Rangers vice-chairman John Bennett has rubbished claims that the club are “hoarding cash” following successful player sales and the Champions League qualification windfall.
In a wide-ranging interview with Rangers TV, Bennett accepted criticism of the board’s communication with fans was valid, but rejected claims that they had not properly utilised a recent influx of money.
Rangers secured access to a potential windfall of up to about £75million through the sale of Nathan Patterson, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey on top of beating PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League play-offs.
Some fans felt the club should have invested more in the squad in the latter stages of the transfer window.
But Bennett stressed that none of the income was “unplanned”.
Bennett said: “I have seen some stuff recently about £100million dropping from heaven, £40million dropping from heaven. Headline numbers.
“It’s never been more true to say ‘don’t believe the headlines’. I saw one about Rangers hoarding cash.
“We can rail against that and say that’s lazy journalism or the usual suspects having a crack at the club at the earliest opportunity. Let’s have a look at ourselves, where have we perhaps fallen short?
“I think we have fallen short in our communication of what, for example, qualification for the Champions League group stages actually means in financial terms. I think we missed a trick, we could have come out after the PSV game and say let’s celebrate, we’re back, and this is what it really means.
“Instead there was something of a vacuum that was filled with: where’s the money gone?
“Rangers is not going to be sat on piles and piles of cash as this year progresses. Rangers continues to invest on and off the pitch because the bar only rises.”
Bennett, one of a number of individuals whose money helped keep the club afloat in recent years, added: “I lost a lot of sleep on the off-the-pitch stuff, the finances etc, especially end of 2019 going into 2020 and Covid etc.
“I am now in a position where my sleepless nights about Rangers, and they are still there, are about on the pitch. That’s how it should be but it’s only recently that the four pillars are up and it’s all working.
“Two record transfers out of the club but it only started in January this year.
“To imply that it’s unplanned or falling from heaven is so wrong. It’s very much part of the model.”
Bennett defended the club’s summer transfer business including the £5million purchase of 21-year-old Turkey left-back Ridvan Yilmaz, who has only made three appearances.
After successive 4-0 defeats by Celtic and Ajax, the starting line-up for last week’s 3-0 home defeat by Napoli contained none of Rangers’ seven first-team summer signings.
“I know there is quite a lot of noise about that (summer transfers) on the back of those two unacceptable performances in particular, some of it justified and, as always, some of it, I think, less justified.
“I learned long ago not to judge a new Rangers player within weeks. I go way back over my life as a Rangers supporter, I have probably seen more players take time to settle than those who hit the ground running.
“I looked at Tom Lawrence and thought ‘there’s a player who has hit the ground running’ and then events, things happen, injury.
“Others haven’t hit the ground running for various reasons. We are six or so weeks into the season, I won’t judge a player in that period of time. I have learned to wait a bit longer. We haven’t seen enough of them, I think we will see them.
“If you look at another young player who we have signed, Yilmaz, yes we spent significant money on that transfer. We signed him for five years. I won’t wait five years to judge him but nor will I do it after five weeks.”
Bennett pointed out that vice-captain Connor Goldson recently described the squad as the strongest it had been during his time at Ibrox.
“I trust his judgement and I trust the judgement of the manager, who says he is happy with this squad,” he added.