RANGERS chief executive Charles Green last night likened recent boardroom clashes with chairman Malcolm Murray to a domestic squabble, and insisted that they both have a “responsibility” to work together in the best interests of the club.
On an eventful day in which Rangers posted losses of £7million for the last seven months of 2012 and were also credited with an interest in securing a pre-contract deal for Dundee United captain Jon Daly when they are free to sign players again in September, Green spoke about reported recent differences behind the scenes at Ibrox.
When asked to describe his working relationship with Murray, the chief executive said: “I would describe it as like any family. People have differences of opinion round the breakfast table, fighting their way into the bathroom in the morning for a shower or a shave. I’ve always said that it’s good and healthy for people to have differences of opinion.
“I’ve got a style which is perhaps not ideal for everyone who sits round the boardroom table. I came into Rangers at a very difficult time and took on something that was very difficult to complete. It’s not really the burning question, how I get on with the chairman, it’s how that board acts. It’s inevitable if there’s going to be any bigger clashes it’s usually between the chief exec and the chairman.” Green also insisted there would be no problem working with Murray for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a responsibility we’ve got,” he said. “We floated the club in December, we’re in a great place. Everything has to be done in the best interests of Rangers. This is not about Charles Green. It’s not about Malcolm Murray. It’s not about anyone, it’s about what’s right for Rangers.”
Rangers’ interest in Irishman Daly, whose Tannadice contract expires this summer, came as Green outlined Rangers’ signing policy when they are allowed to start recruiting again from 1 September at the end of their transfer embargo, and revealed the club’s ongoing attempts to continue reducing the wage bill, which has fallen from £27 million to £7 million a year despite the club now playing in the Third Division.
“There were people who took salary reductions, so where we went from roughly £27 million, down to about £7 million, that wage bill now is round about £5 million,” said Green, who said manager Ally McCoist has a clear vision of how to recruit players within a sensible budget.
He added: “There are players who will come in on 1 September who are out of contract, so they won’t require any capital sums. There are players who will leave the club because we won’t be renewing their contracts. We want to get the best players that we can.
“We’re fortunate at Rangers that players of a high calibre who wouldn’t normally sign for a Third or Second Division club are perhaps prepared to take the view that doing a one-year stint with Rangers in the new league as a springboard to going into the SPL is something worth doing.
“The reality is that you’re only playing on a poor pitch every second week, and the other weeks you’re playing in front of 45,000 people at a fantastic stadium. We’re lucky that the infrastructure and the crowds are a real attraction. There’s no point in signing players who are good for the league that we’re in, but a year later they’re not going to be able to compete for a place.
“Ally needs competition for places. Some of the performances this season are maybe performances that, if we had greater depth or more competition in certain positions, wouldn’t have been like they are.”
Green also reiterated his faith in McCoist, and praised him for the job he has done so far in difficult circumstances.
“Ally had a dream of becoming Rangers manager one day and when he achieved that dream, within six months the chairman had left the country, the chief exec had been fired, there was no finance director and he was working for the administrators. He’s then not allowed to play pre-season friendlies and we not allowed to sign any players. That’s not the ideal preparation for a manager,
“Ally’s not happy with where we are. We’re all happy that, within three more matches, we’re likely to have won the league, and that’s fine, but in terms of the performances and how we’re winning, I don’t think anybody is happy. But the answer to that is not, let’s fire Ally, it’s let’s all get our sleeves rolled up and deal with the issues to try to improve.”
Green also revealed that the club intends to pursue the opportunity to sell naming rights for Ibrox, and that Sports Direct had been approved with proposals to be put to supporters imminently.
“We had a meeting a few weeks ago with the supporters and invited Sports Direct,” explained Green. “We had a presentation from Derek Llambias, the chief executive of Newcastle, who spoke to about 400 Rangers supporters and talked about how that worked for him at Newcastle.
“What we said at that meeting is that we’d narrowed it down to two interested parties, but one of those was not prepared to commit until he knew what league we were going to be in. We don’t even know what the league is going to be called, let alone what division we’re going to be playing in.
“We will go ahead with Sports Direct and what we’re doing at the moment is getting some visuals together. We’ll get those up on the website so that the fans can see what the proposals are for the stadium.”
Green also addressed the thorny issue of offensive chanting and singing by supporters and, following talks with supporters at the weekend, repeated his view than anyone found guilty of sectarian chanting will be banned for life.
“Sectarian singing, or any form of race or religious discrimination, is not acceptable in any shape or form,” he said. “I know Rangers have made great strides, but my position is very clear on it: anybody who is identified will be banned for life. There will be no appeals and nobody will be let off.
“What I also said at the meeting is that if you’re stood next to the man, if you are not seen to be policing that, ie putting your hand up and saying arrest my best mate, because of his sectarian chanting, I’m going to ban you as well. I feel so strongly about it.
“Where I do have an issue is that we’re doing great things, we’ve paid all these European club debts, we’re making all these friends, the objective is to get back into Europe. I made a pledge to the Rangers fans recently that I wouldn’t leave until we’re playing the Champions League music. I can tell you, if we carry on playing this other type of music, we’ll get banned from life by Uefa, so I can leave on Friday.
“That’s not what we want. When I get comments like, ‘other people do it’, I don’t care about other people. We’ve had a fantastic year, we’ve made lots of friends and for it to be spoiled by a mindless few is ridiculous.”