On Saturday 1 November 2014 former Rangers vice chairman Donald Findlay broke ranks with the Ibrox myth-makers in an interview in the Scottish Daily Mail in which he stated that the post liquidation Rangers are a ‘new entity’ which must establish ‘its own history and tradition’.
Findlay wanted to speak up before his club, Cowdenbeath, played the Rangers in the lower leagues. “It is a different club. They may play at Ibrox and they may play sometimes in royal blue jerseys. But you cannot pass on that which is undefinable. And that is spirit and tradition and all the rest of it,” the former Rangers Vice-Chairman said.
“To me this is a new Rangers which has to establish its own history and tradition. But it’s not the Rangers I know. To me, genuinely, it is a new entity.”
Findlay also believed he is not the only supporter of the liquidated football club to hold these views, but most prefer to remain silent.
“The view I have is one expressed to me by a lot of other Rangers supporters” declared Findlay.
“You can buy assets,” he conceded, “but you can’t buy history. You can’t buy tradition. History and tradition are in the heart and in the mind. You can’t buy that.”
Charles Green was able to buy the assets of the doomed club in June 2012 after the creditors voted down the CVA proposed by the administrators Duff & Phelps, who were selected by Craig Whyte – who has a book coming out on Valentine’s Day – and appointed by the Court of Session on 14 February 2012 as Rangers slipped into administration.
Findlay remains to this day Chairman of Cowdenbeath FC, his first role in football since being exposed singing sectarian songs while Vice Chairman at Rangers (1872) and having to resign. Findlay gave the interview a few days ahead of Rangers’ (2012) visit to Cowdenbeath’s Central Park on lower division league duties at the start of November 2014.
In an earlier league fixture the programme editor at Livingston FC was forced to resign amid threats of future boycotts by the traveling support and online abuse on social media sites directed at the West Lothian club and indeed the editor.
In an attempt to take the heat out if the situation the Livingston chairman issued an apology for any offence taken by the Rangers (2012) supporters but did NOT retract the factual basis of the programme feature, that the Rangers Livingston lost to that day was a new club.
In previous seasons in their short history, while further down the Scottish leagues, supporters of the new club bullied other clubs, such as Montrose, who dared to tell it like it is by calling Rangers a new club.
The Scottish clubs seemed to get the message, it just wasn’t worth the hassle pointing out the truth to the Rangers supporters.
Supporters of all other teams in Scotland are all aware of the facts regarding the demise of the football club whose name – Rangers Football Club Ltd – is displayed on those famous gates at Ibrox. Visiting supporters to Ibrox remind their hosts of the uncomfortable truth by singing “You’re not Rangers anymore”.
The truth really does hurt down Govan way.
Despite the Rangers knowing that everyone else knows their status as a new club, a narrative emerged where the word liquidation was never used. Instead the club “emerged from administration” and was “demoted” to the bottom tier due to the behaviour of one man – Craig Whyte. It wasn’t their fault – they were the victims and everyone else in Scottish football – including initially clubs like Dundee United and Raith Rovers and more recently Celtic – kicked them when they were down. And they wanted payback – something the old club failed to achieve towards hundreds of creditors from the face-painter to HMRC.
The role of the SFA in all of this was complex and indeed compromised. Supporters of other clubs pointed to Campbell Ogilvie, the “heavily compromised” President of the SFA remaining in post despite being up to his neck in the muck of Rangers’ demise. These supporters believed, with good reason, that everything and anything the SFA could do to assist Rangers – was done. It was only an online rebellion by season ticket holders of other Scottish clubs that prevented a new Rangers being parachuted into the second rather than the fourth tier back in the summer of 2012.
Despite all of this the Rangers supporters believed that they have actually been harshly treated by the SFA – and they still believe this in 2020.
The national BBC News on the same day that Findlay’s interview appeared in the Daily Mail, broadcast the demotion/ same club myth to the UK on the evening news while reporting on that day’s League Cup Semi Final draw the paired the club Charles Green founded with Celtic.
Many Celtic supporters questioned our own club and pointed out of that if an ex-Rangers (1872) vice chairman could make such a statement then Celtic – who would face the Rangers (2012) at Hampden for the first time ever a few months after Findlay’s Daily Mail interview in that semi-final – should have come out and stated the facts, as Celtic FC believe them to be.
A joke by Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell tagging the new club as Rory Bremner FC was regarded as being wholly insufficient to those Celtic supporters who believed that our club should have done the following:
* Stated clearly that Celtic regarded Rangers (2012) as a new entity, with no claim on the history of the liquidated club.
* Stated that as such there was no track record between Celtic and the new club before that first meeting in the League Cup semi-final in February 2015.
* Stated that Celtic regarded the term ‘Old Firm’, the joint descriptive term for Celtic and the liquidated club, as having died with Rangers upon their liquidation. (Celtic never use the ‘Old Firm’ term preferring to refer to the fixture as the ‘Glasgow Derby’)
*Pointed out that the honours won by the previous club could not and should not be transferred over to a club that was only formed in 2012.
* Stated for the avoidance of doubt that ‘Rangers’ were never demoted. Instead the current club were given preferential treatment in being allowed a place in the fourth tier to fill the gap created by the demise of Rangers through liquidation.
Montrose, Livingston, Cowdenbeath and other smaller clubs were brave enough to state the facts ahead of playing the new club. Celtic sadly didn’t do the same.
On Saturday night, 1 November 2014, Donald Findlay went fell asleep free from the big Myth – he was on the side of truth and was no longer associated with this lie, that as a QC he knew only too well to be complete and utter nonsense.
Sadly Celtic never freed themselves from being associated with this Myth, the lie that Rangers survived liquidation.
Before that first ever meeting Celtic said nothing but a group of Celtic Supporters did have their say, placing a crowd funded full page advertisement in the Sunday Herald newspaper on 25 January 2015 where they outlined the facts on the liquidation of Rangers FC and provided factual evidence that the Rangers are a new club.
These supporters were attacked on social media but the facts within the advertisement – which received world-wide media coverage – were never challenged.
The impact would have been considerably greater had Celtic had shown the courage of Donald Findlay or the smaller clubs like Montrose, Livingston, Cowdenbeath and others.
And if Steve Gerrard can get the better of Neil Lennon in this season’s Scottish Premiership then – unchallenged – the Rangers will claim that this is their 55th title rather than their first. That is a situation that the Celtic Board should do all they can in this transfer window to assist Neil Lennon to try and avoid.