Fan protests, boardroom silence and Rangers all set for ‘make or break’ April

The week after Scottish cup, European progress and three vital league points, we should be discussing the ins and outs of team selection and debating the formations and little bits that makes supporting any team fun. We will of course get there and this team deserve a lot of praise which I intend on giving them.

Unfortunately the ‘Australia friendly’ is still here, it’s still dominating and we are still in limbo somewhat. Reports suggest the whole thing is under threat and organisers are scrambling behind the scenes to keep it alive. The fans remain in the dark somewhat and that is the huge frustration.

Three weeks of silence from the Rangers boardroom has created anarchy in the stands.

This has also created a difficult situation for me personally. So allow me to try and articulate what I am about to say the best I can.

There has been a growing cry for fan media to condemn the supporters protests. “Fan media have to speak out”, “fan media have to be firm” etc. Just last week we were attacked online for not condemning the behaviour ‘hard’ enough on a podcast. It was actually portrayed like we didn’t condone the protests enough so must support it and potentially hugely damaging for us all. An example of how something can be twisted.

I completely understand the unrest and unhappiness from the supporters. I do not agree with ALL of the protests or how it’s being done and I’d especially urge against anything that potentially damages the club or excessively disrupts the players.

Protests aren’t supposed to be popular, otherwise it would just be normality. The fans obviously feel they need to take these steps to be heard. They obviously feel the board aren’t listening or talking to them.

However, to call our supporters embarrassing or hammer them, (as some have called for this platform to do) when I don’t go to away games or travel like they do, seems almost hypocritical to me and something I won’t do. I don’t feel that’s my position to do, that’s up to the club to speak out in a situation they have created, if it’s necessary. That doesn’t make actions beyond reproach however or that I agree with everything, it’s not that at all, and I stand by my thoughts above.

In recent months people have actually contacted my work and I have faced internal investigations for things I have apparently written, said and done, all completely unfounded but twisted to try and personally damage me. To face that kind of pressure is absurd and perhaps people will understand my reluctance to get massively involved in debates or politics of situations with such high emotions.

That aside, the actual issue here still remains. The silence from the club is creating a situation that fans can fill, like it or not. I called (on the last blog) for the club to address the situation and again that is still prominent. The club can’t continue to ignore this and the tension, most likely also anarchy, will only grow before they do.

Rangers must lead this situation whatever way they choose to go with. Silence is not the answer. That doesn’t excuse certain behaviour however and doesn’t justify it either, that’s not my point. Strong leadership and proper consultation with the fans could have avoided this from the start is my own feelings, the silence now is just making it worse.

We have a two week break to sort this out and communicate with the support. It’s critical we take that opportunity. In fact it’s absolutely necessary and urgently.

Supporting Rangers is never plain sailing. Surely however putting the club first is the correct thing to do? For everyone concerned? No matter if you are in the stands or in the boardroom.

On the field it has been promising in terms of results. Arguably not all performances have been outstanding but there is still a lot to be positive about, none more so than being in three competitions and a real chance of success.

Scottish Cup was good progression and we dealt with Dundee quite easily. Early goal was good and great to see rotation in the squad bring game time for Aaron Ramsey for example. Sands impressed and probably had his best game. Three good goals, penalty superbly dispatched being the point, but Goldson a neat volley after a good set piece and Sakala a lovely finish after great work from Alex Lowry.

If we jump forward slightly to Alex Lowry on the B team game at weekend (clips included), 3-0 win vs Celtic, then you can see his quality. He is far too good for that level and I’d actually like to see a lot more of him. He has that something special, especially when going forward. That’s something I have been pleased with from Gio, minutes for Charlie McCann, Leon King and Alex Lowry have been welcomed, these three can save the squad a lot and really push on.

So Scottish cup was largely dealt with ease. Europe and Red Star was a formidable test passed really well. Ruthless in attack we took our chances well at Ibrox, more VAR drama which had everyone’s heart rates at a maximum also! Red Star where a good side but Rangers impressive to get the lead so convincingly. Away from home we clearly had a game plan and with Kent and Morelos up front it looked like we were confident we could hurt them, which we did superbly. Although we lost and that was disappointing, it was job done.

I can’t let Europe pass without saying how well Allan McGregor played. His shot stopping ability has never been in question and two performances of outstanding quality, in fact he could have been Motm in both. So credit to him and I would have taken him out the team just weeks ago, so for him to bounce back to that level is impressive.

Then there was the league on Sunday and given the highs of Thursday’s quarter final qualification it was almost guaranteed that we would get the other end of the spectrum and face a ninety minutes where we all aged a hundred years. A late goal and second half revival was welcomed because let’s face it, one more slip would make any title nigh impossible almost. Again positives in game time and a goal for Aaron Ramsey but it was something else that caught my attention yesterday.

I’ve spoken a lot about Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and I’m on the fence still, but I see things that impress me. In Europe for example, formation changes and personnel flexibility has been good. Not afraid to change things and quickly. But if we look closer he has made some big ballsy decisions. 1-2 down against Dortmund he moves Lundstram back in to centre back and changes the game. Against Aberdeen the somewhat unpopular decision to take Alfredo off for Roofe and he scores the winner. Against Dundee in the league he makes two quick subs at Ht, changes the game then when chasing a goal moves Goldson upfront to score the winner within a minute.

You can counter that by saying he can pick better starting eleven’s but that’s never a given, what is clear is he is making changes for the betterment of the team and reacting to in game scenarios. So credit to Gio for that and when we win he is always going to be right whether we agree or not, it doesn’t always work granted.

So it’s not been flawless but sets us up for an April that is set to test our nerves to the maximum.

April. The month of all months. Europa League, Scottish cup and the league will be decided in a series of games that only perfection will suffice. It’s a huge ask but it is the kind of month you dream of as a supporter, where every single game is huge. The kind of month where a domestic away trip terrifies you more than a trip to Braga.

The Europa League is a tough ask. Sure the draw hasn’t been the worst but Braga are a good side and potential Italian opposition wouldn’t be easy either. It’s a case of one game at a time and we will see how it goes. Problem I have is, the way my mind works, the last 32 and 16 were free hits. If we do well then great. When you get past that, then close like this, you start to really want it. That’s where I am. It’s still a huge ask no matter what.

Then there is the Scottish cup. No need for long winded chat, it’s us vs them and we have to win no matter how we play on the day. We have to rectify our cup form and we have to regularly start competing in finals of domestic competition. This is a trophy that’s long overdue to return to Ibrox.

League? Well again it’s every game an absolute must win. Starts with Celtic on the 3rd and a game we must put our stamp all over. We have gifted so many points away that we have to win every game and it’s another tough ask but we all know we are capable. The strangest and most Rangers thing is that probably most of us believe we could beat them twice but going to St Mirren away would terrify us more. That’s our situation.

But everything is there for us. It’s a tough ask on all fronts and no point being unrealistic, we will have to raise our game but I believe this team are capable. Treating every game like a cup final is a must and the squad need to realise that this is now ‘it’.

We have dropped too many points to be in this league situation but a credit they have remained in the battle somewhat and are still there on three fronts. We will see if they have left too much to be done but one game at a time is the only way to take the month ahead.

April could be everything we want from our side. The other way and it will decide the fate for a lot of people at the club. The ultimate glory would be a fitting end for a squad that’s destined to be freshened up come the summer.

It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be nerve shredding. We have to do it.

This is Rangers, nothing else is acceptable.

Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise 🔴⚪️🔵