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  1. By Chris McLaughlin Lalit Modi, the first commissioner of cricket's Indian Premier League, has expressed an interest in buying a large shareholding in Rangers. BBC Scotland has learned Modi's representatives made contact with the chairman of Rangers' football board, Sandy Easdale, earlier this week. The groups talked about the potential sale of the 26% stake Easdale controls. It is believed a price has already been discussed. And a meeting could take place as early as next week. Modi was banned for life by the Indian Cricket Board of Control after they charged him with misconduct relating to financial irregularities. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/31168745
  2. THERE was a rare moment of unity between Rangers fans groups and the Scottish Football Association when the governing body blocked Mike Ashley’s proposals to increase his stake in the club last month. Then, a Union of Fans statement spoke of the SFA having “done the right thing” in observing their rules on dual ownership by refusing to approve the Newcastle United owner’s bid to increase his Rangers stake from around 9 per cent to 29 per cent. Yet, those same supporters are unlikely to be so taken by the SFA obeying their articles of association should Dave King succeed in his mission to oust the current board. King revealed his intentions on Friday night when he requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting (egm). The South Africa-based businessman, Rangers’ largest single shareholder with a 16 per cent stake, is “confident” he can muster the 50 per cent shareholder support he needs to remove chairman David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach from their directorship. His plan is to replace them with himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan. And therein lies the rub. At an egm, which the current Rangers board could stall for six weeks, King could expect the support of the 20 per cent stake controlled by the Donald Park, George Letham and George Taylor consortium. In addition, he is believed to have the ear of a couple of the hedge funds with a 10 per cent holding between them, while individual supporters whose share totals add up to a further 10 per cent would back his efforts to put the Ibrox club into the hands of supporters. That is all well and good, and Ashley deserves to be removed because of his callous disregard for the club and its followers in this week’s moves to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park. The current board maintain this was in return for the £10 million loan Rangers need to see out the season. But it is important to look beyond Ashley’s game-playing and not forget how we arrived at this point. In the independent inquiry chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith under the auspices of the SFA, the old board were criticised for failing to blow the whistle on Craig Whyte as he sent the club on the road to ruin after taking over in May 2011. King was a member of that board. And it cannot be forgotten either that the reason King was in no position to buy the assets once the old Rangers had been condemned to liquidation the following summer, and save it from the clutches of Charles Green, was that the Castlemilk-born businessman was then in the midst of a decade-long legal battle with the South African Revenue Service. He settled last year by pleading guilty to 42 criminal counts of contravening the country’s tax laws, and kept himself out of prison by plea bargaining on almost 300 other charges, which required him to stump up £41m. As far as failing to meet the SFA’s fit and proper person test, King – who lost £20m he invested in the David Murray Rangers era – does so with bells on. Indeed, it is almost as if the ruling has been written to debar individuals with chequered business careers of King’s ilk. Under section (h) of Article 10.2 that sets out the “considerations” that would be made concerning the board “reserving its discretion” as to whether a person is deemed fit and proper to hold a football directorship, it is stated “[if] he has been convicted within the last ten years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud.” King was liable for a stretch longer than two years had he not plea-bargained. Moreover, he is caught in a double bind over the fit and proper person rules. Because what also counts against those seeking to meet the criteria is having “been a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the five-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event”. King and Paul Murray – who was sacked from the Rangers board immediately after Whyte took over – both fall down on this basis. They simply cannot be granted permission by the SFA to take up directorships in any Rangers board if the governing body stands by their own rules, which were tightened up because they had failed to act over Whyte’s dubious business past. King constantly puts it out through sympathetic media sources that he is confident the SFA professional game board would wave him through as a Rangers director in the event of gaining a controlling interest. That sounds like bluster, which, as well as the baggage, has led to legitimate questioning of King’s credentials to lead Rangers out of the mire. At times, though, it must be said he talks a good game. As he did in his statement on Friday in which he claimed that, as well as putting the club on a sound financial footing, a second “important task” would be “to conduct a forensic audit of the management and commercial contracts undertaken over the last few years to determine whether they are truly arm’s length and whether the affairs of the company have been pursued in accordance with the fiduciary obligations of those entrusted with that responsibility”. King thundered at the end of this declaration of intent that “any malfeasance will be pursued aggressively and transparently”. For the South African tax authorities, that might read like a sick joke. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-dave-king-s-move-faces-taxing-questions-1-3664643
