Peterhead, Annan, Elgin etc here they come…Revenge or Redemption?

The second (or third, depending who you listen to) most supported club in Northern Ireland will next season be playing against clubs who rarely break 700 as an average home attendance.

To put that figure in context, on occasions there are probably more Rangers fans travelling over from Ulster alone to watch their team than season ticket holders at Galabank or Broadfield.

On so many levels the decision to relegate one half of the Old Firm to the Scottish Third makes sense; morally no club should be above the rules and once you’ve broken those rules, you should be starting again right at the bottom rung not at some dodgy and compromised halfway house just because that’s in the best interest of the moneymen and the twice a season armchair fans.

It is also in the best interest of the Scottish game- the previous reliance on two clubs hasn’t improved standards or ultimately the financial standing of the clubs outside the Old Firm. Now they (and more especially those fans who have been most vocal in calling for Rangers to be expelled to the SL3) have the chance to prove their point that “sporting integrity means more than finance”. Their clubs will survive if the love for their own clubs is at least as great as their obvious hatred for Rangers.

The other half of the Old Firm also now have an opportunity. John Hartson once had this to say about the Celtic/Rangers love affair:

“It should be about football but the Old Firm boils down to one thing:hatred. Pure and utter hatred between both sets of supporters. The thing is Glasgow football thrives on that.”

And that is (or actually now, “was”) healthy?

Too many Celtic fans define themselves not by a love of their own team but by a hatred of “The Hun”. Too many Celtic fans (despite their own protestations to the contrary) bought into the ethno-nationalist pride/hatred displayed by the likes of Red Star Belgrade or Dynamo Zagreb rather than the much more uncomfortable secular and anti-racist internationalism that the likes of Germany’s St Pauli proclaim.

OK, now that their nemesis, the  Brit/Hun/Prod/Orange bigots have gone, how will they define themselves?

Belting out “Boys of the Old Brigade” makes a lot less sense (if it ever did from a sporting point of view) at East End Park than it did twice a season at Ibrox.

The biggest challenge, however, is now for Rangers, both the club and their fans.

It’s the potential of redemption, on a whole host of levels; that is if that’s what you as supporters, players and as club, collectively, are really after.

If not, then you don’t deserve to be any longer a presence, even at the third level of Scottish football.

  • What an opportunity for Rangers to win hearts and minds across Scotland, for their fans to embark upon an odyssey of nook and cranny, for their youth team players to grow as a team.

    If Rangers cannot re-invent themselves on all levels then they will have ignored the biggest marketing opportunity ever seen in Scottish football; the potential dividends in terms of fan base, young players and club contacts are enormous.

  • The previously second or third best supported team in Norn Iron does not actually exist.
    It has not therefore been “relegated”.
    Its assets or whatever have been taken over by a new entity which has applied to join the Scottish Football League.
    It has been accepted into membership…ahead of others from outside the League…and into Division 3 of that League.
    Not a supporter myself.
    But I wish them well.

    As to The Boys of the Old Brigade….I have heard it sung at venues where no Rangers fans were present.

  • Barnshee

    Just two points

    Scottish football has shafted itself- the ” Gers” in the third division will cost the rest megabucks in gate and TV funds

    The terminally stupid HMRC who rejected the CVA ( let you look that one up) which would have garnered them some £2M has been lost and they now receive -er SFA –(no reference to Scotland). What a parcel of wankers

  • Mark

    Rangers fan base will always be there for reasons like loyalty , peer pressure , family influence etc ( i remember paying my little brother a pound a week to switch from Liverpool to United ) but developing talent could be a problem because of the quality of opposition and inability to attract players ……

    If they win their first ten games and can gather momentum , talk will start about going unbeaten throughout the season and media interest will obviously intensify . Their odds for going straight back in three years are evens according to Boyle Sports and Celtic’s are 1/33 for this year’s title . Their saving grace IMO is the fact that McCoist is still there and if they could persuade Walter Smith to come back in some capacity ….

    The next few years for Rangers fans will be a nightmare and they’ll have to suffer all the taunts and jokes that will come their way . Great times ahead .

  • chewnicked

    The club formerly known as Glasgow Rangers committed massive fraud and tax evasion.
    In its new incarnation, the Newco had to be punished. Yet the Newco’s fans are blaming the other clubs instead of those from within the defunct club who caused the mess.That’s enough MOPEry from theNewco crowd.

  • Mark

    Typo – Rangers Newco ……LOL

  • andnowwhat

    As someone who supports Rangers when watching old form matches in westy pubs, I’m lost as to how to get my wind-up fix.

    Now, I’m off to an Afro-carribean launderette to get my John Terry t-shirt washed

  • Mark

    Without doubt , they’ll be drawn against eachother in one of the Cup competitions .

  • redhugh78

    O’ Neil,

    Well done you manage to turn a blog about the new club ‘Rangers’ or is it sevco? into an attack on Celtic fans.

    Interestingly the new club’s first league game is against the mighty Peterhead while on the same date Celtic take on Real Madrid, who needs rangers?

  • Ruarai

    Actually, Celtic fans have a close relationship with St Pauli’s; there are not infrequent ‘delegations’ of St Pauli fans at Celtic Park.

    Anyways,

    @frankieboyle: Rangers fixtures for next season look like the itinerary of a beleagured 12th Century warrior attempting to unite the Clans

    @frankieboyle: Rangers don’t do walking away. Because the away games are now hundreds of miles away.

    @frankieboyle: Live in a Scottish town in the middle of nowhere? Book an A-level exam in Irish History because you’re about to get a fucking crashcourse.

  • andnowwhat

    The Last Farnkie Boyle line had me laughing my head off.

  • keano10

    A lot has been written about how Rangers loyal fans “dont do walking away”. However as we speak the club has only sold 260 season tickets for next season compared to 40,000 for last season. They may well struggle to sell even 5,000 by the time the season starts. It also looks like they will be forced to sell the few remaining regulars who had opted to stay with them.

    It could be easily a decade or more before they are able to challenge again at the highest levels.