26 October 2012

Phenomenal


by Peter Ewart | CRO Contributor

I'm sure that the main sponsors of the SFL won't mind if I borrow their tagline to describe our support so far this season. It is, quite simply, phenomenal. (If they are looking in, complimentary Irn-Bru gratefully received, c/o of CRO)

In terms of punters through the turnstiles we have been making and breaking all kinds of records this season. Away tickets are like gold dust and Ibrox is packed to the rafters for every league game. It is a fair bet that our home crowds for SFL3 match ups will be in the 42-43k+ range until the destination of the title is decided. It's an unbelievable show of loyalty and one we can be very proud of.

The Queen's Park game last Saturday brought another world record for a league game in fourth tier football as close on 49,500 watched the Glasgow derby. This seems to have gone down very well with many of our new ‘supporters’ who were absolutely delighted with this world record, and got in touch to say that they were all off to Santa Cruz to celebrate or something.

It’s heartwarming that they take such interest in how we are doing. Some were so jealous that they were desperate for their old team to get a world record. Three days later and that wish was granted in Barcelona with a phenomenal 10% possession in the game. In the race to recapture the headlines from us, well done to our neighbours.

But make no mistake that the driving force behind these record breaking crowds is loyalty. Loyalty of supporters to their club and the habit of seeing their team. Fans pay the money and come along to see Rangers. It doesn't matter who the opposition is; it is all about the teddy bears.

Have a reduction in ticket prices helped crowds? It certainly hasn’t hurt. Have some fans who had resorted to their armchairs come back to the club in its hour of need? Certainly. Have some fans been more interested in SFL3 than the stale and failed SPL? Most definitely. Have fans been buying tickets as an act of defiance? Well, no. If defiance sold tickets then the NO to newco and Sporting Integrity FC lot would be packing out SPL grounds around the country every week.

They aren’t, and you can hear the clock ticking for the SPL.

It’s not to say there isn’t defiance or anger or frustration in the air at Ibrox; there most certainly is. But it is part of the mood of our support, not simply the explanation for it.

It's all about loyalty, and some are finding that very difficult to comprehend. It wasn’t in the script.

And we are now more galvanised, organised and mobilised than at any time in our long history. Our support is phenomenal, but sure you knew that already. We are more than a club. Or as our neighbours may have picked up in their free time in Catalonia, mes que un club.

Peter is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @Seasider06 and via email: pewart@thecoplandroad.org