  3. SIR David Murray has broken his silence on the battle for control of Rangers by praising the efforts of Dave King and The Three Bears consortium to gain influence at Ibrox. But the club's former owner warned the club's cash position remains in a critical condition while uncertainty continues to hang over the ownership of the stricken Glasgow giants. While fans have welcomed moves by the Three Bears consortium - comprising wealthy businessmen Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - and former oldco director King to amass 38.1 per cent of shares between them in recent days, Sir David fears little has changed. He claimed the stalemate between the board and those looking to take over is impeding the investment the club badly needs. Sir David, who famously sold Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1 in 2011, said: "The way I see it at the minute, and this isn't trying to be smart, is people have changed seats at the table. "But the fact of the matter is the club needs money and resources as quickly as possible. "Dave King and the Three Bears I'm sure have the right intentions for the club, but they must be in a dilemma about how they take it to the next stage when the other sides don't seem to be willing partners." He added: "I take my hat off to the people who are trying to do the right thing, and let's hope they're successful, but whatever way they are going to do it it's going to need more money." Sir David, speaking after a £20m takeover bid from US basketball boss Robert Sarver was rejected by the club, criticised the current board and its suitors for failing to come up with a strategy to take Rangers forward. He said: "I don't know what anyone is trying to do at the minute. I don't mean to be smart. What we'd like to see is Rangers in the hands of Rangers-minded people. But I wish someone would come out and tell us what their strategy is. "Is Dave King working solo? Are the Three Bears working solo? If they are, they are going to have to come up with some more money." Fans groups have voiced concern over Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's influence over the Ibrox Club. The Sports Direct boss has a 8.92 per cent stake in the business, control over the club's retail operations and has advanced loans to the company. Asked if he shared those concerns, Sir David said: "We don't know, do we? The problem you've got just now is that nobody is making statements. There is no strategy." Sir David also welcomed moves by supporters to buy shares in the club through organisations such as Rangers First but said the club's cash needs were more pressing. He also fears the club is losing supporters who may never come back. Sir David said: "What concerns me also is that a fair percentage of the hardcore [of fans] may have drifted now, and I don't think it will be like you turn a light switch and they will come back. "This will take time." http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/gers-need-cash-fast-sir-david-says.116118429
  4. So says Keith Jackson: http://t.co/auDoxxHRJp Not a lot of meat on the bones but not a surprise either.
  5. Thought this deserved its own thread. Hopefully further proof on the way of fraud committed against Rangers. https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/court-lists/list-chancery-judges
  6. Union Bears As you will know, the group took the very difficult decision back in May not to renew our season tickets due to the selfish, malicious and borderline illegal actions of our club’s current and previous incumbents. This was a decision echoed by nearly 15000 season ticket holders and the crowds at Ibrox so far this season have reflected the feeling of many Rangers supporters. We watched with hope and expectation as Dave King submitted his £16 million offer of funding in exchange for a majority stake in the club. We then watched with resignation but not shock as Mike Ashley and his friends within the Board room blocked this move and instead pushed through Ashley’s £2 million emergency loan secured against Rangers assets and on the premise of complete Board control. Like all other supporters, we wanted a clean break from people like Charles Green and his murky investors, but it is clear this isn't going to happen. It therefore brings us to a crossroads, as a group and as individuals. Mike Ashley has his grip firmly on the throat of our beloved club and nothing and nobody will make him remove it, as has been demonstrated in his time in charge of Newcastle Utd. It has thrown up a pertinent question which must be answered by not only us but every Rangers fan. Do we maintain our boycott for potentially years in the hope that someone saves us? Or do we elect to support the team on the park and explore other ways of enforcing change at Rangers? After much discussion we have elected to follow the latter path. As of 03/01/2015 we will be returning to the stands on a permanent basis. This is not a gesture of support for those now in charge of our club, nor is it an admission of defeat. It is simply a change of tactic. As a passionate group of supporters whose best attributes lie in what we achieve in and around the stadium on a matchday, we feel hamstrung by our absence and therefore the group needs to go back to being present within Ibrox. We have tried to boycott, to fall in line with other fan groups who have done their level best to encourage change within the club. But in reality all that has taken place over these past few months is a strengthening of Mike Ashley, Sandy and James Easdale, David Somers and many others’ positions within Rangers. It’s the sorry truth. We would like to make it clear that we will not be attending the League Cup semi final as a