Wilson’s legacy is 'training ground and women’s team improvement'

Wilson joined Nottingham Forest after three-and-a-half years at Ibrox.

Bennett: Wilson’s Rangers legacy is training ground and women’s team improvement SNS Group

New Rangers chairman John Bennett said Ross Wilson’s legacy will be improvements to the training ground and women’s team after the sporting director sealed a move to Nottingham Forest.

Wilson spent three-and-a-half years at Ibrox, during which the club won the Scottish Premiership title, reached the Europa League final and returned to the Champions League group stage.

Rangers received record transfer fees twice in 2022, either side of their European final, but Bennett ranks other achievements higher than Wilson’s contribution to the club’s transfer dealings.

“I would like sincerely to thank Ross for his enormous contribution to the development of Rangers both on and off the pitch,” said Bennett, who stepped up to succeed Douglas Park as chairman last week.

“While we have enjoyed silverware and excellent European progress during his time, his legacy will be the development of the Rangers Training Centre into a top-class environment, and the integration and success of our women’s programme.”

A club statement added: “The women’s first-team has been professionalised and fully integrated within the football department under Ross’ stewardship. This has seen them win their first ever SWPL title and, this season, lift the Sky Sports Cup.

“Ross has overseen the development of the Rangers Training Centre into a truly elite facility, now comparable to many top European clubs.”

Wilson’s stock with the Ibrox support was high early last summer after Rangers received a club-record fee from Ajax for Calvin Bassey in a deal worth a potential £23million, having signed the defender from Leicester for training compensation two years earlier. The deal quickly broke the record transfer income which saw Nathan Patterson depart for Everton months earlier.

But some fans were seeking the departure of the former Falkirk, Huddersfield, Watford and Southampton employee before his return to England, with thousands of supporters holding up posters at the club’s win over Motherwell last month calling for him to go.

A slow start to this season saw Giovanni van Bronckhorst lose his job in November and scrutiny of the summer transfer incomings saw pressure pile on Wilson.

Big-money signings such as Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz have struggled to make their mark while injuries have hindered the progress of others such as John Souttar and Tom Lawrence. Rangers also face losing Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent for nothing in the summer.

Four days after Rangers fell 12 points adrift of Premiership leaders Celtic and with a Scottish Cup semi-final against their city rivals later this month set to define the season, Wilson took the opportunity to move on after an approach from Forest.

The 39-year-old has been installed as chief football officer at the City Ground soon after the departure of sporting director Filippo Giraldi.

In a parting statement on the Rangers website, Wilson said: “I would like to thank the players, led superbly by captain James Tavernier, and the manager Michael Beale, as well as all those who have come before them in the three-and-a-half years I have spent at Rangers.

“I would like to thank Douglas Park, Stewart Robertson and the board for their support. I wish John Bennett – a true Rangers man – a successful chairmanship. This is a great club, and there are so many reasons for Rangers to face the decades ahead with optimism and pride.

“Thank you for your support. I wish everyone associated with Rangers nothing but the best for the future.”

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