The Future of Rangers FC

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    • King seeks talks

      Exclusive by Darrell King

      Dave King is set to hold more talks with Rangers over a possible take-over as the clock ticks on the Ibrox club's perilous financial situation.

      As revealed in SportTimes yesterday the club's bankers, Lloyds, have implemented a drastic business plan which has been enforced to try and address the club's £30m debts.

      King is well aware of the massive implications for the club if a deal can't be struck. The bank - who have appointed Donald Muir on to the Rangers board to look after their interests - will effectively decide on any offers that come in for players during the January window, although no exact figure has been set for monies to be recouped at that time.

      But, as we outlined, the real damage will come in the summer with swingeing cuts to the squad and the possibility of several youth team players being asked to step up and replace star names who are sold.

      There will be no money for new players, no new contracts and the current management team will not stay - it has been described by club sources as the doomsday' scenario.

      King's advisors have already made initial approaches, but SportTimes understands they have been left frustrated so far at the stance of the bank and the asking price.

      However, the South African is the leading contender to buy Rangers from Sir David Murray and is already working on his future plans for the club should he take control.

      Now, it remains to be seen if King - or any other interested parties - can step forward and strike a deal before the bank's business plan starts to hit hard.

      A business analyst today confirmed the statement Rangers released on their website last night effectively signalled that they are now talking to an interested party.

      It reads: "The Board of Directors of The Rangers Football Club plc is aware of the recent speculation and various comments in the media over the weekend.

      "The Club's board has been advised by its principal shareholder, Murray International Holdings Limited ("MIH"), that it is considering options regarding its shareholding in the Club and this may or may not lead to MIH disposing of some or all of its stake in the Club to a third party.

      "These considerations are still at an early stage and may or may not lead to any offer for the issued shares of the Club.

      "The directors of the Club will keep shareholders advised of key developments"

    • Smith fury as bank denies it is in charge

      Walter Smith has reacted furiously to the Lloyds Banking Group statement released yesterday that implies the Rangers' manager lied about the bank's control of the club.

      The Evening Times understands Smith was apoplectic at the wording of the bank's response to our exclusive revelations yesterday.

      They outlined the critical condition of the club, the growing influence of the bank in its affairs and the split that has emerged within the boardroom.

      Smith feels he has now been left in an impossible position and conveyed his deep unhappiness to the hierarchy.

      Indeed, he is now so fed-up with the internal politics and deception at play he could leave as soon as a new owner is found, even if it means leaving before the end of the season or before his contract ends in January.

      He has also received the unanimous support of the fans after Lloyds statement elicited an angry response across fans' websites and phone-ins.

      The statement, released last night, included the incendiary phrase: "Given the recent press coverage, we would therefore like to be clear Rangers FC is neither operated nor run by Lloyds Banking Group."

      Smith, 61, is so disenchanted with life at Ibrox he felt compelled to speak out publicly after the 1-1 draw against Hibernian on Saturday.

      In a further twist, the Evening Times understands chief executive Martin Bain will not walk away from the club despite growing speculation the bank is keen to remove the man who has steadfastly refused to agree with the swingeing programme of cuts mooted at the last board meeting.

      Gordon McKie, the chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union, has been linked as a possible replacement but if Bain is sacked, he will be followed out the door by Smith and Alastair Johnston, the chairman, in protest at the bank's decision.

      This would effectively leave Donald Muir, the Lloyds-employed turnaround specialist appointed to the board, as the man effectively in charge of the club, which is around £30m in debt.

    • Smokes and Mirrors - The Sale of Rangers FC
      By Grandmaster Suck

      Tuesday, 27th October 2009

      Nothing is happening, everything is happening.

      Scottish football fans are not well-served by our media. It speaks volumes for them that the current crisis at Rangers has been predicted for years - and in detail - by writers on and in the fanzine. It hasn't happened overnight but as with bar-room speculation over the value of a player add in a few long words and a sports editor will give it the nod to print.

