One of the busier days for Rangers fans on Thursday saw two huge pieces of news emerge from the club. Ian Black received a ten match ban, seven of which are suspended until the end of May, for a bizarre betting case in which he thrice placed bets on his team not to win, as part of a larger collection of 140 matches bets were also placed on. Given that in two of the games he didn’t play, and he scored the winner for his side in the third one, match-fixing is clearly not a motive. His reasoning for placing these has not been revealed and we can only speculate as to his thinking.
However, the most important news was that a deadline of 31st October has been set for the showdown between the two factions battling for control of the club. The current regime of directors, weakened by the loss of Charles Green and Imran Ahmad from the picture, faces an uprising against a group of shareholders angered by the way the club has inexplicably haemorrhaged money since the current incumbents took control in June 2012. These shareholders, backed by City of London institutions, are rallying around the figurehead of Jim McColl, a wealthy Scots businessman with a fortune estimated to be worth more than £700m.
What these shareholders need to realise quickly is that they are not simply battling for control of Rangers. They are battling for the heart and soul of the club. Fans are sickened by the entire affair, having watched shady businessmen pocket huge swathes of supporters cash and they are calling not only for a change of personnel, but for accountability and transparency from the Club. Given that Rangers rise back to the top will be funded entirely by the supporters, it really is the least they deserve. If Jim McColl and co issue a rallying call to the Ibrox faithful, it will be matched by an intensity and a fervour that is so accustomed to the city of Glasgow.
The deadline has been set, the AGM must be held by the 31st October. These next few weeks will be pivotal for all concerned, but rest assured none will be concerned more than the supporters. This is their club and they choose whether to fund it or not, irrespective of what business owns what shares. Those seeking a reprieve and re-election before Halloween would do well to remember that.