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  1. Ally "Lee Wallace will remain a Rangers player unless someone meets the clubs valuation". I'm sorry Ally but that is not what you should be saying here, how about: "Lee Wallace is one of the clubs best players and we discourage any bids for the player, I spoke to him yesterday and he loves it here and the fans love him" Or he could have said: "only a riduculous offer would tempt the club to sell" but we shot ourselves with that one and our quite scandalous £1.4M valuation. Transfer windows used to be exciting for us, who will we sign, will we sign anyone. Now it's all about will we lose our best players. Building for the future? Hmmmm
  2. http://www.sellsgoalkeeperproducts.com/news/rangers-on-the-rise Hi Steve, we haven’t spoken since you joined Rangers – how did the move come about? I was on loan at Dundee last season from Preston and the manager, John Brown, is a former Rangers player who still has a lot of contacts at the club. I’d heard they were looking for another keeper ahead of this season, so he kindly made a couple of calls on my behalf. Ally McCoist [Rangers manager] invited me to train for a couple of weeks and at the end of it I was handed a contract. You’ve played for some big clubs like Everton, Stoke and Sheffield United, but Rangers must be an amazing club to play for? If you put aside the league we are playing in at the moment, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of its stature and support. Despite everything that’s happened off the pitch it’s a fantastic club to play for; the facilities are top class and we have 36,000 season-ticket holders at Ibrox – and that’s for the third tier of Scottish football. The loyalty is incredible and there are many clubs in the top leagues in world football who would love that kind of backing. The size of the club is what entices players here, not the fact that we are playing in League One; Rangers have a worldwide status. It’s looking good for successive promotions, isn’t it? We’re 23 points clear at the top of the table, so hopefully we can get the title wrapped up by mid-February and then that takes us into the Championship – just one promotion from where the club was prior to our demotion. What’s happened off the pitch is not fault of the players, the management or most of the staff. It was taken out of their hands, but what we can do is work hard to get the club back to the highest level in Scottish football as soon as possible. Are away games tougher, given games against Rangers are like cup finals for these teams? You visit some of the grounds and they are like the equivalent of three leagues lower than the Conference in England. They have just the one stand with some terracing but when Rangers visit they have to erect two or three temporary stands to accommodate all the supporters. I’m using East Fife as an example, but when we play there twice a year, the finances raised will keep them going for two or three years. With the league wrapped up, does the Scottish Cup take on primary importance? It does. We’ve beaten Airdrie from our league, Falkirk – who are top of the Championship – and next week it’s Dunfermline. We’re then in the last eight with a real chance of playing a Premiership team. We need to play that type of opposition, to give us a better yardstick of where we are. Who knows, we might even get Celtic! You’ve come in as understudy to Cammy Bell – but made quite an impression on your debut, didn’t you? Yes, Cammy’s partner was giving birth, so I came in for the game at Forfar and kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win. I also made what must be the best save of my career; a corner has come in, deflected off the side of Lee Wallace’s head and was heading for the top corner. I’ve pounced like a cat out of a tree and managed to claw the ball away with my left hand. I had nice comments on Twitter, people saying it was the best save they’d ever seen, and that – like the manager says – is why I’m here. I’m here to step in when needed and show my worth to the side. Finally, what does the future hold for you? I’m contracted until the end of the season, but would like to stay longer. At 34 I’ve still got a lot to offer and I’d like to think my experience is also rubbing off on the other keepers at the club. Along with our goalkeeper coach, Jim Stewart, we’re a tight-knit bunch of keepers and we’ve got a good working relationship with each other. Cammy is the club’s long-term prospect, but if I can keep pushing him and also do myself justice when I play, then that’s good news for the club. I’ve also started coaching the younger keepers here but as I’ve shown when I’ve played, there’s still plenty left in the tank!
  3. Thread removed due to lack of interest.
  4. http://twitpic.com/dtp3jl According to the Daily Record. Bid of £900k rejected with club holding out for £1.4m. Don't grudge him a move tbh, he has earned it but the fee annoys me somewhat. A possible loss on such a good player is just typical of us. We are talking about a player in his prime, an international footballer and one who plays in a position where it is hard to find good ones. Of course we will survive and win the next two leagues without him but that doesn't mean i like it. If it was Celtic in our place, Lennon would be all over the media saying how priceless Lee is and how no one could afford him and Liewell would have his lapdogs writing the player is worth their standard £10m no matter the level he plays. As delusional as their tactics are, we need to take a leaf or two from their book. Why not tell the agents brokering the deal that the fee is £5m, we may get 3/4s of that. Who knows.
