Rangers’ 3-1 win at Berwick last Saturday in Scotland’s Third Division was marred by what one published report referred to as “sectarian singing by a small section of the Rangers fans in the capacity crowd.” Leaving less to the imagination, When Saturday Comes’ Alex Anderson claims the traveling fans, “sang about ‘Fenian blood’”, paedophilia and co-commentator Craig Burley’s wife.”
It’s pertinent that the catalogue of paedophilia songs – aimed initially at the heavy police attention (“Why don’t you go and catch a paedo?”) then extended to Jock Stein, Celtic and the Catholic church – ended when Rangers produced the one pleasing move in the entire game, scoring on the stroke of half-time.
Boredom and identity crises are classic drivers of anti-social behaviour but the most valid mitigation for what went on at Berwick was sat in the directors’ box opposite Shielfield’s cowshed covered enclosure. Chief executive Charles Green, the appointed representative of the new company running Rangers, has engaged in a sustained campaign of blaming everyone else for our current position. There’s no structure to his public ranting; the only consistency has been to take the most embittered voices as representative of the entire fan base. He’s threatened to take the club out of Scotland, blamed their exclusion from the SPL on bigotry and last week he claimed he would quit the club if chairman Malcolm Murray didn’t resign.
Rangers fans says that those mocking our financial implosion of last summer are “obsessed”. However, six different songs about child abuse in five minutes demonstrate a far more sinister obsession. As the tabloids often demonstrate, there is a thin line between condemning paedophilia and celebrating it. Rangers fans who feel the need to attack the Vatican can safely stand down – there are enough people, better qualified and far more invested, currently on the case. And it’s not just in Rome where an institution enduring a year of setbacks could do with a change of leader.