The death and rebirth of Glasgow Rangers could be the best thing to happen to the SPL, Scottish Football, Rangers and the Universe as a whole.
In July of 1966 a hero was born. Step forward Mr Angelo de Livio. A tough man. An angry man. A little Roman with a face of a centurion. De Livio was a footballer from another time. A journeyman player who still managed to obtain 40 international caps, in 2002 he was part of the Fiorentina team that effectively ceased to exisit when they acknowledged that they could no longer pay their bills. Unlike anyone else in the Fiorentina squad, he was so dedicated to his club, despite only having played there 3 seasons, that he refused all other offers of employment and followed a rebirthed ACF Fiorentina in the fourth tier of Italian football.
How Glasgow Rangers could do with a de Livio today. On balance they may even take the 2012 45-year-old de Livio. To date, not one of Rangers first team squad has agreed to follow their team down to Division 3, the Scottish 4th tier. But maybe this could be salvation and redemption and a chance to make a hero of oneself. The Angel of the North. Alas, this isn't fantasy land. This also isn't 2002. 10 years of pumping money into football has ensured that players will typically always follow the money rather than the heart.
Turning to Rangers, this is Ground zero for them. With whatever squad they can muster, they'll have to summon up the reserve (and the reserves) to take on the Other Rangers, mightly Berwick, and every other team in that league who'll be waiting there to take pot shots at these fallen giants. They say you shouldn't kick a man when he's down but I'm guessing the remaining inhabitants of Scottish Division 3 will have some pretty itchy feet.
For Rangers this is a time for mending, repairing and making do. They've simply regressed back to the mean. Back to where they were before the 1986-87 season. Back then it was not uncommon to have a crowd of 5,000 at Ibrox when they played anyone other than Celtic, Aberdeen and on occasion, Dundee United, an unthinkable scenario to any Rangers fan under 30.
As a Rangers supporter since birth, I have to say this is the most exciting thing to happen north of the border in 25 years. How often does one get to watch such a fantasy scenario? It's a real, live version of Football Manager for the ZX Spectrum. Your favorite team is in the lowest league and you have to get them up as fast as you can. How long will it take? Who will go see them? When will they play in Europe again?
Turning to that alluring yet somewhat unpredictable data point that is Fiorentina, in their reborn guise they made it back to the top tier of Italian football within a couple of years (thanks, in part I have to say, to some all-too-familiar Italian fudging and finagling of the rules but regardless they did it). Rangers can do it. When they make it back to the top league of Scottish football, as they surely will at some point, what will be waiting for them? Hard to say but until then, let's enjoy watching them try and fail then try some more and succeed.
Unparalleled attention will be focused on the lowest rung of Scottish professional football next season. It will be a season of hope & Joy. It remains to be seen, though, for whom. Go Gers. sc