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  1. Just wondered what everybody thought about if C Wyte was to have a share issue to raise extra money for transfers? Would anybody take part? I would but only on a small scale due to my current circumstances.
  2. WANTAWAY Rangers star Madjid Bougherra has been warned he's going NOWHERE. Algerian stopper Bougy revealed last week his plan to quit Ibrox this summer. But Gers boss Walter Smith last night warned that contracted players will NOT be sold - and Bougy admitted he is NOT a certainty to leave the club at the end of the season. Smith said: "The whole thing about the summer will be about the club's overall circumstance. "Everybody says that people will be leaving but I don't see how we have the capability to let anyone leave. "We have reached the stage where if we sell players and can't re-invest then Rangers won't have a team for next year. "But I don't know what will happen. That is something for the future." Bougherra, who still has a year left on his current contract and rejected a new deal, returns from injury for tonight's vital SPL clash with Dundee United at Tannadice. And Smith admitted: "We're glad at the minute to have Bougherra back. "He has played well for us over the season and are just pleased to have Madjid fit again." Bougherra held talks with Gers chief executive Martin Bain over a new deal seven weeks ago. And although he turned down his offer on the SAME money he's currently on, the stopper insisted last night his future has still to be decided. Bougy, 28, said: "I am focusing on giving the title to Rangers and then I'll talk about transfers at the end of the season. "There are some possibilities but I like Rangers and this is a very big club. I have a contract until 2012, end of story, so we have to wait to the end of the season." Smith, meanwhile, has heaped praise on Steven Whittaker for the job he did in central defence while Bougherra was injured. He said: "He's not just been useful for us when Bougherra's been out - he's been doing it for us all season. It's not often you have one player playing in six different positions for you over the course of a season. "We had a fair idea we would need to move quite a few of them around this season, but Steven's been invaluable for us because he's so able to do it. "Even in a one-off game, there are very few players who could move from right-back to outside-left but he does it. "He does the whole lot without complaining. So he has been terrific for us this season." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3534377/Dont-bank-on-a-move-Bougy.html#ixzz1Jv0owJKh
  3. From The Daily Mail: Ignoring the obvious error in the title as Murray is not chairman how likely is it Murray will sacrifice half his pay off? I think he should but I'm not convinced he has it in him.
  4. We, the Union Bears would today like to announce that as of the beginning of next season we will be relocating to BF5 to stand alongside The Blue Order. Both groups will keep their separate identity but will continue to create as much colour and noise in Ibrox as we possibly can. We are looking to build on the great atmosphere we have helped create over the past season or two together and the only serious option we see to achieve this is to move into the Broomloan stand and allow the two groups to stand together. We have had some good times and successful, creative displays in CR1 over the past 4 seasons and will be sad to leave, but at the same time we are looking to build for the future and we would urge any like-minded fans to join us in BF5 next season to help to support The Rangers in the way we all love. To stand together, sing, bounce and chant for 90 minutes every other Saturday and encourage the team on to victory. If you would like to enquire about moving to the new joint section next season please go through The Blue Order website. This is so all questions and transfers are kept all together in the same inbox and dealt with by the same person. Thanks, Union Bears No Surrender! Sorry,I should've said I lifted this from another site,I'm not in the UB.
  5. Our current situation - It's time to face the inevitable then rebuild for the future. When you drill down to it, The Rangers support, to a man, has known at the back of its collective mind that the situation we are in is dire. Many of us will be in agreement that weââ?¬â?¢ve been urinating into the proverbial wind for 3 years yet miraculously, we have managed to avoid getting wet. Sooner or later, the stranglehold that being owned by Sir David Murray has placed us under was always going to come close to killing us. I say Sir David Murray rather than Lloyds bank specifically, as our current situation has been clouded by the usual sea of half-truths, speculation and contradictions that weââ?¬â?¢ve now come to expect from the Ayrshire millionaire. I wonââ?¬â?¢t sit here and try to claim the moral high-ground by claiming recent results against the filth havenââ?¬â?¢t had any impact on what Iââ?¬â?¢m about to write: They have, and Iââ?¬â?¢ll get to that later. However, let me start from the very beginning of this, probably the most sorry episode in the never-ending series that is ââ?¬Å?The David Murray Showââ?¬Â.. It all started in January 2009. Rampant speculation built up suggesting that our top goal scorer was subject to a bid from Alex McLeishââ?¬â?¢s Birmingham. The source was originally an article from The Scottish Sun that was brief and lacking in quotes ââ?¬â?? normally the tell-tale signs of a non-story. Unfortunately, it didnââ?¬â?¢t quite work out like that, the bid from Brum was legit ââ?¬â?? and the then-chairman was about to inform us of news that would utterly stun us. After coming off of our most commercially lucrative season ever...Iââ?¬â?¢ll write that again for extra emphasis ââ?¬â?? After coming off of our most commercially lucrative season EVER ââ?¬â?? The chairman was about to confirm that despite all of this, in no small part down to a historic European run the year before ââ?¬â?? our finances were once again down the toilet... Murray told the Guardian at the time... "If we did not take this action [selling Boyd], it could have been bad but there are far worse situations developing around us and I will not allow it to spiral again. Rangers have to be run on a sound fiscal basis." In typical Murray style, however, he was soon to contradict himself completely after the transfer window closed when he said.. "The Boyd situation is simple. We received an offer that we believed, collectively, Walter Smith, manager and Martin Bain, chief executive represented good business. "The player then went to Birmingham and refused terms. That is where it stands. But Rangers will go on whether the player goes or not. In that sense, it is immaterial whether he stays or goes." I donââ?¬â?¢t know about you, but I see two statements that glaringly contradict one another. That wasnââ?¬â?¢t the end of it, however, a leading football agent told national commercial radio station TalkSport the same month, that literally ââ?¬Ë?every Rangers player was for saleââ?¬â?¢, with the likely culprit Wullie McKay later declaring that Rangers CEO Martin Bain had instructed him to sell a raft of high earning first team stars, citing McKayââ?¬â?¢s ability to ââ?¬Å?get the job doneââ?¬Â as the reason behind him being allocated this particular mission. Murray issued a ââ?¬Ë?denialââ?¬â?¢ in The Sunday People soon after which actually confirmed McKayââ?¬â?¢s claim in a roundabout way. So we were back up the financial creek without a paddle. Despite a debt that was dwindling, a tremendous run to a European Final, solid season/match day ticket sales and several impressive fees recouped for players that we sold that culminated in what was officially the most commercially lucrative season in the history of Rangers Football Club ââ?¬â?? Our debt somehow increased and we needed to make drastic cuts It was truly one of the most shocking revelations in our recent history, and it left us wondering where our money was actually going. In the summer of the sale year, Rangers managed to cut the wage bill by well over Ã?£200,000 per week (Over Ã?