No end in sight as Rangers crisis continues

0
622

  By Angela Haggerty
 
The crisis at The Rangers Football Club has deepened following the return of controversial major shareholder and former CEO of the club Charles Green in light of a boardroom takeover attempt led by a former director of Rangers, Paul Murray.
 
Following Mr Green’s return to the club as a consultant on Friday, Chairman Walter Smith resigned on Monday and a war of words has broken out between those vying for control of the club.

Early reports that a change in the boardroom would be backed financially by Scots billionaire Jim McColl were quashed after a statement from the small shareholder confirmed he would not be investing further money into the club.  Mr Green had challenged Mr McColl to deposit £14m in a bank account by Friday in exchange for a 28 per cent share of the club.

“I am a small shareholder and have no intention of increasing my position in the short to medium term,” Mr McColl said in response to tabloid reports.  Instead, Mr McColl backed calls from Smith for changes to the “highly dysfunctional environment” in the boardroom:  “This is a demand for change by some very concerned investors, fans and other stakeholders.  Things have to change to allow the club to move forward with ambition and confidence.”

The group of shareholders attempting to stage boardroom changes notified the Stock Exchange on Friday of a request for a general meeting in a bid to oust CEO Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart and appoint Paul Murray and Frank Blin as directors.

Charles Green was replaced by Mr Mather as CEO of the club in April after he admitted colluding with former Rangers owner Craig Whyte to acquire the assets of Rangers ahead of the club’s liquidation in 2012.  Mr Green’s Sevco consortium set up the new club after purchasing the assets from Rangers administrators Duff & Phelps for £5.5m last summer.  The club entered the Scottish Third Division in time for the kick-off of the 2012/13 season and went on to gain promotion.

Speculation has grown in recent months that the Ibrox club is facing serious financial hardship after losses of £1m per month were revealed in March and irked fans staged a protest outside Ibrox on Monday night demanding answers.

The latest boardroom trouble follows on-field problems for manager Ally McCoist after his team were knocked out of the League Cup on Saturday by Forfar Athletic.  Mr McCoist took to the club website following the defeat to launch an attack on the timing of Mr Green’s return – a sensational rant which was taken back down a short time later.

“He’s fooling nobody,” Mr McCoist said.  “He’s trying to kid the fans on that he’s this, that and the next thing but he’s not interested in Rangers Football Club, not at all.  I think it’s plain to see his contempt and total lack of respect for my players, the staff at the club, the supporters and Scottish football in general.  It’s totally unacceptable.”

The latest turmoil was compounded by the news that the Advertising Standards Authority has re-opened a case into complaints that the Ibrox club was using the claim it is the “most successful club in the world” in advertising slogans despite the liquidation of Rangers last year. 

In its submission to the ASA, The Rangers Football Club said the London Stock Exchange had endorsed its claim – a statement which was soon removed from the club’s website when it emerged the Stock Exchange had no knowledge of it.  Subsequently, the case has been re-opened.