The Scottish Football League voted today, all 30 clubs that is, and the verdict is Rangers FC will begin their lives as the newly reconstituted newco Rangers, in the third division of the SFL. What a stunning fall. The most titled club in the world having won 54 league championships begins life in the lowest echelon of their league.
David Longmuir, CEO of the SFL had this to say:
"Furthermore, the Scottish Football League's only acceptable position will be to place Rangers FC into the Third Division of the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League from the start of this season."
Their football league's decision was at odds with the desires of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the Scottish Premier League (SPL), who were looking for a softer landing in the Championship which could potentially avoid "financial catastrophe" and a "slow, lingering death" of the game.
This as cautionary a tale as any of the risks involved in living beyond your means for years and then indulge in a cover up and outright fraudulence to create a shadowy world of pretend solvency. It came crashing down and to unimaginable consequences. Even in the case of Leeds Utd, the more celebrated case in financial mismanagement, it took six years to sap their core. A gradual decline in fortune, as they slipped out of the Premiership in 2004, thereon to the Championship, and finally hitting a new low entering the third division in 2007 as bankruptcy became inevitable.
This radical demotion has the potential for upending the very existence of the SPL as the Old Firm rivalry was the financial boon that kept the rest of the league afloat and an important driver of the Scottish economy. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity for the SPL to prove they are bigger than the Old Firm, and capture the imagination with other rivalries.
For fans following Rangeramerica or the US players who have made that club home, it appears only Alejandro Bedoya has committed to the new club. There is no word as yet of Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu transferring their contracts to newco Rangers. But one of their primary concerns will be the potential damage to their national aspirations playing at the lowest tier of league performance.