£10m a year) by moving on a raft of first team squad members. To the credit of Walter Smith and the board, the club maintained most of our key players but we were left well-short of numbers in the squad, a huge potential problem that thankfully was not exploited by faltering then-Celtic manager Tony Mowbrayââ?¬â?¢s inability to field a team capable of challenging for the SPL title. To make matters worse ââ?¬â?? our solitary signing that season, Jerome Rothen, had his loan spell at the club cut-short after an ineffective first half to the season. Despite the support rationally assuming that we would be able to bring in a player or two using Rothenââ?¬â?¢s estimated Ã?£18,000 per week wage, an assumption further justified by the departure of another high-earner in Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon, the Rangers support were again left scratching their heads as there were no incoming transfers to the Champions in the January window of the 2009/2010 SPL season. ââ?¬Å?Mystifiedââ?¬Â just didnââ?¬â?¢t do justice to the general feeling of the Rangers support then, or indeed now. After we won the SPL title for the second consecutive season in 2010, it appeared that following some pleading words from Walter Smith himself, those big bad bankers who had been subject to a tongue-lashing or six from him over the previous months decided to relent and kindly let Rangers buy players ââ?¬â?? with money raised from selling yet more players from our already thread-bare squad. We were all left pleased with the quality of players we brought in but once again, the number of players who moved on last summer was more than the number that came in, and with our continued reluctance to promote youth in decent numbers...or use youth in Cup competition domestically given our hectic schedule, we were again left to face a season at home and abroad with a woefully small squad. For just over two years, Rangers have been fire-fighting and, as I said above, urinating into the wind without getting wet. Nobody should be surprised that this is happening, it was only a matter of time. The reality is that on-field failure and the ââ?¬Ë?huge problemsââ?¬â?¢ I speak of are hopefully going to be the precursor to change at Ibrox. Walter Smith and Martin Bain have done an outstanding job of keeping the club together during these turbulent times ââ?¬â?? that should never be forgotten and both men, Walter in particular, should be commended for this. His contribution since coming has only furthered his status as a legend despite the split opinion of his on-field approach. Something from the previous two years that I sadly canââ?¬â?¢t spare the Rangers management team and board from, however, is the constant stream of contradictory information and statements that has come from them. One minute ââ?¬Å?everyone is for saleââ?¬Â, the next ââ?¬Å?we donââ?¬â?¢t have to sell anyoneââ?¬Â. On other occasions weââ?¬â?¢ve told the world ââ?¬Å?the bank runs the clubââ?¬Â only to play it down days later. Our current chairman, who appears to have vanished without a trace, has justified our constant flip-flopping on the issue by saying our relationship with Lloyds bank is ââ?¬Ë?a fluid situationââ?¬â?¢ i.e. our status with the bank changes all the time as per their business needs. Sadly, that statement has never quite cut it for me, and the only thing fluid about this whole thing is in the way weââ?¬â?¢ve had the piss taken out of us by those who run the club. Fiscally, theyââ?¬â?¢ve done a remarkable job with a fair-share of luck involved. Keeping Davis, Bougherra, McGregor and others when weââ?¬â?¢re so up against it financially is something to be proud of. I personally decided that Rangers would not get another penny from me after that cup game. I donââ?¬â?¢t need to state the obvious about the difficulties many of us have paying for tickets when we have families to keep in this climate, the teamââ?¬â?¢s approach in this one-off must win fixture, along with yesterday and the other league game in January really symbolised the problems we have. Our first team appear to be a spent force ââ?¬â?? lacking in interest and focus because they have zero competition for a first team place. Our manager, like him or not, just doesnââ?¬â?¢t do squad rotation or youth promotion unless his hand is forced. So we now face a situation where our first team at the moment isnââ?¬â?¢t good enough and we canââ?¬â?¢t and wonââ?¬â?¢t change it. But we still pay our money and I think despite the small decrease in numbers, the club have taken our blind loyalty a little too for granted by anyoneââ?¬â?¢s standards. Weââ?¬â?¢ve all wanted a change of approach, change of ethos and a complete shift from the short-term, ââ?¬Å?boom and bustââ?¬Â mentality that has saw us teetering on the financial brink twice in less than ten years. Sadly, due to the furthering financial problems in recent years we have regressed even from that. We do not have the talent on or off the pitch to run Rangers effectively anymore. As a support, we have been very kind to the board and management team ââ?¬â?? weââ?¬â?¢ve taken everything said to us at face value. But the time has come for proper communication with the man who truly holds all the cards, Sir David Murray. Questions about the ongoing HMRC tax investigation, links between Murrayââ?¬â?¢s companies and the aggressive attitude of Lloyds bank to Rangers over what is a perfectly manageable debt from a club who have implemented some shrewd fiscal measures in recent years have not been met with satisfactory answers. Rangers quite like it when we pay our money, sit down and shut up. We canââ?¬â?¢t do it anymore ââ?¬â?? we just canââ?¬â?¢t. Answers to many, many questions are required, and only the man who has disappeared into the night can answer them properly, he still holds all of the cards. One wonders if the warning that Sir David Murray claimed he was trying to send us by selling Boyd in January of 2009 is the real reason behind the financial handcuffs that have been placed on us, with anonymous, invisible bankers quite happy to take the blame and be the ââ?¬Ë?faceââ?¬â?¢ behind the cuts as it gives them just cause to get their money back quicker. There arenââ?¬â?¢t too many other arms of Murrayââ?¬â?¢s empire that can raise seven figure sums by selling off assets relatively quickly. Our club bemoan financial pressure from the bank on one hand yet announce excellent half-year profits on the other, they blame the bank for the restrictions yet charge us through the nose for games weââ?¬â?¢ve actively tried not to win, they demand we pay for our season ticket in advance over a short timescale at inflated prices while warning us that we canââ?¬â?¢t spend money and are open to offers for our star players despite the relative success weââ?¬â?¢ve had recently in maintaining them. On field failure is the excuse the money men need to make further cuts ââ?¬â?? and itââ?¬â?¢s the excuse many of our support will need to get off their backside and demand change at Ibrox ââ?¬â?? along with clarification on what our real problems are. Enough is enough, our expectations have been managed very well by the club ââ?¬â?? weââ?¬â?¢re quite tolerant of the hardships we face now...because weââ?¬â?¢ve so splintered and blindly loyal that we refuse to speak up en masse. So long as the season ticket cash keeps rolling in, change will be delayed that little bit longer. We need to stop propping up a system that is not sustainable in the medium to long term, a regime of noble-yet-helpless individuals fighting the tide of faceless penny-pinchers...who for all we know may include our current owner, and face being flattened by the big truck weââ?¬â?¢ve been waiting to knock us down for two years. As I have no doubt that with the unrest this could all cause, we will emerge from the wreckage a much stronger force, able to plan effectively for the future. This is and always has been about more than one title or season ââ?¬â?? itââ?¬â?¢s about getting our club back. Sorry if this is negative, but I donââ?¬â?¢t care how we get that ââ?¬â?? the sooner we face the inevitable, the better as far as Iââ?¬â?¢m concerned.
