14 October 2012

The IPO: Great Potential

by Robbie Devine | CRO Contributor

Charles Green and Ally McCoist have spent a couple of days down in the ‘big smoke’ doing their best impressions of Lord Sugar’s Apprentice candidates as they attempted to sell the potential and value of Rangers Football Club to prospective investors.

The fans’ reaction to their performance has generally been positive and even the response from those who tend to subscribe to the Financial Times as opposed to World Soccer has been favourable.

For the vast majority of Bears the inner workings of the London Stock Exchange are an alien concept and so the hope has to be that Green, Brian Stockbridge and Imran Ahmad have done their homework and arithmetic correctly and that the financial health of Rangers stands to be radically improved in the coming weeks and months.

The injection of around £20million of capital is apparently required despite the fact that the fans have shown tremendous loyalty in standing by the club throughout the challenging economic reality of playing in the bottom division of the Scottish game. If you counter that with the fact the manager will eventually need to add some fresh blood into the squad in the future however then I therefore think that any move to raise funds must be welcomed.

We have also seen some of the major sponsors of the club terminate their contracts but during these harsh financial times no one can really complain about Phoenix Honda walking away as it is perhaps unwelcome to see our players driving flash cars whilst you and me are fretting about how to make ends meet to pay our mortgages and utility bills.

People are also uncomfortable at the fact the club is still pushing the boat out in terms of splashing the cash on providing players with the luxury of spending nights prior to matches in five star hotels. This has to be stopped as soon as possible in my opinion.

Certainly all the indications thus far are that Green & Co are listening to the supporters concerns over cost-cutting measures and that plans to give the stadium a face lift are not being put aside but instead prioritised.

In the meantime the campaign to install a museum detailing the incredible 140 years of our history has already started to gain momentum and so it has to be hoped that it too is something which is explored or at least considered by the Club’s directors.

It has been encouraging to see Green travel across the Atlantic and over the water to Northern Ireland to speak with the fans and listen to their views whilst allowing them to question the motives of our new owners, something the disgraced Craig Whyte would never have considered.

The potential of Rangers FC is massive. There are not many teams in world football that can match the incredible interest in the ongoing fortunes of the Club and that should continue to be explored. We’ve had media coverage from all corners of the globe as journalists struggle to understand our recent collapse and also how such tremendous crowds can still be found at fourth-tier matches.

We have however heard some grand plans before such as the links up with Northern Spirit and Shenzhen Jianlibao for example but, despite the fact the team are currently toiling somewhat in the Third Division, it is important all avenues are explored in maximizing revenue and when Charles Green speaks of European Leagues he is presumably speaking with the knowledge that such moves may be afoot and not simply to send out a good soundbite and placate the support.

Certainly it appears that off-the-park structures are being put in place to rebuild our great club and, in the meantime, we must start to see a massive improvement of our performances on it, starting with the revival of the oldest derby in Glasgow when the amateurs of Queens Park arrive at Ibrox next Saturday.

The coming months could be greatly positive for Rangers FC, its fans and both its current and potential investors and I can only hope that we are discussing such success back here on CRO in the not-too-distant future. There is great potential here at Ibrox. I can only hope that we fulfill it.

Robbie is a new signing at the CRO, having written for all sorts of publications we generally delight in ripping the pish out of. He can be reached via email at rdevine@thecoplandroad.org