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Keith Jackson: Empty bank account and empty promises add up to an empty stadium...


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...for Rangers chairman David Somers.

 

IBROX board have just three weeks to sort the mess ahead of another explosive agm.

 

THREE weeks today the directors of Rangers International Football Club PLC will shuffle out on to a purpose built stage in the main stand at Ibrox and attempt to justify their existence to the club’s shareholders. It promises to be quite something.

 

They’ll be instantly recognisable of course, not just by the colour of their brogues but also by the red necks which have become every bit as standard issue for those who make it their business to step through this boardroom’s relentlessly whirling revolving doors.

 

If executive chairman David Somers and his cohorts – Derek Llambias, James Easdale and Norman Crighton – needed any reminding of the consequences of the current situation then they needed only to look up from the posh seats yesterday and take in the sights and echoey sounds of an eerily-deserted stadium.

 

If they did, the first thing they’d have noticed was that Sports Direct has a sale on. Not just any sale either, a ‘Cyber Weekend Event’ offering 20 per cent off everything until midnight tonight.

 

Yes, at a time when Rangers are crippled with uncertainty, one thing is absolutely sure – come hell or high water, Mike Ashley will get his money’s worth from these drip-feed loans which are just about covering the costs of keeping this ailing club on life support.

 

Ashley may have relinquished the naming rights for Ibrox but this barrage of LCD screen advertising for his high street store shows it’s now the Sports Direct Arena in all but name in any case. But all that aside, behind those garish hoardings, the day’s real message could be found in the shape of thousands upon thousands of empty blue seats. Almost 38,000 of them in total.

 

If Somers and his gang have any sense of common decency then they ought to have felt thoroughly ashamed of themselves for allowing such a vast disconnect to occur on their watch.

 

Yes, there is Christmas shopping to be done, the game was beamed out live on Sky TV and Scottish Cup ties are not included on season books but even though there are some mitigating factors behind yesterday’s stayaways, the truth is huge sections of the support have had just about all they can stomach of their own club. And, in all honesty, who can really blame them?

 

If they are not turning on their TV to see familiar faces from their recent past being frogmarched from court buildings they are picking up newspapers to read about the present state of the club’s accounts, which with losses north of £8million do not paint a pretty picture either.

 

For many of these fans the football has become almost irrelevant although it should be noted there will also have been some who stayed at home yesterday because, on the park, Rangers haven’t been much to look at either. It was with a heavy sense of irony then that Ally McCoist’s players chose to turn in the kind of performance of which they ought to be capable of on a far more regular basis.

 

McCoist badly needed yesterday’s result but it was the way in which Rangers went about their business in this

3-0 win which will have bought him the most respite.

 

The same cannot be said of the directors who’ll be shoved out to face the music on December 22 and who will find themselves with some serious explaining to do after publishing their latest set of numbers.

 

One year ago chairman Somers stood on that same platform and promised better times ahead for this club after seeing off an attempted boardroom coup. Graham Wallace, who had only just been appointed to the role of chief executive, also attempted to placate shareholders and reassure them the club was no longer in any imminent danger.

 

Yet two weeks later he was scrimping around looking for emergency loans which were needed just to meet February’s payroll. Wallace also spoke disapprovingly of the grotesque bonus culture which had been allowed to thrive inside Ibrox before his arrival.

 

He won’t be available to answer questions this time though, having recently departed from his office complete with a bulging £160,000 bonus and an equally impressive £100,000 pay-off which secured his silence.

 

Last week’s accounts showed just less than £1.5m was paid out to directors in the past year which just goes to show that the more this mess changes, the more it stays the same. The difference, one year on, is that Rangers fans are now disengaging in substantial numbers.

 

And yet there won’t be a spare seat in the house when the directors are rolled back out onto centre stage because there are a great many questions which will require answering, not least how exactly they plan to fill the £8m hole in next year’s accounts.

 

With crowds dropping and Ashley in control of retail and trackside advertising, it’s difficult to see any reason for this board’s eternal optimism. Somers may well be sticking to his ‘it will all work out for the best’ mantra but auditors Delloite are so far from convinced that they marked off the latest accounts with yet another flashing red light over the club’s ability to continue trading as a going concern.

 

A personal guarantee from Ashley would have gone a long way to soothing their concerns but there is no indication he has any intention of throwing any more of his millions into the Ibrox blackhole. And no suggestion he would be willing to underwrite the next share issue which will be scrambled into action as early as possible in the New Year.

 

They need to raise £8m this time around having only just failed to hit a target of half that amount about 10 minutes ago – while turning down the offer of a £16m funding package from Dave King’s consortium and also blocking Brian Kennedy from lending them £3m in favour of £2m from Ashley, which quickly became £3m when the first handout was spent.

