Club 1872 are a supporters funded project which has taken off since the events of 2012. It is not without its critics, people rightfully ask questions of the organisation as we should of all goings on at Ibrox.
There are those that vocally champion the organisation and there are those not so in favour, when it comes to Club 1872 I was very much keen to find out more.
I have been a huge fan of the RST and the work done there previously, that has naturally progressed to taking a keen eye on Club 1872. So when I approachedthem to do this they couldn’t have been more helpful or transparent.
They are willing to talk with the fanbase, they are willing to be transparent and they are willing to spend time explaining what happens with your monthly donation. That’s the main positive for me. Club 1872 certainly seem to be doing all the right things, so we put some questions to them to help clarify exactly who and what the organisation is
1- What are the aims of Club 1872?
“Our main aims are to secure a significant enough shareholding (25% +1) to ensure the events of 2012 can never happen again and to support and protect Rangers. It is written into the Club 1872 articles that the organisation exists for the benefit of Rangers and Rangers supporters. Everything we do has to be for that purpose.”
2- What is the current membership numbers & annual income from supporters?
“At the time of writing the membership is sitting at a little over 7300 members. It is increasing every week and we are really seeing a great reaction to our campaign to raise £1m for Rangers for the upcoming share issue.
The annual income is a more difficult question to answer. We take in roughly £40k a month but that can fluctuate with failed payments etc. We also have a large number of one-off donations currently so that figure will be substantially more for the period running up to the share issue. We are publishing weekly updates of the funds raised and membership increases on our social media accounts.”
3- How many would you like to have signed up?
“How many Rangers fans are there?
Seriously, Club 1872 is for every Rangers supporter. There is no barrier to joining beyond being able to afford to make a minimum donation of £5 per month or £60 per year. We believe there isn’t a better way for supporters to contribute a little bit extra to Rangers as we build our way back to the top.
Upcoming share issues will mean funds raised going directly into the club – that’s funds for players, improvements to the stadium, projects like disabled facilities and safe standing. The list goes on. The only limit to what Club 1872 can achieve is the number of Rangers supporters who choose to take part.”
4- What would that allow you to achieve as an organisation?
“Well, if we take an example of 50,000 Rangers supporters donating the minimum of £5 per month then that is £3m per year into Rangers. That could pay for safe standing, a couple of players of the standard of Jamie Murphy and Alfredo Morelos and improvements to disabled facilities.
That’s in one year. Then we do even more the year after and the year after that. The idea is not for a small number of supporters to have to give a lot but for all of us to give a little. The scale of our support is a huge strength if we use it properly. We believe most people who attend Ibrox every other Saturday could afford £5 per month. We also know there are thousands of armchair fans who could use Club 1872 as their way of contributing to the rebuilding of the club.”
5- there seems to have been a conscious change of tact lately with some hard hitting ads, sighting joining will stop a repeat of 2012, is this getting a reaction?
“The message about 2012 is just part of it. It’s easy to forget, as things return to normal, just how important it is that the supporters have a large enough stake in the club, collectively, to stop what happened in 2012 from happening again.
We can’t see the future. The club is in good hands currently but shares can be sold and things can change. Club 1872 is committed to its shareholding. The shares are asset locked. They can’t be sold. Once we get to that 25% mark that will be there as a protection for future generations so that no Rangers supporter will ever have to live through what we experienced in 2012.
But it is also about improving things for Rangers in the short term. We have to get back to winning trophies. We have to keep raising funds to keep participating along with the other major shareholders. That’s the crucial part. The job isn’t even close to being done and we can only do it if thousands more Rangers supporters take part.”
6- Many supporters are unsure because they feel club 1872 is to close to the board & will never challenge their decisions, how do you answer that & stop any fears?
“There’s no issue raised by members that we haven’t addressed to the board – from concerns around the managerial situation in December to the banners on the club deck stairwells. Historically the Rangers support has been used to fans groups like the RST acting almost as pressure groups and trying to force action through public statements. Club 1872 is in a different position from any other Rangers fans group in history, with a shareholding that means we don’t have to operate from the outside looking in. That means that we can speak directly to the club and hold meaningful discussions with them about what’s best for the club. We don’t have to shout from the sidelines to make serious, challenging or influential contact with the club.
We have a healthy relationship with those running the club. They see the benefit in the fans being involved as major shareholders and are facilitating the development of that relationship. That is a huge departure from previous boards of Rangers.
But even if individuals believe we are too close then there is a simple point to make. Club 1872 members decide how to vote the shares. Not the Club 1872 board. Our power and independence comes from the shares and how we vote them. If members think the Rangers board is doing a good job and want to back them then they will. If not then they won’t. The board of Club 1872 is there to oversee the organisation. It doesn’t take any key decisions – they are all presented to members.”
7- Many believe Stewart Robertson was fairly dismissive of club 1872 in recent correspondence, how can you as an organisation stand up to the board & not be accused of weakness?
“We’ve already said publicly that we don’t think there is any real merit in continual Q&A types of interaction. It isn’t serving Rangers or Club 1872 well. That is why we polled members on going for an RIFC board place. Something they were overwhelmingly in favour of and which we are now progressing.
With the shareholding we have, we hope we’ll have the opportunity to influence decision making from the board room. Previous groups have had to try to do that via public statements but that has very seldom been effective. It might make people feel better at the time but it achieves very little. What will ensure that supporters are listened to is maintaining the position as the second largest shareholder and indeed increasing our shareholding. That’s the phase that Club 1872 is now moving into in its development.”
