In the aftermath of their shares being listed on the London Stock Exchange after a flotation which raised £22.2m – short of the stated £27m target but still embraced as a success by the club – chief executive Charles Green speaks about what the investment means for Rangers and him personally .
Remember, no-one was going to buy a ticket off me in July; I was a 'snake oil salesman'. So, let's look where we are [going]. I would assume that if we've win the third division and get promoted into a new division – whether it's football league or a restructured division or whatever – we'll see no less season tickets sold next season. We reduced the price to £315 this year but if they went to £400 next year that's another £18m of season-ticket money in the bank and we still can't buy players. That's the scary thing about Rangers looking from the outside: we now have more cash on the balance sheet. We have a market cap of £45m and nearly £30m of it is cash. How scary is that?
How is the money going to be spent; specifically on the football side?
We have an allocation to spend money on the stadium; it's had nothing spent on it for the last couple of years. We've acquired Edmiston House next door which will be turned into a bar and a megastore. We've acquired the Albion Car Park to get rid of an onerous lease which was going to drain £4m out of the club. We've allocated £10m for Ally to spend on players as soon as he's able to do that.
What we've also done is set a structure in place where Rangers are no longer a boom-or-bust club. It's about sustainability, about managing this club professionally, increasing revenue. We're going to spend £3m on media. We've just announced a new director of communications [James Traynor], we're going to invest in IT and we're going to invest in technology, because image rights are really what institutional football clubs are about. We have a whole raft of projects that we're going to invest our money in. Not to invest in it so that it disappears, but to invest it so that we get recurring revenues from it.
But talk of a multi-million pound Rangers "transfer warchest" has turned out to be pie-in-the-sky in the past, why should this new £10m figure be any different?
What you've seen with Uefa's Financial Fair Play is the whole structure of football is changing. Financial Fair Play will be enforced and everyone has to get their house in order. I'm excited, not just because I managed to pick Rangers up at a very very low price, but because the whole model of football is changing. We're looking at cross-border leagues. You saw what [Celtic chief executive] Peter Lawwell said at his agm; we're exactly the same story as that. There's change out there and it's coming now. Salaries will go down, transfer fees will change. There are a whole raft of changes being driven by external forces and, whereas in the past we might have needed £100m to get a squad together, those days are long gone.
When we look at our stars, our Theo Walcotts, like Barrie McKay and Fraser Aird, these guys, we have to be aware what their options are. Football's changing and we need to be aware of that. We don't need to be paying £12m for Tore Andre Flo. When was that ever good business?
You ring-fenced £10m-worth of shares for fans but £4.5m was not taken up. why not make those shares available to institutional investors, do you fear there would be no interest?
We were over-subscribed, and we can only do that by a placing and the document wouldn't allow us to do that. We'd have to raise another document to do a placing with institutions.
Does the shortfall in the fans' take-up mean you'll have to raise the price of tickets or merchandising?
It's not a shortfall. We've raised £2.5m more than we set out to. But I've made no secret season tickets will cost more next year because we will be in a higher league. We have brought the best merchandise man in Europe in as our partner with Sports Direct [Mike Ashley] and what we want to do now is make this club the success that it should have been over the last 20 years.
Why wasn't the full £10m taken up by fans. is there a reluctance to endorse Charles Green? or could fans not afford it?
It's purely economics. Look, there are people who don't like me – I had a wife that divorced me, she didn't like me so I'm sure there are others out there who don't like me. Walter [Smith] said it in typical Walter style when I asked him to join and he said yes. He said: 'You don't need me to sell season tickets, you've sold 37,500'. He said 'they are behind Charles Green'. To put it into context, he said he had been booed off at half-time when he was doing nine- in-a-row. He said 'everyone here loves you' so the fans are onside.
"Look, I've been straight from day one and the fans didn't like it at times. It's black and white, I want this club to be successful. I don't say it to be politically correct – that's why I've been on SFA charges – and I don't say it to endear myself to the fans. I say it because it's important everyone knows the truth. That's why Rangers got into a mess, because the people at the top didn't tell anyone. It's never going to happen under my stewardship.
You've bought shares, too, and now have 8% of the club: when will you cash them in?
I can't sell for two years. I've signed a lock-in and agreed not to sell. I believe that this club will be back in Europe, back in the Champions League, and I believe there will be structural changes in Europe. If we can get Rangers into a European league or any other structure with TV revenues commensurate with other leagues – because Scottish TV money is a joke – the value of Rangers would be 10 times what it is today.
You and Celtic have common interest in playing in a more lucrative league. have you spoken to them recently about playing somewhere else?
I don't even know where their ground is. I've never been. Actually, I met Fergus McCann once, so I have been once. I met McCann when I was at Sheffield United and I went to buy Pierre van Hooijdonk, but we didn't buy him. I've not spoken to Celtic. I spoke to Peter Lawwell the day we were thrown out the league. That's the last time I met him.