  5. You know, some had to do it! Barrie McKay might be off to Morton for ONE months. Greenock Telegraph
  6. ...........to cut costs elsewhere and keep first-team squad intact 27 Jan 2014 07:16 THE Ibrox midfielder admits he fears top players will be sold to help balance the books but hopes Ally McCoist is allowed to keep building for the future. NICKY LAW has urged Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace to cut costs elsewhere and keep the top-team squad intact. The Ibrox midfielder acknowledges that with financial streamlining going on at the club the final days of this month’s transfer window are a worrying time for the management team and players. Wallace is in the midst of a 120-day review designed to cut costs and develop a financial model to ensure a self-sustaining business. Big decisions have to be made, such as the one that saw finance director Brian Stockbridge leave the club at the weekend, but Law hopes a cash shortfall does not result in a player cull. With just five days left in the transfer window Rangers are vulnerable to any offers coming in for one of their stars with Scotland full-back Lee Wallace the player who could raise the largest sum. But Law believes it would send a bold message to the dressing room if Wallace and the money men on the board find other ways to make their cuts and refuse to sell in order to keep Ally McCoist’s squad on track for their Championship bid next season. The 25-year-old English ace, who joined Rangers from Motherwell last summer, said: “We’re just one of a number of clubs who will be looking forward to the end of the window because we have good players who people will probably be looking at and looking to take. “The manager has said we’re trying to build here rather than lose his best players. Hopefully that will be the case. "We want to keep everyone to help us build towards getting back where we belong. “It would be a positive sign that we’re looking to keep progressing and get back to the top and hopefully that will be what happens.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/nicky-law-urges-rangers-chief-3065454
  7. There is seldom an isolated event at Rangers. Brian Stockbridge's departure as finance director is being interpreted as the first example of Graham Wallace, the chief executive, asserting his authority. Yet it also changes the dynamic in the boardroom, reducing the club to four directors and potentially altering how certain decisions are made in the coming months. There is, still, a sense of uncertainty about what the future holds for the club. Rangers' route back to the top flight is still being determined. Essentially, the club either cut back their spending in line with revenue from season ticket sales and, while in the lower leagues, limited commercial revenue. Alternatively, some investment in the coming 18 months would allow the team to be strong enough to compete on its return to the top division, and so quicken the recovery of Rangers' old status. An element of restructuring is required in either case, which is why Wallace has embarked on a root and branch review of the club's business. Philip Nash, the former Arsenal and Liverpool finance director who was recently brought in as a consultant, is expected to take the finance director role in the short-term. How it impacts on the boardroom will also be interesting, though. Dave King wants to lead the fundraising in a fresh share issue. His vision is to generate money from himself and other high net-worth Rangers fans that can be used to strengthen the squad and the football resources so that the team are immediately competitive, in return for influence on how the club is run. The alternative is a longer period spent trying to regain ground. There are complications, though, since a new share issue requires existing shareholders to reinvest to maintain the size of their stake, at a time when the vast majority of them have suffered considerable losses. The shares were launched in December 2012 at 70p, but closed last Friday with a value of 27.25p. This is the ideological struggle at the club, and the decision on the way forward lies with the Rangers International Football Club plc board members - Wallace, Norman Crighton, James Easdale and the chairman, David Somers - and the shareholders. Before either short-term funding, to tide over until season ticket sales kick in, or fresh funding is sought, though, Wallace has to restore the business to an even keel. It is thought to be losing between £500,000 and £1m a month, and costs will need to be cut. The first-team wages are around 30% of turnover, but with one week of the transfer window remaining, Rangers may yet find themselves having to react to offers for some of their players, or seek to incentivise some to leave, although payments would further reduce the cash flow. This is at a time when the team have lost only once in 22 league games. Some fans grumble at occasionally muted performances, but Ally McCoist deserves credit for managing through a series of crises, and for maintaining the standards the club was built on. "There have been times when I've said, 'What am I doing here?'," McCoist said. "But how could you regret becoming the manager of Rangers? I've got my dream job. It's not the dream situation [but] as long as I can look myself in the mirror, I'll be happy. I've made mistakes and I'll make more mistakes. As long as they're done in an attempt to do the right thing then I can live with that." A recent lunch with Graeme Souness and Walter Smith, his friends and former Rangers managers, will have brought plenty of reminders of different, more accommodating times. McCoist is resilient, though. While the club's future direction is being debated, his assessment is that his team needs reinforcements if it is to eventually challenge Celtic again. "If we're talking about winning the top league then we're miles away," he said. "I would hate that to be taken as a criticism of the team because it's not. But it would be very unfair for people to expect these free transfers who have come together to win [the] top flight. Some, if we got help with players coming in, could probably do it. But we would need investment." Herald
  8. Down to 30.4p, is there only one way for the shares to go with the present board ? Does the share price really matter?
  9. ....yet they'll prepare for Forfar match at four star Hotel. KEITH hits out at Rangers' lavish pre-match routine ahead of tonight's League 1 clash with Forfar claiming they are living a champagne lifestyle on an Irn-Bru budget. HERE’S a thing. You know those Rangers players involved in conceptual discussions about theoretical wage cuts last week? And who metaphorically booted the hypothetical idea into touch? Well, here’s today’s reality. Did you know they’re all being bussed to the Four-Star Carnoustie Hotel this morning? Where they’ll enjoy some fine dining for lunch, possibly at the hotel’s own AA Rosette-winning restaurant? Rooms will then be provided in order that they can enjoy an afternoon nap, for those not getting treatments in the spa. All for an away trip to Forfar? To take on Gavin Swankie and Darren Dods? Is it any wonder these players don’t know if they are coming or going? Or that, as he unwraps the chocolate on his fluffy cotton pillow this afternoon, manager Ally McCoist might pause to reflect on where it has all gone wrong. Talk about mixed messages? Talk about champagne lifestyles and Irn-Bru budgets? Talk about hubris, arrogance and over-indulgence? Talk about sledgehammers and walnuts. The constant noise and confusion around Rangers is truly head-melting stuff. No wonder the club’s new chief executive looked slightly ruffled last week when news emerged from Murray Park of his polite suggestion that the first team might consider 15 per cent pay cuts. For a man of his experience Graham Wallace, below right, ought to have known such a proposal would be unlikely to remain within the walls of the dressing room for longer than it takes a player to hit the speed dial button to his agent. It was bound to result in an outbreak of panic among a support that has seen this movie before and which was so badly traumatised by the way it ended. But Wallace can be excused because, not only is he new here but also there must be a million and one different, more pressing thoughts, pinballing around inside his head as he attempts to tackle this latest financial crisis. Commendably, he has promised to deliver a business model that will finally allow Rangers to live within its means. Sustainability, transparency and a bit of common sense would go a long way to sorting out the internal mayhem over which he presides. Today’s unnecessarily lavish road trip, though, is just more proof that, when he agreed to take on this position at the top of a dysfunctional board, he was in fact stepping into life through the looking glass. Wallace in Wonderland. Or not. It’s his job now to make some sense of the numbers, to crunch them down and to crush this club’s recent culture of big bonuses and eye-popping