When Rangers declared that they would be increasing their season ticket numbers to “reward loyal home fans” it caused a bit of an issue. The knock-on effect would mean the away support allocations would be cut. This, in turn, would lead to Rangers’ away support allocation being cut. And so, the Twitter war began.
Who is more important, the fan that never misses a home game or the fan that never misses a game? It got me thinking, how do fans rank in importance in the Rangers family? Where do I sit in the hierarchy? The list isn’t exhaustive and in no particular order but here’s my look at the different ways we support our great club.
He’s got to be top of the pile, surely? He’s out of pocket to the tune of about £50 million because of his support of Rangers. Over the years, he has dipped into his various trusts and personal funds to help wherever he could. He still divides support, mainly due to the Pedro Caixinha, Derek McInnes and Graeme Murty fiascos though. Football fans are a fickle bunch and we just want/see the end product on a Saturday.
King spent the first few years of his tenure battling to sort out the mess behind the scenes. Things like re-structuring the business and footballing aspects of the club and setting up a scouting network. He’s basically been trying to get the shambles behind the scenes in order. The biggest mistake for me was not getting a Director of Football in sooner.
We’re getting there. Into the Europa League group stages, which is incredible and why? Because he had the faith in the D of F to be brave enough to bring in Steven Gerrard and back him in the transfer market. Regardless of your opinion of King, you have to appreciate what he has done for the club across the board.
Any Rangers fan that puts their own money into the club is greatly appreciated. If someone puts in millions as an interest-free loan which is later converted into shares then they are on the good guy list for me. Yes, they get something in return for their investment but they probably won’t see their money again.
Some of these guys have genuinely helped to keep the club going. The money may have been used for upgrades to Ibrox or the Hummel Training Centre or even for signing players. Without their help, who knows where we’d be?
The “Celebrity” Fan
I don’t mean the likes of Amy MacDonald or Robert Carlyle. These are the fans that have tens of thousands of followers on Twitter or Facebook. They are well known for a reason though. They are “in the know” or are have been members of supporter’s groups. Sometimes they have connections to the club.
With these fans, they put their “popularity” to good use. They “punt” lotto or encourage others to subscribe to Rangers TV and Club 1872. These fans help to do the things that maybe the club can’t do or say. For example, when Football Against Racism in Europe are in town. Social media is a great way to inform almost a whole support instantly regardless of the news.
These are the podcast producers, spending their own time and money (occasionally the Blue Pound but that’s up to you!) to produce shows for our entertainment. It helps to keep those that are further afield feel part of the community and can be a source of therapy in darker days. They dedicate themselves to our greatest passion, Rangers Football Club.
If you can’t play, coach. If you can’t coach, write. Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be the fantasists that believe they are “in the know” or the ones that genuinely are. Again, these fans help us to connect with each other, promote discussion or to reminisce.
They can be the analysts that study Rangers and their opposition. Going through each game with a fine-toothed comb. Not everyone’s cup of tea but better than Kris “Morelos got sent off loads last year” Commons, no he didn’t Kris, your opinion doesn’t equate to fact. Analysts provide the numbers to back up what you see or surprise you when you think a player goes missing.
Bloggers provide content that you can read on your commute, at work or completing your ablutions. What would you rather read, another borderline racist attack on Alfredo Morelos or an in-depth analysis (complete with videos) of a new signing? There is enough stuff out there that you could spend your entire working day listening to and reading Rangers content.
These are the truly lucky ones. Getting to play week-in, week-out for the club they support. The pinnacle of their career. Working hard their whole career in the hope that one day the phone call will come. For some, it comes later than others, see Gareth McAuley as the latest example. Others work their way up through the youth set up, but there are not many better feelings as a fan than seeing “one of your own” making the step up to the first team.
Occasionally we see players for other clubs (think Oli McBurnie) that are open in their support for Rangers. If they are good enough we’d all love to see a team of fans. Sometimes, as in the case of Andy Halliday, it can go against them though. Many believing he is only in the squad because of how passionate he is about the club. I believe, if the balance is right, a lesser talented player can raise their level of performance if they have the club’s best interests at heart.
A fan that can and does go to every game. I sometimes wonder if they realise how lucky they are. Football fan nirvana is being able to go to every game home and away, domestically and in Europe.
It’s an achievement for fans living in the central belt never mind those that live further afield but never miss a game. Every club needs these fans. The support Rangers has had home and away, through thick and thin has been incredible in recent years and are a testament to themselves. I salute you.
There will be some fans that haven’t missed a home game for decades. Football, for some, isn’t a matter of life or death, it’s way important than that. In an ideal world, every football fan will get to enjoy being a season ticket holder of their club for at least just one season. An unsurpassed feeling of belonging, a religion, with Ibrox a more than special place of worship.
We all know one of the fans I’ve already mentioned. We would all love to be able to do what Dave King does. I reckon we’d all rather be able to do what Andy Halliday or Kyle Lafferty or Ryan Jack does though.
What about the rest though? I’ve never liked the phrase “die-hard fan” or someone is a “massive fan”. How do you quantify how big a fan someone is? Surely every fan does what they can to support their club as best they can?
Me? I work almost every weekend and simply can’t afford to pay for a season ticket then travel the two hours or more to Ibrox every other week. If only I could, but I can’t. I had a season ticket in my younger days at college and it’s a little bit “better to have loved and lost”! I’m also daft enough to think I can still play football so if I’m fit and not working I’d rather be putting my boots on, whilst I still can! I’ve no doubt I’ll have a season ticket again one day, with my wee boy sitting next to me (my daughter isn’t interested!).
Like many Rangers fans, I watch every game on Rangers TV, contribute to Club 1872 and will buy the strips for me and my kids (only if they are decent though). Some fans will watch the highlights on Sportscene, depending on their circumstances.
There is no hierarchy of football fans. We are all the same. How you choose to support it is entirely up to you and should certainly never be judged by someone thinking they are a “bigger” fan than you. Is a working parent that spends their week away from home to provide for their family less of a fan because they spend their valuable time at home?
We are one big family, not always a happy one but then again what family is always happy?! We don’t always agree with each other. There are differences of opinion but we have one thing in common regardless of our social or economic background.