The Final Reckoning - Supporters are being sold short.

Last updated : 29 April 2009 By Number Eight
It was the Amoruso Scottish Cup Final against Dundee that finally brought home to me the sorry state of the national game.

Despite attending many Rangers matches; at home, away and neutral venues for several decades, my presence at this match was not required. Football regulars were cast aside to make way for people who had no interest in the game - and it`s the same story at every national final when an Old Firm club makes it to Hampden.

The national stadium, a lasting monument to the incompetence of the Scottish football authorities, simply cannot accommodate the numbers who want to be present, and so seasoned football-watchers make way for part-time supporters, if they can be called supporters at all.

While those who regularly fund the game are excluded from the climax to the football season, the welcome mat is thrown down to those whose interest in the game is passive or peripheral.

It might be desirable to have an even split of fans at the Scottish Cup Final, but this can only be achieved if regular supporters are excluded to make way for part-timers and non-fans who will rally to the cause for ninety minutes, and then never darken Hampden`s door again, and that is just not acceptable.

We are forever being reminded, quite incorrectly, that supporters are customers now, and yet those "customers" who keep the game afloat are regularly shunned to make way for people at cup finals whose interest in the game has long since waned - if it ever existed at all.

The Amoruso Cup Final had a gaping hole in the Dundee section, and yet thousands of Rangers-supporting regulars were denied entry. The Aberdeen support demanded supporter-parity with Rangers in a previous Scottish Cup Final, and then failed to sell a reduced allocation.

The football community in Scotland comes in many colours, but the blue and green of two Glasgow clubs tops the bill by far due to their massive popularity.

Fairness isn`t about allocating tickets to supporters who never pay to support the game - it`s about maximising the ticket distribution to those who do. Let`s do away with the sham which allows one supporter to bring his extended family to Hampden while thousands of regular fans have to stand aside.

The National Showcase of the Scottish football season should be for supporters - exclusively.