Rangers F.C. supporters

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Rangers Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the city of Glasgow. The club's fans are often known as The Bears, derived from the team's nickname, the Teddy Bears.

Numerous fan magazines, blogs and supporters' websites are dedicated to the club and the fans have a famous long-standing rivalry with Celtic, the two Glasgow giants collectively known as "The Old Firm".

Rangers supporters have traditionally been identified with the Protestant and Unionist community in Scotland, as well as in Northern Ireland. The club has a global fan-base, with a worldwide spread of over 600 supporters clubs ranging from North America, Australasia and the Middle East to those closer to home in the United Kingdom. In season 2012–13, Rangers recorded the 18th highest average league attendance in Europe. In 2006, Rangers was one of the best-supported clubs in the UK with an estimated 1.4 million supporters.[1] Rangers have an estimated worldwide fanbase in excess of 8 million supporters.[2]

Fanbase and attendances[edit]

Recent Average League Attendances
Season Stadium capacity Average attendance  % of capacity
2003–04 50,411[3] 48,992[4] 97.2%
2004–05 50,411[3] 48,676[4] 96.6%
2005–06 50,411[3] 49,245[4] 97.8%
2006–07 51,082 49,955[4] 97.9%
2007–08 51,082 49,143[4] 96.2%
2008–09 51,082 49,534[4] 97.0%
2009–10 51,082 47,564[4] 93.1%
2010–11 51,082 45,305[4] 88.7%
2011–12 51,082 46,324[4] 90.7%
2012–13 50,987 45,744[4] 89.6%
2013–14 50,987 42,938[4] 84.2%
2014–15 50,947 32,798[4] 64.3%
2015–16 50,947 45,029[4] 88.4%

Rangers, along with Old Firm rivals Celtic, have the largest support base of all the clubs in Scotland. The club's average attendance is consistently one of the highest in Europe, the figure of 45,750 for the domestic league Season 2012–13 being the 18th highest across the continent.[5]

Record attendances[edit]

Rangers fans have contributed to a number of records for massive attendances,[6] most notably the highest home attendance for a British league fixture, 118,567 on 2 January 1939.[7] Ibrox Park hosted numerous crowds of over 100,000 during the 1950s and 1960s, prior to reconstruction following the Ibrox disaster. Rangers supporters also hold records for the highest attendance at a friendly fixture, 104,679, set at Hampden Park in 1961 vs Eintracht Frankfurt, as well as the largest crowd to watch a non-Cup final fixture, 143,570 for a Scottish Cup semi-final vs. Hibernian in 1948. Rangers hold the world record for a fourth tier match with an attendance of 50,048 against Berwick Rangers during the 2012–13 season.[8]

List of Rangers supporters groups[edit]

Name Tenure Notes
Rangers First 2014–2016[9] Merged to form Club 1872
Rangers Supporters' Trust 2003[10]–2016[9] Merged to form Club 1872
Club 1872 2016[9] Currently the 6th largest Rangers FC shareholder
Rangers Supporters Assembly 2004–2016[9] Dissolved as part of Club 1872 formation
Rangers Supporters Association 1946[11]
Rangers Fan Board 2014[12]–2016[9] Dissolved as part of Club 1872 formation
Sons of Struth 2013–
Vanguard Bears 2007–
NARSA 1992–
ORSA 2002–
The Blue Order 2002–
Union Bears 2007–

2008 Uefa Cup final[edit]

Further information: 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots
A panorama of Rangers supporters at the 2008 UEFA Cup final, in the Piccadilly Gardens fan zone. This picture was taken during the day before the match against Zenit Saint Petersburg on 14 May 2008.

In 2008, a large number of Rangers supporters traveled to Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final, with some issues of disturbance and disorder. The match between Rangers and Zenit Saint Petersburg was preceded by scuffles between fans.

However, serious disorder was allegedly sparked by the technical failure of a big screen erected in Piccadilly Gardens to transmit the match to thousands of Rangers fans who had traveled to the city without tickets. In addition to property damage, fifteen police officers were injured and ambulance crews attended 52 cases of assault.[13]

Songs and chants[edit]

Follow follow,
We will follow Rangers,
Everywhere, anywhere,
We will follow on,
Follow follow,
We will follow Rangers,
If they go to Dublin,
We will follow on.