extravagance before what little cash is left in the bank has evaporated completely. There is a rich irony about the fact that, in Philip Nash, he has hired yet another big-earning accountant to assist him in this urgent cost-cutting review. But then this job is so big Wallace might need all the help he can get. And from people in whom he can trust. Wallace’s planning is all that stands now between Rangers and another financial catastrophe. At the present rate of spending, the club’s last reserves will be gone before the end of the campaign. In fact, the prediction of financial director Brian Stockbridge that Rangers will be down to their last million in April now looks hugely optimistic. It is quite incredible this man remains in charge of the books given his standing in the eyes of the fans. It was not long ago he was talking confidently of growing turnover to in excess of £100m. Only then to predict a £7m year-end loss. Which, in fact, turned out to be a £14m black hole. And if, as is being strongly suggested by people on the inside of this basketcase, Stockbridge has got it wrong again then the situation at Ibrox could soon become dire. Perhaps as soon as next month. At a time when every penny counts, thank goodness then that Stockbridge has handed back that £200k bonus he pocketed for watching Rangers win last season’s Third Division title. Right? And has the financial director and the rest of the board actually signed off on the halving of McCoist’s eye-watering £825k annual salary? After talking about it for months, why on earth would it not have been rubber-stamped by now? If all this financial remedial work really has been completed then Wallace should announce it to the Stock Exchange and also reveal the current state of the accounts. It should be done in the name of sustainability and transparency – and in the hope of forcing common sense to prevail. Wallace must be astonished at some of the numbers that have flown across his desk. It is not his fault this club has blown its chance to stockpile cash on its journey up the leagues and there is nothing he can do now to address this grotesque overspend. That ship has sailed. Had Rangers plotted a more sensible course they would be arriving in the top flight in 18 months in a fit and healthy state, with millions squirrelled away. But, in their vulgar rush to cuddle up to McCoist, former chief execs Charles Green and Craig Mather put their own popularity ahead of proper prudence. By doing this, they kept the fans onside and the tills ringing. All Wallace can do now is address the crisis this pair and Stockbridge created. He’s not helped by the fact that, simply by agreeing to join a broken board and glue it back together, he himself is now viewed with varying degrees of suspicion. But, unlike Green and Mather, he must not allow his own popularity to get in the way of protecting the club’s interests. Which is why it was encouraging to see the first steps towards a more austere future being taken last week. But, crucially, if Wallace is serious about grabbing the bull by the horns then he must do so in the boardroom because this is where the biggest excesses have recently been committed. It is hard to think of another club that spends millions less on its players than on the rest of its employees but that’s precisely what the accounts showed to be the case at Rangers last year. No wonder the players refuse to take the first hit when there are other far more bloated and obvious targets at the top of the marble staircase. These players may well feel treated like disposable window dressing when they are supposed to be the very heart of the club. And here’s another thing. They were asked to ponder a 15 per cent cut over a period of 18 months, while also being told the club hopes to sign even more players in the summer. Which means some of them might be volunteering to help finance their own replacements. And you thought lunch at Carnoustie was mad?
  10. Andy Mitchell contract terminated "by mutual consent" http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/6024-mitchell-leaves-club
  11. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/shares-are-selling-but-will-players-have-to-be-sold-as-well.23177405 The Rangers International Football Club plc share price has been falling steadily since the annual meeting of shareholders last December. Yesterday, 2.5m shares were sold at 24p, a new low (the launch price was 70p), with a further 250,000 sold at 25p, the largest single day trading volume in more than a month. At the same time as the share price has been falling, the chief executive Graham Wallace has been conducting a review of the business, with significant cuts expected to be implemented to bring costs in line with income. Here Herald Sport looks at the state of play at Rangers. Who sold and who bought the shares? We may not find out, at least for now. The shares were sold in batches of 1m and 250,000, so it could have been multiple sellers and, in theory, multiple buyers. Anybody who takes their holding above or below 3% needs to notify that fact, but it can take several days to be posted on the Stock Exchange. In total, the five transactions accounted for around 4% of the RIFC shareholding. So what is the significance of the recent share price drop? For investors, it means that they have been losing money, unless they were among the small number to receive 1p shares. Until yesterday, the volume of shares sold was small, suggesting that the price was falling because investors were looking to sell their stock but there were no buyers. The share price rebounded to 28.5p at the close of the market, but it is widely thought that the net asset value share price is around 25p, making that a significant value for the market price to dip below. Might a takeover be imminent? That is unlikely. The arrival of a buyer on the scene would push the share price back up. Investors would need to be willing to sell their holdings, although those who voted against the re-election of the board members last month - around 30% - may be less inclined to retain their shares. Private deals can be struck, of course, but Rangers' business model needs to be streamlined so any price would be discounted to take into account the need for further investment. What is the state of the club's finances? Wallace, by his own admission, needs to cut the costbase. Rangers are thought to be losing somewhere in the region of £1m per month, and Wallace is currently conducting a review of the entire business. He stresses that this will also identify areas requiring investment, but it is clear that cuts will need to be implemented first. The club expects to have around £1m cash left by April, but there are issues to address. Such as? It is not so simple as just identifying, for example, players who are peripheral to the team and telling them to find a new club. Emilson Cribari has barely played this season, but is believed to be content in Glasgow and adamant that he will stay until the summer. If he cannot match the wages he is on, there is also no incentive for him to leave. What about selling players? There are some who would attract bids from other clubs, but Lee Wallace, for one, is also adamant that he intends to remain at Rangers and has no interest in pursuing a career in England. David Templeton has not featured much this season, but would need to find a club willing to match the wages he is on at Ibrox. So how does Wallace reduce the costs? He might seek redundancies, although they would also require severance packages. Hard decisions may be made, but there are costs that can be cut on the business side. Is there no alternative? No. Rangers intend to seek fresh investment, but the business needs to be brought to an even keel first. A share issue is possible in time, and Dave King is ready to lead that fresh round of investment, but Wallace will not begin that process before he has redeveloped the business model. By then, he will also have identified the areas - such as scouting - that require investment. If costs are being cut, why is Philip Nash, a consultant, being brought in? Given that Wallace is a chartered accountant, that Andrew Dickson, the head of football administration, is a chartered accountant, and that Rangers have a financial director in Brian Stockbridge, a finance controller in Ken Olverman, and an accountancy firm in Active Corporate, another accountant seems superfluous. Nash was finance director at Arsenal and Liverpool, so knows the business of football, and it is conceivable that his remit is to source new revenue as much as contribute to the business review, but it may be Wallace wants fresh and independent analysis. So what happens next? More uncertainty, probably, with the share price and with events inside the club. While the transfer window is open, players can be sold or moved on, while other areas of the business will also be cut. Wallace faces a difficult task to balance the books without fundamentally affecting the ability of the team to continue progressing up the leagues.