group, and feel it would be wrong to take tickets ahead of fans who have been attending games on a weekly basis. As we won't be attending as a group, it will make it impossible for us to pull off a display. We would therefore ask all Rangers fans to do their bit by making our end as colourful as possible, with flags, banners, streamers and anything else they can. We will however be planning more displays between now and the end of the season, and look forward to bringing some noise and colour back to Ibrox. Although we return to Ibrox on a permanent basis we won’t be doing so as supporters of the regime. Yes our money will be going towards their bonuses and onerous contracts in the short term, but the Union Bears will throw our weight behind another path towards long term change and that is fan ownership, and more specifically Rangers First. Rangers First is a Community Interest Company which was established at the beginning of this year with very simple goals; to gather together the financial clout of the Rangers support, purchase shares in the club and ultimately put it back in the hands of those who matter. Rangers First already owns over 500’000 shares in RIFC (roughly 0.6%) without any real offline publicising. As a group we hope to support them in the ways that we do best as they move forward towards greater awareness and support for fan representation and ownership. Of course we urge all those who stood with us in BF1 over the years to ask themselves the same question we did and decide what the future holds for you with regards to match attendance. But we will not try and influence your decision in any way. It’s an individual’s choice to make. What we do urge every singly Rangers supporter to do is visit http://www.rangersfirst.org, learn about the initiative and sign up. Put the money you used to spend on Rangers merchandise and funding Ashley's empire of zero hour contracts into something worthwhile. The strength of our support should not be measured or remembered by how many of us turn up at Ibrox or elect to stay away in protest, but rather by the lengths we will go to right the wrongs of those before us and stand shoulder to shoulder with one common goal; delivering the Rangers we all deserve. We owe it our children and grandchildren. If you would like to join the group in BF1 for the second half of the season then please send the following details to transfers@unionbears.co.uk or as a message to the Union Bears Facebook page: Full Name: Address: Date Of Birth: Contact Number (Mobile & Landline): Rangers Number: Do you have a season ticket already? (Yes/No): Union Bears
  7. Note that in two or more countries Whyte "had no fondness for the people". Must have failed to reach his loft ethical standards, eh? Note also France...Chateau Green perchance? or Chateau Murray.... ------------ FRAUD suspect Craig Whyte spent time in the Balkans this year as prosecutors built a case against him. Whyte has moved from country to country since his involvement with Rangers ended in disaster. We can reveal the list of countries where he spent time since then ranges from Europe to the Far East and central America. Whyte was arrested after arriving in the UK on Friday from Mexico where he had been detained. He had flown into the central American country from Japan en route to Costa Rica where he formerly lived and where one of his three children was born. We can also reveal his Swedish girlfriend – with whom Whyte is reported to have had a relationship since splitting from wife Kim – has not seen or heard from him for almost two years. A source told the Sunday Mail: “In the last couple of years Craig Whyte is believed to have been in Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, France and Japan. “There may be others. He has connections with central America going back over a decade when he stayed there after getting married in Florida. “He didn’t really like it in Costa Rica. There were connections with Panama and Mexico as well. But he just didn’t like that part of the world and had no fondness for the people. “He’s not been in Monaco since his dealings with Rangers made the headlines. The authorities in Monte Carlo don’t care for negative publicity. “This year alone he has been in Albania, Croatia and Montenegro, moving from country to country, and has also popped up in France.” Whyte was detained by Mexican authorities on Thursday after flying in from Japan where a passport check flagged up the warrant out against him. It’s believed Whyte travelled alone for much of the past two years after Swede Izabella Andersson confirmed that their relationship had ended. Izabella, who has links with Monaco and London, told us last week: “I haven’t seen or heard from Craig Whyte since January 2013.” Whyte bought Castle Grant, near Grantown-on-Spey, for £800,000 in 2006 with a 110 per cent mortgage but it was repossessed in April after he failed to pay the £7000-a-month fees. He took control of Rangers in May 2011 but they went into administration the following February. He was released on bail after a court appearance on Friday over his allegedly fraudulent takeover of the Ibrox club. Whyte, 43, was granted bail by Glasgow Sheriff Andrew Normand after a 45-minute hearing held in private. He is due in court again next week. He is accused of funding his Ibrox takeover by selling off season tickets and pretending to then owner Sir David Murray the cash was his own. He’s also accused of failing to pay VAT and National Insurance which led to Rangers going into administration. Four other men have already appeared in court charged with fraudulent activity following the investigation into the sale of Rangers. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/albania-panama-reveal-travels-craig-4721957 A second arrest warrant was issued for Whyte earlier this month after he failed to attend a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in a separate case.
