Wed, Jul

Conflating friendlies with mischief

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I’ve recently made my opinions clear on the Australian shame game. It’s an immoral, soul-selling, lazy, greedy miscalculation that insults the entire support, mocks our last ten years of suffering, has made us look weak/gutless/rudderless/clueless, benefits that lot more AND even manages to fail and disrespect the victims of CSA at Celtic and elsewhere, in one fell swoop. Quite an achievement. Get it cancelled.

Nevertheless, one certainty of this baffling decision was a reaction. The main route for protest from supporters is of course their voice. It was a certainty that there would be a vocal and visible message to the board during matches - up until there is acknowledgment of the protest, dialogues opened and actions on what to do about this. The chant of ‘stick your f*cking friendly up your arse’ gets that message across fairly well I’d say. This has been sung by the vast majority at Ibrox now. During the 150th anniversary game against Aberdeen the support were very respectful to the occasion, but still made themselves heard on this issue. In my opinion, the board were able to hide behind the occasion there. Similarly, in an electric night against Red Star the crowd made themselves heard and still managed to provide an atmosphere that’s been praised far and wide. And yet still the board sit on their hands content with their inept decision.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. To make the message louder and clearer for the board the away support have brought back some older and less refined chants. This does not help the club, but then it’s not meant to. It’s meant to focus the board on the issue at hand. That’s several away games now and still the board hasn’t reacted. They haven’t done anything from what I’ve seen, despite Bisgrove mentioning wanting to open dialogue with the support shortly after the news of the fixture was leaked. It’s bad enough they’ve let themselves be used as part of Celtic's grubby PR machine, they are now allowing our image to suffer through the totally avoidable protests.

This doesn’t excuse anybody singing those songs but would the songs be sung had the board not gave them this as an excuse? Possibly but certainly not to this scale. And I’ve no doubt some see have seen it a green light to revel in it, without really thinking about the club or its image. Be smart, you cant sing these in the street, so you shouldn't sing them under the flag of the football club. Rangers in 2022, the Rangers of Gerrard and Van Bronckhorst, for Everyone and Anyone, the Rangers that dismantled Dortmund and has stormed the European football for yet another season, that showcased Ibrox as one of best places to play football in the world – that Rangers does not need those chants.

I think there is still a conversion to be had about this. About how to move on and admit wrong turns. About how to be better than this and set ourselves higher standards than others. The longer it goes on, the more likely it becomes a bad habit. Or even others and a new generation will pick up that bad habit. And at some point, this will cost us in Europe. Our friends at Farenet would certainly not miss the opportunity to pick up on any fleeting, sporadic chorus. And that would be that. That would be inexcusable. An empty stadium would cost us more than a jolly to New South Wales. Our board would then have some real work to do.

So please, Rangers supporters, be smart, support the club. And the board, stick that f*cking friendly up your arse. ASAP.

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