Tag: Rangers

Rangers FC & The Self-Importance Of Being Sandy

My limited experience of writing on football finance and club takeover and ownership issues has taught me one thing; that no matter what the specific issue under those headings, the Rangers Football Club will always supply an extreme, and invariably extremely daft, example. As I was writing my last article, about Birmingham City’s sledgehammer-on-nut legal action against the Often Partisan website, a similar story was escalating in Glasgow. The Rangers “situations” have introduced all shades of individual characters to Scottish football, and have spawned almost as many fans’ protest groups. One of these “characters” is Alexander “Sandy” Easdale, co-owner of the Greenock-based McGill’s bus company with his brother James and sole executive director of “The Rangers Football Club Ltd” (TRFCL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the pretentiously-entitled “Rangers International Football Club” (RIFC), the ‘parent company’ of all things Ibrox. One of these fans’ protest groups is Sons of Struth, named in honour of Bill Struth, Rangers’ pioneering manager between 1920 and 1954 and generally regarded as the most important man in the history of the old Rangers. The Sons (SOS) are more a Facebook page than a formal group. But they have had a high-profile in recent fans’ protests, through spokesman Craig Houston. And Houston has been the specific recent target of lawyers representing Easdale, who has long taken issue with the way he and his brother have been portrayed...

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Birmingham City & Rangers: A Bad Week To Be A Bluenose

Both sides of what could soon be a proper international border, it is tough being a “Bluenose” just now. The odds against Rangers seeking the financial sanctuary of administration, or the sale and leaseback of major assets, as solutions to their latest book-balancing difficulties get shorter each day. Meanwhile, the semi-mythical “Owners and Directors Test” in England’s Football League looks like being failed at last, although Birmingham City President and major shareholder Carson Yeung has had to spend years laundering money in Hong Kong to do so. These are the bare facts of the Rangers’ situation. They have averaged 40,000-plus crowds since entering Scottish Football’s fourth tier in August 2012. Last season, their gate income dwarfed the rest of their division combined, as it has this season in the third tier. They received £22m from an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in in December 2012. But that money and all other income…has gone. So Rangers have had to borrow £1.5m from hedge fund managers Laxey Partners and club director Sandy Easdale for “general working capital purposes,” or they would be insolvent. If income is as closely-linked to on-field success as the experts in such areas suggest, Rangers should have guaranteed annual promotion while making profits significant enough to allow them to challenge bitter rivals Celtic as soon as they reach the top-flight. The explanation for their failure to...

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Rangers: Alistair McCoist’s “Pearls Of Wisdom”

It is tempting to leave this page blank, both in homage to Len Shackleton’s famous chapter on “The average directors’ knowledge of football” and because so much of what Rangers boss Ally McCoist has said this past week has left people speechless. But the sheer magnitude of McCoist’s folly deserves the fullest possible exposure. Talk of the new Rangers aping the old by going into administration has lit up Scotland’s traditional and social media since word got out last Thursday that Rangers’ first-team squad had been asked to consider taking a 15% pay cut and had declined so to do. Chief Executive Gordon Wallace’s claim that “no offer had been made” met with merited contempt and parody when he added that it was “more of a conceptual discussion about the possibility of some sort of reduction.” One contributor to the Celtic website Kerrydale Street’s ‘Next Sevco Discussion Thread’ suggested that Wallace might have “made them a conceptual discussion they can’t refuse.” And it was easy to imagine the players suggesting that Wallace consider discussing the concept of “getting tae ****.” But Wallace’s descent into the linguistic world of Brian Glanville-isms (one for the teenagers) was a momentary aberration. He has, after all, spoken the only sense so far on the subject of the restarted Rangers’ finances, telling last month’s AGM that “the current operating structure we have is too...

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“Person”(s) Of The Year 2013… “Charlotte Fakeovers”

As 2013 was such a rubbish year for football governance and finance, who better to be football’s “man” of it than someone called Charlotte, who told a tale of financial skullduggery and subterfuge and whose real identity, or possibly identities, remain concealed? Mark Murphy thinks “no-one.” The phrase “internet phenomenon” is, granted, clichéd journalese. And I would hesitate to use it about a Twitter account whose origin and veracity remained shrouded in mystery (especially outside Scotland), for its seven months in and out of cyberspace. However, “Charlotte Fakeovers” was such a phenomenon… definitely the best of 2013 at summarising modern football businesses’ ills. Ad worthy of examination, now that “she” claims “my work is done and I’ve cashed in,” regardless of whether the Rangers-related material (s)he published was genuine (probably), genuinely obtained (probably not) or the work of an exceptionally febrile imagination. Project “Charlotte” was the codename for a bid fronted by English businessman Andrew Ellis to buy Rangers from David Murray in 2010 – Murray’s business HQ being in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square. The negotiations broke down and Ellis’s lasting Rangers legacy was to introduce Craig Whyte to the club. Ellis has since apologised… profusely. In May, CF started posting comments on the Scottish Football Monitor (TSFM), website set up “to cast a questioning and watchful eye on Scottish Football officialdom and the compliant mainstream media.” But although they...

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Rangers: Winners & Losers From Another AGM

The wretched soap opera which has been based in Govan in West Glasgow for so many years now has come to a potentially seminal episode. Rangers International Football Club PLC held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) after the company, which runs the new Rangers FC, posted losses of approximately an arm and a leg during its first year of trading; gargantuan losses for a Scottish fourth-tier football club with regular home gates of 45,000+ and all the more inexcusable given the financial circumstances which required the club’s formation. The last AGM of “Rangers” shareholders, in 2009, was a chapter in a standard tale of financial mismanagement. The then-manager Walter Smith had said that Lloyds Banking Group were effectively running debt-laden Rangers. And this was manifested in the presence of one Donald Muir on the Rangers PLC board. Disaffected shareholders overwhelmingly voted Muir off on a show of hands. But this wasn’t the “right result” for the Ibrox powers-that-be. So the result was declared “uncertain” from the top table and put to a “card vote” in the style of supposedly archaic trade union block votes; whereupon majority shareholder David Murray’s block vote of 90 million-ish made the result less “uncertain.” It was much the same outcome in 2013, in that the will of the people (which Rangers fans claim “we are”) were thwarted by the card votes of RIFC’s...

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