Rangers boss Steven Gerrard sends message to fans after UEFA blow

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA Wire.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA Wire.
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Steven Gerrard has pleaded with the Rangers support to behave after UEFA ordered a section of Ibrox to be closed during next week’s crucial Europa League showdown with Legia Warsaw.

Europe’s governing body made the ruling after deciding a number of the Gers faithful were guilty of racist behaviour - specifically relating to “sectarian chants” - during their opening qualifier against St Joseph’s.

The Light Blues will now have to close off a section containing 3,000 seats - which will come as a blow to Gerrard as he plots a return to the group stages.

He urged the Rangers support to ensure Ibrox was “rocking and shaking” for the do-or-die second leg after claiming a decent goalless draw with Legia in Poland on Thursday night.

But the former Liverpool and England skipper has now warned fans their global reputation is at risk if they persist with the illicit chants.

“I back the statement that the club has made,” he said. “It’s disappointing when I think about the effect it’s going to have on innocent fans who go to the game and behave properly.

“They are going to miss out on the chance to watch the second leg which is all set up for an incredible match.

“I still think the crowd will be important next week. It’s a small section but it’s still not helpful.

“We do still want to send a clear message to our supporters that we’re going to need them with us in the second leg. We need the stadium to be rocking and jumping because as you saw last night they are tough opponents.

“We’ve been here before and I hope it’s the last time we have to deal with questions on fan behaviour. We want our fans to go to the games, enjoy it and get behind the team.

“That’s what being a fan is all about. We’ve got one of the best fan bases in the world. They follow us in large numbers home and away and they have got a reputation for being the best supporters in the world.

“So when you hear stuff like this it damages the fans’ reputation.”