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  1. rbr

    2015

    Going to keep this quick , All the very best to all gersnetters , heres to a royal blue 2015 , and absent friends
  2. ...after Mike Ashley loses key ally in his quest for Ibrox boardroom coup. Battle for power at Ibrox sees significant shift after Three Bears consortium acquires the largest single equity block in the troubled club. By Roddy Forsyth 6:17PM GMT 31 Dec 2014 Mike Ashley has lost the ally whose support was crucial to his boardroom coup at Rangers. The significant shift in power at Ibrox came on a day of share trading which saw the Three Bears consortium acquire the largest single equity block in the beleaguered club. The consortium’s purchase of 13.29 million shares from Laxey Partners ends a two-year long involvement at Ibrox by the hedge fund, which is registered in the Isle of Man. The Three Bears – wealthy supporters Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor – have also tabled an offer of £6.5 million to underwrite a share issue designed to raise £8 million and head off an imminent funding crisis. Without Laxey, Ashley could not have removed Graham Wallace, the former chief executive, and Philip Nash, the former finance director, in the coup that gave the Newcastle United owner effective control of the Rangers board. Wallace and Nash were the only two members of the five man plc board – the others were chairman David Somers, James Easdale and Laxey nominee, Norman Crighton – who had prior experience as executives at football clubs. Wallace and Nash judged that it was not in Rangers’ financial interest to accept an offer from Ashley in September of loan funding in return for control of such assets as the club’s crest and trademark. Ashley took his revenge by purchasing shares privately to increase his stake in the club to 8.92 per cent, having pulled back from underwriting an August share issue designed to ease Rangers’ cash flow. When the next financial shortfall became apparent, Ashley made his move – detailed by Telegraph Sport on October 8 – by demanding an extraordinary general meeting to remove Wallace and Nash. To succeed, Ashley required the support of Sandy Easdale, the football club chairman, whose personal stake of 6.21 per cent of shares was added to his position as proxy for others, including Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Funds Holding Trust, to give him control over a block of 27.15 per cent of the shareholding. Along with Ashley’s shareholding, this amounted to 36.07 per cent, well short of the majority required to win the vote at an EGM. However, with the support of Laxey, Ashley could command 52.39 per cent to ensure the removal of Wallace and Nash. At first Laxey – led by investment bankers, Colin Kingsnorth and Andrew Pegge – supported the two executives. With Crighton on the board, the anti-Ashley faction held a 3-2 majority. It was at this time that Somers sent the now notorious email revealed by Telegraph Sport last week. In the email, Somers pleaded with an Ashley representative to keep Ashley’s takeover bid on track, because the board was minded to favour a rival offer from former Rangers director Dave King, whose success would put an end to the chairman’s tenure. However, Telegraph Sport can also disclose that Crighton went on holiday later on October and, in his absence, pressure was put on Laxey to support Ashley’s offer of £2 million emergency funding (later increased to £3 million) in return for two board seats, which became available when Wallace and Nash were removed. Crighton, the last of the old board, resigned on December 10. At the turbulent annual general meeting staged at Ibrox on December 22, at least one major shareholder – thought to be Laxey – voted against Somers’ re-election as chairman. Acquisition of the Laxey block has put the Three Bears in a position of significant strength at Ibrox and the consortium is now the largest single holder of Rangers shares. While Sandy Easdale is still allied with Ashley, he and the billionaire owner of the Sports Direct retail chain – through which Rangers’ merchandise is sold – control 27.15 per cent of the club’s equity. That is sufficient to give the pair right of veto on important issues, but a power shift has occurred – and for the first time in recent months, it does not favour Mike Ashley. It also raises questions about representation on the board because Laxey had one director, while Ashley – with a little more than half the equity of the Three Bears – has two. Another issue is the viability of Dave King’s £16 million debt-plus-equity offer, rejected by the Rangers plc board in October. The South African businessman has maintained is still on the table but two of the Three Bears – Letham and Taylor – were also members of his consortium. Telegraph Sport understands that there could yet be an alliance of the two groups, should the Three Bears' underwriting offer be accepted. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11319782/Rangers-power-struggle-takes-new-twist-after-Mike-Ashley-loses-key-ally-in-his-quest-for-Ibrox-boardroom-coup.html
  3. Thought this worth sharing from FF: "Lifted this from another forum, some things we didn't know about players, training etc!! Training seems like a hoot! http://www.hat-trick.fr/sebastien-fa...st-jimmy-bell/ You’ve been here for two years now. What does “Rangers” mean to you? (After a long time spent thinking) Well it’s easy to say this and a bit of a cliché, but it’s a religion. There’s football here which is one thing, but then there’s Rangers, the fans, and everyone else associated with the club, it’s amazing…even after the club was relegated to Division 4, people kept their jobs at Ibrox or at Murray Park. And they are just so proud to work here, and they so proud to say “I work for Rangers”. When you are a professional player, you tend to move from club to club, it’s part of the job. It’s not easy to really absorb the culture and ethos of a club, apart from those who stay for years and years and really become ingrained in the fabric of the club, like Lee McCulloch. Sometimes, the supporters shout at you or get angry. But you can’t let it get to you, you can only do your talking on the pitch. They’ve had so much good football over the years that I think they sort of have a right to be angered, to be honest. In any case, playing at Ibrox is far from easy. There’s so much pressure. You can be winning 2-0, but if you misplace just one pass you’ll be whistled. I mean I heard a few boos at the Gerland (Lyon stadium), but never like the one’s you get here sometimes! (laughs) Did it take you long to learn what it meant to play for a club like Rangers? What did you expect when you came over? No, I didn’t expect it to be honest. I knew Rangers were a massive club, but I didn’t know how they were perceived by the other Scottish clubs. The Glasgow clubs really are hated by the other Scottish clubs. It’s incredible! What’s more, you have to understand that I was a but unsure about coming over here in the first place. I said to my agent: “You’re kind, but I’m not sure if I want to be dropping down to play in Division 4 in France” and he said “It’s Division 4 in Scotland”. He said: “Seb, please, just go over for a few days, check out the facilities and the stadium, you’ll soon change your mind.” On the first day of my trial I trained with the reserves, and it went well. That night, I went to see the first team play in the League Cup again East Fife. It was a Tuesday night, we won 4-0 and almost 40, 000 fans were there. It was…mad, just mad. I called up my agent and said: “If you can sort it out for me, I really want to stay here!” Everything you do and say is reported on and scrutinised at a club like Rangers. Has the press had an influence on the atmosphere at the club? First of all you need to understand that the press and its reporters here are a million times worse than in France! I’m sure I’ve seen the word “crisis” used to describe our club just about every day of the year, even when we win. Taking this into consideration, I do think that it’s had an influence. I must say, not on me personally. To be very honest, I don’t read the papers, apart from when they discuss politics or cover stories from France. But at the level of the club more generally, they have definitely had an influence. Ten days ago, an old team mate of McCoist’s, John Brown, said to the Sun: “You are a disgrace!” The coach brought us the article and he had an argument with Kenny Miller. After we got beaten by Hearts, apparently Miller had called up a journalist wanting to speak to him to tell him the manager had made some bad decisions, although it turned out that he hadn’t. McCoist got so angry: he threw the paper, he stamped on it, he was shouting and screaming! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him like that. Blacky brings the Sun in every morning, and we read it. McCoist reads all the papers every morning in his office at Murray Park, which by the way is enormous (laughs). I think that its mainly at the level of the club staff that the papers have an impact. In your eyes, who represents the soul of the club? Jimmy Bell the kitman. He’s been here since 1972, I think. It’s amazing that he was taking care of McCoist and Durrant when they were players, and now its them who are in charge. It’s an amazing story and an amazing history, one which you wouldn’t get at many clubs at all. Jimmy’s got his own room in Ibrox where he displays all the Rangers kits and all the Rangers photos that he’s collected over 40 years. In his office at Murray Park, there’s a room, which we are forbidden from entering (laughs), which has all of his souvenirs, his trophies…it’s his very own museum! When it looked like they might be re-possessing Ibrox, he had to pack up all his stuff because he was scared that it would be taken off him. He is really the soul of the club, its him, its Jimmy. He’s a great guy, even if he’s always sulking. You need to get to know him…I remember when I arrived on trial, I didn’t speak English. “You don’t speak English, ****ing French!?” he said (laughs). But I mean really nasty to me! But nowadays, along with Bilel, he tells us loads of stories, loads of jokes. He’s really a top guy, he’s golden. I’m trying to help our readers understand the complete devotion that Rangers inspires in people. To give us more of an insight, is it true that one of the players has got the logo of the club tattooed on his calf? Yeah its Danny Stoney! He’s a good lad who we’ve loaned out to Stranraer. He’s got a tattoo that’s blue, with red around it, and five golden stars in the middle. It’s amazing, simply amazing. When I was at Lyon, even though I was also a Lyon fan, I would never have got a Lyon tattoo. It would never have crossed my mind! It’s just a different type of relationship to the club here. At Lyon, if I’d have got a club tattoo while I was at the academy I’d have had the piss taken out of me! “Suck up!” they’d have said. Here, it is praised! But by contrast, at Lyon if you change your hairstyle or your clothes, people will talk about it. Here, no one cares! The outfits people wear here, and I’m talking about the players, are just….Take Lee Wallace for example, I’ve never seen him wearing jeans (laughs)! At Lyon, you dress well to be stylish or whatever, but here, not at all.
  4. rbr

    Rangers first

    Great day for the Rangers first schemem , now sitting at over 2170 members , superb , hopefully this is just the start , I know there is an off line campaign starting soon which has been funded by separate donations.
  5. They say a picture speaks a thousand words....... Rangers manager Kenny McDowall (Copyright: 2014 Willie Vass)
  6. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/prices-and-markets/stocks/exchange-insight/trade-data.html?fourWayKey=GB00B90T9Z75GBGBXASQ1
  7. Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has launched the search for a new manager with Alan Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace imminent. The sportswear tycoon and Rangers shareholder, currently on holiday in Barbados, had already put the wheels in motion amid fevered speculation over the identity of the seventh permanent boss to occupy the St James’ Park hot-seat during his seven and a half year reign. Many of the names thrown up by the rumour mill have already been discounted by sources on Tyneside with current skipper Fabricio Coloccini and former York boss Nigel Worthington at the top of that list, while former Palace manager Tony Pulis and ex-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood are also understood not to be in the running. Managing director Lee Charnley is the man conducting the search on Ashley’s behalf, although the club is unlikely to make a snap decision and it is understood Pardew’s assistant John Carver and first-team coach Steve Stone will oversee team affairs for tomorrow’s Premier League fixture against Burnley and the FA Cup third round trip to Leicester two days later. Carver, who will be without striker Papiss Cisse for three games after he accepted a Football Association violent conduct charge for elbowing Everton defender Seamus Coleman on Sunday, could be considered an outside candidate for the job on a permanent basis, although current Hull manager and fellow Geordie Steve Bruce may have stronger claims. There has been popular support for the club’s football development manager Peter Beardsley, while St-Etienne boss Christophe Galtier has been linked with the club on several occasions. However, Ajax manager Frank de Boer has ruled himself out and Ashley’s unwillingness to pay compensation makes a move for Derby’s Steve McClaren, who signed a three-year deal in August, unlikely. Pardew continues to thrash out personal terms with Palace as the Selhurst Park club search for a replacement for the sacked Neil Warnock. Newcastle granted Pardew permission to speak to Palace on Monday night after the Eagles agreed a compensation package with the St James’ Park hierarchy. Pardew is expected to double his salary in securing a move back to the club he served as a player between 1987 and 1991. Both Pulis and Sherwood, meanwhile, have been heavily linked to the vacancy at West Brom as they look to appoint a new head coach after sacking Alan Irvine on Monday night. The Baggies said in a statement that they “expect to be able to name Irvine’s successor by the weekend” – when they face Gateshead in the FA Cup. Assistant head coach Rob Kelly, along with Keith Downing, will be in charge of the Baggies for their New Year’s Day trip to West Ham. Irvine left after just six months in charge, with Albion 16th and a point above the bottom three following Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Stoke. The Scot had vowed to fight for his future after the game, but the Baggies opted to place the 56-year-old on gardening leave. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/english/mike-ashley-starts-hunt-for-next-newcastle-manager-1-3647717
  8. From SoS On a happier note, i hear that James Easdale may be thinking his time at Rangers should be up as he is sick of the hassle, Now I am not condoning hassling directors but every cloud and all that......
