BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence
« Previous | Main | Next »

Rangers fans deserve better

Post categories:

Jim Spence | 22:09 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

If the Rangers takeover doesn't materialise then Andrew Ellis won't be able to complain about the lack of publicity.

To buy the column inches and broadcast coverage he has enjoyed would have cost a fortune in any other business.

In football, though, an expression of interest in buying a club, especially one like Rangers, is a guarantee of vast and free coverage which does the profile no harm at all.

The game is littered with examples of businessmen who would be otherwise invisible, but who acquired sudden fame because of their interest, no matter how serious, in buying a football club.

If you're a Rangers fan how serious do you think Mr Ellis is?

With the stock exchange rules applying, information is at a premium; but it means that a huge amount of publicity is generated for individuals, without them receiving in-depth scrutiny.

Fans in this situation desperately hope for the best, and feel powerless as their club is treated like any other commodity by individuals who, in many cases, may be here today and gone tomorrow.

So far, Rangers fans have watched with mounting frustration as gossip and rumour have masqueraded as hard fact.Andrew Ellis is mulling over buying a controlling share in Rangers

RFC, the company controlled by Mr Ellis, said in its statement this week that negotiations with Sir David Murray were at an "advanced stage".

"It is emphasised that this announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer and there is no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming or as to the terms of such an offer," it read.

That looks as clear as mud to me. But what do you think Mr Ellis is up to?

While the indecision and uncertainty goes on, Walter Smith is trying to prepare a team for next season, and Rangers fans are panicking over what the future is for their club.

Rangers fans were once derided for claiming they deserved better, but in this situation they are right.

They do deserve better, much better, from Mr Ellis or anyone else with designs on their club.

So Mr Ellis should remember the old adage: "it's good to talk".

I'm sure Rangers fans are willing to listen.


  • Comment number 1.

    ''what the fans deserve'' thats an interesting line, you should know that the fans are the last people to be thought of.
    just to add to the media spin, have you ever seen such positive reporting with the club in such a financial mess.
    in the old days when deals were done, a good business man always left something in it for the next man. what is left .
    for 3years rangers has been for sale, why has it taken so long.
    i'm trying to be positive but it's difficult.
    i wonder if sir david would see fit to send each rangers season ticket holders a bottle of his fine wine as a good will gesture.
    i've heard of a few sports reporters getting the odd bottle, how many of them are season ticket holders.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    "i wonder if sir david would see fit to send each rangers season ticket holders a bottle of his fine wine as a good will gesture"

    Comments like that have astounded me over the piece - Sir David Murray is obviously the villain of the piece here (if you're devoid of your senses).

    As a supporter of one of the non OF SPL clubs - I hope this soap rumbles on - all involved deservem it so much.

  • Comment number 4.

    As Mr Spence says himself, Stock Exchange rules prevent Mr Ellis from saying too much.

    As for the implication that Mr Ellis's expression of interest is a publicity stunt, it's not credible. The matter has been going on far too long for that.

  • Comment number 5.

    Rangers fans are reasonably content, this weeks events across the city are hardly earth-shattering, hardly a vote of confidence in the new manager giving him a one year deal, the targets being mentioned are basically guys with the best years behind them or baggage, like Bullard.

    Smith has shown he is a shrewd operator in the bargin basement, he has the nucleus of a good side and a little money to re-build. Debt is coming down, steadily, while it is rising across the city.

    Mr Ellis can and should take his time. The last thing Rangers need right now is a botched deal, or an arrangement that does not last. We don't want a Liverpool or Manu type of deal.

    What fans of both old firm teams need to realise is that the players they sign are going to be of a lesser quality, or untried and untested as the income stream reduces. Teams must live within their means.

  • Comment number 6.

    For a guy who it is claimed to be publicity hungry it amazes me that nobody has actually seen him to take a new photograph, that one with the northampton town scarf is wheeled out any time he is mentioned.
    I'm not sure he even exists, lord lucan and Elvis are seen more often than Ellis!
    Perhaps once this is all over we will find out what took so long, Rangers need to move forward and not be stuck in this limbo if they are to maintain their grip on the SPL title - which it is miraculous that they are holders of given the operating circumstances they have worked under for the last 2 years.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm not a Gers fan but I'd be worried about my club being bought by these guys. They are not after Rangers because they are fans and love the club. This is a business investment and given the paucity of money in Scottish football, something about the club assests obviously interests them.

