The Big House and the Beautiful Game

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Some people view ‘Rangers’ as the embodiment of bigotry, gangster finance, deference and all that is worst and retrograde about Scottish society. Others take a more negative view.

But if the stories of their second imminent demise turn out to be true, they are at the very least suffering from the malaise of deep denial and hubris, all springing from their own incredible incompetence and all-consuming greed. The ongoing questions of SPFL oversight and management we’ll set aside for now, but at least let’s look at some alternatives, because nothing about this story is inevitable.

With a sort of quaint naiveté many ‘Rangers’ fans have been manning the airwaves to mock the SFA and cheer for Mike Ashley, assuming blithely that he will win, (or win them over) in his attempt to have them re-write their rule book for his ends. This seems to be based on the idea that rich people are good and clever and can do whatever they like.

Given what’s happened this belief and adoration of very rich businessmen is an extraordinary phenomenon, far more extraordinary than any enduring celebration of a 17th C Dutchman.

At what point does the penny drop that these people do not have your interests at heart?

The sad / funny thing is that there’s no need for any of it.

As Hearts, Motherwell and now a debt-free Hibs have shown, following different models, fan-ownership is a credible and some would say liberating alternative to top-down misrule by an incompetent elite of unchecked corporate goons.

As Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster today announced the Leith clubs plans saying: “The board’s plan is radical, a real first in Scottish football. I think it’s daring, exciting and we now need all supporters to rally behind the plan and take the club forward on a united footing. The opportunity exists, and now it’s up to all of us to take it and make it work.”

Pat Stanton is backing the proposals and the news has also been welcomed by Mike Reilly, chairman of the Hibs Supporters Association.

Hibs seem to be taking a leaf out of the German model .

As Pitch Invasion reported:

“The basis of the German model is the 50+1 rule whereby a minimum of 51% of the club must be owned by club members. This still allows for considerable investment opportunities for private business to invest while preventing them from having overall control of the direction of the club. A Bundesliga club board is made up of delegates selected by the shareholders. That way the supporter membership associations or Mutterveiren have a direct say on the management of the club.”

Is there a gender aspect to this with Ann Budge and Leann Dempster leading a new way based less on ego, control and big bucks and more on practical openness?

2014 has seen all the talk of ‘Armageddon’ dismissed as a resurgent Aberdeen and  Dundee United and St Johnstone (who won the Scottish Cup for the first time ever) setting a new agenda alongside the highland clubs and the incredible success of Hamilton Accies.

But as ‘Rangers’ stagger endlessly in a media circus of their own making – other alternative models are appearing.

These are long overdue and don’t make a dent in the structural problems of Scottish football, which need long-term investment, strategy and fresh thinking, but they do do something that is incredible in itself. They begin to start a process whereby ordinary fans are given a role in the game and people begin to register that the people that pay at the gate are not just a resource you exploit, they are the lifeblood of the game.

There’s a parallel here with the democratic renaissance we’ve seen this year, and it gives hope that 2015 may bring better things to Scottish football. Our game – like our democracy – ‘is fundamentally broken’ – and the solution isn’t to repeatedly cling to the old failed models that have brought us to the brink of oblivion.

In short, there’s a relationship between the 45 and there 51.

The lessons are simple enough. Here’s five:

1. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

2. Transparency builds trust. Trust is essential.

3. Spread and share responsibility.

4. Look forward not back.

5. Welcome people.

Any solution has to be grounded in the here and now – not on past grandeur – based on a solid and viable economics – and has to be open and transparent. Clubs like Hearts have led the way fielding a young team with great success. The parallels between football and politics extend here again – invest and believe in  young people – and cut your cloth to the reality of your situation and the fast changing world, or live (and die) in the past, staring backwards.

Your choice.

Comments (89)

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  1. Andrew Hornsby says:

    As an ex rangers supporter,I could not disagree with your sentiments.Somehow,sometime we shall all grow up.That would apply to all bigots on any side.

    1. james says:

      Agreed Andrew. Growing up in the West Of Scotland as a Celtic supporter bigotry was rampant especially in Ayrshire. Time for Scotland to move on from this nonsende.

    2. Bothy Basher says:

      Evening Times…

      ”Rangers are flogging the family silver while fans are queuing up to bail them out”

      Ah telt ye!!!!! Yer a’ just for milking for cash! Sic a parcel o’ chumps in a nation….

  2. jean7brodie says:

    Well said!

  3. Rob says:

    Hiya BC, please try to remember that all Gers fans aren’t as you portray them. Most are not bigoted, many (although not a majority) are not pro-union. A large number are well aware of the shortcomings of the club and are prepared to see a 2nd administration event if it means following a Hibs/Hearts type model. This is a painful time, but hopefully the best of the club will continue and the worst will finally be consigned to the dustbin.

