Some things really are too big to be allowed to fail.
But Rangers Football Club isn’t one of them.
The principle that it is wrong to spend other people’s money, without their permission, in order to advance your own self-centred agenda is a big idea which is absolutely central to the core values of a civilised society. There’s a closely related idea that it’s not okay to exploit the good faith of service providers, businesses, emergency services and individual workers, then leave them whistling in the wind for the payment which they’ve earned.
Those are ideas which are too big to be allowed to fail.
There’s an enduring concept that trustworthiness is a virtue while cynical exploitation of people’s trust is reprehensible. Similarly, quality of life is generally enhanced when decent people can reap the just rewards of their honest labours without being robbed by scam merchants, fraudsters and sharks. And that principle, by extension, demands that those who insist on conducting their affairs in an exploitative, predatory fashion must face a level of punishment which is in proportion to the damage they do to their victims. The penalty for undermining essential foundations of social stability should reflect that selfish parasites and shameless free-loaders are unacceptable infestations which are unacceptable to decent society.
These principles are too big to be allowed to fail.
Vital ideas and fundamental principles such as these are constantly assailed and relentlessly undermined by the very last people for whom we should go out of our way to offer assistance or protection. Allowing these people to prosper from their malevolent, anti-social machinations not only encourages them to continue in the same selfish, destructive vein; it also sends out an intolerable and dangerous message to others that the most profitable way to operate is by abusing trust, practising deceit and exploiting vulnerability at every possible opportunity.
Why work for a living when you can steal someone else’s dues?
Why play fair when you can win more by cheating?
Why bother about doing the right thing when moral standards are merely obstacles in the way of your ambitions?
These are the traits of the psychopath. Psychopathic thinking infects every society where it is allowed to spread. Where it is not challenged, it takes an ever firmer hold until it ends up overwhelming the decent humanity of the overwhelming majority of the population. Academic study after academic study has shown that the prevalence of clinical psychopaths is in the region of 4% of our society. Most people are unaware that it is more common in the boardrooms than in the maximum security prisons; very, very few psychopaths are serial killers or axe-murderers but a hell of a lot of them are at the core of vast financial scams, vulture capitalism, national and international banking scandals, insider trading, fraudulent investment schemes, general corporate misgovernance and money-laundering.
Criminality on that scale adversely affects the 96% of us who, for the most part, just want to get on with our lives in peace with each other. It corrodes the most basic principles of our communities and sucks the vitality out of a society’s confidence in its own sense of justice, honour, purpose, fairness and integrity. In short, it attacks all of the most important values which give human beings their deepest, richest sense of well-being.
These are the values which really are too big to fail.
If we them, we lose everything that makes us decent. What price is worth paying to defend these values? Downsizing a few football operations, whose worth has been artificially inflated, to a scale that is a truer reflection of their genuine worth is well worth the longer term benefits. If the prestige of Scottish football depends upon its economy being regularly injected with huge streams of laundered cash; or relies upon unsustainable levels of borrowing from unreliable banks; or cannot function without tax-scams designed to protect some of the highest wage-earners in the country from the demands that apply to the rest of us; if this is what the prestige of Scottish professional football depends upon then that prestige is an illusion for the gratification of fools.
It’s only a bloody game of football. It is certainly not so important that we need to turn a blind eye to the fact that professional football in its current structure could have been specifically designed by money-launderers as a perfect conduit for cleaning up the proceeds of international drug running, illegal arms dealing, child prostitution and a plethora of other nefarious activities. The most cold-hearted gangsters on the planet clean up their money in collusion with their criminally-inclined (but ever-so-respectable) collaborators in the boardrooms of all of the major banks and financial institutions.
In other news, Liverpool FC paid £35 million pounds for Andy Carroll. That’s pretty close to the figure which Dick Advocaat spent in a single season when he was the manager of Rangers FC (now defunct) at around the same time that Dave King “invested” around £20,000,000 of “his own money” in the club.
Former CEO of JJB Sports, Chris Ronnie, has been charged with several counts of fraud and money-laundering. In 2006, JJB Sports entered into a ten-year sponsorship deal reportedly worth up to £48 million with the now defunct Rangers FC. By an amazing coincidence, the 322 charges which long-serving Rangers director Dave King faces in South African courts also include fraud and money-laundering.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a bank formerly known as the Bank of Scotland/HBOS/Lloyds handled the accounts of every SPL club except Celtic. (Latterly, when Vlad took over Hearts, the Jambo’s account was transferred to Romanov’s own bank.) Every one of those clubs would have struggled desperately to survive if its credit facility had been called in by the bank. That remains true today. That left (and still leaves) all of those clubs very vulnerable to pressure from the bank in their handling of day to day business. Say, for example, that BOS’s successor, Lloyds TSB dearly hoped that enough directors would vote for a certain club to be parachuted straight into the SPL. They would be able to exert enormous pressure on any club which was not enthusiastic about following LTSB’s plan. Not that I would suggest for a moment that distinguished banking figures would even consider such a shameless piece of blackmail. Ian Fraser wrote a fine article which shows exactly how honourable and honest high-level bankers really are.
(Just thought I’d mention those few random facts there for no particular reason.)
There is a certain type of mindset which has been unstoppable in its insistence that a now-liquidated football club is too big to be allowed to fail and that the national sport will collapse without it. I’ve dismissed the stupidity of that position in previous blogs and I feel no need to go over the same ground again.
Instead, I’ll finish off by talking briefly about something completely different.
A mindset which carefully plans a corporate heist to shaft creditors to the tune of up to £150,000,000 before re-emerging on the other side of a long planned liquidation, ready to carry on as if nothing had happened; that is indistinguishable from the mindset of the psychopath.
A so-called businessman who acquires all of the assets of a failed business by effectively paying millions of pounds to the administrators in whose gift the assets lie – and leaving approximately zilch to the hundreds of legitimate creditors of that business – is operating in exactly the way that a corporate psychopath would be expected to.
Administrators who state, upon being appointed, that their responsibilities are to transform an ailing business into a going concern and also get the best possible outcome for its creditors; who charge millions of pounds for their work; who oversee the liquidation of the business; who salvage absolutely nothing at all for the creditors; and who strike an exclusive deal with a man who is willing to pay a sum of money which is almost exactly the same as their extortionate fees – in effect, a bribe – to acquire undervalued assets; such people are classic examples of the psychopathic consciousness at work in corporate life.
This is an evil which is too big to be allowed to succeed.
I mentioned Suicide by Cop in a recent blogpost because it seems to me that D&P are actively trying to provoke some other party to bring on the liquidation event. They would prefer to be able to blame the SPL or SFA or UEFA or FIFA or HMRC or SVDP or anybody at all for kicking the ladder away from under them just as they were supposedly on the point of delivering the Holy Grail of a successful CVA outcome. The fact that they hadn’t a hope in hell of getting 75% in favour of their derisory CVA proposal would be neither here nor there if they could paint some other party as the baddies who had thwarted their rescue strategy just at the point when it was coming to fruition.
That, however, leaves Emerald Green with a slight problem because he apparently, for reasons which I can’t fathom, had given an undertaking to spend millions of pounds which he does not have – where have we heard that before? – to acquire the mortal remains of the deceased club. There is a possibility that at some point he had some kind of vague plan to present a regenerated, viable NewClub for future sale. Or at least to make it look as if that’s what he intended to do. His get-out clause is that he can’t be held to this commitment if Rangers or Frankenstein’s Rangers are disqualified from any of the domestic competitions. (We must presume that European competitions were not involved in the conditions.)
It looks as if it is now a matter of urgency for Rangers (in administration) to:
a) get themselves disqualified/suspended/expelled/ejected from at least one domestic competition.
The Scottish Cup would do for this purpose, hence the stories before the original SFA Disciplinary Hearing that Rangers (in administration) had sounded out the beaks with a view to intimating that a fine and “ejection” from the Scottish Cup would be acceptable to the Dignified Ones.
b) be seen to have been forced into liquidation by an unseen Fenian hand (including the papists of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs or the Vatican puppets at FIFA or the Opus Dei-infiltrated SFA).
c) achieve both of these objectives, preferably in that order from Emerald Green’s point of view, before the risible CVA proposal is exposed as the crock of horseshit that it undoubtedly is and firmly rejected by the creditors.