  9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/newcastle-united/11317458/Mike-Ashley-has-left-Newcastle-stagnant-and-stained-with-his-greedy-ownership-who-would-want-the-job-now.html Mike Ashley has left Newcastle stagnant and stained with his greedy ownership - who would want the job now? St James' Park now resembles a branch of Sports Direct - piled high with nonsense, with Ashley treating his critics as pygmies with pea-shooters, writes Paul Hayward Standing up to a ruthless owner who is worth £3.75 billion might sound like the definition of futility, but it happens to be the only option for the next man in at Newcastle United, where the nonsense is piled as high as the gear in Mike Ashley’s retail empire. Ashley is one of those moguls who has come to feel he has the globe on a string. Zero-hours contracts at Sports Direct? Get stuffed, liberals. Wonga shirt sponsorship? What has it got to do with you? Ashley’s business ethic is to treat his critics as pygmies with pea-shooters. He bestrides the swamp of unregulated free-market enterprise. Wealth is the only show in town. Observe the big man’s skill. Instead of having to go through the tedious business of sacking Alan Pardew, Ashley simply waited for Crystal Palace to come along and offer him £2.5 million in compensation to take ‘Pards’ away. What a deal. Not since he made £926 million in a single day floating his sportswear firm has such a cherry dropped off Ashley’s tree. No wonder his facial expression suggests omnipotence. Newcastle’s fans are understandably conflicted about Palace’s raid on St James’ Park. Those who held up a bedsheet declaring “Pardew is a muppet” will be glad to see him go. But they must know too that Ashley will want a continuation of the owner-manager relationship established during Pardew’s four years in charge. It would be a major turn-up if the proprietor ditched the current model of managerial subservience in favour of, say, Tony Pulis. Don Hutchison, the former Liverpool and Sunderland midfielder, writes in his Newcastle Chronicle column: “I’m not sure he [Ashley] actually wants the hassle of a manager who would demand money to sign players who can take Newcastle to the next level. “And I’m really not sure that he wants a manager who is going to sit there and say ‘I want this striker and he’ll cost £15million.’ I don’t think a manager like that would last five minutes at Newcastle at the moment.” Pardew, we know, endured his own powerlessness with a peculiarly strained expression, unless he was verbally abusing Manuel Pellegrini or putting the nut on Hull’s David Meyler. His disinclination to take on Ashley publicly on all the important points – Joe Kinnear, for example – took me back to the day Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano signed for West Ham, and Pardew, the manager at the time, called it “intriguing.” He clearly had no say in the club’s decision to park them at Upton Park. Multiply that many times and you find Pardew answering to Kinnear (briefly), spectating as Andy Carroll moved to Liverpool and having little say in Newcastle’s overall transfer dealings. It was during Pardew’s reign that Ashley decided he wanted 100% control over where his money went. Newcastle, who have a wage to income ratio of 64% (the Premier League average is 70%) have become a stepping-stone club for expertly-scouted players: an exercise in mid-table stagnation. Pardew never had the powerbase to resist this drift. The fans regarded him as Ashley’s puppet: another mouth from the south. Rather than fight the owner, he found a way to leave, returning to his roots at Palace. A more self-aware owner than Ashley might reflect that his manager is taking a demotion (to Palace) to escape the shadow he casts. The thought would not trouble him for long. Newcastle have previous here. Long before Ashley stepped into the Premier League casino Sir Bobby Robson and others struggled with Freddy Shepherd, a local heavyweight who also liked to do the deals. Under Robson’s tenure the late Gary Speed was sold to Bolton Wanderers without the manager’s prior approval and Patrick Kluivert’s arrival on Tyneside was conceived at boardroom level. Robson tolerated these interventions because he loved the job too much to give it up, and backed himself to produce a winning team from whatever resources were available to him. After he left, in 2004, and the job passed to eight managers inside a decade, there was one quick way to annoy Sir Bobby. All you had to do was ask him: “Who on earth would take the Newcastle job?” “It’s a wonderful job,” he would say. “Any ambitious manager would want that job. They’ll be inundated by applications.” He saw 52,000 fans, a deep love of the game on Tyneside, a strong local tradition and culture, even if they lacked the trophies to go with it. But to be Newcastle manager, now, without power, or even influence, is no siren call. Pardew’s successor will either have to lay out his terms at the first negotiation stage or step into Ashley’s empire as a departmental head, while the real business goes on elsewhere. Pardew stopped being a yes-man in the end. He accepted defeat, and fled.
  10. He's a COWARD, he doesn't like a 50-50 and tackles from behind. SCOTTISH football journeyman and no stranger to a hard tackle, Chic Charnley has lashed out at Rangers bad boy Ian Black. CHIC CHARNLEY didn’t need to take lessons when it came to being one of Scottish football’s bad boys. He was sent off 17 times in a tempestuous career that began in 1982 and finished in 2003 when he made his final SPL appearance for Partick Thistle 18 days short of his 40th birthday. Rangers midfielder Ian Black has been booked 33 times and sent off twice in his 101 games for Rangers but, according to Charnley, their disciplinary record is about all they have in common. Charnley, right, was as hard as he was skilful but has no time for Black, whom he regards as being deficient in both departments. The 29-year-old was hooked by interim manager Kenny McDowall just 34 minutes into the 4-0 defeat by Hibs at Easter Road after a booking for a scything foul from behind on Scott Allan – a challenge that sums him up so far as Charnley is concerned. He said: “Black is just a coward. His fouls are either from behind or the side or they’re late – you don’t see him going in for many 50-50s. “On the other hand, he always seemed to be complaining about the rough treatment from other players in the lower divisions but if you dish it out then you need to be able to take it. “I know Kenny McDowall well from playing alongside him for St Mirren and I know what he’s like – he wouldn’t have missed Black in the dressing room especially after he kicked the dugout after being taken off. “That sums up Black’s attitude. I’ve never rated him as a player anyway but I particularly dislike the way he struts about the pitch as if he is somebody. “He should never have been at Ibrox in the first place. I know Ally McCoist’s hands have been tied since they went bust but, even now, he isn’t good enough to play for them. “He would never have got near the squad for any of the teams Coisty played in.” Sky pundit Andy Walker was also critical of the foul on Allan, which forced McDowall to sub the player before he was red-carded. Walker said: “That’s not the way to show that you’re brave. It’s typical of Ian Black. The jersey seems too heavy for him. “He can’t be trusted – he can’t keep his composure.” Charnley also believes the former Inverness and Hearts man should have been binned when it was revealed in August, 2013 that he had been caught betting against Rangers in a game he had played in. He said: “How can you do that? His feet shouldn’t have touched the ground when that came out. “Listen, we all used to put a coupon on at the weekend when I played but it wouldn’t have crossed anyone’s mind to bet against your own team. “I know football has changed but if anyone in John Lambie’s team had been caught doing that he’d have had them up against the wall by the throat. “As for my record, I did some daft things and sometimes my reputation preceded me but I was still playing at 40 because I loved the game. “Black’s contract with Rangers is up at the end of this season and if they let him go – and I’m sure they will – I don’t think anyone will want to sign him.” Charnley played for 12 senior clubs in Scotland, England, Ireland and Sweden but never made a secret of being a lifelong Celtic supporter. But he takes no pleasure in the plight of the coaching staff at their rivals. He said: “Ally had to deal with a lot of stuff that no one else ever had to contend with. “Kenny is a good pal of mine and I know he’ll be hurting – my heart goes out to him. “I really feel for Ian Durrant, too. The people running that club have no class and they’ve proved it by the ridiculous way they’ve treated him. “They’ve demoted him to youth team coach in an attempt to force him out. It’s a liberty. “However, once this whole episode is over and done with, I have no doubt that the three of them can manage another club and be successful.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/chic-charnley-slams-rangers-hot-4891416
