Elgin fans fearful of repercussions after Rangers ticket scandal

Borough Briggs Stand Elgin
Borough Briggs: Elgin fans are fearful after Rangers ticket over sale.© stv

Elgin City supporters are fearing a catastrophe striking their club even greater than the one that stripped them of a Highland League title 20 years ago.

On Saturday a statement from the club promised a "full investigation" into why at least 1100 additional tickets were sold for the televised Rangers game scheduled to be played on Sunday.

The match was called off amid safety fears by Moray Council and Grampian Police who learned at the pre-match security briefing that additional tickets had been sold by club officials above the 4520 authorised capacity — and they were unable to say exactly how many.

Elgin have assured fans that full refunds would be made available, asking that supporters take their tickets to Borough Briggs between 12.30pm and 2.30pm or 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Monday, November 26 and Tuesday, November 27.

The Scottish Football League sent their operations and events manager, Anton Fagan, to meet the club's committee members on Saturday as part of the official probe into the circumstances surrounding the ticket sale. Rumours were rife in Elgin that club chairman Graham Tatters had resigned, but that he has denied that.

While nobody from Elgin City would add to the official statement, several supporters have said that they were provided with tickets by club officials after 'sold out' signs were displayed — only to then be asked for their return on the eve of Friday's security briefing.

One Sunday newspaper also quoted an unnamed source as saying that two directors at the club admitted to police and council officials that tickets had been sold outwith the public sale.

Meanwhile Elgin City players and fans were still trying to come to terms with the shock, with club skipper David Niven admitting that he thought it was all a prank.

He said: "I am gobsmacked — it is a big shock and the club is devastated by it. You would never expect an Elgin game at Borough Briggs to be cancelled because it was going to be overfilled with fans.

"I got a text saying that the game was off and just said well, that's a wind-up, then I learned it was true. Something has gone wrong somewhere and we will need to wait and see what we do now."

A lifelong supporter of Elgin City who did not wish to be named said: "It has taken us 20 years to recover from the scandal that surrounded the club when we were stripped of the Highland League title.

"We have done that, we left the Highland League and we have worked hard through troubled times to the point where we have a good manager and, it seemed, a good committee running the club on solid foundations.

"And then this happens — we have to wait of course to hear just what has gone wrong but the club owe it to the people of Elgin to make a quick and honest statement on how and why this catastrophe was allowed to happen.

"I do know that several supporters were able to purchase tickets from club officials after we had been told that they had all been sold, and that people who were sold these tickets were being asked to return them on Friday morning."

SFL chief, David Longmuir, has said that he will await a report from Mr Fagan before announcing any action against the Borough Briggs club. He said: “We’ll make a judgment on Elgin once we see a full report.

"I would hope that any club contemplating that kind of thing should be completely dissuaded right away. We should not need to deal with Elgin to make clubs realise that cannot happen.”

Elgin manager Ross Jack, meanwhile, has the job of laying aside the controversy and concentrating on preparing his players for their Scottish Cup clash against the Ibrox club on Sunday.

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