Saturday, June 25, 2022

Flying the Flag For Rangers

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The Highland Bear
Unashamedly watching the world through Blue tinted specs. Contributor to The 4th Official.

23rd of July 2011. Can Anyone recall that brief day in the history of Rangers FC? A one all draw with Hearts at Ibrox. Over a decade ago, the significance hopefully will be somewhat consigned to the history books tomorrow (Sunday, September 19th 2021).

It was the last time our illustrious institution raised the Flag over Ibrox Stadium to signify we were the all conquering side of the country. A visible marker for all to see that we were the team to beat.

A lot has changed in the decade since we witnessed greed and self preservation. Also, an attempt to destroy the one thing that binds so many of us together. Charlatans & chancers who quite frankly could not run a bath, never mind a football club, especially one with the magnitude of ours.

As a Rangers fan over the decades, I have taken immense pride in being part of the support… The Standards we impose & expect of those custodians only serve to cement this feeling. We have experienced some incredible Highs together. From the Barcelona Bears and the Ecstasy of defeating the Iron Curtain of Moscow Dynamo to the lows of seeing our Uefa Cup Challenge thaw under the intensity of a Zenit side commanded by a former General of our shores. From the 1992 maiden voyage into the new Champions league, remaining unbeaten to the shambolic surrender to Gotenborg, Aek & Levski Sofia.  If I were to continue listing such events, it would be a rollercoaster that would take us to the edge of time as we know it.

2011 should have been a new dawn. It should have been the transitional handover of one club custodian to another. The continuation of dominance with a side that had just won 3 titles on the spin should have been at the very least an almost certainty. You don’t need me to remind anyone what came next.  However, I will focus on one side of this story. One man in particular.

Sandy Jardine.

Cometh the hour. Cometh the man.

Banners raised. An army standing side by side. We needed a leader, a hero. Sandy Jardine stepped up. Our support unified and mustered in numbers. Fighting for justice which would not be the last time our support would sadly have to do this.

We had to fight for the very survival of the club we hold so dear. The place so many of us call a second home. The Red Bricks of the Archibald Leitch Main Stand towering over the Govan Skyline. The marble staircase that icons have graced for over a century. The memorial to the Fallen 66 souls that we pay respects to every new year to ensure their memory will forever burn bright. Those 1st steps of seeing that wondrous field of dreams with our own eyes to witnessing our children take the same enchanting journey. We have shed tears of joy, tears of sadness. Tears for those no longer here.

Make no mistake; we almost lost our club. If it were not for the support and the dedication of those who never gave up to gain control, we might not have our beloved Rangers Football Club.

Today we are still at War, although the conventional methods of this battlefield have changed. It’s become one for the digital age. A traditional media on life support, throwing every last social hand grenade it can at a new generation of reporting as they struggle to maintain the status quo. The Red tops are no longer printing the quality of articles we once would witness from esteemed journalist’s schooled in the arts of Fleet Street itself.

Instead, we are spoon fed regurgitated nonsense. Antagonistic articles are designed to attack and damage. No longer sporting merit drying the ink on the Fish & Chip papers, but electronic letters distorting our screens with clickbait. Articles no longer relevant to the exploits on the field of play, instead attacking the wider fanbase based on the thoughts of a select few who lack the professionalism to carry out their journalistic duties with impartiality.

This new cyber warfare has particularly come to the fore these past few days. They may have inflicted the first blow and won the initial battle; however, they severely underestimated the reinforcements that would join the fight. They may have inadvertently started something they simply couldn’t finish. In the haste to attack one club, they went after people on the street. The ordinary fan. Me and you. They changed the rules of engagement.

I haven’t seen the Rangers support unite in this way since the dark days of 2012. A collective decision of enough being enough.  Enough of being attacked by media, politicians and failed trialists. All because they could not handle seeing their rivals winning the title. A faked outrage that never existed the previous nine years seeing another club sweep up every accolade before them.

I have news for you. Those days are gone. Those days of a support being kicked off the field are finished. We now have a team on the field who are now winners. A team of champions who have earned the right to stand tall.

September 19th is the day we unfurl the championship Flag. A day some of us feared we might never see again. A day some of us sadly never lived to witness. No doubt they will be watching down on the beautiful Ibrox Park with pride along with all who had passed.

Tomorrow is our day. The supporter. Football is nothing without fans. That is more relevant than ever in this covid world we find ourselves in.

Savour it. Embrace it. Take in every second, every breath. Look into the eyes of those around you. Remember the joy of all. Bottle up the moment and every time we have a bump in the road, uncork it and remember the unparalleled joys. Remember where we were. Where we travelled to and the journey back.

Rangers FC. Champions 2020/2021

Stay safe, stay humble & remember we well and truly are the people.

Editorial Note: Did you know this article was published first on our exclusive Patreon page? If you love Scottish football while sick and tired of the same old biased MSM coverage, this is for you. The 4th Official needs your support. Due to the unprecedented situation as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the digital media space has been completely devastated. There has been a massive shortfall in revenue (even while viewership is up) as we scramble how to make sure that we go on with our daily job. We are proud to put up exclusive stuff on Scottish football as well as an early release of our podcast interviews with relevant personalities of the game (recent guests have been David Martindale, Matt Polster, Greg Docherty, Daniel Stendel & a lot more) on our Patreon account and hope you would support us in these tough times. We have supporters from atleast 9 countries, and you can be too by chipping in just £2.99/month (or become an annual supporter). Become a proud Patron of The 4th Official!

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