It’s May 15th, 2011. A young boy is embarking on a journey along the M77 from Glasgow to Aryshire, Kilmarnock to be precise. He’s 12 years old and on this day has the opportunity to watch Rangers win the league for the first time In the flesh as they pitched up hoping to secure 3-in-a-row at Rugby Park. He’s been unable to sleep for the best part of a week since getting the conformation that the golden ticket was his as the excitement had taken over at the prospect of a dream send-off for Walter Smith.
It’s February 14th, 2012. The same young boy, now 13, is talking to his Father and his Grandfather attempting to make sense of what is happening to his club. To their club. They can barely believe it either, three generations being forced to watch as Craig Whyte placed Rangers Into administration. Three generations watching on in horror as the sheer scale of the deceit and the lies were laid bare, now knowing this could be the end of their club. Never Again.
He’s entering the stadium now and is making his way right up to the back of Kilmarnock’s Chadwick Stand. The excitement was now almost unbearable for the young boy. Every second that passed without a ball being kicked in front of him was a second too long. He overhears one of the older bears around him say that we needed a ‘fast-start’ in order to calm everyone down. In a raucous Rugby Park, it was prophetic how it was those words that were ringing in the boys ears as Rangers took to the pitch. It was time at last.
It’s August 11th, 2012. Rangers have just been demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish Football and hit with a transfer ban. The events of May 2011 now seem a lifetime ago for the young boy as Rangers take the field away to Peterhead. A 90th minute equaliser from Andy Little to snatch a 2-2 draw confirmed this was going to be a very long season on the park while off it, Charles Green had purchased the club from Craig Whyte in the summer, kicking off a chain of events that would culminate in him resigning in disgrace while selling his shares to Sandy Easedale. Never Again.
It was a feeling unlike any other the young boy had felt in a football stadium, or a feeling he as indeed felt since. In the elation as Kyle Lafferty had put Rangers 1-0 up after just 46 seconds it felt like he was flying, as did what seemed like the whole of the stadium. The cornucopia of emotion was exploding all around the stadium. The fruits of following Rangers around the country for the previous 10 months were now starting to bare. This is what it had all built up to. This feeling was everything the boy had imagined in his dizziest daydreams… And Rangers weren’t done yet.
It’s December 22nd, 2014. The young boy is now 15 and is watching the footage coming out of Ibrox, but not as he nor anyone knows it. The footage was not of a European night under the lights or an iconic Rangers goal, but instead it was footage of a tent on the Ibrox turf facing Rangers shareholders in the away end of the stadium. The boy was watching the 2014 AGM. David Somers and Derek Llambias, along with the Easedale Brothers were in that the tent that day, opening the door for Mike Ashley to get his hands on Rangers, whom they would eventually accept a £10m loan in the summer of 2015. Never Again.
The elation the boy had felt six minutes previously had been replaced by a sense of sheer disbelief at now. Kyle Lafferty had once again found the back of the net for Rangers, now making it 3-0 to wrap up the league title inside just 7 minutes of the game. At that moment in time the boy felt both him and his football club were invincible, he thought that these times would never end. This is how it feels to be a Rangers fan. Title 54 in the bag already and now we go for 55.
If I could go back and have a word with that 12-year-old version of myself at Rugby Park that day I’d probably tell myself to soak it up much more than I did. In fairness, had I told anyone at that point they would be witnessing the last major trophy we would win that decade then I would have been laughed out of the stadium.
The events that ensured after that day in 2011 took our club to the brink and back again. Rangers fans know more than most what their club means to them after what we have all been through and all that we have been put through. The reason for that is because in the past decisions made by the club haven’t been taken with the clubs best interests at heart by people with the clubs best Interests at heart, and while we are in a very fortunate position now that we have a board at the helm that we know and trust, there can be no room for complacency. Managers, players and even boardroom members will come and go from Rangers. And while those who currently sit at the top our club do so with our thanks and our gratitude, they will one day inevitably leave. There will ever only be one constant at Rangers and that is the fans – the fans who love the club and who want nothing more than for Rangers to be the best version of itself as it can be both on and off the park. While considerable progress has been made in both of those areas, we always need to be looking forward at every opportunity to ensure that we keep moving in that direction.
That is why I feel that Dave King selling his shares to Club1872 can be one of the biggest moments in the club’s history in a positive sense. Securing 25%+1 of the shares ensures that the charlatans and the spivs of the past remain in the past. It means that never again will a parent need to explain to their children, as my father had to with me, why they may not have a Rangers to support anymore. It means that never again can a figure like Whyte or Green come in to Ibrox and pull the rug out from under our feet. It means that never again will puppets like Somers and Llambias be allowed to gift the soul of the club to the likes of Mike Ashley on a plate.
Never again should Rangers fans should need to go through what we have went through. Never again of Rangers fans should need to lay awake at night wondering if the institution they have given their lives to will still be there when the sun rises in the morning. Never again should we be forced to sit and watch the club we love be decimated in front of our eyes.
Nobody is naive to the scale of the task we have before us to secure these shares, it’ll take a herculean effort from both the fans and the club but I see it as being an opportunity too good to pass up. We have a once in a lifetime chance to help secure the future of Rangers. Let us do this for all those who came before us and for all those who will come after.