The Rangers Saga - the 2013 sequel
Never mind the prospect of a future Craig Whyte horror film or even the idea that the Bradford Film Festival will commission a feature on Yorkshire's finest, Mr. Green.
The Rangers story continues to operate somewhere between a soap opera and a pantomime but the 2013 version brings with it the likelihood of sustaining the careers of those we’d hoped to leave behind and the very real prospect of reintroducing many of those past franchise characters, both beloved and vilified.
Charles took his time – in truth he waited too long – and finally jumped before he was pushed, and while many continue to ruminate on the sub-plot where someone pushes a certain Monaco resident into the open seas, preferably sans lifejacket, back on dry land the idea that Green’s move will settle events internal and external is beyond optimism and into the realms of fantasy.
Firstly, the idea that the toxic Green - and make no mistake that is now, sadly, what he has become for the ‘brand’ – will remain majority shareholder or retain his shares a minute past the time permitted seems a long shot: STV seemed to jump the gun a little today in reporting as big news a relatively minor redistribution of shares but one suspects that there’s a little more to come on this matter over the next few weeks and months. We already have one loose cannon offering comment on everything and anything and it would be better for all concerned that Charles’ association with the Club resembled a silent movie as soon as possible.
What now for this independent tribunal? Are we simply to believe that Charles’ conscience was sufficiently pricked that he saw the light – even after being slow to apologise and continuing via the Club statement to ‘strenuously denies any wrongdoing’ – and has decided to stem the flow of bad blood for the good of all concerned? Even allowing for the most generous spirited interpretation (he’s told us the truth eventually and there’s no more to come) I’m afraid that simply won’t do and in the circumstances isn’t remotely credible.
It all has to come out. And, moreover, people have to be certain that the refuse-pipe has been completely flushed.
What now for Brian Stockbridge and Imran Ahmad? Guilt by association isn’t pretty but guilt by participation or implication would be ugly. Is there anything in their conduct that would be potentially damaging were it to come out over the next few weeks or months? If so, it has to come out now.
The low profile of the Chairman in recent times can partly be attributed to the grandstanding nature of Charles Green and his insistence on being both communicator and unofficial master of ceremonies in the Rangers circus but nobody with ears or eyes has missed the briefings, hints and allegations directed towards Mr. Murray. What kind of support does he enjoy within the Board of Directors and powerful footballing figures within the Club; in particular the likes of Hart, Smith and his protégé Ally McCoist?
At what point can RFC manage to present a professional front regards PR and at least assume some control over the narrative? The leaks from within Ibrox continue, and with the number of people from the end of the Murray era still present and with access to such privileged information limited one can easily find old candidates to blame but we might also be permitted to speculate whether we’re looking in the right direction and, indeed, considering very recent national broadcaster programming whether or not the spillage is related to what we might reasonably call ‘new’ methods of accessing and retrieving data.
The manager and players have been criticised this season, but although some might now be of the belief that Super Ally is not the man to implement the type of footballing philosophy necessary as the Club continues its journey up through the divisions the simple fact is that the off-field problems and ongoing shambles makes it 100% certain that there will be no change in manager next season. The very real prospect, however, of some of the old boys’ network making a new appearance in the Rangers story cannot, in light of today’s developments and what they signify in terms of how the Club will be run and who will come to assume the power in that process, now easily be dismissed.
Bain, Johnston, King, the other, other, Murray and others: choose your bogeyman. But while Ally and Walter remain don’t close your eyes and sleep on it too readily.
There will be a number of in-depth assessments to be made concerning Green and his impact on the Club and in the coming days, weeks and months his positive and negative balance sheet will be debated, as will the strange certainty with which he appeared on the scene and knew he would take over. Perhaps future questions will arise following investigations from within and without.
But one slightly disturbing consequence deriving from the latter days of Green’s tenure can be seen today as people with perhaps good intentions but flawed reasoning imagine the appointment of some ‘Rangers man’ as CEO, with some even presenting the name of Walter Smith as a candidate, as if the point of the position is simply to say some rousing things now and then and to be a mouthpiece for GIRUY and WATP productions.
This can easily and reasonably be dismissed as barmy and wholly inappropriate but it illustrates an instinct with which many within the Rangers family feel comfortable: let’s get in some Rangers people as opposed to let’s get in the right people.
We’re presently giving more than a hint that the chance to fundamentally alter the attitude we take to the footballing side of the Club will be squandered: we cannot afford to continue to stumble from one crisis to another in the boardroom and executive branch.
Few sequels are as enjoyable as the original but when revisiting the original is akin to torture porn and the follow-up punishment comes very close to some sort of prolonged and sustained sadomasochism, there’s not only no appetite for a third but the institution, the studio of Rangers FC, cannot continue to project such material.
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