RANGERS supporters today unveiled a website which will allow fans to pledge season-ticket money to a trust rather than the club, amid claims that only 2,000 fans have so far renewed for next season.
The trust has been set up by former Rangers director Dave King and Richard Gough, the captain of the nine-in-a-row team. King and Gough have called for disgruntled fans to withhold season-ticket revenue from the club until such time as the board hands over security of Ibrox Stadium and the club’s training complex.
Chris Graham, a spokesman for the Union of Fans conglomerate which incorporates the Rangers Supporters Trust, the Rangers Supporters Association and the Rangers Supporters Assembly, as well as other groups such as the Blue Order, Sons of Struth and Union Bears, believes that the initiative will succeed and claimed that the club has so far sold a mere 2,000 books for 2014/15.
With the club having spent more than £67 million in just 19 months, Graham is convinced that every fan who refuses to pay for a season ticket will bring leverage against the board and force them to deal with King and the Union of Fans.
Graham said: “We would expect, given the current financial position, that the board would be attempting to get every single season ticket holder they possibly can.
“If this only takes a thousand or 2,000 season-tickets holders, they should still want that money so they should still be talking to us.
“It’s very difficult for us to say but, as far as we understand, the season tickets levels are sitting around the 2,000 mark and that’s with a big launch, after the [120-day] review which was supposed to persuade people to buy their season tickets.
“That’s a horrendous level of season tickets and it’s quite clear a lot of people have either completely disengaged from it or will not renew with this board.”
The website address is www.ibrox1972.co.uk and Graham added: “People go on to the website and they have two options. They can sign up as a season ticket holder or a non-season ticket holder.
“Season ticket holders will simply fill in a renewal form with their seat number etc. After that they have a credit or debit card option. Unlike the club, we are offering this facility.
“We don’t have a target figure but there is a deadline. Essentially, what we are saying is that we won’t physically collect any money before 15 July. If the security is granted before that date then we will take the money and start issuing season tickets.
“The backstop date is 8 August, which is the day before the first league game of the season. If the security hasn’t been granted by then, that’s us – we stop.
“We then say to the fans that the credit card payment that they indicated they would make has been cancelled and we won’t take that money. It’s then up to them to decide what they are going to do with their funds.
“There will be no money returned to their accounts because we won’t have taken any. Supporters can then continue on a game-to-game basis or just withdraw from it.”
A Rangers spokesman said: “I couldn’t say how many tickets have been sold. We don’t normally release figures until after the deadline for renewal and that isn’t until 16 May.”
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
• Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic, which will also be shown live on BT Sport, with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.
A line-up of experts will handle your questions after each BT Sport game. Most match days, the team includes Darrell Currie, Derek Rae and Gary McAllister.
Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.
• T&C We can not guarantee which presenters will answer your questions. Questions are vetted and no correspondence will be entered into.