ALLY McCOIST, the Rangers manager, admitted he was "worried" to hear the chairman David Somers state the club's future could be in jeopardy should supporters elect to withhold their season-ticket money, but said he is "not going to get involved in it [promoting season ticket sales]" at this stage.
The Union of Fans has called for supporters to put funds for season tickets into a trust instead, until they are given certain assurances by the board of directors.
In the club's interim results published on Thursday, auditors Deloitte expressed a concern relating to the proposed withholding of season-ticket money, suggesting that it could lead to "a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern". It was a view echoed by Somers in the half-yearly report and McCoist readily admitted that it was a concern.
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"Of course that would worry me, as a supporter and as a manager," he said. "That would be a concern for everybody who has anything to do with the club. If the chairman feels that has to be said, it is probably an unpleasant reminder to everybody involved at the club that we have a long, long way to go."
McCoist has been heavily involved in previous years in drumming up season-ticket sales but indicated he would be taking a step back this time. He has always been supportive of the supporters' actions in his time as manager and, while he did not condone the prospect of funds being redirected away from the club, he refused to condemn their actions.
"At this moment in time I'm not going to get involved in it [promoting season ticket sales]," he added. "We are not different from any other club in the respect that season-ticket sales are a massive part of the income and the turnover. I don't know the exact ins and outs of the problems that would happen if money was put into bank accounts and the club weren't to get all the money.
"All I would say is that the Rangers supporters have supported this club unbelievably - never mind for the last couple of years but for the last 140 years - and I believe they will continue to do that and they will make the right decisions."
The recent announcement by Dave King, the former Ibrox director, that he would put as much as £50m into the club if given the chance did not pass by McCoist either. Again, the Rangers manager diplomatically tiptoed across the middle ground, neither warmly welcoming that prospect nor dismissing it either.
"I've said all along that we need investment to get back [to the top division], there's no doubt about that," he added. "Graham [Wallace, chief executive] and the board have said that too, so it's good that everybody feels like that and shares that opinion. Where the investment comes from we will have to wait and see.
"The fact that Dave King and the board agreed with each other's philosophy of where the club would hopefully be in the next couple
of years is a good thing. I think that's a communal thing with all Rangers people. Everybody shares the same hope and belief of where we want to be and how we'll get there."
Wallace had told Herald Sport that McCoist would discover the likely size of his playing budget for next season even before he has concluded his 120-day review of the business. The manager
has always reiterated his belief that he will need to bring in more
and better players to cope
with the step up to the SPFL Championship and is confident that Wallace and others share
"Without naming players and putting a number on players, Graham and the board are aware and understanding of the fact
that we feel we need to have an opportunity to plan for at least mid-term rather than just the short-term," he added. "In an ideal world we would be able to plan mid and long-term rather than just short-term. But so be it. If it is dictated to us that next year we can only plan short-term then we will just have to deal with that.
"Looking at the division and obviously looking at our team,
like anybody else I want to improve the squad and we want to give the boys who are there just now a hand and get better players in to help them."
With Celtic having clinched their third title in succession earlier in the week, the debate
on whether they can go on to win 10-in-a-row has again been ignited. McCoist admitted he could not say at this moment in time whether Rangers were in a position to halt that procession, but revealed they would hope
to be immediate championship contenders when they reach
the top divison, possibly in two seasons' time.
"Can we stop Celtic winning
10-in-a-row? I don't know, I really don't know. I'm just very, very hopeful we can join them in the top flight the year after next, but it's going to be extremely difficult and then we can discuss that.
"It's important [to have a team capable of challenging right away]. We've never made up the numbers at all. No matter what league we've played in or where we've played, we've always believed we've had a chance
of winning the competition and
I don't see any reason why that should change.
"In fact, it shouldn't change
and it can't change."