In recent weeks, following the announcement of Rangers’ participation in the Sydney Cup in Australia, supporters have begun to publicly and vocally question the judgement, competence and honesty of the Rangers’ Executive Team. It is the opinion of the Club 1872 Board that not only are they correct to do so, but that it is crucial for the future health of the club that they do so.
Unfortunately, the contempt shown to supporters over this issue is only the tip of the iceberg and has been ongoing, albeit less visibly to the majority of supporters, for almost two years. It is a source of great regret that we are having to raise these matters publicly – having always attempted to engage privately and constructively with the club – but the current custodians of Rangers Football Club have refused to speak with us privately despite repeated attempts to do so.
The experience of Club 1872 Directors, both past and present, is that Rangers’ Executive Team, led by Stewart Robertson, James Bisgrove and David Graham, has developed an extremely unhealthy disdain for the Rangers support and that inaccurate information has regularly been disseminated through the club’s own public statements, briefings to fan media and highly selective leaks to a small group of individuals within the Rangers support. This conduct has not, in our opinion, been intended to advance the aims of the club, but instead to serve the interests of a handful of members of the Plc Board and Executive team and to protect them from healthy scrutiny and justified criticism.
When Club 1872 attempted to represent the interests and concerns of supporters on a variety of topics such as ticketing, safe standing, disabled facilities, season ticket renewals, Scottish football governance and merchandise issues, the reaction of the Executive team over a number of months between March and July 2020 was dismissive, patronising and at times openly hostile.
Rangers’ MyGers scheme, rather than being presented honestly as a commercial levy on away and European tickets, has been marketed around a false concept of loyalty that is based purely on fans’ ability to spend and from which the vast majority of supporters have not seen a single benefit. MyGers has falsely been positioned by the club as a form of meaningful fan engagement when the reality is that it has simply been a vehicle to try to find more and more ways to monetise the support. It has also had the effect of marginalising Rangers Supporters Clubs who, despite facilitating the attendance of thousands of supporters at games, have seen their allocations cut.
We have also been extremely concerned to see Rangers, under Commercial Director, James Bisgrove, sign up to dubious commercial partnerships with cryptocurrency and NFT providers despite the obvious pitfalls of promoting these types of high risk, unregulated, third party ‘investments’ to supporters. The ‘Fan Token’ which Bitci launched in partnership with Rangers has, in common with many similar schemes, dropped in value by around 90% since its high shortly after launch in August 2021 – leaving supporters who purchased them out of pocket.
Club 1872 also has documentary and other evidence that over the past two years, since the appointment of new Communications Director, David Graham, supporters have been regularly fed inaccurate information on issues ranging from player transfers, commercial activities and merchandise to shareholder relations. Stewart Robertson even went as far as to fabricate a grievance with Club 1872 and falsely accuse Club 1872 Directors of breaching confidentiality. It is the Club 1872 Board’s opinion that this was simply an excuse to cut off all dialogue with us as it became apparent to Mr Robertson that we would not accept supporters being misled on important issues. Mr Robertson then attempted to force Club 1872 into signing a blanket Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which would have had the effect of preventing us from making any public comment about Rangers and required us to report any information we received from third parties to Rangers’ Executives. When Club 1872 took legal advice, and on the basis of that advice declined to sign this agreement, Mr Robertson refused our offer to sign amended NDAs for specific, commercially sensitive matters. This was a clear and obvious attempt to silence Club 1872 and restrict our ability to effectively represent our Contributors and the wider support.
There then followed a concerted campaign by individuals very close to the club to forcefully remove Club 1872 Directors. Although this attempt ultimately failed thanks to our Contributors, the smears and lies which were regularly broadcast created a false, negative perception of both Club 1872 and our attempts to reach a 25% shareholding for supporters through the purchase of Dave King’s shares. This was nothing more than a dishonest attack on Club 1872 and fan representation which started immediately after it became clear to Rangers’ Executives that we would not collaborate with the way in which they were conducting themselves. Indeed, on more than one occasion we had to refuse David Graham’s urging to disseminate information to supporters that was simply not true.
We have today written to Rangers’ Vice Chairman, John Bennett, Plc Board members Barry Scott, Alastair Johnston and Julian Wolhardt and major shareholders Stuart Gibson, George Letham and George Taylor, asking them to enter into dialogue with us as a matter of urgency so that we can present the information we have gathered on the issues raised above. The financial contribution that these individuals have made to the club is considerable and to be commended and we hope they will work with us to improve the way the club is being run. We have also extended an offer to a number of fan media outlets to meet them and outline the information in our possession which shows the way in which they have been manipulated by Rangers’ Executives.
Rangers supporters did not go through the events of 2012 to find ourselves back in a situation where individuals at the club put their own interests ahead of Rangers. April is a huge month for the club and the ongoing behaviour of the Rangers hierarchy and their refusal to engage properly with supporters is threatening to distract from important matters on the pitch. As supporters, we unconditionally support the team, the players and the club but the days of blindly following the club’s custodians when they are not, in our opinion, acting in Rangers’ best interests are long gone. We sincerely hope that the required changes can be made sooner rather than later, that the club’s hierarchy can reconnect with supporters and we can move forward together. In the meantime, we would urge supporters to continue to critically examine all information released by Rangers’ Executives or their proxies.
Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company.< Back