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Stewart Robertson admits Rangers will have to sell players to increase income

Rangers v NK Maribor – UEFA Europa League – Third Qualifying Round – First Leg – Ibrox
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Stewart Robertson admits Rangers will have to sell off some of Steven Gerrard’s star names next summer.

The club announced £15.9million losses in their annual accounts earlier this month and need to raise up to £24million by the end of next season to fill a black hole in their finances.

Gers’ revenue streams have risen significantly on the back of the £21million Gerrard’s team raised with their run to the last 32 of the Europa League last season.

But managing director Robertson admits the Ibrox boss will be forced to let some of his key men go in a bid to balance the books.

Speaking at the club’s virtual AGM, he said: “We’re delighted to report that revenue came in at just under £60million, which has probably trebled in the five years since the current board took over, so we’re delighted with the progress.

“Really there are four main pillars to the revenue. You’ve got your season ticket income, which nudged up by over £1million and we’re delighted that the fans have stood by us again by selling out our season tickets.

“Our commercial revenues are growing at a pace under James Bisgrove, while the third pillar is our European income. That’s where we saw the largest growth in the 19/20 accounts due to our run to the last 16 of the Europa League. That demonstrates how important regular participation in the group stages and the latter rounds of Europe really is to us.

“The last pillar is player trading. We don’t have much at all in that regard but what we do have, which we haven’t had to the same extent is a real value in the squad.

“We know that in time a key part of our business model means that we have to facilitate an increase in income by trading players. We have to really focus on that over the next 12 months.

“We know as a club we’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas but that area is one we’re really focused on.

“We know for the business model of the club we need to start moving one or two players a year.

“It won’t be a big turn over in the squad but that is something we need to do and something we’re really focused on for the summer.”

But vice chairman John Bennett insists the Gers board have already proved they will not accept any old bid after knocking back interest in Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent over the summer.

The director – who along with chairman Douglas Park has vowed to cover the club’s cashflow shortfall – told shareholders: “One thing is clear we don’t want to sell them at values that don’t reflect their full and fair value and you’ve seen that last year to bids for our players.

“It has to reflect our valuation. And if that is the case, we’ll have a decision to make.

“While player trading is the important fourth pillar to our model, we have not got ourselves in a position where we have to sell to validate the model. That’s not the case.

“Yes it’s been deficit funding as we’ve gone on but we’re very fortunate that we have loyal investors. That’s been a deliberate strategy to front load the investment to make sure we’re not in a position that undervalues our players.

“Again you saw that last year and we will not accept that.”

And Robertson has backed sporting director Ross Wilson to lead the search for new recruits.

Praising the former Southampton recruitment specialist, he added: “Ross has come with 10 years of experience in the Premier League and it’s clear he knows what good is, if I can use that expression, because we’re seeing a real uplift in the standards.

“We know there is still much more progress to make but we can’t stand still, we have to continually push.

“The other area that Ross has really focused on over the last 12 months is the scouting and recruitment. We’ve expanded the team, we’ve changed the processes and I think you can see that from the recruitment that came in over the summer and we’ll continue to look at that.”

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