LAST WEEK Rangers Chairman Dave King invited supporters to send in questions and below you can read the fourth part in series as he addresses the topics raised by fans:
Ibrox Stadium And Its Environs
I received a multitude of questions concerning Ibrox Stadium, Edmiston House, and the general redevelopment in the Ibrox vicinity as well as various health and safety queries.
It is as unfortunate as it is true that Ibrox and its surrounding environs have been sadly neglected for many years – even prior to the Craig Whyte takeover. During the final years of the Murray Group control the bank put the Club’s finances under so much pressure that Stadium upkeep was relegated to essentials only. In fact, on reflection (as someone who was on the Board at that time) it is astonishing that Walter Smith and the team were able to win Championships during that period of financial parsimony.
The present reality is that it will take several years to bring the facilities up to the standard that our supporters and the local community deserve – but the Board is determined to do that. As I have stated previously, a significant investment has already gone into behind the scenes infrastructure and football support structures and that investment level will have to increase significantly in the coming years. We can’t only invest in the squad of players. Supporters need a stadium and environment in which to enjoy their match day experience that is consistent with the tradition and ambitions of Rangers Football Club.
The stadium itself requires significant maintenance work, much of which will go unseen, but will include a major overhaul of the roofs of the Broomloan, Copland and Sandy Jardine stands. The disabled facilities need to be brought in to the 21st century, the concourse facilities require upgrading to enhance the matchday experience for fans and several of our corporate hospitality suites are being upgraded over the course of this summer. This is in addition to a multitude of smaller repair jobs that will be dealt with over a period of time. There are no plans to extend the capacity of the stadium at present as that is structurally not feasible.
A master-planning exercise has commenced to develop a strategy which will improve the stadium and adjacent areas, enhancing the matchday experience for fans, including a fanzone and other facilities which will be utilised not only on match days. The plan is to create facilities capable of being used all year round to the benefit of the local community and to assist our Charitable Foundation and Community Team to deliver an even greater range of services than they do at present.
We will be looking to work alongside other stakeholders in the Govan area on this master-planning project (ie Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association, NHS, local schools, Community Councils amongst others) and the Club is committed to working with these stakeholders to improve the lives of people living in the Govan area.
We are also looking at options for Edmiston House as part of this project, but supporters should be aware that this building has been left in very poor condition by previous regimes and any refurbishment of Edmiston House will involve a significant capital outlay to make it commercially viable. This will be a longer term deliverable.
Regarding the introduction of a safe standing facility, there is nothing planned in the short term as there are more immediate priorities, but it is the Board’s intention to explore options for a safe standing area in conjunction with Club 1872 once the Club 1872 Board has been elected.
We will communicate further in the coming months about our very exciting Project 2022 that is presently being developed and will run to completion in time for the Club’s 150th anniversary celebrations. This project will engage our supporters directly and I am certain will provide an outcome that you will all be extremely proud of.