  6. First of all, a Happy New Year to all Gersnet's subscribers; after a few weeks R&R; it's good to be back online and reading the varied opinions across the community! And it's with that initial greeting that we can immediately ask ourselves if indeed 2011 will be a prosperous time for our club. As ever the answer isn't easily found. Of course we started the year rather badly. After an icy December of cancelled game after cancelled game, it was no surprise to see our lack of sharpness affect our performance against Celtic. Added to the inconsistency we've seen throughout this season (despite being top) I wasn't expecting a great display on the 2nd, though I was disappointed with the familiar motivational problems rearing their head again. However, as ever, the reaction afterwards was overly negative and, as Monday's night's win over Kilmarnock showed, rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. We may be four points behind our rivals but we're more than capable of winning our games in hand and retaining top spot - with or without Kenny Miller. On the subject of Scotland's most prolific striker, fans are again worried about his probable sale and, given the mixed messages coming from the club regarding Lloyds Banking Group's involvement, I certainly share in their concern. After all �£20million of European income should surely enable our manager to strengthen his squad in January in order to help facilitate the same CL revenue next season? Do we really need to sell in order to buy? A quick (and empirical) look at our finances tells us we're have around �£27million of debt after reducing this from the �£32million in 2008/2009's figures. Moreover, last year we used around �£9million of our European income to pay off any remaining transfer fees owed to other clubs. This means, instead of reducing our debt by only �£4-5million as in the 2009/2010 figures; we can hope to at least double that when we report in 2011. Therefore, with a decent Europa Cup run, we could easily find our debt almost halved by the start of next season. Now, that's great news in anyone's book but it doesn't automatically mean we'll have huge transfer 'war-chests' this month or even in the summer and beyond. The simple truth is that unless the club is bought over we'll remain reliant on MIH/LBG for ongoing finance. Thus, it is exactly because the CL income from the last two seasons has been so essential that the bank will be so reluctant to loosen the purse strings given our CL involvement is less than guaranteed (as Champions or not) next season. Their view will be that for their �£22million long term loan to be repaid in full, they will have to ensure the club remains on an even keel - without or without the European gravy. As such, while they may not be taking the �£20million from this season in one lump sum; they may 'suggest' to MIH that this money is used to reduce the long term debt in part once more while the rest is kept back for a 'rainy day' in seasons we don't qualify for the CL Group Stages. After all, without these monies we struggle to break even and unlike other clubs we don't appear to have the financial philanthropy of a mega-rich owner to guarantee our fiscal viability. I appreciate none of this is the kind of news that makes us smile. In this long, cold winter (someone please close that transfer window quick) positivity is hard to find so we may just have to content ourselves with realism. Unfortunately, that realism tells us that the days of huge transfer budgets every summer are gone. Indeed, the only huge fees we'll see nowadays is when we hope to move on our better players in order to supplement our operating expenses enough to keep the club competitive. Furthermore, even if we do manage to attract a new owner; I wouldn't expect a whole load of difference from this model. Craig Whyte (or rather certain journalists) have suggested an annual budget of �£5million each season if he takes over which, although conservative at first glance, is actually quite high (and possibly impossible) without major European dividends. We did spend around �£5million on transfers this season so is it any wonder we'll struggle to spend more as it stands? Again, I understand this is quite depressing when you juxtapose your Giovanni van Bronkhorsts with your Richard Fosters. Ten years is a long time in football and we are not just in a new climate but a new era. Monday's Ibrox Scottish Cup crowd shows just how difficult it will be to keep fans interested in a declining product with increasing prices. In a recession, the choice of �£30+ on a night out at the football or paying for your fuel to get to work for the week is a tough one. Unfortunately, these difficult choices extend to the club (and their bank) as well. All in all, I think as a support we need to examine the future carefully as we head into a new year. Sure, we want our club to be ambitious and our investment should entitle us to improved clarity from Rangers when it comes to finance going forward. But if we want to be taken seriously as partners, then we have to be realistic in what we expect. The unpalatable truth is that the 1990s have long gone and we're closer to bust than boom. To that end, prudence continues to be our buzzword so such vigilance requires patience and wisdom if we want our club to remain successful on all fronts. Like every bear, I look forward to meeting our challenges head on and urge everyone involved with the club to work with us in that regard. Here's to #54!
  7. A point of view on matters financial. Once again like many Rangers Supporters, I am left mystified by the comments of Walter Smith in relation to our position with our Bankers - Lloyds/HBOS - followed by the Club's decision to readily release our own and the SPL's top scorer for the second time in 6 months. I won't use the word 'sell' as Boyd went for nothing and by the time Miller picks up his severance pay off, we will have very little left. I have a background in banking and passed my exams many years ago, but no matter how hard I try, when I look at our accounts, I cannot understand why Lloyds/HBOS are behaving in such a manner towards us. Our published accounts to 30 June 2010 show that our Bank debt incorporating a Term Loan and overdraft facilities reduced by �£3.7m last year to �£22.3m (2009 - �£26.1m). This was despite paying off �£8million in historic transfer fees (which left �£1.2million still to pay). The term loan, repayable over 19 years, stands at �£19m which will mean repayments of �£1million per year + interest. So, if we had Bank Debt of �£22.3m and �£19m of that was a long term loan, then our working overdraft would be �£3.3m, which is well within the �£15m revolving credit facility (overdraft limit) that we have: �£11.7m within it to be exact. A football club's income is loaded to the beginning of the season in terms of season ticket sales, but Champions League participation this season will mean a hefty amount of Euros being lodged in our account with Lloyds/HBOS, before the season ends. Our Champions League campaign this season has guaranteed us 9.2million Euros + TV Revenue (in 2008 Celtic got 6.2 million Euros) + gate receipts, which should easily total around �£16million. On top of that, we will get a further 200,000 Euros for qualifying for the Europa League, plus TV and gate receipts and another �£300,000 Euros + TV and gate receipts should we get past Sporting Lisbon. That amount would, of course, increase with each round should we advance. Putting things into perspective. On 30 June 2010, we had an overdraft of �£3.3 million, but the previous year we managed to reduce our overdraft by �£3.7m, so assuming we have a similar year, that should be wiped out this year and leave us with a small credit balance. However, we should do better than last year, due to a better performance in the Champions League bringing us an extra 1.2million Euros in points payments, compared to last year. Also, last year we repaid �£8m in historical transfer fees, we don't have that to pay this year (maximium should be �£1.2m), so we should be well in credit at the Bank. Allied to that: Staff Costs have been steadily reducing over the last 2 years. In the year to 30 June 2008 they were �£34.3m. In 2009 - �£30.7m. In 2010 - �£28.1m. That equals reduction of �£6.2million in the last 2 seasons and a figure that will again be slashed this year. Our Net Operating Expenses in 2008 were �£56.8m. In 2009 - �£48.2m. In 2010 - �£43.8m. Which is a reduction of �£13million in 2 years and these will also be significantly reduced this year, meaning further profit. By my conservative reckoning, by 30 June 2011, we should have somewhere in the region of a �£10million credit balance at the Bank and our long term loan reduced to �£18m over 18 years. I haven't taken any of our summer transfers into consideration, due to a lack of accurate figures, but I would reckon that the transfer fees and wages for the players who left, should more or less offset the 3 who came in. Our debt to equity (gearing) ratio was reduced last year to 38% (2009 - 47%). again a sign that we are heading in the right direction, though further reduction would be helpful. Crucially, the �£15m revolving credit facility with Lloyds/HBOS, was in place till 31 December 2010 and the only possible explanation could be that the Bank have renewed this at a much lower level. If that is the case, then it could be down to cash flow, as I don't think the UEFA money is received for a few months yet. If I am correct, then it really is a shocking act by Lloyds/HBOS, given that the UEFA money is guaranteed due to what we have already achieved in the Champions League this season. Something about the whole thing stinks more than a Celtc supporters green and grey hooped top after four weeks of constant wear in the summer. There is something that we are not being told and it is now time for the Club to come out and tell us what the problem is with Lloyds/HBOS and whether or not we are being strangled due to our association with the MIH Group, as to me, it is certainly not obvious in our accounts.
