A statement on the official Rangers website read: “Fans from Govan to America have really stepped up and shown their incredible backing in what has been a difficult last few months and supporters have made a positive difference to their beloved club by filling Ibrox and cheering on the team in times of adversity.”
The club will pay tribute to the supporters ahead of Saturday’s game against Motherwell by dedicating the jersey to the fans and according to the website ‘there will be a card display with a personal message of thanks from boss Ally McCoist on every seat’.
The statement continued: “The first-team squad will also carry a banner of thanks to the supporters on to the pitch before kick off and a special souvenir programme will be available saluting the fans who have continued to back the club they love.”
Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: “Supporters are often referred to as the 12th man and now more than ever we are seeing the incredible backing of our global fanbase doing all they can to help Rangers in difficult circumstances.
“To that end, we will pay tribute to our fans by retiring the No.12 jersey in their honour and dedicating it forever more to the supporters.
“I have been truly humbled by the way our fans have supported the club since we went into administration. To a man our support has been everything that we thought it would be and more, and they have shown an allegiance to the club, to the staff and the players which has been unequalled.
“It is clear our supporters will march with us to the ends of the earth and I would like to personally thank each and every one of them for their ongoing loyalty and commitment to the club we all love.”
Former Hearts full back Lee Wallace, who currently dons the Rangers number 12 shirt, said: “The fans have been absolutely fantastic this season and handing over the number 12 jersey to them is the least I can do.
“I think it is a great gesture by the club as their support has been amazing, especially during the administration period, and the squad can’t thank them enough for their backing.”
The gesture of retiring a shirt is nothing new, it is common place in the USA where legendary sportsmen and women have their shirt numbers retired in honour of their achievements and contributions to that team.
The Rangers fans will celebrate this gesture from the club, however for a club that has been in administration since February 14th paying out money for a card display should be the last thing on their mind – especially when news broke this week that the club only had money left for five weeks of wages and running costs.
Most Rangers fans would rather see their club saved and the uncertainty at an end rather than a gesture which looks to be nothing more than a token PR stunt from the club. It is another sign that Duff & Phelps are mismanaging the club by splashing the cash when they don’t need too. Shouldn’t they splash the cash by paying those small businesses, the police and the ambulance service that they owe money too than a card display?