Tag: Rangers

Leitch, The 1902 Ibrox Disaster & The Changing Values Of Safety

Football and architecture have seldom been happy bedfellows. During their prime the homes of British football were woefully under-appreciated, and this lack of attention has been mirrored over the last two decades with many grounds that meant a lot to thousands of people having been demolished and replaced with new structures that owe little to the history of the game and which will doubtlessly, in the fullness of time, be replaced themselves with newer and shinier structures. Yet the architecture of the football stadium in Britain is part of our landscape, and its shape is instantly recognisable, even if it is starting to die out, at least in the sense in which many of us remember it. Of all the people that have been involved in the construction of these icons of twentieth century Britain, one name above all others stands out, that of an architect and engineer whose designs were as instantly recognisable as could be imagined. Archibald Leitch was born in Glasgow in 1865, the son of a blacksmith. Brought up in the Camlachie area of the East End of the city and a stone’s throw from Celtic Park, he was grammar school educated and is believed to have travelled extensively before returning to the city in 1890, becoming a member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland six years later. The tail end of...

Read More

Escape To Liquidity: Charles Green, Rangers & The English League System

It wasn’t, in the overall scheme of things, the most auspicious way in which a club could win a league title, but Rangers’ goalless draw at Montrose yesterday afternoon coupled with Queens Park’s one-nil home defeat at the hands of Elgin City meant that the Glasgow giants have now been confirmed as the champions of the Scottish Football League Division Three. Yet the atmosphere of distrust remains as prevalent as it ever has in Scottish football and this morning, the day after the lifting of the trophy at Links Park, a further story linking Rangers and Celtic with a move into the English league system has appeared with reports that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, “is ­taking a ­‘massive interest’” in seeing both of the Glasgow giants obtain entry to English football, reportedly for political reasons relating to the forthcoming referendum in Scotland concerning independence. This isn’t, of course, the first time that such a suggestion has been mentioned but the door has always been considered shut to the prospect of Celtic and Rangers joining the English game. Since Rangers’ fall from grace, the placing of the club into Division Three of the Scottish Football League and the decision to remould Scottish football into a 12-12-18 formation, though, the noises from Ibrox have started to reach a fever pitch, with a steady stream of articles from Scottish newspapers suggesting...

Read More

Rangers & The SPL Commission’s Verdict

BBC Scotland’s senior football reporter Chris McLaughlin broke the news that Rangers would not be stripped of Scottish Premier League (SPL) titles by an SPL Independent Commission an hour before its findings were formally released on Thursday. The initial reaction from delighted Rangers fans was that their club was exonerated by the Commission of any breach of SPL rules in their registration of players paid partly through Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs). Yet before that pre-release hour was out, it was clear that the opposite was true. Rangers were guilty of just about everything thrown at them. And the Commission’s report condemned the conduct of the club’s directors and representatives between 2000 and 2012. Yet Rangers’ fans’ sense of victory is undiminished. How so? McLaughlin rightly identified the “agenda”; fellow-journalists looking for a “sexy” story from 40-odd pages of legalese, fans of other clubs (mostly, though not exclusively, Celtic, for obvious if hardly responsible reasons) and Rangers’ fans, apparently happy to take any condemnation (which is just as well) to keep their titles. So journalists have focused on the non-title-stripping. The “mostly Celtic fans” (categorised as “anti-Rangers haters” by one confused tweeter recently) have scratched their collective heads at how Rangers could improperly register players for years and not receive the sporting sanction usually applied in such cases. And Rangers fans have interrupted their cheering long enough to say “time...

Read More

Rangers: The Continuing Adventures Of Charles Green

The ability of Rangers CEO Charles Green to get up people’s noses has, depending on your opinion of him, with reached new heights or plumbed new depths of late. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the need to be hyper-sensitive when writing about Rangers – now that they are no longer “soft touches” for their critics (perceived or real) – you could say that Green is now starting to get up people’s bluenoses. One blocked nasal passage, chairman Malcolm Murray, was reportedly asked to leave by the “Rangers International Football Club” board, after recent reports that he and Green had fallen out. The only surprise to keen Rangers-watchers is that this fall-out took so long. There was an inevitable clash of public personalities… as Green has one, while for all Murray’s faults, he was/is a genuine Rangers fan and has been the dictionary definition of low-key chairman. Mostly. Reports of “concerns raised by two supporters” about Murray’s “personal conduct”  read oddly – they must be two very influential supporters indeed if their concerns led to the chairman being asked to leave. Rumours abounded that Murray had some ill-timed sniffs of the barman’s apron, while in London promoting Rangers’ recent share issue, before publicly expressing some… erm… ’forthright’ views about Green. And with Murray reportedly refusing to go, a share-price-tumbling ‘civil war’ loomed; hence some of the “institutional investors” who formed the successful part...

Read More

The Blue Corner Vs The Red Corner In The Battle Over Financial Fair Play

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are coming, and those of us of the opinion that these regulations would come into force without some sort of noisy, braying argument will have been unsurprised to have seen the first significant broadsides against it fired from the Premier League’s mouthpiece of choice, the Daily Mail, this morning. In a breathless piece written by Martin Samuel, there is a florid description of a meeting of the twenty clubs last month at which a letter, produced on the headed paper of Arsenal Football Club, but also signed by Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, was produced a desire on the part of these clubs to follow the FFP rules to the letter. That these four clubs should have been behind such a proposal should be no great surprise. These four clubs have amongst the greatest financial clout of any under the existing status quo, and each might well find that positions at or near the top of the Premier League table would be cemented by having rules in place which prevented individuals from coming in and throwing money at other clubs in order to be able to challenge near the top of the table. It’s a familiar back and forth story, and with most other stories in football whether you are in favour of FFP or against it can usually be defined by which...

Read More