Never forget, Ally McCoist helped save Rangers

Posted by John Gow

Ally McCoist PA PhotosAlly McCoist: The 'greatest Ranger' of the modern era, if not of all time?

One of the comments you often hear among Rangers fans is that ‘Charles Green saved Rangers’. It’s true that the Rangers CEO did follow through on a very successful share issue when almost no-one (including me) believed it was possible to raise £20m in the fourth tier of Scottish football a few weeks before Christmas. But he did, and for that he deserves praise.

However it wasn’t Charles Green who saved Rangers. He has been honest enough to admit he is there for the money, and he will be a few million pounds richer when he leaves Ibrox. The saviours of the club are the ordinary Rangers fans who bought 37,000 season tickets and/or tried to make as many matches as possible. The support not only remained solid, but actually grew when they realised how close to the precipice they were.

But then a crowd needs leaders and when it matters a few people stepped up and one of them was Sandy Jardine. He led 10,000 fans to the steps of Hampden Park to dispute the draconian transfer registration ban and spoke well in the media. This hasn’t been forgotten, and with his current battle against cancer, Ibrox pays a tribute to him at every match until the day he walks up the marble staircase again.

Yet, for all Sandy did, there is one other who took the full force of what hit Rangers and did not falter or flinch. That man is Alistair McCoist. Never mind his playing career or current management of the club. It doesn’t matter how many goals he scored for the Light Blues or how many trophies, or lack of them, he wins as manager. McCoist was the perfect man to be in charge at the time and a pivotal figure in the 141 year history of the Rangers.

It’s easy to forget that there was no board at Ibrox while the administrators were in charge and that he was having to act almost like a Chairman, CEO and Manager all at the same time.

Watching the Rangers TV documentary ‘the Rising’ that covered the last 12 months, it was obvious that the passion McCoist feels for the Gers is the same as the ordinary fan. Looking at photographs and footage from that time you can also see the stress he was under, but he always tried to remain positive and told the Rangers fans that although things were bleak, they would eventually see better days.

And there are, and will be, better days. The club is at the bottom of the ladder, but it is alive, focused and with the best and largest support in Scotland it will find it’s way to the top again. None of it will be easy but it would be harder without the presence of Ally McCoist at Ibrox in 2012.

When a Light Blues captain inevitably lifts the trophy that signifies the Rangers as the champions of Scotland, fans should remember that without ‘Super Ally’ the club might not exist at worst, or at best would be a weaker force. It’s for this reason, and this is a purely personal choice, that I believe he is the ‘greatest Ranger’ of the modern era, if not of all time.

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