      What's new?!
      At the moment Dave King is the talk of the town. He certainly can't and won't be overlooked in any sale, his investment in Murray Sports the company which effectively owns part of Rangers on behalf of the Murray Group (the other larger part is owned direct by MIH) means he is certainly a player if not the guy who will be the Chairman when the dust settles.
      Negotiations such as these are delicate - they will be being conducted by people with no interest in football and working to strict orders from their master to squeeze every penny. The idea that some banker is phoning up Chick Young & Co. to say 'so-and-so is offering 60p in the pound' is ludicrous. 60p in the pound for what? The debt? Share price?
      For the most part papers are working in the dark in areas far beyond their understanding. We saw a fine example of this a few years ago when traynor announced Murray had given Rangers and extra £15million to spend complete with lists of possible signing targets. In fact the revolving £15million credit facility was there simply to cover any going over the overdraft limit.

      Technically no but in real life of course they are. It might not be that the bank is directing every purchase of players socks but certainly every purchase above a certain level will require their okay. They may not have taken the pen from David Murray's hand but they certainly have the chequebook under lock and key.
      The bank are bastards! - Well, that's their job. What do you expect?

      The bank probably have another year in a window of opportunity in which to bin bad debt. If they do so just now neither the city nor the government will blink an eye. As with every business under their care, they will be looking at the £700million debt and 120+ companies of the Murray International Holdings and working out what they can expect to be paid back in the short-term and looking at the asset base to see what can be flogged off should the need arise. Murray has a vast landbank in west Edinburgh and that may be brought into play.
      It's such a vast corporation that much talk of it is simply playing with numbers and speculation. Even the accounts only give you a snapshot of how things stood the year previously. But the bank will now have a very firm idea of what it's strengths and weaknesses are and how they propose to get their money out - long-term and short-term.
      Trying to influence the bank with the threat of a boycott is problematic. Bad publicity yes - but in these economically straitened times how many Bears will be either willing or able to move accounts, mortgages or insurance policies around?
      How will this impact on Rangers? If they decide to play very hard ball then they could insist on January sales of Bougherra, Davis, Mendes and McGregor simply to tide over the club through the final months of the season when income is at it's lowest and before season ticket and hospitality renewals go out. Ibrox itself is not a readily realiseable asset but Murray Park is about the only hidden value on the balance sheet and it would be a plum candidate for sale.

      There are a number of scenarios. The main motive force is the bank. But with Rangers being valued at £79million on the Murray International balance sheet means they will not rush to force a sale as the consequences of selling at a lower price will ripple through the group accounts.
      Those wishing to purchase will have to pay something for the shares and also prove to the bank they can handle the debt - either with more cash or a coherent business plan.
      The sums of money are so vast that the decision on the sale will be, as stated previously, made by people with no interest in Scotland or Scottish football. I suspect their judgement will depend as much on how the sale effects Murray International as it does Rangers.
      A deal will be done. It will be a tough one - that's the legacy of not enough fans heeding warnings early enough. Rangers will go on but the form is in the air right now.

      Those are the words of Winston Churchill but they are also the legacy of David Murray.
      It is a legacy of years of hardship ahead. Make no mistake. No Laudrups, no Gazzas, no Goughs. We will pay for the recklessness.
      Whoever the new owner is I suspect we shall be on a bread and water diet for the next five to ten years - small-name signings and loan deals. But the club will survive.
      Make no mistake great sacrifices will be called for - fans are the goose that lays the golden egg, the single biggest investor in RFC, and any new regime will come calling asking for help. This time fans better be prepared to have a shopping list of reforms that is practical and meaningful.

    • Background and Guidelines to company sales and revival
      By Brock Stoker

      Tuesday, 27th October 2009

      If you're sitting comfortably, let's begin.

      Once upon a time there was a conglomerate company with interests in many different types of industry. It was a successful business and its leader seemed to crave the limelight. Some even thought he bought one of his businesses to increase his public profile.

