Jump to content

 

 

Setting the Standard: Redeveloping RSC Links with the Club


Recommended Posts

Another splendid article in the STS series - this time from Tannochside Bear who discusses the existing flawed links between the club and RSCs and how these can be improved.

 

http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=752&Itemid=2

 

As part of the 'Setting the Standard' series of articles, I would like to discuss the role of Rangers Supporters Clubs (RSCs) in today�s game, the links between them and the club, and how we can get the best working relationship between them.

 

At the moment, all official RSCs are registered at Ibrox through the Worldwide Alliance (WWA), with claims of over 600 registered clubs and a membership of 30,000 supporters. From within this comes the Rangers Supporters Assembly, with 10 elected representatives taken from the Worldwide Alliance.

 

There is also the Rangers Supporters Association, the much longer-standing organisation which used to distribute tickets to RSCs for matches both at Ibrox and away from home. Sadly, this has diminished much in recent years, forcing it to sell their headquarters within the Wee Rangers Club to pay off it�s debts and now has only around 20 member clubs.

 

RSCs take many shapes and forms throughout the world. From the many Glasgow based clubs with decades of history behind them and a million stories of follow following, to the many overseas RSC�s that show games in clubs and pubs for exiled Bears all over the world. I personally have been a member of a Glasgow based RSC for 20 years, 10 of which as part of their committee, so I really believe in the value of the RSC and have some experience of how they are run.

 

RSCs in this country are mainly run with one primary function: to arrange travel and tickets for Rangers supporters to follow the team. The club�s contact with RSCs throughout the course of the season almost entirely consists of ticketing issues. Most RSCs will know very little about the WWA, when it has meetings in its area, who are the area representatives, and what it is there to do for them. Outside the UK, they are mostly social, a gathering of supporters to watch the game together at all hours of the day and night.

 

We all know that the current situation does very little for either party. It gives virtually nothing to the RSCs and the club gets virtually nothing back from them.

 

The club certainly undervalues the power of the RSCs to influence fan thinking. Not only does the club have to do more for RSCs, but the reverse is also true. The best example of this was when the club was under fire in the Spring of 2007 for ââ?¬Å?The Billy Boysââ?¬Â. The club desperately wanted the fans to stop singing it after UEFA effectively outlawed the song. The club tried everything it could to get the fans to stop. Finally they appealed to a couple of the well known RSC chairmen to see if they could do anything. After a hastily arranged meeting of representatives of over 60 RSCs held in April 2007 in the Wee Rangers Club, an agreement was reached to get members of RSCs to ââ?¬Å?self-policeââ?¬Â in this area. A policy that was worked extremely well and continues to work to this day.

 

So what changes can we make in order to set the standard in this area?

 

There are 3 questions that I want to look at in this topic.

 

1. What can the club do for the RSCs?

 

Issue a membership card for all members of an RSC. The card gives them a small discount in the club shop, (online for overseas members) stadium tours, etc. Not too much that it costs a fortune, more a token gesture to make them feel part of the family.

 

Use the club�s buying power to have deals in place with certain companies to give RSCs some good deals. Perhaps with a clothing manufacturer to give the best prices on RSC polo shirts and flags. Individual RSCs all go off and get their own polo shirts done. Let the club be part of it. The club will make a small commission, and the RSCs all get a good deal.

 

Give RSCs the option to seat their members together at Ibrox. This will of course help the atmosphere at Ibrox as well as binding the RSCs more together as a group.

 

Negotiate strongly with other SPL clubs for a larger allocation for matches. It appears we do not actually want more tickets for games as it is too much bother for us to deal with them for not much reward. This is not the standard we should be setting. We must put the interests of our fans first. Without them there is nothing. I am quite sure Kilmarnock and Motherwell for example would love to give us more tickets, even share a stand in order to get more fans to the game. For shared stands, the Rangers section would be all family tickets.

 

2. What can the RSCs do for the club in return?

 

If the RSCs knew that they were getting a fair deal on tickets and that the club were right behind them, they would be far more interested in putting something back.

 

RSCs are well trained in running successful fundraisers. From race nights to sportsman�s dinners to sponsored football matches to just selling scratchcards and much more. The truth is they have to just to survive. I am quite sure that most RSCs would happily run a fundraiser every season with the proceeds being split between their own club funds and the Rangers Youth Development programme, or the museum fund. The club would provide a signed shirt and ball for a raffle at the event, and where possible a player, former player or coach in attendance, this could be a real source of income throughout the year.

 

RSCs are already the club�s best selling tools. Already, many RSCs are agents in the club lotto, raising large sums of money every week. This could easily be expanded upon if the RSCs thought the club were really looking after them and making them feel part of the club.

 

3. Who is going to do all the work?

 

We need a new organisation who will look after the interests of the RSCs. It would be self-funding from membership dues collected from the RSCs. I would split them into two categories. Ticketing RSCs and non-ticketing RSCs. This means that the RSCs who take tickets every week are treated separately from the RSCs from abroad. The ticketing RSCs would then pay more than the other RSCs. I would suggest ~�£4 per member per year for ticketing RSCs and ~�£2 for non-ticketing RSCs. The RSCs would be easily able to pass this on to their members with their dues if they knew what they were getting back for it as outlined above. I would also reintroduce the Rangers Rally, which would be supported by the club and a large turnout of players, past and present, would be guaranteed.

 

The funds raised would pay for the salaries of the staff whose job it would be to run the organisation. It would take quite some organising to make all of the above work, but with the right Rangers-minded people employed, it would become a professional office that would be the contact for any RSC enquiries and would have its separate ticket office for the distribution of RSC tickets. It would have a committee of elected Rangers fans that would be elected by the RSCs themselves in a postal ballot to all RSCs on a one-member one-vote basis. The staff would be answerable to the committee, and the committee answerable to the RSCs at monthly meetings, and all up for re-election annually. A full record of the minutes would be sent to every club every month to keep them involved, and RSCs would be allowed to send in questions in advance of meetings without having to attend personally. A website with all the up to date information, including a private section for RSC organisers to learn of more sensitive information (financials etc) would also form an important part of this.

 

 

To summarise, the RSCs are such an important part of our club, our history, our heritage. Most Rangers supporters have used one at one time or another. Most have probably been to a function run by one of them. Most will have seen the banners with the RSC club names on them in various places all over the world. Personally, there is nothing better than seeing the convoy of RSCs thundering out of Dundee or Aberdeen after an important victory.

 

The club should be embracing this collective of (in my biased opinion) the most passionate supporters anywhere in world football, and by working together making things the best they possibly can be for the ultimate benefit of Rangers Football Club.

 

:rfc:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking from someone who has never been a member of a RSC, I'm glad TB has taken the time to detail part of it's operations.

 

Certainly the problems above once again show the club's marked retreat from working meaningfully with supporters. Not just gloryhunters who'll disappear as soon as we lose a title or three but fans with decades of matches and investment behind them.

 

That is an absolute disgrace. As such it is vital a new organisation (or at least a full and open Assembly revamp) is undertaken to represent supporters. I'd prefer RSC operations were contained within that (as opposed to further - or maintaining - group splintering) but I can understand why it's imperative the history of the Association is preserved.

 

The club must redevelop links with the supporters. RSCs should be the first port of call given their experience and wide-ranging influence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting article.

 

On the away tickets issue, does anyone know what percentage of tickets for a typical away game to RSCs and how many go to CCCSs? Do RSCs get a proportion of their tickets through CCCS?

 

I was a member of an RSC throughout the 90s and got all of my away tickets through it (for every game). Now I just apply through the CCCS like other ST holders and just get my 5 or 6 a season. I think that some justification needs to be given as to whether it should be the RSCs that get extra tickets if there are some available.

 

One thing I couldn't figure out was the amount of empty seats down at Killie at the last game. Why? Could the club not take more and allocate more to both sets of bears?

 

Although I'm no longer a member of an RSC, it appears that there is virtually no communication between the Assembly/WWA and the average member of an RSC. This make a mockery of the whole supporter set-up and needs to be overhauled, but that's a whole different subject.

 

TB makes a great point on the club getting the RSCs on board. Just think of what could be achieved if that was the case, rather than the RSA (Assembly) sitting in their ivory towers deciding how they are to spend their (the club's) �£30K.

