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Spiers on Sport: will Rangers ever be released from acrimony and suspicion?

Amid all the chaos surrounding Rangers these days, the most debilitating aspect of life around the club remains the climate of suspicion.

At times everyone appears suspicious of everyone else: of the club's directors, of the "shady characters" said to be lurking behind the scenes, and even among fans who are wary of - or name-calling - fellow fans as the battle for the club goes on.

In recent days an old ghost - Charles Green - has been exhumed to add to this toll of suspicion. The idea that Green one day might lay claim to fresh power at Rangers will be fanciful to some, but the hare has been let loose that the Yorkshireman is once more plotting and scheming around Ibrox.

This Green story has come to be a classic Rangers convulsion. The air - either outside or in cyberspace - is thick with wariness, suspicion and paranoia. The club is mired in all this and in the bickering that comes with it.

Craig Houston, the organiser of the dissident fans group, Sons Of Struth, has today been the victim of an absurd and offensive hoax on Twitter. In one sense, the episode is quite shocking. But, on second thoughts, it is perfectly par for the course of the farrago and lunacy that currently surrounds Ibrox.

Some of the Rangers fan-on-fan vitriol is astonishing. As much as the support, in part, has made some progress, it remains the case that far more could have been done in the name of Rangers - pre and post liquidation - had greater supporter unity and commitment prevailed.

Jack Irvine, the so-called "PR guru" who has worked for Rangers for seven years until recently, is another classic voodoo doll in this saga.

Irvine's company, Mediahouse, was originally brought in by Sir David Murray to deal with the club's painful bigotry problem and re-align its image across the media.

You could argue that, however they went about it, Irvine and his cohorts made quite a bit of progress on that front.

These days, though, he has become a loathed figure by certain supporters, who are suspicious of Irvine's work with the new Ibrox board, and the means by which he achieves his aims.

PRs meddle with the media all the time - they have done for decades. Irvine's is a two-bit story that has somehow generated consternation.

Amid all the suspicion and rammying, the Rangers director, Sandy Easdale, is arguably king among the Ibrox panto villains.

Despite it being 14 years ago, some Rangers fans refuse to forget Easdale's conviction for VAT fraud in 1997, and cannot bring themselves to trust him an inch.

Easdale has become a vilified figure by Rangers' online ten percent; the now familiar line about what the other 90% of fans "out there" think of him must remain unclear.

Strangely, Easdale's alleged "dodginess" and past conviction consumes some, while Dave King's far greater tax crimes in South Africa are simply dismissed as an irrelevance.

With King, specifically, any high-minded morality doesn't come into it. Quite simply, he is loaded. That is it.

As for some of these companies and hedge funds which have taken a stake in Rangers…it is hardly worth recounting the suspicion that they effortlessly generate.

At first, the notion that the newly-formed Rangers International FC should be sold on the market was deemed an impressive idea. When the IPO of last year raised around £25m at its launch, this was lauded by many supporters.

They quickly changed their minds about that. It has been found that, when the market essentially owns a football club, supporters can be ostracised. In their growing suspicions, Rangers fans have found this to their cost.

All of this is to say nothing of the suspicion some supporters hold towards manager Ally McCoist's ability to steer the club into the Premiership and to a bright future.

In the Rangers annals McCoist is a legendary figure. Yet his fate has been to be at the helm of the most wounding and disastrous episode anyone at Ibrox could ever have imagined.

Many Rangers supporters hold McCoist to be either feeble or incompetent as manager. They want him removed. It is as merciless as that.

Only one thing can save the current, embattled RIFC board, and that will be their ability to make Rangers thrive, either by attracting new investment, or by astute housekeeping. If they fail, then other directors will deserve their chance.

Whatever happens, if Rangers can one day be rid of this climate of suspicion, it will not be a day too soon. There is an acrimony around the club which is threatening to strangle it.

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