• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Mourning turns to fury as Rangers squander £70m

RANGERS fans have attacked the board of the troubled Scottish League One club after it was revealed almost £70 million had been squandered in only two years.

REMEMBERED: A young Rangers fan makes his contribution to the outpouring of affection at Ibrox for club legend Sandy Jardine who died on Thursday. Picture: Martin Shields
REMEMBERED: A young Rangers fan makes his contribution to the outpouring of affection at Ibrox for club legend Sandy Jardine who died on Thursday. Picture: Martin Shields

Supporters voiced anger over the mismanagement of the funds at Ibrox Stadium following the publication of a 120-day review of the club's books, with many calling for the current board to resign.

The figures were published yesterday in a long-awaited report by recently appointed chief executive Graham Wallace, who also revealed there would be redundancies.

It claimed that Rangers had mismanaged almost all of their cash reserves since re-emerging from liquidation in summer 2012.

While fans remembered one of the club's greatest post-war players, Sandy Jardine, who died on Thursday, fury and disbelief spread among them as the report emerged.

Supporters' coalition the Union of Fans said they were dismayed and hugely disappointed with its findings, but would not comment further out of respect for Mr Jardine's family.

Mr Wallace's report, which described the club's financial position as precarious, revealed it had raised £70.7m through ticket sales, commercial revenues and share-issue proceeds between May 2012 and December 2013.

This was then spent promptly and in some areas liberally, with just £3.5m left at the end of last year.

Football financial analyst Ken Pattullo, a partner at accountants Begbies Traynor, described the level of mismanagement as appalling.

Mr Pattullo said: "There have been reports that Rangers is on financial life-support and that's probably not far from the truth. It seems incredible that the club has gone through £70m. What has that money been spent on?"

Neil Patey, of accountancy firm Ernst & Young, also described the report as damning.

However, Mr Wallace insisted the club had streamlined business practices, adding that manager Ally McCoist would not lose out on the ­playing budget.

The report, which was released to the London Stock Exchange, states: "The review has identified operational and organisational changes that need to be made. Annualised savings in operating costs of £2m have already been achieved, with more savings identified and in progress. These savings have not reduced the available budget for the playing squad."

Mr Wallace also played down speculation the club could enter administration for a second time but warned that plans by fans to withhold season-ticket cash could threaten the club.

The report adds: "Should the club suffer a substantial decrease in season-ticket income in the next two months, then it would be unable to trade in the short term without seeking additional external funding."

The Union of Fans, along with former club director Dave King, have been encouraging fans to withhold money and place it in a trust account until they are given security over Ibrox and training ground Murray Park.

With season-ticket sales described as slow, the club has been dealt another blow by fans being unable to pay with debit or credit cards.

The firm responsible for handling transactions has insisted on security over Ibrox, which Rangers have rejected.

The club blamed the Union of Fans for the firm's withdrawal, with the report stating: "The board believes that one of the major factors influencing the merchant acquirer to change its terms was the extensive negative coverage of calls in some quarters for supporters to refrain or delay purchasing season tickets."

It also claimed Rangers will be forced to resort to selling more shares to raise revenue if ticket sales are less than anticipated.

But fans expressed their anger on Twitter.

One fan, Stephen Walsh, wrote on the micro-blogging site that the board should quit. He tweeted: "Rangers spent £70m in two years and expect us fans to renew our season books. They can't be trusted with the money."

Another supporter, Paul Foreman, wrote: "The audacity of Rangers! We need your money to survive, but won't tell you where the rest is or who's running the show. Board out."

Charlie Murdoch tweeted: "So, this board want us to back them still after they 'mismanaged' nearly £70m!? Aye right!"

Rangers' League One match against Stranraer at Ibrox today, which was originally to have seen a protest by the Union of Fans, will instead be a tribute to Mr Jardine.

Rangers players will wear the former full-back's No.2 on their strips in his honour.

Thousands of scarves and messages of condolence to the club legend have been laid at the main gates of Ibrox Stadium.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland 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.

229194