Can Rangers fans forgive this ‘deserter’?

 Article by: Richard Fillingham

Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker were two of the first Rangers players to decide that their contracts with the Ibrox side would be deemed worthless in the takeover period of 2012.

They both appeared on television together to try and explain their reasons for leaving, but it backfired badly on them because they were seen as opening up the flood gates for all the other traitors to leave.

Their agent was the instigator of it all, of course, because of the way he guided them through this phase of their careers. He knew that Rangers couldn’t insist on a transfer fee as they had gone into administration, so they would be free to earn an excellent signing-on fee from whichever club they would sign for, plus their hefty pay packet per week.

Naismith duly signed for Everton in the summer of 2012 and went on to be a major success in Liverpool, before picking up a couple of serious knee injuries which kept him out of the team for long periods.

Everton had no option than to buy in top new players to replace Naismith and when he regained full fitness he found it hard to get back regularly in the starting 11 and was used mainly as a substitute.

Ex-Hamilton Accies manager Alex Neil approached Everton with the hope of signing Naismith and they ended up selling Steven to Norwich for £8 million on the 19th of January 2016.

It doesn’t seem to have worked out well for Naismith at Norwich after Alex Neil was sacked and he was freed in May 2017 due to his high Premier League wage packet. With the Canaries dropping down to the Championship, they let many big earning players go to start life again in the lower division.

80% of the Rangers supporters have voted YES to bring him back to the light blues on the Ibrox Noise voting poll, but only if he’ll take a huge cut in his weekly wage.

Naismith, away from the football side of things, continues to sponsor and volunteer at Christmas events for the homeless in Glasgow and Liverpool. In what has become a yearly tradition for Steven, the Scotland international sponsored the Christmas dinner for the less fortunate people of Glasgow while playing for Rangers before moving to his new adopted home of Liverpool.

Working with the Loaves and Fishes charity, Naismith sponsored an event to feed, clothe and give his personal company to the homeless over many festive periods.

Naismith said:

“I am privileged to have the opportunity to once again support the great work that Loaves and Fishes do. They give people in need a hot meal, clothes, food parcels and probably most importantly, a warm welcome from people who care.” 

Everton and Scotland star Steven Naismith in Glasgow to pay for
and serve Xmas dinners for homeless in city centre

4:18 PM – 9 Dec 2015

Unfortunately, Naismith is dyslexic and is an ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland. He has a busy charitable life outside of football and he gave a lot of free Everton tickets to many of the Liverpool unemployed people on top of sponsoring Christmas dinners for the homeless or otherwise unfortunate folk.

Another well-known fact in Stewarton in Ayrshire about Steven Naismith is that at the end of every season at Everton, he used to gather up all the tops, track suits and whatever he could get his hands on to give them to his mother to hand out in Stewarton where Naismith is from.

More spectacularly, Naismith’s clearing of the dressing-room has given Stewarton Athletic, the local amateur side, an unlikely bonus. Because they have to change their boots at Everton every couple of months because the suppliers want them to wear only the updated versions, Steven collected them for the amateurs. Some Stewarton players are running around in the boots worn by internationalists such as Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Aiden McGeady.

The local boys’ club, Stewarton and Annick, wear shirts that are not discards; they are brand new kits still in the wrappers bought and donated by Naismith, and on the odd occasion he joins in a Sunday morning training session with the youngsters when he is home and uninjured.

The point of this piece was not propaganda in favour of Naismith, far from it. It was just an illustration that through bad advice, personally bad judgement and plain mistakes, Naismith’s departure might not have been the actions of an entirely malevolent individual. Clearly away from football (and even in), Naismith is a decent sort.

But whether Rangers fans can forgive and forget his ultimately dreadful conduct at Ibrox in 2012, should he return, is another matter.


