The contrast between the current public profiles of the Rangers FC’s Chief Executive and Chairman could not be greater. While the former, Charles Green, has a love of his own voice only matched by his disregard for telling the truth with it, the latter, Malcolm Murray, has largely – and wisely, to judge by his few public utterances – kept his own counsel. With Green taking time out to re-charge his bullshit batteries before the media onslaught in support of the new club’s Alternative Investment Market flotation, Murray last week became the defender of the Rangers faith, deploying what you might describe as a far subtler form of Green’s modus operandi for dealing with criticisms of the Rangers – blame everything on the “enemy”; if, that is, you thought Murray intellectually capable of subtlety.
The latest attack on the Rangers family came in the ‘Sportsmoney’ section of America’s Forbes business magazine, from a source with far from impeccable footballing credibility, Jon Pritchett, CEO of “Chicago-based sports investment firm” Club 9 Sports (C9S), who had an intermittent involvement in the Rangers saga as an advisor to one-time preferred bidder, ‘trucking tycoon’ Bill Miller. C9S were some way advanced in Sheffield Wednesday takeover talks three years ago but their advances were acrimoniously rebuffed by Wednesday’s board. This was initially thought to be because of the board’s long-reviled desperation to cling to power at Hillsborough, despite overseeing a long-term decline in Wednesday’s fortunes. But it was soon clear that C9S’s psychobabble-heavy plans were of doubtful quality. C9S were also involved in takeover talks at Tranmere Rovers… but not for long. And their role in the Rangers drama was somewhat closer to their few minutes on Merseyside.
C9S were thought to be formulating a bid in the early months of Rangers’ administration. And after their interest waned, Pritchett was identified as an advisor to Miller, who was selected by Rangers’ joint administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse of Duff & Phelps as ‘preferred bidder’ prior to the first May Bank Holiday weekend. It was over this weekend that Miller decided his bargepole was best left at home, as he wouldn’t be touching Rangers with it. I Pritchett was the brief public face of this withdrawal, having his 15 minutes of fame on Newsnight Scotland, citing “contingent liabilities” and a “deeper” than expected “financial hole” as reasons for Miller’s withdrawal – themes upon which he revealingly expanded in the Forbes article, which also included considerable, psychobabble-heavy detail on flaws in Rangers’ business and footballing model which emerged during his and Miller’s due diligence in May.
Among thousands of words published in Forbes was: “If Charles Green is not willing to face the fans, explain the economics and risk the torrent of abuse that will follow in the short-term, then Rangers will find themselves shortly back in the same place.” And from that sentence, the UK press formulated the story of “Miller’s advisor” warning “that Rangers could go bust again.” Murray was quickly summoned to respond for the Rangers, calling Pritchett’s inferences “scandalous”, “ill-informed” and, perish the thought that anyone at Ibrox would contemplate such a thing, “written to attract headlines.” The chairman’s comments came in a club website statement under his name but “written by Rangers Football Club.” Murray referenced the share issue which has since been announced and punted the long-standing party line that “we have a clear plan to rebuild this great club,” reliant on investment already attracted and what Murray perhaps a little prematurely called “the successful IPO later this month.”
‘His’ statement, however, read more like a response to the media reporting of Pritchett’s article than to the article itself. Pritchett covered a far wider range of topics than Murray. And whilst Pritchett’s statement was a mixed bag of opinions, many of them deserved more than the cursory dismissal they received from Murray. Indeed, rather than being ill-informed, Pritchett came across as all-too-well-informed as to “how one of the 25 biggest football clubs in the world could come so close to cratering into the abyss.” Some of his warnings from (recent) history have been overtaken by events, as Murray rightly, if exaggeratedly, noted: “The last time Mr Pritchett had sight of any financial information about Rangers was many months ago.” Well, five months ago, since when things have gone swimmingly for all at Ibrox.
Murray contrasted “Mr Miller’s plans… based purely on cost-cutting” with the “significant investment in the club from the individuals and organisations who are part of our consortium.” Pritchett failed to reference this investment in his article and largely failed to take account of Green’s work since buying the business and assets of Rangers back in June. But he rightly pointed out that Rangers was not a “turnaround opportunity” unless “someone with great wealth and a love of football and/or Scotland” was prepared “to give away tens and tens of millions of pounds.”
