“Rangers has become a magnet for every chancer in town….”

Great piece from John McDermott in the FT (worth the registration)…

The club, like the nation, had a comfortable dual identity as both Scottish and British. At its most famous game, the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup victory over FC Dynamo Moscow, fans sporting kilts and Robert Burns T-shirts waved the Union Jack alongside the Lion Rampant, Scotland’s royal flag.

“There was then an unquestioning acceptance of a strong Scotland within an overarching Britishness,” says Graham Walker, a renowned historian of politics in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as a life-long Rangers fan.

Off the pitch, Rangers was run in unspectacular fashion. It exemplified traditional Scottish Protestant virtues such as “strength, solidity, pride, decency and probity”, says Harry Reid. “This has now been turned on its head.”

For many fans, it was that European game against NK Maribor which foreshadowed the subsequent decline. Only three years previously, Rangers had reached the final of the same competition, but it wasn’t just the bad result that stayed in people’s minds.

Rangers draws much of its support from working-class fans in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, many of whom identify themselves as Protestant unionists. Graham Walker, who saw the game that night, says: “It seemed to me that too many fans are more concerned about defending Britishness than supporting Rangers.”

Today Rangers is a faded emblem of a faltering belief in the UK: a Scottish institution in Britain and a British institution in Scotland.

Its rise and fall reflects not only how a football club lost sense of financial reality but much of its identity, too. Its story represents an imperfect microcosm of contemporary Scottish and British history.

  • Ernekid

    Does anyone lament the slow death of Rangers?

    The sectarian nastiness of the Old Firm should be consigned to history

  • donnchup

    As an Irish speaker living in the Gaeltacht, I empathize with Rangers supporters. People say we’re dead (we’re not), we’re dying out (fair bit of truth in that) and that we’re an anachronism in modern society (well, maybe). We’re both being marginalized and people don’t understand what we say, or our loyalty to the old ways.

    Maybe we can do a cultural exchange; it would make a change from those entertaining those tiresome triumphalist Belfast Shinners.

  • mickfealty

    If I may be so blunt, I can understand how you feel, but on Slugger we are far more interested in what you think.

  • Ernekid

    Well I think the breaking up of the Old Firm has been good for the Scottish Premiership as its given other teams a chance to compete spreading wealth and talent.

    I find Scottish and Irish football awful to watch and I’m not that a big of a soccer fan anyway. Give me Rugby or Hurling anyday.

  • Old Mortality

    I’ve read McDermott’s piece and while it’s interesting, its socio-political musings are irrelevant to Rangers’ demise which is entirely the consequence of acute financial mismanagement. It’s nice to see them languishing 13 points behind the Jambos, however.

  • 88vvv89

    To say the breaking up of the old firm has been good for Scottish Football is laughable, since Rangers expulsion the attendances have been down across the league, Income from TV rights lower and Scottish clubs chances of European football qualification getting more unlikely too.

    PS Irish League Football is where the action is, the EPL hasn’t a look in

  • Clanky

    As a Celtic fan, I can’t help but have a little chuckle at “the huns” misfortune, as a football fan, I think it is an absolute tragedy that any club should be allowed to not only be put in the position that Rangers were put in, but to then be constantly pillaged by a bunch of vultures.

    I do, however, think that it is stretching things a bit too far to correlate Rangers’ demise with the demise of “Britishness”, Rangers still have a massive support and the fans are no less loyal to the club than they have ever been, Rangers woes stem from a few greedy scumbags, not from their fans’ lack of identity.

  • Kendo1966

    Interesting that you feel the need to furnish the debate with your wisdom if you have no interest in Scottish football

  • Merrill Morrow

    There’s an interesting book on this topic by a couple of guys called Bissett and McKillop. The book is called Born under a Union Flag : Rangers, Britain and Scottish Independence. Well worth a read.

  • Clanky

    I will have a look for it next time I am in the UK, thanks.

  • submariner

    Rangers were not expelled they were liquidated and a new club was formed which then had to apply for membership of the Scottish football setup.

  • $136050377

    “….The club, like the nation, had a comfortable dual identity as both Scottish and British. ..”
    Unionist self serving clap trap..Right there.

    If “bRitain” had such self confidence..why doesn’t it fund the Irish language..for instance?
    If bRitain” was so comfortable..why did they try and wipe out Scottish , Irish and Welsh culture?
    A word to the wise for Sluggerites and
    McDermot..Believeing your own myths doesn’t make them true.