There has been a lot said about Fan media this summer, with rumours that the club would be introducing charges to attend matches and press conferences. With all things Rangers of course, everyone has had plenty to say and things have often become heated.
Last season I was offered the opportunity to attend games and press conferences which I did on a few occasions in pre season. I then spoke to the club and told them I wasn’t ready to be involved and simply couldn’t commit to it.
I have spoken about this before, no need to go over old ground extensively, but the club kept in touch and were supportive throughout. They encouraged me to get back involved and indeed invited me to apply for ‘media access’ again, which I did versus Arsenal last Saturday.
So it was a dream come true to attend and be able to produce a match report straight after the game. There was no ‘press conference’ with the manager or players after or before, because that is strictly on Rangers TV, as the support are subscribing to watch the games there. So it was a relaxed first experience and one I know I was fortunate to experience.
The club have been magnificent with me and I can’t comment on what has been discussed with others and the rumours people will be charged, but they have simply supported me and invited me along last Saturday. If it’s the only time I get to do it then I will be delighted because it was a special moment personally.
I don’t take it for granted either. Rangers fan media is sensational and there is a lot of good content out there which is worthy of an opportunity.
Nobody from the club has charged me or asked me for anything, as I produce a free fans blog I’m not sure I would be eligible anyway, but the fact the club have allowed me to be involved against Arsenal was fantastic itself. I’m sure people will maybe think ‘How does he get in for free’, but I have a season ticket and have done for 24 seasons, so maybe I’m just swapping my seat for a ‘press one!’
Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity in the future but if not then I’ll continue to produce the blog and chat all things Rangers, being thankful to experience it the few times I have. Thank you to Rangers media team and the club for allowing it to happen.
Pre-season has been a bit of a mismatch so far with half a dozen players not available. If you take Borna Barisic, Filip Helander, Ryan Jack, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo, Alfredo Morelos, not to mention Nnamdi Ofoborh and Fashion Sakala, away from our first team options then it is always going to affect us.
That’s why it’s important not to get to overly concerned or excited about what we see in pre season. The old cliche of ‘it’s about getting players match fit’ is evidently true and results aren’t really concerning me at all.
Once we get up to speed and the ‘big players’ return then I have no doubts we will see a more true reflection on things. Certainly by the time the league flag is raised we should be in a healthier squad position.
I think the transfer market is still to kick in also, I don’t believe there is room for a squad as big as we have which has around thirty first team players currently. So it wouldn’t surprise me if half a dozen of the squad are moved on permanently or on loan. I still think that there is a few of the squad that require that also because they won’t be good enough.
It’s always exciting to be linked to big signings also and if we are looking in that direction it might be on the assumption that one of our ‘bigger’ players are moving on for big money. So if any of that is true then it helps support my theory that the real business is still to come.
In the meantime, the arrivals so far of Ofoborh, Lundstram and Sakala are exciting signings if they are merely to prelude what happens next.
It’s desperately unfortunate that we haven’t been able to see Ofoborh as yet but his health is what comes first. I’m relieved the club picked it up during testing and hopefully specialists can help him have a long and safe career with us. When we hear ‘heart issues’ it can be a scary thing so let’s hope we hear good news on it soon. Wish him all the best in his recovery.
The best thing about what may happen yet is I firmly believe we have the right management team to handle any situation we might find. For example I believe Ross Wilson will be ready for any eventuality, if such a player moves on then we will have a scouted list of possible alternatives ready to go.
I’ve said before I am relaxed about what happens, I’ll be disappointed if we lose a big player or two but I also think that if we want to implement ‘player trading model’ then it is inevitable. As long as we get a good valuation then it is the natural path the club will go down.
Brighton and Real Madrid are next up for Rangers this weekend as things take another step towards the new season. I think the squad will be utilised in full so a chance for everyone to get game time but Madrid will most likely be the strongest team available.
It’s a dream fixture really so hopefully as many fans get in as possible. The noise and welcome for the players on Saturday, with just 2000 fans, was absolutely fantastic so hopefully we hear a lot more of the same again.
It’s all a step towards getting players back and flag raising day in a few weeks. It all comes thick and fast with Europe, Malmo or Helsinki, to follow thereafter.
We will be ready and with players returning then we will quickly get back in the groove. It’s all about what we do and we have to focus on ourselves, keep that thought and we will be just fine.
Finally, my good friend and senior sports writer at the Herald and Glasgow Times group Chris Jack has recently released his new book ‘Going for 55’.
The definitive story of our 55th title, Chris charts the days from the 2015 EGM win to becoming league champions. Immersed in contributions from Dave King to my good self, it is full of stories which bring us to the ultimate triumph.
You can check it out here http://www.polarispublishing.com/book/going-for-55 and I asked Chris about the book;
Chris said ‘The fortunes of Rangers over the last decade have dominated my life professionally and personally and the end of ‘The Journey’ felt like a culmination for me as Rangers were crowned Premiership champions in May.
I am privileged to have the chance to follow Rangers near and far courtesy of my role with the Herald and Times as their Senior Rangers Writer and that position was extra poignant last season as Steven Gerrard’s side played in front of empty grounds on their way to the title.
I have chronicled that achievement in ‘Going for 55’ and I hope my efforts give supporters something to cherish in the years to come. Title 55 meant more to Rangers, as a club and a support, than any other because of the trials and tribulations that have been overcome and I have tried to reflect where Rangers have come from to be crowned Kings of Scotland once again.
My thanks have to start with Peter Burns of Polaris Publishing. I am proud to have had the chance to write a book on Rangers’ 55th league flag and to tell a story that is deeper and more emotional than merely one of sporting success.
The list of contributors – from Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan to Ally McCoist, Mark Hateley and Richard Gough – is lengthy and to each one I owe a huge thank you. There are too many to mention individually, but each one has allowed me to relive the dark days and celebrate the triumphs of this historic season.
I have been humbled by the messages of support that I have received from press colleagues and the Rangers Family. Each one is greatly appreciated.
I hope that I have done 55 justice and that fans enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed putting it together through a wonderful time for Rangers Football Club’
Thanks to Chris for his time discussing the book and would encourage everyone to check it out. Having worked with Chris to bring you 4lads podcast I’m delighted he has achieved his dream to become a published author on his team he loves.
Check out the book!