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Keith Jackson: As Rangers stagger into another year...


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...they are also entering the eye of a potentially devastating storm.

 

AS Rangers hit rock bottom, KEITH looks back at another nightmare year for the Ibrox club and warns that 2015 could be even worse.

 

ANOTHER horrible Ibrox annus. Yes, Rangers have been blighted by a long list of them in recent times but, even so, 2014 will go down as a year of unrelenting trauma which has brought this basket case back to the brink.

 

The New Year is not yet upon us but already Rangers are running out of time.

 

There are just days now for the current regime to extricate itself from an impending insolvency because, having loaned £3million from Mike Ashley just to limp into the festivities, they are left with little more than pockets full of spare change.

 

And so 2015 will begin in almost exactly the same way as 2014, with a bunch of bedraggled directors

scrambling around at the top of the old staircase desperately attempting to secure lifesaving hand-outs.

 

Only the names and the faces change but the crisis which these men have bestowed upon this club remains constant, as does the shadow it casts across the landscape of the Scottish game.

 

Granted, it might not have reached as far north as Inverness where yesterday Aberdeen’s red army rolled into town to battle it out for second place in the SPFL top flight.

 

And yes, the good people of Dundee are enjoying their football more this season than they have done in a long time.

 

With Hearts back in such rejuvenated form that they took 7500 fans to Livingston with them on Saturday and Hibs are also taking impressive shape under Alan Stubbs. There are undoubted green shoots.

 

In fact, it could be that the worst of the nuclear winter is over. That Scottish football is adjusting and getting used to life without a relevant Rangers.

 

Ironically, it is Celtic who are pining the most, even though they are the one club in the country with the financial muscle to withstand just about any kind of unilateral collapse.

 

Life without a significant other has taken its toll on the champions, who continue to dominate the domestic scene while doing little more than going through the motions.

 

Only in such an environment of apathy would professor Ronny Deila be able to continue his experimental approach to the science of winning football matches.

 

In more normal circumstances, had the Norwegian returned from the lab with a 0-0 draw at home to Ross County he would have been feeling more than just the heat coming off his bunsen burner.

 

It is precisely because Delia is operating in a vacuum, devoid of the intensity created by ferocious competition, that he will continue to make unnecessarily hard work of winning this title before shouting ‘Eureka’ when the job is done.

 

But over time Celtic may nurture new rivalries, especially if the North East revival should build up a head of steam.

 

And that’s probably just as well as the next few weeks seem set to determine if Rangers are ever to become recognisable again or if indeed they are locked into this downward spiral of perpetual self harming for good. Or at least until they reach an inevitable end.

 

Right now it would seem like a mercy killing if this Rangers, in its current form, was to be released from its misery. It’s as if they exist now only to humiliate themselves.

 

It was four years ago that Craig Whyte began battering on the doors of the boardroom and ever since his pointy buckled shoes first stepped across the threshold, the place has become a sanctuary for scoundrels.

 

Between them these people have unleashed a chaos like no other. A toxic slurry of administration, liquidation, groping Yorkshire hands, secret videos, missing millions, police probes, arrests and now impending court cases.

 

Is it any wonder that for many Rangers fans the actual football has long since become an irrelevance?

 

But there are thousands more who continue to focus only on what they see on the pitch. And on Saturday, as Kenny McDowall began his duties as caretaker manager with a 4-0 thrashing at Hibs, they too hit rock bottom. Finally, perhaps for the first time, all sections of this club’s fractured support are united in utter dismay and embarrassment at what their club has become.

 

And as Rangers stagger forward into another year they are also entering the eye of a perfect and potentially devastating storm. The numbers are dropping away to such an extent that a business which was already broken and suffering

unsustainable losses, is exposed like never before. In its current state, it may even be irretrievable.

 

The next few weeks will determine the fate of this club. An offer for £6.5m worth of funding has been tabled by three wealthy Rangers fans, Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, and proof of funding has also been provided.

 

But although this appears to offer an easy solution, it is far from a done deal. First, it will require the approval of a board which, up until now, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep such well-meaning investors at arm’s length in order to cling on to control.

 

Also, this cash offer may well be conditional not just on two seats on the board but also upon Park, Letham and Taylor being allowed to look under the bonnet of Rangers and examine the actual depth of the current

financial crisis.

 

If so, it is entirely possible that any one of this trio may be sufficiently horrified as to be scared into having some serious second thoughts.

 

Then there is the unpredictably enigmatic Ashley. Just where exactly does he stand in all of this, after bulldozing his way into control of the boardroom, where his man Derek Llambias now sits at the head of the table as CEO?

 

Is the Newcastle United owner prepared to roll over and obey the commands of the SFA who have taken an aggressive stance against his attempted power grab? Or is he about to turn his tanks on Hampden and take what he wants in any case,

underwriting a share issue and increasing his stake to 29.9 per cent?

 

His total lack of feeling for Rangers coupled with his contempt for governing blazers may be such that he is prepared to call their bluff where threats of revoking the club’s licence to play football is concerned.

 

Ashley may well believe they simply would not dare but this would be the ultimate high-risk strategy and, given the millions he makes from selling Rangers merchandise, it might prove too big a gamble to take. Even for a man with the deepest of pockets.

 

But, despite his wealth, there seems little logic in Ashley continuing to throw millions of pounds of loans into an ever-widening black hole just in order to keep Rangers breathing while its customers revolt against him. It may be a great deal easier to have the club tipped back into administration, one which he would be able to control as the club’s major creditor.

 

Either way the SFA have drawn a line in the sand where Ashley is concerned. They have seen proof of funds from Park, Letham and Taylor and are satisfied that Ashley is not, as the Rangers board describe him, the only show in town.

 

If Rangers chose to proceed with Ashley then the SFA’s Judicial Panel will step in and thousands upon thousands will be drained from the game’s coffers and given over to lawyers all in the name of sorting out yet another Rangers-made mess.

 

New Year, same old story. But, one way or the other, January is likely to bring a defining moment to this exhausting narrative.

 

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/keith-jackson-rangers-stagger-another-4886939

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"sorting out yet another Rangers-made mess" - I think he'll find that the lawyers costs previously were not due to a Rangers-made mess but a Rangers-haters-made mess. That and the tabloid-esque grammatical infelicities aside not a bad summary, I suppose.

 

This line packs a lot into itself:

 

"A toxic slurry of administration, liquidation, groping Yorkshire hands, secret videos, missing millions, police probes, arrests and now impending court cases."

 

This bit is crucial:

"First, it will require the approval of a board which, up until now, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep such well-meaning investors at arm’s length in order to cling on to control.

 

Also, this cash offer may well be conditional not just on two seats on the board but also upon Park, Letham and Taylor being allowed to look under the bonnet of Rangers and examine the actual depth of the current

financial crisis."

Edited by SteveC
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Got up this morning feeling quite chirpy. 30 minutes on the internet has destroyed any goodwill.

 

Fans are saying that they are not sure how much more they can take, well, I don't think the club can endure any more pain. We'd be better off storming Ibrox in one last fight to the death.

 

Good morning, Bears.:(

 

If the "well meaning investment" from Park, Letham and Taylor is rejected I think that's exactly what needs to happen. Undignified as it may be, I'd happily indulge in a bit of civil disobedience if it means we get nearer to ousting the crooks.

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If Rangers have to take responsibility for the mess we are in, then the SPL and SFA have to take the responsibility of their attempts to strip titles and the cost. Their thieving of our league placement monies, illegal fines and punishments. But no mention of those by Keech, wonder why that is?

Edited by aweebluesoandso
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