In time, once firmly re-established in the top flight and old revenue streams are restored, the previous status could be attained. In the meantime, though, everything is under review while finances are brought under control and, eventually, fresh investment is sought. So many decisions will be made in the coming months that it feels, again, like a state of uncertainty.
Graham Wallace was candid enough at the annual meeting of Rangers International Football Club last month to assert that cost- cutting will need to take place. Rangers are thought to be losing somewhere in the region of £1m a month, which needs to be addressed, but the chief executive has also embarked on a thorough review of every aspect of the business. As part of that process, the former Liverpool and Arsenal finance director, Philip Nash, is being brought in as a consultant.
The club already has a finance director in Brian Stockbridge, a financial controller in Ken Olverman and an external accountancy firm, in Active Corporate. As well as contributing to the business review, though, Nash is likely to have a role in seeking new short-term income streams, and is highly rated. In his programme notes for yesterday's game against East Fife, Wallace emphasised that cutting costs is not the sole focus as he revises the business.
"This is about identifying what we need in all areas of the club in order for us to be successful," he said. "This will also mean additional spend in certain areas. As we progress back to the Premiership, the demands of competition naturally become greater and we need to ensure that Rangers is capable of delivering success."
Even so, the football wage bill will need to be reduced this month. There are some saleable assets, in Lee Wallace, Nicky Law and Lewis Macleod, but also peripheral players such as Emilson Cribari, Steve Simonsen and Dean Shiels, although the latter started yesterday's game. Ally McCoist acknowledges that Rangers' football budget will be 10 times higher, or more, than those of the clubs they might face in next season's Championship, but he rejects the notion that Rangers should reduce their budget to the level of their rivals.
"I would never want to operate with a budget that would put the club in jeopardy," said McCoist. "It is all about giving our supporters the best team we can afford. We are different from all the other clubs we have come up against or would come up against if we progress to the Championship. We have 36,000 season ticket holders and that allows us to operate with a much higher wage bill. [But] I would hate people to think I've been told my budget is too high and it needs to come down and haven't been responsive.
"It has not been like that. We can all see there have been other more pressing problems that have affected the finances. I can only do my job and that's work within the budget and try to get the team to win the league. Graham has never indicated to me that there's a potential for a scenario where we are down the road [into administration] as before."