There are people far more qualified than me to explain the mess in which Glasgow Rangers’ finances currently find themselves. One aspect of the fall-out from the Scottish FA’s damning verdict on the club last week, however, is worthy of note.
It concerns the man many hold out as the villain of the piece, Rangers’ owner and “keen supporter” Craig Whyte, who was banned for life from Scottish football and hit with four fines totalling £200,000, for bringing the game into disrepute and failing to follow Association orders.
Now even if one were to put the most positive spin on Whyte’s tenure at Ibrox and concede that he inherited a fiscal time bomb not of his making and simply found it too complex to defuse, I believe Rangers’ fans would still be entitled to expect certain things of him. This is a man, after all, who said when completing his purchase last year:
“Rangers is a great club with a great future. It has the best supporters in the world and I will do everything possible to protect and enhance the club’s standing going forward…The guiding principle from the outset has been to get the right deal for Rangers.”
So a degree of solemn reflection in light of the Scottish FA’s decision might be expected, surely? An appreciation that cheap point-scoring was best left to another time, out of sensitivity to fans who feared their world was falling apart.
And also a little humility, perhaps, given how guilt wells up in even the most blameless of decent men when calamity occurs on their watch.
What Rangers’ fans got, however, was this:
“Moments after the SFA announced the panel’s findings late last night, Whyte told Press Association Sport: “Tell me how it is going to affect me? I couldn’t care less.
“It makes no difference to my life whatsoever – and good luck collecting the money. It’s a joke.” – RTE Sport
Say this for Craig Whyte: if he does nothing else for the game, the dismissive, toe-curling callousness of that line has surely revealed to all but the most hopeless dullard the true nature of the new money that now controls too many of our professional football clubs.
These are not “keen supporters” the way you and I understand the term. Their enthusiasm, I suspect, tends to last only until an accountant’s spreadsheet suggests that their support might be more keenly applied elsewhere.
Glasgow Rangers might consider themselves well shot of Craig Whyte. Sadly for football in general, I fear there are plenty more where he came from, all of them, I’m sure, adamant that their guiding principle is to get the right deal for “the best supporters in the world”.