  4. Fine article.Perhaps the Scottish game is only now beginning to recover from the days of “fantasy money/spending” exemplified by Murray and Rangers and the entire period of their dominance may come to be seen as a retrograde blip in the development of the game.Unfortunately the influence of those days continues to be felt throughout the SFA and,in particular,the Scottish Media.Journalists seem completely unable to orientate themselves to this new environment and continue with the tired refrain of “Scottish football need a strong rangers” etc etc.They also seem to desperately miss the games with Celtic.Witness their slavering over the upcoming semi-final.At last-just like the old days!!Well,whatever happens to the current Rangers,I think those old days are gone for good.Even if the curent Rangers do manage to solve their problems it looks highly unlikely they will be in any shape to challenge for honours for some time to come while,presently,the real possibility of collapse looks ever more likely. I think its heartening to see positive developments in the game as a whole as im sure most supporters,even Celtic ones,are heartily tired of the Rangers mess and would just like to get on with the game.If Rangers make it,fair enough.If they dont,tough.Thats life.

  5. Gerry says:

    Rob, as much as I admire you’re sentiments of most Rangers fans are not bigots, Myself and many other supporters of clubs that have had the misfortune of witnessing first hand the bile that that the majority of fans in ibrox sing on a weekly basis would beg to differ

  6. Big Jock says:

    C’mon Rob your anthem is Rule Britannia! The saltires are outflanked 20/1by Union J’s. They didn’t sign Catholics for years. There are pictures of the queen all over the inside. The directors claim they are a British club not Scottish. They bring out Union flags and support the military on match days. Some fans won’t have an6thing green and I mean even moderate ones. I am fed up with people telling me the minority are bigots or Brits. The majority are bigots and Brits, whether soft bigots or obvious in your face bigots. Rangers are the institution of bigotry in Scotland. That’s why they are such sore losers they have no humility!

    1. Aaron Stephen says:

      For God’s sake you lot are as bad as us. Get the blinkers off and maybe as a nation we can progress.

      I’m not denying the bigotry, I’m just sick of this Celtic exception-ism.

      Celtic are half the problem, no less evil than Rangers.

      1. Phaco says:

        Celtic fans and club are not “Half the problem”, they are Scotland’s bigotry target. Wakey Wakey.

    2. Jinky says:

      I find it quite remarkable that rangrs have not been charged with bringing the game into disrepute…Am I the only person who is sick to the back teeth with the dominance on daily news reports of the next episode of financial mismanagement, boardroom shuffling, dodgy interventions by discredited “businessmen” with wealth “off the radar, not too mention the total inability of the media to haul this club, relatively new as it is, to account for all it’s failings. If Airdrie, Hearts, Livingston etc can come back from a similar position, but without all the deception, wrangling and scrambling for cash to “keep the lights on” why can’t this massive club (?) do likewise……could it be that the corruption within rangrs is too embedded to weed out. This new football club have inherited the legacy of their older now extinct predecessors.

  7. Derek says:

    Interesting times indeed; you’ve missed the inequality in the division of the TV money, though. I think that it should be evenly split over the 12 clubs. Also; all games to start at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. Midweek evenings are ok for cup replays and European games, of course…

  8. Clootie says:

    Scotland will be a much better place without the bigotry flames fanned by those who cluster round this symbol of irrational hatred.

    As a West coast Protestant I turned my back on this evil as a young boy.

    The football team will never thrive when it is over shadowed by being a symbol of everything a modern society should shun.

    The sectarian divide remains one of Whitehalls greatest achievements in retaining influence over Ireland and Scotland.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Yes Clootie, I too grew up a west coast Protestant and imbibed from my father, an elder of the Kirk, a deep detestation of Glasgow Rangers. I no longer detest them. They are what they are. But it’s sad. If I can move on in my attitude, why can’t hey?

      1. Brian Fleming says:

        “…they” An edit button would be a good idea.

      2. Bothy Basher says:

        ”If I can move on etc”…? Because, Brian , ”Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please/…”

        In Rangers’ case ”…/they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past”. Marx.

        Rangers deserve to fail for the swamp of ancient bigotry they feed, and for the transformation of working class culture into hatred.

  9. Bothy Basher says:

    Yes Clootie. ”The sectarian divide remains one of Whitehalls greatest achievements in retaining influence over Ireland and Scotland.”

    I would only differ that ‘Whitehall’ done it, though it suits capitalism’s purpose. We did it ourselves, to ourselves, with this bread and circuses pantomime called football.

    It’s amazing to see working class sport and culture stolen so easily by religion. capitalism and sinister rightwingers.

    1. Clootie says:

      I agree. They only have the power to divide if we grant it. From the Middle ages when it was Jews to the modern day immigrant they will seek to use any group to encourage the worst traits in humanity.

      Someone has to be blamed and it cannot be those at the centre of the “Empire”

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        Yes again Clootie ”Someone has to be blamed ”.

        On a lighter note, years ago in Somerset there was a big flood. Unwisely placed houses were under water as for thousands of years the area was a flood plain. One drookit interviewee shouted ”Somebody is to blame, somebody will have to pay!”

        ” the worst traits in humanity.”? Oh yes!

  10. Fay Kennedy. says:

    The best thing for Scotland would be an end to its religous division. Will not succeed until it’s gone. Rangers have been a huge obstacle to that happening.