  • Comment number 9.

    the media have tried to put a positive spin on things but i think the figures reported are way off the mark, Rangers are in a terrible state financially and, as even Martin Bain has admitted, Rangers have a limited target market so from a business perspective anyone taking over needs to be in it for the long term as there will be n overnight solution.

    as someone said above the Fans are the last thing the moneymen think about. its a disgrace but unfortunately thats modern football.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    come on jonny default
    have you not got a sense of humour, do i actually think i would get a bottle of free wine.
    everybody can see it's a wee bit of a mess in the boardroom with different sources coming out with different stories etc etc etc, the only thing that counts at the end of the day is winning titles and cups .
    in situations like this a sense of humour is a must.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jim, since, in your own words, the Old Firm are only as interesting as your breakfast earlier in the day, any chance of ignoring the lack of news of a buyer at Rangers and covering the lack of news of a buyer at St Mirren?! Both clubs were put up for sale at a similar time but the sale of St Mirren has only been mentioned a few times in the national press since last October. While Rangers still appear to be waiting for a concrete offer from 1 potential buyer apparently the St Mirren board have knocked back 2 bids and up to 5 interested parties had enquired about buying the club.

    The press in Scotland do really need to get a grip with their obsession with the Old Firm. Reviewing the last 6 months we have been treated to weekly re-runs of non-news stories from Ibrox and Parkhead which have been given more coverage than actual news stories concerning the 10 other diddy teams in the SPL. I'm thinking of likes of the following: latest news on Rangers buy out - still no news; latest news on Walter Smith's contract - still no news (only recently resolved); latest news on Ally McCoist's contract - still no news (see previous entry); latest news on Kris Boyd's contract extension - still no news; latest news on will Neil lennon get the Celtic job - still no news (a story which ran from about 10 weeks if not longer)... When David Murray announced he was selling Rangers that story got more coverage that week than all the other 11 SPL teams put together, as we got a review of the Murray years, an assessment of his legacy at Rangers and in Scottish football and were treated to ex-players and ex-managers paying tribute to his time as chairman. Stewart Gilmour was no longer newsworthy 2 days after putting St Mirren up for sale even though arguably he has been the better chairman more in tune with the direction Scottish football needs to take to survive and then flourish in the next decade. We've also been treated to in depth profile of Dave King and his history as a businessman and Rangers fan even though he won't be bidding for Rangers, as well as oodles of info and publicity surrounding Andrew Ellis and his potential bid for Rangers. Gordon Scott's resignation from the St Mirren board after having 2 bids to buy the club rejected was covered in a paragraph by comparison.

  • Comment number 14.

    But what is interesting about covering a 'diddy team' (your words!)?

  • Comment number 15.

    #14 what is boring about covering a diddy team who can lose a cup final to one half of the OF who finished the game with 9 men and then beat the other half of the OF a few days later 4-0 at home? It's called variety... rather than rehashing 'no news yet on Rangers sale / Walter Smith's contract / Kris Boyd's contract / Davie Weir playing next season / Neil Lennon being offered the Celtic job'... now that does get boring!

  • Comment number 16.

    I tire of the constant attacks on Mr Murray. The man wants out - he perhaps tires of a club whose supporters continue to throw any attempt to make Rangers an all-inclusive club into the bitter weegie dustbin. I write as a Rangers season ticket holder of some 30 years and I grow increasingly sick of a minority of my fellow supporters dragging the club's name into the gutter. How many times can these imbeciles following their "religion" claim to have been to church, at the same time proclaiming to be ambassadors for a doctrine linked to Rangers that has never existed. I believe Mr Murray will sit tight until he finds a buyer that will serve the decent majority well. And don't give me any of the Advocaat overspending nonsense - any Rangers fan who says he wasn't onboard at that time is a liar.

  • Comment number 17.


    Didn't your 'diddy team' have a weekly blog from one of your players last season on the BBC site? Better coverage than most!

    And St Mirren stories don't sell papers. And why isn't your local paper covering it and asking questions?

  • Comment number 18.


