After 128 days, the 120-day review arrived.
Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace pulled up a chair in the Ibrox Blue Room at lunchtime yesterday and fielded questions about his vision of Rangers' future.
What was the point of this review?
Loading article content
It's allowed us to spend some time in a considered way, looking at what we've inherited - not in seeking to blame people that were here before but seeking to understand what had happened. More importantly, where do we want to go with this?
What is the strategic focus for Rangers Football Club? Do we expect to be successful? Yes, absolutely. We've spent a decent amount of time on a proper robust business plan.
On Thursday Sandy Easdale said there could be another insolvency event if Rangers fans don't renew season tickets
Sandy Easdale's comments were made by him in his capacity as a shareholder. He's not a director of the plc so they were not made in capacity in respect of the plc Company. I've gone on record before to say there would be no threat of administration and my position today is exactly the same. Sandy Easdale wasn't put out to comment by the club.
You would have to speak to him directly to ask the context in which he made those comments. If you are asking me if 'administration II' is a possibility then I'm saying categorically no.
What could change that?
There would need to be a significant reduction in season ticket renewals to present a major problem to the club. If there is a significant shift and the fans decide not to back the club then it has an impact.
How low does the season ticket sale level have to get before you face major problems?
Season ticket sales have been slow. And I don't think that's surprising. A lot of people have been waiting to see what we were going to see coming out of the review, a sense of comfort and security that if they put their money in the company is still going to survive, but also a sense of ambition in terms of where we want to take the club.
What if fans don't buy season tickets?
If fans don't buy season-tickets but they still want to support their club then what in effect will happen is that the timing of the money will shift. Instead of the money coming in May, June and July it will start to come in August, September, October as we start to play the games . . . unless the fans are not going to come and support their club at all. What we would have would be a shift in the cash flow timing.
When would you panic?
We have extended the season ticket renewal window through to May 16 and we will monitor the progress of the fans renewing over the coming weeks and assess it. There is no sense of panic.
What plans do you have?
We have authority to go and do a rights issue which we could push the button on to do, but my view is that that is not in the best long-term interests of the club to do that now. What I want to do is a significant equity raise later in the year when the climate will be better for us. We do have options, including a rights issue. If we were to find that the business was not being supported to the level of season ticket renewals that we would hope, we have options. Am I confident that the business can survive and not go into administration? I repeat what I said before: yes I am.
Why will the climate be any better later in the year?
We will have had a bit more time to demonstrate how the business is being run. At the moment, the environment is not positive. People are nervous and concerned about doing business with us. We needed to do the work we have done. We needed to spend time to map out our vision so we can tell people what the next five years are going to look like.
Last year Sandy Easdale said that the club had investors waiting in the wings. Where are they?
I can't speak on what Sandy Easdale has said or what was in his mind at the time. We've had discussions with people who are interested in being potential investors. As you know, at the agm we did not get the authority to issue a substantial share issue. That was voted down because of shareholders' concern about who was going to be on the board at that time. We've said today we will be going back out in the autumn for shareholder approval for a substantial equity raise. If there are additional investors over and above the existing shareholders who wish to invest then that's fantastic.
Why not Dave King?
We do not have the authority right now to issue £30m of shares so even if Dave wanted to participate tomorrow, the club does not have the authority. That's why we are saying we will go to our shareholders in the autumn to get that authority. Those shares will be offered in line with established process: existing shareholders will get the opportunity and if there are untaken shares available then new investors will also get that opportunity.
If the credit card company has pulled out, why should fans give this board their money?
The credit/debit card issue is one that is really unfortunate. The merchant provider who handles that transaction for us took a view - based on everything that has been going on in the external media - that the club could be at risk. In order to mitigate their risk they said 'well, we're happy to carry on processing your transactions but we would like you to give us security over Ibrox' and we have categorically said that we will never give security over Ibrox. It's not a satisfactory position to be in and I apologise to all our season-ticket holders for the inconvenience it will cause.
We are extending the renewal window to give people time to make their own decisions. I think a lot of season-ticket holders have been waiting to hear what we were going to say today. They were looking for a sense of comfort on the existing operations but I think also a sense of what it is we are going to try to do going forward. As I look at that, granting security over Ibrox to facilitate credit and debit card payments is not something that's in the best interests of Rangers Football Club.
What sort of message does it send out to have management take bonuses while people are being made redundant?
The important issue would be to look at the governance framework that exists in the club and take reassurance from the fact that the club is being operated in a professional, managed, governed way and if there is compensation that is appropriate for any executive in the club, that it is assessed and benchmarked in an appropriate way. This is not about anyone on the board voting themselves into huge bonuses using the fans' money. Far from it.
Why are you on a bonus?
My compensation is set by the remuneration committee of the board. It will be at a comparable level you would expect an executive of my level to be at. Whether I get a bonus or not will be determined by the board, not by me.
Brian Stockbridge got a 100% bonus if Rangers won any league. Do you?
If you are asking the question: 'do I get a bonus if the team wins the league and gets promoted as has happened in the past?' the answer is no.
This isn't just an historical issue about characters who are no longer here: fans don't trust the directors on this board right now
Trust has to be earned and that trust isn't earned overnight, I fully appreciate that. It is a difficult environment for us to be operating in when sections of our own support are not supporting the board. I would urge fans to look at what we are trying to do. We are trying to do the best for the club and if you believe that then support the club and we can take it forward together.
Suspicion remains that figures not on the board are still pulling the strings at Ibrox?
When I sit in the boardroom there is no-one pulling strings, no-one is exercising influence over what we are doing.
£5.5m to buy Rangers: did the Charles Green consortium bring any 'new' money into the club? Or could the purchase have been fund ed by subsequent revenue, not unlike Craig Whyte's takeover?
I don't know the answer to that. This is a statement of what happened in the past in terms of income generated and where it has been spent. What I am looking at now is where we are at and where we are going forward. Questions about [what was] specifically paid and when it was paid is probably not for the football club. It's not a question for the football club.
Why should fans trust this board?
I would ask the fans to take myself and the board at face value. We spent the time to understand the club, the structure, the cost base and our ability to generate income and we've developed a five-year financial plan that gives us confidence that if the club continues to operate as it has done then there is no risk. If fans are looking to protect their club for the longer term then I'd ask them to look at what we've done and the way we're doing it and take confidence from that. We're as ambitious on the sporting side as they are.