Newco – Yey or Nae ?!?!?
The ‘no to newco’ campaign is now well and truly in full force with fans of all SPL club clamouring the see a ‘newco’ Rangers ousted from the top tier of Scottish Football and to the bottom of the professional leagues: all in the name of ‘sporting integrity’ of course. Pffft
The guise of ‘sporting integrity’ is all very convenient and you will never pursued me that for many, this is all down to plain and simple hatred of the Ibrox outfit, and if I am honest then I am completely okay with that fact. If someone wants Rangers to be booted out (not technically accurate as they are not currently IN) because they ‘hate Rangers’ then that is perfectly acceptable in my view – I just wish they would stop being so cute, and borderline sanctimonious about the ‘sporting integrity’ factor.
If ‘sporting integrity’ is so vital – then I can only presume that those same people will be falling over themselves to see their own players sit out lengthy bans the next time they decide to take an audacious tumble in and around the penalty area; or if they steal a few extra yards at a free kick. Petty? You are damned right it is petty but if you are going to peddle ‘sporting integrity’ into such high regard then you cannot ‘pick and choose’ when it should apply. It should apply ALWAYS and for EVERY instance of cheating; not just financial.
So the debate shall rage; do Rangers deserve to be allowed straight into the SPL? On the simple fact that they club has officially ended, and been reborn it makes perfect sense that the same club should start at the bottom of the professional leagues. That, for me, is basic common sense. If you leave the queue at Tesco to pick up something from the freezer aisle you cannot expect to come back to the checkout and reclaim the spot in the queue. So why should that be any different in the football leagues?
If we take that argument in its purest form, then starting out life in division 3 is the only way that this situation should be viewed. There should be absolutely no argument about it.
The reason that we all have the argument in the first place is down to, ironically, the one thing that has put Rangers in this position in the first place. Money.
There is no arguing that the majority of the interest in Scottish football circulates around two clubs: Rangers and Celtic. Only a small minority outside of their respective areas give a toss about the other 10 SPL clubs let alone the 30 teams in the lower divisions. Even interest in Rangers and Celtic has dwindled now that the days of attracting quality players have dried up. Not to mention the simple fact that Scottish Football on a whole suffers greatly due to its glamorous counterparts in the South.
When it comes to cash – the emphasis on such is now paramount, rightly or wrongly, to the Rangers saga.
SKY TV is the only company that invest moderate cash into the Scottish game. The company has already stated that it will look to re-evaluate such funding should Rangers be missing from the top tier of Scottish Football for longer than a season. That is rather fundamental.
Let us take a club such a Dundee United. The club has debts that it can just about service in its current form. The loss of TV revenue – not to mention two full houses against Rangers at Tannadice could cost the club in excess of £1million pounds. Their turnover is approx. £6million so therefore a 6th of the whole company’s turnover is lost without Rangers. If this was planned ahead – by a few years, then appropriate cost cutting measures could be implemented to restructure the clubs budget and deal with such a massive loss. Although I am sure the Dundee united boss has had one eye on the Rangers situation, and be aware that this was always a possibility – he would not have had enough time to effectively re budget the company and can therefore not afford anything other than the status quo.
This situation is the same for Kilmarnock, Hearts, and Aberdeen. Other clubs like Inverness would stand to lose HALF of their annual turnover through Rangers departure from the top flight.
Other clubs such as Celtic, Motherwell and St. Mirren are in a far better place to quickly re budget for the season ahead but this is mainly due to the act they do not have large, over hanging debts that they cannot just up and leave.
The next problem that we face is the precedent factor. Perhaps, with such large debts – Mr X thinks that the ‘newco’ route could be a profitable path for his OWN football club. The fact that they know they would be omitted from the SPL would make such a far less attractive measure. However, voting to keep Rangers in the SPL would set the precedent the other way: his own club could then benefit.
These are just two of the reasons why clubs are between a rock and a hard place when deciding upon Rangers future.
On the other hand, the clubs are under pressure from their own fans who would like this opportunity to dump Rangers from the SPL and teach them a lesson for years of pillaging their way to titles that were (allegedly) won through tax evading scams or the more recent failure of paying P.A.Y.E to the government coffers.
