As promised, belatedly, we’re now covering the debacle that is the Old Firm ticketing shambles. Let’s be clear – not a soul in the media, or any figureheads of either club endorsed this absolutely ridiculous situation which sees the world’s biggest domestic club match’s value shockingly diluted.
To have no away fans at either Parkhead or Ibrox is a stain on what is the most valuable fixture in the UK. Rangers v Celtic, the most historic club rivalry in football, steeped with hate, legacy, acrimony and all-round baggage, is the coveted crown of the Scottish game, and a worldwide phenomenon that only el-clasico can dare match.
And having this immature situation where away fans are now barred from it completely kills the occasion.
The travelling fans, both sets, are what make this fixture. That pocket of noisy Rangers fans at Parkhead, just about making themselves heard above the din of all the IRA-loving rubbish from the home fans, while the visitors at Parkhead wave as many disgusting green flags for Ireland (no offence to Ireland as a nation btw) as they can to wind up the Govan faithful.
This is the stuff that makes the Old Firm, that makes this fixture, and to have it watered down like this is poor.
Who is to blame?
Dave King. Simple.
While it happened years ago where some scummy tims destroyed seats at Ibrox and got barred for the next fixture, King set this in motion more recently by reducing the visiting allocation from the usual Broomloan capacity to just 800, in what was supported by misguided Rangers fans at the time, but now clearly was the planting of a bad seed which has grown into a shambles thereafter.
It’s been tit-for-tat as Celtic riposted the same back, and now it’s got to the stupid point of no away fans allowed at either ground.
It is dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. 800 isn’t enough. Give timmy the Broomloan like the old days, let’s have our same chunk of Parkhead back and have everyone grow up.
We don’t and never have supported this nonsense, because it devalues everything. It makes the Old Firm less interesting to neutral fans, to the massive global audience who want to see a century’s old tribal rivalry at its best, with crowds outchanting each other.
Not this hogwash of just one set.
So for next season it’s clear that with a much more progressive CEO in charge at Ibrox, rather than Robertson who basically tried to play to the galleries, we might just see a return to the proper Old Firm crowds the way it should be.
Let’s hope so.