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  1. ...bring back memories of administration at Ibrox. AFTER Mike Ashley stepped up his Ibrox power grab with another huge loan this week KEITH asks; is the Sports Direct supremo actually asset-stripping Rangers or is he preparing to negotiate with a new board? IS Mike Ashley asset-stripping Rangers ? That’s the question asked under parliamentary privilege at the House of Commons on Tuesday and one the Newcastle owner will have to answer if, as expected, he is summoned to attend a Westminster enquiry . On the face of it, there seems a strong case for the prosecution. In the last few days, and without even stepping foot in Glasgow, Ashley has managed to sweep through Ibrox, scooping up just about everything of value that wasn’t nailed down. Had he bothered to turn up in person he might have made his way home on the famous old St Etienne bike, testing the integrity of its 37-year-old frame to the full. Integrity. Now there’s a word that might cause Ashley more discomfort than half an hour on a racer’s saddle. There are 7.125billion people on the planet. Only 292 of them have more money than Ashley. And yet this champion of the zero hours contracts dumped 200 workers from his high street fashion store USC on to the dole just after Christmas without so much as a lump of coal for a thank you. Integrity? In Big Mike’s world that’s for wimps. Little wonder then that he has acted so brazenly in his Ibrox power grab. With one hand he has fed Rangers with a succession of life-saving drip-feed loans while with the other he’s throttled it into submission. His latest £10million handout was his way of parcelling up an entire institution into one of those vulgar, oversized Sports Direct carrier bags. As bargains go, this one takes some beating. For the price of a fully repayable loan (or in other words for not a single penny) Ashley controls every last bit of Rangers FC, from the old boardroom to the dressing rooms inside Murray Park. His commercial contract has been massively beefed up – Sports Direct now own 75 per cent of the club’s own retail company – which means the badges and crests are now in Ashley’s name too. Also as part of the new agreement, if Rangers should strike a multi-million shirt sponsorship deal, the vast majority of that money will go straight into Ashley’s back pocket. So, in summary, a business already teetering on the verge of insolvency has now taken on a mountain of new debt, while giving up huge chunks of its only existing revenue. Now I’m no Lord Sugar but even so, the logic being applied here seems so flawed that it’s bordering on insane. This business now has its bare toes curled around the summit of Everest, having pawned off its safety harness. With one puff of his chubby red cheeks, Ashley could blow the whole thing into oblivion. In fact, this latest decision by a board which is itself not fit for purpose has a very familiar and nasty whiff of madness to it. And the similarities don’t end there because another red flag was raised in Tuesday’s Stock Exchange statement and it came in the form of two words that became part of the Rangers discussion during Craig Whyte’s chaotic end of days – floating charge. Now Ashley too has placed a floating charge over the club’s assets and although this may be purely coincidental, while his motives and strategy remain a complete mystery, it ought to raise the general level of alarm. So is Ashley actually asset-stripping Rangers right in front of the eyes of its supporters? Or is this latest move the latest part of some other plan for the Ibrox club? Those who study Ashley’s dealings closely describe him as the ultimate high-roller poker player. They are quick to point out too that, deliberately inserted into Tuesday’s statement, was a line about all of these agreements being reversible upon repayment. It could be, in tieing up all of the above, Ashley is merely about to spread them down like a massive pile of casino chips. That he is preparing for defeat at an egm in the knowledge that Dave King’s requisition already has majority support among the club’s shareholders. Certainly, if any of these city types were previously undecided as to which way to cast their votes, the terms of Tuesday’s £10m loan shark deal would have helped make up their minds. If anything, by accepting Ashley’s deal over a rival offer from Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, the board may have significantly bolstered the mood for regime change. Where the numbers are concerned, King’s hand has just been strengthened. Even so, Ashley heads into this showdown holding all the aces. Even if the board is obliterated, King will still have to deal with the man who controls the club’s assets. And Ashley will call the shots. What he will not do is roll over. He’s had serious skin in this Rangers game for too long to fold now. Ashley has been at the table for more than two years, ever since he handed £1m to Charles Green in advance of the £22m IPO of December 2012. Sports Direct has been stuffing its tills with blue pounds ever since courtesy of Green’s incredible generosity. His old pal Derek Llambias was even invited into Ibrox around the same time to strike a deal which saw Ashley buy the stadium’s naming rights for a pound. Llambias now sits at the head of the board in his role as CEO but he too has been around this saga for longer than most will have realised. He owns 51 per cent of a PR firm called Keith Bishop Associates who, around the time of that IPO, were invoicing former Finance Director Brian Stockbridge for all manner of sums without ever appearing to engage in any actual PR for the club. Stranger still, these payments were being signed off at a time when Green was hiring his own PR guru. Ironically, Llambias was appointed to the Rangers board late in 2014, not long after the Keith Bishop contract had been terminated by his predecessor Graham Wallace. Intriguing isn’t it? So on Monday afternoon I contacted Keith Bishop, who acts as Ashley’s official spokesperson, by phone earlier to ask him about some of this mysterious stuff. He requested I submit any questions via an email. That email landed in his inbox less than half an hour later. It took him until last night to respond in an email which read: “This company’s relationship with its clients are, and remain, confidential and not open to be discussed in the public domain.” All of which just goes to prove that it’s getting harder and harder to get a straight answer to anything Rangers related these days. So is Ashley really asset-stripping Rangers? Or is he gearing up for a massive game of negotiation poker with King and a new board? That would certainly seem the more logical view. But then again, this is Rangers. Logic left the building some time ago. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/keith-jackson-mike-ashleys-rangers-5062140
