Somers To Address Rangers AGM
22 December 2014, 09:36
Rangers chairman David Somers will tell the club's shareholders that there is an "anti-Rangers feeling'' pervading through Scottish football when he addresses the club's AGM on Monday morning.
The Ibrox chief is set for a stormy reception as he and the rest of the board try to explain another chaotic 12 months at the Glasgow giants.
It was confirmed shortly before 9pm on Sunday night that boss Ally McCoist had been put on garden leave for the remaining 12 months of his contract after handing in his notice last week.
Kenny McDowall will now lead the team for the rest of the season but there still remains huge questions for the administrators of the Scottish Championship club.
Rangers require £8.3million before April 1 just to keep the club afloat, while fans are anxious about what Mike Ashley's growing Ibrox influence will mean for their club.
But Somers will attempt to curry favour with shareholders and supporters when he address them at the AGM - to be staged in the Ibrox main stand at 10.30am - by telling them the club face open opposition from within the ranks of the Scottish game.
With the Scottish Football Association issuing notices of complaint to Rangers and Newcastle United owner Ashley for allegedly breaching dual ownership rules, Somers even suggested the "anti-Rangers'' sentiments reached the upper levels of the football establishment.
His statement will say: "In these past 12 months, I have been surprised at a number of things. Firstly, the highly negative aspect of most of the media reporting regarding Rangers.
"Secondly, because it is clear to me that a stronger Rangers is good for Scottish football, I have been very disappointed to realise that outside of Ibrox, there sadly still exists a great deal of anti-Rangers feeling, perhaps (although I hope not) even in the football establishment.''
Rangers cash woes date back to Charles Green's time as chief executive after he relaunched the club from the ashes of liquidation in the summer of 2012.
A number of players were handed lucrative, long-term deals which Somers claims these "legacy issues'' are still hampering the club.
A fresh round of cost-cutting will now be driven by Ashley's right-hand man Derek Llambias - named the new Gers chief executive last week - while the club will also ask shareholders at Monday's meeting to give them the right to issue fresh shares as they seek to raise new investment.
But Somers will also claim that a season ticket boycott launched by former oldco director Dave King and backed by fans has put the club in fresh peril.
The club had 36,000 season ticket holders last term but home attendances this campaign have dropped as low as 19,000.
Somers - who, along with Llambias and director James Easdale faces a board re-election vote at the AGM - will say: "Rangers' return to the top flight of our game, I am sure you will agree, will be more easily achieved if everyone who cares about the Club works together for the betterment of Rangers.
"This turbulent year has seen people calling for a season ticket boycott, seen the disruptive creation of a season ticket trust for a while and other negative ideas.
"Such negativity is expensive for Rangers as it reduces season ticket and overall ticket sales, increasing the likelihood that I will have to borrow money to cover the shortfalls created. Our path to restoring Rangers to where we all want the Club to be can only be achieved with the continued support of all supporters, shareholders and business partners.''
The chairman will dedicate just one sentence of his report to the subject of the manager's position, saying: "We also need to look at the football side for a number of reasons. Firstly, there has for some time existed a chasm between the talented young players being developed at Murray Park and our first team. We need to focus on ways of developing our own young players for the first team rather than continually buying-in players.
"Secondly, as you all know Ally has decided to resign and has given us the required 12 months notice of his intention to leave the Club, as of yesterday Ally is on gardening leave.''