      For a while this small part of the empire was very successful both at what it did, and in bringing publicity to the said leader, but as time went on the costs and time involved in running this business went up, and the leader decided he didn't really like the customers of this venture very much either.

      However, it did have the advantage of providing income for other parts of the empire and so as long as the other parts of garden were rosy and no one made him an offer he couldn't refuse, then he hung onto the business.

      Now let's presume that this conglomerate company enters the worst recession and banking crisis in living memory with a shed load of debt, and maybe half of that needs repaid now. What would its banks do? They would examine the business as a whole and then see what cash they might be able to raise. This could involve selling any subsidiaries which were not integral to the whole business.

      In order to sell a subsidiary the banks might first make sure that business operated a viable business model - otherwise why should anybody buy it? This would probably involve cost cutting and could be painful for that subsidiary in the short term.

      However, the good news would be that the bank would sell the business for whatever it could raise. It would only be worried about cash in, not book value, or what was paid for it. It might even consider selling it for £1, if the new owner took on responsibility for the debt.

      But in these situations, unless there are competing bids it can drag out as the two sides haggle over price. This creates prolonged uncertainty for the said subsidiary company. So this is the sort of situation that I am sure many businesses in the UK and around the world are suffering from now. Just thought you might be interested.

      Brock Stoker

    • Man fragt sich natürlich auch, was in den Büroräumen der anderen 3 Dutzend schottischen Vereine gerade so passiert, ob da die Banker auch fein mit den Zähnen knirschen ...

      NB: Der Grandmaster mag Murray nicht sonderlich und das kommt m.E. auch wieder zum Ausdruck.
      Gæð a Wyrd swa hio scel!

    • Caledonia schrieb:

      Rostock_Loyal schrieb:

      aber bitte keinen Verkauf des Stadionnamens! :(

      Ist sicher nur noch eine Frage der Zeit. Allerdings nicht nur bei uns.

      - Ich weiß nicht was daran falsches wäre, unter uns fans bliebe Ibrox sowieso Ibrox.
      Außerdem muss man unsere finanzielle situation berücksichtigen und da würden zusätzliche einnahmen von sagen wir 5 Millionen für 5 Jahre (1 Mio/ Jahr) sicherlich nicht - schaden!
      - Und stellt euch mal vor was es für "lustige" namen geben könnte = Orange Arena :D
      Rangers FC - Scottish Premier League - Champions 2008/09
    • Latest Ownership Rumour: American Interest in the Rangers

      Tuesday, 27th October 2009

      Speculation frenzy continues in absence of facts.

      Tonight's Real Radio phone-in has host Ewen Cameron claiming interest from an American consortium.

      Perhaps this is a case of taking Alastair Johnston's involvement in IMG and performing the old-fashioned '2+2=5'.

      Perhaps not: who, bar a couple of people, can say? And of those, who would or could say, unless matters were close to completion? Exactly.

      Add this to the rumours currently doing the rounds: Dave King; Scottish-based group lead by Douglas Park; Souness and friends; Add your own.

      Stock Market movement today is minimal. There will be no new owner today, that's for sure, and tomorrow is bound to bring more madness. But we will at least be aware of a change in the ownership of the Rangers when the financial institutions reveal - and are obliged to reveal - a significant change in the shareholding.

      When facts have been established FF and others will be happy to bring them to you.

      In the meantime, take much of that which is printed, spoken and put out there with a handy measure of salt.

    • Clarity required for Rangers sale

      Sir David Murray will have to go public with details of the sale of any of his majority shareholding in Rangers.

      The Ibrox club are actively seeking a new owner and have been placed on the official Takeover Panel list.

      And the watchdog for company takeovers has the power to force publicity for dealings as a means to protect the interests of smaller shareholders.

      Murray, who relinquished his chairman's role in August, owns the bulk of shares through Murray International Holdings.

      The club's share capital currently stands at £10.8m, while they are in debt to the tune of between £25m to £30m. There are obvious assets like Ibrox Stadium and the players.

