Rangers ‘not hoarding’ Champions League cash, says vice-chairman John Bennett

Rangers vice-chairman John Bennett during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Motherwell at Ibrox Stadium
John Bennett (right) says there has been investment on and off the pitch

Rangers are “not hoarding” Champions League cash, vice-chairman John Bennett has insisted as he asked fans to give summer signings time to gel.

Bennett told Rangers TV the club has “fallen short” in communicating to their fans.

He said this has allowed others to speculate about “where’s the money gone?” from group-stage qualification.

“Rangers is not going to be sat on piles and piles of cash as this year progresses,” Bennett said.

“Rangers continues to invest on and off the pitch and we will continue to invest because the bar only rises.”

Bennett said “unacceptable performances” in successive 4-0 defeats – by Celtic in the Scottish Premiership and Ajax in the Champions League – had led to some justified and some less justified criticism of their summer recruitment.

“I learned long ago not to judge a new Rangers player within weeks,” he said.

Bennett pointed out that defender Calvin Bassey had received criticism early in his Ibrox career only for the defender to be sold this summer for a club record £19.6m to Ajax.

Rangers signed seven players in the summer transfer window and Bennett said midfielder Tom Lawrence in particular had “hit the ground running” until picking up an injury and stressed that left-back Ridvan Yilmaz had been bought from Besiktas as a long-term project.

Bennett said that, despite some questioning new contracts for goalkeeper Allan McGregor and midfielders Steven Davis and Scott Arfield, the three veterans all played their part in an improved performance despite last week’s defeat by Napoli.

The vice-chairman agreed with Connor Goldson’s view that it is the strongest squad Rangers have had since the vice-captain joined in 2018 and “I trust the judgement of the manager”, Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Bennett recalled that, when he joined the club more than seven years ago, he viewed it as “the hardest challenge I’ve ever taken on in my business life” as he “looked under the bonnet and thought ‘my goodness, I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was that bad'”.

However, he suggested that even those outside the club would agree that Rangers had done well in just over two years to have “won the league, won a Scottish Cup for the first time in too many years; gets to a Europa League final and qualifies for the Champions League for the first time in too many years”.

‘American group did approach us’

Bennett confirmed Rangers have been approached by an American investment group about a potential takeover, but stressed being sounded out by investors is “not unusual” for the club.

“We do politely listen to a number of proposals and that will happen again,” he told Rangers TV.

“It’s the right thing to do as well from a fiduciary point of view. We gave quite a lot of time to that situation and we listened.

“But what was very interesting – from [shareholders] John Halstead to Julian Woldhardt, to people in the boardroom [said]: ‘absolutely not interested in selling.'”

Bennett added: “This is a board and a group of investors who believe in ‘never again’ in terms of one individual or party calling the shots and owning the club.

“The ownership of Rangers football club should rest upon a number of shoulders.”

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