Campaigns rarely end how you expect them to

Last updated : 07 March 2015 By Mark Dingwall

Victories are never quite as exciting as you imagine they would be.

I’ve no doubt some Bears will be throwing the pints down their necks over the weekend but my own feelings are more of relief.

Sadly, I’ve taken part in more unsuccessful election campaigns than winning ones. The successful ones mostly saw the foot soldiers fall over the finishing line and watch the candidate and his entourage on the TV while we had a few drinks from plastic cups back at campaign HQ. The candidate then sweeps in for a round of handshakes before heading home - and the next morning the circus moves on.

Yesterday, after the EGM at Ibrox, myself and a few campaigners celebrated with bowls of soup, sandwiches, rolls and bacon in a wee cafe in Kinning Park. People who have done the patient unglamorous grind for a decade and more: for us it was a relief more than a celebration.

Somehow we got over the winning line despite some very dark days over the last few years. I’ll obviously praise the work of the Rangers Supporters Trust as it was the one organisation to keep battling through from the Murray era and was unwavering in its campaigning for change.

Yep, more than a few mistakes were made along the way but their hearts were in the right place. Along the way new talent and new ideas popped up - Chris Graham taking up the media reigns from Davie Edgar was a godsend; Houstie and Chugg gave the ground war a huge boost with their infectious enthusiasm; The Fergie Loyal and the Baillieston lads were notable from the supporters club end of things for putting their money where their mouths were and funded campaigning along with the Trust when things seemed bleak - they kept the flame alive.

There have been more than a few amusing moments along the way but we should never forget the depths to which those in charge of the club stooped; Chris, Leggo and myself were tagged “the arch-agitators” and subjected to a relentless campaign of legal threat - Houstie soon joined us on the wanted posters - the club’s resources being used to conduct a campaign of intimidation and cover-up which saw one of us hauled in front of the High Court (thankfully his stance was justified), court officers serving writs, police turning up at front doors to investigate spurious complaints, numerous legal threats to put homes and jobs at threat.   The scum played for real, they are vicious and desperate people. 

That’s the sort of people who were running the club.

Slowly we made progress - we knew it wasn’t going to be an overnight victory. The posters and the leafleting at Ibrox on a mass scale had an impact and we began to make progress - history won’t record the names of those who leafleted and argued in pubs, clubs and workplaces but their contribution was as vital as Dave King’s and without the troops on the ground the air war could not have been won.

For those who were sceptical of the motives of the campaigners I can make this pledge: none of us will suspend our critical faculties just because we regard Friday’s events as a step forward.

King, Murray, Gilligan and Park will likely have a (short) honeymoon period but they'll be measured by exactly the same standards as their predecessors and judged accordingly.  And that’s how it should be.

Everyone who handed out a leaflet, supported a demo, wrote to the press, sat in meetings, bought shares, donated money or held up a red card played their part - Friday’s victory was your victory.