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Players and management living in a Murray Park Bubble
Published : 14 Mar 2013 21:19:00Rss feed
Usually I'm not one for hypothetical questions - it is, as memorably described in 30 Rock, merely lying to your brain - but I'll beg your indulgence just this once.
Imagine the following scenario; you have used a supplier for a number of years. Their service levels are generally good, so much so that during hard times for them, you found ways to get more money to them. This you did without prompting, simply because you felt it was the right thing to do. You have a great relationship – in fact, more than that; having helped them in their bleakest period, you’d say you have a bond. However, their standards have slipped recently, massively so. Not only is the quality of their work unacceptable – some would shoddy – but their workers seem not to care, displaying a dreadful attitude that reeks of complacency. You decide to complain to the management. They tell you that, in fact, you are mistaken. The workers have had a tough time of it. They are going to hire a few new ones soon and it will sort everything out. Actually, come to think of it, they aren’t even doing that badly. A director who has been at the firm for a number of years says that the CEO shouldn’t listen to customers anyway, as all they ever do is gripe. You then find that those workers, the really lazy ones who you are financing, have taken to social media to laugh at you and all the other customers.Would you give any money to that firm again? Would you hell. But that’s what Rangers expect of us as the posties get ready to bring round the season ticket forms for 2013/14.Now, it’s a flawed comparison, no doubt. We are supporters, not just customers. We love our club, we’ve been through the mill with them and we stood up to be counted. We don’t do walking away. But the fact is that, unpalatable as it is to some, we are customers. This is the 21st Century and attitudes have changed. I know we all like to be wonderfully staunch, but the fact is money is tight for many and the pressure to cut back on unnecessary outgoings is always there. When you are a family looking at economies, a season ticket, with its upfront payment, is always going to be a quick and easy one. When the football being played is entertaining, then it is a pressure we just don’t succumb to. When it’s not so free-flowing and joyous, there has always been that bond between player and fan. My club is your club is our club. Even when that was eroded (as it has been at every major club) by the money players earn, the club was usually engaged in a title race. There was enough to keep you going.What we have now is really, really terrible football. Almost indescribably bad. Given the standard of the opposition, what we are serving up most weeks is evidence that the current Rangers side really does have a strong claim to be the worst ever. They are, more often than not, sluggish, half-paced, unimaginative, dull, sloppy and content to get by against part-timers. There is no vision, spark or drive. This is bad. This is very bad.What has enraged thousands of fans, however, is that the players and staff don’t seem to care. In the days after the Annan defeat, we learned that Kyle Hutton had won the Murray Park darts tournament, was going to spend the afternoon watching a DVD after finishing training at 1pm and was attending a concert with several of his team-mates. How do we know this? He told us himself through the magic of social media. When fans pointed out that Hutton, whose performances recently have been so bad that he resembled a drunk wearing lead boots caked in lard, may be better served maybe spending more time in training, he took a hissy fit any toddler would be proud of. After telling fans to ‘bore off’, he and Darren Cole exchanged jokes about the ridiculousness of anyone suggesting they do extra training. To put this in context, they laughed at Rangers fans for having the temerity to want them to better themselves as professionals. And they did it in public!Now, I’m not going to swoon at young players for acting like spoiled, overpaid prima donnas. We’ve seen dozens of Kyle Huttons come and go. It’s the arrogance of youth. He gives the impression that his life would be perfect if only it wasn’t for the bothersome Saturday afternoon football matches. He might think he’s all of that and a bag of potato chips, but history suggest that only one or two of any crop of youngsters will make it and, given his attitude and limited talent, it isn’t going to be him. No, what enraged me is that this attitude is fostered at best and encouraged at worst by the management team. Kyle Hutton and Darren Cole both felt comfortable openly mocking their fans in a public forum that they knew was filled with supporters.Ally has to publicly back the squad. I get that. But a listen to his interviews over the season – not just after matches, but before and even during – make one thing abhorrently clear; he really thinks we’re doing okay. Sure, he’d prefer we were doing better, but we’re supposed to be winning the league and we are. The fact it’s against bank clerks and panel beaters doesn’t matter. And his mentor is even worse. Listen to Charles Green:
“Walter Smith said to me the other week he said ‘look Charles when you look out there it is not pleasant but you have to remember when we were winning nine in a row, we were getting booed off then’.
Source - STVIn other words, ‘never mind what the fans say. These ungrateful sods are always moaning. Ignore them. Their opinion doesn’t matter.’This attitude has been allowed to flourish at Ibrox, and it is coming home to roost. Well, be very careful Rangers. The players, cocooned in their Murray Park bubble, may feel that they are untouchable and our concerns are baseless, but that’s where they are wrong. Not just about whether this season is acceptable – and it isn’t – but about the whole dynamic. Because, as any businessman will tell you, when your customers are upset, it doesn’t matter if it’s valid or not. What matters is making them happy again, and quickly. Otherwise they will stop giving you money. It isn’t rocket science. Walter, love him as we all do, is from a different generation, the Murray School of thinking where the fans are a necessary nuisance whose cash is needed, but whose opinions are not. It’s archaic and in these times it’s downright dangerous.Charles Green is at a pivotal point of his stewardship. His forecasts rely on the continued support – the amazing support – of the Rangers Family. He can’t take it for granted, and neither can those who we continue to fund. And if people can’t see why we are upset, then get them out the door and don’t let the door hit their arse on the way out. We’ve had enough of low-to-no standards and being held in contempt by youngsters whose wages we pay and who’ve delivered precisely nothing in their career yet. Let me end this with a friendly warning to Charles – don’t take our kindness for weakness. It’s only you who will lose.