  12. The most frustrating thing McCoist said today.... This is not the first time he has said this; what message does this send the young players?
  13. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-bring-new-financial-guru-3009812 FORMER Liverpool and Arsenal financial chief Philip Nash is recruited as a consultant to help streamline the club’s massive outgoings and slash budget. RANGERS have stepped up plans to wipe millions from their budget – by employing a new financial guru to help oversee cuts. Record Sport can reveal former Liverpool and Arsenal financial chief Philip Nash has been recruited by the Ibrox board in a “consultancy” role to help oversee streamlining of the club’s enormous spending. Yesterday the club’s share price fell to 27p and Nash joins chief executive Graham Wallace along with financial director Brian Stockbridge to become the THIRD highly-paid chartered accountant at the top end of the regime. Two further money men, Andrew Dickson and Ken Olverman, are also employed by the club which now needs Nash’s expertise to help turn around losses of an estimated £1m per month. Nash was headhunted by Liverpool in 2008 after helping Arsenal finance their multi-million move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. He survived a regime change at Anfield and was credited with helping the club tie up £20m shirt sponsorship with Standard Chartered Bank before standing down in December 2012 citing family reasons. Rangers’ financial position has deteriorated alarmingly in the past 12 months and Stockbridge has admitted they may be down to their last million in little more than two months. As another high earner arrives, Ally McCoist is readying himself for cuts. But he insists Wallace accepts that dramatically slashing the playing budget will undermine progress through the divisions. But the manager admits he does not know the extent to which he will be forced to cut – even after a lengthy meeting with Wallace on Tuesday. McCoist said: “Graham hasn’t told me I need to sell players or get rid of them. “It was just an overall view of the football side and we will meet again next week. “He hasn’t made it known to me where those cuts are going to take place and in what shape or form. “It would make sense to Graham that just cutting and selling is not the right way to go about it in terms of the progression of the club, the team and the squad. “If you need to take one step back to take two or three forward again, that will be Graham’s decision.” McCoist hopes he does not have to lose players during the transfer window. He said: “I would be thrilled to bits if there were no bids.”
  14. Article submitted by Scorchio - Rangers to benefit from new Glasgow City Airport In a week where GCC and Celtic came under heavy fire over State Aid claims and the remarkable East End Regeneration and Commonwealth Games programmes which have been centred around Celtic Park and it's close proximity within the Parkhead area, incredible plans to build a new airport called 'Glasgow City Airport' have now been leaked and apparently there will be massive benefits for Rangers. The new inner city airport is a highly ambitious project, but it will undoubtedly cause controversy since it will require the relocation of a 170 year old cemetery, four churches, a bus depot, a massive biscuit factory, dozens of small businesses and hundreds of residential properties including their residents. When questioned on the viability of all this relocating to clear land of residents, businesses and historical buildings, a source in Glasgow said that it's just a continuation of what's been going on for years in the Parkhead area when he stated: "You just need to look at certain Parkhead streets where the residents were relocated to sell the land and of course, there's the issue of London Road Primary School. The Edwardian building is a B class listed building and should perhaps have been restored and developed into something of benefit to the whole community. "Instead of that, we thought it was more prudent to systematically allow it to rot and go to ruin over a ten year period so that eventually there could be no argument about knocking it down and selling the land to the lowest bidder. "That ten year period is nothing. The Parkhead regeneration programmes have been in the pipeline for three decades, but really went into full swing in terms of funding when Parkhead won the bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Keen to get back to the subject of the new airport, the source was asked about timescales for the project and replied: "We were hoping to have the new airport completed in time for the Games, but it's looking as if it'll be a wee bit tight for time, so we're going to focus on completing the extensive Edwardian building renovation works we've been doing in the Parkhead area as part of the Parkhead Townscape Heritage Initiative "Once we get the Edwardian Primary School flattened, we'll then help with the landscaping of the Avenue of Heroes that's planned because that will immediately tart up the Celtic Park stadium entrance once the school's out of the way. Clearly then, it's not an immediate, but a long term project involving significant planning and relocation works well beyond the end of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, but interested to know how any of this was going to benefit Rangers the source was asked about that and simply replied: "For decades Rangers fans have been coming to an underdeveloped, smelly and dirty Parkhead area for Old Firm fixtures, but in the future they will be coming to an overdeveloped, sweet scented and clean Parkhead area which will make for a more pleasant matchday experience. Overseas Rangers fans will also be able to fly directly to Parkhead.
