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Shorerdbear discusses the alleged financial improvements we've seen at the club over the last year and asks just who is responsible for them.

 

BEGINS

 

In the last ten days a new wave of optimism has entered the psyche of Rangers fans - brought about with three new players being signed up. Signing players during pre-season is the done thing for football clubs; however, for Rangers fans last summer was the first season ever where new arrivals never materialised. According to the media it wouldn�t be the last either!

 

We all knew the reasons why this was the case and for the most part, did not want to accept them. Pride can get in the way of logical decision making and when it comes down to football fans' expectations, business decisions can conflict with football ones.

 

Walter and his players entered the 2009/10 season as champions. However, with no new arrivals to freshen the squad up, Walter faced the enormous task of challenging and retaining the title. Like the great managers of the past, Walter stepped up and delivered title 53 and secured the all important Champions League place and all the riches that comes with automatic Group Stage qualification!

 

Moreover, we won the league against a backdrop of uncertainty via financial results and a rival who would do anything to discredit the success of Scotland�s greatest football club. Across the globe success has always bred contempt; however, in some parts of Scotland - it only breeds paranoia and delusional thinking.

 

To mould a winning team and hold your integrity intact takes a special type of person and thankfully - in Walter Smith - we have exactly that. Whether or not we win this years league championship, Walter can bow out with his head held high in the knowledge he played an integral part in turning the fortunes of Rangers around.

 

The next name I mention may flabbergast fellow bears, it might even have them reach for the ââ?¬Ë?log offââ?¬â?¢ button. But, when a business model is failing and no investment is on the horizon, drastic measures have to be taken and it is usually in the way of ââ?¬Ë?cutsââ?¬â?¢!

 

Donald Muir, ââ?¬Ë?the enemy withinââ?¬â?¢, was and in some parts still is seen as the devil. The shareholders voted against his appointment but when they roughly make up about 10% of the clubââ?¬â?¢s shareholding, it really didnââ?¬â?¢t mean much apart from a show of suspicion towards a man who was seen as the final nail in the coffin of our great club.

 

However, Muir has remained steadfast in his approach to turning Rangers financial fortunes around. If he hadnâ��t, then we might not have signed three new players and perhaps Walter might not have had the chance to spend over �£4 million on one player, the largest fee the club has spent on one transfer since Mikel Arteta was brought over from Spain.

 

Weââ?¬â?¢ve heard all the ââ?¬Ë?rumoursââ?¬â?¢ of infighting on the board, threatened administration from the bank and that Walter might walk if he is not supplied with all the tools to challenge for honours. All blame has been directed towards Donald Muir and his alleged employers. Indeed, these perceived rumours might hold some water and perhaps somewhere down the line we might find out whether they were true or not!

 

Now weââ?¬â?¢re reading published articles from the BBC that the debt has been ââ?¬Ë?substantiallyââ?¬â?¢ cut down and that there could be more arrivals to the playing staff. This would not be possible without drastic cuts in other expenditure; moreover, the current board seemed at a loss as to where they should make those cuts. Enter ââ?¬Ë?the enemy withinââ?¬â?¢ who, through his job role, and past experiences took a look at the club accounts and went about making tough and unpopular decisions that seem to be starting to reap dividends.

 

Financially, we�re not out of the woods yet. Although, there is a clearing and this season is just as important as the last two. We have a squad more than capable of winning the league and with a ruthlessly business minded man on the board we may be on the cusp of a brighter future than we had been anticipating due to past mistakes.

 

We have all thanked Walter up to now. Perhaps weââ?¬â?¢ll thank Donald Muir, ââ?¬Ë?the enemy withinââ?¬â?¢, sometime in the future?

 

:)

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It's a good, balanced article but I think it is difficult to really judge the situation without a complete knowledge of what has happened in the background.

 

After all the amount of conflicting, selfish information and rumour-mongering from interested parties (be it the club manager, directors on the board, potential buyers, fan groups or journalists) means the average fan has no way of knowing where their money is going.

 

In an era where our investment is conceded as being imperative that is a scandal. Every season we have to work on hope rather than expectation and that is unacceptable. Time for the fans to have their seat at the table and be entrusted with a full part in turning the club around.

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It will be interesting to see the next set of accounts to see how much the debt has reduced by. However reducing the debt will inevitably increase the the money Sir David Murray wants before selling.

 

Very fair point.

 

I also doubt the 'substantial' fall in debt talked about in the papers will be in the the forthcoming set of accounts given we'd have used most of last season's CL money to pay �£9million of outstanding transfer money.

 

I'd be surprised if it were less than �£25million and reckon it will more than likely be around �£27million.

 

Next year's should be more comforting if most of the �£14million has gone to the debt but after that uncertainty remains and the wolf is never far away. We should be planning now for an eventuality of no CL money. Motherwell could do us a favour tonight!

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Now we’re reading published articles from the BBC that the debt has been ‘substantially’ cut down and that there could be more arrivals to the playing staff. This would not be possible without drastic cuts in other expenditure; moreover, the current board seemed at a loss as to where they should make those cuts. Enter ‘the enemy within’ who, through his job role, and past experiences took a look at the club accounts and went about making tough and unpopular decisions that seem to be starting to reap dividends.

