Rangers' Union of Fans spokesman answers key questions on season ticket trust

THE Rangers Union of Fans have launched their website - www.ibrox1972.co.uk - for supporters to pledge their season ticket money as the group attempt to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park from the under- fire Light Blues board this summer.

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Union of Fans have set up website for fans to pledge season ticket cash
Union of Fans have set up website for fans to pledge season ticket cash

It is a request the Gers hierarchy have so far denied as tensions between the boardroom and the terraces have escalated and distrust for those in control of the club has grown considerably.

The UoF have received the backing of former Rangers director Dave King and nine-in-a-row legend Richard Gough and here spokesman Chris Graham answers the big questions facing the fans and the board.

How does the season ticket trust work?

CG: "People go onto the website and they have two options. They can sign up as a season ticket holder or a non-season ticket holder.

"Season ticket holders will simply fill in a renewal form, seat number, etc.

"After that you have a credit or debit card option. Unlike the club, we are offering this facility.

"Once the process is complete the third party provider hold onto their card details.

"We don't take any money at this stage. Money will only be taken if the security is granted.

"If the club grant that security we collect all the money and pass it over to the club.

"If they don't grant security we issue the instruction that the money is never taken from their account.

"Fans then must decide if they want to buy a ticket on a game-by- game basis or if they want to disengage completely.

"With regards to the non-season ticket holder, all we are taking at the moment are pledges. These are not binding."

How many fans would need to sign up for the board to take notice?

CG: "I can't answer that question, only the board can.

"We would expect given the current financial position the board would be attempting to get every single season ticket holder they possibly can.

"If this only takes a thousand or 2,000 season-tickets holders they should still want that money, they should still be talking to us.

"It's very difficult for us to say but, as far as we understand, the season ticket levels are sitting around the 2,000 mark and that's with a big launch, after the review which was supposed to persuade people to buy their season tickets.

"That's a horrendous level of season tickets and it's quite clear a lot of people have completely disengaged from it and will not renew with this board."

Fans are worried this will ultimately lead to a second administration?

CG: "I can understand the concern about administration, particularly in light of the financial situation at the moment and the fact that loans have had to be taken.

"What I would say is the situation is that the club can have this money.

"They have to grant the security to get it, but they can have the money. There is no witholding of money. All it is is conditions attached to getting it and they are conditions that the board can confirm.

"We're not asking for something they can't do - they absolutely can do it, they just have to decide that they want to do it.

"I think that in a situation where the club were to refuse the fans' money and then put the club into administration, then serious questions would have to be asked of the board.

"I don't think any questions would have to be asked of the fans."

Do you fear the board will end up renting out Ibrox?

CG: "Put simply, yes. We have had some sort of undertaking at the agm and since publicly that the board are not looking at it at this time, but that doesn't mean anything.

"They could change their minds a week later.

"A few of the public pronouncements the board have made have not been true. If you can stand up and say one thing at an agm that proves not to be true, you can stand up and say another thing.

"The fans have a degree of influence through season tickets at the moment and I think that influence will be lost when the season ticket renewals are over and we are back to sitting with our fingers crossed, hoping something changes.

"I hope we can achieve something positive through the fund and know that Ibrox is secure at least for a year."

Will it come to a head before the new season?

CG: "We've always said that even without the season ticket fund, even if the club hit their target, which I think is about 36,000 season ticket holders, that it wouldn't be enough to see them through the season.

"As far as we're concerned, even if everybody put their money into renewals, the club would not get through the season without raising additional finances.

"So under those finances, the club are asking the fans to do something that, for example Sandy Easdale wouldn't do.

"Sandy Easdale was willing to give the club a loan, okay interest free, but he wanted security.

"Now he's obviously got access to financial information that, quite frankly, you could argue he shouldn't have because he's not on the plc board.

"But he has access to that information and he still wanted security for the money he was putting in, but for some reason the board are saying we were happy to give Sandy security, but we won't give you security for the money you're putting in."

Do you feel let down by Graham Wallace?

CG: "It's incredibly disappointing because when he did come in there was a big play made about his CV at the time.

"Here was a guy coming in who had worked for some good companies before, he had football experience.

"You looked on the face of it and he was a credible appointment but you can only go by what he's done since he's been in the job.

"There has been no engagement, there has been no apparent progress in terms of the finances, in fact things appear to have gone backwards.

"He talks on the one hand of the need for scouting and everything else but the first appointment made is another PR man. Surely it's more important that we get the football side of the club going before we worry about looking after the board? That's what the PR man is doing, he's not doing anything on behalf of the club he's looking after them.

"It's been hugely disappointing and I think he's lost a lot of credibility."

Is the solution for Dave King to buy out the shareholders?

CG: "Dave has consistently said that he doesn't want to buy out shareholders.

"Of course, if we could bring this to a quicker conclusion everyone would breathe a sigh of relief.

"But I can completely understand why he doesn't want to line the pockets of people who have essentially brought us to this point.

"He's been clear on the amount required to build up the infrastructure of the club. Some of it has to be spent on the pitch, as well as scouting and youth development.

"But money also has to be spent on Ibrox and Murray Park. Any money Dave gives to them, it will be lost to that so there would be a shortfall.

"I can understand why Dave doesn't want to buy them out but I know it would be a relief to everyone if he did."

People say you have lost momentum ...

CG: 'We have been working on this for weeks. It did take time to set up and we wanted to make sure we did everything right technically and legally. Lawyers have pored over it and all the terms and conditions are there for everyone to see."

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