This, effectively, is what Green has been battling to organise since May. Having supposedly attracted financial support from a number of people with “great wealth”, he has now turned his efforts towards getting £20m from supporters – presumably with “a love of football and/or Scotland” – via the latest Rangers share issue. “What is clear from his article is that he has completely underestimated the loyalty and commitment of the Rangers fans.” Murray continued, unwisely. “In addition to the 36,000 season ticket holders so far this season, the attendances at our home matches have surpassed many of the top clubs in England and the rest of Europe,” he added, correctly. But, impressive though this loyalty is in the circumstances, it rather proved one of Pritchett’s points. As well as warning of the impact of “TV revenues… becoming increasingly smaller,” Pritchett referenced “season-ticket sales which were declining every year (down to 37,500 from 44,000 five years ago).” That was an average annual decline of 1300.
By Murray’s own reckoning, that decline has continued almost exactly as Pritchett estimated, without even considering the impact on revenues of the necessary cut in season-ticket prices from SPL to SFL levels. Pritchett noted that “season-ticket revenue was projected to be down by 20%” It has surely dropped further than that. So, as Murray and Pritchett agree, “costs needed to be cut at the club.” But while Murray notes that this has happened, he doesn’t address the specific areas Pritchett identified, which were the most informative and pertinent parts of Pritchett’s article. In a quite remarkable passage, Pritchett lists what was revealed to him and Miller during their due diligence. “It’s time to cut the fat from every department and rebuild an organisation that values every pound and demands a return on any and all expenses,” Pritchett declares. So far, so good. Murray could have said just that… or at least had it written for him. But Pritchett had earlier referenced Rangers as “operating as a lifestyle for some, or as a place for passionate fans to find a good job.” And, whilst not specifying which “passionate fans” had landed sinecures, his list explained what he meant:
The club can’t afford to pay its manager more than £1m and then give every coach and executive premium healthcare, generous pensions, six weeks of vacation, exotic cars, free fuel, appearance fees and other perks.
Nor could it afford “to provide 45 employees with free cars… pay directors annual fees to simply attend matches, socialise and run up a large food and beverage tab…expensive past players who hold well-paid positions, are protected from down-sizing with overly generous notice periods and who do not bring professional skills to the table.”
“Every financial and playing assumption must be challenged,” Pritchett concluded. And after a list like that, it’s difficult to see what financial assumptions he missed. “What is clear from” this part of Pritchett’s article is that Murray hadn’t read it. Otherwise he, or his ghost/script writer, could have addressed each item and assured fans that such things were history. Pritchett’s warning is from history. It does at times read like an article that he started when Miller withdrew his bid and had only half-completed before all the close season activity which landed the Rangers in Division Three. The references to the failed CVA (“which should not have surprised anyone”) and subsequent events feel tacked on. And many of the problems he identifies were “solved” by the old company going pop, with solutions already enforced by the circumstance of starting the Rangers in Scottish football’s fourth tier. He even begins one paragraph: “Like any insolvent business, Rangers needs to cut costs.” Whatever the new Rangers business is, and whatever debts remain, it is not “insolvent.”
Pritchett clearly graduated with honours from the American school of business psychobabble and possesses a not-untypical ability to speak English as a foreign language. Rangers are criticised for failing to “construct any sort of internal metrics.” He doesn’t think their “math” works. Far too much has been “gotten.” There’s the usual vague “building the global brand” reference, here allied to the less vague “need to work the Old Firm brand hard” which still offends football sensibilities…and is temporarily impossible. And he compares the riches on offer for English Premier League winners with the relative pittance on offer “for winning the SPL regular season.” But for all the article’s faults, much more of it is more relevant to the new Rangers than Murray admits. It is important that the Rangers’ new-found riches from institutional investors and the £20m-strong fanbase are not, to use the technical term, spunked up the wall by the new regime.
Pritchett also says that the Rangers “must become hungry again” and “develop the attitude of a gritty challenger, compelled to prove something rather than resting on the foundation built by those who came before.” Surely no fan of the Rangers who went to Stirling could deny that. And most important of all, Pritchett lays the blame for Rangers’ downfall firmly where it belongs; on Rangers own past excesses. “Years and years of mortgaging the future by stealing tomorrow’s revenues to pay for today’s ambitions… spending most of its time looking backwards… clearly (Rangers) believed they were too big to fail (and) continued to pay more than they could afford to players, managers and executives…” and many, many more… it’s a long article.
None of that is, or should be, news. But instead of dismissing it as “ill-informed, misleading and scaremongering,” Murray would have been far better served detailing how the new Rangers will avoid, or is avoiding, the financial traps which ensnared the old and which Pritchett rightly highlighted. There seems little that Murray can do to control Green’s, ahem, combative strategy at the Rangers helm, even if he wants to. But when the focus is on him, he should certainly do better than resort to that same ‘us against the world’ codswallop. And if he can’t, maybe the Rangers need another chairman.
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Well informed and balanced article. I only wish I could read such an article in the Scottish media. Their entrenched position in all that is Rangers will however make this impossible. Thank goodness for internet bampots!
Uh-oh – wait for the threats from the Rankers stormtroopers
Obviously, Mark is an obsessed t*ig, t*rri*r, T*mmy b*hoy.
I don’t think that, but thought I’d just pre-empt the Hounds of Greyskull who will be along in a minute.
A well-written piece, Mark, with some excellent slices of humour thrown in. I wouldn’t get too hung up on the US business-speak, though. This is Forbes magazine, after all, and these kind of people need their nonsensical jargon to help them convince themselves they’re doing soemthing clever with their lives.
Yet another Dhimmy dullard talking about Rangers.
They should add ‘Celtic Supporter but Rangers Obsessed’ to profiling for sex crimes against minors.
Good post,the SEVCO zombies will be out to get you now !
I think any objective reader of the Green AIM proposals on Thursday would realise that it is all based on fantasy with not a single thing actually costed.
It reads like a Rangers supporter’s Xmas list and even has Green building a shiny new railway station at Ibrox no doubt to accommodate that light that Ally keeps seeing at the end of the tunnel.
For the sake of Scottish Football I don’t want rangers destroyed but I can’t see any of this working and a £20 million flotation is chickenfeed against the grand schemes that Green has spouted which include 7% of the world’s total population watching Rangers TV. It’s enough to roll about the floor laughing except it’s deadly serious and the Bears seem to be sleepwalking after deciding Green is the last man standing.
Most of this £20 million is going to go on running costs at Ibrox – there will be a few million to build a new pub and club which, in the current economic climate might not be that wise, and there is a player purchase ban until 2014 so no money will end up being spent on players.
And Green who says he will never let Rangers be promoted to the SPL while he is the CEO – which means no Euro Football – gets right into fantasy land with claims that Rangers will be invited to join one of the two new Euro Super Leagues that are being formed – don’t ask as I reckon the only place they exist is in his head.
And how would Rangers fare in these league with Green proud of his low players wages bill of £6 million per annum. It’s all a joke and fantasy and everyone sees it except the Bears – really quite sad.
Obsessed obsessed obsessed
Much like many other blogs, valid points made are undermined by the “intellectually capable” personal attack on Murray near the beginning of the blog. The tone afterwards comes across as snearing.
Many Rangers fans are likely to respond aggressively and irrationally, as they have on other blogs, which will not paint them in a good light.
Nothing progressive will come from this approach.
You’d think any reasoned appraisal of Rangers’ financial situation would take account of one entire half of the balance sheet… COSTS, in particular player wages.
Charles Green has revealed that wages have been slashed by 30 MILLION to 6 million, that’s a cut of over 80 (EIGHTY) percent.
Where are those numbers factored into this analysis?
Where are those numbers factored into that Pritchett analysis?
Having seen the club they hate having come out of thism officially at least…
retaining their name
retaining their history
retaining their lifeblood – the support
… I get the feeling the Rangers-haters are scrubbing out looking for straws to cling on to indicating dark times ahead for the newco.
