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  1. Graham Wallace says all the right things. There is no bluster to the man, no desire to trade insults with those who object to the performance of some on his board. In all of this Rangers farrago he is the one person who has risen above the cheap shots and gone on with his business in a pretty dignified manner. Of course, Wallace has only been in the door five minutes. The temptation is to say ‘Just give him time’ and he’ll soon be scrapping like everybody else, but he seems more professional than that, more believable in the role of a redeemer. The faith in Wallace is based on a proven track record in football and also on some of the things he has said in his few short weeks at Rangers. Clearly, he has resonated with institutional investors and ordinary supporters alike because his 85.5 per cent approval rating in the vote yesterday was the highest of anybody seeking election or re-election. In the door less than a month, though. That can’t be forgotten. So far, so good but so much yet to do. Wallace made some promises yesterday. He said the club would start proper engagement with the fans and he’ll need to be true to his word or else he’ll quickly find that those who support him now will quickly tire of him. He said the vote at the agm gave the board a “clear mandate” but, in truth, it didn’t. The board received a mandate from the institutional investors not from the rank and file, not from the people who sit in the stadium every second week. There is a difference. A big difference. He spoke of yesterday being a “watershed moment”. Again, he’ll need to prove himself on that one. He asked for all those with Rangers’ best interests at heart “to stand behind us, to support us, to engage us, to give us the opportunity to demonstrate that we can take the club back to where we all aspire it to be.” That’s a leap of faith that many supporters won’t make just for the sake of it. They’ll need evidence it’s a leap worth making. Talk is cheap. The requisitioners found that out yesterday. All the talk in the world didn’t get them anywhere close to making a fight of it with the board. So when Wallace speaks of dialogue with the fans and an engagement process with “leading international organisations” that want to be associated with Rangers it all sounds very nice, but seeing is believing. Too many empty promises have been made for too long for too many people to swallow the vision of a bright new tomorrow. To be fair to Wallace, there was more to his remarks than a mere rallying call. There was some substance and some honesty. Yesterday, for instance, he said something extremely interesting about the finances at the club and the way in which some of the numbers are unsustainable. The chief executive said that Rangers’ “cost structure is currently too high for the top division never mind the lower leagues.” That comment stood out because it was such an un-Rangers thing to say. Not too long ago Walter Smith, speaking as a former chairman and a doyen of the club, said that financial freewheeling was part of the Rangers DNA, that the money they spent on players and a manager was part of what Rangers were and that even though it defied logic, that’s the way it has always been. The fatalistic attitude was delivered deadpan, as if there was nothing anybody at Rangers could do about the frightening cash-burn. Not being a ‘Rangers man’ might help Wallace bring some fiscal normality to his beleaguered institution. He is not held hostage by its past. He sees a club that is living beyond its means and he’s not afraid to incur the anger of people in admitting it. Of course, he could have extended his argument a little further. He could have pointed a finger at some of those people responsible for continuing this “cost structure”. One of them was sitting close by on the podium at the agm – Brian Stockbridge, the finance director. Stockbridge has overseen shocking waste in his own brief time at the club and yet he is made of Teflon. The supporters barrack him, the requisitioners shout about his position being untenable, there has been all manner of attacks on his integrity and his professionalism and yet he is still there. Wallace could have sent a message to the disaffected supporters by sacking Stockbridge, the number one subject of the fans’ ire. He hasn’t done so, but his language was interesting when asked if he would. “It would be grossly premature and inappropriate to be talking about dismissing anybody when I have been in the building less than a month,” he said. “My style is to assess what we have got and what we need... I have no hesitation and no difficulty in making difficult decisions but I think those decisions need to be made on the basis of my assessment of the facts rather than somebody else’s view.” No blind show of faith, no ringing endorsement, no circling of the wagons. Measured and non-committal. It portrays a person who will carry out his own audit and draw his own conclusions about the performance of people at the club. For Rangers’ sake you hope he is given full authority to do so. There is a fear – and we won’t know the legitimacy of it for a while – that Wallace, in his attempt to bring real change and proper corporate governance, will find himself out-gunned by some of those around him on the board and some of the investors these board-members represent. The fans are inclined to believe in him, the requisitioners were always glad to accept him, but what is the tag of unanimous respect if he is not given the freedom to do the job as he feels it needs to be done? In the autumn, Dave King arrived into town and had meetings with key people at Rangers and it’s safe to say that he wasn’t bowled over by the enthusiasm of some of those in power at Ibrox. This was pre-Wallace. King has many issues with his conviction in South Africa on tax charges and the hoops he would have to jump through with the SFA and the AIM in order to get the clearance he would need to take up a place on the Rangers board, but possibly the greatest problem he may face is not from the SFA (who would be virtually powerless to stop him getting on the plc board) or the AIM (who King says should not be an issue) but from factions on the Rangers board itself. King would bring money that Wallace says the club needs, but he would want power and that is something that others might be wholly unwilling to give up. Such is the politics of Rangers. Wallace may find out about that soon enough. Will he have the autonomy to do what he says needs to be done or will he be stifled, as others were stifled before him? He will need business savvy and political cunning to do this job. Watershed moment? It’s too early to be making such a definitive conclusion, but it’s the end of the requisitioners, that is for sure. Their motives were right but their execution was flawed, right from the start, and they got a real pasting yesterday. They continue to believe that the club is heading for the rocks in financial terms and they are not alone in that. Stockbridge, himself, said that they may have just £1m left in the bank come April, by which time they will be making appeals to the support to buy their season tickets. If Stockbridge is one of the men doing the appealing – if – then it will be interesting to hear the fans’ response. They say time heals all. With Stockbridge and the Rangers supporters, you have to wonder. There will surely be a period of calm now, maybe before a storm in the spring when money is needed and King returns bearing riches, albeit with conditions. Wallace is a man that people can rally around if he’s as good as his word. A starting point would be to engage with the fans rather than antagonising them in the way that Jack Irvine, the communications man, has done for too long. Yesterday was the end of the requisitioners but not the end of the saga. This has been no fairytale and only an innocent would believe that it is definitely going to have a happy ever after. In Wallace, though, there is hope and expectation and a whole heap of pressure not just to build bridges with fans but to bring commonsense back to Ibrox where for too long the economics of the madman have been in place. All he will need is fiscal brilliance, diplomatic genius and the persuasive powers of a master politician. Apart from that, the task of restoring Rangers should be easy. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/tom-english-rangers-chief-must-now-walk-the-walk-1-3240246
  2. @scotDMsport: Ally McCoist sides with Rangers fans ahead of crucial vote. See tomorrow's Scottish Daily Mail
  3. .............of how crucial Rangers' agm vote will be KEITH reckons the scenario which led to Rangers' League One clash with Stenhousemuir at Ochilview being postponed came at the perfect time for supporters to re-examine what has gone on at their club. AS reminders go, this one was perfectly timed. A league game called off because of an incident involving a burger van. A moment for Rangers fans to pause and reflect on the scale of the damage done to their club by a seemingly endless cast of pantomime villains over the past two-and-a-half years. Of how far these “custodians” have allowed this once mighty institution to fall. It’s not their fault, of course. How could they be expected to notice what was going on around them in their unrelenting rush to scoop up every last blue pound? These people have their priorities you know. As a result, at a time when Celtic were licking wounds inflicted upon them at the Nou Camp, Rangers suffered an altogether different kind of indignity at the weekend. Sidelined, for the first time in history, because a deep fat fryer on wheels crashed into a temporary stand. Such is life in the Wacky Races of Scotland’s lower leagues. But now – with the club’s long- awaited agm just days away – would seem like the ideal time for Rangers supporters to re-examine how on earth they got here in the first place. Perhaps to ensure history is not allowed to repeat itself. Paul Murray couldn’t have planned it any better had he pranged the van himself and made off into the streets of Stenhousemuir under the cover of darkness. If ever there was an episode that sums up the depth of this club’s current plight then this was surely it. In the grand scheme of things, Rangers have become little more than a farce. The Whytes, the Greens, the Ahmads, connections with men on Interpol’s most wanted list, the financial director’s home videos, the bonus culture and large pay-offs, the never-ending investigations and probes, the court cases, the missing millions, the endless spin and counter spin. This is what Rangers of today have become. Meanwhile, in a sporting context, they have reduced themselves to the kind of semi-irrelevance that can have a fixture knocked out by a cheeseburger and chips. Yet no matter how surreal or ridiculous this whole saga has become, in the boardroom battle all sides demand to be taken seriously. And with the shareholders about to shape the future of this club on Thursday, never has the situation required a more studied analysis. The latest offering from inside Ibrox came on Friday of last week when Sandy Easdale invited the BBC and STV round. “I’m no one’s puppet,” was the thrust of his message. But the truth is – with so many proxy votes to protect – he is actually representing the interests of others. In fact, it would seem absurd to expect anything else. Easdale has a duty to do what he is told by those who have entrusted him with their votes. With so much at stake, this is hardly the time or place for him to act like some kind of free spirit. The Easdales swear Charles Green is not involved in their decision making. But Green is in many ways the reason they are slap bang in the middle of this thing. Without him and his old allies at Margarita and Blue Pitch Holdings, the Easdales would hardly have enough votes to merit a say at all. There is another question which might trouble these voters as they prepare to go to the polls. How on earth can the Easdales, chairman David Somers and chief executive Graham Wallace support a financial director, Brian Stockbridge, whose own credibility has been shot to bits among the fans at least? And yet Somers would have these same supporters believe they owe Stockbridge a debt for helping to hold the club together? That they ought to look up to this man as some sort of saviour? That appraisal may come back to haunt him. He claimed also he would not know Green or Craig Whyte if he bumped into them in the street, which displays an alarming lack of knowledge about the main characters in this club’s decline. It may interest Somers to know his predecessor in the big chair, Walter Smith, will have been astonished by attempts to rewrite history. The truth is Stockbridge’s continued presence is one of the reasons Smith – a man who has given most of his adult life to Rangers – cannot bring himself to return to Ibrox, even as a spectator. Come to think of it, John Greig – the man voted the club’s greatest ever servant – has not been back either since being equally sickened by the behaviour of Whyte. Men such as Smith and Greig have been around this club for too long, they care about it too deeply, to accept it in its current form. They struggle to recognise this Rangers. Which is why both will hope their club changes for the better this Thursday. God knows, they can never have seen it any worse.
