Dubai Loyal Members
Please find below details of the latest Rangers Assembly meeting with the New Chairman of our Club, Graham Wallace
The discussion with Graham Wallace went ahead on Saturday and Tam and I spent over an hour with him. The discussion was informal but open and frank. This note gives a summary of the main points that were covered.
To begin with, he asked us to explain a bit of the background to the Assembly and how things had operated over the past period. We highlighted the challenges we have faced especially over the past 2 years and outlined our aim to try and help ensure that fan representation and engagement with the Club going forward is improved significantly and ideally can include, and be seen to include, ALL fans.
He gave a bit of background on himself and said that he felt he had the skills, experience and drive to ensure that the Club returns to its values and is run on the lines that we all expect it should be.
He stated that the biggest challenge for him and the Board is to establish trust and confidence with the fans and he asked us how we felt that could be achieved. We said that the outcomes of his 120-day review and the manner in which they are communicated will be crucial. Fans want to see tangible evidence that the Club is being run professionally at all levels, that the governance and financial management is sound and transparent, that there are plans to grow the business and attract investment, that the playing squad remains competitive and progressive and that the match-day experience is attractive. We also said that open engagement with fans and building strong relationships was crucial and we emphasised that the PR and media outputs from the Club need to be good.
He asked us what the main concerns were for fans and we said:
- the financial mis-management that has seen the Club go through all the investment and season ticket money;
- the risk that we are in financial trouble and little sign of things changing;
- a feeling that the Board is still unstable and has ties to the previous regime;
- a feeling that the main pre-IPO investors are only there to milk the Club;
- the role, cost and outputs of Jack Irvine – he seems to be acting for individuals rather than the Club as a whole.
He noted all these points and recognised the concerns. He feels that the Board is functioning well at present and that the business can be stabilised and then move forward. He doesn’t think there are any issues to be concerned about with investors and the question of who is behind hedge funds and institutional investor groups is not a worry for him.
He explained that he recognised that there was too much focus on short-term planning previously and said that there needs to be a 5-year plan that covers us getting back to competing with Celtic at the top of the SPL and playing European football and growing the business in line with that plan. He said he needs a bit of time to put the plan in place and changes will need to be made to enable the Club to live within its means.
Overall, he came across positively, seemed to have a clear vision, showed a desire to work with the fans on an ongoing basis, realises the importance of trust between the Club and the fans and wants to address that as a priority. He has clearly given the matter some thought and taken soundings from within the Club and from individuals that have contacted him. He asked us for a view on a model that had a figurehead (ex player?) who was respected by fans and a Fans Board of say 12 representatives. We said that was not a long way away from what we had with the Fighting Fund and the open meetings that were held during that time were always well attended, generated good discussion and usually reached good outcomes so the model can work. We said that being able to engage across the whole fan base and make all fans feel they can have a voice is not easy to achieve but it is something we need to consider and try and find a solution.
He will be meeting representatives from the Association and the Trust later this week and we will take stock then in terms of the next steps and the way forward.