Who said the Banter Years were over?
The goings on right now at Ibrox are the proof of that old analogy about how trouble is never behind some people; it’s merely on the other side of the wheel, coming back around. That’s them to a T. They go through spells of calm. Then it’s replaced by chaos.
These last couple of days have been vintage Ibrox mayhem.
It started with the late night leaking of another of their strips on Tuesday evening. If you’ve lost count of their strips then you’re not the only one. Home strips, away strips, European strips, “third strips” and now a fourth strip. And each of these comes in special edition versions … you marvel at the myriad ways they have for leeching off their fans.
The cost of these new shirts is astronomical. Which has fans enraged as many have just been asked to buy Champions League tickets at huge costs along with everything else.
Their fans were still trying to come to terms with that and work out what it meant (Ashley, with his claws still in them is what it means, via Castore, but you can’t tell them that and apparently you cannot explain it to them) they were hit with another two issues.
The first was the incredible saga of their official travel partner not being able to do the relatively straightforward task of organising flights from Scotland to Holland.
Hundreds of fans got emails and texts a matter of hours before their planned departures, to be told that their planes were not going to Amsterdam but to Brussels instead … where buses would be waiting to take the rest of the way.
As they were coming to terms with that, some of their fans reported, from the airport, that the scheduled flight didn’t go to Brussels either but to Ostend. And the return flights were being diverted as well.
It almost seems too ridiculous to be true, but their forums were buzzing with these stories all day yesterday, amidst rising fury. The club finally cancelled some of the flights and offered full refunds to fans. As if this wasn’t mad enough, a story soon spread about how the club itself sent officials to the game with bundles of tickets … which it turned out had been left behind in Glasgow. A shambles which, like most of this stuff, is pretty mind-blowing if true.
This craziness and lack of professionalism was somehow eclipsed by another online disaster involving their e-ticketing scheme, which descended into utter shambles yesterday with their fans having to join lengthy online “queues” for Champions League ticket packages, only to find out when they’d done waiting (for ages) that they were sold out despite only having just gone on sale … some fans were offered Dundee Utd tickets instead.
The reaction to this latest mess with their online arrangements – one of many colossal screw-ups on that front – was more apathy than genuine fury as a lot of them know what to expect by now.
The general level of disgust at the slipshod amateurish way they are run in these areas is more or less constant by now, which is to say nothing for the MyGers mess.
Of course, things on the pitch were disastrous, but so was everything that surrounded it, from the injury to Tavernier to the manager’s appalling, catastrophic press conference which I’ll be covering in a longer piece later. All in all, it was a crazy day.
It makes you realise that the Banter Years are the other constant over there … crisis is never far away from them.
I’ll give them one thing; their club isn’t boring.