  4. From The. Times. tom_farmery ‏@tom_farmery 12m Crunch time for #Rangers as AGM approaches. Read exclusively how the current board have Thursday's vote already won. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/busine...cle3949988.ece … tom_farmery ‏@tom_farmery 5m Story tells how S Easdale, Laxey Partners, Mike Ashley, Artemis and Richard Hughes of Zeus will back current board. Total of 54.67% #Rangers
  5. Murray claims current board are not at Ibrox for the love of Rangers and insists fans will not put up with it any longer Malcolm Murray has insisted a cleansing clear-out of Rangers must be instigated this week - and implored investors and supporters among the shareholding ranks to seize the opportunity to bring long-lost trust and transparency back to Ibrox. Murray, who stepped down as chairman in May and was ousted as director in July, is among a quartet of Rangers-supporting and highly-respected, successful businessmen hoping to drive through change at Thursday’s AGM and be voted on to the board. His will has been emboldened by the wishes of the Rangers fans he’s met - from City of London boardrooms to supporters’ meetings in Glasgow and Belfast - that the club they’ve supported for life is rid of the mistrust and expensive revolving-door policy involving the hierarchy. ‘The fans are the most vociferous about changing the whole lot,’ said Murray. ‘Yet protests have been elegant and diplomatic. No intimidation. It brings a tear to your eye. I am absolutely astounded by the reaction. I’ve known guys who are self-employed taking days off to go to London, to see people, organise protests, do media. Those fans deserve their club back. ‘It needs a big clean-up. The current incumbents are not there for the love of Rangers and it does worry me. Sometimes you have to follow your instinct. I can’t prove my feelings but I’ve been around long enough to judge managements. ‘This is just a nightmare, the most difficult corporate governance situation I have ever seen.’ Rangers responded to Murray’s claims concerning the board’s motivation, a spokesman insisting: ‘They are there to bring corporate governance to the club, which Malcolm Murray patently failed to do, and to protect the interests of investors which Malcolm Murray failed to do.’ Murray was appointed chairman as Charles Green swept to power in a blaze of bombast and consortium backers in the summer of 2012 but the pair were fated not to get along. Murray speaks of a ‘gradual’ feeling of unease with the people he was dealing with inside Rangers, rather than one dumbstruck moment of fear that the club might be in the wrong hands once again. ‘I said to many investors as early as January that, if this was any other company, I’d have to leave,’ he said. ‘They said: “You’ve got to stick in there”. With hindsight - and I think Walter Smith would agree - we should both have resigned much earlier and tried to sort this from the outside.’ He has been on the outside for five months since leaving with Phil Cartmell when James Easdale was appointed as a non-executive director. Murray has since worked alongside former director Paul Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson who, with the backing of Jim McColl, secured an interim interdict at the Court of Session in October to force the issue of their bid for board representation on to the agenda at the delayed AGM. Paul Murray declared the position of financial director Brian Stockbridge and then chief executive Craig Mather as ‘untenable’ after the defeat of a Rangers board that were savaged by the shareholders’ group QC Richard Keen for engaging in ‘guerrilla warfare’. Mather departed but Stockbridge remained and Rangers went on to bring in new chairman David Somers, chief executive Graham Wallace and non-executive director Norman Crighton. They, along with James Easdale, stand for reappointment on Thursday. Bringing his men to the table, says Malcolm Murray, is the only way to end the cycle of suspicion felt by Rangers fans ever since the full horror of Craig Whyte’s reign came to light. Murray says he is motivated to work on behalf of the fans hurting - from the top suits in his business world to the season-ticket regulars who held up the red cards to tell the Easdale brothers, Stockbridge and company to leave Rangers. Sandy Easdale, however, carries up to 28 per cent of voting power and the biggest single shareholder, the Isle Of Man-based hedge fund Laxey Partners, have declared themselves supporters of the current regime. Murray said: ‘The fans have dug so deep. They did it two years ago, as ever, buying season tickets when Craig Whyte took over. They then put their hands in their pockets when the club was close to going out of business last year. ‘Then, this year, it wasn’t a coincidence that, once the renewal deadline for season tickets had passed, the board moved with Charles Green to remove me and Phil Cartmell. That same week, they sacked Cenkos, who guided us to the IPO and are a blue-chip city advisor, and appointed a firm who had been connected to Green’s acolytes for decades and appointed the Easdales to the board. ‘I don’t think fans will put up with that again. They’ve shown amazing loyalty. I’ve mixed with it so much on the business side. They’ve gone through hell. It’s their hard-earned money that is disappearing quickly. ‘They’ve put up with a lot, so many mysterious characters coming through the front doors of Ibrox. They need to know what these people stand for. And so far they don’t. ‘As for the recent appointments, city institutions have asked me where the new chairman David Somers has emerged from. ‘They didn’t know who he was and I don’t know. Norman Crighton appears to be close with associates of Laxey Partners, who are not known as a long-term investment institution.’ Murray stressed that he enjoys the backing of a number of private and institutional investors prepared to stump up financial support in the event of his group being appointed. They are alarmed by the figures posted by the club which reveal a trading loss of £14.4million for the 13 months until June 2013. Murray was a pivotal figure of Manchester United’s share issue in the early 90s, when he had a stewardship of a 25-per-cent holding. The Rangers launch 12 months ago raised £22m, yet Stockbridge has warned the club could be down to its last £1m by April. Stockbridge earned £409,000 according to the books, although it is claimed he’s in the process of handing back half of that - a £200,000 bonus, apparently at the request of Laxey. When asked if it would be enough for Stockbridge - the prime hate figure among the protesting Rangers fans - to be the single existing casualty on Thursday, Murray said: ‘I don’t think it is. It could be a step in the right direction but that’s assuming you get a totally clean, blue-chip finance director. ‘If that appointment is made by the Blue Pitch Holdings, the Easdales, Margarita, then they just put another guy in there that covers it. Transparency and trust and honesty are what needs to be here. That’s why I came here in the first place. ‘It’s about getting that kind of model of a big board, but one not paying themselves that much money. People that care about the club. We need a balanced view, we need non-execs that are supporters who understand the rich culture and history. ‘The key thing that our group has for the future are private investors, fairly wealthy businessmen, and institutional investors who will put more money up if the board is one that is transparent and trustworthy and they see it as such. They can kick the tyre and know where it’s going. We’re not putting it in our own pockets. They’ll know that the money is being put in the playing staff, the stadium - and not anywhere else.’ Murray, then, is interested in a rewind back to the frustrating days when his thoughts were suffocated in the boardroom, as he and Smith were constantly outvoted and outmanoeuvred. When back on the outside, there were similar blockades as Murray and the requisitioners were turned away from winning an Extraordinary General Meeting to trigger change. ‘They allowed themselves to be talked out of it in late summer, with the board insisting it would prove too costly and a deal was made for boardroom changes to be dealt with at the perennially delayed AGM. That moment is one of regret for Murray. He said: ‘We should have gone ahead with the EGM. We tried to save the club money. You think you’re dealing with honourable people and we got messed about. With hindsight, there shouldn’t have been negotiation and compromise. ‘That’s why I think we need a really big change. There’s no point in me going in with some sort of coalition and conning the fans. I can’t do that. I was in a situation where I was in the minority and I’ll never do it again. Fans won’t accept that either. ‘I was on a board where Walter and I were continually out-voted on almost everything. On a good board, you don’t have to vote. You just discuss it until you get to a decent result. There would be no point being on a board where you are in the minority. ‘If everyone is independent, then you get a balanced view. But on the previous board it was almost always four versus a three of Phil Cartmell, Walter and I. ‘For example, when Green resigned, I put in place a search for a top-level chief executive. ‘We actually had Graham Wallace’s CV in then in April. Interestingly, the current board weren’t interested in an external appointment then. I had the rug pulled under me, with the other four saying they will appoint Craig Mather instead of a straight vote.’ Murray acknowledged McColl’s endorsement of Wallace and believes he could work with the ex-Manchester City chief operating officer. That commendation was voiced at the end of last month when McColl, Murray and Co addressed 500 fans at a meeting in Glasgow - one of two staged without a representative of the club attending, despite being invited by the fans groups. Murray said: ‘Their seats were empty in Glasgow and Belfast at the supporter meetings. I found that a contemptible and disrespectful approach to the customers. In any business, you can’t ignore the customers. ‘We put our manifesto up there. And so far from the incumbents? They won’t respond to the values we believe in. They’ve got to respond to the following questions. How much cash is left? How to plan to refinance that? Are you assuring the fans there will be no sale or lease backs whatsoever? Do they believe in representation and clear transparency on financial performance? ‘Somers has said they will answer at the AGM. That’s like having an election and saying that, once you’ve voted, I’ll tell you what the manifesto is! You’ve got to tell people what you stand for. We stand for honesty and things that will help the club recover - new money coming in, building a team. ‘I don’t want to become a hero. I want it to be a team effort. I’m with three other guys because we think we can help get the club back on the right tracks with shareholders and fans together. ‘We are only doing this because fans want us to do it. It’s not for self-interest because it takes your life away from you. I’ve had no life for a year - ask my wife. We’ve got to get this right.’ Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2523948/Malcolm-Murray-insists-Rangers-need-cleaning--exclusive.html#ixzz2nXRXu0Yh Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
