Rangers fans in march to Ibrox

THEY follow in the footsteps of their team.

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The Sons of Struth have asked all Rangers fans groups to join them on their march to Ibrox on Saturday
The Sons of Struth have asked all Rangers fans groups to join them on their march to Ibrox on Saturday

Now Rangers fans will retrace the steps of their most famous sons.

The walk to Ibrox is a journey made on a regular basis by the Light Blue legions but on Saturday they will head for their Govan home for a very different reason.

There will be no match to watch, no team to cheer as they assemble in front of the iconic red brick facade. Instead, their focus will be on the men who walk the corridors of power.

The fight to secure the future of Ibrox has been a long one, with the Union of Fans at the forefront of discussions with the Rangers board in a bid to strike a deal.

The assurances they seek are simple yet have proven hard to obtain from a hierarchy that has shut the door on the people that they need most and care most deeply about their club.

Craig Houston and the Sons of Struth have been vocal and visual in their fight against the board in recent months and will again lead from the front as thousands of fans get set to march through Glasgow this weekend.

"There are not many Rangers fans who say that securing Ibrox, and Murray Park, is not important to them," Houston told SportTimes.

"We arrived on that site after a number of years of hard work by the founders of the club.

"Rangers were a bit nomadic before that, playing at a number of venues across Glasgow, and the last part of that journey was going from Kinning Park to Ibrox.

"People are seeing the importance of that journey.

"The Gallant Pioneers worked hard to get Rangers their own stadium and now the fans must keep it in Rangers' hands.

"The Sons of Struth are organising the event but it is not just for SoS supporters, it is for all fans, season ticket holders, non-season ticket holders, people who have renewed or haven't renewed.

"I hope all fans' groups join us, like they have before, with their banners. I would love to see as many supporters clubs there with their crests."

The walk to Ibrox is the latest demonstration held in an attempt to persuade the board to grant legal assurances that Rangers' historic home, and their Auchenhowie training base, will not be sold off in the midst of more financial uncertainty.

A DEAL appeared to have been struck several weeks ago when representatives of the Union of Fans met with chief executive Graham Wallace and directors Sandy Easdale and Norman Crighton.

But after those talks broke down in a wave of anger and hard-hitting statements, the issue remains unresolved as fans get set to take to the streets once again.

Houston said: "There was a point before the end of the season where we felt we wouldn't need to do anything because we were in discussions with the board but those talks broke down in quite a calamitous fashion.

"We could either sit on our hands over the summer or we could make our feelings known that we still want written assurances and that the issue was still important to us.

"From an organisational point of view, this is the biggest event we have put together and I have been shocked and delighted with the feedback we have had and the number of people that have supported us."

There may have been a temporary ceasefire in the war of words between both parties but the ill-feelings between those on the terraces and the men in the boardroom hasn't subsided in recent weeks.

Another round of talks would appear to be the next step in this long-running saga if the fans' fears are going to be allayed and Houston insists the Light Blue legions won't shut the door on the under-fire board.

He said: "The Union of Fans had discussions with the board to try and secure Ibrox before the season ticket deadline but the way those talks broke down left a sour taste in the mouth.

"There was no contact with us, just a public statement a few days later after an agreement was reached in the room. We felt we had assurances over Ibrox and the only grey area surrounded Murray Park.

"The members of the UoF all left that meeting with the same impression and we were promised that there would be a board meeting the following day and we would be notified of the outcome.

"If it was agreeable to three board members on a board of five, it should have been the easiest meeting they have had.

"They have changed their minds, or someone has changed their mind for them.

"There was no reply to the UoF but we have never shut the door on the club and there is still time this week to further discuss matters."

The failure of the board to grant assurances over Ibrox and Murray Park is just one of factors behind the decision of tens of thousands of fans to opt against renewing their season tickets this summer.

Only 17,000 briefs for the Championship season had been shifted when the Gers hierarchy issued a sales update last month as fans wait to be won over by the latest ensemble of men in suits at the top of the marble staircase.

Houston said: "If the board can prove themselves to be more trustworthy, honest and open than they have until now, that would give people reasons to go and buy tickets.

"The ones who haven't so far are not solely supportive of the UoF, there are fans that haven't renewed for a variety of reasons.

"It is not a battle between those who support the board and don't and those who have renewed and haven't. That is nonsense.

"The are over 17,000 season tickets sold just now but I think you would be hard pushed to find more than a handful who would stand in public and say they support the board."

Football

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