The fans are the life blood of any club, as much as Chairman X does not want to lose the TV cash that Rangers help to bring to the table or their travelling fans twice a season; he certainly cannot afford to lose his OWN fans either. Take Motherwell, their average attendance is about 4000 fans out with a major game. If 1000 of those fans decide not to turn up then you are looking at sums of money that are equally as damaging to the clubs budget as the loss of any revenue that comes from Rangers.
The distaste from the clubs home fans should surely hold major sway with their own boardrooms.
Leaving sporting integrity, and the simple fact that clearly Rangers need to be punished – in footballing terms – for their actions; we are left with a financial ‘rock and a hard place’ situation for club chairmen.
Do they take the risk, vote Rangers in and hope that their own disgruntled fans will sooner rather than later decide that they cannot live without their team and continue their contributions or, do they go with their fans wishes and in turn lose out on the money that is generated by Rangers involvement? It is a difficult choice.
I think what Chairmen need to do is to be honest with their fans, do the calculations and explain the story. Do not treat you own fans as stupid – tell them the ‘score’ if you will. I do not know, but if a chairman turned round to his supporters and said “ yadda yadda yadda we would lose X amount of money and it would have xyz effect on the club and therefor for our own interests we need to vote YES to Rangers” then their fans would have to stand back and evaluate their position. The choice should then be left to the fans in which direction their club should go, it is the only way to keep the majority of your own fans happy.
On the flipside, if a chairman was to say “we have done the sums, we don’t need Rangers or their money due to our own prudent financial work and therefore we are saying NO” then there is no Rangers fan that could have a complaint.
If chairmen choose to ‘cut off their nose to spite their face’ then I can see the argument for Rangers being entered into the SPL. However, if clubs can evaluate their situation and show they do not ‘need’ Rangers in the top flight then they should vote for Rangers to go to the back of the line – as is the natural progression of things.
There has been a hybrid argument raised that Rangers should be allowed entry but only with major changes to the SPL set-up. A change to the voting structure (Celtic wouldn’t like that, it is one thing Rangers and Celtic like to cosy up together in) and more importantly – a re- distribution of wealth.
The voting structure (11/1) has suited Rangers and Celtic for a long time. It prevents the other clubs from evening the cash pot in the league amongst other things. A change to this structure would arguably even the playing field in Scottish Football but this structure has been held very preciously by both Rangers and Celtic since its formation. On that basis, and that basis alone (forget any financial arguments) that Celtic would be very likely to vote ‘Yes’ to Rangers entry into the SPL – unless of course it was in some way evident that the vote would be going in Rangers favour anyway and then Celtic would perhaps be inclined to vote ‘no’ to appease some of their fans. If it were a deciding vote so to speak; the story may be very different.
The argument – funnily enough from non- old firm fans, that the wealth should be distributed evenly is not one that holds much weight with me personally. I can see the argument but at the same time – Rangers and Celtic bring a lot more food to the table, so allow them the feast. The last time I checked this was not a bastion of communism. This approach allows others to ‘slack’ in their own efforts and relay even more than they already do on the larger clubs for finance.
Anyway, that is just some of the arguments and decisions that need to be made, and made quickly, for next season,
Personally, for Rangers ‘newco’ to prosper it must come from a position of integrity. It must also be humble and take whatever it is given by the SPL and SFA. If that is division 3 then so be it. If it is anything higher – then great. There should be no noise, no complaining and no outrage. Arrogance in the Rangers rank has previously lead to greed and it was that greed that lead to the destruction of the club.
A fresh start, with strong morals and investment in Scottish talent is the only way that Rangers can once again succeed -and do so properly.
There are some difficult decisions for fans of Scottish football, Chairman of Boards and all else involved in the decision making process of Scottish Football. Decisions must be made on the true interests of the clubs and the game in general. For some that will involve a decision based on integrity, for others it will be financial.
I am not, and never have been, the sort of person to proclaim that Scottish Football without Rangers is finished. However, with big decisions to be made – the face of the game could dramatically change. Not overnight, not in a season – perhaps not even in two seasons; but it will change. The decisions to be made now are pivotal as to the direction of that change. With such huge investment south of the border, the SPL will be the league to suffer when attracting new spectators to the sport. Naturally all children’s eyes will be turned to the glitz and glamour of the premiership giants, especially now that we can guarantee even MORE coverage of their game on the TV. There is absolutely nothing that Scotland can do besides making our own game more attractive; the only question being: will that process be helped WITH Rangers, or WITHOUT.
The jury shall soon return its verdict………………………..