THE Rangers board has insisted to Ally McCoist that a potential £1.5m loan from Laxey Partners, the largest single shareholder in Rangers International Football Club, and James and Sandy Easdale, two directors, is part of "a business plan".
Supporters have been alarmed at the prospect of the loan confirming that Rangers face an impending cash crisis, but McCoist has been told that "too much has been made of it".
Speculation persists that Rangers' cash reserves are dwindling. Yet the chief executive Graham Wallace has insisted the business is not facing another potential administration, following fears that next month's payroll might be at risk. The potential £1.5m loan, which has not been finalised and could involve repayment in shares, would be in addition to funds being received from Rangers Retail, the commercial agreement with Mike Ashley's Sports Direct. Rangers' next significant tranche of income will not be until season ticket renewal payments in the summer.
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McCoist attended a board meeting in London last Thursday, but stayed only to discuss football matters. However, the directors sought to allay any fears that Rangers' finances are in an imminently critical situation, despite widespread concerns.
"There was a bit of uproar, or maybe that's too strong a word, when the news broke [about the potential £1.5m loan], but I've been told it's nothing that wasn't planned," said the Rangers manager. "I have to take that as fact because that came from the board meeting. It was told to me that there certainly won't be administration 2, which is encouraging because a lot of people are asking the question."
McCoist has not been informed about his budget for next season, or if cuts will need to be made to the playing squad. He expects more clarity at the end of Wallace's 120-day business review, which he is currently halfway through. The board will soon be considering how to approach season ticket renewals, since any loan from directors would only provide breathing space until that income stream restarts. A drop in renewals, even if prices rise for Rangers' likely participation in the SPFL Championship, would affect the business model significantly.
"The club and Graham are doing the right thing, they're trying to make contact with the supporters," McCoist said. "The [fans] deserve to get their voice heard. Trust and respect have to be earned. Things are better than they were probably at any time in the last two years in terms of the board having dialogue with the supporters and the fans accepting that there have been changes within the board.
"I can only pass on information that's given to me. I'm not privy to financial and business decisions. There hasn't been a push for season tickets yet, but there will be one or two things going on before then that will hopefully point the supporters in the right direction."