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Despite Stockbridge exit Rangers' direction remains unclear


Richard Wilson

Sports writer

Sunday 26 January 2014

There is seldom an isolated event at Rangers.


Brian Stockbridge's departure as finance director is being interpreted as the first example of Graham Wallace, the chief executive, asserting his authority. Yet it also changes the dynamic in the boardroom, reducing the club to four directors and potentially altering how certain decisions are made in the coming months. There is, still, a sense of uncertainty about what the future holds for the club.

Rangers' route back to the top flight is still being determined. Essentially, the club either cut back their spending in line with revenue from season ticket sales and, while in the lower leagues, limited commercial revenue. Alternatively, some investment in the coming 18 months would allow the team to be strong enough to compete on its return to the top division, and so quicken the recovery of Rangers' old status.

An element of restructuring is required in either case, which is why Wallace has embarked on a root and branch review of the club's business. Philip Nash, the former Arsenal and Liverpool finance director who was recently brought in as a consultant, is expected to take the finance director role in the short-term. How it impacts on the boardroom will also be interesting, though.

Dave King wants to lead the fundraising in a fresh share issue. His vision is to generate money from himself and other high net-worth Rangers fans that can be used to strengthen the squad and the football resources so that the team are immediately competitive, in return for influence on how the club is run.

The alternative is a longer period spent trying to regain ground. There are complications, though, since a new share issue requires existing shareholders to reinvest to maintain the size of their stake, at a time when the vast majority of them have suffered considerable losses. The shares were launched in December 2012 at 70p, but closed last Friday with a value of 27.25p.

This is the ideological struggle at the club, and the decision on the way forward lies with the Rangers International Football Club plc board members - Wallace, Norman Crighton, James Easdale and the chairman, David Somers - and the shareholders. Before either short-term funding, to tide over until season ticket sales kick in, or fresh funding is sought, though, Wallace has to restore the business to an even keel. It is thought to be losing between £500,000 and £1m a month, and costs will need to be cut.

The first-team wages are around 30% of turnover, but with one week of the transfer window remaining, Rangers may yet find themselves having to react to offers for some of their players, or seek to incentivise some to leave, although payments would further reduce the cash flow. This is at a time when the team have lost only once in 22 league games. Some fans grumble at occasionally muted performances, but Ally McCoist deserves credit for managing through a series of crises, and for maintaining the standards the club was built on.

"There have been times when I've said, 'What am I doing here?'," McCoist said. "But how could you regret becoming the manager of Rangers? I've got my dream job. It's not the dream situation [but] as long as I can look myself in the mirror, I'll be happy. I've made mistakes and I'll make more mistakes. As long as they're done in an attempt to do the right thing then I can live with that."

A recent lunch with Graeme Souness and Walter Smith, his friends and former Rangers managers, will have brought plenty of reminders of different, more accommodating times. McCoist is resilient, though. While the club's future direction is being debated, his assessment is that his team needs reinforcements if it is to eventually challenge Celtic again.

"If we're talking about winning the top league then we're miles away," he said. "I would hate that to be taken as a criticism of the team because it's not. But it would be very unfair for people to expect these free transfers who have come together to win [the] top flight. Some, if we got help with players coming in, could probably do it. But we would need investment."

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you went onto a thread to not read it and then posted on it for good measure

top stuff! :craphead:

Im sorry i clicked onto it and decided not to read it as their is always an agenda with him,something like yourself.To be fair he has got some things right,not much but some,unlike you who just talks pish......

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I have to agree with legalbeagle as much maligned as stockbridge was he handed back his bonus and walked without a pay off. whatever else he is guilty of he must be commended for that as there are not many people who would have.

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You can be sure had he been entitled to a pay off he'd have taken it.

And yes Laxey demanded he repaid the bonus...you know the one he never received in the first place.

I'm not defending him per se I wanted him gone as much as the next guy I'm just saying he done the right thing in walking away. if he was sacked he would have been entitled but he walked by mutual consent.
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