Debate: Why Rangers and Celtic need Old Firm fans back

Debate: Why Rangers and Celtic need Old Firm fans back
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Rangers fans look on during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on September 1, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Now, Ibrox Noise are going to be fair, and not dismiss the concerns of the minority of fans who don’t want Celtic supporters back at Ibrox at all.

One of the big issues is unseating Broomloan ST holders of course, to accommodate the visiting supporters again, but the problem there is more the issue that Dave King created in giving those extra seats to home fans in the first place.

That’s a problem created by the former chairman which didn’t need to be there – we understand a little of why he did it, but it led to this shambolic path we’re now on.

But we deal in facts, in the here and now, and the reality is that the minority do have issues with visiting fans coming back. And they shouldn’t be completely ignored.

The problem for all though is the Old Firm product in general has been diluted because of this issue – the biggest, correction, ‘only’ carrot Scottish football has is the Old Firm.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon and probably the biggest club match in the world aside el-clasico and maybe Liverpool Man Utd.

Taking the away fans away puts out about 90% of the fire of the fixture.

‘Who cares’, right? All we want is Rangers to win, and the best interests of our club. That’s fair and we agree there.

The problem is this can hurt so many things – how many players have come to Rangers in major part attracted by the Old Firm?

It’s been a draw for decades, even centuries, where players who might pick bigger leagues and lesser clubs have come to Ibrox because of playing in this epic fixture?

The impact of that fixture was obviously gone for a while when we were down the divisions, but the atmosphere with it being long-since back is a HUGE part of its lure.

Take that away, and the fixture is massively down on attraction, importance, and more crucially, players will be less likely to come to the club. ‘Them lot’ also have to deal with that.

But even bigger, is the global product. Scottish football already gets buttons, the TV deals and sponsorship isn’t that valuable as it is – imagine how much worse that gets when the one thing sponsors want, the Old Firm, keeps on reducing in terms of its ‘glamour’.

No away fans means it’s just another match like v Livi or Ayr, and that means even less financial power for the Scottish game with TV rights tumbling and sponsors walking away.

Whose knock on effect is Rangers also lose sponsors.

How many of Rangers’ own deals are helped by facing Celtic?

Take away the visiting fans and the match has so much less gravity and the partner sponsors of the club, like Kelloggs, just aren’t as interested. Which means less money in our pockets.

Right now things are OKAY. It’s not quite got to breaking point yet and we’re still getting deals.

But if the impasse keeps up they’ll dry up, because whether either set of fans likes it or not, the future of the fixture is kind of non existent with away fans not being there.

And importantly, that hurts Rangers long term.

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