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Q&A: Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace on the club's finances and its future

Rangers posted losses of £3.5m in seven months yesterday, with cash reserves down by £17.7m in the last year.

Chief Executive Graham Wallace has appealed for breathing space and help from fans to put the club's finances back on track.

Here Wallace talks to HeraldScotland about Ranger's finances, staff costs, the 120 day review and the club's future.

On the half year results

"What you have seen in the six month period we have announced is a step forward. What we are trying to do overall here is put in place a very stable, professional way of rebuilding the club and taking it back to where it should be. Part of that is looking at how we are managing the business from a cost perspective and from a cash perspective but also equally importantly how we are putting in the right drivers to grow our commercial revenue and how we can grow that top line revenue as well as managing the outflows.

"A large bulk of the money raised from the IPO had already been spent and what we are trying to do is put the business on a very firm footing to build from."

Retail joint venture with Sports Direct

"I think it is performing in line with expectations. It is still early days as it has only just had over a year of it operating. Being in partnership with Sports Direct, one of the premier retailers in terms of being able to focus on the ground at a retail level in a way that a standalone entity would never be able to do, is helpful for us. As we look forward the results to date are in line with what we had hoped for but still give us a sense of optimism that there is considerable growth to be achieved going forward."

Staff costs

"Part of what we have done in the review is look at the areas of expenditure and question and challenge everything we have been doing within the club. We have made some changes in the past few months and we just continue to work away, as you would expect in any business, on how we can improve our cost base and the efficiency and effectiveness of the business.

"That certainly continues but in a fashion you would find in any leading business. You are constantly challenging what you are doing and what you are spending and it forms part of our overall business review that we are closing in on."

Growing commercial revenues and the Rangers By Appointment scheme

"There are a number of companies now signed up to it and getting benefit from it. It sits quite nicely into my vision about re-establishing Rangers as a brand, as a club, as a company that leading organisations want to be part of. If you put it against a background of what this club has had to deal with over the past two or three years getting leading organisations partnering with Rangers has been a challenge and is still a challenge when the external environment is one of potentially suspicion or instability or questions about the long term strategy or survival.

"The business by appointment scheme for the local business community has paid dividends but I view that as just a start. We have initiatives going on now [for] a completely fresh look at our commercial partnerships, looking to target and attract leading blue chip businesses to partner with Rangers. Again to help us grow our top line revenue. If we can grow the top line revenue then the more headroom we have in terms of investing back into the team and other areas of the business."

Further spending on improving infrastructure/Ibrox

"Without putting a definitive number on it we would constantly be wanting to look at the standard of what we have. There are areas of the stadium that do need a bit of a refresh. When you put it against the background of some of the financial challenges the club has had it is probably understandable why some of those investments have been pushed a bit further down the priority list. As we look at trying to create and deliver a match day environment and experience that Rangers fans enjoy then it goes without saying that we need to have a rolling programme that will look at levels of investment in order to pay attention to some of the areas that have been neglected in the recent past."

Full-year performance

"We would expect full year performance at a revenue level to be ahead of last year. At an operating profit or operating loss level we have reported a near 50% improvement in the half-year and I think you can be looking for a similar measure of improvement in the latter half-year. It is very much moving towards that kind of break even [or] profitability segment."

Material uncertainty noted in the accounts about season ticket money

"We put in place the short term facilities to give ourselves some additional headroom following a detailed review of the business plans and assumptions we inherited. We realised there were some changes that needed to be made so we did that to give ourselves some additional headroom.

"The key material uncertainty we disclose about the timing of season ticket money. To my mind that is no different to virtually every other football club in the land where you have your season ticket money flowing in at a comparable rate and comparable timing year after year. If all of a sudden you were to introduce changes to significant elements of that it would be quite reasonable for people to say there could potentially be an impact on the cash position if significant chunks of the season money was to flow in at a later stage. What we can say in terms of how we are running the business now and managing the cash and how we are managing our ability to run the business I am very comfortable with where we are and I am very comfortable with the processes we have in place now to give us a proper level of comfort and assurance on the way the money is being spent."

120 day review and seeking further investment

"What I wanted to do was come in and stand back and take a strategic view of where the club needed to be going, what we needed to deliver that and the organisational structure and the cost base. We have just been working through the business so we have a clear view of what we think the next five years could look like for Rangers. From that what does that mean in terms of our ability to generate income and our need for investment. We have said several times the business will need investment. What we need to do as a board is finalise the size of that investment and the timing of when it is needed. We are going from the third tier to the second tier clearly with an aspiration to be back in the top division the year after.

"Once the board has determined what we need and when we will have a series of conversations with existing shareholders and other interested parties. That is absolutely fine. What we are trying to do is the right thing for Rangers, the right thing for supporters and the right thing for shareholders."

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