x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Charles Green concedes sacrifices are necessary for Rangers' progress

Rangers chief executive Charles Green tells Gary Meenaghan why it is in the best interests of the club and where the money will be spent.The club is stable and financially secure. Yet he still wants to sell naming rights to the famous Ibrox Stadium.

Charles Green, the chief executive of Glasgow Rangers, speaks about the club and its future at the Ramada Chelsea Hotel in Al Barsha, Dubai.
Charles Green, the chief executive of Glasgow Rangers, speaks about the club and its future at the Ramada Chelsea Hotel in Al Barsha, Dubai.

DUBAI // Charles Green, the chief executive of Rangers Football Club, has told the club's supporters that while the financial situation at the beleaguered Scottish club is now strong, plans need to be put in place to cope with the potential for "seven years of famine".

The Englishman, backed by an international consortium, acquired the business and assets of Rangers last summer for £5.5 million (then Dh31.5m) after the debt-ridden club had gone into administration in February.

Rangers, having floated on the London Stock Exchange's junior Alternative Investment Market in December, are now on a firmer financial footing, leading some fans to question the need to sell the naming rights of the club's famous Ibrox Stadium.

Green accepts such deals are "always an emotive subject", but argues fiscal discipline is essential.

"I reply by quoting part of the Bible and how seven years of feast is followed by seven years of famine," he told The National.

"At the moment, we are in a feast: we have 48,000 fans coming through the turnstiles, we have cash in the bank and are in a very, very positive zone. But there will be bad times as well.

"What we have to do is run this not in the hope that someone like David Murray [Rangers' former owner and chairman] has got a credit card or that the bank will give us an overdraft. We have to run it where we work our assets, monetise what we have and spend it wisely."

Green, who it is understood assured fans the word "Ibrox" will remain part of the stadium name, said that while some of the money raised through Rangers' flotation has been spent on the acquisition of Edmiston House, a three-storey building next to Ibrox that will be converted into a megastore and members' club, the majority of the finances remain untouched.

"The idea is not to spend money and see it disappear, but rather bring recurring revenue through memberships and retail," he said, adding that the club hope to announce the kit manufacturer for next year within seven days. "It will be one of the big names in soccer and the shirt sponsor will follow soon after."

On the pitch, the club remain prohibited from purchasing players as a condition of gaining membership of the Scottish Football Association. "Money is being put in a piggy bank" for Ally McCoist, the Rangers coach, Green said.

"Of course, we can't buy players until next January, but we would expect to bring in a group of players out of contract in the summer and they could sign from September 1," he added.

The Rangers flotation in December saw Green raise £22.2m through large institutions as well as smaller investors, including fans of the club.

The shares, which started at 70 pence, hit a record high of 93p on December 27, but have fallen in recent weeks and were yesterday trading at 80 pence.

The company, according to data provided by Reuters, is now valued at about £53.2m and Green has said he sees no reason why, provided they return to the top tier of Scottish football, the club's turnover cannot in time exceed £100m without television revenue.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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