I suspect that the members of both the original tribunal and the subsequent Appellate Tribunal were well aware of this and that’s why they tried to improvise a punishment which didn’t quite put Rangers out of business but nevertheless left them facing a formidable challenge in the unlikely event that they’ll still be around to limp onto the starting line for next season’s campaign. Unable to prevent their seasoned professionals from stampeding out of the club during the close season and unable to register experienced replacements in their place, Rangers would be in very poor shape.
It was an elegant attempt to inflict a painful punishment on the wrongdoers without playing into the hands of any of the miscreants. Alas, it has been foiled, for the time being, by the ruling of Lord Glennie in the Court of Session that the tribunal was obliged to order a punishment à la carte, as it were. The tribunal must select one of the punishments already on the menu and no Chef’s Specials are permitted. However, that is not the victory that it might have appeared to be if, as I suspect will be the case, the tribunal take their time to fins a space in their diaries when they can all get together again. They could delay this for weeks and that does not suit Rangers at the present moment.
The D&P gravy-train is nearing the end of the line. All of those delicious millions of pounds which Clark and Whitehouse have been hoovering up over the last four months are nearly finished. The pesky footballers are once again expecting to be paid the wages which they agreed to when they signed for the club. D&P want out now and quickly. A meeting with the creditors has been called for the 14th June. It is apparently to be a very short meeting with only one item on the agenda. Might this be the latest possible moment when the court-appointed administration team can fulfil their obligation to inform the hapless creditors that the jig is up and the padlocks are going onto the gates?
If it is, then the need to provoke someone else to cause the liquidation event is now desperate. One of the last things that Duff & Phelps want to have to do is take full responsibility for having made a complete James Hunt of the administration over the course of the last four months. (The very last thing that they want to do is walk away without an obscene profit at the expense of the creditors and employees but they have already taken good care of that priority.)
Every party which has had a chance to fire the fatal headshot has held back. HMRC, the SFA and the SPL have tiptoed all around the houses for months. That may yet prove to have been not such a bad thing, frustrating though it has been. It is better that Duff & Phelps should be forced to fall upon their own swords, not least because their professional regulator, the Insolvency Practitioners Association, is currently licking its lips and sharpening its knives in readiness for a forensic examination of the conduct of this bizarre administration process.
Charles Greed is a psychopathic predator who may have originally spotted an opportunity to make a dishonourable fast buck if things had all gone his way but he was wily enough to build in enough conditions to every one of his commitments to make it possible for him to find a way to wriggle free if events took an awkward turn. And they have become very awkward. It has become apparent that the mood of the general Scottish football-supporting public is firmly opposed to allowing any form of Rangers to carry on more or less as before. That is a game-changer in every sense. Green may have initially believed that the combined forces of the laptop loyal, a short attention span amongst many supporters, SFA President Campbell Ogilvie, the SPL’s spineless Neil Doncaster, various brown brogue-wearing chairmen of other SPL clubs and the scapegoating of Craig Whyte was capable of enabling the switcheroo to proceed, relatively unopposed. That has proved to be a false expectation.
I think of Greed in terms of the looters who appear in the aftermath of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a devastating hurricane. Where all around is chaos, carnage and confusion, furtive figures dart in and out of shops and warehouses, grabbing whatever is available or slipping back into the shadows to avoid being caught in the act. Chaz saw a scene of chaos and carnage and fancied his chances of bagging a few sackfuls of designer trainers but it’s becoming harder and harder for him to smuggle his stash through the cordons and back to his base. The Feds have got an eye on him so he’s pretending to tie his shoelaces while he chooses the best escape route. In this case, he badly needs Rangers to be ruled out of at least one of next season’s competitions as soon as possible. It’s just possible that the Tribunal may feel that there’s no point in reconvening to discuss punishments for a club which no longer exists after the L-bomb drops. That detonation may now be just over a week away. That is how long Emerald has to weasel his way out of having to make a multi-million pound offer for a business basket case.
Good news! Good news!
The liquidation of Rangers is no longer the probable outcome of their travails; it is absolutely inevitable.
It’s time for all of Scotland’s premier football clubs individually, and the SPL as a collective organisation, to recognise this and plan boldly for the new circumstances.
