Rangers were responsible for 28% off all fans clicking through a Scottish turnstile last year and the prospect of 1,00'0s of Gers supporters landing at places like Stanraer, Annan or East Stirling will have local Police forces at the highest levels of readiness.Whilst clubs might not pick up the bill for what happens outside the grounds, added security within, not to speak of added safety work that might be required will incur costs for home sides. If these costs outstrip the ticket revenue - with average prices below £20 that looks highly likely - the small clubs in Division 3 may be paying a financial penalty that few seem to have forecast so far.
Taking a look at the average crowds in 2011/12 in Scottish Div 3 and they are akin to the lower reaches of the Evostik or Ryman leagues in England. Indeed, over half the clubs in those leagues get higher average crowds than the teams in Scotland.
Average Home League Attendances 2011/12 Div 3
Average Low High
1 Alloa 672 421 2551
2 Elgin 627 431 1072
3 Clyde 566 351 748
4 QueensP 519 344 711
5 Peterh'd 487 396 626
6 Annan 472 304 644
7 Berwick 396 278 486
8 Stranraer 354 260 592
9 Montrose 334 246 450
10 E Stirling 321 215 531
The average league attendance was a paltry 475 with the highest attendance 2,551 on 05 May 2012 when leaders (and promoted)Alloa drew, 1-1 with Annan Athletic
The lowest attendance, a mere 215, saw East Stirling beat Annan Athletic 1-0. The average away attendance is less than a 100. So how you may ask will these clubs cope with the Rangers factor?
The real possibility may well be that either severe restrictions are imposed - all ticket games when Rangers are coming adding more costs to clubs where the old cash turnstile is still the norm - or even an all out ban. Once the dust settles and the realities of the situation become clear there are still plenty of issues to resolve.