Bain issues fan warning ahead of Manchester
RangeRs chief executive Martin Bain has urged fans without tickets not to travel to next month’s Champions League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Ibrox club and official supporters’ groups made a joint plea for supporters to stay away, unless they are fully accredited members of the Rangers Travel Club and are allocated seats for the game.
a Champions League group game between the two clubs at Old Trafford in 2003 passed off without incident but in 2008 over 150,000 Rangers fans travelled to Manchester for the UeFa Cup final and the occasion was marred by a minority of supporters who clashed with police and rioted in the city centre.
In order to prevent any possibility of a repeat of the scenes which brought shame upon the club, Bain stressed that only fans with tickets should head to Old Trafford. He said: “It is an entirely different situation to the UeFa Cup final when there were more than 150,000 fans in the city and we are confident that all appropriate measures will be put in place for the match in Manchester on 14 september.
“We do, however, want to make it absolutely clear that any Rangers fan, apart from travel club members who will be allocated tickets, should not travel to Manchester. This applies to fans living in scotland, the UK and abroad. This is a standard Champions League group stage match and as normal, there will be no provision of special facilities in Manchester, for those who do not have tickets.
“The club will be organising supervised travelling for supporters allocated tickets. We will be making every effort to get our travelling supporters to and from Manchester on arranged day trips, and independent travel will be discouraged. Rangers has already started liaising with Manchester United and greater Manchester Police and we are looking forward to making this an enjoyable occasion for both clubs and their fans.”
EggErt Jonsson watched from afar as Dundee United suffered in Athens but the Hearts midfielder insists he would have loved to have been in their shoes.
the tynecastle side – who missed out on the Europa League after finishing sixth last term – will be hoping Peter Houston’s side suffer a European hangover in tomorrow’s clash in gorgie.
United were eliminated following a 2-1 aggregate loss to AEK Athens on thursday evening after a chaotic and unsettling build up to the second leg in greece. After AEK’s Olympic Stadium was deemed unplayable and rivals Pan- ionios’ ground was sabotaged, the tie eventually went ahead at the home of AEK’s fierce rivals Olympiakos.
Jonsson insists he would be willing to encounter that drama if it meant playing in Europe. He said: “It was a shame how things developed from their point of view with the issues in Athens. It was obviously not their fault, it all seemed to be coming from the other team.
“they had a good season last year with finishing third and winning the Scottish Cup, they’re a good team and they got everything they deserved from last season. But we think we should be there, we think we’re a team that should be finishing up higher than we did last year. We think we should be in Europe, we can’t do much about it now rather than make sure we try and finish there this year and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
Hearts head into the game brimming with confidence having scored nine goals in their first three competitive matches of the season, albeit four of those game against third Division basement side Elgin City in the League Cup on tuesday night.
Jim Jefferies’ side have taken four points from a possible six in league matches against St Johnstone and Hamilton. However, Jonsson, who is part of the Iceland squad for their forthcoming Euro qualifiers against Denmark and Norway, reckons tomorrow’s clash is the first real chance to gauge how they have improved as they look to oust their opponents as the third force.
“It’s the third game in the league, all the matches are hard but you look at the first two and they were against teams that finished in the bottom six. Maybe this is the first test of the new season and we have to make sure we come out on top.”
tannadice defender Keith Watson believes United can use their improve- ment in Athens as inspiration to get their league form back on track. the cup winners got a deserved 1-1 draw against AEK and were inches away from going through to the Europa League group stages on away goals when Danny Swanson narrowly missed a chance in the final minutes.
Watson, who played in both legs and is making the right-back position his own, reckons the confidence boost from thursday can help them against Hearts erase the memory of their 4-0 defeat to Inverness last weekend.
He said: “I thought I was much better and the team as a whole played very well on thursday. We were disappointed after the first leg at tannadice because we didn’t feel we did ourselves justice. In Athens we showed what we are capable of and we feel we could have gone through. [But] the European thing is over now, it’s all about the league again and that’s what we’ll focus on.”