3 in a row. hail hail.
I had them marching outside my window this morning, noisy inconsiderate bastards.
Yes Sir, I'm Right On It!!
Oh we had Billy Boys being sung at 3 this morning.
Their fans are a quality act.
It's only a small minority but ... apparently.
Yes Sir, I'm Right On It!!
Two doubles in two seasons. In a poor league.
Still you can only beat what's put in front of you.
The difference has been Neil Lennon joining as a coach and playing Hartley and Robson together. There's a bit of fight back in the middle of the park. Brown could never play alongside Donatti because it didn't let him play his natural game.
I have to say it has been a long time seen I have so many of the Red Hand of Ulster type flags and other sectarian stuff. I expect the club won't be able to ban them because they are already on a blacklist. Open air screens and 50,000+ more fans than normally go the matches was also going to bring the ugly underbelly out to show.
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum
Scotland on Sunday
No hiding place for the guilty
Published Date: 18 May 2008
By Tom English
Playing the blame game is not going to rescue Rangers' reputation after carnage in Manchester
JUST WHEN they thought we'd seen it all, some new footage of the Manchester riot emerges to sink Rangers ever deeper in shame. Another attack on a police officer, as shown by BBC Scotland on Friday evening. Another PC trapped on the ground and beaten and kicked by another baying mob and for good measure a little audio that picks up chants of "U-V-F, U-V-F" from a band of thugs marching through the city streets. A brutal assault on a policeman and a celebration of a loyalist terror group. Around the world that video went and further into the gutter went Rangers' reputation.
Parts of it were reminiscent of '72. The excuse-making for one. Self-pitying and grotesque, it had echoes of Barcelona 36 years ago. Initially, Willie Waddell reacted thus to the rioting of the Rangers fans at the Nou Camp. "The Rangers Football Club refuse absolutely to take any responsibility for what happened in that stadium. The game was organised by UEFA and crowd control was in their hands completely." It seems that Waddell's spirit of defiance lives on in an element of the Rangers supporters of today.
The 2008 version goes like this...
"Manchester City Council have to take the majority of blame for this" – Gregor Moffat, Dunfermline. "I think the worst people there were the Rock Steady security guards" – Jason Stalker, Glasgow.
"It was remarkable that almost none of the ringleaders wore club colours or spoke with a Scottish accent. There were, however, many English and Northern Irish accents" – the Daily Record.
"There was nowhere to eat and no toilets, which was asking for trouble" – Kenny Barr, Ayrshire.
"Now England faces losing the 2018 World Cup. Amid the accusations and recriminations in the wake of the Battle of Piccadilly, that is all the powers-that-be really care about. They do not care they could have had a disaster on their hands because the game was played at a venue that was too small, in a city that couldn't cope and run by authorities that were ill-prepared" – Daily Record editorial.
"I blame the bar owners. They saw an opportunity to cash in by selling us beer from early in the morning and it's backfired really badly" – anonymous fan.
"Shame on the organisers from Manchester – badly organised event and a poor show all round. If you allow 100,000 to drink and then sabotage the screen and not allow dedicated loyal fans to find other TV screens no wonder the frustrations of a minority lost the plot. Let's have some media balance" – Arlene, Swindon.
So many myths. So much hypocrisy. Last Saturday morning, Sir David Murray and Martin Bain invited the Sunday journalists to an upstairs office at Ibrox for a little pre-UEFA Cup briefing. He'd opened some bottles of red from his vineyard and encouraged us to have a taste. The mood was convivial. Murray, quite understandably, was hugely excited at the final to come.
Both he and Bain were asked about the size of the travelling support. Did they really and truly believe that it would be as many as 100,000 people? Both agreed that it probably would be. That's the number they had in mind; 100,000. It's the number Manchester City Council had in mind also because it was given to them by Rangers and by their counterparts in Glasgow and by Strathclyde Police. Yet the council in Manchester are castigated by some Rangers fans for not having plans in place for another 50,000 on top.
In the wake of the trouble in Manchester, there has been little focus at what went on at the beamback event at Ibrox. There was over-crowding there as well. Too many people turned up and the club struggled to cope. There was fighting and blood was spilled. There was too much drink. There was organisational chaos and arrests; 17 in and around the stadium, three times more than at the last Old Firm game. However, we have not heard Rangers people condemn the event as being "run by authorities that were ill-prepared".
