Interview with The Blue Order (Glasgow Rangers)
Ultras Tifosi: Hi Iain please introduce yourself:
TBO: My name is Iain and I have been an active member with The Blue Order for a year now. I moved over to sit with the rest of the group after being in contact with for sometime and felt the time had come to make the move.
UT: Tell us a bit of the history of TBO and why did you found an Ultra group in a country which is influenced by the English style?
TBO: The group was initially set up as a section for fans to sing. Ibrox like many stadiums up and down the UK has lost its roar. The famous Ibrox roar could only be heard when we played in the Champions League and against our rivals Celtic. Most away games you go to though have great atmospheres due to the fact that every body went with their mates and had a drink before it on the buses and in the pubs. So a group of 33 like minded guys approached Rangers about setting up a section with the stadium.
Initially the group was not setting doing displays as one of their goals as they were more interested in the vocal aspect of supporting The Rangers. As a group we had done some displays in the early years with the links of slogan banners for our players, creating a blue sea from strips of material and have 50 large gold stars to mark our 51st title win.
The groups first big display came in the League Cup final when we played Motherwell. This was a special game as it was a game that would be a fitting tribute to one of Great Legends Davie Cooper. He had played for both Rangers and Motherwell and the The Blue Order along with fans from the Follow Follow Rangers fanzine arranged for 5,000 Red White and Blue streamers to be handed out to the fans along with a banner in tribute to Davie.
It is only in the last year or so that we have started to get a collective of members who are interested in the display scene and Ultra scene. In this years Champions League match against Inter we had a massive card display that resembled the Scottish Saltire and the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and was a very proud moment for the group and a mile stone as it showed the club what we could do with cooperation.
UT: What is the meaning of The Blue Order?
TBO: The Blue Order has not significance behind it. Each of the founding members put their choice of name forward and then everyone got to vote what they felt was the best name for the group. The Blue Order was first and The Bear Pit was second.
Some of the Celtic fans seem to think that we took the name from the Orange Order but we just laugh at them as they really do believe this.
UT: We all know who’s your biggest enemy, everybody know “The Old firm” Derby, could you explain us how TBO act in a derby and please describe what is so special in that derby?
TBO: We have never really been able to anything against Celtic at home just so we do not fuel the flames during the game. We normally keep anything we have planned for away games. We have done a few streamer displays at Celtic Park and recently we have been allowed our large banners into the ground.
The Derby is nothing like any game i have ever been to in my life. As Glasgow is a split city you have to work with people who are fans of the other side and if you team loses you have to listen to them go on about it until you play the next game. Some even have mixed families like myself with my fathers family all Rangers and my mothers all Celtic. On match days you do not speak with them and hope that all the pain that you have had when getting beat from Celtic goes onto them even more when you win.
When you go to the away match that is the most tense. You have 7,500 fans who sing all game win lose or draw. The last match we played Celtic had already won the league but we went to show our support for the club and to show that no matter what ''We Are The People''. The Rangers fans sang the whole match out singing every Celtic fan in the stadium and even mocked them when they tried to start singing.
A lot about the Derby is built on Rangers having majority of it fans from the Protestant faith and Celtic Catholic. In my opinion to much of it is built on this and the government and the media make it worse than it actually is, a lot of the time they also cause some of the violence that come's on match days. I hate Celtic because they are Celtic.No matter how well the other team is doing you can not guarantee a win and if you lose you feel as though it is the end of the world. Not match violence happens around the stadiums now due to the fact their is hundreds of police and you are lucky if you will stand 20 yards away from and Opposition fan.
UT: Have your group/scene also other enemies or only the Celts?
TBO: There are only 4 groups in Scotland, Rangers, Celtic, Livingston and Aberdeen. Aberdeen are the most active group as there club seem to understand them a little more than ours do. As them and us are very active groups people would seem to think we have a rivalry but we only have one rival in Scotland and that is Celtic the rest do not matter. Rangers are the most hated club in Scotland, it has always been that way and we like it that way. Every team in Scotland seem to think they have a rivalry with Rangers but they don’t some of them we really pitty as they try to make something they do not have.
UT: Have your group or the scene of Rangers any friendships and when how did they found?
TBO: Friendship is a very big thing to Rangers fans. As I said no one likes us so we would never have links with any other club in Scotland.
We have a group of teams called the Blue Brothers which include Rangers, Chelsea and Linfield. The Chelsea thing started in the 80’s with the casuals from each team having strong links and since then there is many Rangers fans who follow Chelsea but I don’t think it is growing as much at Chelsea now due to the amount they are winning now and the amount of fans who are only there for that reason.
You will still see a fair amount of Rangers and Chelsea flags at matches though. Linfield is due to the fact they are the No1 Team in Northern Ireland and pretty much all of there fans are Rangers as well. We play them most years in a summer friendly which is always good because it is just a fun day with everyone meeting friends and no police which is a bonus
In the last we have been pushing strong the links we have had with Hamburger SV. The two teams have had links since the late 70’s. In Hamburg there is the Hamburg Loyal who can be seen at most European away games with Rangers and there is also the Glaswegian bar HSV Club. It is great link with the fans and should be bigger than it is. The Blue Order banner at the HSV and Dortmund match in March and was draped over the Chosen Few Hamburg banner. This is not a friendship as of yet but we hope that one day it will get bigger with both looking at doing trips over in the season.
