take over again.

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