 

On top of all this, the club’s financially troubled nominated adviser, brokers Daniel Stewart (brought to the club by Charles Green), announced last week that from December 12 they’ll no longer be licensed to operate, which means another Nomad will have to be engaged ahead of this month’s AGM.

 

And all of this played out against a backdrop of criminal proceedings and fraud charges?

 

This board has only three weeks to get a handle on it all and then to try to convince their own shareholders they are in control of it. It promises to be quite something all right.

 

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/keith-jackson-empty-bank-account-4725548

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And all of this played out against a backdrop of criminal proceedings and fraud charges?

 

Yep, about Whyte, and a handful of people now no longer directly involved with the club - or so it seems. Anyway, it remains very much to be seen whether those in power can change things ahead of the AGM and a good amout of scepticism would be amiss here.

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Special resolutions are:

 

ORDINARY RESOLUTION

 

8. "THAT the Directors be and are hereby generally and unconditionally authorised in accordance with section 551 of the Companies Act 2006 (the "Act") to allot equity securities (as defined in section 560(1) of the Act):

 

(a) up to an aggregate nominal amount of £407,392 (after deducting from such limit the aggregate nominal amount of any equity securities allotted under sub-paragraph (b) below); and

 

(b) comprising equity securities (within the meaning of section 560 of the Act) up to an aggregate nominal amount of £543,188 (after deducting from such limit the aggregate nominal amount of any equity securities allotted under sub-paragraph (a) above) in connection with an offer by way of rights issue to holders of equity securities and other persons who are entitled to participate in proportion (as nearly as may be practicable) to their existing holdings (or the number of equity securities which such other persons are deemed to hold for such purposes) but subject to such exclusions or other arrangements as the Directors may deem necessary or expedient in relation to treasury shares, fractional entitlements, record dates, legal or practical problems in or under the laws of any territory or the requirements of any regulatory body or stock exchange, and such authority shall expire either on 31 December 2015 or, if earlier, at the conclusion of the Company's next Annual General Meeting in 2015, but so that the Company may, in each case, before such expiry make an offer or agreement which would or might require equity securities to be allotted after such expiry and the Directors may allot equity securities in pursuance of any such offer or agreement as if the power conferred hereby had not expired. This authority shall be in substitution for any previous authorities granted in this regard by the Company, but without prejudice to any allotment of equity securities or grant of rights already made, offered or agreed to be made pursuant to such authorities."

 

 

 

SPECIAL RESOLUTION

 

9. "THAT the Directors be and they are empowered pursuant to Section 570(1) of the Act to allot equity securities (as defined in Section 560(1) of the Act) of the Company wholly for cash pursuant to the authority of the Directors under Section 551 of the Act conferred by Resolution 8 above, and/or by way of a sale of treasury shares for cash (by virtue of Section 573 of the Act), in each case as if Section 561(1) of the Act did not apply to such allotment provided that:

 

(a) the power conferred by this resolution shall be limited to:

 

(i) the allotment of equity securities and sale of treasury shares for cash in connection with or pursuant to an offer of, or invitation to holders of equity securities and other persons entitled to participate in proportion(as nearly as practicable) to their then holdings of equity securities (or as appropriate the numbers of such equity securities

 

which such other persons are for such purposes deemed to hold) subject to such exclusions or other arrangements as the Directors may deem necessary or expedient to deal with treasury shares, fractional entitlements or legal, regulatory or practical problems arising under the laws or requirements of any overseas territory or by virtue of shares being represented by depository receipts or the requirements of any regulatory body or stock exchange or any other matter whatsoever; and

 

(ii) in the case of the authority granted under paragraph (a) of Resolution 8 and/or in the case of any sale of treasury shares for cash, the allotment, otherwise than pursuant to sub-paragraph (i) above, of equity securities or sale of treasury shares up to an aggregate nominal value equal to £407,392; and (b) unless previously revoked, varied or extended, this power shall expire either on 31 December 2015 or, if earlier, at the conclusion of the Company's next Annual General Meeting in 2015, except that the Company may before the expiry of this power make an offer or agreement which would or might require equity securities to be allotted (and treasury shares to be sold) after such expiry and the Directors may allot equity securities (and sell treasury shares) in pursuance of such an offer or agreement as if this power had not expired."

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Yep, about Whyte, and a handful of people now no longer directly involved with the club - or so it seems. Anyway, it remains very much to be seen whether those in power can change things ahead of the AGM and a good amout of scepticism would be amiss here.

 

It's been the same people in power since Whyte

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