London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2006-07--> All for 20060809
<-Page <-Team Wed 09 Aug 2006 Hearts 1 AEK Athens 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Evening Times ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth None auth-> Nicolai Vollquartz
Aguiar Bruno [P Kapetanos 88] ;[N Liberopoulos 93]
33 of 066 Saulius Mikoliunas 61 E H

Sterling effort required to trade in Euro zone

RANGERS fans will settle into their armchairs tonight and dream of what could have been as Hearts begin their quest for Champions League glory against AEK Athens at Murrayfield.

Hopes of glamorous trips and tests against the European elite were destroyed when the Jambos couldn't quite be reeled in last season before Alex McLeish handed over the reins to Paul Le Guen.

But while the punters suffer the pain of missing out, and await the draw for the consolation prize Uefa Cup later this month, it's in the Ibrox boardroom the agony will be felt most.

Rangers have had their share of troubles with the governing body in Nyon over the last few months.

But the release of last season's Champions League money distribution list - on the day that the team who slammed shut the gates to the promised land embark on their own mission to land a treasure chest - is possibly the cruellest blow they could ever deliver from their headquarters in Switzerland.

The figures confirm that Uefa paid Rangers some £9.2million in hard cash for their fantastic run to the last 16 of their flagship tournament last season.

That was made up of a £1.15m starting fee, a £226,000 surplus payment, £1.38m match fee for their six group games, £690,000 in performance bonus for a win and four draws, £1.15m for reaching the knockout phase - and that all important and extremely lucrative £4.56m share of the TV market pool.

Given that Rangers raked in close on £5m in gate receipts from their four home games against FC Porto, Artmedia, Inter Milan and Villarreal - and with all the commercial, corporate and retail add-ons - then the earnings from last season's Champions League must have touched £15m.

That figure, clearly, was incorporated in the turnover of £60m that chairman David Murray spoke of when he unveiled Le Guen in the Blue Room almost two months ago.

At that very time, the Ibrox supremo was playing down any thoughts of a war-chest being handed to his incoming manager for new players.

Stating there would be several millions spent, rather than tens of millions, Murray said that Rangers had just about broken even on that record turnover figure.

Now, with a gaping black hole, and even accounting for the £18m JJB cheque, it might be becoming clearer why Rangers have not splashed out the huge amounts of money on new players everyone was led to believe they would.

As it stands, they still have to qualify for the Uefa Cup group stage. They will be seeded in that draw on August 25 and, should they fail to progress to the sections and guarantee four further matches, it would be an unmitigated disaster.

Basically, if Rangers have just broken even with a £15m Champions League injection, then Le Guen is going to have to guide them on a sustained Uefa Cup run to claw back some of the revenue lost by the failure to finish in the top two last season.

Indeed, he would need to make the last 16 at the very worst to make a serious dent.

The 05/06 annual accounts, which are bound to be scrutinised by fans and shareholders when they appear some time next month, will show exactly where the JJB money has gone, and how a £15m windfall from the Champions League has not borne any profit.

Remember, Alex McLeish didn't spend a penny in the last transfer window. The arrival of Kris Boyd was more or less offset by the sale of Stevie Thompson to Cardiff.

As it stands, Le Guen has spent cash on three men so far - Jeremy Clement, Karl Svensson and Filip Sebo - at a cost of just £3.6m.

Now the Frenchman says he must rid himself of Fernando Ricksen, Jose Pierre-Fanfan, Bob Malcolm, Olivier Bernard and Marvin Andrews - five players who draw combined wages of £60,000 a week - before he can move for the right back and centre half he wants to augment the squad for the first half of the season.

It is not inconceivable that Murray has held back some of the JJB cash. It's understood a couple of million was spent on the stadium redevelopment this summer to make sure the debts are kept well under control and soften the blow of no Champions League income.

In the meantime, the punters can only spend this summer on the outside looking in as Celtic, and possibly Hearts, gorge on the financial feast.

Taken from Evening Times

<-Page <-Team Wed 09 Aug 2006 Hearts 1 AEK Athens 2 Team-> Page->
| Home | Contact Us | Credits | © 2006 |