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It's only a few days until the end of 2012 and it's been a momentous year in the history of Rangers FC. The past 12 months tells the story of a club taken to the edge of the cliff, pushed over, then pulled back to safety. As you probably know, the first six months saw the holding company enter administration and liquidation, which resulted in the football club becoming rudderless in the perfect storm of weakness and rival opportunism.

There were long days in the summer when the fans didn't know if the football club would survive as it seemed possible the Scottish Football Association would allow it to disappear by only accepting a new membership. Whether this was over going to happen or was an unrealistic fear will be revealed in the coming years, but it felt possible at the time.

Fortunately the worst didn't come to pass and the football history remained unbroken with the transfer of membership from the old company to the new. Even then, it was predicted that although the lion on the badge might be the same, it would be without any teeth or claws.

Many non-Rangers people and pundits happily told all who would listen the club was finished. They said supporters would desert the team in droves and that Ibrox crowds would dwindle to 10 to 15 thousand. Some even talked about a boost to Scottish football with all those former Gers fans turning up to watch other teams.

But it was rubbish. They did not understand Rangers fans and had started believing their own gossip. Two crucial points were distorted or ignored. The first was the size of the fan base and the second was the motivations for supporting the club in the first place. For the latter, many non-Rangers fans convinced themselves that (unlike themselves) the Gers support only followed the team because they win trophies, play in Europe or other nonsensical reasons.

The truth is that most do not choose to follow the Light Blues at all - it's part of their very identity. Whether it's because of family history, friends or because they seem to have always been there, it's not something you pick like your favourite music group. The supporters could no more walk away from Rangers in distress than they could chop off their right arm because it brings them pain.

This is why in retrospect the story of passion and renewal that gripped Ibrox should not be a surprise to those who understand how much the club means to the 'Rangers family'.

It’s a remarkable sports story that has resulted in media from Brazil to Japan asking how this can happen. The fans not only stayed, but pushed the club forward in numbers that were bigger than seasons before? How can a football club that was days from ending and who now play in the fourth-tier of Scottish football get 37,000 season ticket holders, the highest average league attendance in Scotland, the fourth-highest in the UK and the 12th highest in Europe?

While US international Carlos Bocanegra was answering this to his Spanish friends with the brilliant, "Hey, it's the Rangers and that's how it is", in Scotland there was still little credit given to the fans. 'Defiance' was the early buzzword, that - like 'transparency' and ‘sporting integrity' months before - became Scottish football’s new 'groupthink' (or should that be grudging?) term of choice. "Just wait till the cold December games - when the novelty wear off then so will the number of fans," they said.

That Rangers' highest crowd of 49,913 was on a cold December day embarrassed no one. Like those who fail to predict the end of the world, they now say they were mistaken and the downfall is postponed to next year. Yet for all the negative bluster, it was true that Rangers might not be completely out of danger if there was a poor take-up of the share issue. So it was fitting that in the last month of 2012 the club found their finances solidified with an oversubscribed IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

Much of the praise for this has to go to Rangers CEO Charles Green. He admits he's no altruist and fans should always remain vigilant of those in charge after past experiences, but he has kept his word on bringing in the sort of cash needed. He has also been pro-active in better PR for the club while the 'signing' of Jim Traynor is inspired. No one knows the formal and informal workings of the Scottish media and football authorities better than the former Daily Record journalist.

Working through all this off-the-field hassle, Ally McCoist was charged with a seemingly secondary activity - football! Although for the first six months, the Rangers manager could not properly concentrate on his real job, when he, along with Sandy Jardine, had to keep the football club together. With no board and only administrators in charge, McCoist became the figurehead and was put under enormous pressure.

But McCoist stood firm and did not waver. His love for the club was a guiding light through the hardest days Although he was already a Rangers legend as a player, he will never be forgotten for his dedication to the cause when it mattered most. Yet even when Green and Malcolm Murray steadied the ship, he still had to endure most players leaving, a year-long player registration ban from the SFA (that the Court of Session had previously deemed unconstitutional) and life in SFL3. After a sticky start he has taken his young and inexperienced squad to 12 points clear and playing good football. Forget Murray Park, it should be McCoist Park.

As the great Jock Wallace would snarl in a way that personified a generation who didn't expect the easy life - this past year has shown that you need 'character' to overcome obstacles and eventually win. And from Ally McCoist to the fans who would not give up, this is a club and support that looked into the abyss, and the abyss blinked. Incredibly, in a turn that Michael Mols would be proud of, instead of defeat and pessimism, 2012 has produced a renewed confidence and an overwhelming desire to succeed at Ibrox.

Don’t tell anyone, but the Rangers Football Club know the worst is over and believe their journey back to the peak of Scottish football is now inevitable.

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