29 August 2013

United we stand?

by Ross McAdam | Contributor

If the recent mess within the corridors of Ibrox have taught us anything it is, in my opinion, that the need for some form of fan ownership is now essential. The Rangers Football Club is OUR club.

Not a club that has over recent times been exploited by crooks. Without the fans there is no club. 

It is pleasing to see that new members of BuyRangers.org has increased by 70% in the last ten months. The fans own around 12 percent of the club. If we were under the voting block this would be a strong position to be in and one that can hopefully go from strength to strength.

The Rangers Supporters Trust has came under criticism since its birth and in some areas rightly so. However, in the last year or so the Trust has made great strides to become a more transparent organisation and it has largely succeeded. The Trust is a democracy, if you don’t like it why not join and change it? It only costs £10 a year to join. 

The methods of communication have increased dramatically in recent times. You can know contact the Trust through email, Twitter, Facebook, telephone, letter and a stall on Edmiston Drive on matchdays. If you have an issue or a question why not get in contact and someone will answer.

In the next few months a direct debit scheme will begin to operate in which you can invest in BuyRangers.org via monthly payments. 50,000 fans paying £10-a-month. That would put us in a strong position very quickly. Imagine if every supporter who travelled to Manchester for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final paid £10 a month. Of course this is completely unrealistic but it does highlight the potential as a supporter that we have.

So how would a fan ownership system work? The way I would suggest the club is run is a fairly simplistic system. The fans, as shareholders, would appoint a Board of Directors who are responsible to us. If we don’t like what they are doing then simply they are removed at the next Annual General Meeting and replaced. 

Could we get rid of our current Directors if we wanted to? Not a chance. Any decision, such as the appointment of Directors, would be taken on some form of voting system, probably a take on the first past the post system in place for the UK Parliament. At this point in time the question is asked why should I as a paid up part owner of the club have a Director in place I don’t support? As a democracy that’s the way it works. If you voted Labour in the most recent Scottish and UK elections you don’t have what you want. But that is how a democracy works. It is giving a little to achieve a long term goal.

Any major decision would be made on this basis. It is in my opinion the best way for fan ownership to work. Furthermore, at least two of the board members are elected directly from the Trust. This further ensures the board are working for the shareholders, good corporate governance, something severely lacking at the moment.

The club would run on a domestic break even basis. In the future our costs would match our revenue generated from domestic football. In this way, the revenue generated from European football would not be essential for breaking even each year but instead used for reinvestment in the club through infrastructure and of course players. This may seem a little tough but unfortunately that is the harsh economic climate Scottish football is operating in. As hard as it is to admit, it seems to be working for Celtic who yet again will bank a minimum £16 million for Champions League participation.

In terms of right now we have an upcoming requisition to remove Brian Stockbridge, Bryan Smart and Craig Mather and be replaced by Frank Blin and Paul Murray at what will either be at an EGM or combined at the AGM in October. It would be good to see as many Rangers fans who are shareholders who can’t make the vote on the day to proxy their vote to the Trust. There will be a vote and the the Trust’s vote will be what the members want. This could be the starting point on a journey towards true fan ownership.

The choice is yours. You can own the club you love. I’m in. Are you?

If you would like to proxy your votes over to the RST for the upcoming EGM/AGM then all the information can be found here.