Everything you needed to know about Rangers, but were afraid to ask...
By Iain McDonald
Friday 07 Aug 2009 13:31:00
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Rangers enjoyed a first title win in three years last may and now is the time for the club to try and find a little stability, writes Iain McDonald of followfollow.com, introducing his side ahead of Saturday's pre-season friendly at Fratton Park

As a support Rangers fans have been through more highs and lows than is healthy, from the pre-Souness years to nine title wins in a row, from Dick Advocaat's exciting teams to Alex McLeish's enforced downsizing and from Paul le Guen's disastrous spell to Walter Smiths return and the trophies that has included.

Each spell of on field troubles has been followed by a spell of success and Some of that can be attributed to the nature of football in a two horse race, one side or another will pull in front, only to be pegged back and the see the tables reversed.

The biggest part of it has been repeatedly making the same mistakes. What we need now, and what most of the support know is for the best, is a period of stability, the chance to build a platform for the club to progress.

The method employed by Rangers owner Sir David Murray through-out his time at the club has been one of spending, often at times when a far more prudent approach has been required, followed by a harsh cutting of budgets.

We have fought back from huge debts once already under his tenure and are in the process of repeating that tumultuous process . On the whole the times in which we have utilised every credit facility available have been periods in which the trophies have arrived in abundance, the football on show excited and our forays into European competition were accompanied by a cautious optimism.

The other side of that coin has been the periods where we have had to try and compete at home and abroad while reducing drastically both the quality and cost of the playing staff.. Article continues here


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The club's latest debt problems coincided with Smith taking over the manager's job at Ibrox for a second time, investment was needed to reinvigorate a side struggling on all fronts and the manager was allowed a greater budget than the two previous managers.

The money Smith spent did its job, as well as regaining the domestic title we have won three cup competitions, reached the final of another and managed to reach the final of the then UEFA cup, a fantastic achievement in such a short period of time. But, once again, the time has arrived when that spending needs to be paid for.

In January this year any fans with access to the internet were discussing the huge problems faced by the club, debt had risen to above £20million and the club were actively seeking to sell first team players in order to cover mounting interest payments.

The more pessimistic amongst us were predicting administration and even the most optimistic were resigned to the side being sold off piecemeal this summer to once again pay for financial imprudence.

Thankfully last season's title carried not only the domestic bragging rights, but guaranteed entry to the Champions League and the wealth that comes with it. The huge problems facing the club earlier in the year did not go away, however they were certainly eased, and fears of going into the new season with a squad depleted of its real quality have thankfully receded.

The Rangers of 2009-2010 will have both a more stream-lined look and a youthful presence. The inflated pool of players will be trimmed to somewhere in the region of 20 'first teamers' and this tight group will be backed up by the best our youth set up has to offer.

For me this is an exciting time to follow Rangers, the new setup should see us starting to produce more kids capable of performing, at least domestically, to a high level and it signals an impending end to the years of boom and bust we have suffered through.

Of course there are some concerns over whether the youngsters will be able to make the step up to first team duties but the signs are positive. John Fleck has a number of games under his belt and appears to have all the attributes to go on and have a long and successful career.

Danny Wilson the centre half will look to get himself some game time next season and is another who looks like he will be the genuine article. youngsters at the club will all be eagerly anticipating a chance to get more fully involved in first team matters and that can only help them improve as players and give them a taste of what awaits should they make the grade.

With the core of the squad that did so well to pick up last years title and some fresh and exciting youngsters I feel that next season could be one that sees Rangers rid itself of harmful levels of debt while still competing for, and winning, the domestic trophies.

The lack of players joining the club should not be of huge concern, most of the first team are of an age where improvement will be seen, and if players such as Edu and Lafferty can continue in the same vein as they left off last season Rangers will have a squad more than a match for anything in Scotland.

We are embarking on a new way of doing business, one that fits todays more stringent financial constraints and will place us in good stead for future seasons, giving us that elusive stability we need to really progress as the worlds most successful side.

I would like to wish both of todays sides the very best of luck for the match and the season that follows.

 

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