Craig Mather’s spiel about the enemies of Rangers and the vengeance that will be visited upon them won no marks for originality.
It was a depressingly familiar and grimly predictable routine as practised by Charles Green last summer, a cynical play for the affections of the support by telling them what they want to hear.
It was as if Mather, the interim chief executive, went rummaging in the drawers of his predecessor and found a gameplan on how to prise season ticket money from the fans. Mather’s words at a Rangers supporters’ soiree in North America last weekend were cringe-making.
“You [the supporters] might believe we don’t feel hurt to the same extent as you, but we do,” said Mather. Frankly, Craig, I very much doubt that you do, but anyway. . . “Sometimes you have to wait,” he continued, when referring to the action that would be taken against these Rangers haters. “We’ve chosen, and we will continually choose, the right moment to strike. Please, never believe that I or any other directors don’t know the names of the people who have tried to damage this club. We know them all. We know what each one’s tried to do and I can assure you we will never, ever forget about that.”
If this was coming from John Greig or Walter Smith or Ally McCoist you might still find it melodramatic and completely daft, but at least you’d know that it was heartfelt from people who have Rangers in their blood, people who are emotionally involved. Coming from Mather, who couldn’t find his way to Ibrox until relatively recently, it is utterly pre- posterous.
It’s hard to know how best to describe Mather’s rallying call. In this instance he comes across as a kind of Phil Neal figure, if you remember that documentary about Graham Taylor when he was manager of England. Neal was Taylor’s assistant and also Taylor’s parrot. Green may have left his position at Ibrox but he appears to have an acolyte in Mather in the business of galvanising season ticket sales. That’s something the new chairman might want to address. The Odditorium at Ibrox has seen enough nonsense for one lifetime without Mather adding to it with his Green tribute act.