Ibrox Money Worries Are Now Part Of The Discourse. Except In The Mainstream Media.

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When even the dumbest person in the room can see something a mile away, you wonder what the rest of the room is watching, or how they are looking at it. Scottish football has one big story above all others at the moment, and nobody wants to write it.

I would love for us to be that story.

I talked earlier about how Sky turned a segment about how we’ve just signed Jota into one about Ibrox; the truth is, although I am pissed off that they hijacked the Jota segment to do it, it needed to be done.

We’ve spent upwards of £15 million this summer, and that might be the most this club has spent in one window as far as I can remember. It’s serious cash, and under normal circumstances it really would be the dominant story in the game here.

But of course, the bigger story is what’s happening across the city.

Or rather, what isn’t happening across the city.

The reason it’s the bigger story is that it has bigger implications than who we sign.

We are putting the foundation stones in place for next season. They are facing a crisis so profound that if it all spins out the right way, you could put our next three or four titles in the bag right now. This is exactly why the media refuses to write it.

The reasons so many of us were in a funk this time last year is that you could see, clearly, the ways in which the failed Lennon experiment might have long term consequences. Had Ange been a disaster we would have been facing another rebuild this summer, whilst Ibrox had the Champions League cash to spend. A downward spiral was more than possible.

Had we just emerged from a season of turmoil, we’d be facing another Ibrox shoe-in for the title, and more Champions League cash on top of that which they’d already have netted.

We’d be forced to rebuild the team on the cheap, whilst they were able to go out and strengthen.

Their trip to the Europa League Final gave them an uptick in earnings, but those of us who’ve looked at the state they are in knew it wouldn’t translate to big spending.

For that, they need to sell. This time last year, that was us. Had we not been able to, all Ange’s magic would have been wasted on a squad assembled with crazy glue and we’d have been in just as bad a shape going into this summer, perhaps facing a full-scale managerial hunt at the same time. They aren’t in melt-down, but the conditions for it exist there.

In order to strengthen their squad, they have to ship out some of the players who are entering the final year of their contracts. Not only can they not afford to have these guys run down their deals, but those guys can’t be relied on to push themselves to the limit as their current contracts ebb away. The financial costs are only part of it.

Imagine we win this title, and those guys are still on the books. All of them walk for free next summer. Where is the money to replace them coming from? Their club can’t count on another lucky run to a European final. (Seven wins. Twenty-one games, guys.)

Kris Boyd is not the smartest guy in the world, but he can see the necessity of trying to move these guys on, and he knows that until they do there’s no money to build Van Bronckhorst’s team. He has at least said publicly what others know in private; that their club has serious financial issues to overcome in spite of last season’s alleged success.

They know what the risks are should they allow us to establish a critical advantage. One season of Champions League income has let us put Ange’s revolution on rock solid foundations, and there are more signings to come. If we get a second straight qualification to those groups, it might allow us to establish a gap that they find impossible to bridge.

The fear on their forums suggest that they realise how serious the changes to UEFA Financial Fair Play might prove to be. The appetite for eating more losses was already virtually non-existent; those changes might well mean they’re not able to fund the club like that anyway. There is a deepening sense there that the walls are closing in on them.

We now have former players, like Kenny Miller, talking sense over Morelos’ valuation. This is in part inspired by the article which appeared in The Athletic recently, where they interviewed several scouts from EPL clubs, and which pretty much confirmed a lot of what this blog has written for a while about the daft way they value their players.

The long and short of that piece was that their European run did not significantly increase the values of their players or the way they are thought of south of the border.

The kind of analysis scouts and clubs down there do is not like the sort done by the Daily Record, and on Ibrox fan forums, where they seem to think a blue jersey turns average players into superstars.

The lack of offers for their players so far has shaken them.

The window has been open since 10 June, and clubs were putting plans in place before then.

The Record’s Mark Pirie was clutching at straws again yesterday, going over Steven Gerrard’s words in the vain hope that somewhere in there was an allusion to plans involving Calvin Bassey.

But there was nothing. Villa isn’t going to pay £25 million for a guy with one season behind him and neither is anyone else.

They’ve been trying to sell Kamara for the last three years to no avail.

Boyd said on Sky today that there have been stories about Morelos in every window since he signed; most of them came out of Ibrox and there’s been only one bid and they had to over-exaggerate that.

Likewise, with Kent; they were dying to get an offer for Leeds last year and even leaked details of a minimum release clause in the contract. Nobody was interested then, or now.

