The Widening Gap Between Rangers and Scotland

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The past year plus in Scottish
football has seen a gap widening between Rangers and the national game.
Beginning with the incompetent George Burley regime which saw a significant
fracture grow between Ibrox and the SFA, it continued further with the Levein
era and led to what can now only be described as a complete impasse between
Rangers, as both a club and support, and the national side.
I should stress, before going any
further, that this impasse may have been mildly instigated by Burley’s abject
management, but I am not blaming him, Levein or current manager Gordon Strachan
for the massive chasm which now firmly roots itself between Hampden and Ibrox.
Quite simply, it seems regardless
of form, Rangers players are not of interest to the national team except as
squad filler should others withdraw. There have been many Scotland
matches in the past 18 months but David Templeton, to name just one example,
has not been called up once. Lee Wallace has had a couple of call ups but the
inept right-back Steven Whittaker has made left-back his own. The best Scottish
left full-back around, Lee Wallace, has to be content with sitting on the bench
while notably Belgium’s
first goal on Saturday came, yes, from their right flank.
Of course I am not blaming
Whittaker for Scotland losing, and indeed I actually supported his selection
against England on the basis of his more regular ‘contact’ with higher quality
opponents in the English Premier League, playing for Norwich as he does.
However his ghastly display in that match and the compounding factor that Saturday’s
world cup qualifier V Belgium was an effective friendly suggests the better
player, Lee Wallace, really should have started. Wallace is in spectacular form
and deserved the match, even if his recent opponents have been Albion Rovers
and not Manchester United.
But this is a microcosm of the
situation at present which blocks any kind of olive branch between Mount Florida’s
finest and Govan.
The latest act to burn yet more
bridges was Celtic’s Peter Lawwell being promoted to the executive board of the
SFA, while Rangers, despite being the biggest club in the country, continue to
have zero representation at that level. And, trivial though it is, Lawwell’s
first act appeared to be ditching Rangers-supporting Flower of Scotland-warbler
Amy MacDonald and replacing her with someone called Nina Nesbitt. This kind of
small touch adds up.
The only consistent Rangers
representation through the entire national game’s hierarchy, off-pitch and on
is the orientation of assistant coach Stuart McCall. While he considers himself
a Rangers fan, having played for the club, his allegiances have to be with his
employers Motherwell. They are his best interests, not Ibrox.
So, with absolutely zero clout or
influence upon the national team and those running the Scottish game, Rangers
appear to completely marginalised now. Regardless of the club’s standing in the
world of football, and its pedigree in the history of the national game, it is
a completely ignored institution by those with power.
This is, of course, a completely
absurd equation. Rangers, despite being in League 1, remain one of the biggest
clubs in the UK.
Only Hampden (and Wembley), Emirates, Celtic
Park, and Old Trafford
are as big or bigger than Ibrox. Only the likes of aforementioned Celtic and
the big English clubs can match Rangers’ global appeal, even if, as discussed
in a previous blog, the club are not doing anywhere near enough to cultivate
its brand at present.
It is a quite abhorrent debacle
that one of Britain’s
largest institutional clubs has now absolutely no influence on its national
association. And that any previous influence was quite simply taken away from
it by those who flouted the law, and wished to see the club dead. That
‘journalists’ and ‘reporters’ like Jim Spence and Tom English spout the ‘dead
club’ line. I highly doubt they consider Leeds, Fiorentina, Portsmouth,
Coventry or Middlesbrough
‘dead clubs’ – but then, these clubs do not attract the level of attention,
spite and petty hate Rangers have.
This small-minded bureaucracy is
why the divide between Rangers and Scotland is not only as large as
ever,  but ever growing.
Question is, will Rangers still
be denied their seat at the table when they return to the SPL?

11 COMMENTS

  1. The Scottish game is entering a new era. It was only a few years ago that celtic was at war with the SFA. Indeed, Wee Fergus went so far as trying buy an English club to move celtic away. O'Neill also went to war with the backing of Lawell, and also Mr Lennon.

