Comment: time to let fans of Rangers get on with their new adventure
FRIDAY the 13th may, ironically, be the day that Scottish football finally managed to put an end to the horror of the past few months.
Whether the SFA are prepared to respect the decision taken by the SFL clubs to put Rangers into the Third Division remains to be seen, though, and there is still a good chance that they could re-enter the fray to provide an unwelcome and possibly gruesome sequel.
In David Longmuir, it seems the SFL have found a man who is actually willing to look after and represent his member clubs properly. Dare I suggest he could be a future chief executive of the SFA?
The SFL chairmen should also be congratulated for taking on a very difficult responsibility, abdicated by the SFA and SPL, and dealing with it in a fair and positive manner. If “sporting integrity” has been genuinely applied by any group throughout this sorry state of affairs then it may be them.
Stewart Regan must have been getting an increasingly bad feeling as the week progressed and club after club from the SFL made negative statements about his and Neil Doncaster’s contribution to this saga. Regan has been accused of lying to SFL clubs, bullying and threats so many times during the Rangers debacle that it seems only a matter of time before he resigns or is removed by a seemingly impotent SFA board.
When Regan finally reacted to the SFL vote it was with a collection of vague, unconvincing soundbites. He talked of “innovation”, “consensus”, “clarity” and “togetherness”. All things he has been accused by SFL clubs of being unable to provide or having destroyed. Scottish football certainly needs these things – especially innovation – but I would be terrified for the future if it was to be subjected to any more of Regan’s peculiar brand.
The reaction from Rangers was perfect. There has been some suspicion that, despite public statements to the contrary and the fans’ clear wish for Division 3, Charles Green in particular might be happy to be placed into the First Division or a newly formed SPL 2.
The SFA threat of withholding a licence and further sanctions still remains, but both Green and Ally McCoist, our steadfast and hugely impressive manager, have made it clear that they will abide by the SFL decision. I sincerely hope that they are allowed to do so.
I’ve been critical of Charles Green and, for me, many doubts still remain, but it is by standing firm on issues like this and listening to the fans that he will slowly improve his standing.
It’s difficult to see where the SFA can go now, unless SFL chairmen are prepared to indulge SPL 2 in stark contrast to their public position. There is still some worry the SFA may use the appellate tribunal, which they have still not reconvened, to conveniently suspend Rangers for a year and then catapult them back into whatever reorganised structure comes to pass.
It would certainly call the independence of that tribunal into question should that happen. Of equal concern is that the SFA would be vindictive enough to withhold the licence transfer or place further sanctions on the club. In fact, it would be unbelievable if it were not for their behaviour so far. They are already making noises about further sanctions to the media.
Rangers’ fans are looking forward to beginning a new adventure in the Third Division, free from the type of vitriol aimed at the club by the rather more vocal fans of other SPL clubs. I’d like to think we’ll see an end to that now, but Rangers are all they have talked about for months and I doubt the forthcoming SPL campaign will provide much stimulation. I can only assume they will move on to concocting a new wish-list of punishments for Rangers whilst still desperately trying to claim the club no longer exists.
Well, Rangers exist all right, and I hope the Division 1, 2 and 3 clubs will see the benefit of our travelling support and the income they generate in the years to come. Rangers now have the chance to win every single title and trophy available in Scottish football.
I’m confident that is what we will do if given the chance, but I do wonder what sort of SPL we will return to and how many of the current teams will still be there.
• Chris Graham is a Rangers season ticket holder and writer for therangersstandard.co.uk
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west