Tom English: ‘If a fan offered Green a grand to move Ibrox a little bit to the left, he’d get the movers in’
WHATEVER you think about Charles Green, the man knows his audience.
In the relative blink of an eye during the summer, Green went from being a bloke the Rangers fans distrusted to a bloke they couldn’t hand their season ticket money to quickly enough.
One week he was a chancer on the make and the next he was The Great Redeemer, the only guy in years to “stand up for this club”.
It was a stunning victory he won. The best the club has achieved all season. Green winning over the fans so completely, and hoovering up their money in the process, was a feat of management the like of which we have not seen in some time. Even if Neil Lennon plots the downfall of Spartak Moscow this week and then gets a result in Barcelona in a fortnight’s time, the achievement won’t hold a candle to Green’s successful quickfire wooing of a support that previously wanted nothing at all to do with him.
And the beauty of it is that it was so simple. Green has become something of an expert in giving the fans what they want. By telling them what they want to hear he has won a reputation as a great defender of the club. If they want him to go on the attack against the BBC, then go on the attack he will. If they want him to dynamite the SFA and the SFL then dynamite them he will attempt to do.
The other night in Northern Ireland a fan asked if there was any chance of Rangers wearing an orange shirt and Green said, yes, there is every chance. Another fan asked if there was any chance of the club entering a team in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup and Green put the thumbs up and said he’d look into it. All things to all Bears. He had a message for these people. As long as he was chief executive of Rangers then the club, as a mark of protest, would never agree to play in the SPL again given the stitch-up they tried to perpetrate with the stripping of titles ahead of a commission that hadn’t yet sat. For this he got a round of applause – and, no doubt, some more cash for the coffers. If a fan offered Green a grand to move Ibrox a little bit to the left, then he’d get the moving equipment in pronto and bank the readies.
At the fans’ forum he was apparently asked if he was going to continue the fight against the club’s enemies and he vowed to keep battling against those who have supposedly done wrong by Rangers. Their treacherous deeds will never be forgotten was the gist. Will he fight on? “Absolutely,” he said. “And with everything in my body.”
This plays well with the fans, but aren’t the fans just being played with?
Unquestionably, Green has a point in some of the things he says. When he chucks flak at the SFA and the SPL over their attempt to broker a deal to make the illegal payments investigation conveniently go away (in exchange for a heap of silverware) then there is merit in what he says. Not everything that he rails against can be called blatant opportunism, but much of it can.
Maybe the fans recognise this, but are happy to go along with it because Green is fighting the fight. Maybe they’re not so worried about his motives so long as he’s going after the BBC and the football authorities and everybody that has any criticism for his club. He has become more blue than the bluest blue. Nobody at Ibrox is asking questions about him anymore. By shouting out loud he has silenced the cynics in his midst.
Green’s inherent nonsense can be exposed in one of the statements he made to those fans in Northern Ireland. Namely, his vow that Rangers would never join the SPL on his watch. This, too, played well to the get-it-up-them mob, the group that have created such a siege mentality that if John “Bomber” Brown – remember him? – ever reappeared outside Ibrox on his soapbox and started asking questions about Green’s motives again, he wouldn’t have an audience. Green has hushed the doubters to such an extent that he can propose a future for Rangers that involves them staying out of the SPL for as long as he is around and to the faithful this sounds like an act of defiance to be applauded.
It’s not. It’s just proof that not enough people are asking questions about Green now.
Rangers will not enter the SPL as long as he is chief executive. OK, let’s think about that statement. It means that Rangers will never challenge Celtic’s supremacy while Green is at Ibrox. They will never attempt to sicken them by winning the title back off them. They will never attempt to make the Champions League. They will never attempt to get their hands on the many millions of pounds that entry into the Champions League provides. They will happily sit in a lower league and watch Celtic claim championship after championship and maybe fortune after fortune in Europe’s elite competition.
This is what Green is selling and plenty of fans seem to be buying it. Give him this much, Green is a hell of a salesman.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east