There is a LOT of talk this morning about the dreaded ‘c’ word. And no, not ‘that’ one. No, we’re talking about ‘crowds’ and the fact they’re back.
There’s a tonne of articles in the press with various this and thats mouthing off about the alleged impact the return of fans is having on Rangers’ players performances, with claims the likes of James Tavernier are being negatively hindered by delivering the goods in front of supporters.
What we will say before entering this debate is we have discussed the topic in recent months, making a point of wondering just how the team would react to punters in the stands again. Would they thrive on being backed by thousands, or would the pressure of expectation weigh too heavily.
The slow start the team has made this season is unfortunate, but with us only being 3 matches in, it’s hard to put the crowds as a cause. After all, a decent crowd for the Real Madrid friendly saw a stunning performance from the Ibrox faithful, while a minute one v Arsenal saw a pretty mediocre home display.
Equally, an empty Tranmere produced a loss.
Sure, this was all pre-season and even John Lundstram looked good in that one so we’re not going to take it as scientific evidence either way, but it’s food for thought.
Ibrox Noise’s Derek certainly wants the crowd to play its part tomorrow, and we don’t blame him. Being booed or sighed at by your own fans doesn’t help, and we hope the fans roar the side on regardless of how things are going. Unconditional backing, relentless singing and support is a true 12th man for Rangers.
But it is intriguing each defeat has come in front of opposition fans. Malmo’s faithful were very intense last week, and they were a 12th man for their own team. Did it affect Rangers who weren’t used to opposing crowds bearing down on them? That’s for better people than us to determine.
Dundee Utd also gave it laldy at Tannadice, and our old favourite YNRA popped up as well. Did this play a part? You tell us.
One thing is for sure, Celtic-minded punters are definitely enjoying making the claim that it did, and that’s on Rangers to make them look stupid.
We can see a correlation between performances dipping and crowds coming back, but that’s not proof nor is it cause. It’s just a seeming coincidence. With a strong home crowd tomorrow and a good result, it can help dispel this as a myth.
But that leaves players’ desires, and the only ones who can fix that is the players themselves.
If Rangers players are backed by 50K screaming fans slaughtering our Swedish friends and backing our team incessantly and STILL can’t up their game for it then that’s completely on them.
And it’s an outcome which would cost the club £60M.
And we simply can’t have that.
It’s over to you Rangers players, earn this club a major step towards that £60M jackpot and shut the press and naysayers up.