So many assumptions, so little evidence. Bain, the Rangers chief executive, said that the worst of the scenes were caused by people who "don't normally attach themselves to our support". Where he is getting this from is unclear. How he can be so sure is also unclear. If he's getting it from the same source that the Daily Record got their line about "none of the ringleaders wore colours or spoke with a Scottish accent" then Bain is spectacularly off the mark. YouTube exposes the nonsense of the absent colours. They are everywhere. One of the main pursuers of PC Mick Regan is wearing a Rangers top. In other footage, Rangers fans can be seen fighting with other Rangers fans, can be seen goading the police, can be seen punching and kicking officers, can be seen lobbing bottles and cans and traffic cones and destroying cars.
People will believe what they want to believe, see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear. Some Rangers fans will always be of the view that the initial cause of the trouble was the big screen breaking down in Piccadilly Gardens. It's the ned's defence. Some would argue that hard drinking from 7am was what sparked it all, that had the big screen not broken down the drunken thugs would have found some other cause to fight, some other reason to go on their disgusting rampage. Is there a soul out there who believes that, after 12 hours on the beer, Wednesday night was going to end with the Rangers fans slipping away quietly to their beds?
On Friday, PC Regan spoke of the moment he was attacked. Already a legend is forming in places that it was a Rangers fan who rescued him, who picked him up and helped him get away from the angry mob. This is what PC Regan actually said: "One of them shouted at me saying 'I'm British Army, I'm a medic.' He grabbed me by the collar and he propelled me up the street. Then one of our vans came round the corner, he threw me in the back of it and off he went. Thank God. I feel lucky. Whoever that army lad was, he wants a medal." All Regan can remember was that he had an English accent. Maybe he was an Englishman who supports Rangers. And maybe those Englishmen that the Daily Record say they heard in the front line of battle were Rangers supporters too. Could be, couldn't it?
And it could also be the case that the officer's estimate of the number of troublemakers in the city was pretty accurate. The figure that has done the rounds since Wednesday was 200. PC Regan reckons it was closer to a thousand. He's been in the job for 23 years so maybe his opinion has a bit of substance to it. A thousand is still a small minority but it's more than enough to scare the living daylights out of experienced policemen who have been dealing with crowd disorder all their careers but who had never, ever seen anything like Wednesday before.
INSIDE THE stadium there was a different kind of mayhem. As the teams appeared a little before 7.45pm the atmosphere was electrifying, the Rangers support raucous at the sight of Barry Ferguson leading his men out. As is the custom these days, both sets of players were accompanied by young children holding the hands of the footballers as they made their way on to the field. The kid in Ferguson's care was terrified by the noise, almost stiff with fear. The Rangers captain picked him up and brought him in close. It was a lovely moment. In many ways, it was the best of it.
The scenes at the stadium were wonderful but the final itself was everything we thought it would be. A slow grind. A team of attacking class against a team happy to hang on in there and hope for a miracle.
There was no shame in it. Rangers played to their strengths, but it didn't work this time. There's been some criticism about their negativity in the final, but what would positivity have brought? Not victory. Certainly not that. Against a side as quick and as skilful Zenit? Almost certainly a terrible defeat. These guys beat Bayern Munich 4-0 in their last competitive game. Bayern went to Russia to play expansively and got mugged. If they did that to the Germans, God alone knows what they would have done to Rangers. Two goals could easily have been four – or worse.
Zenit were excellent or as excellent as they could be when faced with the great spoilers of the UEFA Cup. Rangers have frustrated all-comers in this tournament but the Russians were a step above, in terms of precision and craft, anything Rangers had faced before. Some of the Ibrox men said later that they had faced better this season. Werder Bremen were mentioned. But Zenit didn't have the self-destructiveness of the Germans. They didn't have a calamitous goalkeeper or a set of strikers whose luck was out.
Ferguson was one of the Rangers men who thought that Bremen were superior to Zenit and it added to his frustration. "They're a good team," he said. "They took boys wide, played three up top but I'm not saying they battered us. They've won the cup and we congratulate them but we've beaten better. They won the game in the end and fair play to them, but I think we've played against better opposition."
The captain was resigned in the aftermath. "That's it over and done with now," he sighed. "It was a great achievement to get to the final but there's huge disappointment we didn't do it in the end. It's been a great experience, something I thought would never happen. It's been great for myself, my family, all my mates. Disappointing in the end I've got a runners-up medal. But you never know. I might get to another one. You never know."
The half-smile on Ferguson's face suggested that he does know. That was his chance, been and gone. Walter Smith's chance, too.