  2. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/rangers/rangerscomment/mccoist-set-to-face-the-music-but-rangers-fans-will-have-little-to-192156n.114751404? McCoist set to face the music but Rangers fans will have little to sing about AND now the end is near ... Christopher Jack Sports Journalist Wednesday 17/12/2014 and so he faces the final curtain.. Ally McCoist likened his appointment as Rangers manager to taking over the mic from Frank Sinatra. Today, he will face the music. McCoist has taken the blows and did it his way at Ibrox, but his time in the spotlight is coming to an end, and he will soon exit the stage. Whether it comes in the aftermath of his meeting with Derek Llambias and Sandy Easdale today, at the end of the season or in 12 months' time, the day when McCoist is no longer Rangers manger is approaching. Like all matters at Ibrox in recent years, money is at the heart of the matter and the crux of the discussions. McCoist is due several hundred thousand pounds if the board wish to dispense with his services before the end of his notice period, but with an £8million black hole in their finances, they seemingly have no way to pay the 52-year-old off. He will leave with a cheque, but there is unlikely to be a thank you for his efforts. Whatever figure is settled on, McCoist will be due every penny for what he has done for Rangers, the fights he has had to fight, the controversies and characters he has had to deal with and overcome. However a deal is struck, whether it is in cash now or later or even shares, it will be a fraction of the multi-million burn that has seen Rangers blow their chance of financial stability and a platform, on and off the field, to go on and establish themselves at the top of Scottish football once again. It is only a matter of time before the most remarkable managerial reign in Rangers' illustrious history comes to an end - but it will solve few problems. McCoist's abilities as a coach and tactician have been called into question for some time. The argument for not having him as manager can be fairly easily made and stacked up and many fans will be pleased there will be new methods on the training pitch at Murray Park and instructions from the Ibrox dugout. Against a different backdrop, he probably wouldn't have lasted as long. But McCoist's ethos and approach to the game, the failings of his side and embarrassing results, are not Rangers' biggest problems. Defeats to Hearts, Alloa and Queen of the South have piled the pressure on his shoulders but football, even with the Premiership in sight, is of secondary importance once more. The heart and soul of Rangers is up for grabs. The proud, distinguished club, Scotland's most successful, is a shadow of its former self and another cornerstone is about to be removed when McCoist departs. There is a different feel around Rangers these days as supporters, battle-scarred and weary, turn their back on the club in their thousands. Familiar faces have gone, standards have fallen and bonds have been broken. Where past generations could put their faith in Bill Struth, Willie Waddell or Walter Smith, the fans of today have a far different proposition. Some of those who have made their way up the marble staircase in recent years and do so today are not of the same calibre. They don't appear to hold the same values or share the love of, and commitment to, the club. Fans may not want McCoist the football man, but they need McCoist the Ranger. His rallying cry of 'we don't do walking away' during the dark days of February 2012, became the motto of Rangers' fight for survival and his most famous soundbite. McCoist may leave the club, but it won't signal the end of his service as he goes back to simply being a fan, and surely a concerned one at that. His departure will be welcomed by those whose only focus is football, but some fans will once again miss the big picture. Having fought so hard to save the club, his club, during its fight for survival, and been instrumental in the battle to retain their titles, McCoist has seen the face of Rangers change significantly in the last couple of years. Colleagues have been punted out the back door in a bid to save thousands of pounds while millions are haemorrhaged through bad business decisions and 'onerous' contracts. Friends have lost their jobs just weeks before Christmas, and left the club without the golden handshakes awarded to so many who have given nowhere near the same level of service. It should serve as a warning of what has been and what is coming that McCoist feels he is now better off out of Ibrox. There may be better people available to manage the team, but there is nobody better than him to manage the club. McCoist will become the third Light Blue legend to say enough is enough at Rangers. John Greig continues to stay away from the club, as does Smith, and McCoist has now decided he doesn't like what he sees behind the famous red brick facade. Smith removed himself from a 'highly dysfunctional environment' when he stepped down as chairman in August 2013, yet there has been little progress made since then to resolve the myriad of issues facing the club. The faces in the boardroom may have changed but the problems remain, the questions stay unanswered and the fears are very much justified. McCoist's decision to step down should set alarm bells ringing once again. The savage cuts, the headlines, the in-fighting and politics have taken their toll. In truth, he is probably better off out of the place. But Rangers will not be in a better place with him out of there. With McCoist gone, who do the fans turn to and put their faith in? Who can they be sure is acting in the best interests of Rangers? Would they trust Easdale, chairman of the football board, to hand-pick the right man to lead the club back to the Premiership and oversee that journey? Or would they rather Mike Ashley, the man who has bulldozed his way to control and has the club's merchandise channels tied down in his favour, continue to call the shots from afar? Whoever has the final say, the outcome for McCoist will be the same and the future for Rangers will be uncertain. There will surely be few fans who will be glad to see the back of McCoist, the man they remember as a nine-in-a-row hero, their record goalscorer, Super Ally. He has been let down by a series of chairmen and chief executives, seen promises made and broken. He has been let down by too many of his players, with performances abject and faith not repaid on the pitch. He deserves better than the hat-trick being completed with the fans letting him down and deserting him at the end, too.
