It is no secret that Scottish football’s finances have been in a black hole ever since Rangers’ deposing to the-then Third Division.
One only has to look at the embarrassing attendance figures and pathetic sponsorship deals the game north of the border now suffers to see the extent of the damage Rangers’ absence from the top flight has caused.
For example, Clydesdale Bank confirmed a four-year £8M contract in 2007 – but the subsequent deal agreed in 2012 once Rangers exited the top tier was infinitely less weighty, and indeed was completely scrapped 18 months later. This led to a two year lack of any sponsor at all, with Rangers’ absence putting all comers off.
After lengthy negotiations the SPFL finally managed a deal with Ladbrokes, one that was reportedly half of the value of Clyesdale’s but covers all four divisions.
In short, in so many areas, Rangers not being in the top flight cost the game up here dear.
Which is why, with the Ibrox giants on the verge of a triumphant return to the top, evidence suggests opposing clubs are already starting to ‘swallow their pride’ and embrace Rangers again.
How? For a significant example, St Mirren have allocated their entire South Stand away allocation to the travelling Rangers support for the final game of the season – if ever an example of the Blue Pound being worth more than its weight in gold to the Scottish game was available, this would be it. Indeed, Buddies’ supporters are incensed by the decision but Rangers’ clout is starting to speak again.
And expect more and more occasions in the future where opposition, who previously spat in Rangers’ face, suddenly bring their metaphorical begging bowls out instead.
Of course the question is then asked as to whether Rangers supporters should retaliate against opposition clubs who rejected that infamous vote; or more importantly, against the decision of the clubs’ fans.
Rangers bring with them serious money, and Scottish football clubs know this; in Rangers’ absence from the Premiership, income has universally deteriorated in Scottish football.
The question is, will loyal supporters punish opposition clubs by boycotting their grounds? Or will bygones be bygones and life go back to normal next season?
Time will tell.