The most important thing at Rangers is Rangers itself. For me, that has been forgotten in the last week.
As I listened to Alex McLeish talk emotionally of his love for this club and his joy to sit in the Ibrox dug out one last time, it struck me the effect Rangers can have on people. To coin a phrase said elsewhere, it is a way of life.
Sometimes we get caught up in it all.
Alex McLeish is a man of stature and dignity. A man fit to represent our club and a man who should rightly take his place in our history as a treble winning manager of undeniable greatness. What we all have is a duty to ensure is that doesn’t spill over and damage the thing we love the most, Alex McLeish very rarely (if ever) failed in his duty to represent the position he held with that in mind.
I don’t think anyone comes out of the last week well and whilst I’m not here to criticise anyone, did we really put Rangers first there?
As a football club we have to hold ourselves to the highest stature possible, we have to be beyond reproach. I don’t see the club as being in quite as bad a position, as the last week may have suggested, although there are legitimate issues to be sorted immediately. If you leave several points unchecked however, then they inevitably become bigger problems when we hit a difficult spell and I believe that’s exactly where we are.
I spoke to ‘Rangers’ this weekend. My need to concentrate on the football was made apparent as was an appeal for the fans to be front and centre in the upmost of importance, in the eyes of the club, wherever possible. Rangers have to start listening to the fanbase and even if they think it’s a small thing, that has to be put first and that was my position put to the club.
Rangers desire is to concentrate also on the football and admit there is ‘legitimate questions’ to explore and answer come the summer time. They also promised a much better engagement with supporters especially in the close season. Whilst we can say and quite rightly ‘We’ve heard this before’, there does seem to be a recognition this whole thing could have been handled better.
I’m of very little importance and I certainly don’t claim to be speaking for anyone (why they talking to him and not us, I get that response completely). Those going week in and week out, buying merchandise, supporting whatever way they can, the fans, the supporters clubs, those are the ones most important and they have to be engaged with as a priority. Where I can and if I can, if I am asked my opinion or can press to give it, I will use the opportunity to make sure the club are aware of that.
It seems to me we are waiting on word on ‘Australia’ and when feasible that will be communicated whatever way that progresses. There is absolutely no doubt that could have been handled better and everyone understands that.
Whatever happens on that front, whoever it is or may be, we all have a responsibility to put the club first. Ego’s and self gain need to be parked. Things that can be done in private need to be kept there.
It’s not for me to say who’s right or wrong but I can comment on the club, as that’s been my investment now for as long as I’ve been able to walk, we have to improve. The positive is there seems a desire to do that. We need to listen, there also seems a willingness to do that. We need to take responsibility for our errors, that also has been recognised.
The proof will be in the summer but I hope the club carry out that promise and begin to repair the issues first and foremost for the supporters. None of this, the above, is earth shattering either but there was a desire for it to be known that the club do at least recognise the position of the support.
I’m not suggesting we forget or put anything to the side either, I’m not here to side with anyone or tell people how to react, the fans reaction has been understandable. I suppose the point in this, however small it may be, is that the club recognise the position it is in and what the fans are thinking. There is a willingness to improve that.
We are about to embark on an April to remember, huge exciting challenges are upon us, the only immediate priority is supporting those on the pitch wearing our colours. The rest can wait and should be explored then, with the qualities of the club put first.
I had a wonderful time at the Legends game this Saturday past. I recognise I am in a hugely privileged position to report as ‘fan media’ at these things and it was nice to just watch and appreciate the world superstars of years before.
To be in the presence of Alex McLeish is always a privilege and to then have the likes of Luis Figo speaking so positively was a wonderful experience. Abidal, Pires, KAKA and Merchena, amongst others, was a delight to see.
A wonderful experience and brilliant to see so many youngsters in attendance. The heartwarming stories on social media, wee man through two heart operations being at the game and a youngster at four months also there, is exactly what it is all about.
My own children at four and five attended having a great time. Although there was a question from my five year old to his mother before the game, ‘When is Alfredo coming on?’.
In the middle of the storm it’s always possible we forget what an institution we have, we must make sure we don’t.
This Sunday’s match is absolutely huge. Ibrox will be ready and waiting in what will be a cauldron of noise. There is no need for me to say we have to get behind the club, we always do and I can’t wait for the whistle to blow.
Rangers are a different proposition to the one that went to Parkhead two months ago. Leon Balogun, Ryan Jack, John Lundstram, Aaron Ramsey and Alfredo Morelos all potentially available to start the game. Alfredo fitness update obviously pending.
That’s a different proposition for any team and Rangers have, or should have, a huge desire to put down a marker. It will be a hard game, I don’t think there is any point not recognising that, but we absolutely can win this match with everyone pulling in the right direction.
Although potentially this could be brought up in the future, depending on results, I feel we have a manager that is adapting and learning to know exactly where this squad is and how to get the best out of them. I trust Gio will know what to do and I have faith he will get it right.
The players have had a few weeks now to get mentally ready for the challenge of this coming month but there must be a huge sense of excitement also. League, Europe and Scottish cup fate await us all. What a chance to become legends in their own right. A chance to cement a legacy, a chance to create new ones.
Others are already talking about lifting trophies, I hope the players remember that as they cross the touchline on Sunday.