“Good evening, and welcome to my comedy roadshow!”
Okay, those are the words generally uttered by none other than Michael McIntyre, but today “The Rangers” Chief Executive Charles Green has been doing his own stand up routine, along with special guests Duff & Phelps. In the last few hours, RFC 2012 and Charles Green have announced that they will not attend, nor cooperate with, the upcoming Scottish Premier League investigation into the use of employee benefit trusts (EBT’s) and dual contracts at Ibrox in the past.
Mr Green stated:
“The Club cannot continue to participate in an SPL process that we believe is fundamentally misconceived. Neither the SPL, nor it’s Commission, has any legal power or authority over the Club because it is not in the SPL. For that reason it has no legal basis on which to appoint its Commission. The Club ceased to be subject to the SPL’s rules when it was ejected from its league.”
He then goes on to say:
“At all times we were fully transparent in our dealings with the football authorities, be they the SFA, SPL or the SFL. There was no ambiguity whatsoever regarding the status of the company when it made an application to join the SPL. As we all know, 10 SPL clubs decided against the admission of the new company to the league and The Rangers Football Club Limited subsequently applied to the SFL for membership and we are grateful for their acceptance.”
“In short, what was decided by the SPL membership is that Rangers was finished as a member of the SPL. Despite this, the SPL now see the new owners of the company, and the new company itself, which owns all the assets of Rangers FC – including SPL championship titles – as fair game for punishment for matters that have nothing to do with us at all.”
So, from reading that, you will notice that Mr Green has highlighted a few things. Firstly, he believes that “The Rangers” were ejected from the Scottish Premier League. Now, that’s just not true. “The Rangers” have never been anything other than a Third Division club.
Secondly, he believes that the Scottish Premier League has no right to investigate potential wrongdoings of the past, as they relate to “matters which have nothing to do with us at all.” Now, in a sense, he would be correct if the new club regarded themselves as just that, a new club, which, by all legal and footballing accounts, they are. No new club should be punished for the sins of the old club, providing they do not claim to be a continuation of the previous entity.
However, as Charles goes on, he approaches, and then finally reaches, the big punchline of his act, where we see the flaw in his logic:
“To make it crystal clear, the new owners purchased all the business and assets of Rangers, including titles and trophies. Any attempt to undermine or diminish the value of those assets will be met with the stiffest resistance, including legal recourse.”
“Rangers was not the only club in Scotland to use EBTs yet nothing was done and little has been heard about it. Also, Rangers stands accused of achieving sporting advantage unfairly – yet there is little debate over the fact in all the years EBTs were in existence at Ibrox, the Club often failed to win either the league title, or the main cup competitions. Furthermore, the period concerned saw a significant downsizing of the playing squad both in money spent on transfers and players wages. The decision we have taken has not been taken lightly. There are powerful representatives from Clubs within the SPL – not all of them by any means – who appear hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible.”
“As far as I am concerned, Rangers Football Club has won a world record 54 league titles, and, whatever the decision of the SPL Commission, these titles cannot and will not be taken away from us and our Manager Ally McCoist is in total agreement.”
Now, where should I start? That’s actually a rather tricky question, as Mr Green has succinctly managed to squeeze a vast amount of contradictory evidence, as well as some plain old arrant nonsense, into a fairly short statement. Firstly, no new owners of a new Football Club can purchase the history of an old one. At one stage this summer, RFC 2012 were already occupying a place in the fourth tier of Scottish Football, whilst the original and old RFC 1872 still held it’s share in the Scottish Premier League. This highlights the fact that RFC 1872, and RFC 2012, are two entirely different football clubs. Whilst RFC 2012 took their place in the Third Division, RFC 1872 still held it’s Scottish Premier League member share and it’s history. If Mr Green wishes to take legal action against me or anyone else for stating that fact he is free to do so, because I believe he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in a court of law.
