Barrack O'bomber and the fiasco outside Newco

Barrack O'bomber and the fiasco outside Newco
Barrack O'bomber and the fiasco outside Newco

As a football player, John Brown lacked finesse and any real class. His style relied muscle and attempting to intimidate the opposition. One might be tempted to say that he was a quintessentially Rangers player as the likes of John Grieg, Ian Ferguson, Lee McCulloch and Terry Hurlock were similar in their approach to the game. Brown is not a gifted orator and certainly not the type of clever operator one would send into negotiations with a street wise venture capitalist like Charles Green. Brown delivered a moderately cringe-worthy interview on Sky Sports News before turning up at the impromptu demo at Ibrox last night.  We were then treated to Brown delivering a 40 minute foul mouthed rant to a thousand or so raging Bears who are in an increasingly desperate and bellicose mood. He declared war on Charles Green, urging fans not to buy season tickets or merchandise until Green sold up to the, as yet, unidentified group Brown fronts.

We are informed that Donald Findlay, former Ibrox vice Chairman and serial ‘folk’ song singer is part of the group and if this is the case it could spell a worrying development. Brown told how Green rejected an £8.7million bid he was heading last Friday and claimed Newco  owner was looking for £20-£30million from any potential buyer. Interestingly, Brown also claimed he did not believe that Green owned the stadium or the Murray Park training ground and called on him to prove it by producing the title deeds. He also claimed to have information which would see Green ‘hunted’ for the rest of his life. This pandering to the lowest common denominator we saw from Brown outside Ibrox last night suggests that if his group ever win control of Ibrox and Murray Park they will front a new Club with an almighty grudge against Scottish Football and some of the worst venom of the old Rangers history might well re-emerge.

As an effigy of David Murray was hanged on the mesh fence opposite the main door of Ibrox, we were treated to a few choruses of songs long frowned upon by decent people. Indeed the words of the old bigoted song ‘No one likes us we don’t care’ have been proven to be very much the case in recent weeks. From Inverness to Motherwell, from Easter Road to Aberdeen, SPL Clubs have rightly rejected the Newco on the grounds of sporting integrity. This rejection was led by the fans, not the boardrooms and supporters up and down the country made it quite clear that they were not prepared to see the rules changed to placate a new club born out of the death of an older one which shattered so many of the basic rules of football decency and good corporate governance. John Brown’s threatening tone during last night’s rant was more Nuremberg Rally than Gettysburg address. He said as he branded Green a conman “How do we get them out? You starve them out — when the money runs dry.  As long as you feed the animal, they will stay. You buy nothing. If you don’t put bums on seats, he has got nothing. They can’t afford to sit in there for years because there is no money there. Sooner or later, they have to come to the table and do a deal with us — that’s the story.”

Now Charles Green is a businessman, his goal has always to make money and move on. He clearly has little affection for what was Rangers FC but crucially he holds the key cards. His consortium own Ibrox Stadium and Murray Park and these assets will not be sold cheaply. He doesn’t look like the sort of man to be bullied by an inarticulate rabble-rouser who attends confidential business meetings and later discusses them on the pavement with a thousand angry fans. But even Green will see the danger of a boycott of his Newco Club by a largely confused support which is desperately seeking leadership and direction. Putting up former players or managers like Walter Smith or John Brown is one way any consortium gains credibility among the largely clueless and befuddled support. Such figures are the sheep dogs which herd the flock in the direction their paymasters tell them. Brown’s as yet unknown masters may well feel the first battle of the Newco Civil War went well. They have alienated Green to a large section of the support and will no doubt involve other interested parties such as the Walter Smith’s consortium or the Blue Knights in discussions about forming a common front against ‘conman’ Green.

All of this may in the end wrest control of the assets from Green, although he will still want his profit margin kept healthy. Alternatively, Green may decide to sell the assets on a piecemeal basis to the highest bidder and this is a dangerous scenario for those who want to resurrect a new-‘Rangers’ on the scorched foundations of the old. If Ibrox, listed building that it is, was sold to a property developer or supermarket chain one could easily imagine a very different outcome. John Brown’s intervention, late as it was, is symptomatic of an increasingly desperate mood among those who followed the now dead Rangers. Talk of a battle for ‘the soul’ or Rangers in some newspapers is mere tosh. This is about money and steering the Newco back into the arms of the sort of people who brought such dishonour on the old club in the past. John Brown was christened ‘Barack O’Bomber’ by some Celtic supporting wag on the back of his stumbling rhetorical display at Ibrox last night but his appearance spells a new chapter in the struggle to resurrect a Newco Rangers. Those of us who saw the demise of the old Rangers as an opportunity for a new club to start again and leave the arrogant, bullying, bigoted attitudes of the past behind them will be sorely disappointed.  Brown’s rhetoric suggests that if his consortium win this battle, an angry, humiliated and brazenly hostile Newco Rangers may well appear on the horizon and bring all the old baggage with it.