  11. FORMER Rangers owner Sir David Murray and other directors will face no further action over the liquidation of the club's operating company, it has emerged. Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte is the the only former Ibrox executive to face legal moves to ban him as a director over the company's financial meltdown. Mr Whyte was banned from being a company director for 15 years in September after a judge heard his conduct in dealing with Rangers was "shocking and reprehensible". Whyte was previously banned from being a director for seven years. A second ban was sought by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable after Rangers' liquidation in 2012 and the subsequent liquidation of Whyte's firm, Tixway. The role played by all board directors of the club in the three years prior to the administration in of Rangers Football Club plc was looked at by the Insolvency Service's Investigations & Enforcement Directorate. The conduct of Sir David Murray, Rangers legend John Greig, former chief executive Martin Bain, former director Dave King and chairman Alistair Johnston all came under the microscope - but it is understood no further action is to be taken against anyone else. The Insolvency Service had two years from the point of insolvency in February 14, 2012 to start proceedings. But action has only been progressed against Mr Whyte over that period. The legal move to disqualify Mr Whyte came after a confidential report was submitted to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills by the Insolvency Service's investigators within six months of the club's operating company going into administration. The Secretary of State then decided it was in the public interest to seek a disqualification order over Craig Whyte only. Action can be taken against directors if their conduct has not been satisfactory leading to the disqualification of directors for periods of between two and 15 years. After the two years has expired, disqualification proceedings can only then be made against further individuals with a rare special application to the court and agency insiders say there has to be a "strong argument". However it is understood that there no such application has been made. That means that Mr Whyte is the only executive to face action over conduct from the liquidation of RFC 2012 plc, the new name given to the original operating company Rangers Football Club plc. Mr Whyte, who took over Sir David Murray's majority shareholding on May 6, 2011, was in 2000 disqualified to act as a director of for seven years. The investigators examined the £9 million PAYE and VAT debt to the taxman amassed when the oldco under Craig Whyte's leadership went into administration. Insolvency experts also said directors can be found guilty of misfeasance by giving ownership to someone who was not a fit and proper person. Mr Whyte bought Sir David Murray's majority shareholding in Rangers in May 2011, raised £24 million through selling off the rights to three years of supporters' season ticket money to London-based Ticketus to help complete his £1 share purchase agreement take*over of Rangers and pay off the club's £18m debt with Lloyds Banking Group. An independent Rangers board committee set up to review takeover offers, delayed Mr Whyte's buyout and expressed concern over "a lack of clarity" over the new owner's financial muscle, hours after he had completed his buyout. The committee was led by chairman Alistair Johnston, who was removed from the board later along with Paul Murray, who had launched a late rival takeover deal. The following October Rangers' non-executive directors, John Greig and John McClelland, who were members of the independent board, resigned from their posts at Ibrox saying that they had been isolated following Whyte's takeover. Mr Whyte was given the maximum ban possible in September following a petition raised on behalf of UK Business Secretary Vince Cable after the operating company went into liquidation. Lord Tyre said in a full judgment that Mr Whyte's conduct of the business was "characterised by dishonesty" in a case that "can be regarded as quite out of the ordinary". He said the Ticketus deal funded his acquisition of the club while failing to inform the members of Rangers' independent board committee who were tasked with negotiating the sale of the company. Lord Tyre said Mr Whyte "misrepresented" to them that the funds for purchase of the company were to be provided from his own resources and from the commercial activities of his British Virgin Islands- based Liberty Capital Limited firm. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...gers.114970599
  12. Rangers Supporters Trust has demanded that the club keep its promise to answer questions about Mike Ashley. By Roddy Forsyth 7:59PM GMT 29 Dec 2014 Comments4 Comments The Rangers Supporters Trust has demanded that the club keep its promise to answer questions about Mike Ashley which shareholders were unable to put to the board at last week’s stormy annual general meeting. David Somers, the Rangers plc chairman, was widely criticised for curtailing the proceedings before questions could be posed about the Newcastle United owner’s dealings with the club, especially in relation to his Sports Direct retail chain. Somers promised that he would respond by email to questions which were not addressed at the AGM. One question follows the Telegraph Sport’s disclosure that when Ashley gave up the naming rights to Ibrox Stadium notoriously acquired for £1 from Charles Green’s Sevco consortium – he got substantial commercial and advertising concessions within the ground. The Rangers board is exploring its options for fresh funding after the rejection by the Scottish Football Association of Ashley’s attempt to increase his shareholding in the club from 8.92% to 29.9%. It is understood that one possibility – again cited by Telegraph Sport – is to maintain cash flow by a series of emergency loans from Ashley, secured on assets. Ashley has already provided £3 million in loans but Rangers need another £8 million to see them through 2015. They have an offer of £6 million from three wealthy supporters, Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, conditional on board representation. However, Ashley could choose to defy the SFA by increasing his stake in the club despite their refusal to sanction it, a course of action that could lead to the governing body to withdraw Rangers’ license to play football. In the meantime, the RST’s questions include the following: “Can the Board outline the terms of the recently announced new commercial arrangements with Sports Direct? Specifically, can the board confirm if future years’ shirt sponsor revenues will be for the benefit of the club or for the benefit of Sports Direct and does Sports Direct have the right to choose a shirt sponsor after the end of 32 Red three year sponsor period? “It is a widely held view that Mike Ashley tried to undermine the recent share issue by initially offering to underwrite it, then withdrawing this offer, and publicly announcing he would not be taking up his rights, only to then go out in the market the following week and buy further shares in the market for the same price. “This appears to have been a clear strategy to undermine the success of that share issue. On what basis does the Board consider it appropriate to enter into further business relationships with an individual who was clearly attempting to undermine the financial position of the club for his own advantage? “Can the board confirm if it is in discussions with Sports Direct or any other Mike Ashley company to sell a further stake in the Rangers Retail business? If so, what percentage stake is being considered for sale and at what value? “It has been reported that Derek Llambias will earn a salary of £150k as CEO. Will Mr Llambias advise shareholders if he is also entitled to other benefits (housing costs, car allowances, pension) and in particular if he is eligible for any bonus payment? If he is eligible for a bonus then on what basis will this be earned? Has he moved to Glasgow? “Is the Board