Sadly for them, hopelessly ill-informed speculations on financial matters are not the path to scratching that itch.
It’s a fair enough article. Why bother with it. I think there is an interesting point asked by many Rangers supporters about the contribution of past players/coaching staff, when some pretty decent current players don’t seem capable of winning away in the third division. Let’s face it, on paper, this Rangers team should be able to compete in the SPL not just the 3rd division.
To be quite frank, I think most supporters are tired of the whole thing and just want to watch attractive, competitive football that includes the special rivalry that Rangers and Celtic have.
John Thomson October 16, 2012
And the first post by a Sevco supporter if course references child abuse. There’s only one bunch obsessed on here and its you freaks…
hey JT do you work in London? Or is that a different JT?
fonald,what is it with you,are u still denying the obsession this is the 4th different forum ive found u on,and on each and every 1,ur on a gers article with ur big petted lip hinging oot,kickin and screamin its no fair,the big bad rangers are gonna continue to make my life a misery.the quote from bill millers aides statement “The club can’t afford to pay its manager more than £1m and then give every coach and executive premium healthcare, generous pensions, six weeks of vacation, exotic cars, free fuel, appearance fees and other perks,”means tht this tosser though he was the bees knees,till he seen what was involved and knew he was in over his head and never had the will needed nor the money,check his forune its peanuts,he was always punchin above his weight,the consortium in control now,have done the job needed,we are staring a fresh,and will b back terrorising scotlands so called finest in no time,arriving to a nice fresh new league structure,under the sfls steward ship,with regan out of office,after re building our club,with money in the bank,debt free with yet more assets than any club in scotland,how many british clubs are debt free atm,not bloody many ill tell u tht,so continue feeding the obsession trolls,coz we are the people and we are certainly not walking away,and have nt u heard BIG JOCK KNEW
Oh dear. It’s all the fault of the big, bad Rangers haters.
At least understand why people hate the club. It’s because of the historical attitudes of the people involved in it, principally the fans. The fans have earnt this hatred at home and abroad. They positively revelled in it over the years but now, somehow, it’s just not cricket to hate the gers?
It’s amazing just how gullible some of these fools are especially when you consider the last two regimes at Ibrox where any old bullmud was eagerly swallowed by the masses with when it came attached with some sort of Rangers supremacy statement.
Craig Whyte was defending the club therefore anything he said and did was A-OK with the soft headed ones.
The biggest thing to come out of this is the fact that everyone now sees that the Rangers fans are the most pliable, easily led set of fools going. Everyone is laughing at your feeble mindedness.
Its a sad day when fans of the worlds most second placed team come on to sites….goad and bait Rangers fans with abuse, then moan and greet then report them for taking the bait.
This is akin to a child being warned ‘don’t pull the dogs tail or it will bite you’…..the child continues to pull the dogs tail and is, of course, bitten. The punishment dished out is to punish the dog and let the child off!
Good to see the tinfoil tax accountant and barrack-room lawyer fans of the afore-mentioned worlds most second placed team are still obsessed, nay….INFATUATED with all things Glasgow Rangers. If you are THAT obsessed with us hoops, why dont you hang up your green and white scarves and pull on a red white and blue one and come along to a game….i promise you there will be more fans there than there will be at the crumbledome!!
Glasgow Rangers….the ONLY story in town!!!!!!!!
My My you are all like a rabid dogs and MAGGOTS to a rotten corpse. just canna leave it alone dinna hear all you tax payers moaning about Facebook and all the other tax dodgers. Just The Rangers just makes us stronger best crowds in the country and we are in the 3rd division stick at up yer hoop.
Why do these neanderthal No Surrender monkeys boast about being debt free?
Have they no shame? They claim loyalty to their Majesty but seem to take a perverse delight in boating about how they managed to cheat her of tax due.
As to their history Ian Archer was right when he said “they [Rangers] are a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace. This country would be a better place if Rangers did not exist.” Nothing that has happened in the forty years since he said this would have changed his mind.On the contrary what has happened since would have confirmed that what he said was true.
It’s still true today.
BREAKIN news …..Graigybhoy Whyte is about to open another can of worms,SEVCO wont see the year out !