    1. Kenny says:

      Interesting to see that you think only Rangers have been an obstacle to overcoming sectarianism. I’ll let you in on a secret. Both Rangers and Celtic have been working hard for years to eradicate it but they cannot do it alone. I am a Protestant but I certainly do not hate Catholics or Muslims or any other religion. The problem can only be addressed through education. Mummy and daddy bigot have got to learn to stop passing down hatred to baby bigot.

      I’m guessing that by only mentioning Rangers it may be a bit late for you but you can help by not passing it down to your children. This is why it keeps going. My daughter is Catholic but she’s being brought up with a Protestant father who will teach her to reject this kind of hatred in all its forms.

    2. choochooblue says:

      Maybe start with ending religious divisions at school eh Fay ?

      1. Hugo says:

        Dont understand this because it would appear that Scotland is the only country on the planet which has a problem with Catholic schools, which incidentally in most instances ,especially in England have a significantly higher number of non Catholics in their role as opposed to Catholics. How can this be explained. Catholic schools have been the target of many a closet bigot, using this old chestnut to express anti Catholic views.

  11. Yirdinnersoot says:

    End bigotry and sectarianism in Scotland.

    End apartheid based religious schooling.

    1. Brian Murphy says:

      When we deal with the anti-Irish question in Scotland then and only then we will have a real chance of living in a country were people can live respecting others rights to choose how they are educated and live without fear of their faiths being mocked and ridiculed.

    2. james says:

      Brought up catholic in the west of Scotland and now a happy atheist. Could not agree more. One school system with no religious affiliations of any kind.

      1. Brian Murphy says:

        The issue I have is that the media and politians hide behind the sectarian/bigotry because they are scared to admit that anti-Irish discrimination exsits in Scotland. And to use non denomiational schooling is a cop out.

      2. choochooblue says:

        If they want to teach religion at school , why not make it an optional after school hours for this ?
        I suppose it would be the beginning of the end for religious empires if that were to happen!
        Which shows ,in truth, religion has always been forced upon us through indoctrination.
        Maybe your next piece Mikey could be about members of The Green Brigade joining up with the IS savages?
        That would be interesting !!

  12. florian albert says:

    The main problem facing Scottish professional football is the lack of good – let alone top class – Scottish footballers. (At the weekend, Motherwell and Dundee United started with 4 Scots; Inverness C T started with two.)
    This is an area where there has been a huge amount of money invested for the ‘long term’ as Mike Small proposes. One of the reasons Rangers – certainly not the only one – got into the mess they are in is the amount of money invested in Murray Park and the failure of this expensive facility to produce talented young footballers. Lennoxtown seems to be going the same way for Celtic.

  13. Sakhalin Bhoy says:

    Scottish Fitba has been on it’s knees for almost two decades….we trudged along (financially) until the massive increase in wage demands from over rated and under achieving players both homegrown and overseas. Rangers major spending spree did not help Scottish Fitba (it only helped Rangers)….as clubs tried to compete in what was an uneven playing field……£12.5m for T.A.Flo? C’mon…..

    It has been well documented the financial plight Rangers have been through these past few years and I for one have NO sympathy for them….not one iota……..this we are the peepul attitude only festers other clubs and supporters…..this we are THE establishment club……what a load of cr*p……
    They are / were, a club who overspent……to win in Europe….and underachieved in Europe…..domestically they dominated for years…but would possibly have done so without all the big earners…..
    In today’s economic climate….prudence is required when purchasing players and planning a budget…….Rangers do not seem to know how to do this…….
    They brought in over rated high earners and it is well documented that these ‘superstars’ do not have the basic qualities to help their club achieve success…..
    Yes..the west of Scotland will ALWAYS have a divide…….and no magic wand is going to dispel it anytime soon…..
    Our great game is in danger of drowning…..we are currently treading water and most clubs are comfortable doing so……..we need the SFA to assist clubs and get everyone in the lifeboat all at the same time…..
    BUT to do so……..Rangers need to ditch this ‘we are peepul’ tag….and show a bit of humility…..

    Every club in Scotland has a number of bigots in their ranks…..to eradicate them requires the majority to point them out at matches and for the authorities to deal with them…..by giving them life bans…..simple…
    I am a Celtic fan and our small minority continually embarrass our club, normally at away grounds and when we venture around Europe……
    It is FITBA….NOT politics or beliefs……..it’s 22 guys kicking a ba’ about and trying to win a fitba match…..

    As the old song goes……’when will we see your likes again’…..
    Youngsters at Hearts , Hibs ,QoS, Dundee, Dundee Utd, Aberdeen etc have given fitba a fighting chance……our days of importing overpaid, over rated johnny foreigners has surely came and went……..

  14. Perhaps our young are beginning to ‘grow out’ of the ‘corporate circus’ (as in ‘bread and’) that is modern football.
    The game does need a Year Zero event to cut it right back down to its roots and make it more honest and local again. I would shed no tears if Rangers are the agents of that in collapsing.

