Rangers board remain after vote

Salisbury Journal: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist, CEO Graham Wallace, chairman David Somers, Norman Crighton and Sandy Easdale during the AGM Rangers' manager Ally McCoist, CEO Graham Wallace, chairman David Somers, Norman Crighton and Sandy Easdale during the AGM

The Rangers board remained unchanged after a long-running and bitter power struggle came to a head during a series of votes at a pivotal annual general meeting.

However, the five directors face an ongoing battle to win round supporters, whose anger at the way the club has been run over the past 18 months was evident during a stormy meeting at Ibrox.

And the financial challenges facing chief executive Graham Wallace were laid bare when he admitted the Scottish League One club's spending would be unsustainable even in the top flight.

Wallace also conceded that more investment would be required to compete in the Scottish Premiership, although he insisted there was no immediate threat of the £22million share-issue pot, which was raised a year ago, running out.

Wallace was given the most enthusiastic backing of the board - an 86 per cent approval based on the one-vote-per-share election.

But even under-fire finance director Brian Stockbridge retained his position comfortably with a 65 per cent share.

The four so-called requisitioners - Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch - all polled close to 30 per cent and failed to win a boardroom seat.

The quartet stated their motivation was concerns over corporate governance and finances, which showed a £14.4million operating loss.

But three recent additions - chairman David Somers, Wallace and non-executive director Norman Crighton, who joined Stockbridge and James Easdale last month - appear to have convinced several influential investors.

One of those was Laxey Partners, the club's biggest shareholder with a near 12 per cent stake. The reason for its U-turn became apparent when Crighton revealed during the AGM that the investment fund had recommended him to the club's nominated advisor.

"I have known Laxey since they were founded," he added.

Somers had earlier appealed for time to win the fans' trust and claimed the board would seek to engage more fully with supporters as part of a major 120-day business review that would also incorporate an overhaul of the scouting network, which Wallace described as unfit for purpose.

The need for the review was obvious when Wallace said: "The current operating structure we have is too high, too high even for the top division never mind the lower leagues."

And Wallace admitted they would ultimately need to raise more funds.

"It is reasonable to assume that in order to take the club back to competing at the top levels domestically and in Europe that this will be the case," said Wallace, who admitted season ticket prices would rise.

Paul Murray admitted a tinge of regret at not forcing the vote earlier in an emergency general meeting.

His group agreed to wait for the AGM to save the club money but it was left off the agenda. They then forced a postponement in October at the Court of Session but Rangers waited until the last moment to hold the meeting and the composition of the board altered drastically.

Murray told BBC Radio Scotland: "We took a decision that a bit of compromise was the best way forward for the club. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing.

"But since then, the board has been able to get in a couple of credible directors, particularly Graham Wallace.

"And the one thing you have to remember is that institutional investors do like to support incumbent boards. They have supported what they see as a competent board to go forward and we have to accept that."

Murray continued to describe the position of Stockbridge as untenable after he agreed to pay back his £200,000 Third Division title bonus in return for the backing of Laxey.

But Wallace brushed off suggestions he would need to dismiss Stockbridge to win over the fans, despite admitting executive bonuses for winning titles were "completely inappropriate".

Wallace told Press Association Sport: "I need time to assess the organisation that I have got here before I will be making any decisions so it would be grossly premature and inappropriate to be talking about dismissing anybody when I have been in the building less than a month.

"I have no hesitation and no difficulty in making difficult decisions but I think those decisions need to be made on the basis of my assessment of the facts rather than somebody else's view."

There was one defeat for the board, who failed to secure the three-to-one majority needed to pass a special resolution that would have entitled them to sell shares to selected investors for as little as a penny a time.

The club stated that they may renew attempts to secure this privilege in future after 32.1 per cent of votes went against them.

A similar number opposed another resolution to renew the "directors' authority to allot securities", but Rangers only needed a simple majority. That allows employees to receive share options.

It was confirmed at the AGM that Stockbridge is contractually entitled to a potential £500,000 share option, which he has not taken up so far.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree