Renaming Ibrox: Time To Be Humble?
- 30 January 2013
For many weeks now the debate on the possible and now seemingly inevitable renaming of Ibrox Stadium has been in full flow. From day one of the argument I have been surprised at the levels of support the proposal has received from Rangers fans.
For months now we have been fighting for the club to retain the right to claim all of its 140 years of record breaking history but now there is strong support for a massive piece of that history to be sold/leased for monetary gain.
This debate will inevitably be about pride and whether we are prepared to sacrifice some of it for the bigger cause, or, as the haters and enablers will spin it, that we have all been beaten down to the point that we are simply prepared to forgo any pride and allow Charles Green to 'sell out' to enhance the income of the club.
Whatever the reason, in a recent meeting with fan groups and supporters’ clubs representatives, Charles Green was all but given the green light by those in attendance. RSA spokesman Ross Blyth was clear in stating that the majority of fans were open to the idea when he said: 'the majority of fans were with him [Green] in considering any proposals, so long as the Ibrox name was retained'.
It seems that this will be the case. In a recent interview with Andrew Dickson for Rangers TV, Green made it clear that the name 'Ibrox' would still appear in any new stadium name. Regardless, it is a considerable show of trust towards Charles Green and, in all honesty, quite a remarkable achievement because I find it quite improbable that any of his predecessors would have gained similar backing.
Had David Murray at any point in his time at the helm of Rangers touted the possibility of renaming Ibrox Stadium I expect he would have been met with nothing other than complete derision and anger. And yet here we are.
There are of course many fans out there that are completely against the idea. They are unwilling to sacrifice anything that makes Rangers unique regardless of any financial benefit to the club.
I certainly wouldn't argue against them and I admire their unbridled passion. Those in favour feel no more at ease with the proposals than those against it but they haven’t been humbled into accepting them. However, it has never been more obvious to Rangers fans that we need to have a healthy business to have a healthy club.
In the face of a minimum of 4 years without European football and the income it generates, and with the recent news that the club is trading at a loss, it could be argued that this added income is essential.
Not essential for the club’s survival but for the club to prosper and to do so quickly. We as Rangers fans have been spoilt with the success that this club brings. We are accustomed to being the top dogs in Scottish football and although the fans have relentlessly backed the club whilst it plays its football in the lowly depths of Scotland's fourth tier we do not want to stay there any longer than we need to. We want that success back and, in a world where we watch on as our old rival cash in on free passes to the millions on offer in the Champions League, time is of the essence.
During Celtic’s demise in the 90s, the Celtic support was forced to watch as Rangers grew stronger and stronger with marquee signings such as Laudrup and Gasgoine taking the field and eventually securing 9 in a row.
The desire for any long term dominance of the Scottish game by Celtic to be extinguished sooner rather than later is great. At the end of the day, competing against Celtic and securing European football is our end game-any notion of Rangers jumping ship to England is simply a fairy-tale. Rangers must at all times be looking to close any financial gap with our rivals and at times we may have to be humble. At least temporarily.
Charles Green is not a stupid man and I am sure he realises that no amount of Yorkshire patter would gain him backing for a permanent name change of Ibrox. It’s a short term concession but it’s also a bitter one. Some Rangers fans are prepared to make this concession for the greater good of the club but it’s not one that will come easy to anybody.
As the great Muhammed Ali said: 'It’s hard to be humble when you're as great as I am!'
You can follow Scott on Twitter: @st2oh