  3. I remember seeing Ally playing for Kilmarnock at the end of his career. He broke his leg trying to get on the end of a cross into the box somehow - I don't really remember all the details. What I do remember is Ally trying to get onto the end of the cross despite his leg hanging off. It was instinctive, deep rooted, a refusal to give up. Today's announcement was a surprise with this in mind. I don't take Ally for a quitter, still don't. I think Ally was doing the equivalent of 'going all in' at poker, despite not having the best hand, in the hope of facing down his critics. It is surely true that Ally still believes himself to still be the man to take Rangers back to the top flight. But is he? Let's go through some criticisms of him; Criticism 1- He has a vastly expensive squad, and should be doing better with them. The squad is expensive for a reason - Good players would not be willing to drop down three divisions into a football wilderness. To even sign average players, Rangers had to fork out multiples above true market value to attain them. Cue resentment. Criticism 2- He hasn't brought through young players. He could have done better, but currently 30% of the squad are from the youth set up, and do contain some potential in McLeod and Aird. This is a better performance and ratio than celtic, who only have McGregor and Forrest from their youth set up, and Forrest has been on the scene for a few years now. Criticism 3- He is only in it for the money. I just don't buy this. This has been used constantly to smear him. I'm sure Ally could pick up his £20,000 per episode buy out for Question of Sport if he desired again. He is unquestionably the highest paid manager in Scotland, which in the current financial climate is madness. However, this is a matter for the ranger's financial controller to decide. Ally to his credit has already offered to take a wage cut, even if temporary. To put it into perspective, peter lawwel is reputed to be on close to 50% more at celtic. Criticism 4- 'We won't get promoted with Ally in charge I think the collective bottle of the support has gone rather than Ally's bottle. You are half way through December. Hearts are no great shakes and I fully expect them to start dropping points. Once they do, they may find it difficult to push forward again. In the two games v Rangers (and against Hibs), Hearts rode their luck. Is Craig Levein suddenly a football genius? The wheels will come off soon. Also, as proven against a few SPFL teams, Ally can set up his teams to beat them. The play offs if needed, will be negotiated by Ally. St Mirren / Ross County?? Come on. Hibs are your worry. Criticism 5- Players are regressing Yes, and this is to be expected. If barca had spent two and a half years playing garbage week in week out, we'd be saying how Messi was going backwards.. Two years of non competitive action blunts the sword. However, some evidence suggests he is improving young players like Mcleod, and whipping boy Aird. Criticism 6- He has been a lackey for Green, Whyte etc. Let's be clear - rangers would have had titles unfairly stripped off them if it wasn't for Ally. Ally is one of the most important people in your history - he was the one who kept going when the Goughs, Smiths, Fergusons of the world had written rangers off as dead. Ally kept pumping the heart until the pulse appeared again. Yet it is derided as a selfish act for financial gain. Jesus wept. Green hates him. This is 'a good sign'. Criticism 7- He plays hoof ball. True, and it looks very 20th century. However Ally will see it as a percentage tactic on poor pitches. Jury out on it's effectiveness. We can't expect tiki taka from any Scottish team let alone championship teams. And tbh, the SPFL looks absolutely garbage. John Greig's teams would be running riot in it I suspect. Criticism 8- He looks clueless / I hate his face etc Personal abuse helps no one, and rangers fans are particularly vociferous I'm sure a lot of you will agree. It's like keying your own car. We all know support will produce better results than personal abuse. Criticism 9- His cup performances. Could be better (ask neil Lennon /any Hibs manager /Davie Smith), but seriously, getting outraged by losing in the Petrofac cup or whatever it's called- you should be thankful your name isn't on that embarrassment of a cup. Cup football is unforgiving, but the league is all that really matters. Plus, he has done a couple of top flight teams IIRC. I'd say the Rangers support has to give Ally the benefit of the doubt and allow him to get on with his very specific goal - getting Rangers back into the SPFL. He has earned this. You may be slightly off- course at the moment, but with 4 months left, Ally should have the full support of the fans. He is the last 'Rangers man' in the building - do you really want to chase him?
  4. The BBC has learned former Rangers chief executive Charles Green is seeking financial support to launch a new bid for control of the Ibrox club. Green led a consortium which bought Rangers' assets in May 2012 and then raised £22m from a share issue, but resigned from his post last year. He returned for a short-lived spell as a consultant before selling his shareholding in the club. However, he has spent the last week in talks with potential investors. Rangers plan to launch a new share issue in a bid to raise in the region of £8m and if Green is to be successful he would need to convince existing shareholders to sell to a new consortium. Green, who held the same position at Sheffield United, stood down from the chief executive's position citing the "negative publicity" surrounding an independent investigation, commissioned by the club's board, into allegations of undeclared dealings with former owner Craig Whyte. That investigation consequently found no evidence of Whyte's claims that he was involved in the Green-led acquisition of Rangers two years ago. On selling his shares to Sandy Easdale, chairman of Rangers' football board, Green said: "I want to make it clear that this means I will have no ongoing influence or financial interest at the club but I remain a fan and fervently hope that Rangers will soon be back at the top where they belong."
  5. http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/275976-spfl-pay-broadcaster-up-to-250000-per-season-to-show-rangers-games/ The Scottish Professional Football League is contractually bound to pay BT Sport up to £250,000 per season in return for the broadcaster airing Rangers matches. STV understands that under the terms of a renegotiated TV deal following the removal of Rangers from the top flight in 2012, a clause was inserted making the league liable to additional production costs incurred setting up at lower league grounds. It is understood the league agreed to the insertion of the clause in order to guarantee broadcast contracts which were essentially null and void after Rangers were expelled from the then-Scottish Premier League and were subsequently admitted to the bottom tier of the Scottish Football League. The SPL paid the Scottish Football League £800,000 for one season's worth of rights to show Rangers games but that deal was absorbed when the league bodies merged in 2013. It is not known how much has been paid out to BT Sport and ESPN, who were the holders of the contract for the 2012/13 season, to date. The overall payment is capped at £250,000 per season. In a statement to STV, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "The support given to Scottish football by our broadcast partners, in 2012 and since, has been fundamental to the ongoing health of the game in this country." It is understood the league thought it necessary to agree to the deal in order to protect revenue from broadcast contracts. Nevertheless, the revelations in short mean the SPFL pays a broadcaster in order for Rangers games to be shown on television. BT Sport said in a statement: “[We] were delighted to inherit the SPFL rights from ESPN at the beginning of this season, however we cannot comment on contractual details.”
