NOT all debenture holders for the new club deck stand at Ibrox Stadium

are happy with the climb to the bridge. Some were left huffing and

puffing after negotiating more than 100 stairs when the stand was

Loading article content

officially opened for last Saturday's match between Rangers and Dundee

United.

The climb to the higher echelon was further soured with claims that

seats in the front of the stand precluded a view of the nearside

touchline and that the width of the seats themselves provided some

discomfort for those sporting a frame approaching heavyweight

proportions.

Debenture holders have spent from #1000 to #1650 for a seat in

perpetuity on the new top deck which towers above the old main stand.

Already, some have indicated that they would prefer to return to a lower

level leaving their investment in jeopardy.

They were due to view the new facilities at an open day earlier this

month, but this was cancelled because of concern by Rangers over the

operation of safety systems.

The club said at that time that, after tests on the fire alarm and

safety systems, it was not happy that they were working as well as it

would like. However, Rangers emphasised that there were no structural

problems with the seating.

Almost #18m has been spent on the new deck which is designed to seat

6700 in the highest vantage point of any football ground in the country.

Income from the sale of debentures has so far reached #8.5m, with 1700

not yet taken up, and grants amounting to #2m have been received by

Rangers from the Football Trust.

The club expects further substantial income from a range of up-market,

corporate entertainment suites which can cost as much as #3750 plus VAT

a seat a season. This area is furnished to the standard of a five-star

hotel. Corporate clients also benefit from their own entrance, toilet,

and corridor areas -- and lifts.

One of the concerns of local authority sub-committees on safety at

sports grounds in the wake of the Taylor Report has been that spectators

should have an unobstructed view of the pitch to prevent them standing

up in seated areas or swaying from side to side.

However, a group of Rangers fans who approached the Glasgow Herald,

said their view of the playing area on Saturday from seats in the fifth

row from the front of the stand was obstructed and they were unable to

see the nearside touchline and corner flags.

Their spokesman said: ''It was a big disappointment. I thought I had

one of the best seats in the house but I lost some five yards from the

touchline out. It would have been impossible to follow play in this area

without either standing up or leaning forward.

''I have a season ticket for the old main stand but decided to take

out a #1500 debenture following all the publicity about the superior

facilities in the new club deck. The first let down was having to climb

more than 100 stairs particularly as I have a heart problem.

''Apart from the viewing difficulty, the width of the seats did not

impress me. People were packed in, and tall men with a large frame were

in a bit of bother. At half-time hundreds were milling about the

concourse and it was a bottleneck getting to the toilets.

''The brochure depicted an area where fans could have anything from a

steak sandwich to a cup of coffee at tables and chairs over a wee

blether.''

The spokesman added: ''I contacted the Rangers office and told the

girl that I wanted to return to my old seat in the old stand. She didn't

seem too surprised. However, I don't know where I stand with my #1500

debenture money.''

Mr Campbell Ogilvie, Rangers director-secretary, said yesterday that

there had been complaints and he assured supporters that those that were

made known to the bond office would be considered individually and

addressed.

He said: ''I don't have the exact number of complaints but the figure

is small in relation to the number of debenture holders. There were

initial problems when the Govan and Broomloan Road stands were opened

but these were sorted out. It is all part and parcel of new buildings.''

Mr Ogilvie said that some of the seating in the new stand had been

altered because of the repositioning of guard rails and other equipment

to meet safety criteria. He was confident that the problems were

relatively minor in relation to the number of seats involved.

Debenture holders also have to buy season tickets if their seats are

to be retained. Mr Ogilvie said it was possible that customers who were

dissatisfied might be offered alternative seats.