It’s good that in Scotland, you guy’s didn’t let the zombie reincarnate of the dead RFC to play in the top league, or any of the other leagues other than the bottom, and even then–surely the Sevco side (is it Sevco FC or Sevco 5088 FC?) should have spent, at least 3 years in the juniors prior to joining the SFL??
Why did you even allow them into SFL3? You shouldnt have did even that, look at the ‘thanks’ you guys got since!! Those bums that ran the old RFC totaly ruined their club, cheated everyone and screwed the UK tax system of almost a hundred million pounds!! (I thought those guys loved their queen and country and all that?!) they then sold it’s dying body to a snake-oil salesman, and the snake-oil salesman has already worked out a way of selling the ficticious story of a zombie corpse to any mug willing to part with hundreds of pounds.
Problem is, RFC is a corpse and it’s reincarnate Sevco is a scam.
Charlie Green want’s to collect as much ££ for Ticketus before he does a bunk, and when he does, who are the Ibrox followers going to blame? The various Murray’s, Martin Bain, Johnstone or the useless press in Scotland for telling them all the stupid lies (floating hover pitches!! HAHAHA!!!!!)
Nooo…they won’t blame the very folk that killed their club and the con-men who have scammed them all of recent, they will still blame the SFA, SPL, CFC, The Vatican, Peter Lawwell, The Illuminati…honestly, you have never seen anything like it!
Get over it, Sevco fans. Truth hurts and resorting to something disgusting as child abuse only goes to show the world, and Scotland in particular, will be a far better place without RFC or any zombie reincarnate of the dead club. Yes, all you mugs give Charlie what he wants, i think it’s a great idea personaly and next year when Ibrox is home only to homeless drunks and pigeons.
Welcome to the new Ibrox Wallmart, or Asda if you folks prefer…
“Patrick October 16, 2012
Why do these neanderthal No Surrender monkeys boast about being debt free?
Have they no shame? They claim loyalty to their Majesty but seem to take a perverse delight in boating about how they managed to cheat her of tax due.”
So…..Patrick……..do you know something that the rest of the entire planet doesn’t in regards to the tax case???????????
How do you KNOW that Rangers actually owed all that money(apart from the cash whytes ripped off from the taxman), or are you grasping at any straw that you can to help fuel your hatred of Rangers.
Y’know…..its not healthy son…..all this obsession over The Worlds Most Successful Club, Glasgow Rangers, can not be doing your health or social life any good. Perhaps its time to stop hating and having thinly veiled swipes at Rangers(with sectarian and racist undertones)….in fact, pass that info on to the rest of the rabid infected fans of the worlds most second placed club, pacific shelf 595. Trust me sunshine…this country would be a far nicer place without the likes of the eastenders continually kicking and hating!!!
Its people like your abhorrent wee self that keep the arguments and hating going on……but if the hating and fighting was gone, you would have nothing left in your sad, disturbed little life.
Yet another rabid fenian rant, when are you fannies going to concentrate on your own teams failings, like the diet your players are on, your manager’s excellent dress sense and your combined failure to realise you are all dicks and your unrepenting desire to reply to this post because ‘The Prodolski’ has you wound up like a troup of Jimmy Saville’s at a Celtic boy’s club Training night.
I was twenty two when Ian Archer made his comment.
I have lived with the views of your kind for more than half a century.
Far from being sad I am laughing my head off!
The thing that sticks in my throat is all they ever bang on about is that that we have shamed Scotland.
Financial doping yes we might be guilty.
The dirty little secret that was kept under rapes at park head is that not shame ?
Would you rather have a tenner stolen or well ! Big jock knew
Oh my the stench of jaffa monkeys is unberable questiion for the zombies did walter smith know about big richard did walter and richard visit kincora house along with those members of the orange order,was mark harrbison alone when he was molesting kids in stoneyford orange hall co antrim orange order pedophiles tut tut
Do Rangers fans ever read the main articles? It seems to me that they all ignore them and just post responses full of invective ignorant sectarian bile. (And poorly expressed bile at that; if these are adults then their schooling – or lack of it- has a lot to answer for.)
