It’s still the Third Division, but what the supporters are showing at Ibrox has absolutely no match. With average attendance at 47,600 people Rangers are among the most attended clubs in Europe.
After what seemed to be a catastrophe, with insolvency and relegation to Third Division (4th tier), Rangers are doing their best to remain on the football map of Europe. Many people commented that without them in the top league Scottish football won’t be the same. Indeed, no more great derbies in the Premier League, or at least for some time.
But surprisingly, Scottish football earned something perhaps equally valuable with Rangers showing their true power. And it’s not on the pitch, since they only recently regained their spot atop the Third Division.
The true power behind Rangers are the fans. When over 38,000 came for a League Cup match before the league even opened, it had to be impressive. Less than two weeks later there were 49,118 people at the sold out Ibrox Stadium – a world record for any game of the 4th tier.
And if anyone thought the initial enthusiasm started fading as season went on, ‘The Gers’ will happily dismiss any such claims. No league encounter at Ibrox had crowds below 45,000. In fact, the record set in August was broken with Queen’s Park coming for their Glasgow derby fixture on October 20. That game had 49,463 people watching.
And the future doesn’t seem to look bad with this kind of passion. Next fixture, set for Dec 8 against Stirling Albion, already has vast majority of tickets sold out. With average crowd of 46,617 per game Rangers actually draw more people than they did last season, back in the Scot Prem! Needless to say, this allows them to remain among top 20 clubs in Europe with largest following at home.
Of course the obvious difference between 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons isn’t only the league, but ticket prices as well. Those are kept reasonably low. But at the same time they have to be high enough for the club to try and regain its strength – starting at £15 (the price of standing at Bundesliga).