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Rangers in safe hands - Johnston

Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston
Johnston has renewed and extended Rangers' banking arrangement

Alastair Johnston says Rangers are not in financial peril but concedes a new owner must be found to make progress.

After revealing debts of £31m, the chairman said: "Nobody wants to play poker with Rangers as the stakes.

"With respect to fuelling our ambition, we will need a change of underpinning of our financial resources.

"Until we get that, we're going to be operating with a squad that is probably marginally too thin for the assignment that it is charged with."

Johnston replaced Sir David Murray at the Ibrox helm three months ago and the former chairman is actively seeking a buyer for his major shareholding in the club.

And while acknowledging that fresh investment is paramount, the US-based Johnston was quick to allay fears among supporters of the current Scottish champions.

"Fans don't need to have any concern with respect to the survival of the club or any talk of administration," he told BBC Scotland.

I indicated that the concept of fan ownership or participation is not alien to me

Alastair Johnston

"The results show that we have had a clean audit opinion, which means we are a going concern.

"We have renewed and extended our banking arrangement, which is satisfactory and acceptable but it doesn't fuel the ambitions of this club.

"That is why one of the primary missions is to replace the bank as the source of our external funding.

"Rangers continue to manage and operate the club but we rely on external funding and the acquiescence of the bank.

"Having said that, we can go forward, we can negotiate the contracts, we don't have to sell players in January etc."

Indeed, Johnston did not rule out the possibility of strengthening the team when the next transfer window opens.

"We will review that nearer the time and it will depend on how well the current squad are doing," he explained.

"We can't afford to bring in guys who will spend time on the bench or in the stand. We will determine what we need and what the availability is."

Walter Smith will see his contract expire at the turn of the year but Johnston expects the manager to remain in charge.

"At this point, Walter and the club have an understanding that we are basically proceeding with the status quo until further notice," he added.

"We have talked about terms and we continue to have very healthy and constructive dialogue.

"I don't think the terms of the contract will be a stumbling block."

While declining to discuss the identities of possible buyers for Murray's shares, Johnston did say he was open to the the idea of fans playing a role in the stewardship of the club.

"I met with Andy Kerr, the president of the supporters' assembly, and I indicated that the concept of fan ownership or participation is not alien to me.

"And I encouraged him to explore various structures that might work.

"The board is going to evaluate a new owner in any capacity on how can they improve the product on the field and how much money they are prepared to spend to underpin what Rangers fans want."

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see also
Rangers' debts increase to 31m
12 Nov 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Johnston reveals Gers objectives
28 Sep 09 |  Rangers
Johnston arrives with global pedigree
29 Aug 09 |  Rangers
Murray relinquishes Rangers role
26 Aug 09 |  Rangers
Johnston confident of buyer for Rangers
28 Sep 09 |  Scotland

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Rangers fans must heed warning, says fans chief - 13 hrs ago
The Scotsman Glenn Gibbons on Saturday: Desperate measures for desperate Old Firm times - 15 hrs ago
Glasgow Evening Times Johnston: We will survive - 19 hrs ago
Daily Express Rangers let off hook by UEFA - 34 hrs ago
Times Online Rangers hit by Uefa fine and growing debt mountain but chairman fights back - 39 hrs ago


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