Football: Rangers reveal European plans

Rangers yesterday unveiled the blueprint drafted to prepare the perennial Scottish champions for the expected advent of a European League by the year 2000.

Their manager Walter Smith and his assistant, Archie Knox, have signed three-year extensions to their Ibrox contracts. Smith has also recruited the Dane Tommy Moller-Nielsen, the 34-year-old son of the former Danish international manager Richard, as first-team coach to replace Davie Dodds.

The chairman, David Murray, revealed the backroom appointment is just the start of a summer signing spree which will include a new training facility and, possibly, no fewer than nine new players by July.

Murray confirmed his desire to consign "nine-in-a-row" to the history books, saying he and Smith had resorted to "short-termism" in recent seasons in order to equal Celtic's cherished record of nine successive Scottish titles.

Now they crave making a bigger impact on Europe - even though they must walk a qualifying round tightrope for the Champions' League in July. Failure would mean an exit before the Premier Division has begun.

Asked if he expects a European League to run alongside domestic football within the next three years, Murray said: "It is happening already. It is called the Champions' League.

"I've said repeatedly that by the year 2000 we will have all three European trophies combined into one. It is starting to happen already. We must be ready for that. It is all very well saying we are a big club. It is quite another going and doing it. We all know what is required.

"I do believe the parochial element of 'nine-in-a-row' has held us back over the past couple of seasons. 'Ten-in-a-row' will take care of itself. We'll either win it or we won't but dramatic change has to come."

Rangers have spent pounds 50m over the past eight years to redevelop Ibrox into a futuristic 50,000 all-seat stadium, but now the emphasis is on changing the playing staff. Richard Gough and David Robertson have gone and Smith has already lined up the Swedish international midfielder Jonas Thern from Roma, the Australian full-back Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda and the German goalkeeper Georg Koch from Dusseldorf.

More will surely follow with Rangers having confirmed their interest in Internazionale's defenders Massimo Paganin and Alessandro Pistone. Roy Hodgson's departure from Inter is delaying decisions on their futures.

But Murray will not splash big-money fees on people like Paul Ince and Kennet Andersson who are, at 30, deemed too old for the Ibrox vision. Paul Gascoigne, though, could be part of the future - if he accepts an offer to stay.

"We admit that in the past we have gone for the quick fix in the transfer market," said Murray. "Now we are putting the building blocks in place by signing players of the right age on four to five-year contracts. We could have as many as nine new players by the start of the season.

"We need to do it. We were vulnerable there for a few months last season but shrewd management and extra effort from a couple of players saw us through."

Smith's deal confirms he is in with the bricks at Ibrox, after first arriving 11 years ago to become assistant to Graeme Souness. Knox joined from Manchester United in 1991 to become Smith's No 2.

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales Executive - Software & Hardware Automation

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leading hardware an...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...

Recruitment Genius: CAD Technician - Structural Engineering

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are Consulting Str...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Account Executive is require...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor