Trade gives opinions as newco Rangers awaits key vote
SPL clubs will vote on July 4 on whether to admit Charles Green’s Rangers’ newco into Scotland’s top league, with Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United already saying ‘no’.
Some operators say trade will be hit if Rangers lose as it will mean no Old Firm league games – a major money-spinner for many pubs – to show on Sky, but others were less concerned. One Falkirk operator said the demotion of the new Rangers to the First Division – as has been speculated – might boost trade due to revenue brought by the Ibrox side’s travelling support.
“Old Firm games are obviously good for business, but they’re not what we rely on totally,” said Bernie Flannery, manager of the Deoch An Dorus in Glasgow. “The clientele would miss it slightly because it is a big game for Scottish football, but I don’t think it would have an overall impact, because we’ve made the distinction that we’re not tied to either colour.”
Less optimistic is Ally Smith, owner of the Volunteer Arms in Fort William.
“Even in a standard season, when there’s only four Old Firm games, it’s four days where we take fantastic income,” he told SLTN. “The games usually start at lunch time and we get a full day out of it – it almost doubles your takings for the day. The other side of the coin is that we do well on a Sunday afternoon whether it’s Celtic or Rangers who are playing, regardless of who they are playing.”
At Behind the Wall, popular with fans of Falkirk FC, owner Brian Flynn said the prospect of Rangers playing Falkirk in division one could boost trade.
“It might be good for the town, but not so good for the club, because at the end of the day it’s pretty much a promotion place [from division one] taken out of the equation, unless there’s some sort of league reconstruction involved,” he told SLTN. “But in terms of the effect on the pub it would certainly be good if Rangers were coming to town.”
Sky declined to comment on its plans for the SPL but reports said it could show Rangers games in division one.