  15. Aaron Stephen says:

    Rangers fans are not a some sort of generic bloc. We are individuals and hold as much a variety of opinion as any other group of fans in Scotland.

    This article is downright patronising, almost offensive – I would expect better from Bella and Mike.

    If Mike Small is under the impression that the Rangers support think Ashley/The Board have the clubs interests at heart, it begs the question of where on earth he has been for the last 6 months?!

    There isn’t a more anti-board atmosphere at any club in Scotland at the moment.

    I can’t help feeling this article is nothing more than a partisan pot-shot.

    There is no consistency in it’s narrative, for example he uses the greed and incompetence of the board to attack the fans?

    Mike then goes on to patronisingly outline fan-ownership – as if the Rangers support have the power to put that in place and are simply choosing not to?! Rangers fans have been calling for fan ownership since Murray sold in the first place and those cries have not wavered since!

  16. Robin Carter says:

    While I agree with the core point about fan ownership, the article continues the theme of blaming the ordinary fan before finishing, “Your choice.”

    I disagree that this is the ordinary fan’s choice and I appreciate that the article is a metaphor for tge benefits of local power and independence from a City of London big business model.

    One of the first offers (the very first?) was from Paul Murray and was to include fan ownership.

    The glee many commeners above take in the humbling of Rangers is no doubt gratifying but love them or hate them it should be remembered they were put into liquidation due to the actions of a crook.

    They were put into that crook’s hands bycourt appointed administrators who have since been arrested for acting illegally.

    They were put into the hands of the administrators when the HMRC insisted on immediate payment of a massive tax bill which they didn’t owe.

    The owner couldn’t pay the bill because (in part) his overdraft was with the Bank of Scotland went bust and were saved by LloydsTSB at the instigation of Alistair Darling, an action which nearly destroyed Lloyds itself.

    So, and here’s where we agree, I think there are are good Scottish businessmen out there. A 50% +1 vote would be great. From what I gather from chums whose nose have a blue hue, they would all have preferred to see a team of youngsters getting stuck in in the lower divisions. Maybe it’s time to give their normal fans, and there are plenty, a break.

    1. celt67 says:

      You’re not very clued up mate, are you?

  17. Bothy Basher says:

    ”Yes..the west of Scotland will ALWAYS have a divide…….and no magic wand is going to dispel it anytime soon…..” Not really Bhoy. When we get rid of superstition and religion especially Catholicism and Protestantism we’ll breathe easier.

    ”Our great game is in danger of drowning”… Eh? Who’s ”our”? Its no longer a working class sport – you let that slip away long ago. You’re only there as a fan to be milked dry and to throw pies at polismen.

    ”and for the authorities to deal with them”. You have great faith in ‘authority’ – you must mean a Tory Parliament which hates your working class guts. How about thinking of democratic means of controlling your bigots of which there are many. Your football hooligans have allowed Tories and the like to pass hideous laws on working people – and you let them.

    ‘It is FITBA….NOT politics or beliefs” You dont get it Bhoy and you may never get it.

    ”over rated johnny foreigners” Well well Bhoy. you may know that johnny foreigners especially from Ireland built this country and half of Glasgow is descended from such johnny foreigners.

  18. ELAINE FRASER says:

    If only there were no black people there would be no racism? As a Catholic and Yes voter would be very interested in hearing how Bothy Basher proposes to rid me of my beliefs or anyone else with a religious faith. Keep it up and the No side will have a field day with this . Transparency and trust .

    1. Kenny says:

      I agree. One of the main problems we face today as people of faith is that the mindless thugs in our society attach themselves to our religions and it gives the atheist an excuse to tar our religion as violent. Real people of faith know that these people not religious in any way and would never be seen in Church or Chapel or praying. But we also know that it suits the atheist agenda to keep up the false pretence that these idiots are all Catholic or Protestant.

      Part of the problems facing society today are caused by a lack of religion in peoples lives not because of it.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        So Kenny, any religious mindless thugs are not ‘real people of faith”. Well that’s a relief but doesn’t leave many left.

        ‘Part of the problems facing society today are caused by a lack of religion in peoples lives not because of it.”

        This is good! Religion is not responsible for massive child abuse, Orange Walks, jihadists, Hindu/Moslem slaughter, rightwing Christian nutters in US foreign policy etc. To say nothing of Rangers and Celtic.

  19. Bothy Basher says:

    Thanks Elaine..Don’t confuse the individual with the many. Meaning that you personally getting rid of your ‘beliefs’ doesn’t affect most.

    We’ve seen the effect that religion has on Scots politics/culture and I say that like it’s a bad thing. I don’t mean that if there were no Cathoilcs that there would be no child abuse.

    1. Kenny says:

      So if any child abuse takes place anywhere on earth with no religious connection does that mean it’s part of a massive atheist child abuse scandal?

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        Kenny – your thought processes are a wonder to behold. Rangers man are you?

  20. Kenny Hamilton says:

    You lost me with the use of quotation marks around the name Rangers but not Hearts or Hibs or any other team – and yes, I understand the lame reason for their use and the accompanying bias it clearly indicates you have towards the club. It’s so tired and predictable but I guess it’s a step above the childlike The the Rangers that we so often see from the kids on football message boards.