  6. It has been described as a game of poker but the battle for Rangers has become something of a hand of three-card brag. The most crucial aspect of this game of claim and counter-claim is when the King is played. There are three parties to the Rangers story and each has reached a time of decision. The Union of Fans, the representatives of six fan groups, met last night to discuss the latest developments in a narrative that stretched over two years. The most crucial aspect of their discussions will be the future of the Ibrox 1972 initiative which sought to place season-ticket money in trust under the directorship of Richard Gough, the former Rangers captain, and Dave King, the South African-based businessman who is seeking to alter the power base at the club. The statement by the board on Saturday night that legal guarantees over Ibrox and Murray park would not be offered to fans has left little room for manoeuvre. First, the supporters believe that this was not their understanding of what occurred at the meeting; second, they said it was impossible to deal with the board in good faith and, third, it makes the ploy of Ibrox 1972 almost redundant. The move over season tickets was designed to bring pressure on the board and it did. But the incumbents have so far ridden this out. Indeed, Rangers sources were last night "bullish" about the future, predicting burgeoning season-ticket sales, declaring that precise figures would be given to the markets in due course as they represent market sensitive information. There was one glitch. Under agreed terms, once Rangers have reached £1.5m in season-ticket sales George Letham and Sandy Easdale must be repaid their loans. It is understood, however, that Letham is still awaiting repayment. There was, though, the unmistakeable message yesterday of Rangers "getting down to business", with sources citing appointments to be made, playing plans to be drawn up, the challenges of next season to be met. The delicate point of where all the money will come from has been, ahem, disputed. Rangers hope that the season-ticket tally will approach 20,000, hospitality packages can be sold and that a much-needed income stream will run quickly and profitably. There is also the matter of the £5m of equity funding from existing investors that could be accessed at the press of a button, according to sources close to the talks between supporters and board members this week. A share issue, too, could be brought forward to the end of summer. Even those inimical to the existing board suggest the club "could stagger on" into next season. However, savings must be made and investment found. This may make it an uncomfortable summer for Graham Wallace, the chief executive. He has been assailed by fans over the 120-day review and statements made at the annual general meeting. He also suffers the fate of all chief executives of being an instrument of the board and there was a wounding assertion from the Union of Fans that Wallace is "less powerful" than Sandy Easdale, who is not a member of the plc board but sits on the football equivalent. Wallace has set out his plans and has embarked on a recruitment campaign, in particular for a marketing manager, but has to do this while fighting fires. He will need support but, being Rangers, he should not expect it. The most intriguing player in the card game is, of course, King. If he sits on his hands, Rangers may limp towards some sort of stability - with a much-reduced cost base and a viable challenge to Celtic postponed - or they may slowly but inexorably slip towards financial perdition. His intervention, though, would be a game-changer. However, there is increasing concern among his supporters that King has hesitated too long. One City source, who has control over a tranche of Rangers shares, last night said: "Time is running out for a decisive intervention. King has had talks in the City about proxy votes and these have been amicable, and might even be productive. But there is a sense that something must be done quickly." King must convince the City that the turmoil at Ibrox is such that it is better to give him proxy than to rely on the board to raise the share price to anything like the launch level. The share price has risen of late to just more than 28p from a low of 22p in May. King, however, has stated bluntly he does not want to buy shares from the incumbent board. There are considerable amounts of shares on the margins with some corporate holders open to selling. "There is a feeling," said the City source, " that some of the original investors would take the hit and write it all off to experience and to tax." The most recent soundings from King make clear that he does not want to pursue the buying of shares as this will dilute the money available for a significant investment to make Rangers competitive with Celtic quickly. Any dramatic and immediate development in the Rangers story would thus have to come from King. There is no doubt that the maverick businessman knows how to hold 'em. His supporters trust that his hesitation may not involve accepting he has to fold 'em. Rangers are still in play but the match has moved into extra time for King. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/can-rangers-trump-king-or-does-he-still-hold-the-ace-card.24273947
  7. Another week, another court appearance, another gut wrenching series of unfortunate events. Welcome to our world, Oscar Pistorius. In poor taste, of course, since no-one that we know of has died because of this shambling wreckage currently impersonating our club. Even so, just as in the OJ Simpson case and just as with Oscar, sides are being taken and battle lines drawn up. As a completely uninformed and lonely outsider with no inside info at all, it's just plain depressing. Amazing what a difference a week makes - last Tuesday, I was sitting in the garden with sun cream on, this week the only use I'd have for the lotion is to hold the shiny orange bottle in front of me as a guide through the gloom. Last week, hopes were high Dave would ride to the rescue, this week, the Man Who Would Be King revealed his plan for increasing pressure on the board this week, a pledge scheme which is, presumably, intended more to demonstrate the level of power over the club's income streams that Camp King possess rather than actually force a result; posters have pointed out already the slim chance of the present lot actually handing over securities in exchange for ST cash. If this is a game of chicken, I think King will lose, because unlike the Kelly family when Timothy was at death's door, the people running our club couldn't give a toss whether their name is forever mud on the streets of Glasgow (or, in fairness to all, Fraserburgh or Berlin). They won't blink because they don't care if the outcome is catastrophe: that unpleasant fact, which incidentally ought to help us decide whether they are fit for purpose or not, gives them an advantage in any poker game. Speaking of Timothy...he's been invoked a few times during this saga, usually along the lines of 'if only Rangers had a Fergus McCann figure'. Last week saw a cacophony of media types berate King for not just spending his money and getting it over and done with; curious, really, considering that (a) he was apparently offered a controlling interest for approximately £6m, quite a saving on the 70p a share deal he was offered a year ago - it seems holding out for a good deal can be advantageous. It's also curious because (b) these same media types were only a few weeks ago lauding Fergus McCann to the skies on the anniversary of his bailout of the dying Timothy, berating fans who booed him at cetlc Park and castigating the journos who mocked him. And now, they do exactly the same to a similar figure across the city. Whether King is tyre kicking or driving a good deal I have no idea. Hopefully every penny he's saved as yet will go into Rangers because by heck, the club will need his money. While I can see that people are fed up with little detail and much bluster, the lesson history certainly suggests deciding the issue in advance can lead to subsequently looking daft. Telling someone else to spend their money is never a position which can be defended: we simply don't know enough facts. We don't know if Rangers, like the Stones sing, are 'gonna be mine', his or theirs; with King, all we can do is hope he either does or doesn't come through. depending on your personal preference. I suppose it indicates how far we've come (or gone?) socially that instead of a toff whacking a peasant on the head and loudly crawing 'you there! make my mark, you beast!' we now grab the rich person and yell 'Haw, you! Get yer waalet oot!' But really the main impression is of people just talking for the sake of making a noise: I'm uncomfortably aware how close to the bone this criticism is! As Mick says, it's just sad, sad, sad, coming on top of years of sadly depressing viewing all round in football. Other sports don't seem to be so institutionally useless as football is, here and elsewhere. The owner of the LA Clippers basketball team makes a racist comment and is immediately forced to sell by his fellow owners: just imagine that level of corporate accountability here! We can but pray the suspiciously Scottish-sounding Donald Sterling doesn't fancy investing his dollars in our club; there is a limit to the number of bad publicity one team can withstand. All I can hope is that , when the dust eventually settles, people aren't too bitter. While there are probably some people in your Rangers life you'd be glad never to talk to again, life is too short for grudges. Like the seemingly infinite number of ants who are apparently holding a month long sports day under my kitchen window, the highlight of which is the 'climb in Steely's windae and run aboot the worktops avoiding his crushing thumb' event, we'll need to show a level of patience and stoicism last seen when Seneca was penning his dramas. Tally-ho!
