BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 15:08 UK

Rangers fans wary on Boston derby proposals

Rangers fans
The Rangers Supporters' Assembly feel the Ibrox club would not be welcome in Boston

A senior Rangers supporters' representative has urged the club not to pursue plans to play Celtic in Boston in a pre-season friendly.

Ross Blyth, vice-president of the Rangers Supporters' Assembly, says the club should "look elsewhere".

It follows a scathing article on the Boston Globe newspaper website about past behaviour of Rangers fans.

The author of the article, Mark Stokes, has since apologised for remarks he made about the 1971 Ibrox Disaster.

In the article, which has since been removed from the website, Stokes listed a catalogue of reasons why a proposed pre-season friendly between Rangers and Celtic would be bad for Boston and its citizens.

Those principally related to crowd trouble involving Rangers supporters, but included in the list was reference to the 1971 Ibrox disaster, the pitch invasion by Rangers fans following the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final and the trouble on the streets of Manchester after the 2008 Uefa Cup final defeat by Zenit St Petersburg.

Stokes said of the Ibrox Disaster that it was "widely accepted that the tensions between Celtic and Rangers fans played a major part in the 66 deaths that day". He has since retracted that statement and apologised for any offence caused.

The official inquiry into the Ibrox disaster concluded that Rangers spectators exiting an Old Firm match in 1971 were all travelling in the same direction and the subsequent deaths during a crush were caused by a failure of stairwell barriers.

Rangers had said they planned to take issue with the Boston Globe over the "inaccurate and offensive" remarks.

And Blyth told BBC Scotland the sentiment expressed in the original article indicated that playing Celtic in that environment could prove problematic.

"I would urge the club to look elsewhere. There are plenty of teams we could play," he said.

"Rangers were never going to be very popular in Boston anyway, so this is just an indication of the kind of hassle we could face.

"It's difficult to try to change people's perceptions. The team, the club and the fans could do without the hassle."

Print Sponsor

see also
Fans sought over Uefa Cup rioting
27 Jan 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
CCTV shows fans attacking police
15 May 08 |  Manchester
Pc describes Uefa fan mob attack
16 May 08 |  Manchester
Rangers charged over fan violence
05 Nov 09 |  Rangers
McCoist blasts 'mindless idiots'
07 Nov 09 |  Rangers

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites