What to do with a problem like Glasgow Rangers? Or, indeed, since liquidation was confirmed- a scenario that fulfilled every fan of the Ibrox club's worst nightmare - this opening gambit should be re-phrased as " What to do with a problem like...The Rangers? The Newco? Club 12?". Glasgow Rangers are dead. Long live hypocrisy and befuddled confusion.
The debate on what punishment and sanctions should be theoretically meted out to the stricken behemoths of Scottish football has created much more heat than light. Indeed, the rabidly engaged blog advocates and belly rumbling ranters of Scottish football fandom are growing ever so slightly bored of the The Rangers Debacle: it's hardening into a hoary old cliche these days. This being the case, the Scottish football authorities - hopelessly fractured between the once strutting bravado and peacock ostentation of the break away SPL and the humdrum proletarian, joyless misery of the SFL- have decided to stimulate and lubricate the levers of debate themselves.
Once it became obvious that Duff and Phelps, the increasingly comical and error prone administrators of Glasgow Rangers, had failed spectacularly in their ham-fisted attempt to call off the hounds of Her Majesty's Customs by brokering a risible and derisory CVA offer( an offer they were not even capable of substantiating by officially declaring how many pence in the pound they were seeking to fend creditors off with ), the SPL, ever wary of jeopardising one of their lucrative Cash Cows and having up until that point performed pirouettes of startling suppleness to genuflect before the Govan club, had their hand seized by events and were forced into accepting the Doomsday scenario: Glasgow Rangers were excised from the new season's forthcoming fixture list and replaced by the bureaucratically austere and flavourless " Club 12 "( which sounded like a new brand of cigarettes ) . The elephant in the room was finally, belatedly, blundered into.
Let us reflect on the ever tortuous and increasingly desperate machinations of the SPL as they sought, against reason and with a vigorous nod and a fat wink to Absurdity, to manufacture an atmosphere of " Business As Usual " as Glasgow Rangers Football steadily disintegrated. The SPL chairman, Neil Doncaster increasingly resembled the Iraqi clown " Chemical Ali " as he insisted that all was well; in fact, life was positively rosy and Scottish football, according to Dithering Doncaster, had never been in such rude health. While Doncaster stuck his fingers in his ears and hummed very loudly and Glasgow Rangers hierarchy became increasingly implicated and enmeshed in a dreadful conspiracy of fraud and financial chicanery, the average Scottish football fans' patience evaporated. There had been a very shallow pool of goodwill towards the monolithic moguls who presided over the professional game in Scotland, in any event. But now the disillusioned army of Scottish fans had smelled a very large, very dead and very decomposed, rat. Why were Glasgow Rangers being fawned over with an unseemly leniency and uncommon understanding by the football Powers That Be, when previous financial malcontents had been unceremoniously and ruthlessly brought low, ritually humiliated and left to rot and die? Aidrieonians, Clydebank, Gretna. All perished without the football authorities so much as shedding a crocodile tear, never mind moving Heaven and Earth and all the stars to even begin to pretend to come to their aid? The stench of hypocrisy was gagging, deeply unpalatable and nerve-jarringly embarrassing.
And now there is a corrosive gangrene seeping insidiously throughout the abused and unhealthy body of Scottish football.
One suspects that even if Glasgow Rangers had prevailed with their CVA, the SFA would have been forced, at some point, to uphold the very " integrity " that they only seemed to value and aspire to when FIFA cast a very disdainful and disapproving eye over the Ibrox clubs ill advised action to appeal a transfer ban in a civil court, thus flouting FIFA's stipulation that all such matters be dealt with in a Sporting Court. The very real and dangerous threat to Scottish club and national interest in Europe and further afield would have been a persuasive anecdote to the SFA's continued silence and lack of moral rectitude. And the pestilence continues to spread.
The New Ibrox Incarnation ( I propose that as the Newco's new name- catchy, eh? ) are now looking to cut a deal to brace their fall from grace, as it becomes increasingly likely that the Newco will not garner the requisite 8 votes from SPL clubs to gain re-instatement to the Top Flight. They wish to " persuade " the SFL member clubs to allow them to " parachute " into the the second tier of Scottish football, thus avoiding the ignominy of languishing in Division Three, Scotland's lowest professional league, where the inviting embrace of the fleshpots of Stranraer, Larbert and Peterhead await. Nevertheless, even though the " Old " Rangers are as dead as the proverbial Dodo, it would seem the " Newco " has inherited all the snivelling, contemptuous, adolescent arrogance of their step cousin, believing that they are too big and too necessary to the well being of Scottish football to be refused entry at a level they so desire. Such overweening arrogance has been rebuffed by the SPL: the main players in the SFL will not be bullied either, as Falkirk and Raith Rovers have already announced that they will reject any offer from the Newco to be placed in the First Division.
The potential for an apocalyptic carnage and the re-jigging of fixture lists does not end there, however. The vacant place in the SPL will now be fought for to the death, tooth and nail, by Dunfermline Athletic- who were by some margin the worst team in last seasons SPL and were deservedly relegated - and Dundee, whose only claim to elevation was finishing a derisory 30 points behind the First Division winners, Ross County. Neither side has a water tight and compellingly persuasive claim. In fact, the opportunism of these two sides is as farcical as it is understandable. The empty SPL berth must be filled and there are no serious alternative contenders. But, as always, the faulty gaps in the SPL structure have precipitated this folly. There is no mandate to deal with such a complex occurrence. In such circumstances, one may be tempted to call upon that mercurial stand-by, " Precedent ": but even the precedents are non existent at worse and nebulously tenuous at best.
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