THE relationship between the men in the Ibrox boardroom and the fans in the stand is perhaps more fractured and tense right now than it has been at any stage since the regime change that rescued, and ultimately restored, Rangers seven years ago.

Given all that has gone on at the top of the Marble Staircase for more than a decade, it is only natural, and quite right, that supporters continue to question those running their club.

There is an acknowledgement that mistakes have been made. The length of the list can be debated but recent times have not been perfect and the current malaise on the field has only added to the sense of frustration and disillusionment amongst the rank and file.

Some solace could be found before a ball was kicked against Hearts on Wednesday night, though. Football issues are a concern right now, but financial ones need not be as much of a worry.

The headline figures of a record-breaking revenue of almost £87million and an operating profit of just under £6million (from a loss of £27.6million the previous year) certainly made for encouraging reading. A net profit for season 2022/23 has now been predicted.

The sale of Nathan Patterson to Everton in January was the first move of the often talked about player trading model and £4million was banked when Steven Gerrard left for Aston Villa. In 12 months time, the transfers of Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo will be most welcome alongside the Champions League income.

Commercial revenues are at record levels of £28.4million and, for the first time in a long time, there is no material uncertainties warning from the auditors. After years of striving for self-sufficiency, these accounts were proof of the strides made and the direction of travel at Ibrox.

The importance of player sales and on-field success continue to be crucial. Rangers have become better at making money, but perhaps not at spending it wisely and that comes down to those in the corridors of power at Ibrox.

Calls for a sweeping overhaul at boardroom level have accompanied the clamour for the sacking of Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the removal of Ross Wilson, the sporting director, as Rangers have been outclassed in the Champions League and stumbled in the Premiership.

In time, there may well be changes at the top. The make-up of the RIFC plc board and executive positions should never be set in stone and new faces and fresh ideas every so often are no bad thing.

The role of chairman Douglas Park has come under scrutiny once again and there appears to be a growing feeling amongst supporters that his reign should come to an end sooner rather than later.

It will be down to Park to determine how and when he wishes to close his tenure. The motor mogul has held the privileged position for almost three years now and the reception he and his board receive at the Annual General Meeting next month will be intriguing.

It is only natural that feelings have escalated as results on the pitch have deteriorated and that situation is compounded when issues such as communications, the Sydney Super Cup and customer relations are taken into account. So many of the failures under Park’s leadership have been a case of shooting themselves in the foot.

Fans are entitled to make those points. The time, money and effort that Park and others have put in at Ibrox does not act as a deflector shield for all of their actions.

But it should never be forgotten by supporters either and there should be an appreciation of what the few have done for the many over a prolonged period of time. Without the core of investors that made regime change possible and that have followed to this day, Rangers would not be where they are at present.

The highs of winning title 55 and reaching the Europa League final are distant memories given the current circumstances but such historic achievements can never be taken for granted. Whatever the views of individuals today, their role in the Rangers story should not be written out.

Sporting success, or indeed failure, will always shape the narrative and drive the agenda at Ibrox but there is no fanbase that is more in tune with the financial picture than Rangers supporters. In that regard, they have another reason to be grateful.

More than £100million worth of investment has come from directors and shareholders over the last seven years. To date, £22million has been repaid.

The debate about the value for money at times is a complicated one. Right now, it could be argued that Rangers are not getting the best out of a wage bill that is heading towards £40million and a significant transfer spend over the past five seasons.

The last legacy issue now appears to be behind Rangers. The £6million settlement to Sports Direct will anger fans, but it was a case of needs must as the board sought to end the years of litigation and the ever-increasing pile of legal bills.

Funds have also been put towards upgrades at Ibrox and Auchenhowie and the New Edmiston House project that has doubled in cost since the idea was first signed off.

For years, Rangers were propped up by soft loans and the goodwill of shareholders. John Bennett, the deputy chairman, has been a hugely significant part of that process but his input is not merely financial and his drive and determination to go again cannot be questioned.

The likes of Stuart Gibson and John Halstead are relative newcomers, but George Letham and George Taylor are stalwarts in a business sense and Hong Kong-based investor Julian Wolhardt has now been around the top table for four years.

It is a mix of individuals that are steeped in the club and others who have grown an affection for it and supporters should be careful what they wish for when demanding heads to roll. A tweak rather than a tear up is required.

The money men may not get everything right, but they are doing it for the right reasons. Ultimately, those inside the directors' box and outside of it all want Rangers to thrive rather than just survive these days.