Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rangers to pay the penalty

Football fans in Britain have grown accustomed to clubs pleading poverty and going to the wire in terms of liquidation before being rescued by the local sausage factory owner or an consortium of dubious characters. In recent years, "administration" has been the game whereby clubs have been able to write-down huge debts invariably acquired through living beyond their means to compete. All the while, us fans have wondered when a big club would finally fall so foul of these processes that it was beyond redemption and would, effectively, disappear.

We can all reel them off, especially those who have entered administration and survived relatively intact. There had been the satisfaction of a ten point penalty and some have suffered the fate more than once. Luton lost their place in the league and most suffer relegation but there are those, like Palace, who cling on by the skin of their teeth and the uncomfortable example of Southampton who have positively thrived and are now back in the top flight and throwing money around once again.

Finally, we now have Glasgow Rangers who look set to break the mould. Their insolvency has been truly astonishing. David Murray bank-rolled the club for what seemed like ever but somehow managed to "sell" it on to a Craig Whyte, a bloke who appears to have been nothing more than a confidence trickster. Whyte looks like he managed to buy Rangers by leveraging the future income from season-ticket holders to "buy" the club for £27m without actually putting his hand in his pocket. The Serious Fraud Squad have been called in this week and if this turns out to be the case, Mr Whyte will end up in Barlinnie prison where he will find it much harder to avoid raging Rangers fans than hiding out in Monaco.

Worse news too for would be re-starters of the Rangers Football Club. The other SPL clubs look very likely to vote against allowing a resurrected RFC to continued in the SPL. It looks like a question of integrity for most and they will forego revenues from Rangers matches in order for them to begin where newly formed clubs should - at the bottom. 

"Club 12" have other problems too. It's not at all clear where they will play their matches. The liquidator affectively owns their Ibrox stadium and whilst Rangers look like the best-fit to lease the ground, who is to say that redevelopment wouldn't be a more attractive proposition? 

We should all look forward to the rules of club ownership being tightened as well as the consequences for living beyond your means and knocking creditors. Never will "the fit and proper persons" ruling be called in question more closely than in the case of Craig Whyte.  David Murray tried to sell the club on for a long time before finding Whyte and you have to wonder if he did proper due diligence on his buyer? 

Their are parallels, of course, with Richard Murray's sale of Charlton to the Mysterons. Richard was confident of his decision and I still have confidence in his judgement in spite of the ongoing intrigue surrounding Jiminez and Slater. Latest unfounded gossip and rumour suggests there is no money and our immediate future may once again be in jeopardy. Conspiracy theorists and the more desperate amongst us point at the fact that we haven't made any Championship signings yet. Blimey! The European Championships are still on, it's June, the players haven't even returned to their clubs yet and the transfer window doesn't open until 1st July. 

The early transfer activity in SE7 should settle the nerves, unless of course, we cash in on some of our assets.

1 comment:

ThamesmeadIrons said...

It's a sad state of affairs at Glasgow Rangers. I've always been a fan of "The Gers" since I was young. I had one of those West Ham/Rangers hats. And in later life started to go to Glasgow to watch them. I've got some good friends up there. I just can't believe what's happened. Who knows what "Big" clubs will be in the same situation in England over the next few years! Clubs are owned by business men. They're not all honest...