considering using Murray Park as security for further loans from Mike Ashley, Mash Holdings or Sports Direct affiliated companies? If so, how much is the Board seeking to raise from this asset? “The club appears to have granted considerable additional stadium branding rights to Sports Direct and Mike Ashley companies. Can the board outline exactly how much additional advertising inventory has been given toSports Direct/Mike Ashley and what value or consideration has been received for this? “The club needs major investment. Why did the board not seek to persuade Sandy Easdale to vote his proxy block of 26% to support a new share issue? As Mr Easdale did not support such a new issue, blocking muchneeded fresh investment, is his position on the football board untenable? “Mr Llambias you sat in front of around 200 fans at Ibrox, next to Charles Green, and told us of the benefits and "millions of pounds" the naming rights for Ibrox would bring to Rangers. Did you know at that time that your boss, Mike Ashley, was getting those rights for £1? Why should any Rangers fans trust you when your first interaction with us was to mislead us on behalf of Mr Ashley? “How much did the club receive per £10 spent by fans from retail sales through Rangers Retail in the June 2013-June 2014 financial year? “What has Mike Ashley been given in return for giving up the naming rights that Charles Green handed him for £1? “Can you explain why the board took Mike Ashley’s loans and gave him control of the running of the club despite it clearly being contrary to SFA and UEFA rules and therefore inevitably opening up the club to a charge? “Can the board confirm why, after 40 odd years of service, loyal employees are being cast out the door with the minimum possible redundancy pay and a paltry two weeks’ pay as a 'goodwill' gesture?” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11316773/Rangers-fans-demand-answers-from-board-over-Mike-Ashleys-involvement-with-club.html
  13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30628144 Rangers can find no respite. Nobody presumed that a new era was beginning when Kenny McDowall changed from assistant to caretaker manager in the wake of Ally McCoist's resignation, but the manner of the team's 4-0 collapse to Hibernian suggests that a malaise is now deep-rooted. Disillusioned and fraught, the away support chanted sack the board at Easter Road, and anger remains raw. Both on and off the field, this is a club that is fundamentally broken. The frustration for disgruntled fans is that in their view the repair process has not yet even begun. The situation is always fluid at Ibrox, but fundamental issues cannot be ignored. The most pressing is financial, since the club does not currently have the funds to pay January's wages. Disaffection is also entrenched, though. The reaction of shareholders at the annual general meeting was a clear indication of the lack of faith in the board of directors, and those shareholders who currently hold power at Ibrox: Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, Sandy Easdale and the 21% of shareholders who have empowered Easdale with their proxy vote. David Somers, the chairman, was castigated at the AGM, and the publication of an email he sent to an associate of Ashley in which he expresses concern for his board position should a consortium including Dave King see their funding offer accepted only further undermined Somers' position in the eyes of fans. Rangers, again, are on the brink. Ever since he found himself thrust into the role of caretaker manager, McDowall has looked as though he considers the circumstances as a blight on the role. He was a strong influence on McCoist, so there was little prospect of a sudden shift in tactical or selection decisions. The squad, for all that there is undoubted individual ability, appears drained of confidence and self-belief. Hearts now stand 15 points clear at the top of the Championship and the concern for Rangers now is trying to find the form and momentum to make it through the play-offs. In normal circumstances, this state of affairs would be at the forefront of supporters' discontent, but it is only one aspect of it. Before the football side of the business can be repaired, the financial side needs to be addressed. The anger at the AGM seemed so pronounced that the three Rangers International Football Club directors - Somers, Derek Llambias and James Easdale - and Sandy Easdale, the chairman of The Rangers Football Club board, must have been left with the acknowledgement that there is little chance of them turning round public opinion. With Ashley's application to the Scottish Football Association to raise his RIFC stake from 8.92% up to 29.9% having been rejected, and a funding offer made by a consortium of Rangers-supporting businessmen comprising Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, the board has an option that would go some way to appeasing fans. It would, though, also lessen their control of the club, and weaken their own positions. The £6.5m offer - based upon buying the 40m shares on offer in a forthcoming share issue at 16p per share, at a small discount on the current market price of 18p and the norm for such issues - would only be the initial stage of fundraising that Rangers need over the coming months. The board estimated in the annual accounts that at least £8m is required to keep the business functioning for 12 months, but that was based upon season ticket sales returning to normal and other assumptions. The reality is that more than £10m is likely to be needed just to keep the business going, and significantly more to invest enough to allow it to grow and be restored. Park, Letham and Taylor know the reality of Rangers' financial situation and the problems that need to be addressed. To fully recover, fans and directors need to be working in tandem, so that revenue streams are restored at the same time as fresh investment is sought. That means that trust is as precious a commodity at Ibrox as finance. It remains in short supply. Resolution nine was rejected at the AGM by shareholders - including, it seems, some represented on the very board that proposed it - so that existing shareholders now need to be offered enough shares to maintain their stakes in the share issue, before non-shareholders can participate. Park, Letham and Taylor can still provide funding, since the latter holds a 3.2% stake and so can also apply to buy the rump of shares left behind by existing shareholders. When the board attempted to raise funds last September, the majority of existing shareholders declined to invest further. The Rangers Supporters Trust has, meanwhile, sent a series of questions to Somers in an email, including asking him to "outline the terms of the recently announced new commercial arrangements with Sports Direct" and if Sports Direct "have the right to choose a shirt sponsor at the end of the 32 Red three-year sponsor period". The situation is clear yet complicated. Rangers need money urgently and the fans want to see change in the boardroom. Ashley effectively controls the club, but cannot invest further in return for shares without attracting SFA sanctions - although he can try to legally challenge the ruling. A group of Rangers fans want to invest, but that would lessen the control of those currently in the boardroom. The stage is set for further turmoil.
  14. A Newcastle phoned in to Colin Murray today to talk about Ashley\Pardew etc. The fan was talking about Ashley and how he will always take in more from player sales than he pays out for new players, and that Pardew had probably gone as far as he could under that mentality. The guy says "you can bet any money you like that Ashley wont pay for a 'grade A' manager to take us to the next level". They then both agreed that it wouldn't be overly surprising if he approached McCoist with the job offer, which would get rid of the headache of buying him out, especially if he took backroom staff with him. Could it happen????
  15. BRENTFORD are ready to spark a January transfer scramble for Rangers star Lewis Macleod. SunSport understands the Championship side are poised to make a £1million move for the Ibrox kid. And that could see a host of English clubs enter the bidding for the Scotland squad member. Macleod has caught the eye of Championship promotion hopefuls Bees. Rangers legend David Weir is No 2 there and is fully aware of the 20-year-old’s potential. But several other English clubs, including Premier League strugglers Burnley, are keen on the midfielder. Blackburn were also set to make a bid before being hit with a transfer ban.
