Perhaps William Shakespeare knew all along…
This is only a short blog, but nevertheless I felt it was worth writing with regards to recent developments.
Today, it has been announced that a judge, Lord Hodge, has ordered an enquiry into the appointment of Duff & Phelps as the administrators at Rangers Football Club (P.L.C. (1872)). The stark conflicts of interest revealed on a public level by the BBC’s documentary, “The Men Who Sold the Jerseys” is largely responsible for this.
Now, while this is undoubtedly bad for Duff & Phelps, as well individuals such as David Grier and Craig Whyte (also known as “Craigy Craigy Whyte” in some quarters), this is terrible news for Rangers, or well, for “Zombie” Rangers at least.
Lord Hodge has given three weeks for this enquiry to be completed, before it’s results are heard in court. While this happens, Rangers will be forced to keep Duff & Phelps in charge of the club, and thus will be unable to hand over control to liquidators BDO during this time. As I understand it, this means that they cannot complete any transfer of the assets of the old company over to any “newco” until this whole process is complete.
There is only a little over six weeks until the start of the new Scottish Premier League season, and for any “newco” to replace “Club 12″, they are dramatically running out of time (presuming they haven’t already).
Yesterday, Heart of Midlothian (through the unique style of Vladimir Romanov) and Dundee United (through the views of their supporters) announced they would both vote “no” to a “newco” in the Scottish Premier League on the 4th July.
With clubs like Celtic and Aberdeen regarded as almost certain “no” votes, this leaves the chances of any “newco” being allowed back into the SPL looking very slim indeed. Motherwell and St Mirren will allow their supporters to vote on their decision, while other clubs such as Hibernian and St Johnstone have hinted strongly they too will vote no. It is not looking good for any “newco” in this regard, as five or more “no” votes will stop them from rejoining the SPL.
We all know Rangers F.C. (1872) will die, and it is only a matter of time until this happens when BDO are finally called in. In essence, they are already dead, and BDO will simply confirm this fact.
However, with third division football looming, we have a potentially financially stricken “new” club, who:
– will soon see a Biblical exodus of players leaving the old company for nothing (and hence will have no, or very few, senior players)
– are still awaiting the decision of the Scottish Football Association’s Appellate Tribunal
– would have to pay for the upkeep of an increasingly dilapidated stadium
– will not generate significant income through ticket sales with the inevitable fall in attendances
– and have a “tainted” reputation in the world of football, due to cheating, tax evasion and potentially to other crimes too
Who thinks that is an appealing prospect?
What Dave King said at Glasgow Airport only the other day was, at least in my mind, very telling; “I really don’t believe Rangers represents a financial opportunity for anyone other than an asset stripper.”
Now, a “newco” may yet survive, and may yet play football in the coming season. It may too eventually rise from the ashes to mimic the size of it’s predecessor.
However, I would say this in all seriousness. The chances of a “newco” Rangers surviving and prospering are looking increasingly unlikely. There are so many obstacles in their way, and whenever they manage to overcome one of them, it seems there is one twice the size of the previous one awaiting them.
We may very well be about to witness the extinction of what was Rangers altogether. Don’t rule out any “newco” suffering an insolvency event in the future, if they make it that far, that is. Even if they do survive and prosper, we may not see a “newco” playing football until the 2013-2014 season.
As William Shakespeare wrote in “The Merchant of Venice”:
“If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
All of the old company’s sins are coming back to haunt them, and everyone they’ve wronged over the years may not hesitate when finally given the chance to have their revenge.