RANGERS manager Ally McCoist says every employee of the Ibrox club has been “unsettled” by the latest off-the-field troubles to engulf it in the wake of Charles Green’s return as a consultant and Walter Smith’s resignation as chairman.
After a close season of relative calm, Rangers have been plunged into a fresh bout of turmoil with a group of shareholders, led by businessman Jim McColl and former director Paul Murray, calling for an egm to remove chief executive Craig Mather, finance director Brian Stockbridge and non-executive director Bryan Smart from the board.
McCoist, who has not spoken to Green since the Yorkshire businessman’s re-emergence, is keen for the power struggle to be resolved without recourse to a costly and rancorous egm. As a shareholder himself, McCoist would have a vote at any such meeting and says it would be “stupid” of him not to exercise it. While he refused to declare how he would cast it, McCoist did re-iterate his backing for Mather and stood by his criticism of Green whom he branded an “embarrassment” last weekend.
“The last week has unsettled the workforce,” said McCoist. “I mean the players and staff. But we’ve been through this before and we will get through it again.
“If there’s no need to go to an egm and things can get sorted, then fantastic. Whether decisions are made before or at the meeting is immaterial to me, I just want the decision to be made and for everyone to get together and once and for all think about the future of the club and move on.
“If it goes to the egm, there are financial costs and it maybe drags our dirty linen out a wee bit more into the public which we never did for 138 years. But we have become quite good at it in recent years. I haven’t made my mind up yet as to whether or not I will abstain from voting as a shareholder.
“But at this stage I would say that if you have a vote you’d be stupid not to use it. I have not decided whether I will go public or not. I don’t want to get involved in who are the right guys to get sacked and who are the wrong guys to get sacked. I can only give you my opinion on Craig Mather as chief executive and the working relationship I have with him.
“There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes, it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge that. But I believe the relationship between the chief executive and manager is probably the most important at the club. Craig Mather has backed me to bring new players in, so how can I be anything other than supportive of him when he has been so supportive of me? He is someone I can talk to and I do talk to him on a regular basis.”
McCoist and Mather both attended a meeting of Rangers supporters on Thursday night where finance director Stockbridge revealed the club had only £10 million left in the bank following last December’s £22 million share flotation and the sale of around 34,000 season tickets.
“The fans are 100 per cent right to be concerned about their club,” added McCoist. “They were looking for clarity on a few issues at the meeting and when you have fans who care about their club in that manner, you wouldn’t expect anything else.
“I thought the meeting went well in the respect that the fans got some answers to a lot of the questions. Without doubt, all the fans who were there had a voice and their voice was heard.”
McCoist made it plain he sees no need to rebuild a relationship with Green whose comments in a newspaper article on the morning of last Saturday’s League Cup first round defeat at Forfar Athletic angered the Rangers team boss so much.
“I think Charles is (just) a shareholder now,” said McCoist. “So there is no real reason for me to talk to Charles. I made my views, I would have thought, crystal clear last Saturday – and that’s all I’ve got to say on it really now, I just want to go on about football. I’ve got nothing to do with what action the club or the board will take (against Green). They’ll do what they see fit on that.”
McCoist insists he does not feel under greater personal strain as a result of the latest developments which have cast a fresh could over his club.
“I don’t think I’ve been under any more pressure this week than I have for the last two years,” he said. “That’s just the way the last 24 months have been. There have been times within that you think things are getting better only to take a couple of steps back.””