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30134269 Sandy Easdale, chairman of the Rangers football board, sought assurances that boardroom changes would not force him out of Ibrox, Dave King has revealed. During discussions about a proposed £16m investment by King and a Rangers fans' consortium, he wanted reassurance that his position was safe. He was advised there was "no immediate intention to remove him or his brother [James] from the board". Sandy Easdale subsequently supported Mike Ashley's offer of a £2m loan. James Easdale is a non-executive director of Rangers International Football Club. A series of disagreements has broken out following the RIFC chairman David Somers' attempt to justify why the board accepted Ashley's offer ahead of the proposed investment from King and the consortium, and a £3m loan offered by Brian Kennedy. The latter has revealed that he was prepared to provide the loan at nominal or zero interest, and wanted Ibrox protected in a trust. Somers explained that the board opted for Ashley's loan, which has since been increased by an additional £1m, because it involved less interest and less security, Sandy Easdale also insisted in a strongly worded statement that he never agreed with the King consortium that they could provide proof of funding and the identity of all of the investors after shareholders agreed in principle to support the investment, which would have seen the group receive an equity share of RIFC and take control of the board. "I have grown tired of Mr King's antics," Easdale said, after offering his support to Somers' stance. This prompted a further response from King, who had already urged supporters to withdraw their financial support from the club on match days and in terms of merchandise. Ashley's Sports Direct already had a commercial arrangement with Rangers through the joint venture Rangers Retail Ltd. The terms of that have since been "normalised" and Sports Direct have entered a "partnership marketing agreement". Sports Direct have also given up the naming rights to Ibrox, but the company still retains "certain advertising rights". Around 10 administrative staff have been made redundant at Ibrox, including commercial and marketing employees. "It remains interesting that Sandy continues to take the lead on public company affairs," King said. "The truth is, when I spoke to Sandy on my recent trip to Scotland his main concern was whether, after investment by our consortium, he would still be able to stay involved with the club. "He indicated that Mike Ashley would look after him if he assisted Ashley in protecting his commercial rights. The new investment proposed by Paul [Murray], George [Letham] and I was seen as a threat to Sports Direct's desire to extend its influence over the Rangers brand in all its forms. "After discussion with Paul and George, I confirmed by email to Sandy that we had no immediate intention to remove him or his brother from board involvement at Rangers. "This concession was clearly not enough to gain his support and the board approved the inferior offer presented by Ashley. "Furthermore, in my meeting with the Rangers board I confirmed that I could give proof of funds within 24 hours of the board accepting our proposal in principle. I was never asked to do this."
  9. After 3pm apparently for those on Sky Go or in the house! He's going to be explaining the Ashley loans... Comments: - David Somers claims Dave King consortium investment offer was breaching regulatory requirements so rejected them at 'Stage One'. - Somers claims 8 people were in King consortium but SA businessman refused to provide names and proof of funds. - Somers said that King was prepared to offer up 3 names before giving the rest if agreement made in principle. - Stage Two represented comparing Ashley and Kennedy bids whereby former was approved due to better deal on interest and security - Somers also claims Rangers make a lot of money from existing retail deal with Mike Ashley.