    The generalisation of Rangers fans as a homogenous entity all pining after Mike Ashley and a devil may care spend as you please attitude is laughable, but I guess it suits your position. And non Rangers fans will lap it up because it’s what they all so desperately want to believe. Of course to suggest there are many divergent views amongst the support would not really help this fairly one dimensional argument.

    But what do I know. As a season ticket holder for over thirty years, as a Yes voter, SNP member, atheist and one of the many thousands of Rangers fans that want a financially prudent club focussed primarily on youth development (and a Brazillian style of carefree attacking football) I don’t fit your cookie cutter approach to the either of the questions at hand.

    I don’t deny Rangers are part of the problem and have been truly negligent in not effectively addressing bigotry within the club and the support. But as some would point out. If you remove Rangers from the equation you will still have sectarianism in Scotland. Why, because football rivalry is not the source of the division within our society, segregated schooling is and will remain so as we allow religion to be a factor in the basic decision of where we sent Scottish kids to be educated and what they are taught to be the truth.

    But easier to blame a football club?

    As for the footballing question.Not that you really care. Maybe go sit with Rangers fans at a game and actually ask their opinion rather than go by radio phone in’s and message boards. You might be surprised how many don’t want to buy success, how many want a stable and modest approach, how many want to see Scottish kids come through the ranks. Because to ask the actual fans rather than radio phone in zealots and message board warriors is to be no different than listening to Katie Hopkins and believing that to be the true voice of all English people.

    And no one wants to do that!

  21. Kenny says:

    As a Rangers fan I find your bigoted comments disgusting and all to familiar in today’s society. There are bigots on both sides. There are bigots all over who support neither. There have been other teams in Scotland with financial problems but I suppose to mention them wouldn’t suit your agenda would it. I have been a Rangers fan for as long as I can remember and I voted yes and I support the SNP. I have absolutely no interest in the union or the queen or Westminster. So because your hatred for Rangers is so strong you feel a need to tar all Rangers fans as unionist thugs. No mention of all Celtic fans being IRA supporters is there. I mean using your logic because a minority do then they all must. Or does this not fit into your anti Rangers agenda either.

    By writing this you have shown yourself to be no better than the bigots you claim are the worst of society. On all sides.

  22. Sakhalin Bhoy says:

    Bothy Basher…I’ve read and reread your comment(s) and I am still trying to decipher your ‘true meaning’.
    ‘Get rid of catholicism & protestantism’…..and how do you profess we do that?
    It IS still our beloved game…….can you enlighten me as to ‘what’ clubs carry elite supporters??? It is still basically a working mans game…….if you are referring to prices then that reflects on my comments about supporting overpaid johnny foreigners…..

    My main point was…and still is…in case you missed it…..KEEP POLITICS OUT OF FITBA…..obviously you didn’t read that bit !!!!

  23. Big Jock says:

    I am a catholic. I don’t believe in the church. I believe in God.God does not make religions. Men make religions. Religions cause wars not God. It’s why I gave up religion in my early 20’s. I realised it was a corporate and corrupt version of christianity set to divide rather than unite. Look at it outside the box and you will realise just how ridiculous religion is. I don’t respect religions. I only respect peoples right to believe in something not the belief itself.

    1. Kenny says:

      Yet you don’t respect any Rangers fans who are not bigoted in any way as you tar them all as bigots regardless of their beliefs? You sound like a bigot from the other side who preaches tolerance as long as it’s not for Rangers fans. God truly hates a hypocrite.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        Kenny – you can’t stand among a mob of anti Scottish, anti working class bigots and not be tarred with the same brush. That’s hypocrisy which you claim you don’t like.

        You are tainted and no protesting about how a few of you are decent folk will save your reputation. The keich has hit the fan and it’s splattered all over you.

    2. Bothy Basher says:

      Jock, you can’t be a catholic and not believe in the Catholic church. Stop kiddin’ yersel’. And if you don’t do confession and communion once a year you’re out on yer lug too. It’s all been arranged to nip folk like you in the bud.

      Give up your god belief – be free of superstition. Mature into a complete human being.

  24. ELAINE FRASER says:

    During the referendum campaign many churches opened up their doors to allow respectful debate and discussion. The 1000 strong women for independence meeting following the vote was held in a church in Perth. At these meetings I met people from all walks of life a celebration of the respectful, tolerant , multi-faith multi cultural society we are trying to build . Clearly lots of work still to do .

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      I have no doubt that all you say is fact.

      But that doesn’t stop religion being a curse and a cover for appalling crimes against children on an institutional scale. As for the place of women in Catholicism! Come on Elaine, get real. Clearly lots of work still to do.

  25. Bothy Basher says:

    Thanks Bhoy

    ”KEEP POLITICS OUT OF FITBA”-that’s the worst part of your post. The point is that with regard at least to Rangers and Celtic you CAN’T keep politics out of football. And in general football is a form of bread and circuses as said before. While governments act against us, you lot shout about football and reserve your energies for screaming at the other team. All the time you are being taken to the cleaners, financially and politically.

