Stuart McCall has thrown his support behind the Three Bears, the group owning a near 19 per cent stake in Rangers headed by businessman and Rangers fan Douglas Park.
The former Ibrox midfielder has called for Rangers people to be back at the helm of the stricken ship, believing that the departure of legendary figures have left a gaping hole at the heart of the club. “I don’t know any of these gentlemen [the Three Bears], but if you believe what you read, they have Rangers at heart,” said McCall yesterday
“I’m not saying that, just because you have Rangers at heart, you are going to be successful and the club is going to make money. But you do know that, whatever they are doing, they are doing it for the right reasons.
“They are not in there saying: ‘we can earn this and we can get out’. What you want are people that the club matters to and will do their best for the club, not for themselves as individuals. If it is The Three Bears, if it is Dave King, if it is anyone else, you would rather have people who bother about the club and it’s not just about money-making.
“Rangers don’t necessarily need an ex-player as their manager,” he added. “But what they need is someone at the club who doesn’t just have business sense, but is actually doing it for the love of the club – because they’ve got ties to the club.”
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McCall believes that the departure of three stalwarts who have cut their ties with Rangers – John Greig, Ally McCoist and Walter Smith – sums up the state of the Ibrox club.
The Scotland coach was at Ibrox for the abandoned game against Hearts on Friday night in his role as a summariser for BT Sport and watched with anguish afterwards as passions ran high among supporters angered by the board’s conduct.
With advanced notices of loan securities against Ibrox and Murray Park having been lodged at the Register of Scotland last week in the name of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct retail company, fans now fear losing ownership of the club’s stadium. However, it is the emotional heart of the club being ripped out that McCall struggles to accept.
Greig, voted Greatest Ever Ranger in 1999, resigned as a director in 2011 in protest at Craig Whyte’s running of the club. Departed manager McCoist, who was put on gardening leave after tendering his resignation, has decided to watch other teams rather than Rangers in recent weeks. Nine-in-a-row manager Smith, meanwhile, confirmed last week he has no intention of ever returning to Ibrox in an official capacity.
McCall, who played for Rangers for seven years and had been linked with a return as manager, despairs at the quality of characters who have felt compelled to end their official association with the club. The 50-year-old offered the assessment that few clubs, including Manchester United, could withstand such blows without some very searching question being asked.
“John Greig stayed away, which for me is hard to get my head round,” said McCall. “Walter left the board and, again, alarm bells started ringing. If Walter is walking away it must be bad. Obviously the great Sandy Jardine passed away. And now ’Coisty is away. That would be like Bobby Charlton at Man United saying: “You know what? I’ve had enough of the club. Then Sir Alex Ferguson departing because something was going on – and then Ryan Giggs leaving. If that happened at Man United, imagine how everyone would react.
“Yes, football is a business now. But is there anybody at Rangers actually doing it for the sake of the club? Or are they just in to make a few quid then disappear into the night?”
McCall was speaking at a Scottish Football Association event to publicise the start of the selection process for year four of the regional performance school programme. Since resigning as Motherwell manager late last year the Scotland coach has been linked with the Rangers manager’s post, currently occupied on an interim basis by Kenny McDowall. However, he sounded unconvinced by those in charge at boardroom level at the club, and questioned Ashley’s involvement.
“Mr Ashley has got what, eight-and-a-half or nine per cent of the club?” McCall said. “Yet he seems to be the one making all the decisions – appointing a chief exec and a finance director etc. Obviously I’ve got a lot of friends and family who are Rangers supporters – and they can’t understand how this can be the case. The catalyst for everything now is the fact that Ibrox was going to be put up as security against loans. Supporters see other people wanting to offer money and ask why Ashley is the best option.”
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