    Yet another blog, covering a story that has dragged on for months, with no real changes bar a basic press release about not being able to give away "too much information".
    I can't believe that yet again - like the 'Neil Lennon will probably get the job' blog - this rehashed rubbish actually makes it on to this website.

    It's as long as a synopsis about how to open a book and touches on absolutely NOTHING that no-one already knew.
    I'm still struggling to understand how JS gets paid for this tripe.

    Rangers will not be bought by August; they will not be bought by the end of season 2010-2011.
    Prepare to be bored for another year.

  • Comment number 19.

    We should all remember that much written on the back pages concerning serious financial matters can be dismisserd e.g. the stories last week that a 'deal was done and an announcement will be made on Friday 11th before Midday'. We are still waiting - what a surprise.

    What is more interesting is why Ellis and his consortium have been given so long to conduct their due diligence. This suggests they are the only serious buyer and that Lloyds are absolutely desperate to get out so will tolerate the delays which are bound to occur where property is the real issue. Let's be up front, the only reason he is interested in buying Rangers is to screw as much financially out of the adjoining property. If he cannot do that, he will walk away.

    It is also abvious that this guy has littel serious cash of his own - Google him and what you get is an estate agent in Kent who has made a bit of money but little else.

    As a Rangers supporter of over 50 years I do worry for the future of the club. Walter has worked miracles but even with the turmoil on the other side of the city, he will struggle to make it 3.

    Considering HBOS and Lloyds have written off tens of millions you also have to wonder why they are looking for 100% payback from Rangers/MIH when they have sold off other companies for a fraction of the debt owed. They appear at no time to have been up front with the Board, Walter and forget the supporters, we do not even count. Is it not time that Lloyds, who are totally in control, issued a statement clearly stating their position and intentions and although we may not like some of it, at least we would know where the club stands and what we supporters can expect.

  • Comment number 20.

    #15 Jack Ross's blog was about the life of an SPL player and wasn't specifically about St Mirren FC. If Jack gets another SPL club to sign him over the close season his blog could continue along the same lines to last season minus his occasional mentions of his St Mirren team mates.

    The wider point I was making was about the Scottish media a) largely ignoring the other 10 SPL clubs in their coverage of SPL football news and b) re-running non-stories about the Old Firm almost every couple of days and often cutting and pasting the story from a few days previously and adding a few new sentences at the start.

    Two comparisons which make my point: 1) St Mirren's star player Andy Dorman and Rangers' star striker Kris Boyd both had contracts which expired this summer. Neither play looks likely to re-sign for their current club. Which story has had the more coverage? BBC Sport / The Herald / The Scotsman / The Record et al will have run at least 10 -15 stories on 'the latest' on Boyd's contract negotiations while Dorman's situation has been covered in 1 story yesterday confirming he has decided to play elsewhere. 2) The 'sale' of Rangers and St Mirren. Both clubs have been on the market for the best part of the last season. Most weeks have seen updates on the situation at Ibrox, which appears to have now ended with no sale and no concrete bids, St Mirren's sale has attracted concret bids and a number of other parties preparing bids and making enquiries and there has been no coverage of this as a main story outwith the day the club was put on the market.

    Why make an issue of this? Firstly, the BBC website has nothing to do with selling papers, unlike the coverage of the Scottish papers, the BBC website is funded by taxpayers so there is no need to be driven by sales, the BBC has a freedom and duty to stand apart from its newspaper counterparts and provide a more balanced coverage than they do. Secondly, the more the newspapers and TV companies home in on OF coverage and ignore the rest of the league the more they create a buzz around those 2 teams and make them the only show in town. Over the last 3 decades and especially since the SPL was created there has been a huge shift in organising the SPL so that more of the cashflow in the league goes from the provisional clubs to the ugly sisters and as that has happened the league has become less competitive and their has been a drift from people supporting their local provisional teams (whose support across the board has dropped noticably) to OF attendances rising by a similar margin to the fall in support for the provincial clubs. Over the same timescale the provincial clubs are no longer able to sustain a title challenge or even split the OF, and clubs which 3 decades ago were able to win European trophies and reach European finals now 'do well' to scrape past the first round the play in Europe.

