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....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?

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How much of our stay in a hotel is being sponsored? Just as food for thought.

 

I reckon Keith and Co. would also write about us should we decide to go "Bed & Breakfast" with some local farmers and hostels. Heaping malice upon us and ridicule our "overspending" that had led to somesuch.

 

You'd hope Wallace learns from articles like the above and stops giving interviews to these Scottish trolls.

 

Edit: Yet, on the other side of the Clyde, everything is rosy. Not a single word of the European Inquiry for half a week. At least not from their cohorts of the Scottish media.

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I view this treatment as one of the perks that come with playing for Rangers. No matter what league we are in, the lower leagues won't last long.

 

A few grand on a hotel isn't the downfall of our current problems so why do folk feel intent on keep talking about a poxy hotel FFS.

 

Yes lets cut out the hotels and we'll buy a second hand transit to take the squad to games .................... meanwhile the directors are still pushing cash left right and centre into dark alleys.

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A few grand on a hotel isn't the downfall of our current problems so why do folk feel intent on keep talking about a poxy hotel FFS.

 

as a stand alone cost, it probably ain't that much.....but apply it over the course of a season & you get a pretty hefty hotel bill. Also, it ain't some "poxy hotel".....it is a very luxurious 4/5 star hotel, all so that the players can get a wee nap after their sub-2hr bus journey.

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Turnberry, Carnoustie. Nobody will convince me that the team are staying at these places so that the players can properly prepare for the game. These places are for a golf jolly and a golf jolly is exactly what will be had.

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I think we've discussed this before on here but such preparation is to be expected for top level football teams so I'm not overly worried about the team using hotels for some away games.

 

I've yet to be convinced we need them for home matches though. However, I appreciate the need to ensure everyone in the squad prepares properly and staying in a hotel overnight will help in that regard.

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Turnberry, Carnoustie. Nobody will convince me that the team are staying at these places so that the players can properly prepare for the game. These places are for a golf jolly and a golf jolly is exactly what will be had.

 

Not sure when they'd fit the golf in.

 

For a typical Saturday game, the players would train on a Friday am before breaking for lunch then meeting at the hotel in the evening for dinner if staying there overnight. The next morning will probably involve a very light indoor session before a light lunch for a 3pm kick off.

 

The article also says we're just using Carnoustie today and not actually staying there overnight.

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as a stand alone cost, it probably ain't that much.....but apply it over the course of a season & you get a pretty hefty hotel bill. Also, it ain't some "poxy hotel".....it is a very luxurious 4/5 star hotel, all so that the players can get a wee nap after their sub-2hr bus journey.

 

I'd imagine we'll have a long-standing corporate deal of some sort.

 

While I can understand people's cynicism for this kind of thing, I don't have a huge issue with it myself. Even when I played for youth football teams we'd often prepare for longer away trips by visiting hotels beforehand or even staying overnight somewhere.

 

Helps get everyone focussed and ensures the preparation is the same for everyone; i.e. Ian Black isn't out on the lash on the Friday night or that Seb Faure isn't having a Mars bar supper for his tea.

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Not sure when they'd fit the golf in.

 

For a typical Saturday game, the players would train on a Friday am before breaking for lunch then meeting at the hotel in the evening for dinner if staying there overnight. The next morning will probably involve a very light indoor session before a light lunch for a 3pm kick off.

 

The article also says we're just using Carnoustie today and not actually staying there overnight.

 

I'm pretty sure there will be some golf getting played at Carnoustie today mate. As a keen golfer yourself, you know as well as anyone that there's no shortage of golf lovers amongst our Club management, Club staff, players, ex-players and many in the media/press side. As I said, meeting up and staying at places like Turnberry and Carnoustie tells a very specific story. It absolutely screams from the rooftops that everyone invited is meeting up there and anyone who wants to can participate in some golf action. If time is tight, there's no doubt in my mind that some will go up early to get the golf in and otherwise, if they need to just squeeze in a quick 9 holes, that's exactly what they'll do. For what it's worth, I'm not suggesting the Club is paying for the Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa, lunches AND paying for rounds of golf. I'm sure anyone participating in the links golf action will be paying for that themselves...

 

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Edited by Zappa
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Whether the costs like today's bill for Carnoustie are justified or not, its the absurdity of the whole situation that is very well put by Jackson.

 

But there are other absurdities that could have been highlighted too.

 

How many accountants/financial advisers do we have?

How many media/PR advisors do we have, and do we need any of them?

How many right backs does Ally need?

Why sign players on 2/3 years+ contracts and then release them a few short months later?

 

And thats just to kick off a list... Feel free to add more of your own.

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