  1. Unsure about Naismith a premiership level player picked up on a free is great buisiness for us but that press conference still makes my blood boil to this day

  2. No! Why should we he turned his back on us…also if I remember right he wasn't great. Didn't we nurse him through some long injuries? He could easily have moved to the new company at no risk what so ever to him or his career. The club would then have received much needed money for him. We have a bad memory if we start thinking him, Lafferty and the likes of Kirk Broadfoot were ever Rangers quality. I'd rather take a chance on one of Pedro's new boys

  3. A step backwards I'm afraid. Too many injuries and was hardly on fire at Norwich. Nothing personal strictly football business. Same has to apply to Lafferty.

  4. Get him signed asap!!!!

    Here's a question for the doubters that don't want him – is Steven Naismith better than what we have??

    I rest my case

  5. How many of you put in the same situation wouldn't have done the same.
    Your place of employment was on the ropes, in danger of being made bankrupt, mortgage , bills to be paid and kids to be fed, when along comes a knight in shinning armour, and offers to double your wages, I rest my case.

    • Exactly – let's remember that when liquidation happened, Rangers were only granted a licence to play in League 2 a day before the first cup game of the season. So the boys who left before then did so because they could not be guaranteed Rangers would even be playing football next season, never mind which division…

  6. How many of you would not have done the same in his situation, your place of employment was on the ropes, and in danger of being made bankrupt, along comes a knight in shinning armour and offers to double your wages. Mortgage to pay , bills and kids to feed . I rest my case.

  7. The cases for and against?

    Current Scottish international (Gordon Strachan is picking the team remember)
    Has played for us before (as has Andy Halliday)
    Works hard, runs around a lot
    He's not a bad lad/does a lot of work for charity
    Can help the younger players (like Senderos has)

    – We paid 1.9m for him, rewarded him handsomely for 5 years, nursed him through serious injury, but he engineered a free exit from the club on a legal technicality, thereby lining his and his agent's pockets at the expense of a Rangers that was on its knees
    – He said that the Rangers he signed for didn't exist anymore
    – He was a flop at Norwich
    – Has had a string of injuries, which we presumably want to try to avoid paying for again
    – 72% of 1000 Norwich fans said they want him out
    – He's 31 in September and we'd be highly unlikely to earn a future transfer fee
    – If we had recieved a transfer fee for Naismith in 2012, we might have been able to spend less time in the lower leagues
    – He might only want back to Rangers because it's 1 of 2 clubs that can give him a healthy wage every week and still allow him to live close to his extended family

    If the guy wants to sign on for free, play for free (which he can well afford to do), and apologise to the fans, that's something else.

    Otherwise, sorry Steven, but the Naismith that exists today isn't the Naisy we signed…

  8. Naismith and McGregor were by a long way the best of those who left and, as badge kissing Rangers fans, the worst if the traitors.

    I would take Naismith back only because he could do us a turn. If we have looked and can't find anyone else.

    But it would be extremely naive of him to think we will ever forget or forgive, his generosity to others notwithstanding.

    I certainly won't

  9. Life's too short to carry grudges. He did what he was advised to do for the benefit of his family (and top up his agent's coffers), but he did it badly. I wouldn't have liked to have to make the choice he did. Actually I'm not sure about that cos I'm skint! However, I still wouldn't have him back unless he was going to play for free. He's the past. Look to the future.

  10. He was 'a deserter' but given the same option with his talent and proven potential I'm sure most of us would have done the same ?? ..and he did well at Everton .If he is willing to lower his wages he would be ideal as a senior pro to steady our ship and maybe really challenge the rotten mob WATP #fuckyer10inarow

  11. No' naw ' nah ' nae thanks whatever way you want to put it! Before anybody says we couldnae afford him in 3rd division it wisnae about leaving it was how he left' guys like bocanegra goian edu Alexander stayed and where not exactly rangers fans.

  12. The lad made a big mistake. If he acknowledges that and apologises then onwards and upwards. But every interview I'm seen he says he wasn't going to play in the third division. He doesn't even seem to understand why we were so upset. We didn't expect him to do a Wallace but we did expect him to do an Edu.

  13. Question is "Can Rangers fans forgive this 'deserter'?". I seem to recall Rangers fans pledging to boycott all away games of the teams that voted against our club and doomed us to third division football.
    It goes to show that time is a healer and we ARE attending away games of clubs who voted against us!. This, In my opinion, is a good thing. It supports our team away from home and shows that time heals bad feelings, albeit never forgotten.