  6. After the pre-fight hype the contenders for the right to rule Rangers go head-to-head this week IN the middle of August, Sandy Jardine sat in the back garden of his home in Edinburgh talking about the cancer that nearly killed him. The scans, the operations, the radiotherapy and the long, long journey back to health. What strength he showed. What dignity. Towards the end of the conversation he started speaking about the state of Rangers and the bitter in-fighting at Ibrox. He spoke rather plaintively, like a man who could see what his club had become but still couldn’t quite believe it. “What these people have got to remember is that, whoever takes the club, all they are is custodians,” he said. “The life of the place is the fans. Some of the old guys have been supporters for 80 years. Sons, fathers, grandfathers going in there for long before we were born and will be going in long after we’re gone. We’ve had boardroom battles before but it was kept within the four walls. Let them get on with it, but what they’ve got to remember is don’t embarrass our club. I speak on behalf of the fans now. They’re sick of it.” Jardine’s words were heart-felt but they were ignored. A long time ago we started running out of words to describe the scenes at Rangers this year – not to mention the previous year. With the coming and going of so many chief executives, so many chairmen and so many NOMADs it’s been a pantomime, a circus, a freak show. Ibrox has become an Odditorium where all sorts of previously unknown people have fetched up and declared an undying love for the place, one emotional plea after another, usually accompanied by an earnest promise that they have the “best interests of the club at heart”. If that phrase has been used once it has been used a hundred times. Charles Green, Imran Ahmad, Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge, Malcolm Murray, David Somers, Scott Murdoch, Alex Wilson, Jim McColl, Sandy Easdale, James Easdale – all of them, and others, tell us they have the best interests of Rangers at heart. Quite honestly, you have to wonder what state the club would be in if all these good Samaritans weren’t looking out for it. On Thursday, all of this comes to a head at last. The Rangers agm will see the final act of the battle for Ibrox, if you can call it a battle. In the board versus the requisitioners contest, as it stands, the board have to be considered strong favourites. There’s the 26 per cent of shares represented by the Easdales, the 11.6 per cent from Laxey Partners and the 4.6 per cent from Mike Ashley. The board reckon they have about 46 per cent of the shares in the bag. Not a guaranteed victory, but a pretty good starting point in an increasingly hostile fight, a war of statement and counter-statement, insult and counter-insult. The board see the requisitioners as scaremongers and blowhards, a collection of characters, some of whom had their chance on the board in the past and blew it, and who now want back on the board despite a combined shareholding of less than two per cent. A case of the tail wagging the dog. The requisitioners talk of an impending financial calamity at the club, about the true nature of the peril being concealed, about a club heading for the rocks again under the stewardship of a board that does not want to engage with supporters and that revels in gratuitous mud-slinging, such as calling those seeking change a gang of “fanatics”. The fans, seemingly in large numbers, are on the side of the requisitioners. Does that make them fanatics, too? They want change. Above all, they want the removal of finance director Brian Stockbridge as their main, non-negotiable, item. And, if there is a second, it would be the dismissal of Jack Irvine, the club’s communications man who has riled them more than once. Both sides are now in an endgame. Sandy Easdale is doing interview after interview. On Friday he attempted to shoot down the view that Rangers are running out of money, but then spoke of a “fatal blow” to the club were supporters to boycott season ticket sales. A mixed message and a touch of moral blackmail. There was also a condescending tap on the head of the fans. They’ve been brainwashed, he said. “The supporters won’t hurt the club they love. They’ll see sense in the long run...” Patronising people isn’t a great way of winning them over. The requisitioners have not been impressive either, it has to be said. Since we are nearly at the end of the year, it’s worth recapping some of what has gone on at Ibrox in 2013, for only by looking back over it do you appreciate how tortuous a saga this has become. It might seem like another lifetime but it was only in January when Green banged on about “the quicker we can leave [scottish football] the better”. Green said he was contacting David Cameron. He spoke about using sex discrimination law to sue UEFA for not allowing Rangers to leave Scotland. Where, exactly, he intended taking them was a mystery. Green is but one character in this story with a brass neck. In February, David Murray’s dismissal of Lord Nimmo Smith’s commission as a witch hunt and a futile waste of time, effort and money was the brazen act of a seemingly unembarrassable man. Nimmo Smith’s report was condemnatory of Murray’s Rangers and their breaches of the SPL rulebook on deliberate non-disclosure of payments. The old board, the verdict stated, “bear a heavy responsibility” for the offences. Throughout the Rangers story you have characters who have sought – and still seek – to rewrite history and change the narrative but Murray’s was one of the most shameless attempts. Green was big on shame at times. In the spring he got embroiled in a drama over a racist comment in a newspaper, then attempted to defend the comment about his “Paki friend”, only to later apologise. The club was cast into a nightmare of uncertainty over his possible links with Craig Whyte and the creeping horror that Green and Whyte were in some kind of cahoots after tape recordings emerged. Enter Pinsent Masons legal firm, exit Green. Enter Craig Mather, exit Ahmad, amid a surreal online controversy after it was reported that Ahmad had taken to social media, under an assumed name, in an attempt to dismantle Ally McCoist’s managerial credibility. Whyte, meanwhile, had by then reported Green and Ahmad to the Serious Fraud Office in an attempt to get his hands on Rangers’ assets. At some point, Stockbridge filmed a drunk Malcolm Murray in a restaurant. Alastair Johnston, former chairman, said that the power struggle was becoming a cancer spreading through the club. Enter Walter Smith as chairman. Exit Walter Smith as chairman, citing a dysfunctional board, a board that was spending money like there was no tomorrow, among the cash burned being the £825,000 salary to the manager. Later, there would be an announcement that McCoist’s salary was going to be cut dramatically. Later still, another announcement that, er, it still hadn’t happened. Rangers had spent £7.8 million on their playing budget to win the Third Division. Smith shrugged his shoulders and said that’s just the way things are at Rangers, as if the club was duty bound to flush money down the toilet. Mather made a play for the hearts of an increasingly disgruntled support, a play right out of the Green textbook. In North America, he spoke darkly about the “enemy of Rangers”. He said revenge would be had against the Rangers haters. “We’ve chosen, and we will continually choose, the right moment to strike. Please, never believe that I or any other directors don’t know the names of the people who have tried to damage this club. We know them all. We know what each one’s tried to do and I can assure you we will never, ever forget about that.” His rallying cry was an embarrassment, an obvious attempt to ingratiate himself with the support and galvanise them into buying season tickets. The ones Mather should have had his eye on were not the guys with laptops but the blokes in blazers scurrying out of Ibrox with their pockets bulging. Exit Mather and here we are today with two camps who have being taking potshots at each other for months. The low-point – or one of them at any rate – was a crass comment on Twitter by Irvine, the board’s communications guy, about McColl being a “bullshit billionaire”. There has been no apology. There’s a new cast of characters in recent times, one of them being the new chairman, Somers, who added his own piece of slapstick to this black comedy a week ago when claiming that, up until a month ago, he had never heard of Whyte or Green and wouldn’t recognise either of them in the street. This was part of his “fanatics” statement. What possessed him to release it is anybody’s guess, but it was cringe-making. The requisitioners have steadfastly refused to buy up shares during these past months. It’s been a big weakness. The board have singularly failed to engage with the fans. Another weakness. There is ducking and diving on both sides and, all the while, Sandy Jardine’s words – “Don’t embarrass our club” – have been drowned out. It’s too late. Embarrassment took hold a long time ago. Graham Wallace, the new chief executive, is an important figure at Ibrox in many different ways. He is the one person who seems to be rising above all of this, the one person who has won praise from both sides. Well, there is one other – Dave King. He has been silent of late, but he’ll be watching Thursday’s events with interest and, perhaps, intent. Rangers could do with Wallace’s decorum and King’s cash. The club could also do with a definitive victory, one way or another, and some dignity in the aftermath. If both sides are true to their mantra of having the “best interests” of Rangers at heart, then the board and the requisitioners would find a way of concluding business on Thursday with some kind of compromise, some means of moving forward without taking swipes at each other for months and years to come. Too many bluffers have trotted out too many cheap lines about loving the club. If they really believe it, Thursday might be a good time to illustrate it. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-boardroom-contenders-gear-up-for-agm-fight-1-3233870
