On the morning of the 12th of June 2012 I stood on the first tee of my local golf course, joining me on a brisk east coast day was an East Fife fan and two Rangers fans. By the time I rolled in my par putt on the 18th our group consisted of a Celtic fan (myself) the East Fife fan and two gentlemen who, well I suppose, didn’t really support anyone anymore (not that they knew it, usage of mobile phones on the course is severely frowned upon).
Liquidation had of course seemed ever more likely, as every day seemed to bring staggering new developments, relating both to current and previous Ibrox regimes, however the news that HMRC had in fact said “no” still took the breath away.
Now I feel a certain amount of sympathy for everyday Rangers fans, if I try really hard I can even feel slightly sorry for the players, I certainly empathise with those who have, and will lose their livelihood as a result of Sir David Murray’s arrogant pursuit of an impossible dream. The institution however? For them I cannot muster up any feelings of sorrow, they cheated Celtic, they cheated Scottish football, they cheated the public purse. The Institution has been executed and rightly so.
Now Rangers fans have said “they don’t do walking away” and to their credit I don’t think they will, whatever bastardised club emerges from the ashes of football’s biggest fraud will surely be well followed.
The coming weeks will tell us in which division Mr Green’s new-co will compete, will the trip north be to Elgin or Aberdeen? And this bhoys and ghirls brings me to my point. Rangers fans might not do walking away, but if their new-co is parachuted into the SPL then you can rest assured I will.
Without integrity, sport is nothing, what good is a hierarchical league system if the participants do not have to earn their position? And with this impending decision on new-co Rangers, the sporting integrity of Scottish football is very much on the line.
To invest my emotions in a league so clearly bent would be an impossibility, and as sport is nothing without integrity, football without emotion is only a game.
I would of course retain a deep affinity Celtic but my bond with Scottish football would be irrevocably broken.
I hope and pray it does not come to this, I hope and pray Scottish football does not sell its soul for the meagre sums on offer from Murdoch’s Sky TV deal.
Incidentally if I were a Rangers fan I’m sure I would feel the same, there is no honour, there can be no pride in supporting a club that bypassed the normal rules on the back of financial scaremongering over falling attendances, and torn up TV deals. Trips to Peterhead and Rangers derbies against Berwick may be hard to swallow for any Bear, but it is to the long term benefit of Scottish football and those Bears themselves.
I also realised today I still have the last “Old Firm” (at least we’ll never have to hear that again!) derby saved on my BT box, better keep that I suppose, it’ll be a long time ‘till the next one (hopefully).