Rangers book author calls out Phil Mac Giolla Bhain for ‘unnecessary comments’ after saying he’s ‘happy the club is dead’

The author who wrote a book about Rangers’ descent from the top down of Scottish football called what he described as Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s “useless comments”.

Brian Howieson, a professor at the University of Stirling, published a book this week about the years of financial chaos that engulfed the Ibrox club.


28.10.2022 Professor Brian Howieson, author of the book Rangers.1 credit

It is called “Rangers Football Club 1998-2015”. A Descent into Chaos, a Resulting Chaos and an Emergence from Chaos” and he will soon give a lecture explaining why he immersed himself in research.

Howieson is a Falkirk fan and business scholar, but has now written 100,000 words on a topic that has – and continues to dominate – much Scottish football discussion to this day.

A running argument since the administration, liquidation and dispatch of Rangers to the fourth tier of the SFL has focused on whether or not the current entity is the same club.

Gers fans insist that is the case and it was the company that ran Rangers that ultimately fell apart.

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Fans of other clubs might insist it’s a new club – but in his book Professor Howieson delivers his own verdict.

It counts IS a distinction between club and company.

Howieson told SunSport: “I would direct people to the words of Lord Nimmo Smith and Lord Glennie.

“The stakeholders of Rangers Football Club – the players, the staff, the supporters – were the victims of all this. But no one died.

“It was the story of a company that was in decline. The football club has always remained.”

At the start of his book, Howieson points to existing literature on the subject of the demise and re-emergence of the Rangers which he considers “problematic”.

One such article is “Downfall: How Rangers FC Self Destructed”, written by author and journalist Phil Mac Giolla Bhain in 2013.

Howieson believes it was “unnecessary” for Mac Giolla Bhain to declare his “great pleasure” at Rangers’ demise, while declaring the club “dead”.

He wrote: “I suggest that such literature can be problematic – the results can be ‘bogged down’ by the unique opinions and beliefs of the authors. For example, Mac Giolla Bhain’s book is littered with the most useless comments.

The Rangers are dead. I will not claim that writing this sentence did not give me great pleasure. It made. I’m glad they’re dead.

“In general, I propose that it is in our nature to preconceive before we understand or think we understand the full picture, thus inducing not only an increased level of bias in a research situation, but also a tendency to tarnish and (perhaps) producing fakes Simply, for research – or knowledge generation as I call it – to be as unbiased as possible, the researcher (and author) must attempt to distance themselves far enough that past experiences and cultural expectations do not have a detrimental or negative effect too great an effect on subsequent recommendations.

“The aforementioned books were published around the time the company entered the liquidation process – an important story has unfolded since then.

“O’Donnell’s Book (2019) (Tangled Up in Blue: The rise and fall of Rangers FC) is however another personal and subjective perspective.

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“Like Mac Giolla Bhain’s effort, there is a clear dislike for Rangers and the book is again littered with harsh and subjective commentary.”

  • The book is available now on Amazon, priced at £15. Tickets for the conference are available on Eventbrite.co.uk.

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Grover Z. Barnes