Rangers fans backed by Leeds support for board battle

RANGERS fans were today urged not to give up the fight to hold on to Ibrox and Murray Park as animosity grows towards the under-fire Light Blues board.

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Leeds supporters can identify with Rangers' troubles
Leeds supporters can identify with Rangers' troubles

The call came from Gary Cooper, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, who have fought a series of hierarchies in Yorkshire as the club have fallen from grace in recent years.

United's Thorp Arch training centre was sold off for £4.2million a decade ago while their Elland Road home was hived off in a sale and leaseback agreement just weeks later as the club battled for survival.

The Rangers Union of Fans have launched a bid to pool season ticket money this summer that will see cash only handed over to the Gers board once security has been granted over Ibrox.

A meeting between the group and board last week failed to reach a settlement, with fears growing among supporters that their Murray Park base could be sold to raise much-needed funds.

Leeds have never fully recovered from the disastrous Peter Ridsdale era and fans' chief Cooper has issued a rallying call to the Light Blue legions to play their part in safeguarding Rangers' biggest assets.

He told SportTimes: "Any club worth its salt has to own its stadium and training ground. For a decade and more, Leeds United haven't and that isn't right.

"It is difficult for supporters, they value it more than bricks and mortar.

"They make an emotional investment in their team and the club and have a link, a tie to the heritage and history, past glories and failures, to the ground, your home.

"We have not had that at Leeds United and it is hard for supporters of any other club to fully understand it until it happens to them.

"Rangers are a massive, historic club and the idea that they could lose their stadium and training ground and become tenants is, in my opinion, devastating.

"It has been so hard for the fans of Leeds United and it will be for Rangers fans if it happens.

"We are in a fight to reclaim our identity and our home and I would urge Rangers fans to keep up their fight to hold on to Ibrox and Murray Park."

Having seen the board backtrack on plans to consider a legally binding undertaking on Ibrox and again hit out at the aims of Ibrox 1972 Ltd - the vehicle used by the UoF to collect season ticket pledges and backed by Dave King and a host of Light Blue legends - supporters have become increasingly disillusioned with the Gers powerbrokers.

The board have repeatedly criticised the UoF proposal that would see the stadium and training complex handed over to fans but LUST chairman Cooper has given the group his firm support.

He said: "Supporter involvement in owning any ground, or financing the purchase of a ground, has to be a positive thing.

"The club's identity is intrinsically linked with the place it plays its football.

"Its history is there, its traditions are there and the hearts and emotions of the supporters are there, and I mean supporters from a hundred years ago and today.

"It is fundamentally important that fans try to retain a voice in all aspects of our game and our clubs.

"It doesn't belong to the money men, it isn't all about money.

"It is about competition, identity, tribalism, recognising something in your club that lives and breathes in yourself. We are losing that.

"If the Rangers fans are going to fight to keep ownership of Ibrox and Murray Park then I am sure our 9,000 members would support them all the way."

Football

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