Aribo was supposed to get offers. You notice how Forest have already moved past him? Who else is there? Villa are a hopeful in that one too, but there’s no actual movement.

The longer they go without selling, the tougher it will be for them to make strong moves. They will probably seal a deal for the PAOK striker; that’s less than £2 million and when a Greek club legend is saying that he will be easily replaced you wonder why they are bothering. He’s their Ittern replacement. What a deal that turned out to be.

The fantasy that they will sell all three of their “stars” and net upwards of £30 million is predicated on interest which just doesn’t exist and them getting huge sums for players clubs in England and elsewhere have already decided are not worth it.

Barry Ferguson’s confident prediction about how four sales can net them £55 million is even more bonkers. These guys are wired to the moon.

I think three out of four of those they are most desperate to punt will still be on the books when this window shuts. If they get rid of all of them they will do it for much less than that, and we’ll see how much of what they bring in that they are able to spend.

Boyd at least has realised that this is big, and bad. He’s not intelligent enough to properly articulate it, but he understands the shape of it if not the full scope and its implications. I have to think that there are others in the media who know the same.

They won’t write about it. But that won’t make the problems go away.

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  • LadyGreybush says:

    They are well and truly ducked. It’s great to know Celtic straighten themselves out after failure, but even better knowing Ibrox doesn’t even know they need to.
    Long Live the Banter Years!

  • Benjamin says:

    The new UEFA FFP regulations are a very underreported part of the story here. While the allowable losses has been loosened considerably, the new wage requirement is going to become a major factor not just in Scotland but across Europe.

    The cliff notes version is this: there is a new hard ceiling for player wages not to exceed 70% of income. The way EUFA have defined both wages and income makes this calculation very difficult to evade through creative accounting. Essentially the ‘wages’ component is not just basic wages but also bonuses, transfer fees, and the like. It’s a catch-all for everything the club spends securing the player’s contract. The ‘income’ side of the equation encompasses the traditional top line revenue from the financial statements as well as profit on player sales (to offset the related expenses from transfer fees paid in the numerator of the calculation).

    Rangers actually report a wages/income metric in their annual report, but it’s not calculated the way UEFA stipulates. Adding in the necessary adjustments for player amortization and profit on player sales is a HUGE difference for a club like Rangers who have historically had net transfer outflows of millions of pounds per year (the latest year with Patterson sale being an exception). Back of the envelope calculations suggest the ratio for Rangers in the most recent year data is available is close to 100%. Granted that was the Covid year and before the deep Europa run and without any player sales to speak of… but still a huge gap.

    Going forward, Champions League income is going to be a huge difference maker in these calculations. Even if the gap between Europa and CL income is ‘only’ £20m (say, £30m for CL and £10m for EL), that translates to a financial advantage in squad investment – wages and transfer fees combined – of £14m PER YEAR. With numbers like this and the inability to circumvent this rule like clubs could under previous iterations of FFP, the Champions League clubs from each association are going to become more entrenched than ever.

  • John Copeland says:

    If the mob over at Ibrokes were more honest, reliable, trustworthy and open regarding their financial situation, I’m pretty sure Scottish Football in general would sympathise a bit with them. All we get is lies corruption deceit ,litigation, threatening act and language. The Daily Record have six known Rangers print reporters and not one of them has investigated their finances!Not once! Tells its own story.

  • Frankie says:

    How it has all come back and bit them Jota wouldn’t sign , Carter vickers wouldn’t sign this is possibly down to one man the amazing maestro Ange, no wonder everyone wants to come to our family. The so called pundits knocking him Boyd with bools and wasps in his mouth total clown.

  • Frankie says:

    The stuff has really hit the fan now for all those doubters across the Clyde, Carter vickers was not signing, Jota was not signing it is possibly down to the maestro manager Ange with his football philosophy, everyone wants to join the Celtic family clown Boyd talking through bools and wasps in his last wee bit Boyd penalty taker Rambo .

  • harold shand says:

    Straight after Jota signed today

    Boyd , Ferguson and Miller all wheeled out to soothe the orcs

    They all sounded gutted , Kenny Miller especially sounded raging on SSB this evening

    I guess it’s no fun being a cheerleader when there’s nowt much to cheer

  • Martin says:

    The FFP should hit them hard, but as it will effectively be policed by the SFA I’m afraid I see ample wiggle room for the interpretation.

