We’ve held off covering this one till the dust settled a bit on it, but after former club photographer and current/former Sun and freelance snapper Willie Vass experienced his first Ibrox ‘boycott’ yesterday, it’s time to take the topic head on.
Some of you will know there’s been a dramatic change in Govan this pre-season – with Rangers securing 55, and becoming even more lucrative, the club has decided to introduce a £25,000 charge to media groups for access.
This has naturally generated heated discussion among fans about Vass in particular who is described as a loyal photographer being done a wrong by the club.
Some media outlets, unsurprisingly, are condemning this move, attacking it for greed and preaching press freedom, but equally unsurprisingly Ibrox Noise has a different angle on it.
The reality is our club deeply needs revenue streams like never before. And cynically, its stock is higher than it’s been since pre-2012 so, commercially speaking, you have to take advantage of your value when you can.
And charging left right and centre for just about everything is absolutely fair play if there is someone out there willing to pay.
If no one is, then naturally it’s a waste of time – but if we’re going to endorse shiny new signings coming in and being paid THEIR market value in terms of wages, our club itself has every right to exploit its own as well.
It’s very telling the biggest complaints are coming from those most affected by this – the largest groups who would normally enjoy unfettered access to the club and to matches.
And that does actually include Vass. The chap is a gentleman who Ibrox Noise has known for many years, and we don’t have a bad word to say about his character or integrity. But he’s also a professional in the industry who’s made a good living out of the club for decades, so while we’re not unsympathetic to him, he won’t be going hungry as a result of this any time soon.
He is contracted to the Sun (among others) and they are about as big and rich as they get, so if they really want their man at Ibrox, surely they can help him financially.
Where is the problem here? Covid naturally has a lot to answer for – it’s smacked everyone in the wallet and purse and all kinds of commercial groups are resorting to new tactics to retrieve the lost revenue they’ve suffered the past 15+ months.
And that includes our club.
We’re not endorsing the charge, but we’re not slating it in the way the big media groups and some fans are.
It’s the way of the world now – hell, Ibrox Noise have invested in the new share issue like many of you, a share issue which was only needed because of Covid and lost revenue streams. So many financial avenues were lost and new ones sought.
So, basically, if Rangers want to charge the Sun and Daily Record plus their photographers for access to the club’s media facilities, it’s fair game.
Welcome to supply and demand.