Who are Rangers?

A discussion developed earlier on Twitter regarding my provision in an earlier post that Rangers are still Rangers in almost every shape and form.

First of all, I would thank everyone that reads my blog. At the end of the day, these are nothing but my own musings and although I will often diverge into other avenues of interest one thing that I continue to return to is the debate surrounding Rangers.  People will not always agree on football; indeed it would be a very dull and boring sport if someone were to remove the subjectivity from it.

In relation to the discussion earlier I felt that it was perhaps worthwhile to delve deeper into the debate on Rangers:  Are they Rangers? Do They exist ?, Are they a new entity?

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first and foremost: What do I think? As a Rangers fan.

Well, the answer to this right now is quite simply; I don’t know.

Legally, if we wish to go down that route then Rangers are a new entity, no history, no titles, no debt and no relation to their former namesake other than the fact they play in the same stadium and in the same shade of blue.

That is the legal position in my view. I am someone that studies certain areas of law in depth. I am not a solicitor. I have various qualifications that are not important to this blog but I will never be a solicitor – mainly because I do not want to be. Why is that important? Well, it is important because a solicitor will make an argument and that argument will be built around, effectively, winning a case/argument however you wish to put it. My job, indeed what I do is to evaluate areas; to analyse theory and to look at things from a different angle. Indeed, that is the type of person that I am. I like to look at things from various angles and create a wider understanding of people’s viewpoints and why their belief is so.

Where am I going with this?

Well, if you wish to look at this from a clearly black and white viewpoint then fine, the answer is indeed simple: No Rangers, Not the same, no titles… cheerio. End of story.

Is that the full story? For some – it probably is! An open and closed case: no need to raise the subject again. Anyone who argues with that is clearly wrong and doesn’t know what they are talking about. To be frank, no one could criticise this stance.

To be perfectly honest I have absolutely no problem leaving it at that on a personal level. I will not and do not get hung up on the principles I have mentioned above.

The reason that I am going to look at this from a different angle is based on the number of Celtic fans that on twitter decided ‘you know what – maybe it isn’t just that simple’.

So let us first recap, very briefly, what happened to Rangers in the past year.

Lots of debt, horrible management, arse fell out the bag, ADMINISTRATION.

No CVA reached (not that that was a surprise) – Off to be liquidated.

Brief enough?

Now, as shocking as the truth behind the debt trail may be – the situation was not particularly uncommon in the terms of business. Yes, the matter was a huge shock to everyone in Scottish Football – the truths revealed by people such as Rangerstaxcase.com and the excellent analysis of Paul McConville are not hard to find online and I am sure many if not all readers to this blog will more than likely be ardent readers of the material published on both blogs.

So what has really changed at Rangers Football Club?

Rangers* still play out of Ibrox stadium – FACT

Rangers still play in blue shirts

Rangers still package themselves as the same Rangers that many believe to be no more

  • For Rangers, read: Sevco, The Rangers, Zombie Rangers (whatever takes your fancy really – I am not particularly bothered)

The main difference it would appear to most is that Rangers now play in SFL 3, do not have any liability for the Debts of the ‘old’ Rangers and have a considerably weaker footballing team.

We can establish all of the above rather easily; now please let me tell you a story that some of you may know and others will be completely oblivious to.

There is a product that some of you may be familiar with. That product is called Millers Pan Drops. They used to be quite a big seller in the confectionary market as a good quality mint that were synonymous with service stations around the country – usually over- priced and poor value for money.

Recently, Millers pan drops went into administration. Well, see – millers pan drops didn’t go into administration, that is not strictly true because Millers Pan drops were owned by McGowan’s and it was McGowan’s that owed a string of debt, were not making money and inevitably found themselves ‘bust’ for want of a better phrase. The administration was dealt with by Grant Thornton – something that I always found fitting.

McGowan’s finally ceased trading in October 2011. Over 100 jobs were lost in the area of Stenhousemuir.

