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Promises, promises but can Green deliver on his key pledges?

A grim week of reflection on the descent of Rangers FC into administration and liquidation is over.

Charles Green has made some bold pronouncements about future plans. Picture: Martin Shields
Charles Green has made some bold pronouncements about future plans. Picture: Martin Shields

To those who are keenly watching the phoenix currently rising from the Ibrox ashes, one key question remains: can Charles Green deliver?

This bluff Yorkshireman, a former striker with non-league Goole Town in his home county, is surely as unlikely a Rangers saviour as you might find.

But Green has stepped up to the plate where others didn't and has secured £22m through listing his brand, The Rangers International Football Club, on the stock market. So far, he has made a decent fist of his Rangers intervention.

Unusually, Green has also introduced a sense of morality to his doings in Glasgow. "You guys will never be lied to again," he told assembled, spluttering hacks in one of his first days in office at Ibrox. "This is all about what is right and what is wrong," he said more recently. Last week Green even took to quoting from the Bible while describing his plans for Rangers.

Green will be judged by history on how successful he is in reviving the new Rangers. To that end, amid his many other colourful, sometimes blustering pronouncements, he has made some solemn pledges which fans would do well to keep an eye on. Here are four "Green pledges" whose progress will make fascinating viewing as the future unfolds . . .

The pledge to spend £9m upgrading Ibrox: Green has made it plain on numerous occasions that he will spend £9m upgrading Ibrox Stadium, most recently in the IPO prospectus. In that document he states that two separate tranches – £5.5m and £3.5m – of the money raised will be used to pay for essential maintenance and improvements.

Fleshing this out in another interview, Green stated that the money, again a sum of £9m, would go on "more bars, more facilities, better catering and generally improving the fans' experience".

Given the tight budget Green and Rangers will have to work with while soldiering in the lower divisions, this seems quite a generous proportion to spend on the stadium. In part, Green may try to fund it via his Ibrox "naming-rights" plan, which he is to announce soon, but this is a pledge worthy of scrutiny.

The pledge to lead Rangers back into the Champions League. This one might be worth placing among Green's more colourful, unguarded moments but, nonetheless, he blurted it out. "I'm not leaving here until I hear the Champions League music blaring out across Ibrox," he said.

It was a bold and ambitious claim to make, the more so given Rangers' fans will have to wait four years, minimum, or perhaps more likely five, six or even seven years, before Handel's Zadok the Priest is heard again at their stadium.

Indeed, the Champions League as we know it might not even exist by the time Rangers get another shot at it. Even by Green's standards, it was a brazen claim to make.

Green's timetable at Rangers has already altered radically. At first, he almost certainly believed he would be in Glasgow for no more than a year: enough time to get the club listed, raise some funds, and make his profit. But with Rangers' fall to the third division, Green, by his own admission, will have to stay a whole lot longer to see his project through.

Will he still be in office when Champions League/European Cup time comes round again at Rangers? There are many who doubt it.

The pledge to cap players' salaries to 33% of turnover: In many ways this is a highly laudable commitment for Green to make – but can he do it?

Rangers are the last club in Britain that needs reminding of the ruin of reckless spending. Green, indeed, has often played on this fact, numerously harking back to the "previous owners" and the ghastliness of what happened to the club under them. So, in his shares prospectus, he pledged a salary cap and vowed Rangers would "live within their means".

All well and good. But will Green be able to maintain this position as Rangers ascend the divisions and, not least, get back into the SPL? Most financial commentators observe that 33% is quite an austere limit on salaries-to-turnover, with 60% viewed as a safe cap.

It may be that if Green maintains this iron grip on finances, and Celtic are more adventurous in their signing policies, Rangers will be left disadvantaged in terms of squad-strength compared to their rivals. In the main, football fans don't accept being left second best in this way.

The pledge to maximise Rangers FC's media opportunities: The Rangers.co.uk website currently enjoys 800,000 monthly visits; there are 280,000 Rangers Facebook followers, and 95,000 follow Rangers FC Official on Twitter. None of this is lost on Green.

His ambition is to make money for Rangers off the back of the digital age. It will mean curtailing "outside access" to Rangers by the more traditional, mainstream media, and maximising exclusive content from within the club.

In short, if you want to hear the latest super-duper Lee McCulloch interview, then the only place to access it will be from within the pay-up walls of Rangers FC itself.

This is not new in itself. It is the way football is going. Manchester United, against a daily tide of mainstream media coverage, try to limit outside access to their content, much to the disgruntlement of traditional hacks. Celtic, in a more subtle way, are also going down this road.

The question is, can Green and Rangers make it work? One thing is certain – they have a strong enough customer base to make a go of it.

Footnote: I find Charles Green quite a likeable character. He is determined, reasonably honest, colourful, and there is a modicum of daftness about him which makes him all the more engaging.

For most Rangers fans, however, little of this observation is relevant. Instead, only one thing matters: will Green deliver on his promises?

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