Rangers Supporters' Trust

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The Rangers Supporters' Trust is a pressure group made up of supporters of Rangers Football Club. Formed in 2003, it aims to pursue the club's interests robustly, monitor media output relating to the club and to project the views of ordinary supporters to the management.[citation needed]

In January 2003 three of the trust's founders (Mark Dingwall - editor of the Rangers fanzine Follow Follow, Colin Glass and Gordon Semple, later joined by Stevie Tyrie) decided to form a trust, after attending an open day held by Supporters Direct, an umbrella body for supporters' groups. Glass, the Trust's first chairman, met officials of Rangers in March 2003, and although the club declined the Trust's requests for help, a launch meeting was held on 5 April 2003, with former Rangers player Mark Walters as a guest of honour.

Since then the Trust has issued regular media releases, developed a Sharesave scheme (investing money in the Club in exchange for previously unissued shares), and maintained regular dialogue with the club’s directors.[citation needed] However, it has not yet been successful in its attempts to have a representative invited on to the Rangers board. Each Trust member has also been given a share in Rangers FC plc in their own name, thus allowing their attendance at the Club’s own AGM, and access to the Club’s annual accounts.[citation needed]

In the Summer of 2008, seven members of the twenty-strong Trust Board resigned over the issue of supporter representation on the Rangers FC plc board. These included the chair and vice-chair who had led negotiations with the chairman of Rangers FC, Sir David Murray. A majority of Trust board members were unhappy at the lack of progress and the lack of feedback and accountability shown. On 31 May 2008 Stephen Smith and Derek Howie (acting Chair and Secretary) assumed joint responsibility for conducting the Trust's business.[1] Smith was subsequently elected as the Trust's chair, and media spokesperson David Edgar as vice-chair.[2]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

There has been some criticism of the Trust and their methods. The journalist Graham Spiers has labeled the Trust "paranoid" and described their output as "empty bluster".[citation needed] Since its inception the Trust has campaigned on a number of occasions for Rangers fans to boycott several national newspapers deemed to have written articles critical of the club or the Trust itself.

In 2008, the Trust was involved in the controversy surrounding Rangers fans' singing of The Famine Song. Despite widespread condemnation of the song from politicians, pressure groups and the media, the Trust rejected claims that it was racist, saying : "Racism is not a wind-up, however distasteful, aimed at Scottish Celtic fans and in rejecting these specious accusations the Trust restates our opposition to racism and sectarianism, which stands comparison to any other similar body."[3]

In 2013, The Rangers Supporters Trust launched an investigated into allegations of improper conduct against its spokesman Mark Dingwall. It is believed that the complaint against Mr Dingwall had been withdrawn as the complainant resigned from the board of the Trust during the investigation but Mr Dingwall also resigned several days later. [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.rangerssupporterstrust.co.uk/rstsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=210&Itemid=1
  2. ^ Insehttp://www.rangerssupporterstrust.co.uk/rstsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=215&Itemid=1rt
  3. ^ "Position statement on the Famine Song". 
  4. ^ "Mark Dingwall Suspend.".