During this time, an Indian businessman from Livingston had a look at McGowan’s and considered what was worth salvaging of the company. He had no interest in taking on the company’s debts, he had no interest in taking on some of the other dead wood that McGowan’s had accrued over the years but what he did find interest in was an almost 100 year old brand that he felt has enough of a fan-base to invest in.

The Businessman realised that he could start producing pan drop shaped mints at any given time – indeed he already owned a large confectionary and snacks company that sold its own mints in Livingston. His sweets were successful and popular but they were not in the same league as an iconic brand such as Pan Drops.

So, what did the businessman do – he went to the administrators and bought the machinery, the brand names and the ingredients to produce Millers Pan Drops. (He also purchased Chocolate Limes and Éclairs but that is not important). He moved the machinery, the packaging that he owned the rights to and all the essentials to his own plant in Livingston and after sorting out some issues began trading with Millers pan drops, in the same packaging, with the same name and selling them to the very same customers that he always did. Ok, so he lost the contract to sell the sweets in Asda, Tesco and the like and had to resort to starting listing his product in more independent shops but it was a starting point upon which to build. He knew that if he produced the product and packaged it in the very same way then the customers that went looking for Millers Pan Drops would find them without much difficulty and for them, the customer – very little would have changed.

I am sure you can all see where I am going with this. No one cared that Millers Pan Drops had gone into administration, no one really cares that they are now made in Livingston as opposed to Stenny with the exception of the poor people that lost their job in that area. No one, except those directly affected probably really cares about the trail of debt that the company left behind yet then appeared to continue on without much punishment or sacrifice.

The point is that for the consumer – Millers Pan Drops still look the same, still taste the same, still probably cost the same, still packaged the same and so on and so forth.

So what is different with Rangers?

Well, to be perfectly honest – not much. Rangers still look the same, still packaged the same blah blah and so on. Yes, they don’t play in the SPL anymore but they are still available and their customer, their consumer is still (for the most part) the very same as last year.

Now, what about that confectionary of the year award in 1997 that Pan – Drops won? Can the businessman in Livingston proudly claim that his product won that award? Probably not: because he didn’t. The product did though, and customers buy the product – they do not buy the businessman, the factory, the sweetie making process. They buy the mint.

Again the same could be said for Rangers. Did Rangers* win the SPL titles in x year? No they didn’t. Does the consumer relate such an award to the product that they are currently purchasing? Most of them probably do. The consumer is what makes the product, the consumer is what keeps the product going and therefore does the consumer need to be caught up in the legal rights to a prize? Nah … not really, the product for them hasn’t really changed. They buy it in the same place, in the same packaging.

Now, for avoidance of doubt I am fully aware that the debts Rangers left behind and the manner of those debts are probably far contrived to those of McGowan’s. No one, least of all me has ever defended that nor ever will. I fully understand the bad taste in other football fans mouth toward the ‘old’ Rangers and the horrible fall out from what must be considered to be the biggest scandal of proportions that no one could probably have imagined in Scottish football history.

Nor am I here to argue the right of Rangers* to automatic entry into the professional leagues.

Nor am I here to argue about title stripping due to dual contracts.

Quite simply I am here to show that in their consumer’s eyes, Rangers are still Rangers.

What do other football fans think of Rangers; are they the same Rangers?

Well, that is something that can be viewed in a hypothetical way right now.

If Rangers* are a new club, and not the ‘old’ Rangers in any way, shape or form then they are quite simply a team that play in Division 3 of the SFL. In a nutshell that is what Rangers are.

So what if Rangers were to draw another team in the Scottish Cup – say for instance, Celtic.

Celtic is well known for having a loyal and faithful support. Something they are commended on very regularly by both commentators from home and abroad, and rightly so. As I mentioned in a previous post their display against Barcelona to celebrate the clubs anniversary was spectacular. There are many large clubs: Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool etc. and I have never seen a display as impressive from their fans. Nor do their fans tend to give such loyal support, even when times are not particularly great for their clubs.

However, should Celtic draw Rangers* in the Scottish cup I am willing to take a guess that the game would be a sell-out, either at Ibrox or Parkhead. Not bad for a game against a lowly 3rd division side in a game that I presume Celtic should win with ease given the difference in quality between the sides.