  7. .......................he won't work with finance chief Brian Stockbridge if voted onto Ibrox board 6 Dec 2013 07:54 SCOTT MURDOCH says finance director Brian Stockbridge's track record makes his position at Ibrox untenable. A MEMBER of the rebel group aiming to be voted on to the Rangers board at the club’s agm on December 19 has vowed not to work with finance chief Brian Stockbridge if elected. Scott Murdoch, one of four nominees put forward as potential directors by activist shareholders headed by Jim McColl, insists the track record of Stockbridge makes his position untenable and is adamant he must be axed. Murdoch has also questioned the neutrality of new Ibrox chairman David Somers. Murdoch, who aims to be voted on to the board with former chairman Malcolm Murray businessman Paul Murray and HR chief Alex Wilson, told The Rangers Standard blog: “I would not sit on a board alongside Brian Stockbridge. “I would happily sit with the other guys to make sure they were trustworthy and if they were not, I would expose them. “To prove their independence, they can tell us how they were appointed. Were they appointed by Stockbridge? Who brought them on board? How did the chairman get selected? “Also, if they are independent they will presumably realise the financial control of Brian Stockbridge has been appalling. He predicted a £7million loss which became a £14m loss only three months after he made the prediction. He is clearly incapable. “If you were independent, you would surely ask him to leave. “Stockbridge is like that cat with nine lives. How on earth can the man continue?” “We are all sceptical of anyone coming into the club without having their true independence declared. “We would like Somers and (non-executive director) Norman Crighton to prove themselves as truly independent. We could all end up sitting on the same board.” Meanwhile, Ibrox legend Andy Goram insists the record-breaking run of 19 consecutive victories put together by Ally McCoist’s side is “not comparable” with his Class of ’92. A 6-1 win over Forfar on Tuesday set a new post-war benchmark as Rangers continue to sweep aside all comers in League One. But The Goalie, part of the Walter Smith side that racked up 18 wins in 1992, said: “You can’t compare it because we were playing Champions League and top-flight football. “As well as the winning run, we also went 44 games unbeaten. “At the same time I’m of the view that a record is a record and they should be congratulated. “You still have to beat the teams in front of you, which wasn’t happening last season. It is still hard work at that level and you have to earn the right to win when you are every other team’s cup final.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-boardroom-battle-member-rebel-2896174
  8. PAUL MURRAY fears Charles Green is still involved in the running of Rangers. The Ibrox board hopeful met with fans in Glasgow last night ahead of the AGM on December 19 that could see Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch join him at the Ibrox top table if investors vote to oust the current regime. Controversial former chief executive Green left Rangers for the second time earlier this year following a short stint as a consultant, which came just weeks after he stepped down following allegations of co-operation with Craig Whyte. Murray said: "I do feel that Charles Green is involved. We went to see a shareholder last week and he told us that Charles Green had been to see him the previous day. "You have to ask the question, if Charles Green has sold his shares and is no longer involved with the club, why is he going to see shareholders to influence them to vote for the board?" He added: "There must be a risk (that Green is still involved). The 18th of December is a lock-in date, I think something will happen that day, I don't know what it is going to be but shareholding will probably move around and so on and it is a matter of public record. "There must be a risk although he said publicly he is not involved, which is why, when you hear things like last week, you feel a little bit concerned." Murray and his fellow board hopefuls met with 500 supporters at a gathering in Glasgow last night as the make-or-break shareholder summit draws nearer. Murray and businessman Jim McColl called for finance director Brian Stockbridge to resign this week, with McColl admitting the Requsitioners had lined up new chief executive Graham Wallace to be part of their team should they win at the AGM. The Gers have appointed David Somers as chairman and Norman Crighton as a non-executive director and Murray said: "We are (willing to work with three new guys). We are taking them at face value." The other main players in the saga are James and Sandy Easdale, with the Greenock businessmen holding positions on the board of Rangers International Football Club plc and Rangers Football Club Ltd. James Easdale has proxy votes over around 25% of shares in RIFC plc and Murray has called on them to lay their cards on the table. He said: "They represent 24% of the shares but the issue is - I've been asking consistently - I'd have thought they'd want to put to bed once and for all who's behind those two companies (Margarita and Blue Pitch Holdings). The fans have got lots of concerns." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/paul-murray-i-fear-green-is-involved-143889n.22822985
  9. Yesterday brought another picture for the Ally McCoist photo album, another shot of the Rangers manager shaking hands with a suit and declaring his support for a guy, Graham Wallace, with a “good pedigree”. Without wishing to be unkind to Mr Wallace, whose CV is, indeed, highly impressive, we can, for now, file this photograph alongside McCoist shaking hands with the Easdale boys and, before them, Craig Mather and, before him, Malcolm Murray, and before him, Charles Green, and before that, Craig Whyte. It’s quite a collection. Wallace is going to have to forgive us our scepticism for the moment because too many men with “good pedigree” have been unveiled at Rangers over the last few years only to metamorphose into an embarrassment a little while after. McCoist has endorsed all of them and hasn’t got it right yet. It now appears that he’s throwing his weight behind the current board, saying on Friday that to do anything else at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting would be tantamount to career suicide. He followed that up by saying that he wasn’t just going to vote for the current board, as opposed to the requisitioners led by Jim McColl and Paul Murray, because of his own survival instinct but that he would do so because he felt it was in the best interests of the club. That phrase – as in, “I have the best interests of the club at heart” – has been bandied about Ibrox so often in recent years that it has now become almost as big a footballing cliche as “over the moon”, “game of two halves” and “sick as a parrot”. If it was true that all these boardroom people, from David Murray onwards, had “the best interests of Rangers at heart” then they wouldn’t have become such an epic shambles, now would they? McCoist, understandably, craves calm at Ibrox. He is fabulously well-rewarded for what he does but, still, these past few years haven’t been much fun for him. Giving his imprimatur to the current board is McCoist backing what he thinks is the winning horse, a symbol of his belief that the board will not be beaten at the AGM. A belief that they have become too powerful now to back against. That the decision last week by Isle of Man-based hedge fund Laxey Partners to buy more shares and then commit their support to the board, and not the requisitioners, was a key play in the battle for Rangers and that McColl and company are close to being a busted flush. McCoist has backed a few losers in this Rangers business over the last two years, but the smart money is riding on the board winning the big AGM vote in December. Rangers people are now entitled to ask about the strategy of the requisitioners. Little has been heard from McColl of late. Malcolm Murray gave it the cringe-making “No Surrender” routine in an interview he did with a fans’ group a few weeks ago, but where is the grand plan from these people? Telling the fans that they “can win the vote at the AGM simply because they must” is not exactly a gameplan. Malcolm Murray talks enigmatically about the level of support the requisitioners have from some unhappy and nervy institutional investors but won’t say from where it comes and what it amounts to. Sections of the Rangers support are busting a gut to try to bring about change to the board – change that is needed – but, all the while, what they are seeing is millions of Rangers shares being traded on the market and, seemingly, none of them being purchased by the McColls, the Murrays, the Kings – “the people with Rangers’ best interests at heart”. If this is a war, then the requisitioners appear to be fighting it with pop guns. If they want control of the club, then McColl and King combined have more than enough money to hoover up shares and put themselves in a strong position, but they haven’t done it. They have allowed the Easdales to do it. They have allowed Laxey to do it. They have allowed the opposition to strengthen their position, while the requisitioners have sat on their hands, vowing that they have major support from institutional investors. If they do, then they are going to win a famous victory. If they don’t, given all they have said, they are heading for a humiliating defeat. Let’s be honest, Rangers could have avoided all of this stuff years ago. Whyte was allowed in the door because no Rangers man would touch the club while the big tax case hung over it. The defence was that they’d have been mad to take it over while the big tax case horror show was still in play. Instead they stood back and allowed Whyte to finish a destruction job that David Murray had started. Later, Green was allowed in the door because the Blue Knights didn’t blow him out of the water, even though they had the financial wherewithal to do so. Yes, there are serious issues surrounding the performance of Duff & Phelps throughout that period, but the fact remains that Green was allowed in the door and, by the time McColl and Walter Smith and others made their move, it was far too little, far too late. Twice bitten. No, make that three times bitten. Still there is deep unrest, still there are mystery shareholders, still there is great uncertainty about the club’s finances and its future and still there is a lot of posturing from the requisitioners and, it would seem, not a lot of real action. McColl and King have the money to go to war and to win but they haven’t. It has reached a stage now where the Rangers manager has backed the board, partly because he has to, if he knows what’s good for him, and partly because he thinks he knows which way the wind is blowing in all of this. There’s been so much noise about Rangers men being concerned about the way the club is heading and yet there is a simple truth in all of this. If they are that fearful that the place is moving towards the rocks again, why have they not used their financial muscle to change the narrative – as Fergus McCann did when Celtic were about to go under? McCann arrived at Celtic, put his money down and did the deal to save the club. He didn’t talk, he executed. McCoist – like all managers – will have had cause at times to ask his players about hunger and whether they wanted victory more than their opponents. You could ask the same of the requisitioners. Not the supporters, who fight on in various ways, but the men who are in the lucky position in life to have the wealth to do the things they truly want to do. But do they want it enough? More and more, that seems to be becoming a rhetorical question.