  8. Chaps, I'm not looking to troll or create tension here, but for the life of me I can't work out why any bear can trust or support the current board. I've seen nothing from the board that can help balance up my own feelings and each passing week sees more shit rolled at supporters. So, in the spirit of good debate, what are the good points of the board which gets them support, albeit a small minority, but support all the same from fellow Bears. What are the positives from board.
  9. Rangers legend Richard Gough joins forces with Dave King in fresh assault on current club regime and says 'I trust Dave with my life' THE nine-in-a-row captain has agreed to be trustee for an account for fans' season ticket money after King accused the board of "an extreme act of bad faith" an accusation Rangers branded "disgraceful". The nine-in-a-row skipper has joined forces with Dave King in declaring all-out war against the current Rangers regime. Gough has agreed to stand as a trustee for the account into which the Light Blues legions are being invited to plough season-ticket money in return for a direct say in the running of the club. The patience of South Africa-based tycoon King finally snapped yesterday as he claimed Rangers chairman David Somers told him they had no intention of publishing the much-awaited 120-day business review until after the deadline for season-ticket renewals has passed. Rangers last night disputed King’s claims, branding them “disgraceful” on the eve of the Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United and are considering legal action. However, Gough is backing King’s version of events and insists the club are being disrespectful to fans who deserve to be given the board’s vision for the future after pumping tens of millions into their club in the last two seasons to help keep them afloat. Gough said: “It’s all quite astonishing. Dave has given the board every chance to come forward and publish the review at the end of the 120-day period and now they are not going to do that. I’m staggered by the board’s decision. I’m amazed the club have no intention of announcing details of the 120-day review until after the deadline for season-ticket renewals has passed. “It’s ridiculous. “It smacks of arrogance and they are cheating the supporters, the very people who have kept the club going these past few years. “Once again they are asking supporters to put forward their money without knowing how it will be spent.” Rangers fans were contacted this week by the club and told season tickets would soon be due for renewal, much earlier than usual. However, such has been the board’s haste to bring money in, fans have not yet been told the cost of season tickets, although price increases of at least 20 per cent from last year have been predicted. Gough, like King, has told them not to go ahead with the renewal process and to pledge the money to a trust fund instead, with the vow of transparency for how it is spent and the demand over the security of prized assets Ibrox and Murray Park in return. Gough added: “Let’s not give this board the money only to be disappointed again. “I’m firmly asking supporters to put their money into escrow and I promise we will look after it and use it for the best purposes of the club to get it back on an even keel. “I’m happy to be involved. I’d urge fans to put their money into this account and we’ll look after it. It will go to all the right places, nowhere else – which seems to have been happening these last few years. “I’m proud and honoured to be given such a trusted position and I’ll do everything within my power to help Rangers return to where we belong.” Rangers supporters have lacked a senior figurehead from among the ranks of former players and managers to fight their cause. Now Gough has stuck his head above the parapet and it’s believed other influential figures, trusted by the rank and file Rangers fan, are ready to join him against the unpopular board. Gough said: “Any Rangers fans I’ve spoken to recently has urged me to get involved, to stand up and play a part, to make a statement. It’s a no-brainer for me. I’ll help the club any way I can. I’m delighted to be involved with Dave. The bottom line is I trust Dave King with my life. I have known him a long, long time, from my days in South Africa. “He is a family friend and I’m proud and honoured to stand with him. Dave has already put £20 million into Rangers and has offered to invest another £30m. “It’s amazing the board have not already bitten his hand off and asked him to play a role at the club.” The cards have now been dealt on a game of high-stakes poker that could see an unpopular regime toppled, the club enter administration for a second time or the board secure finance from other sources to continue into the new season. The latter option is the most controversial as it’s unlikely they could source anything other than high-interest loans, similar to the one struck with investors Laxey Partners before wealthy Rangers supporter George Letham stepped forward and offered better rates. Of course, the loans are more than likely to be secured against Ibrox and Murray Park, which is a scenario Rangers fans dread. The board could also go back to the market for fresh finance but that would require a new share issue, dilution of existing shareholders and there’s unlikely to be a stampede by investors if a war is raging between the club and its support. Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley also owns around five per cent of Rangers and he is flush with cash – he was hardly on the breadline before – after selling seven per cent of Sports Direct this week for £200m. He could step forward and take a more prominent position at Ibrox and although it has been discussed at the highest levels of Rangers for the last 12 months, he is notoriously hard to read and has not suggested he is ready to move. Asked about the future of the club, Gough added: “I don’t want to commit to talking about the future quite yet and what may happen in the coming weeks and months. Let’s see how the next couple of days pan out first.” He also defended the timing of the statement, on the eve of the crucial Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United, as did King. King said: “The timing was not of my choice. Rangers jumped the gun with their season-ticket announcement.” Gough added: “No matter what happens in the game against Dundee United, the club’s future is more important than one match.” Rangers fan organisations are keeping their powder dry for now but their support for King remains unwavering. Chris Graham, spokesman for Union of Fans, which represents all the major supporters’ groups, said: “We’re pleased with the statement and will make a full comment on Monday. What Dave Kings says speaks for itself.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/rangers-legend-richard-gough-joins-3402766
  10. If they manage to stave off the liquidators that is! Hearts beat Partick Thistle 2-4 today, but St Mirren beat Motherwell 3-2 and Hearts are now relegated....
  11. Taken from FF The RFFF voted today that in the event of litigation against Craig Houston, arising from content on the Sons Of Struth Facebook page, a proposal to provide financial support will be taken to a general meeting of fans.
  12. Because of my ongoing interest in the future direction of the club I have deliberately avoided immersing myself in the day-to-day "noise level" that is being played out in the media. By doing this I had hoped to serve as a bridge between non-aligned stakeholders and the club, as well as seeking a way forward that could accommodate all interests. I no longer believe that I can achieve this with the board that is presently in place. I consequently wish to update the fans on my current position. Late last year I travelled to Scotland in an attempt to find a way forward that would accommodate all parties and ensure sound corporate governance and sound financial planning for the club. Unfortunately, my efforts were in vain. During this period I made it clear to the board that I am a potential source of funding by way of a new capital injection. My prime condition is that any funds introduced by me would go into the club for the benefit of the team and the dilapidating infrastructure. For the avoidance of doubt, I appreciate that the Rangers board has no obligation to engage with me or to agree with my vision for the future of Rangers. My assessment is that the business is not commercially sustainable in the short term and hence requires a level of soft investment. The board is focusing on right-sizing the business ie. cutting costs to match the income. It is correct that anyclub must, over the long term, operate within its means but in the short term Rangers needs a significant once-off financial boost that cannot be met from the current revenue stream. Without this we will not get back to where we should be. If we cut our costs to suit our present income we will remain a small club and Celtic will shoot through 10 in a row - and beyond - while we slug it out for the minor places. That is not the Rangers that I grew up with and not the Rangers that we should be passing down to our children and grandchildren. Such a soft investment will only come from a fan based group that regard their return as winning trophies in the top flight. I have been such an investor and want to be so again. I would like to lead a fan-based initiative to acquire an influential shareholding in the club. I hope that the board will belatedly recognise the importance ofcommunicating with fans on the true state of the club's finances.Financial transparency should now be a non-negotiable requirement of the fans prior to investing in season tickets. It is an easy deflection for the board to suggest that it has had insufficient time or that it is restricted by AIM regulations. That is simply not true. Legitimate concerns about the club's financial position have been voiced for a long time. It should have been the board's number one priority to provide the comfort that the fans need - if it is able to do so. Craig Whyte employed exactly the same reasons for avoiding disclosure of the true financial state of the club during his ill-fated period of ownership. The board has previously dealt with queries around the club's finances by giving categoric assurances that there was sufficientfunding until the end of the season. We now know that these assurances were untrue and that emergency financing has been put in place on terms that are not commercial and that indicate the desperate financial position that the club is in. This lack of transparency on the present and projected funding position isextremely worrying. The Craig Whyte purchase would never have happened if the true source of "his" funds had been known. Similarly, the fans would not have purchased season tickets at that time if they had known that their funds were going out of the club. The fans lost their cash and almost lost their club. So now, at this critical time, I remind fellow supporters of the old adage - fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. The fans have no proper insight into the owners of the club and who represents which shareholders on the board. The board has strenuously resisted any attempt by the fans to find out who key shareholders are. What is known is that the current board members have a very minor stake in the club. Rangers has also developed an extremely un-Rangers like culture of "turning on its own". It is not in Rangers culture to have spin-doctors that feed information to the media in an attempt to damage our own players, management, potential investors, and supporters. Much of what has been fed to the media is clearly untrue or exaggerated. Ultimately, it is in the hands of the existing shareholders (through the board) to decide to issue new shares to investors. There is a clear reluctance to do this at the present time and the reasons for this can only be speculated upon. Undoubtedly, the club requires a significant injection of new equity from existing or new shareholders but this will take some time to put in place. A proper financial evaluation will have to be undertaken and all the necessary AIM requirements etc. complied with. Clearly, by not having acted sooner the board is making it clear that it has decided to rely on the fans' cash once again. The big question is- "What can fans do to protect themselves but still assist the team and management"? Fans must remember that the purchase of a season ticket is essentially an individual loan from the fan to the company until such time as all games are played. No banker would lend money to a company without knowing its true financial position. Unless the board departs from its present stance of opacity the fans will be asked to lend money to the company with no security and with no comfort that the loan advance is not going into a financial black-hole. It must be stressed that the board was happy to give security to Laxey Partners for the recent facility as well as a massive return on this short-term loan. It seems wrong that, if the board gets its way, these new loans will be repaid from interest free and unsecured loans provided by long suffering fans. If the board does not provide disclosure to the fans then it is time to draw a line in the sand. I propose that the fans buy the season tickets only on one of the two following bases; 1. The fans pay the season ticket money into a trust and the funds are released to the club on a "pay-as-they-play" basis. 2. The fans pay the season ticket money into a trust and the funds are released in full to the club but against security of the club property until such time as all games are played. In that way the fans will have some protection from a future event of failure if the board cannot bridge the funding gap that clearly exists. Additionally, the fans should insist on a board appointee prior to renewing their season tickets, to look after their interests. I also suggest that the following questions be put to the board on condition that satisfactory answers must be given prior to fans agreeing to make cash from season ticket sales available to the club. 1. Will the board provide legally binding assurances that the club is a going concern and has sufficient funds and/or facilities in place for the 2014/2015 season. 2. Will the board undertake that none of the proceeds from season ticket sales will be used to settle any financial obligation that arose prior to receipt of the season ticket monies by the club. 3. Will the board confirm that the club assets continue to be unencumbered. 4. Will the board explain its previous statements that the club had sufficient cash resources to last until the end of the season. I previously invested 20 million pounds in the club and lost it all.Like all Rangers fans I continue to loyally support the team and the manager. I am willing to provide funding again but I do not believe that Rangers should be under the control of one owner/benefactor. We have already seen the damage that has been caused at Rangers (and many other clubs) when the club becomes a hostage to thefluctuating whims and wealth of a single owner. I see my role as being the lead investor of a like-minded consortium that will invest in the club, along with the supporters, without the "short-sightidness" of an immediate return on investment. An immediate return on investment will guarantee a non-immediate return of the team to the top flight. The fact that it believes it can proceed as it is doing without financial transparency makes two major statements about the board's thinking. First, they have correctly understood the fierce and unbending loyalty that Rangers fans display towards the club and the team at a time of common difficulty. Secondly, they have seriously misunderstood this loyalty as being something they can take for granted and offer nothing in return. We shouldn't allow that to continue. At this critical juncture, the fans control the funding that the board is relying on. How we proceed will determine our club's future.
