Rangers AGM: Champions League cash hindrance, Michael Beale message, John Bennett loan, ticket prices

The Rangers annual general meeting was dominated by questions about the club’s transfer record but there were many other points raised.

Sporting director Ross Wilson and chairman Douglas Park both came under scrutiny at the 90-minute meeting attended by about 2,000 shareholders.

Here are five other points raised at the meeting:

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Accessibility issues

Rangers directors Stewart Robertson, Kenny Barclay and John Bennett during the Rangers AGM at the Clyde Auditorium. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Rangers revealed plans to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible seats at Ibrox Stadium from 114 to 272 as well as grow the number of “other amenity seating” and improve facilities for disabled people such as toilets, lifts and low-level kiosk counters. The seating plan will impact on 1,073 season ticket holders so Rangers plan major works, beginning in the summer of 2023, to install an extra 1,800 seats.

Champions League not quite such a windfall

Finance director Kenny Barclay stressed that qualifying for Europe’s elite competition was not quite as lucrative as many thought, placing the added value of reaching the Champions League as less than £3million more than the predicted outcome of a Europa League campaign. He showed a graph displaying that Rangers’ group opponents were due to receive between 1.8 and 2.8 times as much guaranteed income before a ball was kicked, with Rangers receiving less than £20million prize money compared to about £33million for Ajax and more than £50million for Liverpool. Barclay explained that Rangers’ 10-year coefficient was a hindrance given they were not in European competition for five years, and were also impacted by the “comparatively low level attached to the media rights of the Scottish market”. He added they were “fighting against a strong headwind” when it comes to the financial situation in Europe.

Michael Beale offers fans hope

Rangers manager Michael Beale arrives for the club AGM at the Clyde Auditorium. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The new manager spoke to fans about the team’s identity and making sure they did not alter their game plan for anyone. “I think I have an understanding of exactly what you want to see on the pitch and it’s important we impact that first and that people see some subtle changes that excite the fans,” he said. “I think it’s got to be exciting to play in, firstly, and training is vitally important. And if it is, I think you will see some improvements at Ibrox in terms of your experience.” Beale vowed to “take the handbrake off and play attacking football and run forward and be exciting, really go for it in every game”.

Some loan money repaid to John Bennett

The vice-chairman confirmed he had loans amounting to about £8million outstanding – compared to about £13million 12 months ago, with an interest rate set at six per cent – having been “partly repaid under the terms of a seven-year facility”, some of it through equity. He also revealed he had given the club access to a £10million overdraft facility if needed.

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Champions League ticket prices a contention

Managing director Stewart Robertson admitted there had been “lots of debate” inside the club about ticket prices for the European campaign after adults were charged between £150 and £180 for standard seats for three games. One shareholder felt fans should have been charged less in reward for their loyalty, sacrifices during Covid restrictions and amid the cost of living crisis. Robertson replied: “We sold out. I’m not saying that makes it right or wrong but the demand was there for the games. We are fighting to try to keep on a level playing field with our competitors both domestically and in Europe, so we tried to maximise it. But I get we were at the high end and I get the point you are making.”

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