  8. Guest

    How to Sort the SPL?

    I think short termism is the main problem with what is going on, the fans don't want a smaller league but it's not possible to up the amount of teams without teams having cash crisis. Football has the problem that it only seems to be able to look at the present or 1 season ahead but a ten year or even 20 year plan should be put in place to secure the future of the clubs and the league. All teams must work together to save our game and get back to having a strong league. Looking at the Dutch and German leagues for insight would be the first place to start. Anyway here's my suggestion. 2014 ââ?¬â?? change to two SPL leagues of 10, play each other 4 times (36 games) 2024 ââ?¬â?? change to 1 SPL league of 18 play each other twice (34 games) (Top 18 of the two SPL leagues from season 2023) 2014 ââ?¬â?? 2024 3 promotion/relegation places up for grabs, 2 automatic, 1 between 3rd and 4th bottom of top league and 3rd and 4th top of second league. 2 down from second league into SFL divisions. TV Money to be split completely evenly between the top 20 clubs by 2024, changing a slight percentage every year until this has been achieved. From 1014 ââ?¬â?? 2019 available money should be directed towards youth development and training facilities. Further rules for UK and youth developed players should come into play. From 2019 -2024 available money should be directed towards stadium facilities. The main pushes should be undersoil heating (for newly joined clubs) and safe standing areas. 2024 onwards 4 promotion/relegation places up for grabs, 3 automatic, 1 between 4rd and 5th bottom of top league and 4th and 5th top of SFL. TV Money to be split at a more reasonable amount as per league position finish and games broadcast again, changing a slight percentage every year until this has been achieved. The Scottish Cup European place should be used for the league . Although this may devalue the Cup, midtable teams need more incentives by the end of the season. Further Ideas To promote attacking football 1 additional league point for every 15 league goals scored should be implemented. Safe standing areas will be vital as they bring the capacity higher allowing for more revenue to clubs and will be easier for the smaller clubs to implement and improve their stadium. Beer (with regulations) should be allowed to be sold at the stadium to bring fans in earlier and spend more money directly into the club. Prices must be cut and regulated; I would propose a maximum of Ã?£15 (top grade game) for an adult. Fans must have incentives to go regularly again. We should try to secure the 5.15pm Saturday TV KO time so all games are at a more regular day which should secure more fans. Ticket to the match should include free public transport travel as has been implemented in Germany. Some sort of police/referee committee and a certain amount of time to be release before a call off ( ie if a pitch is unplayable at 7pm the previous evening then the game will be called off, no wait and see attitude). Something should be done to integrate the SPL and the SFL with a second tier of 22 or 2 tiers of 10. Clubs must live within their means, no club should be running at an unpaybackable debt and transfers can only happen with cash upfront (this includes add-ons, the potential fees must be available) The only type of debt should be Stadium improvements and the like. I'm no expert when it comes to money issues and the ins and out of running a club so some of these suggestions might be completley unmanagable but I like to think that there is a few ideas in there that might be worth looking at.
  9. 27 Dec 2010 KENNY MILLER has agreed to sign for Bursaspor next season, according to reports in Turkey. The Rangers striker is in the form of his life for the SPL champions, but is out of contract in the summer. Bursaspor, whom Miller scored against in this seasonââ?¬â?¢s Champions League, have made no secret of their attempts to sign the Scotland internationalist.and club officials have told Turkish media Miller has agreed in principle to move to Turkey and sign a deal believed to be worth Ã?£30,000-a-week. Bursaspor manager Ertugrul Saglam said: ââ?¬Å?We can confirm we are talking to two players ââ?¬â?? one plays in the Czech Republic and one is a striker. This is a very important transfer window for us. Three other clubs in Turkey will invest heavily and we cannot afford to be left behind. We enjoyed our experience in the Champions League, but we need to be in it every season.ââ?¬Â The player from the Czech Republic is Wilfried Bony, an Ivory Coast internationalist who plays for Sparta Prague. Bursasporââ?¬â?¢s managing director, Mesut Mestan, has reportedly met with Millerââ?¬â?¢s representatives and is confident of making what would be the Turkish championââ?¬â?¢s biggest signing. They would prefer Miller to sign immediately, but Rangers have stated they wonââ?¬â?¢t sell the former Celtic and Hibs striker and Bursaspor are prepared to sign Miller on a pre-contract agreement next week. Mestan said: ââ?¬Å?We are hopeful we will be in a position to announce two transfers this week.ââ?¬Â http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/rangers/turkish-media-link-miller-with-summer-move-to-bursaspor-1.1076538
  10. I would agree that teams should be able to have teams in the lower divisions but i would hate to see a club have a monopoly of the top divisions. Apart from that it is good to see another youth player get some game time.