  10. Your Sunday morning thoughts on the man who needs a grievance like normal people need air. The SPFL are coming under fire from the permanently disaffected manager of celtc, Neil Lennon this weekend. The monotonous drone of the Ulsterman complaining is as much part of the landscape in Scots football as long balls, a lying media and lunatic supporters, but this time some may feel he has a point: sending his team north to Dingwall immediately after a Champions League match, in which he and his footballing troubadours carry the hopes and good wishes of all Scottish fitba fans, seems scant reward. Leaving Holland immediately after their game - unsurprisingly, given the state his club's supporters left it in - Lennon's team will have gone to bed late on Thursday morning, possibly coming in for light physio or a rubdown that afternoon, leaving only Friday for the tactical plans for the Ross County game to be discussed and players assessed. One session is not enough for any coach to form a coherent plan, but is Neilly right to have a good at the SPFL? I don't think so, since it's the TV companies who are calling the shots. And since the SPFL, which is in effect run by his boss at celtc, Mr Lawwell, signed up to the deal it's a bit rich complaining about it now. The bad luck for celtc is that this weekend is a Super Sunday in England, with first Spurs v Newcastle at lunchtime; then Sunderland v Man City; topped off with the mouth watering Man U v Arsenal clash in the evening. They don't even have space to fit in the always pleasing Swansea game, so what chance of them fitting in what is, frankly, a game which won't interest anyone outside of Celtic or Ross County fans? With FA Cup kicking off this weekend as well, there was no space on the Monday night schedule for the celtc game; and it obviously couldn't be played on Friday night. The bottom line is that the game panicked and sold a rubbish deal to Sky & BT; the only teams they are interested in are Rangers and celtc; therefore they will do as they are told and lump it. The sight of SPFL bigwigs in China this weekend crowing about another deal - £20m this time, which unless it is broken up in a hugely unfair manner means an average of £50,000 per club; one might even raise the spectre of sporting integrity here - drives home the mistake they made when signing up to Sky. The need to get the game on TV and bring in some money is seen as paramount, not just for financial reasons but also because they were terrified lest the absence of Rangers drive away coverage, revealing the rest of the game outwith four Old Firm clashes to be what it is - of no interest to TV companies. All right, if they feel that way, sod them! I might not care about Dundee United games but no doubt Dundee Utd fans do, shouldn't the SPFL be looking after them first? I might not ever look at a St Mirren game but I imagine Saints fans do; why aren't the SPFL watching out for their interests? It's all been said before, but poor old Lenny's latest whinge brings us back to where we started: small leagues and 4 games a season is killing the game, and instead of finding some medicine we are doing the equivalent of buying smack from Sky and ignoring the real issues. Lennon is right that the SPFL is out to lunch: but given who runs it and given which club it appears to be run for the exclusive benefit of, whose fault is that? The chance was there to revamp the game and instead the head burying, the claims of a bright new dawn, the willful refusal to notice the ever emptying stands and the ever diminishing quality goes on. I watched AFC Wimbledon v Coventry last night and the London club had better players than I saw watching Ross County v Inverness the week before. This is not something that fills me with joy but there's no point lying about it. Anyway, no need to run crying to the press, Neil. Just walk along the corridor to Mr Lawwell's office and get him to explain why his Professional Game Board signed up to a shit TV deal. I warn you in advance though, you won't like the answer: because when it comes to football on Sky or BT, celtc (or Scotland) doesn't count for a fart. The shoehorning in of this celtc game at Ross County is proof if ever it were needed that we are nothing more than an afterthought once the real games, the proper football, has been scheduled in. Perhaps in the future we will reject a deal which doesn't allow a certain percentage of each club's games to be played at 3 on a Saturday. Since in effect this only applies to two clubs it ought not be that difficult to manage. Perhaps the resultant coverage of other teams will spread TV money a bit more fairly, creating a more level playing field. Perhaps more fans may turn out to watch if teams play with less fear, although it may be too late already. But perhaps the people who dropped the game in the shit will have the decency to stop moaning about it when they get some on their shoes.
  11. As it enters November that made me realise we are half way there to being back to the top as the clock goes. We've been in this incline for one and half years, another 18 months and we should have wrapped up the Championship title..... Fair play to Ally this season, we are romping all infront of us which we should have been doing last season but fair play even Usain Bolt is slow out of the blocks. That's quite a fast first 18 months....now we just need the off field matters sorted out (Would like to see Jim McColl do his biz) and its a case of here we come.....
  12. The last time I wrote a match preview I talked of the need to install a football philosophy. At that time i talked of playing like Barcelona, off playing a high defensive line and pressing the ball high up the park. I was therefore delighted when we played Stenhousemuir at Ibrox recently to see us playing a high line, indeed on several occasions Moshni could be seen urging the defense forward to the half way line. We reaped the rewards of this and ran out 8 - 0 winners with stenny never really making it out of their own half for long spells. So imagine my surprise when on Saturday i tuned into el classico to watch Barca playing classic Walter smith tactics. Everyone behind the ball, working hard to retrieve it then hitting on the break and very impressive they were. Off course Walter learned this from Italian football. Southampton are having a great start to the season playing a high pressing game and of course pep has Byern starting to play this way. I guess this just proves that the style of football it's self is perhaps less important than the team working hard, being organised and having talented players. so far this season we have been working harder and have added some talented players. Hopefully more of the same tomorrow night will see us through to our first ever Ramsdens cup final apparently at Easter Rd. I don't expect the team to vary much on what seems to be allys favored line up. :rf::jig: :ap::ib::lm: :jd: Perhaps only little/clark is debatable. Me personally i would like to see perlata at right back and temps come in at right mid to see how that goes as i think we lack some pace and width, plus foster is poor.
  13. A simple but effective message from this bear which I enjoyed reading earlier. http://www.therangersstandard.co.uk/index.php/articles/fan-culture/293-the-possible-dream-fan-ownership
  14. Taken from FF Sectarian Songs that are now being targetted by the Focus group include Include - Carsons Army (We're the volunteers of the UVF) Build My Gallows (Altogether for the YCV - Described as being not the YCV of the 1916 WW but the right wing youth element of the UVF?!) Fathers Advice (**** Bobby Sands he's Deid is now being classed as sectarian) No Pope of Rome (no nuns and no priests **** yer rosery beads) Focus are filming the crowd and if you are identified and witnessed singing these songs you will be arrested for this Im not wishing to dicuss the rights and wrongs of this, to me the whole world has gone PC mad, Ive spoken to admin about how I got the information and thought it was only right I try and warn fellow Supporters. ----------------------------
  15. Statement on behalf of the Rangers Supporters Association, Rangers Supporters Assembly and the Rangers Supporters Trust. The events of the past week have caused further anxiety among Rangers fans and we now call upon the club and their advisers, Daniel Stewart, to clarify a few matters as quickly as possible. The next few weeks are a critical period for us all and, after what we've been through, we need some measure of reassurance that there will be stability soon. Firstly, when will the club AGM be held? The delay resulting from the Court of Session ruling last Monday followed by the resignations of Craig Mather and Brian Smart leaves the current Board of Directors extremely vulnerable. Whilst we welcome the words of reassurance from Brian Stockbridge that the club's finances are stable and operations will continue as normal, we feel it is imperative that the AGM is convened as a matter of urgency. Secondly, given the level of concern among fans regarding the ownership and finances of the club over the recent past, and the various investigations that have been undertaken, we feel it is vitally important that the individuals that are behind both Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings are made known to remove any doubt that there are connections to either Craig Whyte, Imran Ahmed or Charles Green. Both Walter Smith and Ally McCoist have spoken of the need to "cleanse" the club of all the rumour, speculation and innuendo. The identity of the individuals behind these two shareholder groups is a significant part of that "cleansing" process. Thirdly, we call upon the Easdale brothers to clarify their position going forward. They are now in a prominent position both in terms of their shareholding and influence on the Board and it is important that fans understand their view of the future structure of the Board and the running of the club. The club has adopted a very defensive position recently in efforts to rebuff allegations and clarify misinformation. Now is the time to take a positive stance and provide the fans with the clarity and factual information we request and to take the lead in shaping the way forward.
