Rangers fans criticise club communications but vultures lie in wait ahead of Seville: view


Rangers warn fans to “behave” as Seville media vultures lie in wait

As Rangers fans prepare to head out to Seville perhaps 100k strong, the message from the club has been a stern and clear one; behave.

For many fans, this is a slap in the face as club legends are rolled out one-by-one to encourage the support to represent the best of Rangers Football Club.

Photo By Eduardo Briones/Europa Press via Getty Images

And it’s understandable.

Here is a group of fans who’ve traversed Europe – including some of its most hostile environments – over the course of the last four years on this journey.

Whilst incidents have been sporadic, as they are with any large group of people who’re consuming alcohol, by and large these have passed without any major problems.

Rangers have a stellar reputation for bringing ginormous numbers of loyal supporters no matter where they travel but when it comes to a European Cup Final, this multiplies.

The sheer number of Rangers supporters travelling mean a message is sensible but it’s the hammering home of the message which has rankled with some.

Graeme Souness, Richard Gough, Ian Durrant, Ally McCoist and John Greig have all come together to insist the Rangers support “behave”.

But whilst it may sound patronising, there is quite simply nothing else Rangers can do. We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

Not to mention the fact that issues in Barcelona in 1972 and in Manchester in 2008 mean Rangers will be eager to avoid any problems and to reiterate that fans owe it to the club.

At the very least, the comments reaffirm the message that Rangers will not accept poor behaviour in Spain and that all supporters have a duty of care to the reputation of the club and their fellow fans.

Of course, this will not hit home to everybody and as alcohol is consumed aplenty there will be flashes and incidents as there would be at any major European Cup Final.

Photo By Eduardo Briones/Europa Press via Getty Images

But it’s not only about reminding Rangers fans of their duties, it’s about getting out in front of the inevitable nasty PR war that will be spun in the post-match.

Rangers will be gearing up for wave of Scottish negativity as fans go to Seville

Cast your mind back to May 2021 and the title day celebrations where “Rangers could’ve done more”. This is them doing more and being pre-emptive ahead of the inevitable negativity in the Scottish press.

God forbid we go on to win the trophy; there will be keyboards clacking and mouth-frothing bloggers and journalists desperate for anything to tear down the achievement off the park to soothe the pain of the victory on it.

It is a depressing indictment in the Scottish game that even when Rangers try to find a solution to any prospective issues, the usual suspects are out berating them.

These are the same voices who would take huge pleasure in increasing their own public profile and taking pot shots at the Ibrox club if anything is to go awry.

Souness even referred to “trashy headlines”.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

This is one of the biggest problems; where a small number of Rangers fans misbehave there are plenty in the Scottish media and in Scottish society who use this an opportunity to tarnish the entire club and by proxy its followers. This is why it causes so much grief.

When some of our rivals do the same, it’s swept under the rug, a small blip in otherwise glorious occasions, images of them picking up litter like Jesus himself delusionally making their way over social media and in newspapers.

Just look at the reporting of Celtic’s title celebrations where they trashed – yes trashed – Glasgow City Centre.

We are in a difficult situation just being Rangers; not only does the club have a responsibility to send the right messages to supporters, but it needs to protect it’s own interests from a PR point of view.

It’s hard to imagine many other countries where there are professional journalists and politicians desperate for one football club’s fans to fall into their trap like this, eager to prove their own preconceptions correct.

It would be easier if these individuals just admitted that they take umbrage with everything Rangers stand for and acknowledged that many of their own agendas are entrenched in their own intolerances or politics.

But that’s not going to happen.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Instead, we will see a passive aggressive outpouring of negative coverage as a sort of band-aid over the pain of our appearance and – dare I say it – potential victory in Seville.

Rangers’ messages may be considered patronising but they’re not just aimed just at the fans in Seville.

It’s about fighting smart and not giving any of the club’s detractors the opportunity to take aim and fire on what could be the biggest week in Rangers history.

Fans must heed the warnings of the club – go to Seville, have a party, support the Famous Glasgow Rangers – but don’t give the vultures anything and make sure Seville 2022 is remembered for the right reasons.

Meanwhile, Rangers are set to meet one Frankfurt star in Seville who could’ve been at Ibrox this summer if things were a little differently.

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