  10. At a RFC plc Board meeting the matter of a repayment of funds to Ticketus came up in relation to the transfer of Jelavic. Donald Muir took a great interest in the deal and spent a lot of time to ensure he fully understood it. Subsequently Whyte's interest stepped up.
  11. Some meat on the bones of yesterday's court appearance... http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/6101587/Cash-n-grab.html
  12. http://news.stv.tv/west-central/299623-four-men-detained-after-police-probe-into-sale-of-rangers-in-2012/ I'd like to remind people of their legal obligations in speculating over individuals and alleged criminal behaviour.
  13. THE Crown Office will today issue a warrant for the arrest of disgraced former Rangers owner Craig Whyte, the Daily Record can exclusively reveal. Whyte is wanted in connection with alleged fraud over his purchase of the Ibrox club in 2011. The sensational news comes after it was revealed that police forces in England, acting on warrants from Police Scotland, made dawn arrests today in connection with a long-running inquiry into Rangers. Four men were arrested at addresses in Thames Valley, Surrey and Cheshire. The first of the four is Paul Clark, London managing director of former Rangers adminstrators Duff & Phelps. The other three are former Duff & Phelps north of England managing director David Whitehouse, David Greer, a former partner in the business, and Gary Withey, a solicitor who worked with Whyte’s law firm Collyer Bristow. The arrests came at 6am today. Whyte, who has a flat in Monaco, is believed to be out of the country. It is thought the allegations over which the men have been detained centre on claims that Grier and Whyte were known to each other before Duff & Phelps were appointed as Whyte’s choice of administrators for Rangers in 2012. HMRC had at first opposed Whyte’s choice of administrators. Whyte bought the club from Sir David Murray in 2011 for £1 promising to wipe Rangers’ £18 million debt to Lloyds Banking Group. It later emerged he had sold future season ticket sales to London firm Ticketus to finance the deal. In 2013 financial industry regulators cleared Duff & Phelps of wrongdoing over the Rangers’ administration, though they said the company had left itself open to criticism. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/sc...-crown-4628861
  14. Dave King's talks with Sandy Easdale ended without agreement. If this surprises anyone then it shouldn't.
  15. Man faces extortion allegations over leaked Rangers secrets a Ibrox stadium... home of Glasgow Rangers 0 BY ROBERT McAULAY Published: 54 minutes ago A MAN faces a charge of extortion after police began probing the release of Rangers secrets on the internet. The 45-year-old male also faces allegations involving breaches of the Computer Misuse Act and the Communications Act. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/6036015/Man-faces-extortion-allegations-over-leaked-Rangers-secrets.html
  16. Mike Ashley has been energised by the battle for Ibrox in a way that he never has by challenge of making Newcastle United competitive. On Saturday afternoon Newcastle United have their eighth crack at winning a Premier League match this season. If they swing and miss, it will be their longest winless run in the Premier League era: worse than the ill-starred 2008/9 relegation season and more desperate than the year that brought Sir Bobby Robson to Tyneside. Throw into the mix an undercooked team light on experience of a relegation battle and there can be little doubt that this is a time for minds to be focused. Even at this early stage survival appears the priority, but that cannot be taken for granted. And where is Mike Ashley? The owner’s scrutiny is not trained on the lame duck manager who is only ever one defeat away from losing further ground with a sceptical support but instead it is in a messy, protracted and potentially long-running takeover of Rangers. The Newcastle owner blew his own cover on Ibrox weeks, months or even a year or so ago. By dodging the share issue and banning a journalist who had speculated on his intentions towards Rangers, he tried the owner’s equivalent of an Ali shuffle – but the knockout punch has not yet been delivered. Rangers is going to be a slow burner for Ashley. Unlike Newcastle – where he found an owner willing to make a quick sale – there are messy and protracted battles to be fought at Ibrox with groups who are not going to relinquish their grip on a potential goldmine anytime soon. The motivation for investing in a fallen club that needs plenty of work is the promise of a potential route into the Champions League. Ashley’s mistakes have made that path impossible for Newcastle for a generation or so, but Rangers’ size and the impoverished standard of the competition give him a chance north of the border. And the Champions League gives him even greater profile than the Premier League in a sportswear market that he fancies a crack at: Europe. There are obstacles to be vaulted, of course: not least rules that state he cannot own majority