As events move on it’s essential that Bears keep their eyes on the prize and don’t be distracted by the occasional obstacle.
Those who hate Rangers spend their lives trying to demean and isolate us - every scrap they can pick up they will us to create bad publicity and ill-feeling.
The problem they face is that Rangers fans just don’t do vindictiveness very well - as a support we get angry but we rarely carry that anger through in the sort of mad campaigns to ruin people’s lives other supports have as their stock in trade. We tend to regard problems in isolation and accept them as an inevitable part of life rather than something to feel sorry for ourselves about. The media image of Rangers fans is one thing - the reality is that we rarely make our persecutors suffer.
That’s what this season has been all about - and it’s what football should be about. This last year should be the wake up call of all wake up calls to dispel any doubt in fans minds we are not the Establishment’s club and that we can take nothing for granted. Previous policies and attitudes - mainly the neglect of PR and long-term strategy by Sir David Murray (in my opinion) - cost us dear. We were in severe peril of having the Scottish football door shut in our faces by arch-manipulators in the background.
We need to stay true to the values of our Founders - playing the game for the game sake in the proper manner - on and off the field. The big picture is that the SFL gave us a home and we should be grateful for that lifeline.
There have been a couple of incidents which have caused some to fly into a rage and put up the forcefield of self-pity. Hence a couple of wallopers causing unrest in the crowd at Peterhead or Forres (most probably local Sheep or Tims) is built up into the end of the world a retreat into the cul-de-sac of No-One Likes Us We Don’t Care.
Yet - when one supposed Rangers fan makes a Horlicks of something we go tonto when that is portrayed as being representative of us all. What’s the difference?
WITCH-HUNTS ARE FOR THE WEAK OF MIND
Earlier this season some fans were going wild wanting to boycott Clyde as they were supposedly the one club who voted against our entry into the SFL.
The facts were at variance - Clyde’s public pronouncements had been clear and their first two press releases on the matter very supportive, the third made clear their anger that they and other clubs had not received the promised info from the SFA regarding Rangers registration application.But the policy of Clyde was to vote us in - they are a fan-owned club and took the view fans should not be punished for the sins of club owners.
The second major point to bear in mind is the voting procedure - at that crucial SFL meeting the ballot papers were issued one per club - they were not marked in any way to identify the club - the clubs then voted in a secret ballot and the only way you could tell who voted against us would have been to test DNA traces. In fact, I still find it surprising there were not more who voted against us as they could do so in complete secrecy.
Yet the hysteria caravan moved on - after Clyde issued a statement reiterating their position some fans then moved on to claim with equal certainty that it was Stenhousemuir who voted against, when that was demolished they moved onto Stranraer. Complete hysteria and waste of time and effort on everyone’s part.
Take the victory and move on. Don’t turn it into a defeat.
SUPPORTING LONGMUIR AND BALLANTYNE
Throughout the last year only the SFL has gained any credit amongst the three governing bodies of Scottish football. They have not done this by favoritism but by simply applying their rules in a proper manner and displaying commonsense. David Longmuir and Jim Ballantyne have shone out as being scrupulously fair and even-handed.
Some have sought to castigate them for the lunacy of the 12-12-18 proposal despite it not being theirs. As the weeks have gone on it’s become perfectly clear they have played a clever long-game and that the 12-12-18 is not their idea and that they are working hard to modify it despite the large sums of cash being offered as effective bribes to the SFL clubs. I would however concede they did make a tactical mistake in not putting the record straight immediately by making it clear the idea was an SPL one.
The big picture is the SFL has won two significant battles - 1/ The need for change in league structure and 2/ The need for one governing body.
They now need to make sure the new body is not a rest home for SPL and SFA duds and that the league structure works not just by clearing the debts of a handful of clubs via a Sky money handout but for the long-term.
FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THE CLUB
Visiting clubs coming to Ibrox are treated like royalty - as well as being the right thing to do it is money in bank in terms of future votes and policy formation. Directors, management and staff are given once in a lifetime (or twice a season!) treatment. Some even end up at dinner with Ally and Walter!
Spare me the “please love us” tripe - it’s good manners, commonsense and business sense.
Fans can play their part by being ambassadors for the club - whether when visiting new grounds, interacting with opposition fans at Ibrox or our behavior on the Internet and mass media.
The haters keep claiming the crowds at Ibrox are defiance - it’s a lot simpler than that, Bears love their club and are happy to celebrate surviving.
Push the boat out a little further and get behind the SFL as a body as well as Rangers as a member club.