lunedì 27 febbraio 2012

Why Rangers must survive

It’s just one of those times when events overtake you.

This has got to be about Rangers

I hadn’t planned it that way.

But then I heard that Rangers had gone into administration.

And it hit me. It hit me hard. And I had to write something.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Rangers are a part of your life, whether you know it or not. Like Mount Everest. Like a force of nature.

And that’s why Rangers have to survive, whatever the modern world thinks they've brought to the table - and the field - since they were founded in 1872.

I want Rangers to survive because a club is about more than money.

I want Rangers to survive for their supporters. The rowdy, the quiet, the young and the old. Not because they’re Rangers supporters. But simply because they’re supporters. Because in a world where everything has a price and nothing has value, they have some things that can’t be bought with money – loyalty, a sense of community, a bond with one another and their team that doesn’t depend on its position in the league table or on the stock market.

This blog’s going to be about Rugby Union and about various aspects of life in Italy. And that’s how it was supposed to start.

It was not going to be about football. And not certainly not about Rangers. And I wasn’t going to start it yet.

But what’s happening to Rangers dwarfs all that.

We rugby fans think we’re different from football supporters. And we sometimes think that our game’s better than theirs with its diving, its rolling around on the ground, its nil-nil draws and its hooligan elements. And some Celtic fans think they’re better than Rangers fans. And Inter supporters…well, you get the picture.

But none of us is so different. And we know it. We get the picture.

We know that every Rangers supporter - like the Rangers supporters I’ve met - have their own special Rangers story that they want to share.

And we already know that story. The details will be different and so will the names. But it will be a story we know. Because if you’ve ever loved a team, it will be your story, too.

And now Rangers have hit an iceberg and that’s part of their story, too.

But it could be part of yours. Because Rangers, like Celtic and Aberdeen FC and the Scottish national rugby team are part of the fabric of a nation and more. They aren’t just ‘a business’ - they’re a way of life. A way of life that is in Rangers' case shared by millions of people worldwide. They’re an energy-giving source of pride, sporting culture, history and unity. They bring people together. To celebrate them or to shout against them. But however you look at it, they bring people together.

And if Rangers go under no-one is safe.

But I also want Rangers to survive because my team didn’t. And I know what it’s like to bleed all over the stadium floor. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Go on, Rangers! Prove the naysayers, the bloodless pragmatists, those without the guts to dream… prove them wrong!