Would Celtic get the same sell-out for a regular cup match against Clyde, Elgin, East Stirling? I think you would find that they probably would not get anywhere near a full capacity crowd at Parkhead for such a game.

So what does that point out? Well it points out to me that, no matter how hard they argue – even Celtic fans still associate the new Rangers with the Old one.  Would it be an ‘Old-Firm’ game? Arguably not because Rangers are a new club therefore the Old Firm is dead and buried in the same casket as Glasgow Rangers.

To conclude this piece, it would be 100% competent to say that Rangers are a new club with no history and no relevance to the ‘old’ club. However, it could also be argued that just like the Millers Pan-drop, the product is exactly the same. Does the product go bust or the company that owns the product – that is inevitably the question that people need to ask themselves.

As I mentioned at the very start of this piece, opinions on this matter are completely subjective. I still do not really know what I fully believe on the matter. I can see the argument from both sides of the coin. In one respect the answer is clearly black and white but like anything – the reality is so many shades of grey.

The point of this piece was not to persuade anyone that Rangers* are the same Rangers that always were. Yet at the same time it is not to state that Rangers fans should completely ditch their beliefs in their clubs history and tradition.

I am sure there will be a huge sway on opinion regarding what I have written and that is absolutely fine. If you agree 100% with one opinion then great, if you agree with the other then great also – that is your opinion to hold.

My biggest gripe about the whole thing? I really cannot see what the big hum haw is with the subject matter. It didn’t matter to anyone when it was a simple pan-Drop did it? No one even blinked. Yet for some reason, when it comes to the case of Rangers* the debate appears to be never ending. It is that I find truly fascinating.


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8 Comments on “Who are Rangers?”

  1. Derek Hamilton Says:

    For me quiet a usless post, very over analysed, as people already know who have an un biased view. Rangers the football club and they’re history did not die it was the trading company which was founded in 1899 years after the club was formed that folded. Rangers still have they’re trophie room the stadium, the brand and a support which is amongst the biggest in the world. The fact is this bedate exists due to the secterianism and anti Rangers attitude by fans of other clubs, due to the dominance of Rangers and its support. WATP

  2. Great blog Garry.

    I’ve patiently collated the media coverage around the time of the club’s administration, then liquidation, and a brief summary of almost every paper in the land would be this:

    > It’s still Rangers, but it’s a new Rangers club.

    > The club that played at the weekend is not the same club that used to play Celtic.

    > A CVA was essential for the history to be preserved. The CVA failed.

    > The history has not “transferred”, but the current club HAS “inherited the honours”. That is to say the club has the titles from the previous incarnation, but the club did not earn them. That was the old club (“oldco”). The club cannot add to these inherited honours.

    I’ve put much more explanation up here:

    Hope you enjoy it, and keep up the good work!

    • Interesting interpretation. I wonder how many people would agree with that sentiment in both principle and in fact.

      “The new club has INHERITED THE HONOURS but not the history of playing as the old Rangers club. That is to say, the current club did not earn the contents of the trophy room, they inherited them as assets. It’s like me inheriting my Grandad’s war medals. They’re mine, but I did not earn them. I am not my Grandad”

      I think that point describes a situation that i was trying to describe myself with my ‘confectionary of the year award’ but your point is far more articulate and substansive.

  3. iain mcg Says:

    Garry, if you dont mind me saying, I am fascinated by the thought of the “duel contracts” to which you refer.
    Gentlemen, choose your weapons?

  4. iain mcg Says:

    Garry, i wasn’t having a go, just attempting to have a laugh.
    No offence intended.

    • Nah nah none taken at all mate hence the wink at the end. Can’t believe i made that mistake haha, i suppose that is what i get for not proof reading.

      Seems to be happening to me all the time, elsewhere on this page similar situation hapened with me calling the Celtic keeper Frazer Foster, as opposed to Forster….

      Should really start proof reading these things 🙂

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