Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is confident the value of assets among his Glasgow Rangers squad means the Ibrox club’s rather grim financial predicament isn’t as bad as it looks.
The Scottish Premiership side last week revealed their accounts for the financial year ending June 30, with the COVID-19 pandemic having a major impact on the balance sheet.
Rangers saw their operating loss widen from £11.6m to £15.9m with the ban on fans in stadiums due to coronavirus accounting for around £10m in lost revenue.
Scottish football is one of the most heavily reliant leagues on matchday income in Europe, Rangers fans making up around 60 per cent of the club’s revenue last year despite the fact a number of games towards the end of the last campaign had to be played behind closed doors.
While operating losses increased by £4.3million to £15.9m from the year before, the Ibrox side did manage to increase their revenue by 11 per cent to £59m, largely thanks to Gerrard steering his side to the last 16 of the Europa League which pocketed them £20.7m
Rangers directors will pump in another £20m by the end of next season for the club to continue as a going concern, but while the financial situation may look bleak with fans still not allowed back into stadiums as a result of the pandemic, Gerrard believes the value of some of their key assets, such as Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos and former Liverpool man Ryan Kent, mean that there is the potential to cash in on a windfall.
“The board support has been fantastic since the first day I came in really,” said Gerrard to the Daily Record.
“In terms of the numbers, obviously you have to take certain things into consideration given the timing. They could have looked very much different if we did accept a bid for one of our big assets.
“I think the important thing to know is that this team is in much better shape than it was when we came through the door.
“The team is littered now with big assets. The team is worth an awful lot of money now compared to what it was.”
Since Gerrard arrived in the Gers hotseat back in 2018 the Ibrox board has sanctioned increased staff costs to allow the former Liverpool skipper to build a team to challenge Celtic.
They have invested into the squad with large transfer fees, too, signing the likes of Kemar Roofe, but their net spend has been greater than that of rivals Celtic, largely due to the the green half of Glasgow being more focused on selling a key asset each season, such as Kieran Tierney to Arsenal.
The financial situation means that pressure is increased on Gerrard and his squad to progress in Europe, and with an 11-point gap at the top over Celtic and Champions League football a possibility next season it could well be that the Gers directors hold off on selling off their prized assets just yet in order to ensure that they reach European club football’s premier cup competition and the huge financial benefits that brings, with an appearance in the group stages worth £13.5m alone.
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Gerrard said: “Europe is always important for a club like Rangers because of the history and the big European nights that have gone before for the supporters, it’s what they enjoy doing, watching their team in Europe, travelling near and far to follow their team.
“So from a football point of view there’s always a responsibility and an expectation here as the Rangers manager to continue to do well, year on year.
“If that means we make more money or we go further in competitions and that helps from a financial point of view, then great. That is always the aim.
“The board and myself are on the same page and we’re happy with where the team is at right now. But we both know there is still a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be.”