8- Going forward do you intend to fight for a place on the Board & challenge the board on their decisions?
“Terms like fight and challenge are probably not how we see it currently. That comes back to using the shareholding rather than acting as a public pressure group.
We intend to carry out our members wishes of seeking a place on the RIFC board. We’ll do that in conjunction with the RIFC board and communicate progress to members. Once we have achieved that goal then we will represent the views of members in the RIFC boardroom. That won’t mean always getting what we want. But our members can rest assured that their views will be presented and given a fair hearing.
In the meantime, as an organisation we have to show we can take on that role. That is going to require us to invest substantial funds into Rangers on the same basis as the guys on the board now. We need to show that when major investors are asked to contribute that we can sit at that table. In order to do that we need a lot more supporters to back us.”
9- With that said, how do you sign up for Club 1872 & what are the options & aims?
“You can sign up via the website at www.club1872.co.uk. It’s very simple and easy and takes about 5 minutes. You can donate monthly or annually through a direct debit or card. We would encourage people to contribute as much as they can each month. Annual donations will be particularly helpful in the run up to the share issue, as we aim to put £1m directly into the club when the share issue happens.”
10- Can people change their direct debit amounts or give one off donations
“Yes, you can login in anytime and change the level of your donation and both members and non members can contribute additional funds to the upcoming share issue via one-off donations.”
11 – how many people work on Club 1872 & if you want to help how can you volunteer?
“We have 6 board members and around 20 people at any one time on working groups. Board members and working group members are all volunteers. We’ve had a great response to previous requests for help so the working groups are pretty much full but we keep details of anyone who emails us to offer help and we are always looking for people to help on match days to hand out leaflets etc. Anyone who would like to get involved can email us at email@example.com.
The current board has been in place for around four months and is working really well together and making good progress in overseeing working groups and the share issue campaign. There was a lot of infrastructure building to be done in the first year of Club 1872’s development, and there were some challenges in the first year while we put a woking model in place behind the scenes. We’re pleased to be in a position now where we have presented our short, medium and long term goals to the Rangers support and can ask them in good faith to get behind an organisation that’s ready to grow to its full potential. That can only happen with their support.
Really our biggest request at the moment is to spread the word. Speak to friends and family and encourage them to join. Word of mouth is a hugely powerful recruitment tool for us and we’d ask everyone who believes in what we are doing to go out and recruit one or two people.”
12- It’s fair to say Club 1872 has doubters, you recently had to react to twitter accusations, why is this happening amongst our own support?
“Good question! You’d probably have to ask the small number who spread that type of stuff on social media. We tend to ignore it but occasionally it reaches the stage where you just have to remind people that a lot of stuff they read on the internet isn’t true. The sad thing about the incident you mentioned was that the relevant information was already publicly available – we have a “Where your money goes” page on our website.
It’s probably one of the most disappointing things about being involved with Club 1872 when you see other Rangers fans deliberately spreading false information but we are talking about a very small number of people, despite how active they are. We’d always just ask people, if they have seen something that is stopping them joining, have a look at our website or email us and ask the question rather than believe what they hear. Directors are also in the Club 1872 office before home games and are always happy to meet members and potential members to discuss any concerns people have.
Club 1872 could be a hugely signifiant way for supporters get Rangers back to the top quicker. It would be a shame if people were put off that by false information.”
13- what is the immediate future for club1872?
“Our target for the short term is to raise funds for the upcoming share issue. We expect that to happen within a couple of months. It’s a huge chance to get funds into Rangers, maintain the 10.7% shareholding and then push on with recruitment.”
14- The £1m share issue, how close are you to achieving this & what will that allow you to do?
“The £1m is an estimate at the moment. We might need less or we might be able to invest more if we have it. We are currently sitting at just over £500k in the bank for shares. It’s a substantial amount but we’d like to have double or triple that in all honesty. And we could have very easily if the fans really mobilise behind this. At the end of the day it’s all about making Rangers stronger and ensuring the supporters retain a voice in the future of the club.”
15- Finally, If any supporter is unsure upon joining, what would you say to persuade them?
“What do you have to lose? The funds you donate are going to go to the club you love and help to take it back to top quicker. If you decide after a few months that it isn’t something you see value in, for whatever reason, then in the worst case you’ll have put some extra money into Rangers.”
Every goal Club 1872 has – whether it is investment in Rangers, an RIFC board place, seeing a project like safe standing become a reality – is more likely to be achieved if more supporters take part.
If you are sitting back waiting to see what happens then you’ve missed to point of the organisation. It can only work to its full potential with tens of thousands of Rangers supporters taking part. You can’t wait to see what happens, you have to make it happen. We think it’s affordable and we know that is could make a huge difference to Rangers’ success so what is there to wait for?
Supporters of other clubs and a lot of people generally in Scottish football would be absolutely terrified if they saw Rangers fans come together in the numbers that they could through Club 1872. It’s up to each and every one of us to just take the step, join up and then shape the organisation into something that will make a massive difference to our football club.”
Club 1872 were honest and truthful in their responses, I found them approachable and open. Fan representation on the board has always been the aim to ensure we have a voice so this certainly could be the answer for you
Club 1872 tell us themselves that it is you who are the ones making the choices, they are guided by their members. So in essence this is your Chance to have a say in your club.
Club 1872 are available, drop them an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anymore questions.
After all, this is your club and you could have a major say in its future
As Club 1872 say themselves, if you want that say in the club and like what the organisation have to say then ‘What are you waiting for?’