ALLY McCoist insists he has no regrets over his decision not to lend his unequivocal backing to the incumbent Rangers board of directors at last week’s annual general meeting at Ibrox.
The Rangers manager granted the proxy voting rights for his holding of around one million shares to representatives from the Calderwood Rangers Supporters Club in his home town of East Kilbride.
With a sizeable proportion of rank and file Rangers fans opposed to the current board, McCoist’s move was regarded by many as evidence of his empathy with that position. But speaking for the first time since the agm, in which all five existing directors were re-elected and the four “requisitioners” led by former director Paul Murray failed to get onto the board, McCoist stated he is unaware how his votes were cast.
He declined to reveal how the current board had reacted to his decision to pass the proxy to supporters, saying only: “I’ll probably keep that private.” But McCoist remains content with the course of action he took.
“The board’s perception and anybody’s perception of it is understandable, but not necessarily correct,” added McCoist. “I genuinely didn’t know how the supporters would vote on my behalf beforehand and I don’t know now.
“I felt I was in a no-win situation, compromised all over the place. So the way I looked at it, rightly or wrongly, was that I gave my proxy to supporters who I knew 100 per cent would use it in a way that they thought would benefit the club.
“I can live with that. I still don’t know how they voted or what they did with their vote, but I am happy that I gave it to them because they are the biggest Rangers supporters I know and I am comfortable with that. They might not even have voted the way I’d have voted, to be honest with you. But I thought it was the best of a bad situation.”
McCoist is now preparing to deal with the fall-out from the agm, most significantly new chief executive Graham Wallace’s intention to address the financial operations of the club which he has declared would still be too high even if Rangers were still in the top flight of Scottish football.
Wallace’s review of costs is likely to impact on McCoist’s playing squad which he had been hoping to enhance during the January transfer window.
“I don’t know if the prospect of new signings is on hold,” said McCoist. “That’s not a cop-out, I just don’t know. I’ll be far better placed to comment once Graham has made a full assessment of the entire business.
“It’s obvious that Graham and I can’t sit down and make football decisions until he has a full overview of what is going on. I’ve spoken to Graham briefly. I’d a couple of meetings with him before the agm and a couple since.
“We will definitely sit down in the new year to see what we think is best for moving the club forward football-wise. Graham’s made a statement that he will re-assess and evaluate the entire business. That will obviously have a bearing on the football side.
“I have no idea if we will have to lose players. I haven’t been told. Like most managers, I’m a little bit unsure about what is going to happen in January. I am as the same as any other manager, I would want additions to my squad with no minuses.
“But I’m not silly enough not to realise that might not be the case. I wouldn’t comment on any coming and goings until I firmly know where the footballing side of the business is by sitting down to talk with Graham.”
The move towards austerity is in stark contrast to the glib promises of former chief executive Charles Green to provide McCoist with a £10 million budget for new players. The recollection of that comment brought a wry smile to McCoist’s face.
“Call me an old cynic, but there was a nagging doubt at the back of my head that I might not see that £10m,” said McCoist, with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
On a more serious note, he is worried about the overall impact of any cost-cutting programme on personnel at Rangers.
“That concerns me, of course it does,” he said. “When we went through administration there could have been substantial job losses. There weren’t, but obviously that’s a big concern – for Graham as well. It’s a worry to us all but I’m hopeful that won’t be the case. It will be Graham’s decision on the finances.”
There has also been talk of a boycott of season ticket renewals and club merchandise by supporters still dis-affected in the aftermath of the agm.
“There’s absolutely no way I’m going to sit and tell the fans what to do, because they have been absolutely fantastic,” added McCoist.
“What they do and say will have a major bearing on how we move forward and I’m happy with that. The fans have kept the club going and the fans will continue to keep the club going as long as they support the club and buy season tickets.
“I think it was more the supporters’ day than anybody else’s day at the agm, because it wasn’t attended by a large number of the institutional investors. I think the supporters who have their shareholding went to it with something to say and with their ears wide open to listen and it will be interesting to see how they react to it.
“The fans are certainly the most important part of our club because we wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t have the 72,000 season tickets sold over the last two years. So they must continue to support the club for the club to survive and improve and progress.”