  15. SHIELS has played just 15 minutes of first team action in two months but agent Sam Morrow insists the player is not looking to move on. DEAN Shiels’ agent is seeking talks with Rangers boss Ally McCoist to discover whether his client has a future at Ibrox. The 28-year-old has played just 15 minutes of first-team football in the last two months – despite being fit for all of that time. The Northern Ireland forward suffered medial-ligament damage against Annan in March and came back too early in August, managing only three games before suffering a relapse with his knee. But agent Sam Morrow insists Shiels has been raring to go since November and is baffled as to why McCoist hasn’t picked him more. After last month’s 4-0 win over Dunfermline, the Ibrox boss shot down rumours that Shiels had been told to find another club. Now Morrow wants to speak to McCoist in person after revealing Shiels is desperate to stay with the team he loves. He said: “Dean has been fit for two months now. He has been working hard and doing extra training – he’s champing at the bit to play again. “We’re in the dark as to why he hasn’t featured more often. I left a message for Ally last week but he hasn’t got back to me yet. “I appreciate this has been a hectic schedule for the club and I’m not trying to tell him how to do his job. I’m just looking to have a chat so we can help Dean to stay focused. “You can become disillusioned when you’re not playing. It can be difficult doing all the hard graft during the week and then having nothing to show for it on a Saturday. “In Dean’s case, there is added frustration because he wasn’t left out due to a loss of form but because of injury and it has been a long time since he was playing regularly.” Shiels signed a four-year deal at Ibrox after leaving Kilmarnock in 2012 and has no intention of moving. But Morrow admits his client’s international career will suffer if he continues to be left on the sidelines by McCoist this season. He said: “All Dean wants to do is play for Glasgow Rangers, the club that he loves. “I’m sure Ally will get in touch with me whenever he gets a minute but we’re just looking for a little reassurance from him. “There were rumours the other week that Dean had been told he could leave if he could find another club but that’s absolute rubbish. I saw Ally has confirmed that too. “His position is different from fringe players who haven’t been getting a game for other reasons. I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before Dean is playing for Rangers again. “He’s a talented boy and it’s just over a year-and-a-half since PFA Scotland shortlisted him as one of the four best players in the top flight. “Dean wants to show the fans what he is capable of and there is also his situation with Northern Ireland to be taken into consideration. “He was a regular starter under Michael O’Neill when he was fit but he needs to be playing for Rangers to be considered.” Meanwhile, Kenny Miller could see his hopes of a third spell with Rangers dashed because of a transfer stand-off with his Vancouver strike partner. The 33-year-old has admitted he would love to return to Ibrox but Miller is unlikely to be allowed to move in this month’s window. The former Scotland star will be needed at his MLS club after Brazilian striker Camilo Sanvezzo was at the centre of a transfer mystery. The 25-year-old – who is believed to be unhappy he earns just a quarter of Miller’s wages – has been pictured undergoing a medical at Mexican side Queretaro FC, despite Vancouver claiming he’s still under contract for another year. Whitecaps are desperately trying to get the ‘transfer’ declared void after president Bob Lenarduzzi said: “It’s unacceptable and inappropriate.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-striker-dean-shiels-determined-2999685
  16. THE Bhoys are ready to push the boat out for the Scotland international and Record Sport understands contact has already been made between the clubs. CELTIC are lining up an ambitious bid to snatch Steven Fletcher from Sunderland in this month’s transfer window. Record Sport understands contact has been made between the clubs and that a fee of around £6million will be enough to persuade the Premiership strugglers to part with the Scotland striker, who has not been a regular starter under new boss Gus Poyet. Fletcher, 26, cost the Black Cats £12m two years ago and is under contract until May 2016 but serious ankle and shoulder injuries troubled him for most of 2013 and it is believed he would relish the chance of a move to Celtic. Sunderland are prepared to sell him at a knockdown price to the Scottish champions but would be looking for more if a Premier League relegation rival – West Ham are said to be another interested club – made an offer. Celtic would almost certainly have to smash their wage structure to land the former Hibs, Burnley and Wolves attacker. Chris Sutton: Signing Fletcher would be a real statement of intent But the expected sale of Georgios Samaras would free up around £20,000 a week, which would be around half of Fletcher’s wage. The Hoops could have signed Fletcher for a fraction of today’s cost in 2009 when then boss Gordon Strachan was desperate to snatch him from Hibs in the January transfer window. They failed to get the deal over the line and went on to lose the title to Rangers. But, five years later, boss Neil Lennon is determined to have more luck with Fletcher, who is back in the Scotland fold after a self-imposed exile when Craig Levein was boss. Fletcher, who has 13 caps, is regarded by current Scots coach Strachan as first-pick striker and Lennon has been looking for a top attacker since losing Gary Hooper to Norwich in summer. The Irishman has identified Fletcher as the man he wants to lead his forward line and serious attempts will now be made to land the player.
  17. Apologies if this has been done to death elsewhere but I haven't noticed any particular complaint about Celtic postponing their fixture this week to play in a lucrative friendly tournament. Has sporting integrity now gone out the window? Is it now ok to move fixtures around to suit the desires of one club? Is the top league now being run exclusively for the financial benefit of one club? All rhetorical questions of course but the answer to the next one is less obvious, at least to me anyway. Why does nobody seem to object to anything they do now?