—"Follow Follow" lyrics

Anthems[edit]

Rangers fans song of choice and most commonly sung is a rendition of Follow Follow, this is also the club's official anthem and is played before every home match at Ibrox Stadium. Other anthems played at home matches include Penny Arcade by Roy Orbison and Simply the Best by Tina Turner which is played as the teams come onto the pitch. Rangers adopted this anthem after the club won 9 titles in a row in the 1990s and Rangers supporters started a campaign that got the song into the top 10 of the UK singles chart in 2006 to commemorate the club's 53rd title win.[14]

Fans songs and chants[edit]

Songs frequently chanted by Rangers fans include The Bouncy, a chant which involves bouncing up and down on the spot chanting the word "Bouncy" or "Lets all do the bouncy" over and over again; Derry's Walls, a song commemorating the historic siege of Derry in 1689; and Every Other Saturday's My Half Day Off a song written in the 1960s and originating from an era where Rangers supporters finished work on a Saturday morning, a lot from the River Clyde shipyards, and headed to Ibrox for the afternoon fixture.

Rivalries[edit]

Old Firm derby[edit]

The club's most distinct rivalry is with Glasgow neighbours Celtic; the two clubs are collectively known as the Old Firm. Rangers' traditional support is largely drawn from the Protestant Unionist community, whilst Celtic's traditional support is largely drawn from the Catholic Irish community. The first Old Firm match was won by Celtic and there have been nearly four hundred matches played to date. The Old Firm rivalry has fuelled many assaults, sometimes leading to deaths, on Old Firm derby days; an activist group that monitors sectarian activity in Glasgow has reported that on Old Firm weekends, admissions to hospital emergency rooms have increased over normal levels and journalist Franklin Foer noted that in the period from 1996 to 2003, eight deaths in Glasgow were directly linked to Old Firm matches, as well as hundreds of assaults.[15]

Aberdeen[edit]

The rivalry with Aberdeen began in the late 1970s when the two clubs were among the strongest in Scotland. Relations between fans were further soured during a league match on 8 October 1988, when Aberdeen player Neil Simpson's tackle on Rangers' Ian Durrant resulted in Durrant being injured for two years.[16] Resentment continued and in 1998 an article in Rangers pre-match programme branded Aberdeen fans "scum". Rangers stated that they had "issued a full and unreserved apology" to Aberdeen and their supporters, and this was accepted by Aberdeen. In another incident, then Rangers captain Richard Gough accused Aberdeen of only playing when it was against Rangers.[17] This further increased the hostility between supporters of both clubs, which has continued.[18]

Issues with sectarianism[edit]

Sectarian chanting by supporters has incurred criticism and sanctions upon the club. In 1999, the vice-chairman of The Rangers Football Club Plc, Donald Findlay, resigned after being filmed singing songs regarded as sectarian during a supporters club event.[19][20][21] UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body have punished Rangers for incidents during European ties, most notably Villareal CF in 2006,[22] Osasuna in 2007,[23] and PSV Eindhoven in 2011.[24][25]

