GRAHAM WALLACE, the Rangers chief executive, had his position branded "untenable" last night as supporters collective, The Union Of Fans, launched their plan to gain security over Ibrox Stadium in return for passing season-ticket money on to the club.
Backed by former director Dave King, the UoF went live yesterday afternoon with a website that will be used to collect funds from those who do not wish to hand their cash directly to the current board given the financial uncertainty surrounding the League 1 champions.
The organisation claims to have information that as few as 2000 supporters have renewed their season books, with club chairman David Somers having stated recently that failure to bring in predicted revenues through that channel would cast doubt over the ability of Rangers to remain operating as a going concern.
The UoF insist they will hand over all monies received through their fund, which has former club captain Richard Gough as a director, providing security is given over Ibrox. Unlike Rangers, the UoF have the facility to process payments by credit and debit card and hope to begin collecting pledges on July 15.
Should the club fail to provide security on Ibrox when the new season starts on August 9, the project will be cancelled and supporters will be left to decide whether they buy season tickets through the normal means, attend on a game-by-game basis or boycott fixtures completely.
UoF spokesman Chris Graham claims Wallace has blanked all requests to meet with representatives and discuss the plan and insists he cannot keep his job after it was confirmed that he is in line for a 100 per cent bonus on top of his £315,000-a-year salary while employees are being made redundant as part of his 120-day Business Review.
Wallace is being investigated by Police Scotland over allegations he misled shareholders over Rangers' financial position at the club agm in December. He has also been criticised for claiming the threat to withhold season-ticket funds is to blame for the withdrawal of card-payment facilities, amid counterclaims that Rangers were warned of problems by their payment processor in January.
"We are of the opinion that his position has become untenable," said Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham. "The bonus is only the latest thing to come out. One of the things that particularly angered us was his attempt to shift the blame of the lack of credit and debit card facilities on to the Union of Fans.
"We asked him three weeks ago if he was taking this 100 per cent bonus and he refused to answer the question. There has been a complete lack of transparency, a total lack of engagement and no apparent progress in terms of the finances. In fact, things appear to have gone backwards.
"He talks on the one hand of the need for scouting and everything else, but the first appointment made is another PR man [Paul Tyrrell]. The PR man is not doing anything on behalf of the club. He's looking after them [the current directors]. I think Wallace has lost a lot of credibility. It seems bizarre that Wallace is on a 100 per cent bonus yet we're looking at a situation where people are being made redundant. If the IPO money [the share issue in 2012 that raised an estimated
£22m] had been used properly, the season-ticket money utilised correctly, it wouldn't be the case."
Graham also believes Rangers' current problems in convincing supporters to entrust them with their money will spell the end for everyone currently on the board. "As far as we understand, season ticket levels at the moment are sitting around the 2000 mark," he said. "It is a horrendous level of season-ticket renewals and it's quite clear a lot of people have completely disengaged because they don't trust this board. Something has to come to a head before the start of next season. The club is a shambles off the park.
"There has to be a fundamental change in the shareholding for things to improve but, essentially, the board seem to be working for a small group of shareholders again. I don't think there can be a future for this current board as things stand with the level of distrust there is at the moment.
"There is absolutely no security for the fans at the moment with the cash that is being paid for season tickets.
"The financial position is extremely poor at the moment and the fact that they have withdrawn the debit and credit card facilities means that supporters who are buying cannot go back to their card provider and claim their money back if, for some reason, those tickets are not honoured."