UT: Please say something about the general scene of the Rangers and your relation to the other fans and Hool´s :
TBO: We have great relationship with the majority of Rangers fans. They give us a lot of support in what we want to do but we do have some groups of fans who seem to think we think we are the Elite Rangers fans. We don't see ourselves as this as we are just your normal Rangers fans but just like to shout about it while being colourful.
We don't have a relationship with the Hooligan group at Rangers as for us a group to progress in the UK we could not be linked with the Hooligans. The scene in the UK is new and the authorities are really strict with things like this in the UK now.
UT: Have you a good relationship with your club?
TBO: We have a not so great relationship with the club. In the beginning the group had a lot of hassle from the police and the club. 28 members got band for repeated standing during the match and sometimes the group could be surrounded by police for no apparent reason. The club didn't like the fact that the group would voice it opinions of what was happening at the club and on the first couple of occasions they would not cooperate with us in any way what so ever.
In the last year the attitude within the club has changed a lot as they now understand what we are all about and anything we do is for the love our great club. They are now starting to cooperate a little with us allowing us access to the stadium to set up displays.
UT: Please tell us bit of the organisation of TBO (like away games etc.):
TBO: A lot of the time before matches we go for a few drinks with the other main members of the group and head to the match. We normally meet were we store our flags and banners to so we can take them and have enough helpers with the large banners etc. When we have done the likes of the card display against Inter we offer other as well as members to come and help and we normally get a good amount of helpers when ever we want.
Away game is very hard to get tickets for us as a group. At Rangers you have to be a registered supporters club to apply for tickers beside each other and most of our members are in a supporters club already and you can’t be a member of two. We normally travel to away games with a few other that we get on most with in the group and try to sit beside each other if we can but we sell a lot of our away tickets for most games and it is not easy to do so.
When we have done a display like the streamers we do at Celtic park we contact as many supporters clubs that we know and drop off the streamers to them. The police search most people going into the stadium so we need make sure lot’s of them get handed out in the hope that a fair amount make in.
UT: Most people would guess that Scotland isn’t a typical country with Ultra mentality, why is Scotland a TIFO country?
TBO: Scotland does not have the Ultra mentality and never will in my opinion. We have a few groups who like to bring more colours to the stands now with Rangers, Aberdeen, Celtic, Livingston, Motherwell and i have heard about Ayr Utd and Airdrie also starting groups as well in Scotland.
I like to think we have more of a TIFO scene going on in the UK as we will never have the mentality shown by groups on the continent. In the UK we will have to do our own thing and try not to be sidetracked into thinking we are Ultras.
With the way that the authorities already have the heads up on violence etc it hard to promote and organised group of fans without them thinking you are a Hooligan. As much as it pains me we sometimes have to work with the Police to get thing set up with displays as if we didn't they would not allow us into the stadium with our flags and banners.
UT: How much is the repression by police and government in Scotland?
TBO: The stewards always seem to be more of a problem in the UK than the police. They seem to be on a power trip as someone has given them a yellow jacket. They tell the police to arrest fans for no reason what so ever.
The government is a major issue in Scotland at the moment. With all the poverty, murders and drugs around the cities in the UK they seem to be more concerned that no one is getting offended. You are no longer allowed to say that you are proud of your country it seem these.
Hearts at one point had banned the Union flag from there stadium and the media have said publicly that our Scottish British and Proud display resembled the Nuremburg rallies. Only in this country could the flag of you nation you are living be banned and compared to an evil regime that they fought to destroy.
UT: Is your group your scene influenced by politics or other countries like Italy?
TBO: Our group is not involved with politics at all. We have members with different views some left wing some right wing, some Scottish Nationalist and some Pro British so as a group we could not promote one belief along. The only thing that we can all agree on is that no racists or Nazi's are allowed in the group.
UT: What are your future plans? How do you want to widespread the Ultra mentality?
TBO: This season we have a lot of things planned and is going to be a good year for the scene in the UK. We had a horrible season with us finishing 3rd but our fans always seem to pull together when we are at our lowest point. We now have a new manager in Paul Le Guen and things are looking good for us both on and off the field. We are always promoting the scene and the Group to our fans and will no doubt have more things lined up during the year.
UT: What is your opinion of the Ultramovement in Europe, which scene are in your view the best and which scene have a good development?
TBO: For me the Italian scene will always be the best but is losing it’s touch due to Police oppression and some of the major players in the movement calling it a day. I don’t think you can really say what country has the best scene but for me the best action is in countries like Germany, Sweden, Austria and France. These countries do some great stuff and some of the teams from here would make the top ten of any poll. Poland and Switzerland also have a fantastic scene and is something that I would love to witness for myself.
UT: Last but not least the final sentence to the user:
TBO: I will only quote the late great Mr Struth for this one as with such a bad season it shows what being a Rangers fan is all about that no matter how bad we are we will always come back stronger.
"To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him."
"Our very success, gained you will agree by skill, will draw more people than ever to see it. And that will benefit many more clubs than Rangers. Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us. We will never hide from it. Never fear, inevitably we shall have our years of failure, and when they arrive, we must reveal tolerance and sanity. No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome. That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the gallant pioneers."
"I have been lucky - lucky in those who were around me from the boardroom to the dressing-room. In time of stress, their unstinted support, unbroked devotion to our club and calmness in adversity eased the task of making Rangers FC the premier club in this country.
"I am of Rangers and I'll stay of Rangers until I die"
- Bill Struth
WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!!
Thank you for the interview, and Ultras-Tifosi wish you luke for your future!
(This interview was done June 2006)