Rangers partnered with Celtic to form the 'Old Firm Alliance', an initiative aimed at educating children from across Glasgow about issues like healthy eating and fitness, as well as awareness of anti-social behaviour, sectarianism and racism.[26] The club's 'Follow With Pride' campaign was launched in 2007 to improve the club's image and build on previous anti-racist, anti-sectarian campaigns.[27][n 1] William Gallard, UEFA's Director of Communications, commended the SFA and Scottish clubs, including Rangers, for their actions in fighting discrimination.[29] In September 2007, UEFA praised Rangers for the measures the club has taken against sectarianism.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Racism has been directed at players on the pitch at Rangers games, including at former Celtic player Bobo Balde,[28] and former Rangers player Mark Walters was racially abused by some Celtic and Hearts fans.
  1. ^ "Chelsea Climbing the Popularity Table but Manchester United still the team to beat". Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Rangers FC Global Supporters Clubs". Rangers.co.uk. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Club Information | Ibrox Stadium
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Average Rangers Home League Attendances
  5. ^ The Stadium Guide – Europe's highest attendances
  6. ^ End to End Stuff, by Les Scott Record Attendances
  7. ^ Forsyth, Roddy (22 September 2006). "A lot of bottle in Old Firm duels". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. The record Old Firm gate at a club ground was set on Jan 2, 1939 by a crowd of 118,567 at Ibrox. 
  8. ^ With crowd in the equation Rangers return all adds up | Herald Scotland
  9. ^ a b c d e "Rangers fan groups launch Club 1872 at Ibrox". Christopher Jack (The Herald (Glasgow)). 26 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "Rangers fans are sharing and caring". Christopher Jack (Evening Times (Glasgow)). 10 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "About the Association". gersnetonline.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Rangers' first 12-strong fans' board elected". BBC (BBC Sport). 24 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "CCTV shows fans chasing police". BBC (BBC News). 15 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  14. ^ "Scottish News – Rangers fans celebrate with a Top Ten hit". The Caledonian Mercury. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Foer, Franklin (2010). How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization (Reprint ed.). Harper Perennial. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0061978050. 
  16. ^ Lawford, Mark (13 March 2009). "Sportsmail's guide to illogical footballing rivalries". Daily Mail. 
  17. ^ "Rangers apologise to Aberdeen". The Independent. 18 November 1998. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "A history of bad blood". BBC (BBC Sport). 19 January 2002. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Findlay songs inquiry launched". BBC. 9 June 1999. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. The Faculty of Advocates is to investigate complaints against the leading Scottish lawyer Donald Findlay QC after he was captured on camera singing sectarian songs. 
  20. ^ O'Sullivan, Jack (4 June 1999). "I'm Catholic in a football sense". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. Findlay, Scotland's leading criminal lawyer, is a Protestant and proud of it. But he was embarrassed to be caught on video singing sectarian songs. They included "The Billy Boys", a verse of which goes: "We're up to our knees in Fenian blood, Surrender or you die, We are the Billy Boys." 
  21. ^ "On the Ropes – Donald Findlay QC" (Press release). BBC. 2 July 2002. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. Donald Findlay QC tells John Humphrys about the effect singing sectarian, anti-Catholic songs at a party for Glasgow Rangers had on his life, and how he, at one stage, even contemplated suicide. 
  22. ^ "Rangers appeal upheld". UEFA. 25 May 2006. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. UEFA appealed against the decision on 12 April by the Control and Disciplinary Body to find Rangers not guilty of alleged discriminatory chants by the club's supporters at both legs of the tie, on 22 February at Ibrox and 7 March at El Madrigal. Rangers have been fined €19,500 and severely warned about their responsibility for any future misconduct by their fans in relation to sectarian and discriminatory behaviour. 
  23. ^ "Uefa fine for Rangers and Osasuna". BBC Sport. 3 May 2007. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. Rangers have been fined £8,280 by Uefa for the behaviour of their fans during their match against Osasuna – but the Spanish club must pay £31,000. 
  24. ^ "Rangers to contest Uefa sectarian singing charge". BBC News. 7 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  25. ^ "Uefa fines Rangers and bans fans for one away game". BBC News. 28 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2011. Uefa has fined Rangers 40,000 euros (£35,652) and banned its fans from the next away European game for sectarian singing in a match at PSV Eindhoven. 
  26. ^ "Old Firm Alliance". SPFL. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  27. ^ Rumsby, Ben (19 February 2009). "SPL Remains tight-lipped over report on Parkhead chanting". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "Rangers to root out racists". The Guardian. 10 March 2003. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  29. ^ Wright, Angus. "SFA praised for stance on bigotry". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  30. ^ Spiers, Graham (21 September 2007). "Uefa praises Rangers for action on bigotry". The Times. Retrieved 22 March 2009. (subscription required)
  31. ^ Sekar, Satish (20 February 2009). "No Surrender to Bigotry". empower-sport. empower-sport.com. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

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