Tongues have been set wagging by Kris Boyd’s strongly-worded column in the Sun in which the ex-Gers striker is heavily critical of the club’s conduct this season and feels Rangers have lost sight of traditional supporters in a digital age where profit and subscriptions have taken precedent over loyalty.
Is Boyd right in what he says?
One of his biggest axes to grind is the club’s media ‘ban’ – well it’s a media charge of a 5-figure sum to give media groups access to the club. If they don’t pay, they don’t get in, and it’s only official partners who get in and will only ask non-probing questions, he believes.
Another gripe is with the digital age of club commerce – he reckons the club has left behind supporters who aren’t interested in Internet operations and just want a season ticket and to buy their daily paper in favour of MyGers subs and all kinds of online regalia.
Now, there are big caveats and catches with what he says.
Firstly, he writes for the Sun, who are directly affected by both of these issues. We don’t know if they have paid the media charge (we literally do not click on the Sun EVER) but if they have, it’s cost them, and if they haven’t they’re losing out on club access.
Secondly the notion of the loyal older supporter who buys their season ticket and buys the Sun to get their transfer stories is once again an issue – he’s writing something in the interest of his employer, and they’re hardly going to endorse a column supporting ideas which go against their best interests.
So there are definitely agendas here.
BUT. That said. Is Boyd right on any level?
We do agree that the media charge has alienated smaller media groups who simply don’t have a spare £25,000 to spend on this kind of service. Not everyone is as big as the Sun or Daily Record to be able to afford to speak to Steven Gerrard for that price of admission. STV for example are there in the form of Raman Bhardwaj, but other groups like Sky Scotland (who Boyd also works for) don’t seem to be – Charles Patterson has completely vanished from media interactions with Rangers and is only seen now outside reporting from Ibrox.
And the issue about the older fan ousted by Rangers’ digital age and neglect of traditional sporting avenues and methods of support isn’t completely wrong either. We know many older Bears who are just about able to grasp how to use the Internet but it’s not second nature and they’d much rather the age-old methods. And Rangers’ emphasis on all the digital platforms in recent times does rather exclude the traditionalists. Progression shouldn’t come at the cost of the loyalty of 50-year Rangers lifelong fans.
So while Boyd has a bit of cheek in what he’s saying, given who he works for, it doesn’t mean he’s entirely wrong.
Rangers do need to remember not to forget the fans who bleed blue and bled blue for us to get here. The club must ensure they give back to the fans who have spent and supported for decades and they are every inch as important as all the rest of the younger ones who do get things like MyGers et al.
The club is nothing without its fans, every single one of them. And if that means giving fans full access to media coverage of the club by either reducing the fee or removing it, maybe that’s the best way forward.
It’s vital none of the fans are forgotten.