stakes in clubs in both Scotland and England. But that is a hurdle to be clambered over when the time comes: the important thing is to elbow out the other prospectors sifting through the wreckage at Ibrox. Rangers is time-consuming for Ashley. It has caused him to take his eye off the ball at Newcastle and the consequences of that could yet be catastrophic for a club that appears rudderless, leaderless and entirely without hope at the moment. Ashley gutted Newcastle of people who would answer back to him. Managing director Lee Charnley owes his career to Ashley, and is hardly likely to stand up to him. We all know that Pardew will acquiesce if required. That is the way the owner wanted it – him dipping in and out of Newcastle when it suited him. Ever since Rangers became a serious interest for him, the dynamic has changed. Ashley may be more visible at Newcastle – naming himself as chairman over the course of this year – but he has not been as involved as he was before. A source I spoke to said his greatest hope was that people would run it for him, keeping it ticking along for a while. He simply doesn’t have time for Newcastle anymore. There is a shiny new toy north of the border and the fight for control at Ibrox has energised him much more than the battle to make Newcastle United competitive has. And what is unfolding north of the border is very, very messy indeed. For those still in any doubt, it is worth taking a quick journey through the coverage of Ashley’s actions north of the border. Festering worry about his intentions has given way to outright disgust at the way he has operated in the last couple of months. Just like he has with Tesco and Debenhams, Ashley has struck at a moment of weakness. That is savvy strategy from a sharp businessman, but it doesn’t mean that Rangers fans should be happy about what is happening. Not that many are, despite claims from a couple of Old Firm icons this week that Ashley might be the man to return the club to its perch. The Daily Record’s Michael Gannon wrote a withering editorial two weeks ago challenging that belief: capturing the scorched earth policy of Ashley and his unquestioning acolytes perfectly. Warning that sometimes the devil you know can be worse than the devil you don’t, he wrote: “He is simply out to bag a quick buck at Rangers.” It is a familiar theme when the subject of Ashley and the Ibrox club are brought up: money is the reason he is hanging around. Not necessarily money that will be made directly off the club’s success but more the reflected perks of owning an institution that can reasonably challenge for the Champions League in a couple of seasons with pretty minimal investment. Gannon summed up his latest power play in a couple of damning sentences. “He could have sunk in money at last month’s share issue and it would have gone to the club,” he wrote. “Instead he waited and bought out Hargreave Hale. It strengthened his position and rubbed the board’s face in it after they refused to cave in to strict demands in return for a loan.” It is Ashley to a tee. Stubborn, obstinate and looking entirely after number one. The worry is that Newcastle United’s Premier League status will become collateral in the battle for Newcastle United. http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-united-become-collateral-damage-7943767
  17. RECORD Sport asks eight key questions about the Sports Direct Tycoon and attempts to discover the reasons behind his bid for power at Rangers. AS the power struggle within the Ibrox boardroom intensifies it would appear “Iron” Mike Ashley is spoiling for a fight. The Sports Direct tycoon last week launched a dramatic bid to remove chief executive Graham Wallace by calling an extraordinary general meeting. If Ashley succeeds in ousting Wallace and director Philip Nash it could deal a knockout blow to Dave King’s hopes of assuming control. King is preparing a £16million rescue plan along with Paul Murray and George Letham – which has the backing of finance expert Nash and the CEO. However, Ashley has increased his shareholding to 8.9 per cent, sparking rumours he’s preparing to sell Newcastle and plough some of the cash into purchasing Rangers. And if he secures enough support to remove Wallace and Nash it would almost certainly kill off any hope of King pumping money into the ailing club. The outcome of the scrap could go a long way to deciding the future of Rangers although it is abundantly clear the supporters would much prefer the South Africa-based businessman to the secretive Ashley. The billionaire Londoner is a loathed figure at Newcastle and has already had several run-ins with the Toon Army. A reluctance for making public statements only serves to increase the sense of mystery surrounding Ashley and his interest in Rangers. A hugely controversial yet influential figure, the Newcastle owner already has the naming rights over Ibrox and is reported to want control of the club crest in exchange for an emergency loan. But just who is Mike Ashley and what are his motives in football? Does he deserve the hatred