How will history remember the day, Smith was asked. "It depends on how people want to look upon it," he said. "You can't take away what happened, but a lot of good things happened prior to that. For the majority of the people there they'll remember the good things. A minority have caused embarrassment and that's the biggest shame because the vast majority went down for enjoyment."
Those people are as much victims as anybody else. They have been scarred by the dysfunctional yobs who attach themselves to this football club. The ones who perpetrated the violence and the many, many others who sought to explain it away by laying the blame on heavy-handed policing humiliated Rangers, Glasgow and Scotland as a whole on Wednesday.
"These animals are not football supporters," said local man Matthew to the Manchester Evening News on Thursday. "They're louts and idiots who came here for one reason only, to get drunk and cause trouble. It's 9am now on the day after. I'm sat in my office at Piccadilly Gardens looking out on the carnage. What else can I see? Rangers hooligans stood on the street drinking vodka out of a bottle while they're waiting for the pub to open. Great. Same story tonight as well then. Well done Scotland, you should be proud."
From The Sunday Times
an article by Joan McAlpine
We must face Ranger's problem fans
If all of Scotland is not to suffer, we need to admit that Rangers have a specific problem
It wasn't a minority of Rangers fans who trashed Manchester last week. It was the jocks, the Scots, the “Glaswegian scum.” That is the view of many people who witnessed the thuggery at first hand.
Let's be honest: this is a public relations disaster for our country and its biggest city. The politicians and journalists who blamed the authorities, the police and some “isolated trouble-makers” should consider that.
If all of Scotland is not to suffer, they need to admit that Rangers have a specific problem and the dreadful scenes were not entirely unexpected. If it's a minority, it's a significant one that reflects the general scent of sectarian nastiness that clings to the club, despite the best efforts of its chairman, directors and decent supporters.
This is a Rangers problem, not a Scottish problem, nor even an Old Firm problem. The Tartan Army has built a global reputation for its sense of fair play and fun. Five years ago, 80,000 Celtic fans went without tickets to Seville, a far smaller city than Manchester. They left with an open letter of thanks from the mayor and later collected a good behaviour award from Fifa.
These are mere technicalities to many of the 314 readers who posted comments on the Manchester Evening News website, deploring not just the rioters, but the “drunken Scots” generally. Vanessa was one contributor who felt intimidated as she walked home through a city centre strewn with cans and faeces because public transport was cancelled. She wrote: “I heard people singing ‘Manchester is a shit-hole'. Maybe, but it wasn't before you lot came, so please go back to Glasgow.”
Another anticipated the violence during his commute to work on Wednesday morning, thanks to “The sight of car after car-load of jolly Scots parked on the hard shoulder of the M61, breakfasting on Tennents lager and urinating in the bushes.”
Many residents saw it as yet another example of the deterioration in Anglo-Scots relations. “All we needed was Mel Gibson in front shouting ‘Freedom!' and this mob would be marching to Derby,” said one. The wearing of Union Jack hats by the invaders must have made it all the more confusing for the beleaguered Mancunians. Still, the fault was laid at Holyrood's door: “When will the Scottish parliament pay for the clean-up of their filth? When will they apologise to Manchester?” asked one reader.
Such views will not be confined to Lancashire. Scenes of wobbly-bellied, snarling Scots stamping on a policeman's head were beamed around the world on the BBC and Yahoo news websites and Sky TV, while Radio Five Live broadcast eyewitness accounts of the mayhem through the night.
One man who clearly didn't pay much attention to the coverage, perhaps because he withdrew from the world in disappointment after the defeat, was Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Conservative group in Holyrood. Fraser is best known as a hang 'em and flog 'em Tory of the old school despite his relative youth, but for a moment he appeared to defect to the Socialist Workers party. The fascist pigs were to blame, apparently: “There are serious questions to be asked in terms of policing - if there was an overreaction in deploying riot police which could have inflamed the situation.”
Fraser later tempered these comments when faced with the CCTV images of fans kicking PC Mick Regan after he fell while attempting to escape a shower of missiles. Fraser should not have needed this evidence, but he was not alone in denial. Stephen Smith of the Rangers Supporters Trust condemned the loutish behaviour as “utterly inexcusable” and the work of a tiny minority. But he couldn't resist a dig at rivals when he said that, if identified, Rangers would take action - “unlike other clubs who have failed to punish their fans for their bad behavior”. Attack is the best form of defence, but this was inappropriate and poorly timed, particularly as Smith also condemned the “heavy-handed police tactics”.