  11. Nearly fell off my seat laughing when I read this! http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/gossip_and_transfers/9007357.stm 0843 BST: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is considering a move for Celtic midfielder Scott Brown. Full story: caughtoffside.com
  12. It's released in October sometime. I don't know if I'm going to buy it as I hardly ever played the current one and if truth be told I'm getting slightly bored of it. Anyway, here's some of the new features added to FM11:
  13. THE smog cloaking Moscow could not obscure Aiden McGeadyââ?¬â?¢s vision of the future. Being shuttled around a city wreathed in the smoke from spectacular forest fires, the 24-year-old was quickly coming to a decision. Or, rather, two decisions. He wanted to be in Moscow and he wanted to be out of Glasgow. The move from Celtic to Spartak Moscow was thus inevitable. McGeady is aware that his Ã?£10m transfer caused surprise, even shock in some quarters. The player had been linked with Barclays Premier League clubs, with Aston Villa leading the chase. Surely, the winger would be joining up with Martin Oââ?¬â?¢Neill? But that move foundered as the squalls at Villa Park gathered to produce the perfect storm that led Oââ?¬â?¢Neill to walk away from the club. In contrast, McGeady took a voyage of discovery. He flew to Moscow, talked to Spartak officials and seized the chance to accept another challenge. He will, of course, be handsomely compensated for his career move. Estimates of his wage range from Ã?£40,000 to Ã?£60,000 a week. McGeady will not discuss financial terms, but as a wealthy young man his protestations that money was not the deciding factor carry some weight. ââ?¬Å?What they were offering, not in terms of money but on the football side, was far greater than any other team who came in for me,ââ?¬Â he said of Spartak. ââ?¬Å?The lure of the Champions League was huge. And this is a better league, too. I also know that people get transfers from the Russian league to Serie A, to the Premiership, to La Liga. Frankly, it was best for everyone if I moved on.ââ?¬Â His first experience of the city sealed the move. As pedestrians coughed and spluttered under the fumes from fires, McGeady sat and quietly assessed what lay before him. ââ?¬Å?It was hectic, very cosmopolitan. I liked it immediately. I was trying to get my head round the idea that I would be here permanently. I wanted to see if I could see myself living there, and I could.ââ?¬Â His mind was almost made up before he stepped on the plane to leave Glasgow. McGeady was becoming restless, tired of living in a city where he could rarely feel at ease and increasingly appalled at the level of abuse directed at him. ââ?¬Å?I was getting fed up with Glasgow. I wanted to leave. Nothing against Celtic ââ?¬â?? itââ?¬â?¢s Glasgow,ââ?¬Â he said. ââ?¬Å?If you are not a footballer, it is a great city to live in. There are loads of things to do and the people are very friendly but as a footballer it can be a nightmare. When you are out everybody either wants to shake your hand and praise you or they want to have a go at you. If you have a bad result, then even going to the shops is difficult. ââ?¬Å?You are hiding your face as you go past a group of people because they will shout at you. Moscow is bigger and maybe I can disappear into it a wee bit.ââ?¬Â McGeadyââ?¬â?¢s decision to play for the Republic of Ireland made him a target for a heightened level of abuse from the stands. ââ?¬Å?There are a lot of horrible places in Scotland for that type of thing: Tynecastle, Ibrox obviously is always going to be bad with the Celtic-Rangers rivalry, Motherwell, Falkirk. Some fans there hate everything Celtic stand for and everything I stand for as an Irish Catholic playing for Celtic.ââ?¬Â There is a defiance, however, to McGeady. ââ?¬Å?You enjoy going to those places because it makes it even better when you win,ââ?¬Â he said. He was always aware that to play for the Republic was to place himself squarely in front of ferocious criticism. He was warned when he made the decision as a teenager that the reaction would not be pleasant, but McGeady was surprised at the vehemence of what followed. ââ?¬Å?It begins in the warm-ups before games with all sorts of stuff being shouted at you, even from little kids,ââ?¬Â he said. ââ?¬Å?Fair enough, you can have a shout at somebody. Every footballer expects that, but some of the stuff ââ?¬Â¦ you would not get away with it in any other walk of life but because you are a footballer you are expected to tolerate it. But if it happened in public, on a street, then nobody would be surprised if it developed into a fight. It is unbelievable what some people shout.ââ?¬Â He has never regretted his decision to choose to play for Ireland. ââ?¬Å?When I made my debut for Celtic there was a huge fuss made about it. Now I am fed up talking about it.ââ?¬Â McGeady is, though, content about how his life has developed. ââ?¬Å?I am not afraid to make decisions. If I feel it is the right thing to do, then I will do it. It is that simple. And I will live with the consequences. I have lived with the Ireland thing for years. But I am happy with what I decided. Yes, it turned people against me. But I am not there to be anybodyââ?¬â?¢s mate.ââ?¬Â He deals with criticism boldly and without any attempt at false modesty. ââ?¬Å?I know what level of footballer I am. I know I can be better but some of the stuff levelled at me was just nonsense.ââ?¬Â McGeady addresses the two major criticisms he has faced as a Celtic player. The first is his goalscoring, though his record of one goal every five games is not too shabby. ââ?¬Å?I want to score more,ââ?¬Â he said. ââ?¬Å?I remember when I was younger and was in the youth team I used to score a lot of goals. I was a great finisher. I made my debut playing as a second striker but as I have played more and more out wide I have seemed to lost that part of my game, that ability to slot in the chances. I have lost that instinct to score. I want that back.ââ?¬Â The second criticism concerns the ââ?¬Å?no end productââ?¬Â mantra that has been a constant refrain by McGeadyââ?¬â?¢s critics. ââ?¬Å?How many times have I heard that from people saying that my end product is not good enough? Everybody can improve and I will try to do so, but what other winger sets up 14 goals in a season and does not take corners or free-kicks? ââ?¬Å?It is funny how people ignore statistics when they do not suit them. Pundits say it all the time and viewers and readers have it driven into them so they start to believe it. To be honest, it does my head in a wee bit and I will be glad to get away from that.ââ?¬Â The overwhelming impression is of a young man ready to move on. ââ?¬Å?It is a life experience. It is one of those things I will enjoy,ââ?¬Â he said of life in Moscow. ââ?¬Å?If I was not a footballer, I would like to go travelling.ââ?¬Â He added: ââ?¬Å?I hear people saying it is a bad move. Can anybody explain that to me? What if I stayed at Celtic and they were struggling and I am off form or am injured? I would be regretting the chance not to go. I donââ?¬â?¢t see in any way that it can be a bad move.ââ?¬Â McGeady, though, knows it will be a wrench leaving a club he loves and a family that is close. ââ?¬Å?Of course, there will be will be difficulties at first. I expect that. I can see why a lot of people would say no to Spartak because it is a tough move to make. I accept that but I am determined to get through it. I like the city already and it is a better level of football with the Champions League in the offing.ââ?¬Â He will, of course, be back in Glasgow regularly, perhaps on football business. The Champions League draw could bring him back to the city to face Rangers. He chuckles at the prospect. McGeady could also return later in his career to the club that nurtured him. ââ?¬Å?I will definitely miss Celtic Park,ââ?¬Â he said. ââ?¬Å?It is a great place to play football. It was an exhilarating arena especially when you were playing well. The noise level was incredible on Champions League nights or Old Firm matches. It was tremendous to hear the roar if you got past the full-back. ââ?¬Å?So every footballer would want to play there. Never say never. I am a Celtic fan so anything is possible. Celtic would be a good place to come back to play the last years of my career if they wanted me and I could still perform at that level.ââ?¬Â That is in the distant future. McGeady remains focused on his challenge in Moscow. ââ?¬Å?I am just desperate to play,ââ?¬Â he said. ââ?¬Å?I have only been on the park for 55 minutes this season. I want to go and win trophies for my new club. We are capable of doing well in the league and the Champions League is a fantastic prospect.ââ?¬Â http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/celtic/exclusive-aiden-mcgeady-explains-how-leaving-glasgow-is-the-most-eloquent-answer-to-his-detractors-1.1048663
  14. http://sport.stv.tv/football/scottish-premier/rangers/189229-georgie-welcome-poised-for-rangers-trial/
