Rangers fans divided by loyalties

THOSE Rangers supporters who have so far not renewed their season tickets for next season are currently facing some stark choices.

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Rangers fans facing difficult decision over season ticket purchase
Rangers fans facing difficult decision over season ticket purchase

Do they pledge their cash to Ibrox 1972 Ltd, the company launched by the Union of Fans group this week, and hope security will be granted over the stadium?

Or do they give their money direct to the club as usual and book their seats for home games in the SPFL Championship in the 2014/15 campaign?

Alternatively, they can sit back and see how the stand-off develops during the summer months before deciding how to proceed.

What the Light Blues fans do, and in what sort of numbers, will determine the short-term future of the troubled Glasgow club.

There is certainly backing for the scheme to withhold cash in the company that has former director Dave King and club legend Richard Gough as trustees.

That is despite the fact the Rangers board stated once again this week that it "has no intention of granting security over Ibrox to anybody".

Many fans were alarmed when it emerged that both Edmiston House and the Albion car parking facilities had been used as security for two loans of £1.5million earlier this year.

And there are serious fears that institutional investors, who have seen the share price tumble since the IPO in 2012, may seek to maximise the club's assets in future.

George Thomson, a law

student from Paisley who has been a season ticket holder for 10 years, is one of those who will be putting his money into Ibrox 1972 Ltd.

He said: "I think there comes a point where you have to say: 'Enough is enough.'

"And this, for me, is that point. I will be withholding my season ticket money from the club.

"I am unhappy at how the club is being run and have no faith in this board. I think we need change at the top in order to move on as a club and I would like to see Dave King involved.

"He is a Rangers fan and has money that he is prepared to invest that could make a real difference to us. How many of the current directors or investors can say that?"

Yet, there are also many supporters who are unsettled by the path being taken by King and the Union of Fans and the implications it may have for Rangers.

David Somers, the club chairman, has stated there would be a serious doubt over the Govan club's ability to continue as a going concern if fans withheld their cash.

James Clark-Dick, a retired quantity surveyor from Uddingston who has been a season ticket holder at Ibrox for nearly 30 years, is against the plan.

He will be renewing the three season tickets he has in the Copland Road Stand - he attends every home game with his wife and daughter - and believes he is in a "silent majority".

He feels that withholding money from Rangers in the coming weeks could actually help to bring about the eventuality that King and the Union of Fans are hoping to avoid.

"Withholding season ticket money from the club this

summer until security is

granted over Ibrox seems like a ludicrous idea to me," he said. "I don't think it is the right way to go.

"My worry is that if you push the shareholders enough then that (utilising the club assets) is just exactly what they might do. It might be what they have to do."

The 63-year-old feels there are many Rangers fans like him whose views are not being represented by the supporters' organisations which comprise the Union of Fans.

"I have met and spoken to Chris Graham (the Union of Fans spokesman) on a few

occasions in the past and he came across well," he said.

"But Chris and others like him are described as fans' representatives. Well, I am a fan and I don't have a representative."

Given the gross mismanagement of previous regimes at Rangers, Mr Clark-Dick admitted he was "cautious" about the current custodians of the club.

However, he also has serious misgivings about South Africa-based businessman King

getting involved and the company that he has set up.

He said: "I'm not pro-board and I'm not anti-board. I'm neither. I'm pro-Rangers. And I don't think this idea to withhold season ticket money is a great idea.

"If it hadn't been for this campaign then I think we would have been all right. And apart from this season ticket fund, I don't know what plan Dave King has for the club.

"Everybody has criticised the Rangers review. But what more did people expect? You are only ever going to get the bare bones of a business plan in a review.

"I have been a shareholder for 30 years. The last batch of shares I bought were the fourth lot I have acquired. And the review is the most information I have had out of Rangers during that time.

"They detailed exactly where the £67million went. They showed that £26m was used up in one-off costs.

"That is the most clarity we have had."

What the future holds for Rangers, though, will remain shrouded in uncertainty until it emerges how many supporters have renewed season tickets and how many have withheld.

At the moment, it is too close to call.

Football

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