He is at least representative. Acres of newsprint and vast expanses of cyberspace last week were taken up by Rangers fans blaming the police for the violence and Manchester for being “unprepared” for the invasion. Less sympathy was expressed for the 15 injured officers or the stabbed Zenit fan. Instead of blaming everyone else, we should admit there is a problem within the Rangers support, some of whom - like those England fans of yore - have a master-race mentality. That is why the club was censured by Uefa for violence at Villarreal two years ago. That is why Spanish riot police charged at their supporters in Pamplona last year. Heavy-handedness was also blamed then. It is time for the majority of fans we are told are honourable to learn from the tartan army and adopt selfpolicing. Any supporter who steps out of line - and that includes sectarian chanting - should be challenged immediately by others in order to uphold the reputation of the group.
The really sad thing is that, for once, Rangers had most of the nation behind them. The colourful, carnival atmosphere in both Glasgow and Manchester suggested a corner had been turned. This is a team whose supporters sing a song about how everybody hates us but we don't care. Perhaps not everybody in Scotland loved them unreservedly last week, but most wished them well.
When my own little girl declared that she was supporting Rangers because they were the Scottish team, I encouraged her. I was moved by a radio interview with a very emotional Ally McCoist ahead of the game. The Rangers assistant manager, who was speaking to an equally choked Chick Young, talked with the simple honesty of a small boy about his late father, who could not share the moment with him.
McCoist, like his boss Walter Smith, is a fantastic ambassador for the Scottish game. He made me forget that time a bunch of Rangers fans started shouting the C-word at my then eight-year-old daughter because they recognised her father, a well-known musician with an Irish Catholic name. I even forgot, temporarily, the more recent incident when Rangers fans tried to derail the underground train on which I was travelling, bouncing rhythmically to chants about Fenian scum.
I was one of many Scots who set aside old divisions and rooted for Rangers last Wednesday. Our goodwill was abused. Now we are all tarnished by the same filth that littered the streets of Manchester.
From Times Online
May 15, 2008
This blight on Rangers
The chaotic post-match scenes at the Uefa Cup final in Manchester must be utterly galling for those thousands of Rangers fans who follow their team with pride and distinction, yet who must wonder how on earth their club is to be rid of the social poison at its core.
These recurring incidents of delinquent behaviour with Rangers fans on the road are becoming tedious as well as depressing for those of us who chronicle this football club's fortunes. It doesn't seem to matter what Rangers as a club try to do - and the Ibrox board have explored every conceivable road recently - they simply cannot gouge out the primitive element among their followers.
By sheer chance a colleague and I stumbled upon the clashes between Rangers fans and the riot-police around midnight in the centre of Manchester on Wednesday night. Earlier, in the media centre, we had received reports of a Zenit fan being stabbed, and of a number of Rangers supporters being apprehended over that incident, but what we found in the centre of town was something else entirely.
Three of us had gone back to a hotel to pick up some luggage and, one block away, the clashes between fans and the police were in full spate. We drove into a grid of wailing sirens. One Rangers supporter said to me: "It's like a war-zone down there. Some windows have been kicked in and there's fighting with the police." One colleague went off to pick up his bag and returned 10 minutes later, slightly shaken after having to pick his way around the chaos.
The experience earlier in the day in Manchester on Wednesday was also depressing. The blight of bigotry has haunted Rangers FC and, while the club has pleaded and pleaded with fans to stop singing their sectarian dirges, the evidence of Manchester city centre over that period suggested they have made little progress in winning this battle. A range of songs which bellow about "Fenian bastards" and "F*** the Pope" remain the routine chant of too many Rangers supporters. You couldn't walk 50 yards in Manchester city centre without being assaulted by one such chorus.
This is a sensitive subject for Rangers. The club has begged Scottish reporters and editors to play it all down, because it "harms the image" of Glasgow and Scotland. Rangers themselves have hired a PR agency over the last two years, asked to perform what is euphemistically called "damage limitation" when it comes to these repeated embarrassments for the club. The PR boys have a tough job.
As a club Rangers are very familiar now with having to issue declamatory statements in the aftermath of such scenes as Manchester. A recurring phrase - and it was used again by Rangers yesterday - is that it is "a small minority" which ruins it for the rest.
The problem for Rangers is, this isn't a small minority of fans at all, but a large minority of them which indulges in such drunken, or aggressive, or bigoted behaviour. It is an on-going blight upon a very proud and distinguished Scottish institution.