  15. Hardly a day passes by without another player being linked to Rangers - be it in the unofficial media such as newspapers or forums - or even via official comment from Smith/Bain and stories on the club website. Given we've not paid a fee for a new player since Maurice Edu in 2008, yet have raked in millions since then from Champions League money and player sales, that would suggest we do have some sort of budget to strengthen our squad. Indeed, different figures have been mentioned - ranging from a couple of million to �£5million and beyond. Of course the club are consistent in trying to play down such figures and definitely don't seem keen on alluding to any kind of budget - even although they have confirmed (or alleged) reasonable transfer fees and wage packages for potential players. For example, Chris Eagles was supposed to be close to arriving on a deal worth around �£2million and �£15K per week over 3 years. That totals up to not far from the unsubstantiated �£5million 'warchest' oft talked about amongst the support. On the other hand, many fans are rightly cynical when it comes to such issues. Time and time again we're told money is available yet no players come in. Further to that, the hard luck stories are run out when the window eventually closes - 'he didn't want to come', 'we couldn't match another club's offer', 'SDM's private jet is under repair' etc etc. As such, it's difficult to argue with such people when the facts tell us we have the weakest Rangers squad (in terms of numbers) for over 20 years and an overall dearth in quality that will affect our competitiveness for the rapidly approaching season. Therefore, the issue perhaps comes down to two different scenarios: 1. Do we indeed have a reasonable total budget (say �£5million for fees and wages) and are bluffing a weak position to maximise our activity? 2. Or have MIH/Lloyds/HMRC, absorbed all of income limiting us to another Jerome Rothen type loaning signing if we're lucky? I'd like to gauge your opinion so we can come back at the end of August and see who has been proven right! Are we bluffing or have we already folded? :box:
  16. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/2010/07/22/we-will-sign-the-players-to-help-walter-smith-win-three-in-a-row-for-rangers-pledges-chief-martin-bain-86908-22431209/
  17. From the Daily Express, worthy of its own thread given the quotes on our policy: http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/185245/EXCLUSIVE-Walter-Smith-wants-wide-boy-for-3-in-a-row-bid/ Seems we don't want any new strikers and we're concentrating on a creative players. Fair enough from me.
  18. "I have been watching all the games, but I am looking at teams like Australia, New Zealand, Honduras and teams like that to see if there is anything knocking about," said McCoist. I am not saying we don't have anything to spend, but any money we do get, we will have to spend very, very wisely" I'm still convinced that we won't spend a penny. The idea of us signing any of the dross who took to the field for New Zealand and Honduras, or one of Australia's OAP's, is about as appealling as re-signing Jerome Rothen
  19. http://www.imscouting.com/global-news-article/Tottenham-and-Chelsea-battle-for-Barcelona-dealmaker-Begiristain/8463/
  20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/gossip_and_transfers/8717041.stm Already agreed terms acc. to BBC. Don't know much about the lad, but unless he is a wide, preferably left, midfielder, I doubt he's soemone we need. Still , signing anyone at the moment is a gleam of hope..
  21. Apparently hasn't spoken to Boyd yet, but this is a bit more interesting than other rumours about moves to Turkey, since at least there's quotes from the manager - in this case Shota... . http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=789619&sec=transfers&cc=5739
  22. Now, I'm the first to highlight caution when it comes to believing what you read in the papers - not least when it is Graham Spiers writing about Rangers. Hyperbole, imbalance, mischief and trouble should accompany any by-line when this particular member of the broadsheet (I use the term loosely) fraternity dares to debate our club. However, in his article today, there appears to be a few direct quotes from our current chairman Alastair Johnston which suggests his commentary is, in this case, authentic and worth discussing. Therefore, it isn't a surprise that the article in question has raised a few eyebrows while once again stirring the ever-simmering pot of ownership suspense at Rangers. Essentially, as many Rangers fans fear, it appears Mr Johnston is concerned about the uncertainty of the Andrew Ellis bid to buy the club. Indeed, reading between the lines, one would be forgiven for picturing Johnson speaking through gritted teeth over the likelihood of Ellis being the next owner of Rangers. Johnston may not be the judge but he's certainly part of the jury which has yet to be provided genuine evidence of a worthy bid for the club. So who is the judge then and where are they? The answer to that is initially easy to answer but, as usual, when it comes to the financial background of Rangers, slightly more difficult to put a finger on. Empirically speaking though, Sir David Murray remains the owner of Rangers as he's majority shareholder of the club and majority shareholder of MIH. Thus, he still makes key decisions for both organisations - albeit with an increasing say for the Lloyds Banking Group and with the guiding hand of turnaround specialist Donald Muir beside theirs on the tiller. Is it any wonder the direction seem to change daily? Therefore when Alastair Johnston takes umbrage about Andrew Ellis not affording him the respect of a meeting to discuss all the above, Ellis can rightly point out Johnston's unimportant position in the food chain. To be fair to our existing chairman though, he is correct to ask why dialogue seems to frighten the Ellis camp. Indeed, every Rangers fan should be asking suitable questions of any bidder. All in all though, once more, there is nothing new in Spiers' article - doubt, cynicism, concern and suspicion are all facets of this issue which until it is resolved will continue to be prevalent; no matter our place in the Rangers family. To that end, it isn't Johnston's concerns about the Ellis bid that worry me today but the fact our chairman is flying back off to the Land of the Free without making clear our budget and strategy for next season. At the Rangers Assembly meeting of last week, we were told a 'limited', improving budget was likely but we have had no official confirmation of this. During the same meeting the Assembly were asked to convey the message that season ticket monies were essential for club operations. Once again it appears our loyalty is the single most important financial investment into the club. And once again, it appears this call has been heeded with sales currently matching those of last year. So far so good! Yet, despite this incredible loyalty and act of trust in people like Mr Johnston, his board of directors and Sir David Murray, we're no closer to solving this year-on-year challenge of self-funding. Unbelievably our legendary manager seems no closer to signing a new contract. Worryingly, we have several out-of-contract players about to leave on free transfers leaving our squad more depleted than ever before. Disappointingly, we have even more players whose contracts are running out next season but whose future seems equally uncertain. Frustratingly, we have no way of knowing if any further income will be used to improve our squad for next season. Annoyingly, we don't know if key players need to be sold (or want to leave). Interestingly, we have signed a few unknown young players but our youth system and scouting network appear disjointed and underfunded. Disgracefully, we have a tax 'query pending' which no-one seems to know what will cost us down the line. Laughably, we have an UEFA 'elite' class stadium with huge TV screens which dominant the arena but, erm, don't work. Are we talking about the operations of the world's most successful domestic club or Fawlty Towers FC? Farcical doesn't begin to describe the status quo. Now, while Alistair Johnston may be the chairman, it is unfair to suggest he is at fault for all the problems above. However, he is part of the problem as, like many others, he seems unable to provide a distinct path towards a brighter future for our club while asking for our money at the same time. Of course, that criticism should go above him to the very top as it can't be easy to work with your hands tied behind your back. What will it take then to stir Sir David Murray from his stupor? Certainly, continued calls for clarity and leadership from various parties go unanswered so where else can a doubting support go than to the custodian of the club. Unfortunately for us, he seems to be too busy playing his own money games of which luck is determined by external parties. Has he opened all his boxes already or is the Banker laughing on the other side of the line? At what point do all these people stop making a mockery of Rangers and at what point does the unwavering commitment of the Rangers support get rewarded by treating us with respect instead of disdain.
