“I was born to be a Rangers supporter.I had no real choice in the matter.My father was a Ger, as was his father and his father.It was accepted that as soon as I was old enough to be lifted over a turnstile I would attend Ibrox, faithfully.I worshipped at the shrine of Rangers for several decades.Fortunately for me, my father was the least religious and the least bigoted man you could wish to meet. His religions were the trade unions…..and Rangers.Also fortuitously and because he was not bigoted, our next door neighbour and dad’s friend used to take me to Parkhead to watch Celtic too. Something I enjoyed immensely as I felt convinced the ‘Tims’ could see right through me…..exciting! This caused me a bit of confusion at school when I was supposed to hate the ‘Tims. Some of my family were ‘Tims’…in fact my favourite aunty was a convert to Catholicism and was as devout and decent a Catholic as you will ever meet. The conflation of football and religion was as normal as the smog filled air we breathed in 60’s Glasgow.It just was what it was.You were either Proddy Ranger or Timmy Celtic.It wasn’t to be questioned. Only my dad did question it…loudly and often. He tried to explain the wrongs of the situation to me many times. I remember asking him why he still was a Rangers man if he disliked the whole Proddy/Tim thing that went with it.“They are my team son….the morons can’t change that” he told me.I accepted this dichotomy for quite a few years or at least until I started attending Ibrox on my own and watched the rampant cretinism happening around me. My normal position in the stand was immersed in a sea of fuckwits who came over on ferries from Northern Ireland to spew out unspeakable shite at anyone stupid enough not to be wearing a Rangers strip or scarf.I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the songs, the chants and the bile. I had heard stuff at Parkhead of a similar type…but it just seemed more…..intense…definite..meant…at Ibrox.More than once I pulled up someone sitting next to me about the stuff they were spewing out…either they just looked at me and shut up or it got very unpleasant as they questioned my ’loyalty’. I spent more time listening to the chants and songs of utter hatred for ‘Fenians’ than I did watching my team play. Ironically, I truly believe that 98% of those prattling on about fenians couldn’t tell you what one was…beyond the inaccurate and rather pathetic….’Kafflik’. Eventually I just stopped going.But even then I still supported Rangers as a couch potato supporter.Then something happened that changed my attitude totally. I had a son.At first, like my dad, I assumed the boy was going to be a Ranger…then I thought about it at length.There was no way I was going to take him to a game and spend endless hours explaining to him that what his fellow fans were belting out was ‘just a bit of fun’ and some ‘tradition’ that they maybe really didn’t mean…or maybe did….or not…at least not the good ones.“How can you tell the good ones dad?” was the future question that bounced around my head.The answer “The ones not singing” just seemed more and more pathetic.I resolved that he would grow up to be whatever form of football fan (or not) as took his fancy.I also resolved that my half hidden hypocrisy and plainly turned blind eye was no use to either Rangers or me. I decide we would part company.That was in 1992.I have been back to Ibrox once since then.As the supporter of another club and to watch my son play there.My wife and myself, along with all the other small band of supporters isolated in a corner were subjected to non-stop venom, bile, foul-mouthed abuse and threats for the entire 90 minutes.My son’s girlfriend and her father came to see him play but left at half-time…utterly disgusted at the things they saw and heard.We also had the distinct privilege of witnessing an Armed Forces Day degenerate into a farce as many of those in uniform went to the Blue Order and danced and sang the same crap that had driven me away from Ibrox in the first place. One particularly helpful RAF type came over to us to give us the benefit of his knowledge about how we were all ‘Bitter c@@@@…cheer up’.Commendably, a Royal Navy Commander (who I believe was sent down from the stands by the GOC) tried to break up this ‘celebration’ of all things blue….to little avail.The scenes were disgraceful and convinced me that my decision all those years ago had been 100% correct.Those of a Rangers persuasion can call me a liar if they so choose. I don’t lie about anything accept my height.Recently and because of the troubles they have inflicted on themselves as a club, Rangers have decided to play the victim card. It would be funny were it not for the hypocrisy involved.The recent press release regarding the idiotic actions of Hibs fans is a case in point.It is at once, hilarious and pathetically lacking in self-awareness.The great chant of “We are Rangers..super Rangers…no one likes us…we don’t care…..we hate…” (Let’s not carry the next bit on) rings a bit hollow these days.Perhaps they should be asking themselves why they are indeed, almost universally detested within the Scottish game. There will be supporters who disagree with that view….but I will go by my own experience of visiting grounds and talking to other fans.Are all those supporters of all those clubs just jealous bitter bastards? Is that it? Are they all just wrong?I still have mates who attend Ibrox…they are good guys…they are just as ashamed of the crap as I am. But even though they are the majority, they feel intimidated into not challenging the shite….such is the brutal vehemence of the large vocal minority of Ranger’s ‘support’.To my mind, the past few years have encouraged a problem that was an improving situation.The bitter nasty bastards have the upper hand again and there seems to be no will at the top of either Rangers or the puerile SFA to change things. Don’t get me started on the lick-spittle sports journalists who fall over themselves to whitewash what happens at Ibrox.So….that’s my wee rant. I expect to get the usual pelters for it…but I’m sick of the whole thing. Perhaps I will once more get some cretin from Belfast publishing a google earth picture of my home on Twitter?Blocking and reporting is easy. Getting rid of the source….not so much.“They are my team son….the morons can’t change that”.Sadly in many ways….I’m not my father. Good luck to the many decent Rangers men and women……you will need it”.
