Rewind back to the start of the season and the outlook was much brighter. Yes, we'd lost important players such as Bassey and Aribo to big money moves but we had strengthened the squad as well. Meanwhile, we still had players such as Morelos, Roofe, Jack and Helander to return from long term injuries so - aside from perhaps one or two positions - most fans were fairly comfortable with the status of the squad.

Unfortunately, since then things have turned rather sour. Player after player has succumbed to injury leaving us down to the bare bones in midfield and defence in particular whilst key performers - people we've relied on in recent years - simply haven't turned up for long periods of many matches. Team selection has been inconsistent, our tactics changed regularly to cope and subsequent results are as erratic as the manager's comments in press conferences.

Off the field, the club is equally unimpressive. Communication is conceded to be a problem but, aside from one or two brief and less than encouraging interviews, fans are offered mixed messages at best. We're asked to continually fork out top dollar ticket and merchandising prices before then being told there's no money to properly invest in the side. Rangers are apparently about to report recording breaking turnover but instead of that money being put into the team on the park, other projects such as Edmiston House are prioritised. Perhaps more worryingly as more issues are identified with the squad, a variety of player recruitment staff have left with a lack of clarity as to their replacement.

At this point I think it's fair to say I don't envy the Rangers board. As much as we've historically been the dominant team in Scotland, circumstances over the last twenty years have undoubtedly affected that position. David Murray, Craig Whyte, Charles Green and others all contributed to weaken our club substantially this millennium. A lack of foresight and planning coupled with greed and ego seen Rangers drop into the lower leagues and, as much as many fans will rightfully tire of that being used as a crutch as we approach 2023, the affect cannot be denied as we attend matches now. Even with the huge amounts of turnover we'll report over the next few weeks – these monies only go so far and cannot be spent all at once.

The 'modern-day' Ibrox Stadium is now the better part of 50 years old. That alone is startling enough when you take a breath but a lack of investment in the venue under various regimes offers a maintenance bill that will be eye-watering. Roof repairs, general improvements and ongoing work to develop various areas such as hospitality and disabled facilities have and will continue to cost millions on an annual basis. Some will ask why these were put ahead of players on the park, well, whilst any payback period of the Blue Sky Lounge or Edmiston House may be lengthy, we cannot rely on European football alone for our income.

Live Podcast this Friday

This Friday at 9pm we'll have another Gersnet Podcast live on Youtube discussing the loss to Ajax and previewing Sunday's match with St Johnstone as well as all the rest of the latest Rangers news. Don't miss it and remember you can take part via the chat facility!

Visit our Youtube channel

Supporters also need to appreciate that, before this year’s financial reports, the club was loss making with directors making up any short fall via the purchase of shares. That just isn’t tenable longer term and these people have to be paid back at some point. As such whilst (erroneous) headline figures of £30m+ of profit appear exciting, it doesn’t automatically follow we’re spending all of that on players. We still spent £10m in the summer which is a large amount comparatively speaking and we need to budget for more than one season.

Unfortunately, it’s where we’ve spent that money that is more of an issue. Was Rabbi Matando any better than Fashion Sakala? How much time did we take to evaluate John Souttar’s injuries? Was Ridvan Yilmaz the marquee signing we needed? Should we have kept one Leon instead of developing the other? Who is responsible for deciding not to strengthen in midfield? All these questions, and more, are key football strategy questions that need to be answered. From the manager, to Ross Wilson and the board, a clear explanation would perhaps help supporters understand our position and apply some rationale to any concerns.

Of course the AGM is coming up where some questions may be answered but such meetings aren’t always constructive. Therefore, it’s very important that the board address our perceived shortcomings in plain speak. Football supporters are never the most patient of ‘customers’ so it makes sense to offer clarity. Have we focused too much on infrastructure or was the unavoidable? A plethora of injuries can be attributed to some bad luck but we knew the risks when signing certain players and/or relying too much on others. Who is culpable for what seems a raft of player deficiencies: age profile, fitness, recruitment and contracts? What are our plans for squad investment in January and next summer?

In many ways, there are merited reasons for under-performance this season. However, excuses – no matter how valid - can only mitigate so far and I think if we’re honest with ourselves many problems signal deeper issues that appear to go further than the product on the field. Improvement and progress can be found but that will require the kind of clear leadership that seems to have been missing of late.

Six months ago we were in a European final but we’ve gone backwards since then. Of course we’ve no right to success but that regression has to be accounted for and responsibility taken. Some honest answers will help and may allow time to turn things around. Nothing else will do and the club must avoid bland soundbites.

With no recognised fans group to speak of, the board may think they’re above such transparency. Season ticket waiting lists, a huge MyGers membership and afore-mentioned record turnover may also make some directors feel over-confident when any of that could reverse very quickly if results on the park don’t improve; not just this season but beyond. In contrast, supporters must be prepared to absorb bad news as well. If change is to be made, whether in the squad, the coaching staff or our Sporting Director, that will take more time, more money and more patience. And there still remain no guarantees – not when there are other increasing costs for the club to meet.

Lastly, it’s also fair to acknowledge the last ten years have been difficult for our fans and de-spite daft songs, we haven’t walked away and still back the club impressively year-to-year. The good times have been somewhat rare but they are coming back slowly, very slowly but an inconsistency remains for now which won’t be easy nor quick to solve. That may be tough to recognise or accept but it’s one of the few truths available to us. It's not what you or I want to hear but patience remains a virtue.

Discuss this article

Enjoyed this satire? Disagree entirely? Found a spelling mistake? Whatever your opinion, it's welcome on our popular and friendly message-board.

Visit Gersnet Forum