  13. Being reported that Laxey have bailed us out in the short term. Wonder what the interest rates are?
  14. Don't have much to go on, but apparently King is predicting our financial meltdown again in another Keith Jackson article....
  15. any fellow bears ever watch this little quiz show
  16. From the Herald: Shareholders claim Rangers' broker blocked compromise agreement with club's current directors Published on 13 September 2013 The shareholders who were seeking boardroom change at Rangers claim the club's broker blocked their compromise agreement with the current directors. Rangers announced on Thursday that a requisition to remove three directors and appoint Paul Murray and Frank Blin to the board had been withdrawn in return for a guarantee that their annual general meeting would be held before the end of October. The two groups had appeared close to an agreement the previous week when Rangers released a statement claiming that Murray, Blin, Sandy Easdale and John McClelland would be appointed to a new nine-man board. But the "requisitioners" then denied agreeing to a vote of confidence in the current board. Talks continued but broke down this week as signalled by the club's statement to the London Stock Exchange, and Blin has now withdrawn from the entire process. Revolution remains on the agenda The disgruntled shareholders have now said that Strand Hanson, the club's nominated advisor (Nomad) and broker, vetoed any deal but did not explain why. The fate of the current five-man board - Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge, Bryan Smart, James Easdale and Ian Hart - now rests with the shareholders at the AGM. In a statement, a spokesman for the requisitioners said: "We embarked on this exercise seven weeks ago at the request of shareholders speaking for 28% of the club's shares. "They had concerns over a lack of corporate governance and financial transparency at the club and they wanted those issues addressed by the appointment of Paul Murray and Frank Blin to the board and the removal of Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart. "Two significant events have occurred since we started this process. Firstly, Walter Smith resigned as chairman and secondly, the board informed us that the Easdale family had secured control over a significant minority of the club's shares. "As a result we came to the conclusion that the best way to secure a stable board and avoid further shareholder challenges was to negotiate a compromise with the board. "We have engaged in compromise discussions for the last three weeks. A key element of any compromise was that we could not give any guarantees to the current board members. It is democratic and fair that all directors, existing and new, will have to offer themselves up for a re-election vote at the AGM in October. "On this basis we agreed a compromise agreement with the board but on Monday evening they informed us that the Nomad, Strand Hanson, were refusing to approve it. Despite repeated attempts by us, Strand Hanson have refused to engage with us to explain the reasons for their stance. "With compromise impossible we have continued discussions over the last few days with a view to combining the AGM and the GM. These discussions broke down on Wednesday when the board refused to agree to our request that no further board members could be appointed in the run-up to the AGM. Without this protection Paul Murray and Frank Blin would have been uncertain as to what board they might be joining. As a consequence, Frank Blin will not seek election to the board and will have no further involvement. "In addition, the board informed us yesterday that Strand Hanson were not prepared to support Paul Murray's election to the board at the AGM. Yet again they have refused to engage with us to explain their reasons. "On the basis of the constantly changing circumstances and the lack of consistency in people's positions we have therefore decided to withdraw the requisition. We have done this on the condition that the AGM is held no later than 31 October. "We now believe that the AGM will provide the platform for the shareholders to decide who should lead the club. All the directors will have to offer themselves for re-election and we would encourage all shareholders to vote and show whether they have confidence in the current board or not." Strand Hanson was not available for comment. The company was appointed by Rangers on July 9, replacing Cenkos Securities, on the same day as former chairman Malcolm Murray and Phil Cartmell left the board and James Easdale was appointed.
  17. Amidst his unsurprising defence of Jack Irvine, it's interesting that Bill is suggesting a deal to avoid an EGM is 'likely'... http://billmcmurdo.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/civil-war-stalemate/
  18. Here is a link to an article by Stefan Szymanski in the Soccernomics blog. http://www.soccernomics-agency.com/?p=529 He presents some data, about the relationship between homegrown talent and success, that may surprise a few people. It is taken to be axiomatic among many that we need to develop home grown players to improve our lot. Is this just received wisdom with no basis in fact?
  19. http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2565&newsCategoryID=1&newsID=12361 As if we haven't got enough going on.
  20. MOVES to remove Rangers directors from the club's board are to be pursued despite attempts to hold out an olive branch to influential investors trying to push through the radical changes. Billionaire Jim McColl - who headed a group of shareholders demanding a extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to force the removal of chief executive Craig Mather, financial director Brian Stockbridge and non-executive director Bryan Smart - has said they remain committed to it. The meeting would also seek the appointment of Paul Murray and Frank Blin, the former executive chairman of accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers Scotland, to the board. On July 31, those behind the calls for change at the top level said that if directors did not convene within 21 days they would organise the EGM and bill the club. The deadline expires today. The club has opened the door for Mr Blin to join the board in an attempt to head off an EGM, but do not want Mr Murray. The move on Tuesday appeared to echo Mr McColl's desire to see people with more corporate boardroom experience at that level in the club. But a spokeswoman for Mr McColl said: "He says we are pursuing the requisition that was presented to the club." Fans continue to support the removal of the directors because of further financial issues at the club. A fans' meeting earlier this month learned there was only £10 in the club's account, despite raising £22 million from a share offering and more than 70,000 season ticket sales over two seasons. Fans had already reacted angrily after the club was plunged into a civil war with the resurrection of Mr Green as a consultant earlier this month, after resigning as chief executive in April amid a probe into his alleged links to the disgraced oldco club's owner Craig Whyte. The board has agreed Mr Green's involvement with the club is to be ended. Drew Roberton, general secretary of the Rangers Supporters Association, said: "What the board have done is a starting point, to try to reach an agreement, but if the meeting has to go ahead, it has to go ahead." http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/h...board.21937899
  21. Sure to be an interesting day ahead as the board meet to discuss various issues... 1. Charles Green's position as a consultant - sack, censure or promote? 2. EGM requisition - do they accept it's requested board changes, confirm the EGM or reject the requisition altogether? 3. New chairman - erm, see 1. 4. Expedited publishing of audited accounts 5. Reaction to Ian Black notice of complaint I'm currently standing outside the Norton House Hotel awaiting the arrival of the key players...
