ADMINISTRATORS CALL ON FANS' SUPPORT
Rangers' administrators have told fans their continued backing is crucial in helping to secure the club's future.
The Scottish champions attracted their biggest home crowd of the season for last week's Clydesdale Bank Premier League game against Kilmarnock at Ibrox - their first match since going into administration.
Financial firm Duff and Phelps - who took control of the running of Rangers last Tuesday over an unpaid tax bill of £9million accrued since Craig Whyte's takeover last May - want to see a repeat of that support in a bid to generate income for the crisis-hit club.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said in a statement on Wednesday: "Ibrox was sold out last Saturday and hopefully that can be the case for the rest of the season.
"The fans are clearly extremely loyal to Rangers and by coming to matches at Ibrox they are directly contributing to the club's future.
"Right now, it is quite simple - income now will help secure the future of Rangers."
Whitehouse says the situation at Rangers is "positive" and claimed other clubs were sympathetic to their plight.
He said: "Overall, I would describe the situation as positive.
"Everybody recognises the plight that the club is in and have come to the table to help and assist where possible.
"We have also had very good support from the football authorities and have met with both the SFA and the SPL.
"For 140 years Rangers has been a key part of Scottish football.
"We hope that the influence and the support which the club has given to the game over the years will carry some weight at these difficult times.
"Generally other clubs are sympathetic. I think clubs realise this is a difficult time for the football industry in general and Rangers isn't unique in its financial position.
"They are very supportive of the survival of the club which is critical to Scottish football."
Rangers director Dave King - the only survivor from the Sir David Murray era on the board - was at Ibrox yesterday as manager Ally McCoist held talks with the administrators.
Earlier in the day, it emerged that Rangers, under Whyte, had sold shares gifted to them by Arsenal in the 1930s for around £230,000.
That revelation came after the administrators and Whyte himself confirmed on Tuesday that a £24million cash injection from investment firm Ticketus, based on advance season ticket sales, had been used to pay off £18million in debt owed to Lloyds Banking Group at the time of the takeover.
Whyte has already taken a step back but any involvement in the club after the administration process is complete seems difficult to envisage given the impact on his reputation over the last 10 days.
Whyte stressed on January 31 that claims he had used the Ticketus money to fund his takeover were not true, but has this week been forced to backtrack.
Andy Kerr, president of the Rangers Supporters' Assembly said: "It's looking less likely he can come back because of the concerns and doubt and lack of confidence in him."
Former Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston last night questioned whether Whyte met the conditions of the sale purchase agreement when he purchased his majority shareholding in the club, urging the administrators to investigate and report on the takeover.
Former Rangers player Smith returned to Ibrox following Craig Whyte's takeover of the club last May.
But he has revealed his frustration at being restricted in his attempts to carry out the role fully.
Smith said: "It was a great thrill to be offered the director of football role at Rangers.
"As a fan, it was a wonderful experience to play such a big part in our treble winning season of 77/78.
"However, like my transfer in 1980, my leaving at this time comes as a tremendous wrench.
"I admit that under the current circumstances it has not come as a major surprise to me.
"I was brought in by Craig Whyte but because his control and reputation has been damaged by recent disclosures, I feel my own position has been undermined by association.
"However, I would make the point that I was very frustrated in my job as I was unable to fulfil the job specification which was originally outlined for me.
"This was to control the major aspects of the football department outwith the first team operations.
"These were to include recruitment, scouting, transfer negotiations and youth development.
"I wasn't in control of any of these activities despite constantly making it clear to Craig Whyte that this was to be my remit.
"I outlined my medium to long-term strategies for the club on numerous occasions to no avail.
"There's no point in being a director of football unless you can control these areas so, in that respect, I'm totally comfortable with being made redundant at this time.
"The main thing for me is that Rangers survives and continues to operate as a great football club and I offer my full support going forward to ensure this happens."
Rangers were forced into administration last Tuesday, over an unpaid tax bill of £9million accrued during Whyte's tenure, with financial firm Duff and Phelps appointed to take control of the club.
Paul Clark, joint administrator, said in a statement: "Since our appointment as administrators on February 14, it has been essential to review the cost structure of the club's operations and make every effort to achieve efficiencies to help improve the trading position.
"As part of this programme, Ali Russell, the club's chief operating officer, and Gordon Smith, director of football, have agreed to leave the club.
"Administrators met Ali and Gordon and during the meetings they expressed their deep disappointment regarding the position in which the club has been placed.
"There is nothing to suggest that either of them did anything but strive to act in the best interests of Rangers Football Club during their terms of office.
"At our request, both agreed to stay on and assist the club until the end of this month and we are very grateful for their co-operation and willingness to do what they can during this difficult period for Rangers."
Talks have been ongoing with manager Ally McCoist but his players will have to wait until next week to find out what cuts will be made to the squad.
Clark added: "Meetings have also been held with Ally McCoist and we had discussions regarding the potential impact of the administration process on the football department and we will continue to consult fully with him.
"It is clearly understood by all, including the players, that the football department costs will come under review as is the case with all departments within the business.
"No decisions regarding staffing in any department have been taken at this point and will not be taken until next week."
Russell said in a statement he hoped his departure would help save other jobs. He said: "It has been a great honour to have worked for Rangers Football Club.
"I only wish the circumstances could have been better.
"I would like to offer special thanks to Ally McCoist and Gordon Smith who have been tremendous throughout all of this.
"This is a difficult time for Rangers and I hope my departure will help others keep their jobs.
"The most important thing in this whole saga is the club's future is secured and Rangers looks forward for live streamster days.
"I am sure that will happen and my support will always be there for the club."
(reopens) Meanwhile, Strathclyde Police tonight confirmed they had received a report from administrators relating to recent financial dealings surrounding the club.
A statement read: "We have received information from the administrators of Rangers Football Club. This is currently being examined.
"Once we have examined this information we will liaise with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. It would be inappropriate to comment further."
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