Steven Gerrard Rangers open letter in full as Ibrox boss delivers ‘stay at home’ message to fans
Steven Gerrard has penned an emotional letter to the Rangers faithful urging them to remain at home during next weekend’s Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.
The Ibrox side and their Glasgow rivals held high-level talks with Scottish government and law enforcement officials last week in a bid to quell any fears of a repeat of the scenes that saw thousands of fans party in George Square when they were confirmed as league champions in a mass breach of current COVID-19 restrictions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and justice secretary Humza Yousaf both demanded the Old Firm get their respective houses in order and prove the powder-keg fixture could be hosted safely.
Rangers came in for particular criticism from Holyrood for not doing enough to encourage fans to leave Glasgow city centre and Ibrox after crowds gathered, with Gerrard hanging out the dressing room window to greet fans at one stage.
However, the Gers’ boss has now pleaded with fans to “stay safe and stay at home” as the side prepare for a trip to their greatest rivals as champions.
In an open letter to fans, Gerrard wrote: “Firstly, I want to place on record my thanks for everything you have done for me, my management team and my players since I arrived in Glasgow in May of 2018.
“Last week was a huge milestone for Rangers but make no mistake about it – this journey is far from over. We are only just beginning.
“This is another huge week for Rangers Football Club.
“The last year for every single one of us across the world has been different. We have never experienced a year like this in any of our lifetimes so far, and we hope this is now nearly over. We must always remember, however, how many lives Covid-19 has taken, and we must remember the family and the friends which have gone because of this terrible disease.
“That cannot ever be forgotten.
“It is a great privilege to be the manager of this great football club, and with that comes great responsibility. I believe we must take collective responsibility to ensure we uphold the good name of this 150-year institution which represents far, far more than 11 players on the pitch.
“With that in mind, we must remember who we represent, we must remember who we are, and we must remember what this club stands for.
“Right here and right now, in all honesty, do I want 50,000 fans inside Ibrox?
“100 per-cent yes.
“The players would want nothing more than to hear the fans sing and support us in the ground and hear you behind every pass, every tackle, and to lose themselves in utter euphoria when the ball hits the net.
“Sadly, however, right here and right now, you can’t be there with us. You can’t follow us to Parkhead as Champions – and the first time we can say we are Champions in a decade.
“That hurts me, it hurts my management team and it hurts my players.
“Make no doubt about it, we want you there with us, but sadly, right now, you can’t be. The best place you can support my players and I this Sunday is from the comfort of your own home. We know you are with us here in spirit and we know how much last weekend meant to you when we secured the title.
“We know all of you enjoyed it, but we must stay safe, and stay at home.
“Every time we get knocked back, we stand up and we get going again. You have been with us on that journey, the entirety of the way through and we will never forget that.
“Over the last 10 years, you have followed us near and far and we have always heard you roaring from the stands at Ibrox Park.
“You have followed us and cheered us, you have won with us, you have lost with us. You trusted us, and more than anything, you believed in us.
“And we believe in you as we are Rangers and we are Champions.
“Stay safe. Stay at home. Support the NHS.
“Support Rangers Football Club.”