Rangers fan's chief denies Le Guen concerns

May 21, 2006

Rangers supporters do not have a problem with Paul Le Guen's religious background, according to fans' chief Jim Templeton.

Le Guen, 42, became the club's first Catholic manager when he replaced Alex McLeish at the end of the season and has spoken out about his beliefs for the first time this weekend.

But Templeton claims it is not an issue with fans.

As president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, which incorporates the Blue Order and the Rangers Supporters Trust, he is familiar with the views of a large section of the Ibrox faithful.

And he insists his members are only interested in whether Le Guen brings success to the club after penning a three-year deal.

The new manager arrives with an impressive track record - he led Lyon to three consecutive French titles before taking a year-long sabbatical from football.

Templeton said: 'I have yet to come across a Rangers fan who has even mentioned his being a Catholic.

'It makes no difference. Rangers fans are over the moon about this appointment.

'How can we have Catholic players and then have concerns over a Catholic manager? He will be welcomed with open arms.'

Maurice Johnston became the first high profile Catholic to sign for Rangers in 1989 and others have followed in recent years, including popular Italian Lorenzo Amoruso.

But bigotry is still a problem at football matches.

Rangers could yet face punishment from UEFA over alleged sectarian chanting at Champions League games last season.

FIFA have also announced hard-line measures which could see clubs docked points, and even relegated, if found guilty of discriminatory behaviour.

But Templeton believes Rangers fans are cleaning up their act.

He added: 'We can't deny that sectarianism is there but it has reduced dramatically down the years and I have confidence it will be reduced further next year.

'Rangers fans are now realising how important it is to make sure that happens.'