Are Rangers Right To Cut Celtic’s Ticket Allocation At Ibrox?

Rangers released yet another statement yesterday and once again it has courted some controversy within Scottish football.

The Ibrox club have announced record season ticket sales for Steven Gerrard’s debut campaign, they’ve already sold more than 40,000 and are now willing to sell more.

Rangers went on to say:

An unfortunate consequence of putting our supporters first is that this increased demand negatively impacts on the number of tickets which will be allocated to visiting teams. This means all visiting fans will now be situated in the corner between the Broomloan and Sandy Jardine Stands.

Essentially the only team to be impacted will be Scottish Premiership champions Celtic, who usually get the Broomloan stand, which seats around 7000. Every other side typically sits in that corner already.

Celtic duly followed up the Gers statement with one of their own:

An unprecedented Double Treble and historic season for the Club has led to a phenomenal level of demand from supporters to be part of Celtic.

We are happy to reciprocate in terms of ticket allocation, something which will give us the opportunity to meet this huge demand to visit Celtic Park.

It looks like Celtic will be following suit.

Now when I first saw the news I thought it was a bit of a petty move but the more I thought about it the more it makes sense to me.

Both clubs should be putting their own support first. Commercially they will probably sell more merchandise and beverages if more of their own fans are in the stands.

Plus if these supporters are willing to go to every other game in the season, then should they be forced to sit out the home derby matches? If you treat them all equally then surely you’ll stand a greater chance to get them back for years to come.

You then have the problem of away supporters breaking seats and ruining other facilities in the away end. The move should cut down on maintenance bills, arguments with your rivals and silly point scoring.

The cynical side of me thinks that the two clubs may have discussed this prior to the statements being released, I’m not saying it was necessarily agreed upon but at least discussed.

I also believe that the Police will be thankful that less away supporters will travel across the city to visit the house of their nemesis. Although that could see more pub trade, more into publican coffers but also more patrol officers dealing with drunken behaviour on the streets.

I’ll miss seeing such a large away contingent in the stands, it does make for a great shot on the telly and a great sight in the stadium. It’s a great marketing tool, that the Scottish Premiership can show to the rest of the world.

But I’m not convinced that the atmosphere will truly be spoiled either. If Celtic are pumping Rangers at Ibrox, then that group in the corner will be deafening. If Rangers are winning then the whole stadium, minus the few hundred Hoops fans, will be bouncing.

So all in all, I think it makes complete sense for a football club to back their own fans and get as many in the door as they can. If that means cutting an away support that hates you, then so be it.

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