Rangers newco: Regan’s success is to unite fans in calling for his resignation
Perhaps the only surprising thing about the SPL vote this week was that club chairmen finally found the backbone to actually make a decision. Clearly they now feel comfortable that Stewart Regan will ensure that their interests are looked after by bullying the SFL clubs, the innocents in all of this, into allowing Rangers into the First Division.
The Rangers fans have made it clear to the club, and the rest of Scottish football, that we overwhelmingly support the club continuing in Division Three. The Rangers Fans Fighting Fund poll showed that 75 per cent want to start in the lowest division. At a fans meeting on Wednesday night, Ally McCoist said he was “100 per cent behind” a move to Division Three, if it was what the fans wanted. Charles Green also made it clear that the club are happy to go down that route. There is no ambiguity. It seems odd therefore that Stewart Regan has spent the week trying to bulldoze through a solution which not only doesn’t adhere to the rules but also flies in the face of the so-called “sporting integrity” which he and others have been droning on about for weeks. For “sporting integrity” see “financial expediency”.
Regan has long been a figure of mistrust among Rangers fans. Rumours of his close relationship with Peter Lawwell from his time working for Coors were exacerbated by Lawwell’s bizarre elevation onto the SFA Professional Game Board just months after bringing the SFA to its knees with the help of the late Paul McBride QC.
Regan was the architect of the unlawful registration embargo imposed on Rangers through the independent panel process that he set up. He presided over the referee strike during which there were claims that the SFA had misled foreign referees about the reasons for the strike. He has also been a confrontational figure, storming out of a meeting with Rangers fans when the questions became a little too difficult to answer.
On Tuesday, news broke on social media that Regan had told the SFL chairmen that the SFA would block Rangers from entering the SPL, even if they were voted in by clubs. Regan immediately denied this but, within hours, both Livingston and Clyde had confirmed that he had indeed said it. Clyde, in a scathing statement on their website, also made reference to the “currently absent leadership of the SFA”.
Many might prefer if he genuinely was absent rather than wreaking havoc with both behind the scenes skulduggery and ill-thought-out statements in the media.
His comments on “social unrest” if Rangers are not allowed into the SFL were the last straw for many. Again he claims a misunderstanding but it appears that one of these occurs every time he speaks. He has no evidence on which to base his claim and I would suggest that Rangers fans have shown remarkable restraint in this saga so far. Yes, we have taken to the streets – for an impeccably organised, peaceful protest against the unlawful registration embargo imposed by Regan’s SFA.
The SFA want to have their cake and eat it. They wanted to treat Rangers as a “newco” and deny them entry to the SPL. Fair enough, some might say, but now that has been achieved they want to switch back to treating the club like the “oldco” in order to impose punitive sanctions including the unlawful registration embargo, point deductions and possible title stripping. They have been unable to separate themselves from the feeding frenzy surrounding the club and one wonders if they have even tried. They are demanding Rangers be placed in the First Division simply to prop up the SPL clubs who have based their survival around the income generated by Rangers and Celtic.
Perhaps the one thing that Regan has achieved is uniting fans across Scotland in calling for his resignation. Fans of the SFL clubs he is threatening may not be well represented in the media but their feelings are quite clear via club statements and social media. It seems implausible now that he won’t resign, but implausibility seems to be his forte.
Where now for Rangers? I’ll leave some well-deserved final words to Alastair Murdoch McCoist who stated the other night that all he wants from the SFA and Stewart Regan is “fairness” but that he’s “not sure we’ll get it”.
n Chris Graham is a Rangers season ticket holder and writer for therangersstandard.co.uk
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