By Phil Mac Giolla Bhain
When Rangers went into administration in February I wrote here that “a bastion of North Britain is terminally ill”.
The mainstream media, especially the obedient hacks on the sports desk in Glasgow said that everything was fine and that a CVA would be agreed.
Nothing to see here move along.
Even before the ink was still wet on the court the papers putting the club into administration I was writing about the impending liquidation of the Ibrox club.
The day the CVA was rejected by HMRC was the day that Rangers effectively died.
The ventilator was switched off, but the formalities of the death certificate had yet to be written and sent to the authorities.
However there was a corpse on the bed.
I can’t say that I shed a tear for their passing and I was happy to share that fact with readers who are not from these islands.
Vavel is an online Spanish football magazine.
I very much doubt that the people of Barcelona or Pamplona would be grieving about the death of Rangers.
The demise of the Ibrox club will, in hindsight, be viewed as a watershed moment for Scottish sports journalism.
Openly derided as “internet bampots” the reporting of the end of days at Ibrox has been about bloggers.
The winning of the Orwell Prize by the Rangers Tax Case blog the high point in how new media has led this story from the start.
Now the entrails of the dead club are forensically examined by Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.
His regular forays into the undergrowth of Planet Fitba.
Despite being threatened by a journalist in Glasgow (a matter he reported to the police) he has continued to work the story.
Rangers football club stiffed the British taxpayer alone for over £90 million and almost certainly, because of that tax scam, fielded ineligible players.
It is possibly one of the biggest sporting scandals in European football in a generation.
It is without equal in Scotland.
Veteran sports journalist Archie MacPherson recently referred to the entire fiasco as “historically overwhelming.”
Scottish football will never ever be the same again after the death of Rangers (1872-2012).
However I believe that there will be a greatest cultural benefit derived from the absence of his toxic “brand” in Scotland.
Match day at Rangers’ home ground can be a strange admixture of Last Night at the Proms and a BNP rally.
The Irish Catholic is the bête noire of their bigoted imaginations Edwardian imaginations.
“Timmy” is the pantomime baddy for those who occupied the cheap seats at Ibrox.
On the road, if anything, the crowd was worse in their anti-Irish racism and hatred of Catholics.
Rangers have provided a gathering point and a source of affirmation for Anti-Irish racism and hatred of Catholics for over a century.
The unwritten emotional contract with the fans meant that they knew they would never see a Republic of Ireland player in the first team.
They people in charge of Rangers delivered on that one.
From the point when the Football Association of Ireland were recognised as a separate entity by FIFA as the international team for the 26 county state not one single player representing the Republic turned out for the Rangers first team.
In the last 25 years every other senior club in Britain managed to find and play in their first team either a full or under 21 Republic of Ireland international.
Somehow Rangers’ scouts didn’t spot a single senior player from the Republic of Ireland good enough for the Ibrox club.
That’s quite an achievement!
Of course it isn’t just the idea of a free Ireland that appalls the chaps down Edmiston Drive way.
In the 1990s when David Murray was at the helm at Rangers there were regular newspapers adverts funded by Murray and featuring Uncle Walter at election time asking…err… The People to refrain from voting for parties that wanted to break up the United Kingdom.
As Scotland moves towards make the most important decision in her history since 1707 the absence of the Ibrox Britishness Rallies could be significant.
When I was an organiser for the SNP in the east end of Glasgow in the 1980s I saw then that the toxic Britishness of the Rangers fans would be something that a confident Alba would have to face down some day.
I wrote a piece in the then Glasgow Herald that argued that “clan Ibrox was Scotland’s Trojan horse” and that the empire loyalism of scores of thousands of Scots making common cause with Loyalists in the North East of Ireland was an obstacle to Scottish independence.
Basically until Britishness was taken on in a culture war then Scots would remain happy with this early 18th century Anschluss.
I had grown up in a culturally Irish household that saw the predatory expansionism of the London state as a historical problem.
Therefore I could spot the false consciousness issue quite clearly.
The death of that football club could have positive unforeseen consequences for those who wish to advance Scotland’s claim of right.
A project this Irishman has always supported.
The timing of their demise could be crucial for the Scottish project.