    Getting rid of superstition is a tough one – don’t ask me for solutions. If you want to be free then read around especially Dawkins and Hitchens.

    It is a working man’s game only in the sense that you are being plucked like chickens and you do nothing about it. Your game is beloved all right – to those who are taking your money.

    So it’s the fault of foreigners that your game is corrupt? That’s a UKIP/Tory viewpoint.

    I have a feeling that you really don’t get it….

  26. Kenny says:

    If you want to be free read around Dawkins and Hitchens?

    So because you hold these people up to be the harbingers of truth then that means that it is abosute?

    I have a feeling that you really don’t get it….

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”So because you hold these people up to be the harbingers of truth then that means that it is abosute”?

      No Kenny ; 2+2 does not equal 5 except in your candle scented mind. You invented the sentence above, it’s not what I said. But as a believer, you subscribe to illusion.

  27. ELAINE FRASER says:

    Bothy Basher recommends reading Dawkins and Hitchens . So on Scottish Independence did they just not get it…?

    1. Al McS says:

      On Scottish Indpendence they were wading into an argument they knew very little about. I’m sure you’ll find that on the topic of the folly of religion they are very clued up and certainly worth a read.

  28. Bothy Basher says:

    Dear Elaine

    I was asked how to get rid of religion and offered one way. What do you suggest?

  29. ELAINE FRASER says:

    Bothy Basher How do you propose to make people like me who hold religious beliefs feel welcome in your brave new world?

  30. Bothy Basher says:

    Elaine, it will be done by freeing you from superstition and welcoming you to the new world of reason which will be safer for children. You will support Celtic or Rangers without chanting hatred for the other.

    Come on take my hand and we’ll skip across the sands of freedom….

    1. ELAINE FRASER says:

      Bothy trust me I do not follow football and have no interest in it whatsoever. In fact I find it staggering how much it dominates the news and ,it would seem, male minds in this nation.Personally Im more interested in affordable housing, living wage , getting rid of Trident .
      On the subject of religion perhaps you might consider reading Darwins Angel ( John Cornwell?) in the interests of balance .Dawkins, of course, has his own religion – science and his own followers. I am deeply saddened that it still takes so little (a Bella piece on a football teams financial problems ) before ugly intolerance rears it head. Sad .

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        I said, ” You will support Celtic or Rangers without chanting hatred for the other.Come on take my hand and we’ll skip across the sands of freedom….”

        Elaine replied, ” before ugly intolerance rears it head”.

        Where’s the ugly intolerance Elaine? Another question you will dodge?

        A football team’s financial problems? Rangers is the home of bigotry and rightwingery and is a stain on Scotland. You don’t get it yet do you? Read Lochside’s post below.

  31. Lochside says:

    Rangers are Scotland’s tragedy: formed by an idealistic group of rowing enthusiasts; who then assisted the formation of Glasgow’s own answer to Edinburgh’s successful champions Hibernian i.e. Celtic; but allowed, within a generation, the influx of Ulster Protestant shipyard workers as supporters to infect the club with a virulent British protestant identity; this identity has evolved through the late ’80s signings of English national players into this century of one of British loyalism.

    The once insular Scottish/ Northern Irish identity has become one of British only and anti-Scottish in actuality. Only in Scotland could the club, which saw itself as embodying Scotland’s pride, albeit an exclusively Protestant one, for over a hundred years, become a citadel for self loathing of its own national identity in such a short time.

    This transformation has occurred unremarked by the jackal Scottish msm, feeding off the scraps fed it by the Murray dynasty. The collusion within Ibrox to encourage British identity at the price of the club’s own standing nationally, internationally and financially is puzzling to the point of incredulity. It also explains why the club, with a supporter base running into hundreds of thousands, is now a toxic brand to the real money available to rescue it in the traditional sense. The outstanding debt that Murray accumulated before jettisoning the club for a pound was not the only reason the big City of London boys wouldn’t buy.

    Yet despite the disgraceful collusion by the Scottish press…the Chic Youngs and Graham Speirs etc. who failed in their duty to the Rangers fans by not exposing the financial fantasy being spun during the Advocaat years…and their failure to criticise the institutional bigotry and pro British narrative simultaneously being encouraged at Director level….Rangers fans blame everybody except their own slavish mindsets for permitting the club to be ravished by speculators and charlatans.

    The irony of ‘Better Together’ Bluenoses is that the ‘pooling and sharing’ has been by speculators at their expense. The conservative and politically right wing attitudes fostered within the club and support has ironically undermined the possibility of a free minded approach to the club’s survival.e.g a grassroots collective supporter based movement towards ownership of the club. By bowing and scraping to perceived financial ‘experts’ the supporters ‘have sold the jerseys’ . Rangers fans would do well to study the Bard’s words to ‘A parcel of rogues’…they may learn something important.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      Bampot, you said on your blog ”the celtic nation of Scotland ”.