Those club chairmen who are still in fear of radical change have not left themselves much time to adjust to a situation which they had wrongly assumed could never come to pass. But there is no excuse now for delusions that somehow Rangers can avoid the worst.
There will be no Rangers of any kind, old or new, playing in the SPL next season. There is no guarantee that any form of Rangers will even be playing in the Third Division of the SFL either. Yet there is still uncertainty in some quarters about embracing the new reality.
The baleful effect of Rangers on the confidence of other Scottish clubs seems to have caused a kind of Stockholm syndrome where the victims paradoxically develop an emotional attachment to their abuser. Having spent so much of their existence trying not to challenge the malevolent power of the seemingly all-powerful Rangers, a number of clubs have lost the ability to think clearly for themselves and have lost sight of what is in their own best interests.
They have found ways to survive in the lair of the beast and can scarcely imagine what life will be like when the beast is slain.
“Things may never be the same again,” they whimper, as if that were a bad thing.
Why would any decent person want Scottish football to be the “same again”?
It has become clearer and clearer with each development that for many years Scottish football was trapped in a process of being devoured by an insatiable parasite called Rangers FC. Scottish football has been revealed to be merely a façade behind which the scandalous conduct of Rangers FC hid itself from scrutiny.
Rangers did not generate wealth; they misappropriated it.
They do not stimulate the Scottish economy; they are a drain on it.
They have not increased sporting competition; they have stifled and destroyed it.
In order to allay fears of what Scottish football will be like without Rangers it’s only necessary to consider what the damage will be if they continue in any form.
It is now apparent in the real world that the wealth and power of Rangers has been a myth for many years.
Therefore the sacred TV deals with Sky and others have always been negotiated on the basis of a falsehood.
The selling-point was that there were two major Scottish clubs – the so-called Old Firm – whose head-to-head matches could provide broadcasters with the commercially attractive spectacle of a pair of well-matched heavyweights locked in close competition.
But one of those clubs, Rangers, has clearly been spending money which it did not have in order to maintain the sham of its competitive status.
It has been living so far beyond its means that it is completely insolvent and facing oblivion.
Any attempt to restore the illusion that Rangers is a major club requires every other party to engage in a major deception.
Whatever damage the other clubs may sustain without Rangers is nothing in comparison to the self-harm that they’ll suffer from continuing to take their share of the proceeds of TV deal which requires a level of financial doping, shameful governance and fiscal irresponsibility which brings the entire game into disrepute.
Those clubs and broadcasters may have had some excuse when they could reasonably claim not to have known what Rangers tried so hard to conceal. They do not have that excuse now and they have even less reason to assume that Rangers have learned their lesson. Nobody has spoken on behalf of Rangers to suggest that they are determined to face up to the consequences of their past wrongdoing. There has not been a word of apology nor any hint of an acknowledgement that they alone have been the architects of their own misfortune.
If anything we have seen the reverse – the club seems to think that its best chance of riding through this crisis is to insist on its own indispensability, regardless of what it has done wrong, and to issue threats to other clubs that they’ll regret it later if they stand up to Rangers today.
That has always been The Rangers way.
The psychopathic inability to express or feel genuine remorse is a key characteristic of the club’s mentality.
Similarly, their arrogant sense of entitlement and the belief that the world revolves around their interests are defining traits.
They are no more capable of abandoning their bullying than a crocodile is capable of learning to walk to heel.
That psychological trauma is still having an effect on some minds but the fears are unfounded now.
A new day is about to dawn in which the creatures of the night will be hopelessly exposed and vulnerable.
By the end of this week even the most dedicated Rangers apologists will be left speechless in the face of damning evidence of the club’s indefensible conduct.
And those who have previously been indecisive when given the chance to point the finger of condemnation at Rangers will finally join the stampede to be at the front of the queue to sink the boot in.
There will be a brighter future as soon as the root cause of most of Scottish football’s ills is discredited and permanently removed.
That will go a long way to alleviating whatever pain accompanies the adjustment.
We should neither fear pain nor expect that we can get through our lives without experiencing it.
It’s an intrinsic part of the process of developing, growing, striving and achieving.
A period of pain for Scottish football doesn’t frighten me in the slightest if it leads to a fairer sport and a better society in the long run.
It’s time to get over the Stockholm syndrome.