    Surely it is time to redress the balance of coverage in the SPL? Cover the provincial clubs more often and more positively (nearly all of St Mirren's big headlines last year were negative: the row about bonuses and the row about the post-final party) and help them attract more local support again and compete better. Also, if editors can also decide that Old Firm non-stories are just that and deserve to be ignored until there is news we make actually have room to report on the positives from the provisional clubs. Have their been any Dundee United stories since Peter Houston signed his contract? Last time I checked they finished 3rd in the SPL and finished the season by winning the Scottish Cup... the OF has signed no one in the intervening time but still hogged nearly all the headlines anyway despite their being almost no news from Ibrox and Parkhead.

  • Comment number 21.


    i have got to agree with you, you have a very good point when it comes stories and how they are covered by the media. The sad fact though is that scottish football is on it's knee's and the focus is still on players contracts, managers and is it sold or isn't it sold.
    When a team like st mirren can't be sold on when it sits in the premier league and has very little to no debt then some alarm bells must be ringing at the SFA coupled with the news that RANGERS FC is still owned by sir david. What went wrong there.
    The media just embarrass themselves trying to put a positive spin on it.
    The new season should be interesting, journalists all have their agenda's and slants and inside story tellers, i can't wait for a journalist to print a story that tells everybody why football at the professional level in this country cannot be sold on and why we no longer can compete at european and struggle so badly in international games.
    jim spence have you any answers,
    Could it be something simple like attitude.

  • Comment number 22.

    way to much messing about from the elusive Ellis.
    i couldn`t be happier to have him out of the picture. i just hope this means walter, ally and kenny have some cash to play with and bring in a decent striker as we have lost our best since the heady days of ally "6 yard box" mccoist.
    we need a scot , a winner and most important a blue nose to look after this legendary club.
    rangers fc is not just a football club

  • Comment number 23.

    Seems the reluctant owner is back running things at that place how do the bears feel ? the man cleary does.nt want anything to do wity them ,but nobody else would touch them with a barge pole

  • Comment number 24.


    Saint Doug, I did tell you first who had got your mnanagers job on Sportsound two Saturday's ago. I take your point though about Old Firm dominance in terms of media coverage and in my defence I'm not usually slavish about them, but the Rangers situation had to be addressed.

    I can tell you Saints are still in talks with a potential buyer/investor and more talks are planned next week. The truth of the matter though is that running a club is increasingly beyond the pockets of many of the business people who previously got involved in the game.

    Costs in the game will have to be driven down and investment in young up and coming players from the lower divisions and youth set ups will be the way forward I think.

  • Comment number 25.

    Jim unfortunately football is now littered with buisness men who don't care a bit about the football clubs they try to buy, there are examples of owners and chairmen having controlling interest in 2 or 3 different clubs in their lifetime, some have even become household names for it. It really saddens me to think the days when the local boy done good comes back to buy the club he loved as a boy have long since gone and the wanting a quick profit and stuff the fans type of animal rules. To me and all these other people Rangers FC is much, much more than "just a football club" but unfortunately potential buyers don't have a clue about history or what is right for the club and what is wrong.

  • Comment number 26.

    yet more guff from the bluenoses , they were jumping up and down when they thought they had got rid of sir dave and the new kid ellis was riding into town on the white charger now that its a ll gone pear shaped they,d have us believe that sir dave is the man always was the man and lifes good again .mmm double standards me thinks

  • Comment number 27.

    In the same way you were all bleating about the return of Tony Mowbray to lead you to great things perhaps?

  • Comment number 28.

    some of us were not bleating in fact some of us wre downright unhappy ,anyway thats in the past now disaster as it was , we now have a new manager which i beleive most fans back ,heres hoping for a bright new dawn under lenny hated by the bluenoses which makes it even sweeter ,be seen to be green

  • Comment number 29.

    Ok I upset some of you never wanted Mowbray and we're unhappy about it and as a bluenose I admit Lennon isn't top of my christmas card list. This all makes next season all the more interesting and we'll see about new dawns next May.

  • Comment number 30.


    Not sure that being 'hated by the bluenoses' as you put it is essential to be a Celtic manager but there you go: unless you want to trot out the 'Celtic-minded' guff!

    Don't think anyone at Ibrox has welcomed SDM back!

  • Comment number 31.

    Being hated by the bluenoses is,nt essential its just a fact . i dont buy into the celtic minded garbage i believe lennon was the only man who will galvanise that team and make them better ,nothing fancy just self belief and ability

  • Comment number 32.

