13 July 2013

Mather he will, Mather he won’t

by Peter Ewart | Contributor

Mather he will, Mather he won't...be the best CEO the club has had but now that the board and the club has made its decision, and will have had input from the major individual and corporate shareholders in RIFC plc, now is the time to give him a chance and back him fully in the role.

In his interview with RTV today Mather says a number of positive things including; bringing stability, new arrivals settling into the squad, a vision for an all-through approach to age levels in bringing youth through, watching the pounds and pence, sponsorship and sticking up for the club against whomever.

Was there an element of trying to keep everyone happy? Of course there was, but treading that delicate path is a big part of any chief executive’s role. You’ll never keep everyone happy all the time, but can you get the whole organisation pulling as a team – that is what we need now.

Will he represent the club in a positive light? It certainly appears so. Would he be an improvement on, say, Martin Bain? You would like to think so. Will he look after the finances? It remains to be seen, but we are certainly seeing redundancies among the non-playing staff. This is a bitter pill to swallow, made all the more difficult by our currently bloated playing squad, but cuts are necessary. I hope the same view is applied to the squad and that we will see a significant reduction during August and definitely in January when the illegal registration embargo will be over us. A number could go out on loan in Scotland and lower divisions in England for example. I won’t hold my breath though.

Is Craig Mather the ideal candidate?

It’s difficult to describe what the ideal candidate would actually be. Not many £30m capitalised businesses out there are running a global branded football club in the third tier of Scottish football. He has business experience though, has been around the club for a while and has invested money in the club. That does not qualify him for the job, but will mean his interests are aligned with other shareholders in trying to strike the balance of a successful club that also shows a profit.

His own CV shows him successfully running a profitable Carton manufacturing company, having business interests overseas including the United Arab Emirates and in sports management with a particular interest in Youth Development. STV cover it in more detail here. 

He has business experience to bring to the table and he knows how to run a business at a profit . It may not be enormous in scale, but then Rangers International Football Club plc isn’t a FTSE 100 company. He appears focused on sponsorship, from global to local, looking after the pounds and pence which is an absolute priority and youth development which is the future. Whilst we remain in the Scottish game will we need to learn to become a successful selling club just like Septic.

So far we have had little detail on Mather’s views on the future of the club and we should definitely hear more on that. There were questions he wasn’t asked in the interview that would have been good to hear particularly regarding squad size. Like;

''Are you intending to move a number of players on?''

"If youth development is such a priority for you, do you not think a massive squad mostly aged over 21 will reduce the first team chances for the youngsters to virtually nil in what should be a rebuilding phase?"

"Will you really take the haters head on? Will you stop advertising with some of them?"

Will the chief operating officer (COO) position remain now he has been formally appointed chief exec? Mather describes the COO role as one created for him in order to support an incoming chief executive had he not got the role. Will he recognise that he and the rest of the board could benefit from another full time director to help move the club forward.

Exactly what the responses might be, we will hopefully find out over the coming weeks and months. His job will not be an easy one, but he will know that by now! Meetings with fans would be beneficial for a frank and constructive exchange of views. And there will be the AGM to come, which will be a great test of his mettle as CEO, reporting what will be horrendous figures for the last year. It will also, however, provide him with a platform to tell us what has changed, how massive losses have been stemmed and how we will return to financial stability in the years to come. It's a platform I hope he makes good use of.

He has money invested, has been doing the job for a few months in challenging circumstances and deserves to have a go at the job. Patience is a virtue - it's also something we as fans are rarely good at, but maybe we should just wait and see what he can do.