  16. ...they are also entering the eye of a potentially devastating storm. AS Rangers hit rock bottom, KEITH looks back at another nightmare year for the Ibrox club and warns that 2015 could be even worse. ANOTHER horrible Ibrox annus. Yes, Rangers have been blighted by a long list of them in recent times but, even so, 2014 will go down as a year of unrelenting trauma which has brought this basket case back to the brink. The New Year is not yet upon us but already Rangers are running out of time. There are just days now for the current regime to extricate itself from an impending insolvency because, having loaned £3million from Mike Ashley just to limp into the festivities, they are left with little more than pockets full of spare change. And so 2015 will begin in almost exactly the same way as 2014, with a bunch of bedraggled directors scrambling around at the top of the old staircase desperately attempting to secure lifesaving hand-outs. Only the names and the faces change but the crisis which these men have bestowed upon this club remains constant, as does the shadow it casts across the landscape of the Scottish game. Granted, it might not have reached as far north as Inverness where yesterday Aberdeen’s red army rolled into town to battle it out for second place in the SPFL top flight. And yes, the good people of Dundee are enjoying their football more this season than they have done in a long time. With Hearts back in such rejuvenated form that they took 7500 fans to Livingston with them on Saturday and Hibs are also taking impressive shape under Alan Stubbs. There are undoubted green shoots. In fact, it could be that the worst of the nuclear winter is over. That Scottish football is adjusting and getting used to life without a relevant Rangers. Ironically, it is Celtic who are pining the most, even though they are the one club in the country with the financial muscle to withstand just about any kind of unilateral collapse. Life without a significant other has taken its toll on the champions, who continue to dominate the domestic scene while doing little more than going through the motions. Only in such an environment of apathy would professor Ronny Deila be able to continue his experimental approach to the science of winning football matches. In more normal circumstances, had the Norwegian returned from the lab with a 0-0 draw at home to Ross County he would have been feeling more than just the heat coming off his bunsen burner. It is precisely because Delia is operating in a vacuum, devoid of the intensity created by ferocious competition, that he will continue to make unnecessarily hard work of winning this title before shouting ‘Eureka’ when the job is done. But over time Celtic may nurture new rivalries, especially if the North East revival should build up a head of steam. And that’s probably just as well as the next few weeks seem set to determine if Rangers are ever to become recognisable again or if indeed they are locked into this downward spiral of perpetual self harming for good. Or at least until they reach an inevitable end. Right now it would seem like a mercy killing if this Rangers, in its current form, was to be released from its misery. It’s as if they exist now only to humiliate themselves. It was four years ago that Craig Whyte began battering on the doors of the boardroom and ever since his pointy buckled shoes first stepped across the threshold, the place has become a sanctuary for scoundrels. Between them these people have unleashed a chaos like no other. A toxic slurry of administration, liquidation, groping Yorkshire hands, secret videos, missing millions, police probes, arrests and now impending court cases. Is it any wonder that for many Rangers fans the actual football has long since become an irrelevance? But there are thousands more who continue to focus only on what they see on the pitch. And on Saturday, as Kenny McDowall began his duties as caretaker manager with a 4-0 thrashing at Hibs, they too hit rock bottom. Finally, perhaps for the first time, all sections of this club’s fractured support are united in utter dismay and embarrassment at what their club has become. And as Rangers stagger forward into another year they are also entering the eye of a perfect and potentially devastating storm. The numbers are dropping away to such an extent that a business which was already broken and suffering unsustainable losses, is exposed like never before. In its current state, it may even be irretrievable. The next few weeks will determine the fate of this club. An offer for £6.5m worth of funding has been tabled by three wealthy Rangers fans, Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, and proof of funding has also been provided. But although this appears to offer an easy solution, it is far from a done deal. First, it will require the approval of a board which, up until now, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep such well-meaning investors at arm’s length in order to cling on to control. Also, this cash offer may well be conditional not just on two seats on the board but also upon Park, Letham and Taylor being allowed to look under the bonnet of Rangers and examine the actual depth of the current financial crisis. If so, it is entirely possible that any one of this trio may be sufficiently horrified as to be scared into having some serious second thoughts. Then there is the unpredictably enigmatic Ashley. Just where exactly does he stand in all of this, after bulldozing his way into control of the boardroom, where his man Derek Llambias now sits at the head of the table as CEO? Is the Newcastle United owner prepared to roll over and obey the commands of the SFA who have taken an aggressive stance against his attempted power grab? Or is he about to turn his tanks on Hampden and take what he wants in any case, underwriting a share issue and increasing his stake to 29.9 per cent? His total lack of feeling for Rangers coupled with his contempt for governing blazers may be such that he is prepared to call their bluff where threats of revoking the club’s licence to play football is concerned. Ashley may well believe they simply would not dare but this would be the ultimate high-risk strategy and, given the millions he makes from selling Rangers merchandise, it might prove too big a gamble to take. Even for a man with the deepest of pockets. But, despite his wealth, there seems little logic in Ashley continuing to throw millions of pounds of loans into an ever-widening black hole just in order to keep Rangers breathing while its customers revolt against him. It may be a great deal easier to have the club tipped back into administration, one which he would be able to control as the club’s major creditor. Either way the SFA have drawn a line in the sand where Ashley is concerned. They have seen proof of funds from Park, Letham and Taylor and are satisfied that Ashley is not, as the Rangers board describe him, the only show in town. If Rangers chose to proceed with Ashley then the SFA’s Judicial Panel will step in and thousands upon thousands will be drained from the game’s coffers and given over to lawyers all in the name of sorting out yet another Rangers-made mess. New Year, same old story. But, one way or the other, January is likely to bring a defining moment to this exhausting narrative. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/keith-jackson-rangers-stagger-another-4886939
  17. Not only do we love to do names, we have become adept as a support at pigeon holing people. “****”, “Fan ****”, “ “Pro board” “Anti board” “The enemy within”, not forgetting the latest addition from the AGM - “Rats” - there seems little room for manoeuvre for those confused bears who wander around in a kind of no man’s land not knowing how to take the latest serving of propaganda from one of the various groups. In fact some would have you believe you are the “enemy within” if you dare to occupy that no man’s land, or more accurately, don’t agree with their viewpoint. I’ve never been a fan of emotional, descriptive terms to stir up feelings – they are a very poor substitute for cold hard facts. Ally’s shambolic departure was the perfect case in point. Some felt it necessary to leap to his defence as some kind of weapon against the board, whilst others indulged in less than complimentary negative emotional language. The sum total was to exacerbate an already extremely messy situation. I understand some even planned to sing “Super Ally” at the AGM in an effort to shame the board – you know at that point to wave goodbye to rational thought and reasoned thinking. A quick glance at our financial accounts, or the state of our club overall would tell you that we don’t need to sing songs glorifying a manager who has failed comprehensively to shame this board, the state of our club and the way they have “governed” is an indictment in itself. The masochist in me