  18. Michael Grant BACK in 2012 when old Charles Green was figuring out which buttons to push to endear himself to a deeply sceptical Rangers support, so that he might clean out their wallets a few months later in a share flotation, he had no qualms about fighting dirty. He'd been in Scotland for about five minutes but that didn't stop the verbal diarrhoea that led to him spouting off about bigotry, about Celtic, about the Scottish football authorities and about the world in general having it in for Rangers. Plenty saw through him and knew his game, but there were enough who bought into it and made the mistake of embracing him as some sort of champion. Perceptions changed and the shares were snapped up. Now, as then, there is a polarised club - board in one camp, most of the supporters in another - which soon will be in need of a life-support machine being switched on again. This time the sale of season tickets will dictate whether Rangers survive financially or collapse again, possibly into another administration, because of unsustainable running costs. A rumbling, low level mood of resistance and unrest exists among the supporters even if the outcome of last month's annual general meeting left them unsure of what to do next. Thousands don't like this board but don't know what they can do about it. There is no consensus for an organised boycott of season tickets but there are plenty of committed, ordinary fans who are just quietly fed up with the way the club has been run and are prepared to stop going next season. If you were Sandy Easdale, or David Somers, or maybe even Graham Wallace, you might have read what Ally McCoist said about the fixture schedule at the weekend and thought "yeah, that's a good line, that'll go down well". McCoist made some pretty unlikely and strange remarks about the Scottish Professional Football League's allocation of fixtures and the fact Rangers had been made to play four times in 11 days, and three in a row away from home over the festive holidays. "Different initials but the same old story with the way our club has been treated," said McCoist. He won't welcome the comparison, but that sounded exactly like Green. On Saturday the Stenhousemuir striker John Gemmell took to Twitter. For all its attractions and advantages, social media encourages a depressing tendency to lapse instantly into personal abuse, especially on Twitter, and Gemmell used the sort of language that would have once led to him having his mouth washed out with soap. Take away the infantile insults, though, and it was easy to agree with Gemmell's underlying point. Since when did playing four games in 11 days, all within an hour's travel, amount to an excessive or unfair demand to place upon any set of footballers? The idea that Rangers have been "singled out" or "treated differently" simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. A dozen other clubs have played four games in 11 days. Some have played four in 10 days. A team cannot claim to have been picked on for unfair treatment if it turns out loads of others were in exactly the same boat. Four games in 11 days is a busy schedule, no doubt. But no more than that and the festive programme is always busy because it gives a greater number of people the chance to attend games while on holiday. Rangers have successfully requested the postponement of games this season because they had some players away on international duty, postponements which inconvenienced other clubs just as they feel inconvenienced now. McCoist wanted the game at Stenhousemuir to be played in midweek. Stenhousemuir wanted it played yesterday, as it was. Gemmell made a very good point about that in one of his tweets. Part-time players such as him and his team-mates tend to have a free diary for games at weekends. When they play midweek matches they have either to take half-days off work or else put in a full shift then rush to the ground to be ready in time. Why would they put themselves at such a massive disadvantage, and allow Rangers such an advantage, by moving their home game from a weekend to next midweek? Rangers players have no other obligations pulling on their time, of course, hence Gemmell's sarcastic references to their massages, club-prepared healthy meals and £5000-a-week wages. The difference in how the two sets of players are rewarded isn't an accident. The players at Ibrox are better footballers and that is reflected in their treatment, but sympathy lies with Gemmell for drawing the comparison. Rangers will never be able to paint themselves as a victim when they are the League One club which has it all. It's easier to sympathise with the complaint about three consecutive away games but, even so, fans weren't asked to travel to the ends of the earth. All three games were in the central belt. Nor is three consecutive away games anything unusual: later this month Rangers will begin a run of three in a row at home. What can be said for certain is that McCoist wasn't doing the board's bidding when he piped up. That isn't the way things work at Ibrox at the moment. It was his own, personal view. But a lot of people found it hard to take seriously. And Gemmell, a season-ticket holder at Ibrox, wasn't the only Rangers supporter among them. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/opinion/rangers-have-to-play-the-game-when-it-comes-to-fixture-congestion.23101970
  19. ALLY McCOIST has hit out at the SPFL for forcing Rangers fans travel to three away games in just six days. The Ibrox club will take on Stenhousemuir in a rescheduled League One fixture at Ochilview tomorrow afternoon. The game follows meetings with Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium on Thursday and Dunfermline at East End Park on Monday. And with a trek to Forfar looming a fortnight on Monday McCoist is furious with the governing body. He said: "The game against Stenhousemuir shouldn't have been played this Sunday, it should have been played in midweek. "That's our fourth game in 11 days. The way our club has been treated is not on. And then to make matters worse, they're sending us and our fans up to Forfar after that. So we play four games in 11 days, nothing for nine days and then they send our fans away up to Forfar on a Monday night. "So I just think there's something not right about that." McCoist revealed that pleas from Rangers to the SPFL to rethink the punishing run of matches have fallen on deaf ears. Asked if Rangers had any input into the scheduling of the games, he said: "Yes, but it shows you how much they listen to us. "At this time of the year, when money is scarce for everybody, it is ridiculous to ask our fans to travel a third away game and fourth game in 11 days. "As I say, different initials, same old story." McCoist added: "I understand more than anybody that we have to attract sponsors and attract television audiences, "But I just feel once again our supporters are being asked to go the length and breadth of the country. "That shouldn't be the case all the time. It's just as well our supporters are a strong bunch." McCoist is also concerned about the impact so many games away from home in such a short space of time will have on his players. He said: "Four games in 11 days for any set of players is very difficult. "Lewis Macleod went down against Airdrie and and Ian Black has picked up a couple of kicks against Airdrie too. In an ideal world, they would have longer to recover." Meanwhile, McCoist, who will meet chief executive Graham Wallace next week, has admitted he has targeted players he would like in the January transfer window. He said: "If we get the green light to go, then we certainly have possible targets. "We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/mccoist-spfl-is-driving-us-mad-147205n.23093383
  20. Out of all the players kicking about the first team, who would you get rid off? For me I'd go for: Foster Smith Little Hutton Perry Cribari Peralta Shiels A lot of high earners in there who aren't pulling their weight and/or not getting a game.