  23. This has been posted by sccgers on FF , he has posted a high percentage of stuff that hass later proved correct , make of it what you will. Park and Co. finally set to move ? Andrew Ellis / Boyd / Adam / Danny wilson .Latest. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Managed to catch up with my source within the last hour or two and he had quite a bit to share with me - I can't expand on it any further and what I am about to post is the exact extent of my knowledge I can't say it's 100% but he has a very good track record, I am merely passing it on 1 - Douglas Park and co. - several meetings with lawyers this week and he has struck an agreement for a deal they believe can mark a takeover attempt. They have intimated to the club that they will make a formal approach early next week and a meeting with AJ has been set up between most parties 2 - Andrew Ellis - remains firmly in the driving seat, in constant dialogue with Murray and is negotiating the final points before making a formal offer. These points are minor and he has intimated to the club firmly he will be making an offer and he intends to buy the club (This was done last week - most likely causing Walters frustration this week) Now Murray favours completely Andrew Ellis and even with Park and co's move, it appears extremely likely that Ellis will still be the man who takes over the club. For Murray though this whole scenario is exactly as he wanted. The bank are happy as they will be getting there debt and Murray will get the �£6m + (hopefully more from his point of view) he is looking for. Murray also has a big favour for Ellis due to his plans for redevelopment and Murray has been promised a slice of that pie. On time limits he says next week will be massive for apparent revelations either way. On backers for Ellis and Park names have been mentioned, nothing shocking and at this stage nothing confirmed either. Ellis does apparently have the cash to back this takeover, something which in recent week or so, I have encountered that no one seems to believe So next up - Danny Wilson - Will travel south as early as Monday to tie up a �£2.6m move. Additional clauses have been agreed and the club have been left with no other choice but to accept this after Wilson made it crystal clear he would not sign the new deal and the club could not alter or increase it further. Expect to see Liverpool play Rangers at some point in a friendly Charlie Adam - A little bonus it seems, on top of the 20% sell on fee negotiated by monseur Bain, Gers also have a Promotion bonus which requires Blackpool to stump uo �£600k further for Adam should they gain promotion. Something no body thought would happen Kris Boyd - It is common knowledge apparently that Boyd has signed an agreement with Eck and Birmingham should he leave Rangers. Not a Bosman but should he leave the Gers then Birmingham is where he will end up. He will not sign the current deal offered at the moment either. So we could still do a deal with him but it is extremely unlikely Novo, broadfoot and contract others - NONE look to be staying. Smith and Beasley has been told they won't be getting new deals. Novo has been offered a 1 year deal with an option which he also has refused, there is no wiggle room on this. Broadfoot is angling for more money and has also refused his new deal. (Should also add that Preston seem a likely direction for Smith) Only SDOW has been told Rangers want to keep him on a reduced wage, though he will be offered a new deal at same terms should the takeover finally be completed either way. At the moment Smith will have around �£2m plus room for some cheap bosmans, maximum 2-3 in with it already looking like 6 are guaranteed to leave. Should Bougherra and others go he may get a small percentage of that cash. Hardly awe expiring news that Again, this is as much as discussed today - as I have said passing on what was said and it can be taken or left Cheers
  24. - Walter Smith - February 3rd 2010 - Walter Smith - April 6th 2010 Two months of a difference, two markedly different appraisals of the situation, but both offered by the same man. Just which one do we believe and is the manager helping the cloud of uncertainty still hovering over a club which is just three wins away from the SPL title? On the face of it, Smith's words yesterday should brighten the sky for many bears. The SPL title is within our grasp and to let such a lead go now would be unfathomable. Our debt is decreasing while our closest rivals' is increasing. Our youth system is bearing fruit and our two best youngsters have either signed or are very close to signing extended deals. Meanwhile, we have various player assets that are worth a lot of money in income if we do decide to sell. Add in the likelihood of Rangers being Scotland's sole representatives in the Champions' League Group Stage, then surely our money worries are dissipating by the day? But niggling doubts remain. Smith tempered his comments yesterday by confirming that if the club isn't sold Lloyds Bank remain influential in terms of our strategy for next season and beyond. A strategy that precipitated Smith's doomsday predications of last year and suggestions our activity in the summer this year will be minimal given we need to work with the squad numbers again. That is worrying given we have several players out of contract in the summer - Steven Smith has rejected an offer while players such as Kris Boyd, Nacho Novo and Kirk Broadfoot have all yet to sign new deals; the SPL's highest ever goalscorer increasingly likely to move to the EPL for free. Similarly, key players such as Bougherra, Wilson, McGregor and Davis are continually linked with big money transfers out of the club. Potentially (and not unreasonably) that could mean as many as eight players leaving over the next 6-12 months and that doesn't account for natural degradation of young players moving on while the likes of Davie Weir stepping back. How do we replace these players - all of whom have played their part in our success - if we don't spend money? Therefore, it is extremely valid to ask how any owner of the club - be it SDM/Lloyds Bank or Andrews Ellis/Dave King - intends to address this situation. Our recent success since Walter Smith returned has seen money spent initially but that has dried up since then, even although it could be argued our subsequent settled squad has benefited us in terms of on-field continuity. With an estimated �£12-15 million about to be guaranteed from our CL participation and sales of any key players likely to add substantially to that, why is our manager so glum about the prospects of us using such monies to 'trade' our way through player turnover? If the debt is readily decreasing and success maintained with the SPL title, any owner would be foolhardy to risk a Scottish institution by grabbing as much of this profit as they can instead of sticking by already agreed payment terms. After all, allowing the squad numbers to decrease - both in terms of quantity and quality - means any future financial return is minimised and a sale difficult. Lloyds are surely not suggesting they want all of their �£25million back by January 2011 while a new owner would surely not expect to absorb said profits and keep the support of an ever-cynical fanbase? As always, there are more questions than answers. The only certainty about Rangers nowadays is uncertainty. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to look forward with any degree of positiveness when those that are in positions of influence seem as unsure and doubting as the rest of us. Given our current position in the SPL, this should be a time of aloof smiles and excitement about the future. Yes, the banter may be there but behind the smiles the stress remains for many of us. Is the SPL title the start of a new period of dominance for our club or simply the beginning of the end? The price may have been frozen but before I pay my �£400+ to renew my season ticket, I expect to know what I'm paying for. I'm not deluding myself as to the challenging future of our club so I certainly don't expect to be deluded to by those responsible for it. Too many doubts remain. Too much uncertainty prevails. It is beyond time for the key people in this situation to stop playing games and secure the future of our club.
