Jane Devine: Not everyone is for or against Rangers – most of us don’t care
I AM not a football fan and I don’t pretend to have anything more than a conversational knowledge of Scottish football, much less about the beautiful game in other countries.
I am interested in football (although that doesn’t equate in my book to being a fan) and my knowledge is updated and supplied by a very petty and ill-informed show on the radio (which I have listened to since I was at school).
There is something that irks me at present, though, and has got me thinking about football far more than usual and, to be honest, far more than I’d like. The wall-to-wall coverage of Rangers and their demise, or rebirth, means that only those in solitary confinement could maintain a life free from influence by opinions on the future of the Scottish game.
The thing that annoys me, though, isn’t the coverage of what is undoubtedly a newsworthy story, but the assumption that we all have a point of view. Not just a point of view on the crisis at hand, but a point of view which Old Firm fans seem to believe is either in defence of Rangers or against them – the latter which seems to make you a Celtic fan.
To be honest, most people don’t care. That probably makes them a Celtic fan, too.
It’s not just about attitudes to the Old Firm, it’s about the fact that many Old Firm fans believe that there is a little bit of them in everyone: football fans, or ordinary punters. That somehow Hibs fans are happier to be beaten by Celtic than Rangers; and Hearts fans are happier to be beaten by Rangers than by Celtic or Hibs.
I can’t pretend to know how this filters down to the other diddy teams, but there seems to be an assumption by the Old Firm that Mother Glasgow nurtures the Billy or the Tim way beyond her jurisdiction.
It is this arrogance, demonstrated spectacularly by Rangers fans at present (who think that the Scottish Premier League cannot survive without them) which turns most people off. When it boils down to it, far from everyone in Scotland having loyalty to one part of the Old Firm, most people just support their team, maybe have an interest in a Premiership side or a team in a European league, and that’s it.
I’ve no idea how the Rangers crisis will pan out, but one thing is for sure: with one half of the Old Firm relegated, maybe the rest of Scottish football will have the chance to define itself on its true merits and by what it’s always been about – people enjoying a game of football, not some invented Scotland-wide divide on pseudo-religious grounds.
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