WHEN I was growing up, Sandy Jardine was one of my heroes.
I idolised him and the likes of Derek Parlane, Davie Cooper, Derek Johnstone and Bobby Russell.
Everybody knows what a top player Sandy was. He was one of those great footballers of the past who could play in this modern era of sports science because he was a natural athlete who was comfortable on the ball as well.
But I would rather remember Sandy the person. I would rather recall the side of him I saw when he was working in a ceremonial role during my three years at Rangers, and countless other occasions when we met while I worked in the media.
He was an absolute gentleman. Even though everybody knew he was ill, his death at 65, still shocks you. I have seen it often where people run after big stars, and can't do enough for them, but even amidst the big names of his era, he treated everyone the same way.
When a lot of people had deserted Rangers, Sandy was there during the club's darkest hour, still sticking his head above the parapet, saying things no doubt some people didn't like. I'm sure he would have done the same at Hearts, where he was also a legend.
But it will be at Rangers that he will be most remembered. He proved to be a front man during some of the most tumultuous days in the club's recent history, but when his illness took hold he just faded into the background, and didn't want to make it all about him. That was typically Sandy.
RANGERS fans have finally arrived at that crossroads. They effectively have just more than a fortnight to decide the fate of the club. Either they go with Dave King and withhold their season ticket money, starting a process which could well end in administration, or they bite the bullet and renew, knowing that with only cash, cheque or bank transfer being accepted they no longer even have the security of a credit or debit card payment to fall back on. That sounded a bit like desperation to me, like the board want their hands on the cash as quickly as possible to get through the next few months when there are no games.
At least now things are out in the open. We were at a point where the board had to lay out all the mess which has happened under previous regimes and sell their plans to go forward. The fans are being asked to choose, but in some ways it seems like the toss of a coin between two hugely uncertain options. It would be a shame if it is the supporters who tip Rangers over the edge because they, effectively, saved the club in the first place.
All sorts of questions will go through their minds in the next few weeks. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the decisions of this board have been 100% correct, but they have had to deal with the chaos left by former owners who picked off the carcass. King must want administration because he knows the club cannot continue to function if all that money goes to his fund.
The main conclusion from Graham Wallace's review is that there is a big black hole there. The club need capital, and they need it quickly. But if season ticket sales stall, the board's contingency plan could see them allocate 43.4 million ordinary 1p shares to existing shareholders, which, based on the current share price, could raise around £7 million, so Ally McCoist's playing budget for the Championship next year will be roughly similar to this year.
Will that be enough? It is a whole different ball game in the Championship, I know that more than anybody. In my opinion, they will need some turnover of players, even if it is within the same wage bracket.
As for the planned introduction of the football operating officer, it is not a bad idea for making money from recruitment in the future, but I would be amazed if they were prioritising that at a time when they have got redundancies and are attempting to stave off administration. The priority is saving the club during this critical period, not heaping more burden on it.
The target of being SPFL champions by 2016-17 seems ambitious, but you can't tell me a club like Rangers are incapable of making a schedule like that. But it is only realistic if the club is run properly. And the fans buy into it.