  21. The bright spots of 2013's Scottish Football may not be bright enough to light up 2014 according to Craig Burley, as lack of a competitive top flight darkens our game. THE new year promises more of the same on the domestic front – and it’s boring as hell. So desperate have we become that the upturn of the national team under Gordon Strachan and the splattering of talented kids at ?Dundee United have people clinging to some sort of hope. But there can be no sane person left in the country who actually believes fans are better served with Rangers trawling the lower leagues while Celtic canter to another title. Since their side tumbled out of Europe, Hoops fans have headed for the hills on match days. Talk of an unbeaten league run has failed to stop punters going for a Saturday afternoon supermarket sweep with the missus. Rangers’ winning streak ended at the hands of Stranraer but who was really buying into club records when those wins came against the window cleaner and your postman? Can’t we just be honest with ourselves Scotland’s top league needs a competitive edge back – even if it’s just a two-horse race. Although they are playing in different leagues now, there has been more squabbling between the Old Firm than I care to remember. But while the Glasgow giants continue to bicker there have been some changes for the good and some crumbs of comfort. Once most of us have enjoyed the World Cup in Brazil we can look forward to qualification for France 2016 under Strachan. So far the signs are encouraging so let’s hope that snowballs into the Euro qualifiers. Youngsters are the lifeblood of the national team and Dundee United might provide a few top talents. That will be a testament to the work done by my old team-mate Jackie McNamara and his staff. Jackie and I both played for Scotland under Craig Brown and he decided it was pipe and slippers time earlier this year. Craig didn’t get enough credit but his departure at Aberdeen offered Derek McInnes an avenue back into the game. He has given the Dons some vigour and added a bit of quality to the squad. His side lost to Motherwell on Boxing Day and that left the Steelmen in second spot. Stuart McCall has turned down chances to move on from Fir Park and that looks like a good decision as Well continue to ride high despite losing some key players. Last year Ross County gaffer Derek Adams was the best thing since sliced bread and the next top prospect. But 12 months later the only reason County don’t prop up the league is the 15-point penalty for Hearts. And what a shame it is to see another great institution in Scottish football head for the lower leagues. But however tough it seems for Gary Locke and the Jambos, they will come back stronger. On the other side of Edinburgh, Hibs seem to have finally made a wise choice in appointing Terry Butcher as manager. The stadium and training ground are all in place but now Terry has to get it right on the field. The big man’s departure from Inverness will have been a blow ?and it will be interesting to see how new gaffer John Hughes copes. Kilmarnock’s fans have been in a bun fight with chairman Michael Johnson while League Cup-winning boss Danny Lennon has avoided the axe at St Mirren after a dodgy start to the new campaign. The start to next season will be vital for our game as Celtic bid to reach the Champions League and Scotland start the Euro 2016 campaign. If results go pair shaped for both then we are stuffed once more. Unless you’re still of the persuasion that the ?domestic game is flying high.
  22. THE treble-winning manager insists Ally McCoist is building for bigger challenges in the future and cannot afford to lose his best players. ALEX McLEISH has pleaded with the re-elected Rangers board not to dismantle Ally McCoist’s squad as a quick fix to their cash problems. Light Blues chief executive Graham Wallace admitted at Thursday’s agm that a “rigorous review of our football squad” could take place as the club looks to cut costs despite a £22million share issue a year ago. The Gers money men are also trying to find finance amid fears they could run out of cash by April and McLeish knows only too well how cashing in on players is sometimes the easiest option. But the former treble-winning boss is well aware from his own time at Ibrox that there’s only one outcome when you flog your best assets on the park – and he doesn’t want to see McCoist suffer. Rangers fans fear top performer Lee Wallace could be targeted in the January window with the club’s financial position making them vulnerable to cash offers. The latest set of annual accounts showed McCoist’s playing budget of £8m was £2m less than the overall costs for non-playing staff with a string of directors and executives coining it in and some receiving bumper pay-offs as the coffers have been all but emptied. McLeish knows the current Rangers squad is a cut above their League One rivals but insists McCoist is building for bigger challenges ahead and facing Celtic again in the top flight. Eck told Record Sport: “When a club is looking to raise cash the easy option is just to sell your biggest playing assets. “I hope they don’t sell players as a quick fix because it would set back Ally’s building plans. “Lee Wallace is the one people are talking about as being of the biggest value. Now, Ally might have enough cover to get away with losing Lee Wallace now but what about in two years if they are in the Premiership? “That is what the Rangers board have to be aiming towards – backing the manager to build a team capable of challenging in the top flight. “Lee Wallace is a great player and I’m sure he would be great for Coisty in the next level. “Let the new board back Ally McCoist. There’s top businessmen in there with the Easdales and Graham Wallace so they’ve got to make sure Rangers get back to the top level. “Ally has done the job. I went to five or six games last season and it wasn’t pretty stuff but he got the guys over the line. “He’s made it more attractive this season, albeit they’ve won games late in the second half, and that’s probably due to the great coaching and training and top class people at Murray Park. “But it’s also because of the quality so they shouldn’t lose that. I saw Jon Daly in his first game against Brechin City at Ibrox and he missed four sitters and people were writing him off. “I said to myself, ‘He will score a barrowload for Rangers’ and he’s proving that already. “It’s now of huge importance that Ally gets the chance to work with his players and build a team that will be able to get to the top flight and challenge Celtic again in the long term.” McLeish lost key players during his time at Rangers when the club needed cash and his reputation suffered in a trophyless season before David Murray backed him with cash again and he paid the then owner back with the title. That’s why Eck believes it’s simple – provide a manager with quality players and you will reap the rewards. The 54-year-old said: “I know how difficult it is as a manager when you lose your best players. “I joked the other day about the agm after my first full