Rangers board have to be 'Ready to Listen'

THE results of the "Ready to Listen" initiative which was launched by Rangers last week will not be known for some time.

Loading Comments
Share
Print
James Easdale, left, and Sandy Easdale take their places in the stand alongside chief executive Graham Wallace
James Easdale, left, and Sandy Easdale take their places in the stand alongside chief executive Graham Wallace

But, when the outcome of the supporters' survey is made public, the chances are high that one message will be received loud and clear.

The Ibrox club's hierarchy is likely to be told, in no uncertain terms, there must be total financial transparency in the future. Rangers striking a deal to borrow £1.5million from football board chairman Sandy Easdale and investment group Laxey Partners is the latest news to alarm fans.

Yes, Graham Wallace, the chief executive, was quick to declare that there was no reason to be concerned about the development. And it was, manager Ally McCoist was assured by directors at a board meeting in London on Thursday, part of an overall "business plan".

But it is no surprise that supporters are decidedly uneasy about the deal, which has been secured against the Edmiston House and Albion car park facilities, given that they believe their beloved club has been bled dry by its previous custodians.

The tens of millions of pounds that Rangers banked from a share offering, two tranches of season ticket sales and a variety of other endorsements have evaporated into thin air. The troubled Glasgow institution is now operating at a substantial monthly loss and is rapidly running out of funds.

If, in fact, it has not done so completely already.

Cutbacks, and drastic ones at that, will almost certainly need to be made when Wallace completes his 120-day restructuring project of the entire business.

So it is understandable that the actions of those charged with sorting out the almighty mess they have inherited from their predecessors are subjected to a forensic scrutiny.

And when independent financial experts state the move to secure £1.5m of "working capital" does suggest an imminent cash flow problem lies ahead, it does nothing to alleviate fears.

Suspicion is rife that it is needed to keep the stricken club afloat until the next batch of season ticket money floods into the bank account in the summer. The 3-3 draw that Rangers recorded against Stenhousemuir in an SPFL League One match at Ibrox on Saturday was obviously concerning to all supporters.

The Ochilview club led twice through goals from Sean Dickson and Sean Higgins, and nobody in the ground could begrudge them a point for their efforts.

Sure, the hosts should have had a penalty in the first half when David Templeton appeared to be tripped by Sean Lynch inside the opposition area.

And the spot-kick awarded to the visitors by match official Greg Aitken that allowed Higgins to level the match was, to put it mildly, bizarre.

Ultimately, the goals that Nicky Law, Fraser Aird and Jon Daly netted were unable to secure the home team a victory in front of over 40,000 of their followers.

Yet, there are far more troubling matters for fans at the moment than an inability to defend properly against part-time opposition or the erratic performance of a referee.

SO one of the main wishes - if not the main wish - they express in "Ready to Listen" will be for the club to be completely open in their business dealings from now on.

If the club is to move forward as one and complete "The Journey" back to the top flight as planned by the end of next season, then it will be necessary.

Wallace, who is to be applauded for his efforts to engage with paying customers, would be well advised to hold further meetings with the supporters to quell the growing unrest.

The three main fans' organisations, the Association, the Assembly and the Trust, issued a joint statement on Friday night asking for clarity on the loan and other matters.

The members of the Blue Order staged a protest in the 18th and 72nd minutes - the significance of which being, of course, that Rangers was founded in 1872 - of the game against Stenhousemuir.

The group, which is housed in the Broomloan Road Stand at home games, held up dozens of placards which read: "Support the team not the regime".

It was the first occasion since before the AGM back in December that there had been any sign of organised dissent in the stands against the directors.

THE vast majority of fans wanted the requisitioners - Scott Murdoch, Malcolm Murray, Paul Murray and Alex Wilson - elected to the board.

But when that did not happen - as a result of the main institutional investors backing the status quo - even the most vocal amongst them agreed to stand back for the good of the club.

Now, though, it would appear that the first cracks are starting to form in that uneasy truce.

The draw at the weekend - just the second they have suffered in the league in the 2013/14 campaign - only reduced the lead held by McCoist's side at the top of the third tier table to 21 points.

Rangers, who remain in both the Ramsdens Cup and the William Hill Scottish Cup, still have the chance to win an unprecedented domestic treble this term.

But whether the players will be able to deliver silverware this season is not, after the trauma and turmoil of the last few years, what keeps Rangers fans awake at night these days.

The long-term viability of the Ibrox club as a whole, and who is in charge of it, is of far greater concern.

Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

153294

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

Where to find the best scares this Hallowe'en... if you dare

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Games news:

Sussed in the city

Michelle McManus

Special cause helped me to keep off wine

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.