Ibrox Noise’s resident accountant has been poring through the numbers posted by Rangers’ board in the recent annual report, and the verdict is in.
It’s ok, but it’s far from great.
Fundamentally, we remain miles behind Celtic, whose numbers by comparison are on a different level. While Chairman John Bennett’s words are true, that it’s promising but there’s work to be done still, nevertheless it doesn’t get away from the fact the figures have actually gone backwards since the last accounts.
Last time we posted a £5.9M profit, but since then while still in the black, it’s gone down to just £250K.
That’s a reduction in profit and it’s going the wrong way.
Why is this?
A major problem here is that player transfer fees can be measured in two ways – one ‘football’ way shows Rangers to be absolutely coining it in, but the other ‘accountancy’ way demonstrates that even a £19M Calvin Bassey sale doesn’t help in the annual accounts.
Because of how deals are done. Chelsea were widely reported to be getting round FFP by way of massive contracts. Instead of spending £100M on player A, they spent £10M only. How? By making his contract 10 years and spending £10M a year on him. Treating it, effectively, like hire purchase.
It was eye-opening to see these massive contracts, but there was reason behind that apparent madness.
Rangers’ sales are potentially the same – all the Patterson Aribo and Bassey big-money numbers unfortunately aren’t based on getting that finance up front – from accountancy point of view it’s spready over annums. Which means Rangers didn’t get £19M from Ajax for Bassey, but more likely £5M tops spread over 4 years. We can’t know the exact terms because that is kept confidential on legal grounds, but it didn’t really boost Rangers’ finance by the amount £19M up front obviously would.
And this is a major reason why Rangers aren’t really posting a massive improvement – Michael Beale shelled out £15M in theory but again some of these are subject to the hire purchase model. Rangers probably didn’t just pay Feyenoord and Cremonese £6M each at once, but a fraction of it.
Which means the overheads aren’t as horrible as you’d think. But neither are the profits for the same reason.
There’s also New Edmiston House. That cost anywhere from £9M to £20M depending on who you ask, and that was a massive extra cost this past few years. Add the Walter statue and a tonne of work carried out by the club in different areas and the costs (both past, present and future) are clear.
We did get the UCL cash last season which was in the accounts (£18.5M) but the entire profit from player sales that year was just £10M – quite an amount below the actual player sale values.
So long story short? It’s not great – but not awful. It’s technically the wrong direction from last annum’s reports, but Rangers have also been spending a bit more, while making roughly the same amount. We spent £108M in these accounts compared with £97M in the previous year.
We would hope for massive improvements next report but this current set of numbers doesn’t include the new regime and their strategies.
Time will tell what Bisgrove and Bennett can do with the club’s finances to get us healthily in the black.