After A Summer Of Gloom And Doom, SPL Clubs Experiencing Ticket Resurgence
Scotland's top football clubs "have been given a massive cash bonus" ahead of the new season, as fans "back calls to boost attendances," according to Lauren Crooks of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Most clubs in the Scottish Premier League say season ticket sales "are up on this time last year" despite Rangers dropping out of the top flight. The money generated "is seen as vital" to clubs who will miss out on cash generated at the gate by the demoted Rangers' huge fanbase. Hibs have outsold last season’s total of books more than 7,100. Aberdeen and Dundee United "have installed a season ticket counter so fans can keep track of how many the club have sold." Officials at Dundee United, whose current total sits at more than 4,400, have told fans that getting the tickets "is the best way to ensure the club survives the financial storm." The club expected to see the biggest increase are Ross County, who are in the SPL for the first time this season. But while the Staggies will not provide exact numbers on their season ticket sales, GM Ranald Gilbert "insists the outlook is good." Gilbert said, "We have more than doubled our sales compared to last year" (DAILY RECORD, 7/29). The DAILY RECORD also noted that the newco Rangers "began their new life" outside the SPL Sunday, but "struggled to beat" Brechin City 2-1 in extra time at the Ramsdens Cup (DAILY RECORD, 7/29). In London, Rory Smith wrote "to much of the rest of Scottish football, this was the start of Rangers’ calvary, the club’s punishment for the sins of the past decade or more, the gluttony and the greed and the allegations of what is, to borrow a phrase from Arsène Wenger, the most bare-faced financial doping." But for the team's fans "who have suffered through the dark days of the judge’s gavel and the administrator’s axe," the game "was a celebration in its purest form: a carnival for existence itself" (LONDON TIMES, 7/30).
CONDITIONAL MEMBERSHIP: The BBC reported that Rangers "have been granted a conditional Scottish FA membership," which allowed Sunday's Ramsdens Cup with Brechin City to go ahead. The permanent transfer of membership is due to take place this week. A joint statement on behalf of the Scottish Football Association, SPL, Scottish Football League and the company relaunching Rangers, Sevco Scotland, read: "Following the completion of all legal documentation, the Scottish Premier League will conduct the formal transfer of the league share between RFC (IA) and Dundee FC on no later than Friday 3 August 2012" (BBC, 7/27).
MCCOIST 'SNAPPED': In London, the SUNDAY TIMES reported that Rangers Manager Ally McCoist has "finally lost patience with the way the club has been treated." McCoist "has said little as the disintegration of his beloved club has been played out in public this summer," but before the Brechin game he made it clear that "his patience had finally snapped." McCoist said, “It’s a ludicrous situation -- and I owe it to our fans to make my views known on it. No one is denying that Rangers were badly mismanaged for 10 months. Nor are we disputing that we should be punished for that. We have been. We accept that punishment and want to start putting the past behind us and move forward. But that is not being allowed to happen -- and I have to ask myself why" (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/29).