Sir David Murray
Mr. Craig Whyte
Mr. Paul Murray
Mr. Bill Ng
Mr. Bill Miller
Mr Charles Green,
c/o The Rangers*,
150 Edmiston Drive,
Glasgow G51 2XD
142 Copland Road,
Glasgow G51 2UB:
Dear Mr. Bhutta,
Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Charles Green. Some people call me ‘Emerald’.
I am a colourful businessman who has been a director of no fewer than fifteen companies which have gone into liquidation. My latest project is a football club called Rangers FC (in Administration) which I am hoping to gut and fillet in the coming weeks.
You may be aware that the Administrators of that football club, a firm called Duff and Phelps, are anxious to drag out the administration process for as long as possible because they are raking in a couple of hundred thousand pounds every week for as long as the money lasts. Who could blame them, eh? I’d do the same myself, given half a chance.
Speaking of me, it turns out that I am the latest one to have been offered the opportunity to buy Rangers FC (in Administration). My predecessor, an American chap called Mr. Bill ‘Liam’ Miller, had a quick look at the bookwork and, by all accounts, took suddenly ill. I, however, am made of sterner stuff, (not least because I’m English). Moreover, having been involved in fifteen liquidations myself, I can safely say that I’m quite an old hand at ignoring toxic debt. After the game against St. Johnstone on Sunday I had a quick butcher’s at the Orcs’ accounts and I have to say that of all the liquidations which I’ve been involved in, this one takes the biscuit! (As one businessman to another, let me just give you a quick tip – don’t give these people any credit or you’ll regret it. Make sure you get cash up front or no deal.)
Which brings me neatly, I feel, to the matter at hand. Looking at their accounts, I couldn’t help but notice a list of 277 creditors who are owed a total which is not far off £134,000,000. One of these creditors is your good self. You are still owed the sum of £567.45, although it’s so long overdue that you may well have forgotten all about it.
Incidentally, it did strike me that at the very least I might write a letter of apology to you expressing the club’s deep sorrow and acute embarrassment at this state of affairs. However, I was dissuaded from following this course of action by a geezer called Sandy Something-or-other. He seems to be well thought of in some quarters and he assures me that this is not the Rangers Way. Apparently it does not do for Rangers to show any signs of remorse or regret. I might say that this strikes me as odd but I must also concede that, as an Englishman, I am fairly unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of your fine country which I had rarely visited until this week. Indeed, I had never even heard of Rangers until they made the UK news headlines during their visit to Manchester in 2008. (Something to do with a broken television, was it? I think Chelsea were involved too? I can’t really remember the details.)
Anyway, Sandy says there’s to be no apology, that Rangers don’t show weakness, that you should consider yourself honoured to be a Rangers creditor and that you’ll be remembered as one of the bastards who stuck the boot in once the ‘Gers are back on top.
Would I dare to fly in the face of such sound advice on cultural manners from a local man? No chance. So. Up yours, it is, Mr. Bhutta.
That brings me to my next point. You’ve probably heard some talk about a CVA proposal. No doubt you will be too busy selling newspapers to have given the matter much thought. Let me give you a quick guide to what’s going to happen. If you saw the unfortunate headlines in some of today’s newspapers you may have gained the impression that I am spearheading a consortium of about twenty extremely wealthy partners who intend to pour vast sums of money into the club’s Warchest™ in the near future. This may have had the unintended side-effect of raising your hopes that you may finally see your £567.45 one day. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Those millions upon millions of pounds which my partners are going to invest are not for the likes of you, I’m afraid. That money is for Ally to spend on buying over-priced, over-paid, under-achieving no-marks for the Rangers first team of the future.
I may be new to this country but I’ve already done a bit of homework. Apparently, there is a newspaper called ‘The Scotsman’, which nobody ever reads these days. However, it was pointed out to me that its leader column just a few days ago stated that Scotland needs Rangers. I see no reason to doubt a newspaper which has been losing thousands of readers every month for many, many years now. It must know a thing or two about what Scotland needs. And it says that Scotland needs Rangers. Does it say that Scotland needs customers to pay their debts and settle their bills in full? No, it says that Scotland needs Rangers. So that settles that.
This means that instead of £567.45, the best you can hope for is £17.02, which is 3p in the pound. Frankly, I think you should be very grateful that you’re being offered that much.
