The Penny Drops For Gers Fans

Hibs came to Ibrox last night and tore apart a Rangers team in a blistering first half performance.

The half-time whistle has surely never been so welcome as it was an absolute rampage by Hibs, who looked likely to continue the rout.

The result was not the most significant thing last night, however.

What was the most significant thing was the perceptible change in the atmosphere. It was like a big penny had dropped and everybody in the stadium finally realised the cold hard truth:

It isn’t going to get any better.

This management team is simply incapable of molding these players into a credible contender for the Premiership. The proof is how much they are toiling – and already well adrift – in the Championship.

At this rate, Rangers’ best hope is a shot at the play-offs. And in this critical season, where progress is absolutely imperative, that is not acceptable.

At least three of the players on display in the famous light blue looked as if they had absolutely no clue as to what position they were supposed to be playing. The tactics were naive, the team shape indiscernible and the leadership completely lacking, both on the pitch and from the sidelines. Hibs dismantled Rangers with an ease that should concern every bluenose.

Of course, Rangers are capable of winning games and putting in some decent displays. They have done so already this season. But it is the underpinning weakness that is the problem. When they come up against an opposition which is proving tough to break down, there is a deeply worrying lack of nous in the dugout to change things around.

I watched Hearts get taken to the cleaners by a poor Celtic team last week and there is no doubt that Hearts are the best team in Rangers’ division. This is the gap that must be filled and what is really disappointing is not that there is such a gap but that it is becoming increasingly clear that the present Rangers management team do not have what is required to even come close to filling that gap.

Rangers are already lagging behind and this just piles the pressure on for every game. This pressure is clearly already getting to some of the players and it is hard to see how this will get any better.

The big keeper is simply not Rangers class and Mohsni is a Bombscare Bertie who does nothing but destabilise the team. Boyd and Miller have proven to be ineffectual buys so far. But you could go through the whole team.

Aird and Templeton had an impact when they came on but it was a big ask of them to drag the team back from a 3-0 deficit.

It’s not a pleasant sound hearing thousands of Rangers fans booing their team but there was very little to cheer. Last night’s dire display has done nothing to dispel the gloom hanging around Ibrox, with off-field issues still very much a cause for concern. A winning team is always a great tonic for such off-field troubles but loyal Gers fans are unable to enjoy that.

Rangers don’t have their troubles to seek but both on and off the pitch strong leadership would go a long way to dispelling those troubles.

All The King’s Men

The boardroom saga rumbles on at Ibrox with the news that Rangers CEO Graham Wallace has had talks with representatives of Dave King.

My understanding is that these representatives were Paul Murray and George Letham. No big surprises there but this is where we enter into the Twilight Zone once more.

When contacted by a prominent daily newspaper, I am told that Dave King denied that these men were his representatives.

Which begs two questions:

1) Why are these men purporting to represent Dave King?

2) Or is Dave King being economical with the truth? We could also ask why he is, if he is.,

Given that Rangers fans want transparency and that this requirement for transparency is often spoken of by Messrs Murray and King, surely it would be very much in the interests of both these men to clear matters up for the fans.

In a nutshell, is Paul Murray representing Dave King in talks with Graham Wallace?

This opens up a whole raft of other questions.

Why is Graham Wallace speaking to Paul Murray? Is he doing so with the backing of fellow board members or has he “gone rogue” and if this is the case, what can be done to stop him?

It is no secret that there is a rift in the boardroom and this is not something Rangers fans want to be reading about, especially in anti-Rangers outlets.

I personally am fed up of all the cloak and dagger, which is playground stuff. We need men leading us, not boys. Yes, confidentiality is often necessary in business dealings but you can’t call for transparency to score points while being furtive and even deceitful. If Paul Murray is representing Dave King, fans should be told and not lied to.

The whole matter hinges around Dave King’s now legendary £30 million to invest. Is the £30 million for real or a mythical figure that keeps Dave King in the limelight while deceiving the Rangers support?

Even if Kings’ 30 mil is real and in place for investment, other questions need answering.

These include a very important one i.e. Is that it? Is the 30 million all there is or is there more to follow? Not as a possible but something far more concrete? I mean, are there other investors lined up or does King himself have more in reserve?

