A victim of our own success
06/02/2012 616 Comments
In the last week, we have seen the final stage of the mainstreaming of the Rangerstaxcase story. With factional in-fighting among current and former executives of Rangers FC spilling onto the front pages of our tabloid press, even the most sceptical football fan will now understand that Rangers face a crisis that threatens their very existence. That much is a cause for some satisfaction. After ignoring this story for the best part of a year and a half, the mainstream media appear to be roused from their stupor. It would be difficult for anyone to deny with a straight face the role this blog has had in forcing the uncomfortable truth into the open.
However, the comments section of this blog has simply become unmanageable. With over 2,500 replies posted in a matter of five days, I do not have time to read them all. I have been struggling for a few months to contain potentially defamatory posts, but the numbers are simply overwhelming now. While I have had many kind offers to help share the burden, there are practical reasons for not taking them up.
I will try to provide a way to allow those who have built this site into something wonderful to continue posting their views, but I do not see the utility in this site becoming a general Celtic-based messageboard. There are many excellent sites catering to this need already. It has never been my goal to ever be in competition with any of them.
It was perhaps inevitable that with the explosion of interest in this subject that the nature and quality of comments would change. At the risk of being seen to be elitist, it was the group of people who contributed content and analysis in the early months who made this site special. So I plan on providing a means to allow them to continue posting. (Bear with me as I experiment with settings).
This would appear to be the best way to avoid the repetition and dilution of content. With fewer contributors, the ‘Old Guard’ and approved posters will find it easier to maintain a running theme. There will be a chance for the analysis and fact-finding that made this site popular can be retained.
Additionally, it would be important to provide a place for fans of all other Scottish clubs, especially Rangers supporters, who wish to engage in factual and/or informed speculation about events that are unfolding. Thus far, Rangers-based sites have blindly chosen positions without much analysis. Anyone wishing to engage in reasoned and informed discussion would be welcome to provide input, regardless of opinion.
I mean no criticism of those who see Rangers’ troubles as a source of amusement. There are simply lots of other places more suited to that type of comment. I am sure that keeping this blog as a staid and ‘rooted-in-fact’ environment will reduce its popularity. However, if we can revive the original spirit of the blog this will be a price worth paying.
Edit: I am going to allow the old comment rules to continue for a while.
As for the most recent wave of insolvency rumours, I can confirm that Rangers had instructed their legal advisors to prepare for a possible filing at the end of the transfer window. However, I chose to sit on this story as it was likely to be misinterpreted. There are many tactical reasons why a company might want the option of filing on a given date, but might later choose to not go ahead. There are many factors that would affect Whyte’s decision to file- and the simple truth is that we do not have access to enough information to make any statement about a date when receivership or administration would become his best option. Whyte could file tomorrow or several months from now. The exact date does not matter too much. All sides will have had ample time to prepare their positions and refine their strategies. The only certain outcome is that the country’s top law firms are going to be busy.
What we do know is that Scotland’s biggest football club is facing the biggest crisis in its 140-year history. We have also seen the opening salvos in the battle to pick up the pieces of a post-liquidation Rangers. Most significantly, we have helped launch and shape the debate on how Scottish football would deal with a post-liquidation Rangers. We have called out the ‘presumptive close’ being attempted by those who have a vested in interest in a newco-Rangers recovering rapidly.
The case for thwarting all notion of sporting integrity and parachuting a newco-RFC back into the Scottish Premier League has not been made. Despite what Hugh Keevins might say, as observed by a couple of our regular posters, it seems that the only surviving SPL club that would face a significant reduction in revenue related to the loss of Rangers from the SPL would be Celtic. For every other club, there is a chance that the thousands who migrate towards Ibrox from towns across Scotland every other Saturday might show an interest in their local team. There would be a realistic hope of winning trophies. Those who do not wish to discuss a newco-Rangers earning its place in the top flight fairly, do not want to investigate the opportunities that may exist in re-ordering the game either.
This would all be easier to understand if we were watching top quality football being played by young Scotsmen in an atmosphere of optimism. However, Scottish football has fallen progressively further and further behind the top-flight standards in the last 25 years. The idea that it is worth taking a chance on remaking our game is one worth at least some discussion.
Time-horizon is also a factor being ignored by the radio talking heads. While Celtic would undoubtedly face a dip in revenues in the short-run, a more competitive league in the future could see stands filled once again across this football mad nation. Even Celtic could see increased ticket sales and TV revenues in ten years time if 3-4 clubs were in a tight battle for the SPL title. If the men running the SFA lack the imagination to see the chance presented, then they need to be replaced. We should not forget about the risk of cynicism. If it is clear that a newco-Rangers will be nursed back to health by hook or by crook for short-term financial reasons, there will be little point in watching Scottish football thereafter. Why bother? There would not even be a pretence of fair competition. Is the financial risk of helping a newco-Rangers being considered?
A newco-Rangers that earns its place in the Scottish Premier League by promotion through the lower leagues will spare its fans the permanent ‘mark of Cain’ that would accompany not winning its place. A club that works its way up through the lower divisions could rebuild its record with pride and know that it deserves respect.