 

As Frankie has said, the expected drop in the debt is not what I would describe as "substantial".

 

It's an interesting question as to how much influence Muir has had on the financial side of the club. Let's look at what we know.

 

The bank were in at the club before the end of the 2008/9 season, probably looking at what would happen under the doomsday scenario of us not qualifying for the CL.

 

Murray resigned in August 2009. It can safely be assumed that he was making all the major financial decisions prior to that point.

 

At this point the bank had not agreed to continue supplying our facility and the directors' hands were tied with an apparent freeze on all new commitments, including new contracts and players.

 

This seemed to continue for a few months, but we can assume that the new business plan was agreed during the month of October as the club announced on 30th October that it was issuing the accounts (the auditors would not have agreed to sign off on a going concern basis without proof of continued bank support).

 

Donald Muir was appointed on 16th October.

 

Did Muir's insight suddenly allow a business plan to be produced that the bank found satisfactory, or was part of the quid pro quo in the bank agreeing to renew the facility the appointment of Muir, and him having the authority to make certain changes within the club, or was it totally irrelevant to it?

 

We will probably never know.

 

It may be unfair to say that the current board "seemed at a loss". Bain has been cost-cutting for years but what could they do when Murray still made all the major decisions? The "new board" managed to get a new business plan agreed within 2 months of Murray leaving.

 

Certain parties have bad-mouthed Muir, apparently for their own benefit, and others have been briefed by Muir who has apparently painted himself as the great saviour. The amount of misinformation in this whole affair has been startling and too many have either been using it to try and benefit financially or using it to either increase their own influence or in a petty tit-for-tat.

 

We stilll aren't in great shape financially, our squad is still short of where it should be in my opinion, and we look like we may have to sell one of our best players because we offered him a drop in salary. We have been kept afloat due to 2 league wins, thanks to Walter. I'm still some way away from helping the same level of praise on Muir.

Edited by Bluedell
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It is impossible to heap any praise on Donald Muir, as we simply do not know for sure what role he had, how much influence he had, if he personally came up with a business model so very different from the one already in place, etc etc.

 

It is far more accurate to say that our improving financial condition is an exact result of 2 successive years of increased CL money with a much reduced squad (and therefore much reduced wage bill, the biggest single expenditure factor) and a net income from transfer activity.

 

If any of these purely football matters is down to an accountant, it will be a first. Forgive me if i'm wrong, but I dont remember Muir playing any of the 76 matches that won us back to back titles and therefore CL participation, or any influence on team selection or tactics.

 

In my book, the whole credit goes to Walter, his backroom team, and his ever-reducing squad of professional players.

 

The blame for why we are in this mess is entirely Murray's, so forgive me if one of his lackeys is not that high up on my list of thank yous when looking at our (still fragile) recovery.

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How much more has actually been invested in the squad though? Say we raked in �£4m in fees for the sales of Wilson and Thomson - that covers the fee for Jelavic. We've spent �£1.5m on Beatttie and have no doubt paid a loan fee for Weiss. Given that 7 player's wages are off the books in the summer as well as Mendes in January, surely that covers any/all of the wages we're now paying for the 3 players brought in.

 

Smith has said publicly that there is unlikely to be any cash for more signings. Without the exact figures we can't say for certain, but I would be suprised if our net spend is anything more than a couple of million.

 

Sure its great to see some new players in the squad, exciting ones in the case of Weiss, but I don't think the renewed optimism they bring should cloud the fact there are a number of questions hanging over our finances, business plans and ownership of the club.

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Some excellent points which brings us back to the elephant in the room of the average fan not knowing what is the truth but left to guess based on whatever sheep in wolf's clothing has something to gain this week.

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Some excellent points which brings us back to the elephant in the room of the average fan not knowing what is the truth but left to guess based on whatever sheep in wolf's clothing has something to gain this week.

 

The other side of that worthy coin is that we are in no position to launch the sort of attacks on Muir that have regrettably but not unexpectedly characterised certain (self-serving) sectors of the Rangers support. Donald Muir may not be the saviour he'd like to be seen as but I believe he is part of the very necessary changes that had to take place at Rangers.

 

We do have unacceptable debt.... unacceptable to every Rangers supporter, let alone the banks whose money we borrowed. We do need to accept the requirement to repay our debts instead of just carrying and servicing them. We do need to establish a financial regime based on living within our means, instead of seeing spending as a God-given right, regardless of whether we have first earned those means. We do need to implement a sustainable business plan that is based upon financial prudence rather than periodically interrupted by it.

 

If Muir was part of that change, never mind responsible for it, then as far as I'm concerned he is a very welcome addition to the Rangers boardroom and stands in favourable contrast to the overblown reputations who preceded him but couldn't actually get the job done.

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An excellent appraisal of the situation MF...

 

I think it was easy to be critical of Muir knowing the task he had to do and some may also argue that criticism ensured the cuts he made were not as sweeping as he may have liked them to be.

 

The club did (and probably still does) need surgery to ensure its safe fiscal future but I'd like to see the support sort itself out to show we can be part of the team performing it.

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