    I don’t think they’ll sell a single player of note this window. Sure, they’ll spin it as “retained our squad” but they’ve been pimping everyone out for months, if not years. That not a single player has been of interest to anyone is a dreadful failure business wise.

    For what it’s worth, I think they’ll limp on for a while yet, helped by a compliant sfa, spfl and media. But even a 5 year old has enough mathematical nous to see they’re wholly unsustainable. Much as we would all celebrate the new club going the way of the original, this is a deeply deeply shameful situation for Scottish football. It should never have happened once, never mind twice. And yet, I fear even this won’t lead to the sort of reform needed.

    • Benjamin says:

      Martin, I share your skepticism with the SFA, but these new FFP regulations are a big step in the right direction IMO in the sense that it will be far more difficult to evade through creative accounting and loopholes in the rules. There’s 3 major pieces to the new regulations:
      (1) no outstanding past due payable to players, clubs, governing bodies (UEFA/SFA), or tax authorities. This is fairly straight forward as it will be obvious from news reports if there is a significant delinquency here.
      (2) annual breakeven requirement. This is currently in place but the new modified requirements are much simpler. Allowable losses have increased dramatically – rendering this requirement irrelevant for all but the dozen or so biggest clubs across UEFA – but there are no exclusions anymore to hide expenses or fudge the calculation. It’s a hard limit based on published financial reports that have to comply with IRFS accounting rules and signed by auditors.
      (3) lastly, and most important for Scottish clubs, the new wage limit of 70% of income. The requirement is very straightforward and there’s not much wiggle room to manipulate the figures given the reporting requirements. Clubs will have to supply a spreadsheet with all supporting documentation (read: player contracts) that tie back to published financial statements and reconcile any differences. All player expenses – wages, social security payments, bonuses, amortized transfer fees, etc – are included, and the spreadsheet provided by clubs must include every player on the wage bill. The compliance calculation is very straightforward once all that information is provided, and there’s really nowhere to ‘cheat’ on this calculation short of a compensation scheme outside of a player’s contract, and even then that compensation would still get at least cursory (at a minimum) scrutiny as the club has to reconcile back to published and audited financial reports. Rangers have been down that path before and know how the story ends. I may be naive, but I don’t think they’re going to risk those consequences again. And even if I’m wrong on that, it’s going to be VERY easy for UEFA to catch them just based on published financial reports. For example, for the 2020-21 season, they had a ratio that was very close to 100% rather than the new 70% limit. That’s just based on published financials without any documentation, so there’s going to be some fudge factor here, but that is too big of a difference to ignore. They might be able to get away with ‘hiding’ £1m or £2m, but they were £14m over the threshold. That’s too big of an overage to hide through creative accounting gimmicks, and UEFA will 100% be catching a discrepancy that large even if the SFA refuses to flag it.

      • Martin says:

        Benjamin, I totally agree and it is a much clearer rule now. However there still exists the possibility of the SFA overlooking it and signing it off. I doubt UEFA look at every single club each season.

        The 100% ratio is troubling but covid restrictions easing and their europa run will have made a big difference. However, the requirement that their accounts are signed off by an auditor is extremely worrying for them.

        If new FFP embraced by/properly policed by the SFA they could be in real trouble. But they have a nasty habit of clinging on.

  • Roonsa says:

    They still have an opportunity to qualify for the CL group stages. They will do what we have done in previous seasons. Hold on to the want away players till their CL fate has been determined.

    There is no point in saying they are fucked till their CL fate is known. If they do qualify then they will still be playing catch up with us in terms of preparing for the SPFL Season. But, again, they will do what we have done in previous seasons. Stay within touching distance of us till January (which, given the state of Scottish football, is very possible if not likely) and use January to power up.

    Of course their situation is far from ideal. But until it is 100% fact that they are not getting their hands on CL group stage money, there is always hope for them.

    I always take the “expect the worst, hope for the best” approach when it comes to thinking about that lot. I suggest you try it. It’s what kept me calm right until the last glorious penalty in the Europa League Final.

  • Michael Conway says:

    I would not get to upset about sky news or the daily ranger not telling us the truth about what is going on at ipox as they would be taken to court for liable as wobble chops has got a season ticket for the high Court as TGASL had,offended by everything shamed by nothing

  • David McDowall says:

    Maybe The Rangers are waiting until last second to announce their coup signings, they did with Ramsey and eh he made some hole in their finances, around 6 months of £130k a week that The Rangers payed him, that was 30% of his juventus deal.
    Only takes a wee hawn shake and pfft a superstar appears.

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