delights at mentioning our on field problems, only because they serve to remind us we are a football club and not a soap saga, though it’s hard sometimes to differentiate in this day and age. But for a support already disillusioned with off field events the added component of a failing team only compounds the problem. It not only rips into but comprehensively invades the world of the supporter who cares not a jot for boardroom politics and falling attendances along with absent season ticket holders bear testimony to that. It is a dangerous concoction and one any normal board would do well to take cognisance of. Of course some of us have seen it all before. It took David Holmes and a considerable amount of cash as well as revolutionary thinking to remedy the situation. Whether there is such an “out of the box” thinker or the necessary cash today is open to debate. What is not open to debate is the debilitating effect of the omnishambles both on and off the park and sadly, I see little or no evidence to suggest that it is being addressed. So as you sow, so shall you reap. Rangers is not a business, nor merely a football club it is way of life for so many of us. It’s not just about success on the park, it’s about the way the club conducts and carries itself, it’s about the standards it sets and seeks to uphold. We don’t wax lyrical about the “Rangers Way” for nothing. I’ve mentioned Harry Reid previously, an Aberdeen supporter who contributed to the book Born Under a Union Flag. Harry contributes much of the eroding of our standards and identity to the Murray years. “A club’s identity, or, to be more highfalutin, its soul, is a particularly precious thing. Forfeit it and you lose everything. If a club becomes the plaything of over-ambitious folk who have no understanding of it, there is serious trouble ahead. If it becomes the plaything of people who have no knowledge of its traditions and its values, then the trouble can be noxious.” I’d respectfully suggest we are now at security state “noxious” to use Harry’s words. If I had a pound for every Rangers fan who has said to me our club bears little semblance to that which they grew up with well we wouldn’t need a lottery winner to have a Rangers man in charge. I even know of one dyed in the wool bear on Gersnet forums who even muted starting up all over again, such are the levels of disillusionment. I’m reminded though of a chapter from Mary Pyper’s book “Writing to save the World”. She speaks of people displaced from the corridors of power, disempowered from the decision making processes, watching forlornly as, in some cases, their country’s become a mere shadow of what they once were. But rather than surrender or acquiesce to the unacceptable standards being foisted upon them, she directs the reader to those who have struggled to keep the social and moral conscience of their nation alive and in doing so ensure that the flame to which so many aspire to is never extinguished. It is up to us, the Rangers support to do this. We have to carry that mantle, because quite simply there is no-one else fit for purpose at this moment in time. The standards and values we cherish so dearly should be applied to one and all consistently, without fear, without favour and without malice, these are the standards we were raised with and safeguarding them together, I dare anyone to try and take them away. The greatest threat to that flame being extinguished is not from the SFA, the media, or any number of Rangers haters, the clear and present danger comes from ourselves and our inability to apply those standards we value so much, towards one another. “There is more power in unity than division” (Emanuel Cleaver)
  18. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2889489/Ian-Durrant-banished-Murray-Park-Rangers-begin-restructuring-backroom-staff.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490
  19. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11315517/Rangers-are-facing-an-impending-crisis-on-and-off-the-field.html Rangers go into 2015 in a state of crisis greater than anything they have faced since they began their attempt to march through three divisions and regain top-flight status in Scotland. The weekend defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road not only effectively ended their frail hope of challenging Hearts for automatic promotion to the Scottish Premiership, it also confirmed that the Ibrox side are in poor shape for the play-offs. Rangers trail Hearts by 15 points and to put themselves in a position where they could be promoted without having to take anything from their final fixture – against the leaders at Tynecastle – they would have to make up more than a point per game on Robbie Neilson’s players throughout the second half of the season. The evidence of the league meetings with their most likely play-off rivals – Hibs and Queen of the South – is that Rangers would struggle in a play-off sequence against them. They have been beaten home and away by Hibs 7-1 on aggregate and if the games against Queens had been a two-legged tie, the 4-4 score would have seen Rangers lose on away goals. Of course, past results are no guarantee of future performance – a dictum that applies in football as it does to the stock market – but Rangers are in disarray in both arenas. Kenny McDowall, having been told that he will replace Ally McCoist as manager until at least the end of the season, uttered a harsh truth after the 4-0 weekend defeat by Hibs. “At the moment I am just going to have to work with the squad that is there. I can’t just invent players,” he said. Derek Llambias has not yet cut the playing strength in his drive to reduce the £8 million annual deficit at Ibrox but a dozen or so players are out of contract at the end of the season and have no idea whether or not they will be offered continued employment. It can be argued that this should be a motivational tool and that those footballers should be performing as though their careers depended on the outcome – which, in some cases, will be true. Related Articles Rangers' post-McCoist era off to a shocker 27 Dec 2014 Miller laments Rangers' defensive waekness 27 Dec 2014 McCulloch: 'Let’s do this for McCoist' 26 Dec 2014 SFA 1, Mike Ashley 0 24 Dec 2014 However, when Terry Butcher warned Hibs’ below-par players last season that they would have to step up or ship out, the result was the collapse which saw the Easter Road team relegated. There has been no indication that McDowall can add to his strength during the January transfer window and, in any case, the fact that Rangers have the highest player salary bill in Scotland outside Celtic hardly suggests Llambias could make a case to Mike Ashley for greater funding in that department. In any event, Ashley now has troubles of his own at Ibrox. His long-term strategy of making the club dependent on his funding – emergency loans secured on assets – has given him control of a compliant board but the grand plan has run into obstacles. Llambias told the club’s Fans Board that it would be “very difficult” for the directors to regain the trust of the support. Yet at the subsequent annual general meeting David Somers, the Rangers chairman, produced an ill-judged display of bluster that has wholly alienated him from the fans. The outcome was cemented by The Telegraph’s disclosure of an email in which Somers pleaded with an Ashley representative to keep the Newcastle owner’s takeover process on course – in the face of a competing £16 million offer by Dave King – so that he could remain chairman. The AGM also featured the bizarre spectacle of club directors proposing an open share issue of £8 million and then voting against it, a tactic that can only be explained by a mistaken belief that the Scottish Football Association would grant Ashley his request to exert complete control at Ibrox by increasing his shareholding to 29.9 per cent. The SFA’s refusal to do so has generated a challenge to Ashley’s hegemony from the consortium of wealthy Rangers supporters – Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor – who have proposed an offer to underwrite the share issue to the tune of £6.5 million. The question for Ashley is whether he maintains his own percentage stake by putting more money into the club – and having to agree to the consortium’s demand for board seats – or find some way of presenting alternative funding which would dispense with the need for the share issue. Either way, the immediate outlook for a dysfunctional club is turbulent. Ashley and Rangers must answer SFA disciplinary charges that he has extended his influence beyond the terms of the written undertaking he gave. And – perhaps most ominously of all – in five weeks Rangers face Celtic in a Scottish League Cup semi-final. That is a prospect which – after Saturday’s collapse – has Ibrox fans fearing the damage that could be inflicted by their greatest adversaries.