  16. Bit of a tongue-in-cheek affair with one or two misleading facts, but the crux of the message is relevant and I haven't seen it posted since it was published on Sunday afternoon, so............ Rangers in danger of getting red card over governance By Kate Burgess You wouldn’t run a football match the way that Rangers Plc is being managed. Indeed, you couldn’t under the laws of the beautiful game. Even before Rangers International Football Club has completed its first full year as a public company, it has lost all but one of its original eight directors and is on its third nominated adviser, or nomad. That is the nearest thing the Alternative Investment Market has to a referee. The board substituted the captain and manager before the half-time whistle blew. Now their replacements have gone. Last week, Craig Mather, chief executive, and another director quit after the company postponed its first shareholder meeting. This followed a court ruling that four board candidates, including the former chairman, should not have been barred from standing for election. The company has until Christmas to hold the vote. Meanwhile, RIFC – whose shares have fallen from 75p at float to just under 50p – has neither chief executive nor chairman and just two directors. One is Brian Stockbridge, finance director. The other is James Easdale, bus operator and local businessman, who with his brother controls about 24 per cent of RIFC’s shares and was brought in as a non-executive amid another board ruckus in July. The company acknowledges that it must strengthen the board “to meet the standards required of an Aim company”. However, if a team spent as much time fighting among itself and scored so many own goals, fans would boo it off the pitch, or worse. It won’t be so easy to kick RIFC off Aim. The London Stock Exchange, which oversees Aim, is a hands-free regulator. It largely leaves nomads – who are paid by companies – to decide whether a business is fit to be public and its governance is “appropriate”. Even now, when Rangers’ governance has gone beyond normal measures of appropriateness, the LSE has not rushed in with a red card. Yet. But the nomad will have to justify to the LSE the “appropriateness” of any board candidate. It will be tough to find someone who meets the LSE’s criteria and is willing and able to broker a long-term peace. But if it cannot, then the RIFC’s shares are likely to be suspended. And if the warring continues, the company’s Aim quote will be cancelled, stranding shareholders – including thousands of Rangers fans – with untradeable equity. The most elegant end to this tawdry tale would be to find a buyer to take RIFC off the public market. Then at least fans will have a chance of selling out at something like a fair price. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5320d384-3754-11e3-9603-00144feab7de.html#axzz2iI2Yanan
  17. ON the advice of police, Brian Stockbridge, the Rangers finance director, has had to improve the security system at his family home following a photograph of the property being published on the front page of a newspaper on Friday. Police went to his home and installed “what can be legitimately called a panic button” according to a person familiar with the story. Stockbridge has come in for heavy criticism over the way he has managed Rangers’ finances and incurred the wrath of the fans when videoing Malcolm Murray when the former chairman was under the influence of alcohol. Much of the flak has been par for the course for an executive in his position, but lately there has been a number of more objectionable threats made online and the publication of a picture of his distinctive home alerted the police to a possible risk to his safety and the safety of his family. On various supporters’ websites there was anger over Stockbridge purchasing the house with the help of a £200,000 bonus awarded to him when Rangers won the Third Division title. The house was purchased a year before, however. Stockbridge has resisted calls to resign, but protests are ongoing. Stockbridge and James Easdale are the only remaining directors on the plc board following the recent departures of Ian Hart, Bryan Smart and Craig Mather. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-brian-stockbridge-improves-home-security-1-3148990
  18. Esplin has just tweeted this 'Just spoke to #rangers Nomad (advisor) about boardroom situation at Ibrox. Will be on PA wires later this afternoon.. Whether we will hear anything we don't know already.
  19. By Keith Jackson Keith Jackson: One phrase clings to the ever dwindling bunch of Rangers directors.. not fit for purpose KEITH looks back on the figures who have come and gone at Ibrox over the last 10 months and calls for some honesty from the last men standing. 17 Oct 2013 08:25 Craig Mather IT was labelled, in a parting shot from former chairman Walter Smith, as already dysfunctional. But other words spring readily to mind when trying to describe the car crash that resides at the top of the marble staircase inside Ibrox Stadium. Disgraced. Shamed. Incompetent. Scandalised. All of the above have at one time or other been applicable to the broken board of Rangers Football Club in the last 10 months. Most of all, though, one phrase has clung to this increasingly dwindling bunch of executive and non-executive directors. Not fit for purpose. And never more so than yesterday morning when it was announced to the stock exchange that chief executive Craig Mather – a man shoe-horned into the position in the first place in a typically ill-thought out emergency measure – had become the latest victim of the civil war that continues to rage inside this club. Another day, another announcement to the stock exchange. They might have set some kind of record by now. Was it really only last week Ian Hart started this latest boardroom exodus, which is starting to look like the directorial desertion of a sinking ship? This time they wrote to confirm Mather has now left the building along with Bryan Smart, who has been – albeit in a less high profile manner – another major contributor to the governmental distress inside the Bluehouse. Smart has come and gone from it all without hardly being noticed. He can leave it all behind but his part in the chaos will be remembered by those he let down most. Men like Smith who could hardly win a vote in his own boardroom because of the pacts and deals being hatched around the table. Alliances that sickened him to such an extent he could no longer remain part of a club he has lived and breathed most of his life. Mather, on the other hand, had no problem whatsoever in striding into the thick of this toxic mess and, indeed, claiming centre stage. It did not seem to bother him at all that there was nothing on his CV that seemed even remotely to suggest he was worthy of the position or capable of holding it down. In fact, unlike Smith, who could take no more, Mather appeared to believe his role was some sort of entitlement. It may have escaped your notice (after all he only mentioned it in just about every single one of his rambling official statements) but Mather ploughed £1million of his own cash into this debacle. And for that, he would not walk away without his pound of flesh. Rangers did not reveal yesterday if Mather had been paid to fall on his sword, although the words “by mutual consent” are often a bit of a give-away in such situations. In fact, he walked away with a year’s full pay and that amounts to a cool £300,000. It would be unwise to refer to Mather as any sort of victim until the full facts are made public about his exit. It could be he has recouped almost all the money he invested in the club, without having to cash in any of his shares. The writing had been on the wall for him since Monday afternoon when former director Paul Murray humiliated the board in the Court of Session. Murray’s team proved the board had illegally attempted to block a move by rebel shareholders to nominate their own candidates for directorial roles. In doing so, they denied Rangers’ fans and financial backers a democratic right to vote on the make-up of the men in charge. QC Richard Keen stated each member of the board had committed an offence by refusing to add the names of Paul and Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch to the business at the upcoming agm (it’s coming at some point, right?). From that moment, Mather was toast. Only the speed of his demise was in question but it came more quickly than could have been predicted. Are you keeping count? That’s two CEO’s. Two chairmen too. A commercial director. Three non-execs, including Phil Cartmell who was Smith’s rock. And three NOMADS appointed in less than a year? So now, or at least as of last night (these things do tend to change quickly), the current regime is made up of just two men, financial director Brian Stockbridge and bus brother, James Easdale. Stockbridge, in case anyone needs reminding, is the money man with a flair for capturing video recordings, especially if they involve embarrassing a colleague at the end of a boozy dinner. It was incredible Stockbridge was not sacked on the spot for gross misconduct after the Daily Record exposed his part in that tawdry little episode. Or it would have been incredible, had this been any other director of any other board, in any other business. Only in a place as toxic as the Ibrox boardroom could such behaviour be excused or ignored. Stockbridge, an old ally of Charles Green and Imran Ahmad, also just might possess the worst head for figures in the history of financial directing. This is the man who predicted Rangers would turn a loss of around £7m when they posted their first set of accounts. In fact, six months later the deficit was in excess of £14m. So just the £7m out? Gross misconduct, gross incompetence? You do the maths. The cash Mather walked away with yesterday will have been signed off by Stockbridge as the club’s only remaining executive. He is also the man who handed Green a small fortune as a pay-off when the Ibrox board had a stonewall case to dismiss the Yorkshireman for free. He left with £1m in his big Yorkshire hands. Incredible? That doesn’t quite cover some of what has gone on as this club has burned through £22m of IPO (share issue) cash since January. In fact, it doesn’t come close to explaining how Rangers have been ripped apart by the intruders who have presided in the top office since Craig Whyte’s takeover in May 2011. Now Stockbridge is left on the inside manning the barricades. There is little choice for him as, should Rangers lose one of their two remaining directors, then under stock exchange rules the club will be suspended from trading on the AIM market. In other words, Stockbridge must stay, even though eventually he must go if this club’s credibility is to be fixed. What happens in the short term is now the more pressing question. Would-be saviour Dave King – who had been courted by Mather in a rather shameless and self-preserving way – may have already had his own concerns about being used as a tool to validate the current regime. He would be off his head to even consider returning as chairman now or at any time before the dust settles after what will be an explosive agm. Meanwhile, Jim McColl and Paul Murray will press ahead with their proposals for an open, democratic vote when shareholders get their showdown. In the interests of openness and transparency, however, they may first wish to take this board to task one last time and demand to be given details of those who may still be of a mind to re-elect Stockbridge and Easdale, despite the mountain of evidence which damns their tainted leadership. Murray has expressed his desire to know exactly whose cash is behind the mysterious investor groups Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings, who got in on the ground floor with Green and who hold around 15 per cent of the club’s shares. This board might be down to its last two directors, broken, dysfunctional and disgraced. But it would be a belated act of decency if, now the game is almost up, it finally discloses its last big secret. After all the damage that has been done to this club and all the dishonesty which has besmirched it, this seems like the least that should be done.
