Hostile reception for Rangers chief at AGM

AFP| Updated: Dec 22, 2014, 20:36 PM IST
Hostile reception for Rangers chief at AGM

Rangers chairman David Somers on Monday lashed out at an "anti-Rangers" feeling he claims is prevalent in Scottish football as the troubled Glasgow side held a ill-tempered annual general meeting at Ibrox.

Somers and other board members were greeted with a round of boos and insults as the meeting got underway just hours after the announcement that manager Ally McCoist had been removed.

Somers, Derek Llambias and brothers James and Sandy Easdale were greeted with chants of "out, out, out", "sack the board" and "scumbags".

Rangers are mired in financial turmoil and need to recoup most of their £8.3million (10.5million euros) annual losses before the end of the season just to keep the club afloat.

Despite the boos, Somers said that much of the blame for the club`s plight lay elsewhere outside of the board.

"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," he said.

"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."

Somers also claimed that a season ticket boycott launched by former 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.

"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."

McCoist`s removal as manager came on Sunday evening with Somers placing assistant manager Kenny McDowall in charge of first-team affairs until the end of the season.

The 52-year-old was already working a 12-month notice period after handing in his resignation last week.

"Rangers would like to announce that Ally McCoist is relinquishing his duties as manager and will serve out the remainder of his 12 month notice period on gardening leave," said a club statement.

The Glasgow side, with 54 league titles won in their glory days, suffered a series of financial problems with a liquidation crisis seeing them banished to the third division in 2012.

They are currently second in the Scottish second division but are nine points behind leaders Hearts who also have game in hand.