  22. RANGERS chairman Alastair Johnston has sparked a high-stakes game of poker - with the club's future in the pot. Late on Monday night, with would-be Gers buyer Craig Whyte desperate to finally seal his �£25million takeover, Johnston REFUSED to be railroaded into rubber-stamping the deal. Instead he listened to another Gers director - understood to be chartered accountant Paul Murray - who promised he could broker a rival �£25m bid to underwrite a new shares issue in the club. SunSport believes that proposal is backed by the financial muscle of South African multi-millionaire Dave King and Lanarkshire motoring tycoon Douglas Park. As manager-in-waiting Ally McCoist sweats over what funds he will have, though, the nightmare news for Gers fans is that process could take 10 WEEKS. Forget all the financial posturing and alleged stalling tactics, the reality is that new boss McCoist could be marooned on July 1 with NO IDEA what his transfer budget is, with the SPL season due to start on July 23. Johnston, though, insisted he had grave doubts whether the transfer budget Whyte promised would materialise. And he said: "Based on the documents we have only been able to review within the last week, we are disappointed that they ultimately did not reflect the investment in the club that we were led to believe for the last few months would be a commitment in the purchase agreement. "Given the requirement to repay the bank in full under the proposed transaction, there appears to be only a relatively modest amount of money available that would positively impact the club's operations, especially as it relates to an urgent requirement to replenish and upgrade the playing squad. "Whilst the proposed transaction has addressed the interests of Lloyds Bank, the Murray Group and Craig Whyte, our perspective is solely directed towards the future of Rangers Football Club." Whyte had pledged McCoist would get at least �£5m per season towards improving the champions' threadbare squad. Johnston, though, is prepared to gamble on examining the shares issue option. He said: "The board has had an approach from one of its directors who wishes us to consider an alternative funding option. This would involve a fresh issue of new capital to raise �£25m to be invested directly into the club. The board believes it has a responsibility to examine this proposal whilst continuing its review of the Craig Whyte transaction. "After six months of limited engagement in the process, the board believes it is not in the best interests of its stake-holders for it to be pressed into an unrealistic timescale." The Independent Sub-Committee of the Rangers board has taken a huge risk. Johnston's soundbites claim he is desperate to make sure the best interests of the 26,400 minority shareholders are served. When the fan in the street picks through the legal language and peers through the smokescreens, though, this looks like one thing. A stalling tactic. Majority shareholder Sir David Murray, Lloyds Bank and Whyte himself are desperate to get the deal over the line. The bankers are CONVINCED the funding is there. Johnston, chief executive Martin Bain, finance director Donald McIntyre, non-executive directors John McClelland and John Greig CAN'T veto the Whyte deal but can shunt it into the sidings at a critical time. Meanwhile, the fans suffer once more. Johnston, though, said: "We have only very recently had the opportunity to meet Craig Whyte and his team. "Moreover, it is only in the last few days we have started to receive the draft agreements outlining the transaction. "We are still awaiting a detailed working capital statement demonstrating there is sufficient funding in place to meet the club's pressing needs. "On Monday, I had a lengthy conversation with Craig Whyte explaining the dilemma the board faces. It was a constructive dialogue, and whilst he expressed his frustration, he understood our position." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3536471/We-wont-be-railroaded-into-selling-Gers-Craig.html#ixzz1K0whqlEN
  23. Last season as the Mowbray�s team took 2nd prize, with Celtic Park a sea of empty seats during match days, the Celtic sites reached bile-ing point regarding refs, conspiracy theories, and masonic plots. Lawell and Mowbray made their way to Hampden to put forward their clarification file to the SFA, a file that contained a substantial number of what they considered refereeing errors against Celtic.(the subtext being these honest? mistakes if repeated could determine the destination of the title) This was no attempt to take part in an exercise to improve the standard of officiating the beautiful game, but an attempt to get their support back on side and their backsides back on those empty seats even if it meant siding with the fundamentalist wing of their support. John Reid who was in the thick of it during previous governments spin era, knew how to get the message out to the masses. It was a classic New Labour tactic with a leak from the boardroom that told their support about the dossier meeting and, not concerned about the consequences, signalled contempt for the ruling body, an action that should have seen the SFA take Celtic to task. As we now know Mowbrays intention to mimic Catalonia�s finest ended up a disaster-a 2nd rate fake so much so, some people suggest Celtic should be renamed Barras-elona . That was the football side of things, however the off field antics continued and there was an inevitability that they would escalate with the appointment of Neil Lennon. Celtic playing 2nd fiddle to Rangers continued in the first half of this season and we could all see the dreadful touchline behaviour of Lennon, which reached a crescendo with Dougie MacDonald at Tannadice. His confrontation with the match officials provoked a sectarian outburst from the travelling support (noted by the Dundee constabulary)and Lennon could clearly be heard shouting f�king cheat at the match officials. We still await the outcome if any of all of what went on that day. Since our 2-0 defeat at the turn of the year, and with results going his way, he seemed to calm down for a period but returned to his old ways with Rangers signing of Diouf. Lennon in my opinion targeted this player for special treatment with Brown and Kayal in particular taking it upon themselves to dish it out with Lennon himself joining in on the abuse of Diouf in the tunnel at the recent 2-2 cup game at Ibrox. Last night was a repeat of what went on before but let�s be blunt here. We all knew what he was like but more importantly the Celtic board that appointed him knew what he was like but similar to their attitude to the SFA, they seem unconcerned about the consequences,indeed with their attendances improving as well as results, they will feel they have played their cards right. Reading the title of this thread I would not want anyone to think I have thrown my hand in. There is hope we can still win the league, and remember in poker, a Royal Flush beats 4 aces.
  24. Don't really know much about Suarez other than wathcing him at the WC2010. Could be a good bit of business for Liverpool though if they do sell Torres to Chelsea for anything between the �£40m and �£60m that's being reported. A nice tidy profit for Ajax too.
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