SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has backed his counterpart at Rangers, Graham Wallace, to get the club back on a sound financial footing, admitting that he hopes the remedial work at Ibrox is successful for the sake of Scottish football.
Wallace has undertaken a 120-day business review charged with establishing ways to plug the holes that are resulting in monthly losses that may be as high as £1 million. This week the former Blackburn Rovers chief operating officer hired Philip Nash, who was financial director at Liverpool for five years until last February, as a consultant.
Regan said yesterday he had met Wallace at matches and spoken to him informally on numerous occasions since his arrival at Ibrox in November. Their next correspondence could be of the formal variety, as all SFA member clubs must submit audited accounts to Hampden by 31 March as part of their application for a licence for next season.
The SFA tried to help Rangers after the oldco went into liquidation in June 2012 by recommending to the now-defunct SFL that the new incarnation of the club be granted permission to re-enter the game in the second, rather than fourth, tier. That plea fell on deaf ears but Regan remains acutely aware of the value to the product he oversees of a Rangers resurgence.
“As far as Rangers’ position is concerned, clearly there is a lot of work that Graham Wallace is putting in place to get the club back to a stronger place and I sincerely hope he’s successful, as it’s good for Scottish football to have the club back on a firm financial footing,” said Regan yesterday.
“He needs all the support he can get to get that in place. It’s a big challenge. But Rangers together with the other 41 clubs in the SPFL will go through the audit process. The audit takes place at the back end of the year and they then have a licensing meeting at the back end of March and by 31 March they have to have submitted all the audited management accounts and so on in order to comply.
“We’ll wait and see what comes in. I know Graham’s got a big job on and I hope he can get the success that he obviously requires. We’ve spoken to Graham in the way you would speak to most of the clubs that have got challenges ahead of them, and I’ve seen him at games. So we’ve had an opportunity to talk about some of the challenges he faces. You can’t underestimate the work he’s got ahead of him.”
Meanwhile, Hull City were completing formalities for the record signing of former Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic last night. The deal for Jelavic is believed to be worth £6.5 million with a further £1 million due if Hull avoid relegation.
Jelavic had fallen out of the first-team picture at Everton following the summer loan signing of Romelu Lukaku but still proved he has an eye for goal when he scored two goals in the 4-0 FA Cup win over QPR earlier this month. Jelavic made a stunning start to his Everton career after joining for £5.5m from Rangers in January 2012, scoring the winner on his full debut against Tottenham and going on to hit 11 goals in 16 games before the end of the season. He struggled to maintain his momentum and has found his first-team chances increasingly restricted.