  25. Last August, ArsÃ?¨ne Wenger cautioned against the typically British opinion that “In England, people think all problems can be sorted out by buying players”. Certainly, as Tony Mowbray and Celtic have discovered thus far, that is not always the case. As the third transfer window in succession closed without a new signing arriving at Ibrox the blue half of Glasgow cast envious glances across the city as the hordes of hooped horrors bared their behinds in our direction. The temporary signing of Robbie Keane, a man who has amassed Ã?£70million worth of transfer fees over his career, is undoubtedly a real coup for Celtic. A player of EPL pedigree should run amok in Scotland. But I’m not ready for jumping off the Kingston Bridge just yet. During the summer I wrote an article calling for calm amongst the support as stage one of the Mowbray revolution was underway. The point was made then, and is perhaps more appropriate now, that the reason for so much turnover at Celtic Park was due to their greater need. Walter Smith presided over a team of double winners whilst the new manager at Parkhead was tasked with rebuilding a team that could challenge for the title. The vast number of transfers in and out, in addition to a change of management, did not just demonstrate a financial strength currently unavailable to Smith. It was a clear indication of turmoil in the East End. First team stalwarts of previous seasons; Nakamura, Hesselink and Hartley were moved on as a number of fringe and youth players also exited Parkhead. 12 players left Celtic either permanently or on loan, with Darren O’Dea (now back at the club) among their number. At the same time 7 players were brought in, all to questionable success so far. Zaluska has rarely featured with Boruc number 1. Zheng Zhi had an Old Firm cameo that ended in defeat, whilst left-back Danny Fox has already returned to England. Young defender Josh Thompson has only featured due to a recent lack of viable alternatives whilst N’Guemo and more strikingly Fortune have yet to justify their fees. As I quoted in the summer article ArsÃ?¨ne Wenger is a firm believer that purchasing players is not the only way to develop and improve your team. Consistency of selection with a group of players who know and are willing to work for each other can be far more valuable than a high-profile transfer earning mega-bucks who could disrupt dressing room harmony. How will Keane’s team mates react to Celtic reportedly paying half of his Ã?£130,000 wages? The flurry of activity in this transfer window, like in the summer has further highlighted our lack of incoming business. During the summer, only Jerome Rothen arrived on loan whilst Barry Ferguson, Brahim Hemdani and Christian Dailly amongst the high profile departures. A large number of players left the squad, but the majority of the double winning squad were retained with the impact of those leaving questionable at best. I appealed for calm in the summer as just because Celtic were making a lot of moves, there was no guarantee of success. No one could judge how the signings would settle and it was not as if they were merely adding to an already strong unit. Only selling key players from the first team allowed to finance their summer spending spree, as has been the case this January. The effect of continuity is there for all to see. Despite a first team squad reduced to around 20-23 first team players, Walter Smith has led Rangers to a ten-point lead at the top of the SPL table. All this achieved despite a desperately unlucky run of injuries and suspensions. With Bougherra, Boyd, Miller, Edu, Beasley, Naismith, Mendes, Novo and Broadfoot all unavailable at various points in the season (and most of our star performers missing in January) many predicted our title challenge to falter as we started the new year. Instead, we extended our advantage at the top. There was no doubt an element of luck in coping without so many key players, but it is also testament to the character and collective will of the players who performed in their absence. We are undoubtedly a better unit with the likes of Bougherra, Boyd and Miller in particular are available. But we have the players to keep picking up the points when the first team is down to the bare bones. It is highly unlikely that we will contest the rest of the season with the number of players unavailable that we suffered through January. Bougherra, should he not lose himself or his passport, will be back for this weekend’s match and if he has aspirations to return to the EPL should relish the challenge of Robbie Keane when that arrives. Kenny Miller seems to have aggravated a long standing injury and may miss a few more games but should hopefully be available for the tougher upcoming fixtures. Kris Boyd should be playing bounce games next week ahead of a first team return and will look to renew his partnership with his international team mate. So we may not have strengthened the squad with new bodies, but we will have a host of the key players from earlier this year to bolster the squad that battled valiantly in January. The loss of Mendes weakens the squad but due to injury his contribution to developing a ten-point lead was minor. There is every reason for positivity in the ability of those who remain in spite of his absence. If the squad turnover at Celtic in the summer was a sign of turmoil, their January spend has done nothing to dispel that view. Summer signing Fox had already returned to England whilst Darren O’Dea, packed off down South on loan, has returned and already taken the captain’s armband (if temporarily) with McManus going out on loan... Hardly the sign of a manager with a clear vision for the future of his club. A further 12 players left the club last month, most notably the captain McManus, his centre back partner Caldwell, Barry Robson and top scorer Scott McDonald. These players have been replaced by South Korean Ki, Jos Hooiveld, Rasmussen and 3 loan signings in Keane, Diomansy Kamara and defender Braafheid from Bayern. With Celtic’s preference for masking their transfer business with undisclosed fees and using the press to augment their signings values by increasing their wages across the duration of the transfer it would take a more financially astute poster (visit our forum for our two accounting experts' views) to assess the impact of their transfer dealings and hence gain insight to their real financial standing. However, with the fact that the big name players have come in on loan and the departures of their top scorer, captain and first XI players it appears their incoming transfers have only been possible by flogging half their squad. Suggestions of financial strength appear wide of the mark. Having lost the title last year and missed out on the financial bounty of the Champions League, Celtic cannot afford to miss out again. Having fallen ten points behind after their match with Kilmarnock last night they have taken an enormous gamble by throwing money at expensive imports in an attempt to wrestle the title from our grasp. Should they fail their financial problems should become more apparent. The rumour that Dermot Desmond has put up the money to cover the cost of Robbie Keane’s expensive loan stay further supports this theory. As does Redknapp’s insistence on Sky Sports News that it is only a temporary move. Essentially, Celtic have not spent much money this transfer window to flex their financial muscle over Rangers. Mowbray has wheeled and dealed better than Del Boy Trotter, or even dodgy ‘Arry to manoeuvre his club into a position to attract big name players from down south. The suggestions out with Parkhead suggest falling attendances were a further motivating factor. Whilst bringing in EPL class strikers is most surely going to strengthen your squad, selling your top scorer, your captain, your first choice centre backs and your most effective combative midfielder does not. Celtic are not going from strength to strength. They are trying to resurrect the phoenix from the ashes of the last 18 months. By contrast, whilst we do not have the funds to bring in EPL squad players, we do not have to sell Boyd, Bougherra and Davis to try and turn round a misfiring squad. It is distinctly unlikely we will suffer the injuries and unavailability of player that we have over the first half (or so) of the season. A full strength Rangers in December was a ravenous beast - chewing up and spitting out the best the SPL had to offer out with the Old Firm. When our player of the year candidates return there is every reason to expect we will be strong enough to maintain our title advantage and secure a second consecutive title. The lack of continuity at Celtic is an unknown quantity that could backfire for Mowbray as he tries to rebuild a squad in January and the sensible money will be on Rangers retaining the SPL championship.
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