It has been an interesting few days on the “timternet”, with the mainstream media having finally caught up with what many of us have known for a long time, (thanks to some excellent work from some indefatigable bloggers and investigative journalists) namely that our great rivals, Glasgow Rangers, are teetering on the edge of financial oblivion.
Craig Whyte can no-longer be seen as the “Whyte Knight”, claims that his wealth is “off the radar” have now been proven to be patently untrue. In fact official statements emanating from Ibrox bring to mind the dying days of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, Craig Whyte’s statements that selling of the season ticket money four seasons in advance is a viable and normal business practice, are as grounded in reality as “Comical Ali” telling the world that the infidels would be sent back to their families in body bags, while US tanks rolled into Baghdad just over his shoulder. For US tanks read Hector the Tax Inspector.
Once our laughter has subsided (oh and how we laughed at that “cheery chappy” McCoist storming out of Ibrox with a face like a skelped bairn after his pleading for some financial backing went unheeded) there remains a relevant, and intriguing question. It boils down to this, do we need them?
When the host of this site asked this question on twitter, the response was overwhelmingly that no, we do not.
Oh and it really is ever so tempting to ride along with the “let them die” mentality. When you think of their arrogance, their apologists in the media, their long history of shaming our national game, and by association, our nation itself. A world without Rangers, the birds would sing, the sun would shine, and the common man would realise that there is more that unites him with his neighbour, than divides them.
Before we get too carried away, we must cast our minds back to a time when we held a knife to the throat of our enemy. In Gordon Strachan’s last season in charge we held a convincing lead over a poor Rangers side, four in a row was a near certainty, the wee ginger one though, wasn’t so sure, he felt we needed reinforcements, Steven Fletcher of our traditional feeder club Hibernian was the target. Lawell and co. however disagreed, they felt our squad was strong enough. Fletch stayed in Edinburgh and almost inconceivably the league flag flew over Ibrox come the start of the next season. The Plc had shown their true colours, they harbour no real ambition except to stay ahead of our cross city rivals, they knew that criticism of them and their dealings would be muted as long as domestic trophies continued to pile up in the Celtic Park trophy room. Of course we all know that even this most modest of targets has been missed, that however is a debate for another day. The point is, under its current stewardship our club needs (as hard as it is to say) Rangers to constantly push us to do better.
If Rangers disappear, Celtic would survive, but in a vegetative state. Instead of the rest of Scottish football raising its standards to challenge us, we would undoubtedly sink to their level.
Surely what we want is Celtic to challenge (at least sporadically) on the European stage again? For us to continually strive to be better? For this we need something (no matter how abhorrent we find it as an institution) to constantly push us domestically. Due to the nature of the changes money has imposed upon our game, that challenge will never again come from Aberdeen or Dundee United, it must come from Rangers.
The one caveat to this is if we were able to gain entry to another league, then we could truly rejoice in their demise, knowing our future was bright (green). However after years of pimping our entire league on the basis of our regular hate filled scraps with them, would Celtic alone have the same appeal to the TV executives that will come to deicide footballs structure in the not too distant future?
One final point, tax evasion and financial doping are a cancer on not just football but society in general. And just as Fred Goodwin had his title stripped from him for leaving behind a financial “scorched earth” so too should Rangers have the titles they bought, with money that was not theirs, removed from their records. This may never happen, but one thing is for sure, their history is forever tainted.