The Battle of the Boycott

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There has been a worrying
division emerging in the past month or two among Rangers fans, and given the
superb work done by supporters in the past year to create a true Rangers family
the recent trend has been disturbing and unwelcome. This article is not intended
to divide and further split supporters, but to reason with both sides and try
to bridge the gaps which have erupted as a result of one thing: the upcoming
boycott of Tannadice.
As all supporters know, Rangers
FC have publicly and officially boycotted the cup game in Dundee V the Arabs,
as a rebuttal for a number of distasteful events meted towards Ibrox by the Tangerine
Terrors. This boycott is correct, and Charles Green stated categorically that
the Govan side of which he is CEO would not be taking up its allocation and
consequently that the official line of Rangers was an appeal to supporters not
attend.
The problem is a number of fans will attend, not a huge gathering but
enough to cause serious arguments among the wider supporter base regarding the
validity of such action.
The subsequent issue this has
caused has been aforementioned split resulting from it – the supporters
themselves who will defy the boycott to attend, and those who support their
actions; those who will honour the boycott and stay away, and those who support
their actions; and those will do
neither but will not take sides.
There is no right or wrong answer
regarding this: the fans did want
the boycott, but not all subscribed to it. The club themselves urge supporters
not to travel to a club who have damaged Rangers more than once, but there can
be a difference between agreeing with club policy and simply supporting the
team.
The slurs many supporters have
put upon those who will attend seem over the top, implying that anyone who goes
is not welcome back at Ibrox and is not a true Rangers fan. Is this a
reasonable view? If a supporter has put in season after season all his life
spending thousands of his own hard earned pounds into Ibrox, but wants to watch
his team at Tannadice – is he not a supporter? Just because the club would wish
fans not to travel, does this automatically invalidate those who do, even if
they have put their entire lives into Ibrox?
This seems a slightly extreme
view.
On the opposite side it can be
understood why their feelings are so strong – Utd short-changed Rangers in that
abandoned match, plus promoted anti-Rangers sentiments before voting
enthusiastically against the new company’s SPL membership. Clearly the revenge
is entirely justified, and the innate desire to hurt Utd and refuse to give
them money is completely acceptable. The club knew how supporters felt and
requested a blanket boycott of the ground in Dundee.
Rangers rejected the allocation and this guaranteed a huge loss for Utd.
Charles Green then publicly urged supporters to honour this.
Both sides are, on reflection,
completely justified. The club is right not to take up its allocation, and any
supporter who defies this to attend and support the team he or she loves has
that right.
What is not justified are the shameful remarks some are making regarding
those who will attend – anyone who loves Rangers is a supporter. If they defy the boycott it is disappointing, but a
personal choice spurred on by the blue blood in their veins. Anyone smearing
these supporters as less than valid is being very, very unfair.
Have we forgotten what it means
to support the club? Only recently following two incredibly disappointing
results at home, supporters who a year ago were falling at Ally McCoist’s feet
and labelling him a saviour for not walking away are now inviting him to do
exactly that. Is that in the spirit of supporting the club whatever the weather
or is that ok because performances are not outstanding? McCoist gave up more
than any supporter ever has yet a couple of late goals at Ibrox and some fans
want him out.
Supporters will attend Tannadice in small numbers. It may number less than a
hundred. It is a disappointing course of action but it is their right and they
are no less a fan than one who will not attend via the boycott.
As a further titbit, it is plain
as day that BBC Scotland are anti-Rangers. Yet did that stop fans watching it
when Motherwell and Queen of the South were covered by Pacific Quay at Ibrox?
Or are those who did watch those matches and gave an anti-Rangers organisation
viewership now not true Rangers fans? The BBC have hurt Rangers as much as Utd
have, but did supporters boycott them similarly when they aired Rangers games?
If any of the fans currently
smearing those who will attend Tannadice watched Rangers on BBC Scotland, then
that makes them ever so slightly hypocritical.
I should reiterate, despite how
this article sounds, the supporters are by and large an excellent fanbase who
have proven their worth and I am proud to count myself among them. I just wish
certain actions did not attract such unfair condemnation from other fans
suggesting their fellow supporters are less worthy.
We are all worthy supporters, we just do not always agree. Sounds like a true Rangers family.
Let us try to keep it that way.

All Rangers fans are equal, and none are more equal than others.