    In a matter of a couple of years Rangers have been ostracised and Lawell has been put into the higher echelons of the Scottish FA. Will celtic therefore stay Irish orientated club or become a Scottish /British club – interesting times indeed.

    Will there fans also follow suit and follow the national team who are managed by two ex celtic players and their under 21s who is being mismanaged by another ex celtic player.

    Rangers on the other hand have fallen out with the SFA, SPL and the BBC. How things have changed. What will the outcome be over the next few years.

    Rangers will have to find a true leader who can bridge the gap between the SFA, The BBC and The SPFL whilst appeasing the fans, the manager and the players, oh and the shareholders – no mean feat, but that person is not there yet, and I do not see anyone coming to the table to take up the mantle. Two that spring to mind are Jim McColl and Dave King. However neither of them have really shown any intention of buying shares at the club – talked about it but that is it.

    Rangers have to get the boardroom debacles and infighting settled quickly to ensure that they hit the top tier running and not only able to compete but win the title – nothing else will do.

    Matt Crozier

  2. How can Ally win over the fans?

    By winning the title this year? No!

    By winning the Ramsden Cup? No!

    He will only win over the fans if he can create a world record(s), and make the world sit up and take notice, nothing else will do.

    Ally will have to WIN every game in this league and the Ramsden Cup. He will have to prime his players to treat every game as a cup game, just like his opponents do. He will have to ask his team for blood and guts to the end. He will need to ask his players to score as many goals as they can get. He will have to ask his players to play to the very end and show no mercy and no quarter as none has been given.

    Goals, cups and glory will help Ally become a legend as a manager, as he is as a player. However, he will only achieve this by asking for and getting total commitment. I think Ally knows this and we are seeing the start of the Ally and Rangers revolution.

    I am totally behind Ally and the Team – Together We Are Rangers – The Biggest and The Best.

  3. Aw come on!!!!! It does not really matter… It will only make it all the sweeter when we are back up there and win the title. I cannae wait!!!

  4. Interesting point about the club not cultivating its brand enough.
    Worldwide, shirts are sold on the basis of whichever famous player wears them and we are all aware that such sales can offset transfer fees and some running costs.I live in Italy. All I see are Celtic shirts at the local Nike store. Rangers? Rare.A real effort has to be made to sell the brand abroad..maybe the intro of Rangers football schools to St George's English school in Rome will go some way – but not enough, alas – to promoting the Rangers brand here, and elsewhere in Europe.
    Finally, I find it ludicrous that such a heavily-supported club, across Europe, and indeed further overseas, hasn't got its act together in this regard..

  5. i see paranoia has landed at ibrokes as well.Do you really think Lawell could care less at who butchers 'flower of scotland'

    Dont pretend that the gers support have suddenly become distant from the scottish cause,you abandoned them whole heartedly during your nine in a row,adopting all thinks eng-ga-land right thru to wearing their strip at the games,dont pretend you didnt.

    Still you've still got Campbell ogilvie doing your bidding in the background.

    Maybe if you actually grow up as a support,the rest of scotland might take you seriously

    • I'm starting to get really pissed off at this type of crap being peddled all the time. I'm Scottish and a Scotland supporter regardless of whether there is a problem between the SFA and Rangers. ALL the Rangers fans I know are the same, hacked off with waht has happened and how Rangers have been treated BUT still Scotland supporters one an all! Would appreciate it if people like yourself would get that through your thick heads.

    • I like the previous person to reply to you abhor your opinion that Rangers fans wore England shirts in the 9-in-a-row time at Ibrox. No doubt you are correct some fans did, as did a few who wore the green of Northern Ireland, but out of the 50,000-ish supporters who turned up, those numbers were in the 100's not thousands.
      I could lower myself to your level in trying to point out your supporters lack of Scottish-ness with the feeble excuse of your so-called supporters 'Irish' roots in wearing Republic of Ireland tops, but will leave it at that, no need for further comment.
      I for one would never ever wear an England top any more than I'd wear a celtic one; as I am Scottish and will always be Scottish.

  6. sry who wore england strips ??? you trying to tell me we all wore them or is that the usual catholic way of counting all rangers fans do something wrong then when its u lot its a minority

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