Still makes me laugh…
I suppose there was a certain irony in Rangers FC submitting papers to the Court of Session in Edinburgh signalling its intention to appoint an administrator.
Until now, any significance of February 13th to Rangers fans might have been the date on which the Bill of Right was signed allowing William and Mary of Orange to assume the throne of England. It was a few months later, in May 1689, that Scotland’s nobility accepted him as king, paving the way later in the year for the battle of Killiecrankie. On their way home from that battle, the victorious McIains of Glencoe (part of the MacDonald clan) together with their Glengarry cousins, looted the lands of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon*.
Anyway I digress. The matter in hand is that one of Scotland’s most famous, and at times infamous, sporting institutions looks in serious danger of going bust.
The details of how the club got to this point in terms of offshore Employment Benefit Trusts and inflated fees and wages for players may be complicated in their detail but the bigger picture is simple.
They lived beyond their means.
Way beyond their means – and it seems that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have decided that this was done in a fraudulent manner on a grand scale.
Rumours circulating yesterday put the possible amount owed to the taxman as a sum not unadjacent to £75 million pounds. To put this in perspective that’s just about as much as
Sir Fred Goodwin will receive in pension payments over the next eleven years.
And there’s a point. In the nineties and noughties, who was it presided over the organisation now known to have lived high on a hog at the expense of the taxpayer? Who was it who cheated the taxman to give his club the edge in winning so many trophies?
Step forward SIR David Murray. Like
Sir Fred, Murray was given the knighthood for his success in business. The public side of that success was clearly that achieved by Rangers.
One wonders if the Honours Forfeiture Committee will be watching?
The interesting thing now is how matters will progress from here. HMRC cannot instigate a winding up order on a company in administration. HMRC as in all cases of administration and liquidation are first in the queue for any pay out.
Then any further pay out will be to the creditors.
The biggest creditor is………Craig Whyte, who allegedly sold the future sale of season tickets in a scheme to raise capital, again allegedly to fund his takeover and guarantee of £18 million of debt.
So playing devil’s advocate here, I wonder if the following scenario will now take place?
Rangers go into administration. Whyte then quickly offers to buy the club from the administrator. It is the only offer in town and because of the speed of the offer, Rangers might be spared a ban from European competition next season.
Whyte funds this offer by whatever the administrator decides is a suitable amount to pay creditors. If it is 10p in the £ then Whyte (described by a judge last week as “wholly unreliable”) has made £1.8 million for himself allegedly by using other people’s money.
HMRC meanwhile are forced into a position of accepting a similar amount in the pound, thus allowing Rangers to re-emerge fairly debt free and with Whyte in charge.
Whyte in such an instance would have control of an admittedly much reduced but solvent Rangers unencumbered by debt or irrational expectation by supporters. Enough of them will “follow, follow” to build on Mr Whyte’s (non) investment.
The above scenario may seem far fetched at first glance but to those who think that, have a look at what happened (albeit on a smaller scale) at Motherwell, Leeds United and Airdrie.
Whatever happens I don’t think we have heard the last of Mr Whyte or indeed former Ibrox chairman Alastair Johnston who has stated that the current situation was all part of Whyte’s planfrom day one.
Although Johnston himself comes across as a slippery customer, it is hard to disagree with him on this point.
As a point of interest, February 13th was important for another reason pertaining to William of Orange.
It was in 1692 on that date that the Glencoe Massacre took place under the command of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon*.
There may be bloodshed yet……..