Rangers Must Fall to the Bottom of the SFL Before Standing Back Up

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Rangers Must Fall to the Bottom of the SFL Before Standing Back Up
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

July 4 might be Independence Day in two countries this year.

The U.S. might have to make room for Scotland, who may be celebrating the SPL’s independence from Rangers.

Reports are circulating that at least five clubs have said on the record that they will vote to prevent the blue half of Glasgow from returning to the top flight of Scottish football.

While this can’t be necessarily a shock to Gers fans everywhere, the specter of what looms now is close to becoming a reality.

Coupled with reports that Craig Whyte is to be investigated for his handling of the club and that current owner Charles Green intends to challenge the TUPE regulations, Rangers’ reputation is taking a hellacious blow at the moment.

At this point, the worst possible outcome may be sending Rangers into the second division instead of all the way down the ladder.

With a large portion of the club’s players likely to opt out from taking part in the "newco" (under TUPE regulations), there’s likely to be little squad remaining.

Even the name recognition of Rangers is not likely to be able to draw in recruits that will help them challenge for the second division title.

In short, it may become Rangers’ youth squad that becomes the basis for the bulk of the club in the 2012-2013 campaign.

While it is certain that there are fine talents swimming around at Murray Park, asking a squad of reserves and youngsters to step in and win the division, even at the second division level, is a bridge too far in all likelihood.

That’s why it might be better if the squad landed in the fourth division and steadily built their way back up through the ranks.

Rangers’ youth and reserves would likely have little trouble sweeping away the competition of the fourth and third divisions. With extended playing time, those players could become the basis for a strong core once the matters of the club, as a whole, are settled.

By that time, the recognition of Rangers as a club would again have some value and the squad could begin to find players available in the transfer market that could help the squad through back to the SPL.

With top flight status resecured, the squad would have the pull (if not the sympathy) that it formerly had in the transfer market.

Also by this time, the club would have had the ability to lay out a secure financial plan that keeps the squad from having to go through such a sorry state again.

What is the better option for Rangers?

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Much of what has been described, of course, depends on what happens when the brain trust of the SPL, SFA and SFL get together and try to salvage Rangers in the second division.

At this point, this is possibly the worse of the two options because any signs of regression (i.e. not winning the second division) will be stained on to Rangers’ history books.

It also may stunt any changes in the ownership and management structure.

This is where the heart of the problem really lies and anything that inhibits a clearing out and a principled rebuilding of the club’s framework will lead to problems further down the road.

Rangers will be punished and removal from the SPL is looking to be a forgone conclusion.

But there is a right and wrong way for Rangers to rebuild itself. Settling the off-pitch matters will help the club break away from the chains that currently bind them in the public sphere.

Only with time and a sound strategy will Gers be able to reclaim the place that it has held so many times before.

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