    Good luck Boro - you may have just signed THE most incompetent footballer that ever played for Rangers - arrogant, disruptive, technically inept. I am a Rangers fan and i fear that he will fail in your league. Sad indictment of the Scottish game. God help you if it gets too hot. Good riddance.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well done to Rangers this weekend - we might not have much money (or the whole ownership situation sorted out) but we still have heart, and the ability to actually win things. Go Gers! :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Glad the Rangers deal finally went thru - hopefully we can now start building (and get David Bentley in!

  • Comment number 35.

    Time to get Alan Hutton back methinks.

  • Comment number 36.

    Would love to see Darren Fletcher playing at his spiritual home. He doesn't get a game for United these days so...

  • Comment number 37.

    Would love to see Droggers but in reality it will be people like Nigel Reo-Coker, etc (on frees).

    We still have no money - if only we'd kept hold of Charlie Adam (so we could sell him!)

  • Comment number 38.

    Charlie Adam will go for £10 - £12m this year - even Man United are interested. How did Rangers fail to get the very best out of him? He's a class player and should have been given his chance in the centre of midfield for us.

  • Comment number 39.

    PS. I think we should be going after the young talent like Corry Evans - would do well at a club like ours. Swap deal for Jelavic?

  • Comment number 40.

    Swap Evans for Jelavic?!

    For Jela I would want Evans, Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and one of the da Silvas on loan!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Only transfer rumours I can find on BBC are that Rangers are going to re-sign (after a loan spell) El Hadji Diouf. Not sure on that one.

    We should be trying to get the youg scottish / Irish talent, who will actually stay with us when they reak their peak, rather than the likes of Jela, etc who use the clubs merely as a stepping stone to the Prem. Thats where someone like Corry Evans would work.

  • Comment number 42.

    Realistic targets I've heard about are: Carlos Vela, Daniel Sturridge, Nedum Onuoha, Steve Sidwell

    There was a time, not so long ago, that we competed for the best players in Europe, but now it seems that we have to hope for Javier Hernandez-like bargains, and even then we have to sell them on when they become too good (and expensive) for us to keep :(

    Our TV revenue is shocking compared even to FC Twente, etc.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think many people are placing too much emphasis on the "deserve" side of things as far as results are concerned. The statement refers, in my opinion, to the running of the club and the way the fans are treated. We do, given the vast sums of money we give the club, deserve that the club is run in a much better fashion. Having to sell your top scorer in January as we strive to win the league is not the sort of thing that should happen to 50,000 fans who, year after year, pump more money into the club than anyone else. We've been financially mismanaged for a decade now. This is the third time in ten years we're facing a financial crisis. Perhaps the fans would be more vocal in their support if they were offered a better product by the club. Not only that, but not treated purely as customers in the eyes of the Board and their employees. The attitude the club has to the fans on a number of levels is sickening. No one is saying we have a divine right to any trophies. We do however, deserve to at least be run in a way befitting our great club.

  • Comment number 44.

    Too true - we have been an after-thought for too long (though you could say the same about United, Liverpool, and most other football clubs).

  • Comment number 45.

    We need to be picking up the bargaisn from the relegated teams - West Ham have some QUALITY players - Green, Cole and Parker should all be available on the cheap.

    Birmingham have less, but Foster would be handy if we sold McGregor...?

  • Comment number 46.

    BREAKING NEWS: According to Sky Sports we're close to getting Matthew Upson from West Ham! :D

  • Comment number 47.

    I think William Gallas is available on a free...?

  • Comment number 48.

    Need to do 2 things this summer.

    1. Keep Allan MCGregor
    2. Sign one of Drogba and Anelka (whichever Chelsea want to sell.
    3. Win :)

  • Comment number 49.

    Nicklas Bendtner has to be worth a punt - he definitley wants to leave Arsenal and we could be the making of him.

    Or the similarly out of favour Ryan Babel?

  • Comment number 50.

    Incidentally, has everyone seen the news about Whittaker - a £300,000 bid?! ridiculous!

  • Comment number 51.

    £300,000? Thats what League One players are going for!? Its no wonder we have no money if we sell our players for such ridiculous amounts!

    We should try sticking in a £300,00 bid for Cesc Fabregas!


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.