he gets from some Newcastle fans and should Rangers fear his bid for power? Is he a ruthless tycoon who tramples on tradition and ambition? Or is he a sharp businessman whose challenge to the status quo, and ability to put up his own hard cash rather than borrowed money, should be welcomed? Here Record Sport asks eight key questions and attempts to discover the reasons behind his intervention: Q: Who is the real Ashley? Colleagues describe him as gregarious, enthusiastic, passionate, ruthless. Always ready to challenge the perceived wisdom and act on instinct. Loyal to those who show him loyalty. Socially he’s personable, far from being the introvert people think. Those who have crossed him are less flattering in their assessment. His business practice is to aggressively pursue opponents until he’s won the battle, leaving losers in his wake. Q: Why is he in the football business? Surely it isn’t worth the flak? Initially he claimed to be a Newcastle fan – a colleague says Chelsea and England were his teams – who wanted to “have some fun and win trophies”. But in reality he is a football speculator who has worked out the game is the perfect platform to promote Sports Direct’s global ambitions. There are more than 130 Sports Direct signs around St James’ Park – and they don’t pay for the ads. Sports Direct also made £3.4m by taking over Newcastle’s commercial sportswear business. Q: But no football club owner makes money, do they? With TV cash rolling in, a policy of selling the best players at a huge killing, and tight financial controls, he has made Newcastle one of the most profitable clubs in Europe, making £9m last year. Flush with cash from floating Sports Direct, he bought Newcastle seven years ago for a cheap-looking £133m, and has loaned £129m of his fortune to settle inherited debts and keep the club running after relegation in 2009. Q: Attempts to sell Newcastle have failed and now he is snapping up nine per cent of Rangers. Surely this comes at a price to the club? Renaming St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena to “showcase” it for future sponsors, and bringing in pay-day lenders Wonga as shirt sponsors, show cash wins over sentiment, tradition or business morals. Ashley has also ordered Newcastle to put survival in the league over cup glory, which the club argue risks relegation. That has infuriated supporters. The Magpies owner made this public through a fans’ forum because he wanted the message out with no PR flannel, typical of his brazen, controversy-courting decisions. “Mike makes decisions from his gut instinct,” says a close business pal. “It is hard to argue because he has built up a huge empire.” Q: Has Ashley actually done any good at Newcastle? Most fans will say no, fearing the ambition and excitement have gone. But the £129m loan is interest free. A commercial loan that size would cost millions a year in interest. Just ask Manchester United and the Glazers. He instructed staff to keep the stadium full with well-priced ticket deals. Ashley also told them he hates “overpaid freeloaders” such as agents who demand the going rate of 10-14 per cent of a deal in commission. “Just because that is the way football has always done it, isn’t a reason to keep doing it for Mike,” says one source. “He’ll want it done differently.” Q: But what about the current plight? Why won’t he listen to the fans, check the terrible 2014 results and sack Alan Pardew? Perhaps out of loyalty. Pardew has gone along with all Ashley’s policies, including selling players such as Andy Carroll and Yohan Cabaye, and never taken his boss on in public. There’s a theory that Ashley can’t be bothered with the upheaval of finding another manager. “Patience is the word,” said one source. Q: So does he not care? Ashley has been a regular at games this season, sometimes flying into the city in the business helicopter with what is close to a personalised reg: G-MAOL. This could be support for Pardew, or to check out how poor the team has been, ahead of making a decision on his future. Q: Has he got the fortune to own Newcastle and a big slice of Rangers? Ashley’s stake in Sports Direct, which he founded, is worth £3billion. His holding company MASH has assets of £581m and makes an annual profit of £281m. He has the clout to bail out Rangers immediately but will exact a price for any financial help. Newcastle fans soon found his fortune won’t be used to bankroll a bid for glory. He will stabilise his “asset”, use it to help Sports Direct, and hope it increases in value over time. One source said: “Mike won’t be drinking with fans on the terraces again, and understands many of the reasons why supporters are unhappy at Newcastle, but he is doing it his way.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-power-struggle-eight-questions-4433421