 

I'm sure if Murray or Bain were approached on the subject they would just point to the Assembly. That's a lazy answer as the Assembly doesn't achive a great deal and has no way of communicating to the average bear.

 

Quarterly meetings similar to the sort that occured in the WRC would be the way to go with major delegates meeting with SDM and MB to put their views across and allowing the club to put their cards on the table and explain what they see as acceptable and what is not and getting that message out to the rank-and-file.

 

Messages that are old tend to get forgotten about and need to be reinforced. this neds to be done by word-of-mouth and messages on the screens or in the programme will just be ignored.

 

SDM/MD, the RSCs are there. Help them AND use them and both sides will see the benefits....but don't forget about us CCCS guys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is an absolute disgrace. As such it is vital a new organisation (or at least a full and open Assembly revamp) is undertaken to represent supporters. I'd prefer RSC operations were contained within that (as opposed to further - or maintaining - group splintering) but I can understand why it's imperative the history of the Association is preserved.

What purpose does the Association now serve? Whilst I have every respect for John MacMillan, I fail to see how an organisation that represents so few RSCs can be meaningful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What purpose does the Association now serve? Whilst I have every respect for John MacMillan, I fail to see how an organisation that represents so few RSCs can be meaningful.

 

Like I say, not being a RSC member, I'm not completely sure.

 

I do believe the Association are examining their own organisation in order to make improvements and modernise. Hopefully that may attract more RSCs back to that umbrella while increase the say they have at the Assembly table.

 

It is the Assembly that needs to be overhauled like you say. I'm trying extremely hard to get someone from there to contribute to this project.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What purpose does the Association now serve? Whilst I have every respect for John MacMillan, I fail to see how an organisation that represents so few RSCs can be meaningful.

 

It is difficult to see a future role for the Association. Like you, I have every respect for John, and he does a thankless task keeping things going.

 

The Association did come to the fore earlier this season when the 5% issue came to the fore. They went to several SPL clubs and arranged to buy tickets for their member clubs without them having to buy coupons in the paper etc. As the Association holds a database of every member's details in every member club, it was able to provide enough comfort to the clubs (Hibs & Hearts especailly), to get full allocations for their members. The fact that the Association was not part of RFC was a major factor in the other clubs dealing with them, as they would not deal with Bain or the Assembly due to them feeling agreived about the 5% issue.

 

So in certain circumstances, the Association can be quite useful, hence the reason for the remaining clubs still paying their dues and remaining members.

 

But a long term future is unlikely as long as the Assembly is the big daddy within the club.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A report had been prepared on a number of ticketing issues and was discussed by the delegates. Key themes were - the split of tickets between the SPL away scheme for season ticket holders, supporters clubs and Rangers (sponsors, staff, players, hospitality, etc); proposals to help fans pay for season tickets in the current economic climate; the continuous credit scheme priority for semi finals and final; the availability and price of concession tickets and the situation this year where Rangers demanded a 5% levy from other clubs for administering away tickets. As a result, proposals will be put to the Club to seek improvements. The issue of obtaining more tickets from other clubs and seeking fairness and consistency in pricing to encourage families in particular will be taken forward with the other clubs, the SPL and support will be sought from the Scottish Parliament and the media.

This is taken from the published minutes from the Assembly meeting over a month ago. It seems that they are looking to address some of the issues raised here, which is good.

 

However it would be helpful if they were able to tell us what some of their proposals are. Are members like myself not entitled to find out?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest BlueIsTheColour

I will post my reply to this article in here seeing as RM is currently being repaired.

 

A very good article which gives some feesible and constructive recommendations for ways of improving the current relationship between the RSCs and Rangers Football Club. I have been an RSC member for the last 8 years and in that time it has become pretty evident that the club are valuing the contribution of RSCs less and less.

 

A few years ago our club would generally recieve enough tickets for every away game to satisfy the demand of most of our members. And for matches like Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Celtic all of our members would recieve tickets. In comparison, for a club with 23 members and 30-plus years of following Rangers to every game, home and away, we recieved only 5 tickets for Celtic Park on Sunday. We also recieved a grand total of 2 tickets for matches at both Pittordie and Inverness this season. I see that as akin to a betrayal from the club.