Personally, I am tremendously excited about the future possibilities of this approach to business, if it succeeds. As a businessman yourself, I am sure you can appreciate the enormous cost-saving benefits of a scheme which reduces expenditure by 97%! Holy smoke, if I could have got away with only paying 3% of my bills in the past, I might never have had any liquidations at all, let alone fifteen of the buggers!
Now. In case you’re tempted not to accept this generous offer, let me just invite you to contemplate another very important consideration.
A man called Ally is thought to be very keen to have full transparency on the matter of the names and addresses of the creditors who endanger the future well-being of The Rangers (in Administration) by rejecting the CVA proposal.
Let’s look at it this way. That’s a nice business you’ve got there, Mr Bhutta. Sure would be a shame if anything were to happen to it, if you get my meaning. Of course, if you accept the CVA proposal of a measly three pence in the pound, you’ll probably not have to worry about that. You seem like a smart kind of guy. I really wouldn’t want to see you get on the wrong side of one of the notorious ‘small minorities’ who attach themselves in their thousands to Ally’s team. (No, not Chelsea; his other team.) You want to take my advice and do the sensible thing just in case things in the future get a little ‘transparent’. If you catch my drift.
If you bear in mind that the £550.43 which you’ll never see will play its part in encouraging almost two dozen multi-millionaires to pour millions of pounds into wages for Rangers bench-warmers next season then you will have some considerable consolation for having been ripped off. Alternatively, you should look at your £567.45 in a different perspective. Paul Clark makes more than that just by twiddling his thumbs for an hour. You’re in the wrong game, sunshine. Administration is where it’s at.
I have taken the liberty of enclosing a Rangers (in Administration) season ticket application form with this letter so that you can enjoy the Rangers experience next season. You may also want to be the first among your friends to buy the classic Sheffield United home kit from the 2006-2007 season so I’m sending you a catalogue for the Blades mail order service as well.
Sheffield United Rangers,
Charlie “Emerald” Green.
15 and counting.
P.S. These are very troubled times for The Rangers so I am sure you will understand why I found it necessary to send this letter to you without putting a stamp on the envelope.
THE Blue Knights have once again walked away from the bidding process, pausing only to call a surreal press conference in which they presented some sketchy details of their limping dog of a rescue proposal before issuing some veiled threats and indications of future reprisals. To put their risible proposal to rescue Rangers (in administration) in some context, let us remember that they must satisfy creditors who are owed up to £135,000,000 before they can even begin to finance a competitive team. The sum of money that they were prepared to put on the table was less than what Martin O’Neil paid to acquire Neil Lennon from Leicester City in 2000. Fergus McCann spent more in 1994 to save Celtic from a far less parlous condition.
As I see it, the Blue Knights knew themselves that they hadn’t a hope of succeeding. What they were doing instead was keeping themselves visible and attempting to appeal to the core Rangers support, knowing full well that these fans are incapable of understanding the administration procedures at even the most basic level. Using threatening language about Duff and Phelps having “blood on their hands” is designed to evoke a response at the most visceral level from Rangers supporters who are addicted to denial and impelled to blame everyone else for their problems.
The Blue Knights have merely added Duff & Phelps to a list of scapegoats which already includes Craig Whyte, David Murray, HMRC, the SFA, the SPL, Neil Lennon, the Bank of Scotland, Mark Daly, three formerly anonymous SPL judicial tribunal panel members, the Vatican, Alex Thomson, the Republic of Ireland, FC Maribor, Professor Tom Devine, the BBC, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, the White and Kelly families, UEFA, Jock Stein, the city of Manchester, Dick Advocaat, Chelsea supporters in disguise, Martin O’Neil, the Scottish newspaper industry, Hugh Adam, the Romanian Police Force, Fergus McCann, the RTC blog, faulty giant-screen televisions, Celtic supporters websites, Peter Lawwell, Lloyds Banking Group and Catholic schools.
The cynical nature of this tactic should surprise nobody. It’s the only thing they have to offer. Paul Murray’s record speaks for itself. He joined the Rangers board of directors in 2007. For five years he sat by and allowed the club to run up a level of debt which frightened Lloyds Banking Group into demanding seats on the board to protect itself from further damage. Like Martin Bain and other fellow directors, he was able to make money for himself out of the club while presiding over its terminal decline. That’s too good a gig to abandon without a fight, especially if there isn’t an alternative source of easy money.
