Rangers Must Be Promoted Positively

It is fair to say that 2012 was a pretty bad year on the whole for Rangers Football Club. After lurching into administration on Valentines Day, they then went into liquidation four months later when Charles Green failed to strike an agreement with creditors.

As someone who has supported the club since I was a young lad, it was an extremely stressful time to keep waking up to news of bidders being in and then being out of the process.

An attitude developed throughout Scotland that Rangers deserved to beaten from pillar to post for ‘cheating’ every other team over the last decade. And despite the best efforts of men like Ally McCoist and Sandy Jardine in trying to protect the brand of the club, everyone from opposition fans, to the media and those running the game in Scotland seized an opportunity to kick the club day after day.

However, Rangers ended 2012 on a positive note. They celebrated 140 years of unbroken history in front of a remarkable sell-out crowd at Ibrox in December and as things stand, the club are now 19 points clear in Division Three. On the field, things are looking a lot rosier than they were at the start of the season.

Off the field though, Rangers need to continue to promote themselves in a positive and sensible manner. Any chance people get to criticise the club, you can bet they will take it.

I was proud to be a part of 30,000 Rangers fans that made the trip to Hampden to see out 2012 for a league game against Queens Park. The atmosphere was simply electric and cup-final like. And boy did I cheer Fraser Aird’s 92nd minute winner.

However, I was extremely disappointed and somewhat stunned when a large section of my fellow travelling supporter sang out ‘The Billy Boys’ after the ball hit the net. There can be no denying that it’s a fine anthem, but it simply has no place anywhere at any Rangers game, particularly with the references to ‘Fenian’ and being ‘Up to their knees in their blood’.

This incident happened only three days after shameful scenes of behaviour from a section of the Celtic fans that went to watch their team at Dens Park on Boxing Day night. I’ve never been one for much point-scoring over the behaviour of Old Firm fans, but here was a perfect chance for Rangers fans to enjoy a day out at Hampden. There was just absolutely no need for fans to belt out an anthem that is full of bile and dirge which has been widely eradicated from the support over the last decade.

And last week for perhaps the first time I wasn’t overly impressed with the words that Charles Green had to say. Scottish league reconstruction talks are about as fun as having a gun pointed to your head, but Green’s bluster about wanting out of Scottish football was the perfect opportunity for people on the likes of Twitter and radio phone-ins to jump on the Green’s ‘talking nonsense bandwagon.’ Now, whilst the Yorkshireman was hardly talking nonsense, I firmly believe he initially misjudged how he should have reacted to the proposals.

He may now have come up with a viable alternative to 12-12-18 which has the backing of the club in the form of three leagues of 14, but people are still going to beat the drum that Charles Green has no wish to stay in Scotland despite currently having nowhere to move the team to.

This is where Rangers need to protect their image and their brand better. For all his faults, this is something that Peter Lawwell does excellently for Celtic. Green has defended the club admirably and forcefully since arriving in May, but he should also be looking at ways in which Rangers can help to support and promote Scottish football, despite his very valid frustrations.

Rangers may feel they deserve a little more respect from the rest of Scottish football and some of the allegations banded at the club during the summer were extreme to say the least. That trust and respect needs to be gained though through the right ways.

By maintaining dignity on and off the field, Rangers will put themselves in a much stronger position for the time when they get back to the top level of Scottish football. If the great name continues to be dragged through the mud, then the rebuilding process could take much longer than it needs to.

Ewan is a Rangers season ticket holder and has followed the club since he was a youngster. He regularly writes about the club for various sites. Currently studying journalism, you can catch him on Twitter @ewanfootball

Discuss this article in the forums (39 replies).