Recent weeks at Ibrox have seen the rollercoaster that is Rangers reaching new levels of chaos. From one crisis to another, the incredible obstacles blocking the path to a trouble-free future seem never-ending, a situation which now has gone well beyond the line of ridiculous and farce and has plummeted to a new low of sheer bedlam. There are almost infinite tentacles to the monster that is the club’s current predicament, each varying in levels of importance. However, one of the most fundamental is the upcoming SPL vote to be carried out on the 4th of July, the result of which could very much see the enforced ‘independence’ of Rangers from the country’s top flight.
With that in mind, what exactly are indeed the potential outcomes of this vote, and just how much critical mass is in abundance alongside?
The first potential outcome is beginning to look the least likely; a fully voted and permitted return without sanctions for the newco Rangers to the Scottish Premier League, as authorised by a majority vote of 8-4 including Rangers themselves. This is the scenario that looks most decidedly remote, and would see Sky’s TV money continue on, the Old Firm fixture remain, and the ‘new’ Rangers emerging from the darkest period of its history (excluding the Ibrox Disaster, of course) with a ‘tabula rasa’ or clean slate. Debt gone, the tax case a thing of the past, and the potential retention of the entire playing squad. Minimal if any job losses throughout the club, and the side, while still banned from Europe due to being previously in administration, able to concentrate on domestic football matters without worrying about its future. With Lord Glennie having ruled the transfer embargo to be illegal, the SFA would cut its losses and stop making up fictional and unprecedented sanctions, and the ban on signatures would be gone, with the club free to make desperately-needed acquisitions to its playing staff.
|One thing is sure, the above image puts things in perspective.|
This scenario, to put it bluntly, is about as likely as Gretna winning the Champions League next season.
The next outcome is also beginning to look increasingly unlikely, but there is a chance it could happen. It would see the vote, again, in Rangers’ favour, which would preserve the Sky money and the Old Firm fixture, but the SPL and the SFA finding every sanction under the sun to fire at Ibrox. With the embargo illegal, the SFA opt for different and potentially more severe sanctions, be they suspension or expulsion (which would be a bit ironic) or anything else, while Doncaster’s crew have a chat among themselves as to what possible punishment they can contrive on the spot to hammer Rangers with. One of which, Doncaster has stated, is to strip the club of its titles from Murray’s tenure forward – that is one of the 18 punishments the SPL supremo has stated is at his organisation’s disposal for dual contract offences apparently dating back to 1998.
|Doncaster, the man who could oversee the stripping of Rangers’ titles.|
Quite simply the bloodlust coming Rangers’ way from this scenario would be gory beyond words – the potential punishments overwhelming and seemingly endless. But it still requires the club to ‘win’ the vote, and that is anything but a given.
The next option has been proposed by Sky as a compromise designed to keep their deal in place should Rangers lose the vote. It would see Rangers drop for one conceivable season to SFL Division 1 – Sky would stick by the SPL for one season in terms of the TV deal (despite subscription losses from Rangers fans and others) meaning when Rangers get promoted 12 months down the line everything returns to the way it was, with the assumption the subscriptions would return. Still banned from Europe, Rangers would have spent a year in the bowels of Division 1, and the clubs who rejected the newco still get the money Sky furnish upon Scottish football. It would definitely lead to mass squad losses at the club, and some potential redundancies backroom too. This scenario has been rejected by the majority of Rangers fans given it still supports those enemy clubs who preach forth about ‘sporting integrity’. And it is sad to use the word ‘enemy’ in relation to any SPL club bar Celtic and Aberdeen, given previously it was felt clubs like Motherwell, St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Hearts had, if not sympathies with Rangers, then certainly little malice. But not now, not now they apparently desire the death of the club.
|I would not previously have considered them an ‘enemy’.|
The next scenario has been emotively proposed by the vast number of Rangers supporters, who wish to see the SPL crumble and the SFA’s wallet massively emptied. It sees Rangers lose the newco vote but fall way down to SFL Division 3, playing sides like Clyde, Elgin and Berwick. Sky would undeniably withdraw from the Scottish game given the mass subscription losses it would suffer for at least 4 years so SPL clubs relying on that cash would unquestionably suffer massively, with potential administration awaiting several of them. The feeling of Rangers’ supporters desire to punish those who would punish us is entirely justified, given the sanctions and actions against the club seem to far outweigh any alleged wrongdoing, none of which has been categorically proven as yet. However, there is a massive shortsightedness in all fans who understandably want this direction; the job losses, money losses, and squad losses at the club would be almost fatal. The squad would be gone without the money to pay them, hundreds of backroom staff at Ibrox and associated organisations would be made redundant, and the almost exponential loss of income would seriously hurt the club’s ability to run its day-to-day operations such as that most basic of concepts, the stadium itself. A club of Rangers’ size cannot cope financially with the drop in cash the Third Division would see occur.
It is a romantic notion to wish to play in that league as a protest against the SPL, but unfortunately it would be very, very damaging.
|The running costs for this place are way beyond what the SFL DIV 3 could provide.|
There is one other, feasible outcome, one which renders the SPL vote void. And that is the SFA’s proposal to dissolve the entire league system and create a new top flight under their own governance. In theory this would see all Scottish top flight clubs starting again afresh in a new league, including Rangers. New registration, new licence, and a completely clean bill of health. Huge reams of paperwork would be required to see this happen, plus endless board meetings and negotiations, but if it took place, it might just be the best compromise of all which would retain Sky money while seeing Rangers remain in the top flight without any sanctions at all.
Whatever outcome takes place, they all have catches. There is no easy way out of this horrendous predicament, and us supporters must realise this.
The bumpy ride continues on.