The New Ibrox Stadium

Last updated : 08 January 2008 By Number Eight
Few of us seem to know how to react to the story that Rangers are apparently intent on spending £280m on a brand new stadium as our part in a massive £700m investment in the surrounding area.

I have no greater insight than anyone else, but I do know that this is a story which excites me more than anything I`ve heard from Rangers in recent years, and if the project is genuine, and is done well, which is absolutely essential, I would give a huge welcome, and a round of applause too, to the New Ibrox Stadium.

There are many unanswered questions at this stage, and I hope that the RST can seek out some some answers from the chairman soon, but if this is a financially viable scheme, and not a deflection from inadequacies at the club elsewhere, we`ll be in for a treat by being privileged to witness a new Rangers stadium rise from the ashes of the old one.

According to the Daily Express, the project could begin in eighteen months, and this would mean Hampden Park becoming Rangers` temporary home for two years while demolition and construction work gets under way at Ibrox.

My main concern, should this venture get the green light, is that Sir David Murray and chums might go it alone, believing that their wisdom, and theirs alone, will be adequate to provide the Rangers support with a stadium fit for the 21st century.

The Rangers chairman may be a shrewd chap, and I am certainly not going to undermine his many successes in life, of which there are many, but if he and his crew think that they can succeed in this project without supporter input, they will be displaying a level of arrogance which will merit the criticism which will inevitably come their way if failure is delivered.

During Sir David Murray`s tenure, only the Club Deck has been a genuinely new addition to the stadium, and it hasn`t been an unqualified success. The legroom is dreadful, the toilet facilities are inadequate, the catering can`t cope and the seat design is inappropriate for such a congested area.

This is a once in a century opportunity to create a stadium which will delight the Rangers support and become a must-see attraction for every visitor to the city of Glasgow. It cannot be allowed to fall short of the highest standards.

The New Ibrox must be a living, thriving theatre of football, but it must also be a tribute to those who have gone before, and a football temple for those blue legions who have yet to come.

There was a time when it was enough to be on the right side of the wall to watch the game, but as standards changed with the passage of time, shelter from the elements was demanded as frequent matchday soakings were no longer tolerated, and so cover had to be introduced. For better safety and viewing comfort, more seats had to be installed, and the demands of supporters won`t end there.

It is no longer enough to be on the right side of the wall to enjoy an hour and a half of sporting pleasure. Pre and post match comfort will be required in future, and with access to a variety of standards of catering, bar areas for everyone, in-house betting, merchandising throughout the ground, and of course, an appropriate number of high standard toilets which can cope with Scotland`s beer-drinking culture.

Food, drink, warmth and televised updates from football around the UK will be required before and after the game, and many supporters will want to unload their cash within the stadium for their traditional matchday treats.

The potential for the club to tap into supporter leisure-spend before and after the match must be fully realised, and instead of less than two hours at the game, the matchday should finally become what many of us want it to be, a grand day out, and with all our needs met on the premises.

The creation of a new stadium for Rangers is a mammoth task, and if it is to stand the test of time, it simply must be done to the highest of standards.

If this is to be your legacy, Sir David, you owe it to the Rangers support to do the finest job, with our help, that you have ever done.

And you owe it to yourself too.