      No it’s not a Celtic nation. It is mainly Pictish and later Brittonic (Welsh) with Normans and Anglosaxons later. The Celts were only one part of the roots of Scotland.

      Come on Bampot – sort yersel’ oot.

    2. Bothy Basher says:

      ”That fitba’ game has robbed ye o’ the wee bit sense ye had…!”

  32. Bothy Basher says:

    ‘On Darwin’s Angel’ I read this Guardian review- ”it might be thought a somewhat biased correspondent on theology. (You wouldn’t trust a defence of spiritualism narrated by a ouija board.) Sadly, Cornwell’s angel is also a poor reader, rather haughty and dismissive, taking Dawkins’s words out of context and dodging the tough questions. God might have hired a better messenger.” …………So I won’t bother with that book.

    I fully agree with your first paragraph above – football, like religion is a form of insanity It is NOT news.
    But I am disappointed that you dodge all of my questions – especially on your church’s enthusiastic world wide child abuse culture. Denial is of course part of your armoury. ”Dodging the tough questions ” is the only ugly thing here , Elaine.

    You realise of course that you stand with Kenny. Oh!

    1. ELAINE FRASER says:

      Bothy Basher sorry, what questions have you asked me to answer? And I don’t recall equating football with religion. I asked you to explain how you propose to rid our nation of religion. Im still waiting for your policy detail. Let me know how you get on sharing your draft proposals with the SNP .
      Not a huge surprise that you don’t want to read Darwins Angel after all why bother actually reading a whole book when you can rely on one ( unbiased ?) Guardian review to reinforce your own prejudices.
      I have just read Robin McAlpine latest piece for Bella Im sure you will agree it is terrific. It certainly sums up for me the welcoming, inclusive, positive vibe I got from my involvement in the campaign and the majority of the folk I met on the way.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        ”I was asked how to get rid of religion and offered one way. What do you suggest?
        Where’s the ugly intolerance Elaine?
        A football team’s financial problems? ”

        On ridding the nation of religion – I don’t have time or the inclination to prepare ” policy detail” for you. I have told you twice how you can be free of your superstition. You’re lucky I even take time to reply now.

        On the book you recommended – it looks bad, like your views. Life’s too short to read rubbish but I do read much that goes against my views, and have gone to hear speakers whose views I detest. ”Not a huge surprise that you don’t want to read Darwins Angel after all why bother actually reading a whole book when you can rely on one ( unbiased ?) Guardian review to reinforce your own prejudices.” You’re not biased? Say three hail marys for your porky pies.

        You duck and dodge the point about hideous institutional child abuse in your church – the crime of the century. What’s your view on that ? Hang the culprits in your church or jail them? Tell us.

        A ” welcoming, inclusive, positive vibe” does not include agreeing with extremism nor tacit support for child abuse.

        Goodbye Elaine, and thanks for all the fish………….

  33. Bothy Basher says:

    ”.KEEP POLITICS OUT OF FITBA…..” whined Sakhalin Bhoy, his eyes skelly from his shouting capitals and his anti immigrant bigotry.

    Well Bhoy I tried to tell you.

    But you wont listen to me, so read the magnificent post above from Lochside.

  34. Big jock says:

    Kenny not sure you grasped what I was saying. I respect everyone’s right to believe in something without respecting the belieft itself. Two different things! Rangers are a bigoted institution. When you choose to support them you can’t just pick and choose your fellow fans or take out the ugly parts of the club you don’t like to salve your own conscience. I am a Partick fan. The day they start singing bigoted songs and waiving anti Scottish flags is the day I walk away. My question to so called nice Rangers fans is this. If you are not like other Rangers fans nor do you support the clubs general ethos. Why do you still follow them. I left the Cathoic church because I think they are corrupt. If I stayed it would be hypocrisy like many so called good Rangers fans.

    The problem is that the institution needs to be removed before progress can be made. By removal I mean the loss of support. Don’t follow Rangers or Celtic if you think they encourage and foster bigotry. Let them go and you will be a better person for it.

    1. Kenny says:

      Rangers and Celtic have been working tirelessly for years trying to eradicate bigotry. The problem is not Rangers or Celtic, it’s a mindless element in our society who attach themselves to these institutions. If you seriously think that by completely removing them from society then you would eradicate bigotry then you are dreaming. I will support Rangers all my life as I have done since I was a child. I do not have to let them go to be a better person as I have no bigotry or hatred within me as it is.

  35. Steve McCarthy says:

    I have lived in New Zealand for a number of years having grown up in Glasgow. I showed this article and comments to a mate here.
    His kids go to a Catholic School here. He is not Catholic but chose the school for a number of reasons. He could not believe that anyone could blame a schooling system that teaches the curriculum with a focus on the love of God as a framework for learning could be accused of being the cause of bigotry.
    There are Catholic and other Christian and other religious schools here and throughout the world. His children and my children and all the children I know here would think it ridiculous to judge someone on what Church they do or do not go to.
    This hatred of Catholic schools is a uniquely Northern Irish/ Scottish embarrassment. We watched our TV’s in disgust schoolchildren being stoned by adults on their way to a Catholic School. I remember being sworn at by adults for no reason other than the school uniform I was wearing. It is not rocket science to work out who has the problem.
    Schools are not the problem here. The problem is ignorance and unfortunately the rest of the world looks on in dismay that this ignorance and the hatred it spawns survives into the digital age.