Having steered their luxury liner at full speed into an iceberg and having recognised that it’s definitely going to go down, Paul Murray and his cohorts decided to stand on the bridge and curse the elements for a few minutes before leaping heroically into their reserved lifeboat and advising everyone else to follow their example.
Their bid was merely a pantomime which they knew had no chance of being accepted. But it’s given them a public platform to growl the kind of confrontational rhetoric which plays so well with the Rangers die-hards. They plan to be seen as the fans’ choice when the battle begins to claim ownership of Traditional Rangers FC (est. 2015) after all the post-liquidation litigation finally comes to an end. And they are sticking to what has always worked for them in the past – eliciting knee-jerk responses from the mob with defiant rhetoric and posturing rather than attending to the fundamentals of running a sustainable business.
In the light of the most recent developments in the ongoing collapse of Rangers FC (in administration), Duff and Phelps have issued yet another statement. Sources in the real world suspect that the statement may have been written on the other side of the Looking Glass by Monty Python during an LSD trip. This suspicion can be neither confirmed of denied at the present moment.
Unless you look at it.
The latest evolution of the Cunning Plan involves the miraculous recent materialisation of three unknown bidders from an unknown planet in an unknown universe.
One of these beings knows a previously unknown method of persuading HMRC to accept a pennies in the pound settlement from a position where it is owed more than 25% of the total debt. That this has never, ever, ever happened before is an inconvenient fact which is completely disregarded.
The statement, in the words of Sarah Bell of Duff & Phelps, notes that “if it is a stand-alone CVA then that will take several weeks to do”.
Reassuringly, since one of the “three main factors is timing,” this is somehow entirely consistent with the Administrators’ hope that they will be “running with one of the parties in the next few days.”
It’s a simple matter of squeezing several weeks into the next few days.
A mere bagatelle.
The other two bids are, “following the same plan as Bill Miller, ie an asset sale to a newco with the old company exiting through CVA.”
Ah, of course! That will be the plan which Mr. Miller immediately abandoned as soon as he saw the figures.
Now there’s a reason to be cheerful!
A further boost to the morale is the fact that HMRC have not given an inch, are closely watching every move and are preparing to fire a fatal head-shot at the moment of their choosing. Or, as Sarah Bell expresses it, “HMRC are interested to see the merits of each one of the offers and they are open to further discussion with us.”
As further proof that everything is going to be just fine and will probably be sorted out by the end of next weekend, Duff & Phelps have revealed that Rangers(IA) is going to be the only club in Scotland which isn’t offering its supporters any opportunity to buy tickets for next season’s matches.
If that doesn’t inspire confidence, then nothing will.
It really has become pointless to look for any credibility in this increasingly ludicrous farce of a process. There are now fewer and fewer ways of looking at Clark and Whitehouse’s strategy which make any sense to me.
If we cut through the last few months with the aid of Occam’s razor, this outline fits pretty well;
Craig Whyte chose Duff & Phelps as administrators.
Duff & Phelps “ran the numbers”, and soon concluded that RFC was a hopeless, irredeemable basket case.
After all, it took Miller’s people less than four days to reach that conclusion.
It seems highly unlikely that Clark and Whitehouse still haven’t grasped it.
So. What to do?
The options available were;
Find a buyer for the club.
Problem: Minty had spent four or five years trying to offload it. He finally managed to collect one, single pound sterling.
Conclusion: No chance.
Arrange a CVA.
Problem: With HMRC already having more than 25% of the total debt, the odds that more than 75% of the creditors will accept the proposed CVA are about the same as the prospect of Fergus McCann bailing out Rangers in a sensational gesture of philanthropy.
Conclusion: No chance.
Sit tight, stonewall and collect £200,000 every week while going through the motions of trying to rescue the club for the benefit of the creditors. Leave Whyte, Ticketus, HMRC, the SPL, the SFA, the local newsagent and everybody else to sort out their problems amongst themselves in their own time, at their own expense. Repeat on a weekly basis until the money completely runs out. Finally, switch off the lights and go home.
Problem: What problem?