  20. http://www.cfclatest.com/2012/12/28/richard-gough-are-gers-trying-to-force-others-out-of-the-door/
  21. I would take a billionaire sugar daddy like Chelsea, Man City and United have in England long before anything right now. All across Europe we have teams notably from Eastern Europe run by Billionaires with fans following in their droves, watching seriously clever players in packed stadiums with total tv exposure. In my lifetime, football clubs, and how they are run has changed dramatically over time. Spain, Germany, England and even Russia have total control of all things good (or bad) in football. The days of an 'honest' football club operating in today's world are long gone. The idea of Rangers being or at least trying to enter that elite fills me with some degree of hope. I want our club to be part of that elite once again. We have a far wider fan base than any other club in the world and if the the right people come in regardless of their greed then we should accept that. Our club has the potential to feed the 'Hobbiest' as well as the fans, and make it's mark once again. Only a pessimist would disagree with that. Mike Ashley grabbed Newcastle United to promote his business empire, and it worked, it's Newcastle United ffs! If Ashley wants to take on the Rangers it's because he believes it may well be the biggest thing he's ever took on in his life, and possibly his most rewarding. We are a sleeping giant. I'm looking forward to very prosperous times in the the future. It is just round the corner somewhere. Edit: This is Bearmans view not necessarily yours.
  22. Andy Nicol ‏@AndyNic9 Highlight of day at Scotstoun was bumping into Ally McCoist. Great to see him smiling again! #loveshisrugby Daily Record Sport ‏@Record_Sport Not exactly gardening weather, Ally McCoist instead spent his first Saturday off at the Rugby!
  23. Not sure if I'm reading too much into this or not, but lurking behind today's embarrassment at Easter Road there seemed to be a distinct aura of division in the stand-in management team of McDowall and Durie, but has there actually been a fall out, do they simply not get on or was it just a public display of unhappiness at the board's recent shake-up decisions? No matter what's going on, it would seem to me that if there's some disagreements and/or division amongst the coaching staff, then that is almost certainly going to have started causing problems in the dressing room. In this photo from Willie Vass, it's pretty clear to see that Jim Stewart appears to be acting as Kenny McDowall's assistant and that's only a single photographic glimpse of what we witnessed today, which seemed to be an unhappy and uncommunicative management team. Jim Stewart and Kenny McDowall with clipboards as Jimmy Bell holds his head in his hands Copyright: 2014 Willie Vass
  24. In the midst of off-field turmoil, action on the pitch routinely provides light relief for supporters. Not so at Rangers, where seemingly endless background chaos was replicated only by a team performance – in the loosest possible sense of the word – at Hibernian. A Rangers week that opened with a tempestuous AGM ended in similarly embarrassing fashion with a 4-0 defeat. The dysfunction of the club’s business affairs is well known; of perhaps more concern to battle-weary fans was the glaring lack of shape, style, confidence or commitment that was evident here. Not since January 1912 had Hibs beaten Rangers by four or more goals. They did not even have to try particularly hard for this success against a group of individuals who barely looked interested in what should have been a significant fixture. When boardroom machinations transmit to a playing staff, there really is a problem. Needless to say, neither Mike Ashley nor his trusted lieutenant Derek Llambias were in Edinburgh to watch this shambles unfold. Ashley has been prevented by the Scottish FA from increasing his stake in the club to 29.9% but there should be no doubt that the Newcastle United owner is already calling the shots at Rangers. Quite how he formalises that arrangement in the coming weeks, and before a hearing with the governing body over allegations of rule breaches, remains to be seen. Typically, Ashley has offered no clue as to his intentions in Glasgow. Nor is he expected to. There is not so much of a shred of evidence that the Sports Direct tycoon plans to do more than protect a highly enviable commercial position. To their credit, the Rangers supporters have made their opposition to Ashley plain. Their current problem – Ashley’s stranglehold aside – is the lack of a viable alternative for a business that claims to require £8m merely to continue trading throughout 2015. History tells us Ashley will not be altogether bothered by this result. It also points to those AGMs, stormy or otherwise, soon becoming a thing of the past. All the while, the assertion that Rangers will inevitably return to the summit of Scottish football is becoming trickier and trickier to offer. Rangers lack the funding that would be required to overhaul their football department. With Ally McCoist on gardening leave and receiving more than £14,000 a week for his trouble, Kenny McDowall has stepped forward to preside over first-team affairs. McDowall’s first post-match act was to “apologise to the support” for a woeful display. He looked shell-shocked rather than angry. “I can’t deny that the goings on haven’t helped,” McDowall said. “But we are all professional people. I’m not going to sit here and offer excuses. Hibs were the better team on the day.” And some. David Gray and Jason Cummings put the hosts two in front after 12 minutes. It took 25 for the first rendition of “Sack the board” to emanate from the Dunbar End of Easter Road. Scott Robertson and Liam Craig added Hibs gloss in the second half. It was another of their players, the former West Bromwich midfielder Scott Allan, who proved the star of the show. It is to the credit of Alan Stubbs, the Hibs manager, that he has backed up promise with results at a club that had been in the doldrums. Next weekend’s Edinburgh derby at a sold-out Tynecastle promises to be an eye-catching affair. Rangers, by contrast, look an unmitigated mess. The most damning indictment of McCoist’s tenure is the lack of any positive legacy. Highly paid players look not only devoid of inspiration but, in several cases, basic fitness. For all that McDowall is a decent guy with a reasonable reputation as a coach he is implicated in the dismal standard of affairs by virtue of the fact he was in the Ibrox dugout throughout his predecessor’s reign. For now, McDowall is little more than Rangers’ soft option. By the time McDowall’s players slinked from the field, only a small pocket of Rangers fans remained. Having won 11 from 18 fixtures in Scotland’s second tier, a playoff looks Rangers’ most likely route back into the top flight. On current form, it would be a serious leap of faith to presume they would survive such a scenario. http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/dec/27/turmoil-rangers-shell-shocked-heavy-defeat-hibernian?
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