RANGERS’ financial position is in a “fragile” state, major shareholder Sandy Easdale has claimed.
Ibrox chief executive Graham Wallace is due to release the findings of his 120-day review into the League One champions’ books on Friday.
But Easdale - the chairman of the club’s football board - has spoken out a day early to admit the picture is not bright and admit he is not sure if the club will enter administration for a second time.
He told the BBC: “At the end of the day, the club is at a crossroads at the moment and a fragile position.
“It can either go forward with a strategic view, with a long-term view, steady as she goes, or be pulled apart in other directions.”
The Light Blues faithful have been encouraged by former oldco director Dave King and the supporter coalition group the Union of Fans to withhold their season-ticket fees and instead place it a holding account until they are given security over Ibrox and Murray Park.
And Easdale admitted the ploy had affected ticket sales, which he described as “slow”.
The Greenock-based bus tycoon said: “I don’t actually know the figures [for season ticket renewals] but I think there are a couple of situations there; we’re a couple of weeks early. People are waiting for a report. At this moment in time, ticket sales are slow.”
Rangers made a £3.5million loss for the six months up to December and when asked if the supporter ticket boycott could place the club at risk of another administration, Easdale said: “That’s a difficult question. And it’s a question that I don’t want to answer or be in a position that this board would be forced into that situation.
“I would say that in 140 years, the club’s gone into administration once; I don’t think it would survive a second one.
“So, I would ask every loyal Rangers fan, and I pick my words correctly in saying loyal Rangers fan, supports the club at this time and gives it a chance.
“We don’t want to go back to the dark days of administration. Everything’s a possibility and at the moment we’ve got to look on a positive as a board, taking it forward.”
However, Rangers boss Ally McCoist - who was due to meet with Wallace later on Thursday to find out the full scope of the club’s financial state - insists he is not panicking yet.
“I wouldn’t say I’m worried,” said the manager. “We will react to what we are told we can and cannot do.
“But worries are something that have been with us in one shape or another for the last couple of seasons. We will just have to wait and see what happens and react to it accordingly.”
McCoist - whose side will celebrate their third-tier title success when they parade the League One trophy after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Stranraer - is reported to be interested in a number of targets ahead of next season’s Championship campaign.
Former Ibrox striker Kris Boyd - now with Kilmarnock - Motherwell’s Shaun Hutchinson and St Mirren midfielder Kenny McLean are among those on his wish list but the Ibrox boss is still unsure if he will even be allowed to keep his current squad intact, never mind add to it.
For now, he says informing the players already under his charge is his first priority.
He said: “It’s of paramount of importance that we start talking to our own players about the club and their futures. The next step is planning for the squad for the future.
“We’ve not been able to offer other players any deals and that leaves them open to offers from elsewhere. That is obviously a potential problem for us but there is nothing we can do about it.”
Union of Fans statement
Responding to Easdale’s comments, the Union of Fans released a statement raising a number of concerns.
It said: “The financial position of the club is not down to lack of support or loyalty from any of our fans, it is down to two years of mismanagement and the squandering of huge sums of money, which Mr Easdale has been a part of for the past seven months.
“Mr Easdale, despite his apparently intimate knowledge of the PLC’s financial position, was unwilling to provide the club with a loan without taking security on it. He now urges fans, who are completely in the dark regarding this board’s ability to take the club forward, to put their money in to sustain the current regime, fronted by him, on behalf of nameless, faceless shareholders of [Blue Pitch Holdings] and Margarita.
“We would like to know why Mr Easdale is being pushed out to speak on behalf of a PLC board he is not part of. Mr Easdale’s comments about the financial position of the club are share-price sensitive, as are his comments about possible administration. These comments directly contradict those of the CEO, Graham Wallace, who is on record as saying that a second administration is not a possibility.
“Why is the PLC board allowing Mr Easdale to make these comments on their behalf and why does he have access to such information in any case when he is not a director of the PLC? Once again huge question marks are raised over corporate governance at Rangers by Mr Easdale’s role at the club, which has never been clarified.”