    1. IAB says:

      There are Catholic schools throughout the world and they accept any child who is eligible. I have worked in such schools in Africa where everyone in the boarding school went to Mass on a Sunday then split up for other religious gatherings. It was very civilised. However, in the West of Scotland, it is different and Catholic schools are seen as being for Catholic children only and children who are neighbours attend different schools. It breeds division in the same way that separate schools in countries under apartheid did and, I would argue, the establishment of faith schools continues. The same can be said for private schooling.

      The division of children because of religion (or class/money) allows for unacceptable attitudes to develop as children are easily persuaded that ‘others’ are a threat. Like you, I was shouted at as a schoolchild for my uniform but it was from all sides of the religious divide as I was a pupil at a grant aided school. I later worked in a huge industrial company were the offices had photos of the Queen or the Pope. I had a double problem with being female as well as refusing to divulge where I went to school.

      The schools are part of a much bigger problem and educating children together and leaving religion to the home would be a very positive step in the right direction.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        ”There are Catholic schools throughout the world and they accept any child who is eligible. ”

        I’ll bet they do.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          What does that mean?

  36. Bothy Basher says:

    ”Kenny
    December 30, 2014 • 16:01
    As a Rangers fan I find your bigoted comments disgusting ”

    Can others spot the joke here? LOL

    1. Kenny says:

      What’s up? Does the truth hurt?

  37. William Davidson says:

    As a Rangers-supporting masochist I particularly look forward to these periodic articles in which Mike patronises, harangues and summarily dismisses us all as bigoted simpletons. Thanks Mike, look forward to the next one in about six weeks time!

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”As a Rangers-supporting masochist”…………….”bigoted simpletons”. Your words Willie, not mine!

  38. Bothy Basher says:

    Dear Kenny

    Here is something to sooth your savage breast ………..

    1. Kenny says:

      I can see my comments must be spot on. Truth hurts doesn’t it.

  39. Bothy Basher says:

    ”bellacaledonia
    January 3, 2015 • 19:52
    What does that mean?”

    What do you think?

    Have you kept up with events?

    Are you aware of what’s going on?

    Is this topic taboo?

    Are we not allowed to gently refer to mass (no pun) crime?

    Would you prefer that we talk more directly about such crime in Scotland?

    Should we all question why this is difficult to discuss?

    I need only quote statistics, not my opinion.

  40. Jim McAtear says:

    This post is awful. It is repeating garbage childish debates that are already all over various media and it is utterly boring. Why go down this anti-Rangers route? All of my very large family support Rangers and independence. This kind of vitriol will just lose them. Perhaps the idea is to reduce support for independence? Whatever happened to the future? This thinly veiled revisiting of the PAST are awful, like going on about support for the IRA at Celtic Park that Unionist go on about. What happened to Gray’s injunction, ‘Work as though you live in the early days of a BETTER nation?’ This is utterly sad. what are you DOING Bella?

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      Jim and Neil

      Please recognise the well of resentment that a bigoted Rangers culture has created. You do not seem to accept any responsibility for this festering sore, which embarrasses many Scots.

      It’s not anti Rangers as such, but that team characterises a poison which we want to get rid of in the future Scotland you and I want.

      To lance the boil of sectarianism, we need to address it. We can’t suppress it as you seem to want.

      To say that your family will abandon independence because people say that Rangers is a poison shows perhaps how shallow their allegiance to Scotland is, and how strong are their links to an unpleasant aspect of Scots life. And that is just the point – bigotry is a millstone round our collective Scots neck. Such ignorance holds us back.

      You say ”Perhaps the idea is to reduce support for independence?” Even a hardened conspiracy theorist would turn away from that remark.

      Bella is doing what it should do – giving a platform for debate. Please dont try to muffle that debate because it’s uncomfortable.

  41. Neil Anderson says:

    This is all VERY sad.

  42. Hugo says:

    I don’t think that this site is the correct vehicle for football related discussions, there are plenty other sites which encourage this drivel, which usually ends up in childish, sectarian garbage.Leave this mince for those football related (?) web sites .Leave this site for more important Independence related topics.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi Hugo – unfortunately football doesn’t exist in some hermetically sealed bubble. It is a major part of Scottish cultural life. Rangers, or whoever they are, is a major institution and their demise, mismanagement, or whatever it is is big story. We’ll try and keep it in perspective but as it touches on issues of transparency, democracy, business and collapsing institutions it is on Bella’s agenda. Sorry.

      1. Kenny says:

        “We’ll try and keep it in perspective.” Below a bigoted article tarring all Rangers (yes that’s who they are so suck it up) fans as unionist morons.
        You really couldn’t make it up.

        The irony is making me cringe.

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