 

David Murray has reaffirmed time and again that he wants to distribute away tickets to Ibrox season book holders rather than RSCs. I believe that this is simply to control what kind of supporter goes to these games. This was particularly heightened after the Villareal fiasco. The last thing we want is for away game atmospheres to go down the route of the Ibrox matchday and if the current trend of tickets going away from RSCs continues then this seems inevitable to me.

 

The economic slowdown is also affecting many RSCs, mine included. Bus companies are raising their prices pretty sharply due to running costs and therefore we are having to raise our prices just to stay afloat. This is where i feel the club should be helping us out by maybe providing a small fund, not alot, to each RSC so that they can keep the prices for their members down. It is the least the club could do given the amount of money RSC members shell-out every season going to support the team.

Edited by BlueIsTheColour
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting article.

 

On the away tickets issue, does anyone know what percentage of tickets for a typical away game to RSCs and how many go to CCCSs? Do RSCs get a proportion of their tickets through CCCS?

 

I was a member of an RSC throughout the 90s and got all of my away tickets through it (for every game). Now I just apply through the CCCS like other ST holders and just get my 5 or 6 a season. I think that some justification needs to be given as to whether it should be the RSCs that get extra tickets if there are some available.

 

One thing I couldn't figure out was the amount of empty seats down at Killie at the last game. Why? Could the club not take more and allocate more to both sets of bears?

 

Although I'm no longer a member of an RSC, it appears that there is virtually no communication between the Assembly/WWA and the average member of an RSC. This make a mockery of the whole supporter set-up and needs to be overhauled, but that's a whole different subject.

 

TB makes a great point on the club getting the RSCs on board. Just think of what could be achieved if that was the case, rather than the RSA (Assembly) sitting in their ivory towers deciding how they are to spend their (the club's) �£30K.

 

I'm sure if Murray or Bain were approached on the subject they would just point to the Assembly. That's a lazy answer as the Assembly doesn't achive a great deal and has no way of communicating to the average bear.

 

Quarterly meetings similar to the sort that occured in the WRC would be the way to go with major delegates meeting with SDM and MB to put their views across and allowing the club to put their cards on the table and explain what they see as acceptable and what is not and getting that message out to the rank-and-file.

 

Messages that are old tend to get forgotten about and need to be reinforced. this neds to be done by word-of-mouth and messages on the screens or in the programme will just be ignored.

 

SDM/MD, the RSCs are there. Help them AND use them and both sides will see the benefits....but don't forget about us CCCS guys.

 

 

The problem with the CCCS is that there are very few guys like yourself that really really want the tickets for your Kilmarnocks and Motherwells. I believe that a large number of ST holders only tick the box in the hope of getting a celtic ticket.

 

There are a lot of members of my RSC that get their pals to tick the CCCS box and we take any tickets they get. We also have members who are always offered tickets for unglamorous games from ST holders who fall into the above category.

 

I quick look at the number of buses at any away ground and a quick calculation of the number of tickets allocated to Rangers for that game will tell you that a very large percentage of bears still use the buses to travel to the games.

 

I have every respect for bears like yourself who prefer to use their own transport to go to the games for any variety of reasons, and of course we must look after them as well, but I feel that while the RSC's are the large majority of travelling fans, they should be put to the forefront of the thinking at the club.

 

Would any of the perks mentioned in my article make you consider rejoining a RSC? What would make you rejoin?

Is it just down to the buses running in your area and the people running them?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest BlueIsTheColour
What purpose does the Association now serve? Whilst I have every respect for John MacMillan, I fail to see how an organisation that represents so few RSCs can be meaningful.

 

In the current climate the Association doesn't make much of a mark on the landscape unfortunately. My RSC is one of its 20 remaining clubs.

 

Although i have to say, this season it has been very rewarding for our RSC to be a member of the Association. Due to Rangers 5% demands imposed on other SPL clubs many obviously decided to sell the tickets to Rangers fans themselves. The Association contacted Hibernian, Hearts and Falkirk and made a deal that they would provide the details of each member of their constituent RSCs and in return the clubs would provide each member with a match ticket. All three clubs jumped at the chance and thus for these three matches, which are usually difficult for tickets, all of our RSC's members got a ticket.

 

So in that regard the Association has proved that it can still be of use to its RSCs, especially when the club is making it extremely difficult for us.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.