SANDY Jardine launched the celebrations of Rangers’ 140th anniversary yesterday with the claim that no other club could compare with their achievements. The former Rangers player, now a club ambassador, said the celebrations were a way of thanking the supporters for their backing during the financial problems of the past year.
“It’s about surviving and celebrating a fantastic history,” Jardine said. “I noticed Celtic are celebrating 125 years and they are a fantastic club. But – maybe I’m biased – they don’t come anywhere near what we’ve done in 140 years when you look back through our history.
“So it’s only right we should recognise our history and celebrate it. Celebrate that the club is now back and on it’s way to getting back on its feet.”
The recognised anniversary of the founding of Rangers in 1872 actually fell six months ago, when the club was still in turmoil after being placed in administration by former owner Craig Whyte. The commemoration will now take place at the home league game against Stirling Albion on 8 December, when a host of former players will take their bow on the pitch at half-time.
“Our 140th anniversary should have been the last week in May, but that’s when the club went into administration, so it was put on the back burner,” Jardine continued. “It’s important that we do celebrate our 140 years, because, six months ago, we might not have had a club.
“We have come through a difficult period and we have a long way to go. But we have started on a journey of rebuilding, and hopefully the club can get back on its feet and back to where we were as the leading force in Scottish football.”
Some observers continue to argue that Rangers’ history ended when the old club went into administration in February, and that the new company run by Charles Green does not have any trophies to its name. However, Jardine was adamant that, whatever the legal niceties about different company names, there is still continuity between 1872 and the present day.
“What we want to get across is that we are the same club – with the same strips, the same stadium and the same ethos. We want to give something back to the fans, because one of the biggest things to come out of all this has been their support.
“They have been nothing but fantastic. Every game is a sell-out and as long as the fans stay with us, we will get back on our feet.
“Everyone at the club is amazed at the passion and support they have given to us, and this is a thank-you to them. We will get a lot of ex-players back for the day and there will be a half-time parade to celebrate our 140 years.
“It has been hard to grasp what has happened. Being on the inside, you can understand, but other people are probably amazed that Rangers could go into administration and nearly die – all because of near enough one man: Craig Whyte.
“Now we want to put the club back on its feet. We can’t change what has happened, but we can make sure Rangers get back to the level we once were at – and we are all determined to get there.
“We are in a rebuilding process and the first year was always going to be really difficult, mainly because of the indecision of the SPL and the SFA and being so late on a decision. I think it was 12 hours before we played Brechin we got our licence [to play as a football club] and then we had to start to sign and re-sign players knowing an embargo was going to kick in. Had the SFA or the SPL reached an earlier decision, this club would probably have been further down the road in the recovery.
“I do know that, having witnessed everything since the start of the season, we will get back to where we were. Putting a time-scale on it, I’ve no idea.”