I’d like to be read opinionated but rational replies to postings about Rangers plights and explaining, even defending, events at Ibrox since the start of the year. Sadly I won’t find them here.
The Rangers supporters who have commented on this piece are an utter embarrassment and haven’t addressed a single point raised. And I don’t support Celtic.
Rangers (sevco) the ONLY show in town!!! (Off the park that is)
Celtic are the only show on the park. Top of the premier league & flying high in the champions league. Scotland’s only top club.
But for comedy & scandal… Sevco really ARE the only show in town. The story that keeps on giving. And there’s a lot more to come!!
You’re club died while you obsessed about child abuse, you sick puppies.
“significant investment in the club from the individuals and organisations who are part of our consortium.”
ROTFL – the 5M Pounds Green borrowed?
Steven (16 October) claims that
“Having seen the club they hate having come out of thism officially at least…
retaining their name
retaining their history… I get the feeling the Rangers-haters are scrubbing out looking for straws to cling on to indicating dark times ahead for the newco.”
But Duff & Phelps have today – 17 October – issued a statement that:
The firm was called in as administrators at Ibrox in February this year after the club had run up debts of up to £134m, including a tax bill of £94.4m, according to Duff and Phelps’ final report to the hundreds owed money by Rangers.
Joint administrator Paul Clark said: “Creditors have today given their approval for the Administrators to bring the administration process to an end and to place the company into liquidation. As a result, we as administrators have instructed our legal team to prepare the necessary application for lodging in the Court of Session as a matter of urgency.
“Should the application be approved, then Malcolm Cohen and James Bernard Stephen of BDO will be appointed liquidators of RFC 2012 plc, and will undertake the process of liquidation of the ‘oldco’ company and the continued recovery of funds for creditors. This will not affect the current operations of The Rangers Football Club in any way as it is a completely separate entity.”
Note that final sentence: “This will not affect the current operations of The Rangers Football Club in any way as it is a completely separate entity.”
Charles Green himself said as recently as June that “all the history and tradition that we’ve been desperately trying to preserve would be just swept down the drain. [If CVA is rejected and Rangers are liquidated]”
Proof that Steven is talking nonsense and his club have yet to win away in the league in their entire history.
And what’s this I hear as I type…Craig Whyte/White is back in town and putting s poke in the flotation…this Rangers tribute act farce really is the gift that keeps on giving!
This Prodolski creature is clearly in need of firstly lessons in his Queen’s English and secondly psychiatric help.
read it again or get someone to explain it to you
“The firm was called in as administrators at Ibrox in February this year after the club had run up debts of up to £134m, including a tax bill of £94.4m, according to Duff and Phelps’ final report to the hundreds owed money by Rangers.”
Now do you understand?
BluStu said ‘How do you KNOW that Rangers actually owed all that money(apart from the cash whytes ripped off from the taxman)?B
Because Stu(pid) it’s a fact – see
Rangers debt to HMRC – in reality UK taxpayers – currently stands at £94,426,217.22. Other debts include £50/00 to facepainter and, shamingly, about four grand to the volunteer St Andres Ambulance Brigade.
All reasonable people – not just football fans – should be appalled by RFC’s conduct in just walking away from their legally incurred debts/ I have yet to read or hear one word of contrition from anyone of a blue persuasion.
Ir would be intersting (amaziong even) if a detailed rebuttal could be given to teh fact here, one that doesn’t make sectarian slures and actually addresess the points without whataboutery’.
Now that you have all had time to digest the fact that Rangers owe nowhere near the £194 million quoted by some of the posters on here. You should think of deleting your baised agenda ridden posts in the same same manner as some of the more prolific celtic bloggers have had to do what they blogged was biased bollocks.
Yes. I’ll have a think about it. Right. Thought about it. And, no, Mr Garden, I won’t be deleting anything. OK, I was wrong to suggest that Rangers would be getting “£20m from supporters” via the share issue. But I held that opinion in good faith, however ridculous it may seem in hindsight…£20m, what WAS I thinking?. And, of course, other opinions are “pending appeal.”
Season greetings to you and yours.