  20. http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/5288-chief-executive-steps-down CRAIG MATHER has today left his position as Chief Executive of Rangers International Football Club Plc by mutual consent. Mr Mather has agreed to stand down in an attempt to help calm speculation over the governance and executive management of Rangers. Mr Mather said: “The interests of the Club are of paramount importance and I believe these are best served by me leaving the Club. “Despite recent events and speculation, the facts of the matter are that the Club is financially secure and in a far better place than it was a year ago. “Unlike most football clubs Rangers has money in the bank, no borrowings and this season we have assembled a squad which is capable of progressing through the leagues. “I have enjoyed a very constructive relationship with Ally McCoist and wish him and the team every success. “My short tenure as chief executive has been beset by incessant attempts to destabilise the operations of the Club, all done supposedly in the interests of Rangers. “I had real faith in the rebuilding of Rangers and invested significantly in the Club. Sadly, those who have been most active in upsetting the very good progress we have been making were not willing to do the same. “I leave with my head held high and will remain as a shareholder and a supporter of Ally and his team. “I would also like to pay tribute to the outstanding commitment and loyalty of Rangers supporters. “No individual is more important than Rangers and my departure will hopefully alleviate some of the pressure surrounding the Club and herald an end to the current hysteria, which I believe most fans desperately want to see. “I have always tried to do my best for the Club and the fans and I will continue my support of what is a fantastic Club. “There are a great many good and thoroughly decent people working with Rangers and I am proud to say that I was able to stand alongside them for a time. “It is often forgotten that I put in £1m of my own money but I can assure everyone that it was never about the money for me. “I consider it to have been my privilege and I am certain that once the Board is settled Rangers will be restored to the top of Scottish football. “I wish Rangers and the fans every success in the weeks, months and years ahead. I will continue to follow the Club’s fortunes and support the team which is playing an exciting style of football. In fact, I hope to return to Ibrox and take in as many matches as my time will allow.”
  21. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24204555 3 months into his 1st managerial position and sacked already. Wonder what's next for Davie? Will Moyes try and tempt him to OT in some capacity? Perhaps Ally could tempt him out of retirement, afterall, it's been a while since we were linked with another CB
  22. ​​Tycoon Dave King set to return to Rangers as chairman and is expected to plough cash into the Ibrox coffers straight away 10 Oct 2013 07:12CHIEF executive Craig Mather flew to Johannesburg at the weekend for talks aimed at bringing millionaire King, 58, back on board. King could be back in charge before the club’s AGM on October 24. ALLY McCOIST last night welcomed the move to bring exiled millionaire Dave King back to Ibrox as chairman. And the Rangers boss hailed King’s return as a masterstroke that can help steer the club back to the top. McCoist knows South Africa-based King well from his previous stint as a director of the club under Sir David Murray and he accepts the 58-year-old will do his all to bring back the glory days. Record Sport understands King is ready to complete a sensational comeback as chairman before the annual general meeting on October 24. He has been locked in talks with chief executive Craig Mather, who flew to Johannesburg for a face-to-face meeting at the weekend in a bid to bring the businessman on board. Those discussions appear to have borne fruit, with an announcement expected soon that King – who poured £20m into the club during the Murray era and lost it when the club went into administration – will invest significant sums of money which will effectively see him take the reins at Ibrox. McCoist believes that having a “Rangers man” in a position of power can only be good for the club and praised the board, which has been under fire from fans, for making the move. He said: “Dave has already invested vast sums of his own money into Rangers and that tells me he’s the kind of investor we need at this club again. “The recent accounts have been well documented and the fact is we will need reinvestment at some stage in the future. If we are going to get reinvestment it would be good to get it from someone who has the best interests of the club at heart. “Dave has and clearly the board also believe that to be the case. “The fact a member of the board has flown to South Africa for talks would indicate they feel it would be hugely beneficial to have Dave back on board. It can only be a good thing for Rangers. “I believe the board deserve credit for making such an effort to attract someone like Dave back to the club. “This is a message that they are trying to do their best for Rangers. “They have a difficult and important job to do and it is encouraging to think we are talking to someone who could help move the club forward. It would be a great thing for us all.” Despite losing a fortune in the club previously, Castlemilk-born businessman King has never hidden his determination to return when a long-running tax dispute with the South African government was resolved. That issue came to an end last year and King is now free to become a director. Record Sport understands King has decided that the time is right, although a number of conditions have still to be met. But last night it was looking increasingly likely King was on his way back and with a shareholding and influence that would dilute the power of the directors, who have been under fire for the manner in which the club has been run since Charles Green arrived in May 2012. The Ibrox support has been protesting fiercely against the current board and stepped up their campaign following the publication of accounts last week which showed Rangers had lost £14m over the past 13 months. That is the period in which Green, who has now left the club, and finance director Brian Stockbridge took massive executive salaries and pocketed huge bonuses for winning the Third Division. Fans want the removal of the current board and shareholders are expected to call for dismissals at the agm. But if as expected King joins as chairman, many of their fears may be allayed. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/tycoon-dave-king-set-return-2356060
  23. If you were constructing a gallery of guilty men at Rangers then you’d want to make sure your walls are supported by reinforced steel, such is the weight of numbers you’d be hanging up there. Walter Smith has pretty much stood alone as the good guy in all of this. ‘In Walter We Trust’ as some Rangers supporters might put it. It’s hard not to respect and like the former Ibrox manager given all that he has done in the game, but it’s possible to hold him in high esteem while at the same time pointing out the fallacy that he is blameless in the spectacular mess that his club has become. In the deconstruction of the Rangers story you’d point the finger at plenty of guys *before you’d have Smith in your sights, but the fact is that he has played his own part in the *malaise. He possesses none of the spiv-ish nature of some of the chancers who have come and gone at Ibrox, but he still warrants criticism. It didn’t come across in his interviews on Tuesday, but Smith is no innocent bystander in all of this. We go back to last summer and a tabloid headline that read ‘Walter’s Heartbreak’ above a story that told of Smith’s failed bid to take control of Rangers in June 2012. To talk of his heartbreak was a little kind given that the bid failed partly because, as Malcolm Murray subsequently pointed out, there was actually no formal bid – he called it empty posturing – and partly because even if there was a bid it was too little, too late. By the time Smith, Jim McColl and Douglas Park mounted their white steeds and galloped over the horizon in Govan, calling on Charles Green to “step aside” in the interests of Rangers, Green had already secured the business and assets for a song. What took them so long? Where had they been? They made no secret of their concern about the motivation of Green and his group. They were spot-on there. So why wait until Green had done the deal before appearing on the scene? On these pages in the past I equated their action to somebody busting in on a funeral with a defibrillator. Smith asked Green to step aside in the interests of Rangers. Appealing to his sense of fair play wasn’t going to change the course of events. The one thing that Green would have listened to was an offer. Money doesn’t talk to Green, it hollers like a banshee. Smith’s group had the financial clout to get the Yorkshireman off the scene and they didn’t deliver. They spoke openly of their serious reservations about Green’s mysterious group but didn’t do what needed to be done. We could talk about Smith’s axis of excess with David Murray back in the day when Rangers thought they had money when in actual fact what they had was credit and iffy tax schemes, which eventually came back to trouble them and helped cause the spectacular implosion. More recent events show that the hubris of the 1990s and early 2000s hasn’t been fully purged. Smith was right to be anxious about Green. For months, Green attempted to get him on board and was getting nowhere. Getting Ally McCoist’s imprimatur was incredibly valuable to Green and the chances are that his regime would not have got off the ground had McCoist stayed true to his own initial feelings about the Yorkshireman, but he didn’t. The endorsement of McCoist helped shift season tickets and helped endear Green to the Ibrox faithful after an early and bitter stand-off with the supporters, featuring a death threat. Getting McCoist on side – publicly at any rate – was good, but getting Smith to join him was equally important given the IPO last December. In November, Walter jumped into bed with Green. They shook hands and smiled for the cameras. One big happy *family again. Smith became a non-*executive director. The veneer of calmness was what Green was looking for and thanks to two Rangers icons, he got it. Both men would have been better advised to stick to their original positions on Green and his cohorts. By changing their minds, they played their own part in facilitating the embarrassment that followed. It can’t have been that much of a surprise, given how dubious they were about Green in the first place. Smith became chairman last June, not because he wanted to but because he felt he had to in the wake of the