Derek Johnstone: We have seen darker days than renaming of Ibrox ... fans must wake up

IF somebody had said to me five or 10 years ago Rangers were going to rename Ibrox I would have had one response.

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Rangers fans have protested against the possibility of a rights deal to rename Ibrox
Rangers fans have protested against the possibility of a rights deal to rename Ibrox

Without hesitation, I would have said: "No chance! Ibrox is Ibrox! Full stop!"

But the goalposts have moved since then as a result of all that has happened to the club.

Now, I think needs must. The club has got to move on. And, to do so, they have to get money in.

Charles Green has done the right thing by consulting the fans over this thorny subject.

He has been the same with every major decision he has made since he took over. He has gone to supporters and said: "This is what I am planning to do. What do you think?" He has gauged the mood of the fans.

He is right to remember that, because had it not been for 39,000 people buying season tickets for this campaign, the club might not be in existence.

But I personally believe bringing in a stadium sponsor will be absolutely fine – as long as they keep Ibrox in the title.

Sports Direct, who already have an official tie-up with the club, are one of three interested parties and are believed to have the best chance of success.

Calling it "Sports Direct at Ibrox" would be fine with me. I think taking that approach would appease a lot of fans who have issues with it.

If they called it, say, the Sports Direct Arena, I would have a problem with it. I think a lot of people would.

Anyway, people will still call it Ibrox, no matter what.

The club has got to get money to bring in quality players as they attempt to get back to the big time.

Doing this will be a significant part of that process.

The club has to sweep up every bit of available revenue before then and try to move forward.

They are not going to be able to return to the SPL, challenge Celtic for the Scottish title and compete in Europe with free transfers. No, they are going to have to spend money to bring in decent players in every position.

Decent players who can perform at the highest level and are available for nothing under freedom of contract are few and far between. The club will have to spend money.

Of course, given what has gone on at Rangers in recent seasons, they cannot afford to go over the top. They should not be allowed to overspend and get into unsustainable debt ever again

They will not be able to splash out £3million and £4m on players like they did in the past. They have to be prudent. They have to invest in their scouting system and try to unearth gems for reasonable money.

They could do a lot worse than look across the city at Celtic and try to emulate what they have done. The Parkhead club have been shrewd with their signings.

They have snapped up players from across the world with potential for reasonable sums and sold them on for three or four times what they have paid for them. That is how Rangers have to operate.

The fans who are against this move have to wake up.

They have gone through far worse things in the past year with the club being put in the Third Division. I think they will be able to deal with it.

Rangers have a lot more things to worry about – like, for example, the potential move to a 12-12-18 league set-up next year – than the renaming of the stadium.

Having said all that, renaming the stadium has to be worth it.

If the deal on the table brings in £500,000 a season, I would say: "No thanks!"

Getting the naming rights to Ibrox could have huge financial spin-offs. Think of the exposure any partner would get in newspapers, on television and in other media outlets. It would raise their profile enormously.

I think the club have to be looking to get, at the very least, £2m a season for this.


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