Administrators Duff & Phelps have, on several occasions, referred to the fact they were appointed to administrate “Company” and the “Club” (i.e. the same entity). You can see an example of this below. However, it once again highlights, in no uncertain terms, that Rangers Football Club (1872) is, in all of it’s forms, the entity which will enter liquidation officially when BDO finally step in. This means that the Rangers of old do still technically exist, despite what many people have said, although as a Football Club they are all but dead, as they will never play another match.
At one stage in his act above, Mr Green states: “Also, Rangers stands accused of achieving sporting advantage unfairly – yet there is little debate over the fact in all the years EBTs were in existence at Ibrox, the Club often failed to win either the league title, or the main cup competitions.”
Now, is the Yorkshireman seriously expecting the supporters of Scottish Football to forgive the old Rangers for their sins because, despite years of intentional cheating (through financial doping which badly damaged the game in this country as a whole) they weren’t always good enough to win, even with their unfair advantage? Sorry, but in my mind that nothing other than sheer lunacy. That’s like someone winning silver in the Olympic games after taking performance enhancing drugs and then stating, “you can’t punish me for cheating as I didn’t win gold” when they get caught. It simply beggars belief.
Finally, Mr Green states above: “As far as I am concerned, Rangers Football Club has won a world record 54 league titles, and, whatever the decision of the SPL Commission, these titles cannot and will not be taken away from us and our Manager Ally McCoist is in total agreement.”
Now, Rangers did win fifty four league titles. This number will never increase, as the Club will never play another match, but it may well decrease. Mr Green seems to believe that, despite the fact the old Club knowingly cheated in Scottish Premier League matches (therefore under the jurisdiction of the SPL), the SPL somehow cannot rewrite it’s own history books, and right the wrongs of the past. Perhaps we will genuinely arrive at a situation where, according to the official governing bodies and all other Football Clubs, the old Rangers won x number of titles (“x” of course being a number less than fifty four), whilst the new Rangers, continue to claim they won fifty four.
Make no mistake about it, Charles Green is pandering to the extreme elements of the new club’s support, as he knows that is where the majority of the power in the fan base lies. Too often have the few sensible individuals within the Ibrox crowd been drowned out by the moronic element.
So, all in all, Charles Green has made himself out to be, well, contradictory to say the least.
As for the special guest at tonight’s roadshow, Duff & Phelps also released a statement tonight. Albeit shorter in length, it still contains something worthy of note. Firstly, they tow the propaganda line being spooled out by Green, stating:
“I can confirm that the business and certain assets of RFC 2012 PLC – including the honours won by the Club – were acquired by Mr Charles Green’s consortium as part of the sale and purchase agreement.”
This is, of course, wholly inaccurate as you simply cannot buy and transfer the history of a Football Club, especially not one that still technically exists whilst you have another one in operation. Otherwise, Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibs, or any other club should have, theoretically, been able to bid to buy the old club’s history. This is, of course, preposterous, but since Duff & Phelps were supposed to be open to all offers which could have helped regain some of the creditor’s money, it’s an interesting point to note. However, I have already discussed a similar statement made by Charles Green, so I shall move onto our finale. Paul Clark, of Duff & Phelps, then goes on to say:
“Our primary role as Administrators was to rescue the business…”
Wow. Now there’s a quote which will make the hundreds of creditors the old Rangers left virtually penniless feel much better…and yet people are still wondering why a court enquiry has been ordered to look into the manner in which Duff & Phelps have went about their business?
Fundamentally, the role of any administrators is to recover as much of the money owed to creditors by a business as possible. It is not to ensure the survival of a business. Let’s not forget that the Rangers of old, ignoring their sins on the field for a moment, were guilty of incredible wrongdoing off of it.
In total, they owed around £134 million to various creditors, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (and therefore the British taxpayer), as well as the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Police Force. Not only that, they used much of the money from a supposed charity match against AC Milan’s legends to help fund the stricken club.
All in all, this statement from Duff & Phelps is a critical one. Perhaps liquidators BDO will see things slightly differently? All while one man remains very quiet. Things may be about to get very interesting indeed. Tick, tock, tick, tock…