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McCoist following in the footsteps of mentor Walter Smith

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Rangers’ Financial Director Brian Stockbridge finally admitted that last week that the £22 million raised through the IPO share issue is gone. For a Third Division side to spend £22 million in the space of six months is more than worrying it is asking for trouble. Even more so a club who have recently been involved in a liquidation event.

Take Rangers out of the equation – what would you think about Club X spending £22 million in six months in the lowest league in Scotland and only winning that league title. Then for the club’s manager to bring in more players – albeit on free transfers – but on wages that their current league opponents would balk at paying out.

During his press conference ahead of this weekend’s game against Stranraer, McCoist said: “I’ve spoken to Craig this week but not about budgets as such. I mean, they’ll tell me when enough’s enough, like any other manager. I’m no different from any other manager. If you have a budget to work with you are told you can’t do this but we’ll allow you to do that.

“Remember, we’re bringing in free transfers. We’re not spending money on signing targets because of the embargo but we believe we’re bringing in quality. When I say that I mean guys who will take us to the next level and improve the team. We’re happy with the boys we have brought in.

“It’s my job to get a winning, attractive team on the park for the fans. I’ll do my best to do that until I’m told otherwise. I will go to Craig with targets and he will tell me if it’s possible or not. To be fair to him he’s been busy this week but we’ve spoken most days on the phone. It’s our intention to sit down and talk about what we can and can’t do and about one or two coming in, which I’m still keen to do before September 1.

“We’ve got eight in and seven out so you can look at that as one in if you want. There might be one or two more as well but in an ideal world I’d bite your hand off for another forward and another defender. I’m going to have a chat with Steve Simonsen. He’s shown up well so we’ll see what he’s thought of the place. I’m still of the opinion we can get Scott Gallacher out on loan. It’s a bit intricate because in an ideal world, he could play with us until September 1 so we can play two outfield players. He could then maybe go out on loan somewhere but that would have to be arranged in the next week or so and we’d need to get another keeper in.”

I find it baffling that Rangers chief executive Craig Mather has not told McCoist his budget yet. For a club that has had horrific issues with money over the past few seasons and then waste £22 million in six months – you have to question Mather’s ability as chief executive not to mention McCoist’s reasoning for bringing in a full team of new signings when they should have continued to rely on the players at their disposal from last season with one or two signings. If they need a full team of new signings at Premiership level to try to win the Second Division then you really do need to question Ally McCoist’s position as Rangers manager.

What Rangers have done is purchase a sledgehammer to crack a nut – overkill and overspending on wages. Rangers should be building up a reserve of cash to use when they secure promotion to the Scottish Premiership in a few years time. Not blow it all away as soon as they get the money in – but it doesn’t help that the board members all gifted themselves huge wages and hefty bonuses year on year. Can you honestly say that they have warranted such payments?

Former Rangers director Dave King claimed that Rangers could go back into administration in December, worrying headlines for Rangers fans but are those in charge of the Ibrox side that idiotic to let Rangers descend into a second administration event soon after their first?

Whatever the thinking and reasoning at board room level, McCoist’s spending – while not on transfer fees, but signing on fees and wages – is out of control. Eight players in and he wants another two or three for the Second Division – seriously?

Walter Smith spent tens of millions during his two spells at Rangers and that helped towards the Rangers debt issues – not as much as the Advocaat years did – but that was at a time when the club had a banking facility, had a sugar daddy of an owner and who were playing in the top flight in Scotland as well as in the Champions League. McCoist’s spending on wages, signing on fees for a second division club is downright stupidity. Now I cannot blame McCoist for 50% of this as he is looking to get the best team out on the pitch to win the league and to challenge on the cup competition front also, the blame for the wild spending comes down to the board for not telling McCoist what his budget is – every club board in every league tell their manager what their budget is for transfers and for wages yet Rangers have not – why is that?

What have the Rangers board got to hide about their finances? Stockbridge failed to announce what happened to the £22 million IPO money during a fans meeting, yet a few days later he managed to do an interview with a newspaper to highlight that they have none of it left but that they will be okay.

Seven players may have left the club, but eight players have come in, those already on the books – given what Sandaza’s contract was like in terms of wage increase every promotion – will have probably seen their wages increase also.

Last season the club took in £22 million from the IPO, they also secured around £10 million for 38,000 season ticket sales. This season they have sold around 34,000 season tickets according to the official Rangers website at the start of this month, but have no IPO money to fall back on. They have no banking facility and they have not received the money from PUMA in regards to their kit deal yet with profits per year allegedly around £5 million – if you can believe what Imran Ahmad said in a recent discussion with a prominent Rangers blogger. There is no news or even mention of the Ibrox stadium rights deal with Sportsdirect coming into play nor any money changing hands. Yet with this limited pool of money coming in, the board can still pay out huge wages, big bonuses to win the Third Division and even pay their manager around £700,000 a year – that doesn’t include his management team.

You would think that given their recent money issues that they would be far more prudent with their money and rely on the multi-million pound Murray Park facility to produce more talented youngsters. Many of whom stepped up to the mark last season in the club’s hour of need only to be shunted to the fringes or out of the team altogether when Rangers can field their eight new signings all at once.

It is looking more and more likely that King was right, but where are the demands from the fans for transparency over the clubs finances? The accounts are set to be published in September so these should show how good or bad the financial health of the club is in. At the moment though most Rangers fans online are not focusing on the money issue or should I say lack of money issue, they are focusing more on wanting Charles Green sacked and calling for the board to do that. Is Green really a consultant or is it really a front for a director’s role? Why else would the board need to be convened to sack a mere consultant even if he does hold shares in the club?

Is it all a front to hide the true goings on and mess financially at the club? The accounts will certainly be choice reading for most Scottish football fans when they are released – albeit unaudited ones – will they be black or will they be red. Who needs a roulette machine when you have Rangers Football Club run by the likes of Mather and Stockbridge.

What are your thoughts on the financial goings on at Ibrox and the number of signings that McCoist has made?

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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