in-fighting at Ibrox, the dysfunctionality of the board as he later described it. It was to his credit that he moved into a position that he had no experience of. He knew he lacked the tools but, equally, he vowed that he would be as hands-on as he could possibly be. “No-one should believe that I see my role as a passive one,” he said. “That hasn’t been my way in the past and it won’t be my way in the future.” Encouraging words for the Rangers fans who craved authority and order at the top of the club, but it’s easy to see how Smith was virtually powerless in that bonkers regime of Green’s. You can’t blame him for walking away from the civil war. But some of the things he said on Tuesday jar a little all the same. His comments on the financial waste at Ibrox, under his watch in part, demanded explanation. “I knew they [Rangers] would make a loss [for the financial year ended 30 June] but I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be. It was quite a surprise when it came out to be such a large figure.” Quite a surprise? Smith was chairman for the end of that period. Did he ask questions about the financial state of the club while he was there? Did he get answers? Were the answers truthful? If yes, why was he then surprised when the accounts revealed such a massive cash-burn? If no, then did he feel people inside the club had lied to him? Smith was chairman. He should have known, shouldn’t he? Having the business savvy to be able to do something about the obscene bonuses being dished out would have been a different matter entirely, but as chairman he should have known. Unless he was a passive chairman, which he said he wouldn’t be. On the football side of it, it’s pretty clear that Smith had no issue with McCoist earning £825,000 a year. Also, he has said that giving a player a wage of £7,500 a week (Ian Black, for one) while in the Third Division was not such a big deal. Presumably he had no truck with other deals, like the one given to Fran Sandaza that would have seen the Spaniard’s salary rise to £10,000 a week in the final year of his contract. The overall wage bill in the Third Division was £7.8 million. Smith said: “People come out and say ‘Ah, it’s not necessary for them to have those players in that division’. But it’s not just the division that matters at Rangers, it’s the fact that you have 45,000 people coming to watch something on a football pitch…They are still losing money. But when you make a decision to be involved at Rangers, there is no common sense to it. The financial bit of Rangers Football Club and common sense don’t often go together.” That’s a remarkable statement when you think about it. What is wrong with Rangers attempting some common sense in their spending? Why be so accepting of a lack of common sense? It didn’t have to be that way. There is no law – apart from the law of hubris – that says Rangers have to lack common sense in their finances. This is the 2013 version of David Murray’s freakonomics. ‘We are Rangers and we’ll spend what we like’. Either through arrogance or stupidity – or both – that mindset hasn’t changed all that much despite the torment. What would have been so wrong with offering Black £3,000 a week instead of £7,500? What would have been the problem had McCoist been put on £400,000 from the point of administration instead of continuing on £825,000? Why is the wage bill so eye-wateringly high for a club in the Third Division? Because there is no common sense at Rangers, says Smith. Instead of just accepting it, how about doing something about it? Incredibly, it wouldn’t appear that the penny has dropped yet. The former manager deserves all the respect for what he achieved in the game, but in the on-going crisis at Ibrox, he is not blame-free. Rangers are still stuck in a financial time-warp. And many people have allowed it to happen.
  24. BEFORE he was a professional footballer, before he was a coach, before he was a manager and before he was a director and chairman, Walter Smith was a Rangers fan. He remains a Rangers supporter. A bluenose! In fact, he is the Rangers supporter the overwhelming majority of Rangers supporters trust the most when it comes to the club close to their heart. Which is why the latest carefully weighed words from him should carry weight with the vast army of sane, sensible and rationale Rangers fans. Though nothing anyone could say could get through to the few crazed loonies out the on the edge of sanity, one of whom seems to believe he is the Scottish reincarnation of Merlin. Smith has had quite a lot to say this week, the first time he has spoken publicly since he resigned as chairman and endorsed Jim McColl, Paul Murray and the Requisitionists, an endorsement which remains in place. Indeed, an endorsement which may even have become more emphatic due to events since he left the Blue Room. The core of Walter Smith’s comments came when he turned his attention to the motivation the current board has for its apparent desperate desire to cling on to power. Smith, who won more trophies for Rangers than any manager since Bill Struth, wants to know just what it is which motivates those who are running Rangers and he claimed that there is an obvious suspicion that the club, with all of its glorious and unbroken 141-years of history, is not the main reason why people are running the club at the present moment. What Smith said, what he wants to see after the AGM is a return to getting back to the fact that Rangers are a football club and should be run for the football club and for the football team, adding that he believes that would be a massive step. The clear implication which must be taken from that is that Walter Smith believes the only people whose main reason for running Rangers for the sake of the club, are not those who are currently on the board. Smith believes that Paul Murray and the others who want to stand for election at the Annual General Meeting are The People to run Rangers and run the club for the right reasons. Especially with Dave King as chairman calling the financial shots with his financial muscle. But back to Merlin, the chosen mouthpiece for much of what the board and the Easdale’s attack dog Jack Irvine, wants people to believe. And back to elections. And democracy. Last Friday evening, in the wake of the Court of Session action raised by Paul Murray to allow proper, open, contested and democratic elections to the Rangers board to take place, a statement appeared, as if by magic, on Merlin’s website, attributed to Jack Irvine, who Merlin told us, was speaking on behalf of the Rangers board. I have the screen grab. This is what Irvine was reported as having said. “A small group of shareholders served notices on the club seeking to have themselves appointed as directors at the AGM” Note that word ... APPOINTED! In fact what that small group of shareholders, led by Paul Murray, seek to do, is to stand for ELECTION and be ELECTED as directors. Which is an entirely different thing. Irvine, for whatever reason, was not exactly accurate. Indeed, as things stand at the moment, there is not one Rangers director, not £300,-000-a-year chief executive Craig Mather, not £200,000-a-year and the same again as a bonus financial director Brian Stockbridge, not Ian Hart, not Bryan Smart and certainly not James Easdale who has ever been elected as a Rangers director. They have all been appointed. A cosy wee unelected gang. In fact, there are many who may believe they appear to have an aversion to the democratic process when it comes to their privileged positions. Perhaps the man both the board and the Easdales employ as their attack dog, Jack Irvine and his lap dog, the man who would be Merlin, betrayed that mind-set when the word APPOINTED was used instead of the accurate and true representation of what the good men and blue led by Paul Murray actually seek. Which is to be elected to serve the club as directors. And to then set about what Walter Smith wants to see, which is a board whose reason for running Rangers is above suspicion. That would, as Smith so wisely said, be a massive step.
  25. ................. the team is the priority. By Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland The 65-year-old, who stepped down as chairman two months ago, said there is "an obvious suspicion" that is not presently the case. Smith believes the Ibrox club has to "get rid of the boardroom turmoil" and "settle down" if Rangers are to look forward and find a "normal path". He was also surprised by the loss of £14m in the club's recent accounts. "I knew they would make a loss but I wasn't quite sure just exactly what it would be so that was quite a surprise when it came out to be such a large figure," said Smith, who won 21 trophies during his two spells as manager. "It used to be that the wages of the footballing side used to be the major problem in clubs' finances but that's been cut down fairly dramatically from when I was there." A group of shareholders are trying to force changes on the Rangers board at the upcoming AGM, with the increasingly bitter feud reaching the Court of Session. When stepping down from his short-lived spell as chairman, Smith referred to a "highly-dysfunctional environment" at board level. He also voiced support for those hoping to join the board, although he stated that chief executive Craig Mather was doing a good job and hoped he would be able to continue. "Like everybody else, you just get frustrated that nothing seems to be settling down at the club," explained Smith. "They still have a fair amount of turmoil in the background. "Like everyone else, I don't think that the club can really look forward until that's erased. "There's the obvious suspicion that the club isn't the main reason why people are running the club at the present moment. "After the AGM, if we get back to the fact that Rangers are a football club and it should be run for the football club and for the football team. I think that that would be a massive step." Smith, who had current Ibrox boss Ally McCoist as assistant between 2007 and 2011, insists establishing confidence in the board is vital for the club, who are top of Scottish League One having won all their league matches so far. "I don't think there's a great deal of turmoil in the current board," he added. "There's turmoil being created because a lot of people want to see a change on that board. "That, I think, is the main crux of the problem at the present moment. The football aspect of Rangers is going as you'd expect it to go for a big club down in the lower divisions. "They're back on track, they're playing some good football but we still have this problem surrounding the board. I don't think the club can get back to being a settled club until that is eventually settled. "If you're looking at the job that the manager's doing at the present moment, who could complain about that?"
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