Rangers have pleaded with supporters “to be on their best behaviour” in Seville ahead of the Europa League final against Frankfurt.
The last time the club reached a major European final was in 2008 – a 2-0 loss to Zenit Saint Petersburg – in a game marred by pre-match rioting in the host city of Manchester. With around 200,000 Rangers fans having made the trip, a total of 39 fans were arrested, though a police report blamed the violence on a “minority of thugs”.
The club’s managing director Stewart Robertson urged fans to “respect the city, respect the locals” and issued a reminder that “there will be people going about their day-to-day business”.
“To supporters with or without tickets, go and enjoy yourself, go and enjoy the occasion,” Stewartson said. “I remember in 2008 thinking ‘will I see Rangers in a European final again?’
“It is fantastic. Go and enjoy the occasion, go and be a good ambassador for Rangers. We are going to a beautiful city, in Seville, go and enjoy the city but let’s go and do it in the right way, the right manner. Go and enjoy it, have a good time.”
Rangers have also enlisted former players, with Graeme Souness delivering a video message telling fans: “When you think of the journey we’ve been on for the last ten years to be now playing in a serious European final, it’s a fantastic achievement.
“They’ve done their bit, now it’s your turn. You have to turn up and behave yourselves. Have a party, but behave yourselves.
“You’re going there as an ambassador for this great football club. You must go there and behave, otherwise we’ll have all the headlines which can damage us for a long, long time. Please go there and behave yourselves. Have a super time.”
Richard Gough, who spent 10 years at Ibrox between 1987-1997 added: “I know there’s going to be a lot of us going out there, quite a few of us without tickets so just remember guys, please behave. We’re going to need to behave out there.
“We’re all ambassadors for the club when we’re in Spain. Let’s hope we get a great result but we need to behave. The team themselves have done a remarkable job of getting to a European final and us as supporters just need to support them. Hopefully we get the right result but we need to be on our best behaviour as well.”
Concerns have been raised with the final being played between two clubs with large fanbases who have been allocated just 10,000 tickets each at the 43,883-capacity Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. That means thousands of supporters will be in the city without tickets.
Uefa told i they “will be closely cooperating with the local authorities and security forces, the local organising committee and the clubs to ensure a safe and secure environment for all those participating in the game”.