THE accountant of Ally McCoist can rest easy. The Rangers manager has admitted he envisages that the near 50 per cent reduction he has agreed on his eye-watering £825,000 salary will be a temporary state of affairs.
As the Ibrox club inevitably progresses to the Premiership, so McCoist understands his wage will return to what it was when last he managed Rangers in the top flight.
“There is a proviso for those wages to go back up,” he said. “What we have at the moment are one-year rolling contracts and there will be negotiation as we rise, hopefully, through the divisions. It’s not been agreed, to be honest with you, but that’s the general [flow] of it, without going right into the actual details and numbers.”
The curiouser and curiouser financial affairs of the Ibrox club took a new twist with the publication last week of their accounts for the 13 months to June. In revealing an operating loss of £14.4 million, these laid bare the overspend at post-liquidation Rangers. The alarming figures are a direct result of salaries trousered by players, coaches and, particularly, executives at a club who were then operating in Scottish football’s fourth tier. The most eye-catching statistic was that the football wage bill of almost £8m was eclipsed by the £10m pocketed, mainly, by the suits to lumber Rangers with a potentially ruinous 95 per cent wages-to-turnover ratio.
It is McCoist who has hogged the headlines, though, and frankly, had he agreed to a deal for only ten per cent of his old salary, his take-home pay would still not have been commensurate with the income of other managers in the League One where Rangers presently reside. What piqued the interest further was that McCoist’s salary was made public. There are dark mutterings about agendas being peddled for this to occur, and the Rangers manager chose his words carefully in reviewing this development.
“I wouldn’t say that I was annoyed, nor would I say that I was surprised that my salary was in the accounts, although I think it’s the first time it’s ever happened,” he said. “However, the reason I’m not upset is because I’ve nothing to hide. I certainly feel that we, as a management team, have always attempted to do our best for the club and that will continue to be the case.
“When we signed our contracts, they were effectively put down in front of us by Martin Bain. I can also tell you, hand on heart, there was very little discussion or negotiation. Quite simply, we were being given the opportunity to do the job we could only have dreamed of doing. That’s how important it was to us.”
In citing Bain, chief executive of the pre-liquidated Rangers, as contract negotiator, McCoist was able to lay to rest a myth that his remuneration package was some sort of sweetener from Charles Green as the then-hated Yorkshireman in the summer of 2012 sought to get fans on board and sell season tickets in preparation for an assault on the lower leagues. The monetary return earned by McCoist last season followed his switching over of the contract he signed when becoming Rangers manager the previous year to the newco, in line with certain rights in the TUPE regulations that cover such matters. And it therefore seems reasonable McCoist isn’t troubled by the prospect that he will be paid in line with that contract when he is once more fulfilling the role he signed on for. “It is very important that I do feel comfortable with my own salary and I can have a wee look in the mirror,” he said. “At this moment in time, we understand we’re not that comfortable with it. If we do get back up, and hopefully we will, then it’s equally important... you have to be honest with yourself as well. The vast majority of supporters are finding it difficult to comprehend the wages of the top superstars and top managers, and I can understand that. There has to be a bit of realism shown in our own management structure. It still won’t satisfy a lot of people, I understand that.”
For a couple of hours this afternoon football will once more draw the focus. And with the trip to Ayr United’s Somerset Park, McCoist will be drawn back to simpler times. “I can remember drilling a couple past Hugh Sproat for St Johnstone in a 2-0 victory [in 1980-81], both from outside the box,” he said. “I was 18 at the time and I always remember that Bobby Lennox [then Celtic coach] was at the game, because I am friends with him and remember having a chat with him about it years later. I did ask him the obvious question: was he watching myself? He just shook his head and said, ‘No, Stevie Nicol’. So I was firmly put in my place by Bobby Lennox.”