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Three weeks- Ibrox insider reveals how long chairman Bennett sat on closure news

Chris Jack has revealed that the Ibrox board has been sitting on the news that their stadium won’t be ready for the start of the season for three weeks.

The chief ‘Rangers’ reporter for the Herald and Rangers Review is now the go-to source for all matters relating to the club, being closest to the decision makers and being prepared to push out any agenda in return for the occasional exclusive about players like Connor Barron.

Chat about the problems and delays had been rife across social media and message boards, most of the bears were putting it down to obsessed Selik fans which sounds familiar to those that enjoyed the wonderful events of 2012.

For years there has been a desperation among insecure bears to raise the capacity of Ibrox above the 60,000 that Celtic Park has hosted since 1998.

All sorts of schemes have been looked into and promises made, this summer it was planned to increase the capacity of the Broomloan Road Stand by 600 while creating a world class Disabled section.

Work started on May 15, the day after playing Dundee with Ibrox having a 50-50 chance of hosting a Champions League qualifier on August 6/7.

It was a tight timescale, it is believed that a number of contractors walked away from putting in a tender, undeterred the club pushed ahead, taking advantage of the light nights providing additional working hours.

Yesterday the story finally surfaced, applying the most favourable spin Jack told readers of the Rangers Review:

As it stands, writing off August is the best-case scenario. The list of alternatives is not exactly a lengthy one and the most obvious solution is not even on the table given that Hampden is unavailable for use until the first week in September.

By that stage, Clement’s side will have played nine matches in the Champions League, Premiership and League Cup and discussions are already underway with UEFA and the SPFL to discuss contingency plans.

Rangers will face Manchester United at Murrayfield on Saturday, July 20 in a friendly fixture. That journey along the M8 could become a familiar one for supporters to make as Clement seeks to guide Rangers through a series of matches that will define their campaign in football and financial terms.

A fee will be paid to whoever agrees to host Rangers and issues such as hospitality revenue also have to be taken into consideration. No deal has yet been signed with any potential savour.

The Rangers Review understands that John Bennett, the executive chairman, and his board repeatedly sought assurances over the timescales and the progress of the works to install new disabled facilities in the Copland Stand.

Those assurances were given at various stages. Around three weeks ago, the news that had been feared was delivered. Some of the steelwork required for the project will not arrive in Britain for several weeks and Rangers have been left to count the cost – in financial and sporting terms as well as reputationally – of delays that will cast a shadow over the club fat a time when there are silver linings in the clouds.

That three week timeline dates back to the end of May, days after last season ended, followed quickly by James Bisgrove walking away and chairman Bennett taking on the role of CEO.

Yesterday’s club statement was very vague, there is a real absence of detail other than blaming a mysterious ‘Asian contractor’. What is almost certain is that the issues go far deeper than the delayed arrival of steel beams that may or may not be on their way and have to pass through Customs before meeting Health and Safety standards.

Discovering Asbestos or hidden costs as they await the full extent of the compensation due to Hummell/Elite are other possibilities while the goalmouth in front of the stand has been undercover for months and needs to be replaced.

After attempting to news manage this problem the issue has exploded with knock-on effects for the transfer budget and the playing impact of being forced away from Ibrox for at least one month, probably two or three.

Ibrox fan media outlets refused to touch the story before yesterday’s announcement, with their credibility in tatters all sorts of stories are likely to emerge with the ‘August best case scenario’ as likely as the rumoured £21m bid about to come in for Jack Butland.

At the time of Jack’s tweet Bennett knew that the project was behind schedule and that Ibrox wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season.

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