Just as vital is the question: What role does King want for his investment and can he get it? There are huge question marks over King’s suitability as a director of RIFC PLC both from the stock market perspective and from that of the SFA and SPFL. King needs to answer those for his own sake and others.

Should King fail to get a directorship, is he happy to take a back seat and does this also mean there is a very real prospect that he will fall foul of AIM regulations concerning “shadow directors” who hold no office but exercise inappropriate clout?

Can King’s ego handle being just a good guy investor with no hands-on power?

I see the papers are waging a campaign against Sandy Easdale attempting to pressure him not to block this mooted Dave King investment. Easdale may be crazy to try and block this investment if it saves the club but he would be crazier still to rely on it given how precarious it appears to be.

The fact that he is active in seeking alternatives is indicative, not of a churlish anti-King prejudice but of commendable business prudence and responsibility.

As I wrote previously, Rangers require a custodian. Both Dave King and Sandy Easdale may have a lot to do to convince fans they can fill that role.

Being more honest with the Rangers fans would be a good start.

Custodian Required

JLI find myself reminiscing more and more of my early years as a boy following The Rangers.

I don’t deny that I am looking for a sense of meaning to everything that has happened to my club over the last few years and that there is an answer in history to it all.

The present battles off field are about matters of ownership and power. I am not naive enough to think this jostling for control has never been a feature before – I know it has – but much of the bloodletting in the past was kept behind closed doors.

What concerns me is the public persona but not just the veneer. The substance has to be there. We live in days where it is reported that a CEO of Rangers is in the dressing rooms reassuring players about their wages. This is Glasgow Rangers we are talking about!

In other words, what I am saying is Rangers Football Club is crying out for a strong leader who can crush the rebel elements and drag the club back to its rightful position.

I have said the club needs a billionaire but I don’t mean just an indulgent sugar daddy. What Rangers really needs is a custodian.

You have to go back over 40 years to perhaps see the embodiment of an ideal Rangers Chairman. I am talking about Gentleman John Lawrence, who was a revered figure to Gers supporters back in the 1970s. He was a self-made Glasgow building magnate whose love for Rangers was displayed in his continually increasing of his shareholding.

Lawrence was Rangers’ largest shareholder and became Chairman for ten years at a very pivotal time in the club’s history.

The Lawrence Group didn’t own more than 50% of Rangers shares until after John Lawrence’s death but in many ways Lawrence typified the ideal Rangers custodian which, for me, is an Owner Chairman. David Murray tried to fill that role but the manner in which he passed over stewardship of the club demonstrated how far short he fell.

John Lawrence had real class and dignity. Back then, Rangers directors and club officials understood that Rangers was a sacred trust that must be stewarded with decorum and the utmost respect.

As a boy, going to Ibrox was like entering a sacred temple – a deep, dark, cavernous shrine to tradition and heritage, as well as football glory.

It wasn’t a stadium in the way people of today see stadiums – as sporting arenas and a backdrop on which to hang gaudy advertising boards.

Rangers need an owner with deep pockets but they need somebody who comprehends that he is not the owner of a football club, but of a venerable institution which is his in sacred trust.

The nationality of this person is not important, neither does he have to be a “Rangers man” from childhood. What is important is that he becomes a Rangers man, as others have done.

I am speaking in the singular because it is a strong man who must be at the helm of Rangers, not a committee. I see that Laxey have increased their share in Rangers, thus strengthening the voting power of Sandy Easdale.

It is no secret that I have long backed Sandy Easdale on this blog and promoted him as a possible “Mr Rangers” in the future.

We might never get back to the days when Rangers directors were treated with great deference. Nowadays every spotty university student with a Twitter account thinks that they can tell the board how to manage the club.

So Sandy Easdale might never get the respect that John Lawrence had. But it wouldn’t hurt if he emulated Gentleman John a bit more.

It might also help if he ended up owning more than 50% of shares.

One thing that John Lawrence and even David Murray could teach Sandy Easdale and the board at Rangers:

The road to ruin is to capitulate to recalcitrant fans.