  18. RANGERS today demanded an apology from Livingston over "outrageous and unacceptable" content in their match programme at the weekend. And the Ibrox club will also report their SPFL Championship rivals to the governing body over the "erroneous material". Gers supporters were incensed at two articles which appeared in the programme at the Energy Assets Arena. One story referred to "the club then known as Rangers" playing a game against Hibernian three years ago. It went on to state that "a brand new club" had been established after the old parent company was liquidated back in 2012. Another story in the Livingston programme mentioned the West Lothian club's record against the "now-defunct outfit" and "the newly-formed Rangers". However, High Court judge Lord Nimmo Smith ruled that Rangers was a "recognisable entity which continued in existence notwithstanding the change in ownership" two years ago. Livingston officials are believed to be horrified by the comments that appeared in the official publication which is edited by supporter Andy Crawford. However, Rangers still want their rivals, who they defeated 1-0 at the weekend, to apologise over the offence caused to the 54-times Scottish champions. A club statement read: "The content written about the football club and our players was outrageous and entirely unacceptable. "We will be raising the issue with the SPFL and seeking an apology from Livingston FC, who had a duty to prevent such erroneous material from appearing in their programme." Meanwhile, Rangers are set to escape any sanction from the SPFL over the crowd trouble that flared in the stands and outside the stadium in Livingston on Saturday. However, the League One champions are set to issue anyone who is convicted following the unrest at the weekend with banning orders from their matches. There were violent scuffles between Gers fans and police and stewards in one section of the stands during the first half of the second-tier game. Livingston safety officer Alan Scott confirmed: "There were five people arrested. The stewards and police assisted each other in dealing with the matter and no police or stewards were injured." And after the match mounted police reportedly had to break up an altercation between Rangers and Livingston supporters in the car park of nearby supermarket Lidl. The incidents are set to be mentioned in the official report to the SPFL by match delegate Alan Dick that should arrive at the Hampden offices of the governing body tomorrow. However, Rangers are confident their preparations for the match were professional and in accordance with strict guidelines laid down by the SPFL. They should, therefore, escape any official censure. After the match, Rangers manager Ally McCoist commented: "I did see it and it looked pretty unsavoury, but until I get a report on it I would be loath to comment other than to say we can do without incidents like that." http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangers-demand-apology-over-livi-programme-article-183240n.25506990
  19. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...n-Rangers.html MIKE ASHLEY has doubled his stake in Rangers. The Newcastle owner now owns around nine per cent of the Scottish Championship club. Investment group Hargreave Hale confirmed it was behind the sale of £853,000 worth of shares in the fallen Glaswegian giants. Ashley’s purchase came hours after Gers fans threatened to boycott his Sports Direct stores over the cut-price deal he struck for the Ibrox naming rights. A spokesman for fans’ group Sons of Struth said: “We call on Mike Ashley to cancel his contract before the October 11. “If he still retains the naming rights after this point, we will instigate an immediate series of actions aimed at his Sports Direct stores.”
  20. Ruff

    Sdm

    I apologise if this has already been covered. I didn't mind the jibes and slagging that we got at the time of admin because it was what it was and I would probably have stuck the knife in if our main rivals went through "a time of difficulty" to put it politely but as it went on and with no figurehead in the public eye to take the blame, we as fans were the aim for the blame. Pay your taxes, don't spend outwith your budget and so on.....we don't have control over that, we pay our money and assume the powers at be were there to look after our money. Does anyone have any hope that SDM will act upon Whytes latest court date? Is there any chance that a ruling will be made for shareholders to be compensated? (I realise Whyte can't pay). I dislike using the word victim but I would get some comfort if everybody outside of the Rangers family knew that that's what we were.
  21. Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been banned from being a company director for 15 years. The 43-year-old was handed the maximum ban possible 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. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-29429752#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
  22. From today's Scottish Sun: There's not much meat on the bones but with various carefully worded AGM resolutions now starting to take shape, this year's meeting is set to resemble last December's as key people canvass for support. The calm before the storm?
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