    To now ask can we forgive this deserter, namely Steven Naismith. As my above statement goes, the answer should be Yes. However, I wouldn't take him back due to his age and previous injuries. Too much of a financial gamble for our club.

  14. These boys jumped ship showing no commitment to Rangers, wouldn't welcome them back, they laid their bed as far as i'm concerned, better to look forward instead of back

  15. Spare me the bleeding heart routine, kids to feed, bills to pay etc.. He and the other traitors couldn't get out the door quick enough. As for Everton or Elgin he could have stayed and got us a transfer fee and still played for Everton. Greed or loyalty? Lee Wallace, Lee McCulloch. I REST MY CASE!

    • I must disagree with Lee Wallace being greedy. He was one player that could have also received higher wages elsewhere and would have been in the international team with regularity. Lee decided to stay at Rangers and gave everything he had in every game. This guy deserves all the credit in the world and I will remember him in years to come for his loyalty to our club in its lowest times in its history. Take a bow Lee Wallace.

  16. So Naismith left and some won't have him back despite the obvious quality and winning mentality he would bring to a team lacking in both – while a young lad called Barry McKay stayed (and remember many of our young players didn't) yet despite being the most naturally talented youngster we've produced for years – a poor 3/4 months in a rotten team, struggling to understand Ped the Pretenders incomprehensible tactics – and we want McKay out the door – while we get ready to welcome with open arms a bunch of journeymen and largely under-achieving Mexican and Portuguese league players. Time to use the head here. There are few Premier League players that we can sign due to the differentiate in wages. If Naismith has his own reasons for taking the wage drop – get the deal done. As I've said before Naismith can do for Gers what Sinclair did for Celtic.

  17. Whittaker on his way to hearts newspaper reported Naismith is good but will he take a cut in his wages £5k for him.

  18. When Whittaker and Naismith both left the club, some say they were traitors or left a sinking ship and cannot forgive them for their choice in doing so.
    I look at it from a different perspective in that, they as well as McCulloch, Lee Wallace, Bocanegra and Goian stayed behind. The latter two, both nearing the end of their careers until they managed to find other clubs to join with both Lee's remaining.
    Take into consideration, all players had taken pay cuts in the hope our club would recover financially by the start of the following season and any lost salary would be made up. That didn't happen, all these players ended up losing out as they also become victims of the disastrous outcome of our club.
    I know many supporters will argue with me that some players accepted the new terms and conditions, Wallace as far as I knew is very much a homebody, as is his partner (wife to be) and McCulloch was on a downward spiral career wise, so for those two it was 'stay where we are'.
    For Naismith and Whittaker their situation was different. Both similar ages, internationals and with our club being threatened with liquidation an expulsion from Scottish football their careers would be spiralling downwards. At the time I did feel let down by them, but now realise it was the best thing for them.
    Now my honest opinion what might have happened had they remained at the club; we had Charles Green and his cohorts running the club, yes I was taken in by him too, with McCoist as manager, with the likes of the aforementioned 'traitors' playing at the likes of Elgin, Stirling, Annan, Brechin, etc. and I would expect us to be scything through the opposition, double figure victories week after week. We would have been in seventh heaven, but remember Naismith and Whittaker are on reduced salaries, so at the end of the season clubs from down south come in and offer Charles Green reasonable bids for them both. Green rubs his hands at the cash Rangers are offered, promising Ally all the money to build a team for his challenge next season and the next, etc. Do I need to say more on where that money would go Chuckling Cheery Charlie would have laughed all the way to the bank as would all of his 'True Blue' fellow directors.
    I would welcome back all players who were forced or left of their own free will back to the club, as long as I thought they can improve our squad and it is my belief as a long time Rangers fan, who lost all his shares when the club went broke by fraudulent means, who can bring Rangers Footbaaaall Club back to where we belong and be able to say again 'WE WELCOME THE CHASE'.

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