In a previous article I outlined my ‘EuroMillions’ fantasy for Rangers. My first order of business would be to withdraw ticket sales to Northern Ireland. I don’t want their politics and hatred anywhere near football. The Harland & Wolff shipyard opened in Glasgow in 1912, adding to the foment of Billy Fullerton’s gang which was formed in the 1920s. As keen followers of this site will know, I worked and lived for many years in Asia. I recall a visit to Borobudur in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It’s a sensational Bhuddist temple that is routinely attacked by Muslim fundamentalists who consider it a blight on their landscape. A young Indonesian couple asked me to take a photograph. My Indonesian girlfriend at that time explained that what they actually wanted was a photograph of me with them. They had never encountered a man with my eye colouring. To them I was a different species. As we engaged in converstion, with my girlfriend translating, I was asked whether I was a Christian. This was a binary question, as there was no awareness of the different strands of Christianity. I replied honestly that I was not a Christian. Jesus Christ to me was a man. He was not, to me, the son of a god that I did not believe in. They then asked a really clever question. How can you prepare for death if you have no religion?
I could have decided to respond with a secular Humanist argument, but I decided to concede the point. The advent of chidren in a man’s life is a reminder of his mortality. I chose to take my children to an Anglican church. I wanted them to have an understanding of Christianity. When they were old enough to make their own minds up, they could look back fondly on those years of family outings followed by a delicious village lunch, or embrace the Christianity that I had introduced to them. I offered them a way to marry and to die.
Rangers is a football club. It is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. There are those who consider it the Protestant club, but I don’t ever recall any religious services at Ibrox , or the singing of hymns, other than at a time of tragedy. I don’t recall any Sunday school outings to Ibrox. Rangers are not the defenders of a faith or defenders of the realm. This has been imposed upon them by individuals like Fullerton and The Harland & Wolff émigrés.
However, as noted in the anonymous preface to this article, the bigots are running the show, aided and abetted by boards who pander to them. One of the best examples of this is Charles Green. Mr Green and his board were under siege by King and Paul Murray. Mud was being thrown at his board.When reporting restrictions are lifted I will go into specifics.To get people on his side, to win the PR war, Mr Green played the WATP (We are THE People) card. This is a firm favourite of the bigots. I would have difficulty in explaining this concept to my erstwhile Indonesian acquaintances, but I can easily explain it to readers of this site. What this expression conveys is that those who are of an Irish extraction are an inferior subculture. Not Northern Ireland as they are gerrymandered to be British. It’s an appalling concept. It was not Mr Green’s finest hour.
I will state for the record that I’m not an admirer of Roman Catholicism, however I respect the rights of those who wish to worship at this church.I formerly attended Ibrox with what we fondly regarded as our token Tim. However, he can no longer stomach the bile of the vocal minority. Ibrox is no longer a place to take your children. I had hoped that the renascence of Rangers, the new club, would be a new broom to sweep away the detritus of the old. However it’s evident that you cannot sell 38,000 season tickets to play games against part-time footballers unless you package them in a sectarian livery.
As there have only been two cup games against CFC during ‘the journey’ the games against Hibs were a field day for the bigots. The invective at these games was a paradigm shift in hatred. Was it any surprise when Rangers supporters of a certain stripe entered the field of play to pick off the most stupid of the Hibs support who goaded them? The responsible respectable Rangers supporters, the non-vocal majority, had left the stadium.
If Rangers wish to be a family club, they must curb the excesses of the bigots. The Billy Boys and other odious chants must be prohibited. The current board is led by a career criminal, so we don’t expect any reform to emanate from him. The term moral compass has no resonance in his life. The spineless SFA should introduce the deduction of points to curb the sectarian chants. However, we all know that they won’t and that this cancer in Scottish football will be malignant.