      Rangers face pressure from Lloyds Banking Group to bring their costs under control, but the bank was quick to dismiss the idea that it was running the club's financial affairs.

      At the weekend, manager Walter Smith said the bank was effectively operating the club and that all of his players have been up for sale since January.

      However, a statement from the bank on Monday afternoon read: "We do not run or manage the companies that we bank - that is, quite properly, the responsibility of the management.

      "We would therefore like to be clear that Rangers FC is neither operated or run by Lloyds Banking Group."

      The statement also made it clear that it was not behind Murray's decision to step down as chairman.

      "The board of Rangers FC is developing and implementing a sustainable business plan and we have agreed to support this plan," it stated.

      "The group is aware of the unique position that football occupies across many Scottish communities and has been working with Scottish football clubs, including Rangers."

      Rangers say Murray is "considering options" regarding his shares and South Africa-based businessman Dave King has been widely linked with a possible interest in significantly increasing his stakeholding.

      However, they stressed Murray's considerations are still at an early stage and "this may or may not lead to MIH disposing of some or all of its stake in the club to a third party".

      On the question of selling the club, Lloyds says that this is a decision for the board and that the bank will only play only the normal role for a creditor in any such sale.

      Lloyds does not hold any equity in Rangers and it is understood that the share ownership has not changed since Murray stood down.

      Smith told BBC Scotland on Saturday that Rangers were facing difficult times.

      "Now the bank have taken over the running of the club, they'll have their own ideas and obviously investment isn't one of them," Smith said.

      "I just think there's a stagnation about our club at the present moment."

      Smith's contract, and that of assistant boss Ally McCoist, expire in January, midway through the current season.

      However, with the current financial uncertainty, it is unclear whether new chairman Alastair Johnston will offer them new deals before the turn of the year.

      Rangers drew 1-1 with Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday and lost heavily to Unirea Urziceni in the Champions League in midweek.

      And Smith, who refused to elaborate further at a Rangers media conference on Monday, admitted on Saturday that he was unable to bolster his squad.

      "Rangers' situation is quite simple and we've been fairly honest about it for about a year now," he said.

      "All the players have been up for transfer. If anybody is telling me that's a motivational factor for any player then they're living in another world from me.

      "Our boys have handled the situation well and did extremely well last season to win the league and the Scottish Cup.

      "There are things that are outwith everyone's control. David Murray has been fantastic for Rangers over his 20 years. He's had to step away and now the bank have taken over the running of the club.

      "So, therefore, we sit and wait for an owner. The club's been up for sale for a period of time and I don't think all those things going on have helped."

    • Time for change before it's too late

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 11:30

      The Rangers Supporters Assembly, Rangers Worldwide Alliance, Rangers Supporters' Trust and Rangers Supporters Association united today to urge the Lloyds Banking Group and the Murray Group to facilitate the sale of Rangers FC.

      Rangers fans have endured unnecessary and damaging uncertainty over the future of the Club and it is now time for this to be resolved. The current situation cannot continue – it is imperative that a change in ownership is completed now.

      We welcome recent statements from Lloyds that they are not running the Club and are providing support in difficult times. However, the only meaningful way they can do that in the best interests of Rangers FC and their fans is to help a takeover be completed quickly.

      Rangers FC are Scotland's champions, a worldwide brand with fans in all corners of the globe. Many fans are personal and business customers of the Lloyds Banking Group (which now includes Halifax Bank of Scotland). Lloyds must understand that Rangers fans will quickly withdraw business if there is any risk whatsoever of the Club's current situation being worsened by their actions.

      On behalf of all Rangers supporters we urge those involved to facilitate a takeover deal quickly, end damaging speculation and engage the wider support in taking Scotland's leading football club forward.

      Stephen Smith - Chairman, Rangers Supporters Trust
      Andy Kerr - President, Rangers Supporters Assembly & Rangers Worldwide Alliance
      John McMillan - General Secretary, Rangers Supporters Association

      Quelle - RST