season in charge and we’d won the treble. One shareholder said, ‘Alex, you walk on water’ and I said, ‘I hope you’re saying that next year’. “But we lost a lot of quality – Barry Ferguson, Claudio Caniggia, Arthur Numan left, we sold Lorenzo Amoruso and Neil McCann and Ronald de Boer’s knee was causing problems. “There’s only one way you’re quality is going to go when you lose your best players and that’s down the way – and to be fair the next season after we lost players David Murray backed me. “We secured two fantastic Bosmans early on in Jean-Alain Boumsong and Dado Prso and we ended up winning the League and Cup double. “I’m not saying you don’t need a manager but when I asked Arsene Wenger what made a great manager he said ‘Great players’. “That’s true and it’s true at every level. The current Rangers squad might not be Barcelona-level players but they are a cut above the level they’re playing at now and they’re the guys who will get Coisty to the next division. “It won’t be easy next season in the Championship and if he starts to lose that quality then he’ll get criticised just like I did and suddenly you think you’re hopeless but that’s not the case. “Coisty knows the game inside out but he needs players. I’d hope the likes of the Easdale brothers would back Coisty big time.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/former-rangers-boss-alex-mcleish-2947887
  23. Luca Gasparotto to Stirling Albion Calum Gallacher to East Stirling
  24. ALEX SMITH believes Scotland’s football authorities are failing both Hearts and their manager, Gary Locke, by denying them a chance to rebuild. Chairman of the Managers and Coaches Association, Smith stressed Locke is in an impossible position at Tynecastle and is suffering by enduring such pressure so early in his managerial career. Hearts’ descent into administration last June triggered an immediate SPFL registration embargo and a 15-point deduction for the new league season. That left Locke effectively with hands tied and mouth gagged. Experienced players had left on freedom of contract and the manager, having only been appointed in March, found himself with a squad full of under-21 players to fight against relegation. Locke will be unable to replenish his squad during the January transfer window as Hearts will still be in administration well into next year. They are currently 14 points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership. Smith feels the punishments meted out to Hearts have gone on too long and are having a detrimental effect on Locke’s early days in management. He blames previous directors and disgraced former owner Vladimir Romanov for the club’s demise. Now 73, Smith admitted that, throughout his time in football, he couldn’t recall a manager in a more harrowing position than Locke. “I’ve never known a manager to be in a more difficult situation,” he told the Evening News. “Here we have a young manager in the first few months of his career, managing a club like Hearts, but not able to bring in players. Then there’s the 15-point deduction. I just think it’s ridiculous. “It’s ridiculous that we’re making a top club like Hearts suffer like this because of the poor management of other people. They did things in a way that was running that club towards a multiple crash. “The authorities are making it worse with the sanctions and denying Hearts the right to try and get out of this trouble. They did it with Rangers, another massive club. They didn’t just take action against them, they almost slit their throat. We need these two clubs and we need them in our top league. We don’t need them in the lower leagues.” Locke has pledged to fight on in the hope that Hearts can reel in teams such as Ross County and Kilmarnock at the bottom of the table and avoid relegation. Time is not on their side. Many feel one positive from slipping into the Championship would be the breathing space accorded the Riccarton youth academy graduates to develop as footballers. Smith points out that life in the second tier is likely to be fraught with just as many problems. “Gary would be entitled to expect the chance to take Hearts back up if they did end up relegated, but football nowadays doesn’t always work like that, does it? Hearts could go down into the Championship. Rangers and Dunfermline could come up [from League One]. “Then you might have three out of the four chasing promotion this season possibly still there. It’s going to be some league. The pressure next year would be exactly the same, only the sympathy vote won’t be there. It will be expectation levels there instead. Either way, it’s going to be difficult.” Smith called Locke to offer a pep talk in the wake of Hearts’ 7-0 Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic earlier this month. He will do the same again before Hearts head to Parkhead on league business this weekend. “I feel for him. If he’s feeling like a chat he just has to phone any of the more experienced managers in the game and he’ll get any amount of their time,” explained Smith. “I’ll give him another call this week sometime. He really just has to keep going. It will only take winning a couple of games and he will see an opportunity to turn things round. He can’t lose sight of the fact Hearts are a massive club with a massive support. If there is any sign of a revival, Gary will have everybody 100 per cent behind him. “That’s not always the case when you have to please 15,000 people at your home games. One or two people will just see the jerseys on the field, regardless of who is in them, and assume that because they’re Hearts, they should automatically be winning games. “The majority of Hearts supporters know the situation. The young kids are good players, all they need is that wee glimmer of a chance. If they come onto a run and start getting points, the fans will be right behind them. A lot of people now go to games, sit down and expect to be entertained. Gary will have the siege support and he’ll realise he has to harness that. “There’s no doubt we’re getting a false impression of what he can do at the moment. He can’t bring in players. He’s just to get on working with the young players he has. They’re all very talented, but if things start going the wrong way, it affects them all as a group. You need a few stabilisers in the team to steady them. “That’s why guys like Ryan Stevenson and Jamie Hamill are so important. They’ve been lumbered with this responsibility, which even for them is massive. They have to take on the responsibility of going out and winning games of football. How do you do that? “There is a great art to winning games. The first thing is you don’t lose bad goals, so you need a strong back line and a good goalkeeper. If you do lose a goal, you keep the ball till you get an opportunity to get back into the game. “The key is not to lose a second, so your defence and goalkeeper need to keep you in the game when you’re under pressure.” http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/authorities-have-given-hearts-boss-impossible-task-1-3237607
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