“Rangers have agreed a funding facility with a leading merchant banker and claim it’s another step towards financial recovery. The Ibrox board have been granted an overdraft of “modest millions” with Close Brothers to fund a range of projects at the club. Record Sport understands the facility is less than £3 million, but managing director Stewart Robertson insists there is no danger of chairman Dave King and his fellow investors withdrawing their backing. He has also refuted suggestions the club, who have relied on soft loans from King and Co in recent years, are cash-strapped.
Rather, Robertson says it’s evidence of the credibility of the current board among City moneymen as Rangers prepare to launch a share issue later in the year. Robertson said:
“It’s another positive step in the club moving forward. We turn over more than £30 million a year and there are very few businesses with that level of turnover that don’t have a banking facility. Some folk take pleasure in winding us up because we don’t have a bank facility but this is the next stage in moving the club forward and getting it onto a sensible business footing. As trite as it sounds, the money is almost incidental. it’s about someone having belief in the club and the way it is being run as we move forward and normalise operations. Dave and the other investors remain firmly behind the club. The contingency is still there if we need money for a particular project or to head into the transfer market in the summer. We need to get to the position we’re a self sustaining football club. That has always been the target. We can’t keep going back to the well. A £30 million business with no bank facilities is very, very unusual. It’s another step and it’s about doing it within the realms of financial prudence. We’re not going daft with it, we’re doing it within the framework of what the business can afford and it involves modest millions, which are sustainable and serviceable. We must operate at a sensible level and the banks aren’t going to throw silly sums of money at clubs going forward. There is a check and balance on the whole thing.”
The overdraft will be secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park and is in addition to the £7 million King promised auditors he’d underwrite for any losses in the current financial year.
The facility will be used to bolster the club’s finances at a time of the year when clubs are traditionally stretched and it also comes ahead of the start next week of a £3 million refurb of the Ibrox fabric.
“It’s general working capital, because finances are stronger in the summer when season ticket and SPFL money comes in. There’s lots of work going on around the stadium, which lifts the morale of people who work here, as well as the supporters who can see what’s going
We’ve put out all the fires and now we can put the foundations down to take Ibrox back to where it should be as a stadium.”
“Close Brothers would not have come to us if they thought there were still issues with the club in any shape or form so it’s a vote of confidence in the way Rangers are moving forward. They can see the investment already made and there’s a share issue coming down the road as well. Step by step we’re beginning to make progress.”
King is currently in talks with the Takeover Panel after they ordered him to make an offer of 20 pence a share after he was found to have acted in concert with the Three Bears when seizing control of the club three years ago.
King appealed the decision by the Court of Session and that issue needs to be resolved before Rangers can offer a new shares issue.
Rangers knocked back a bid from Chinese club Beijing Renhe for Alfredo Morelos last week that could have netted them up to £7.5 million.
“There’s still a way to go but we’re getting into a position where we’re much stronger than we were. We’re trying to build a squad rather than take it apart.”
Prior to casting a forensic eye at the major inaccuracies in this piece by Gary Ralston, I invite readers to cast their mind back to a a previous occasion when Rangers Lite went to the well in the same month three years ago:
“RANGERS supporters’ groups have claimed fans could have loaned the club money on “more favourable terms”. Fans reacted with fury after it was revealed a £1.5m loan has been secured against Edmiston House, a building behind the Copland Road stand, and Albion car park, as revealed in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Times. However, the Rangers Supporters Association, Assembly and Trust claimed last night some supporters, who are also shareholders, could offer the cash. Rangers confirmed the deal to borrow the cash from football board chairman Sandy Easdale and investment group Laxey Partners yesterday.”
Drew Robertson, a spokesman for The Rangers Supporters Association, Assembly and Trust stated that fans are “extremely concerned” about the latest twist in the Ibrox saga. Robertson added:
“The three groups call on Rangers, or the Nomad (nominated adviser) Daniel Stewart, to clarify the matter.”
Sandy Easdale, a Real Rangers Man now following my first football love, Greenock Morton FC, was so pilloried by The Klan that he retaliated by suing a blogger who was publishing the most bitter and inaccurate slurs on his character. He sued him for £200,000 and won. Mr. Easdale also received death threats. His crime? He provided a £500,000 interest-free loan to keep the lights on at the club he loved.
I know where Sandy lives but I would never reveal this on an open forum. Unfortunately those who wish to do him harm were also cognizant of his well-appointed home with a panoramic view. Police Scotland, as effective as a chocolate fire guard, did not offer any level of comfort.
Note how Mr. Robertson called for a sit-down with the NOMAD. Perhaps the eponymous Stewart Robertson can provide an explanation as to why no NOMAD was prepared to work with Dave King despite claims by The Magnificently Maned Adulterer that a couple were lined up? Or perhaps Mr. Robertson would like to offer an explanation on how he put out the fire burning at LSE AIM, a fire that razed RIFC’s equity listing to the ground? Mr Robertson, a man of many words when the stench of only one will do, could also explain whatever happened to the plan to list on ISDX? Was that the fault of a pesky NOMAD again? How prescient of them not to have anything to do with a career criminal let loose on the silverware. Has he melted down Lite’s only trophy, or is it still squeezed into the glass cabinet that houses the loving cup?
Robertson and Ralston are two heads of the same snake. Their rhetoric is OPM (other people’s money) for the masses. My friends in the square mile would not touch Close Brothers with a barge pole. Only a junkie three days shy of his next fix would go anywhere near them. One Hedge Fund Manager who racked up £300,000 entertaining clients at Stringfellows failed to pay back double that quantum within the specified term of six months. Close Brothers took him to court. As he did not have £600,000 and costs, Bailiffs pursued him aggressively. They turned up at his house and put a clamp on his car. They then drilled his locks and removed his furniture. Everything that was not nailed down was sold at auction. Proceeds did not cover the bailiffs fees. He is now an undischarged bankrupt. They took his home.
One could barely pass a cigarette between Close Brothers and Wonga.
How stupid must one be to attempt to sell a loan of last resort as a feather in one’s cap? Only a Real Rangers Man would try this on. We now discover that other undisclosed assets are also secured. Could this be the first tranche of season ticket sales in May? Have the board gone down the Craig Whyte route?
How on god’s green earth can this emergency loan be perceived as a vote of confidence in a board who have limped forward on loans and burnt every corporate bridge in their path?
As those who would like to wade in my atheist’s blood are reading this piece, allow me to prise the scales from your eyes. There was no bid for Morelos. It was just a cheap device to ‘gild the lily‘ before going cap in hand to Close Brothers. Tony Frail gets a nosebleed when travelling North of Watford. My sources scoff at the idea that he approached Rangers.
However the paragraph that puts the S in sophistry comes from Ralston viz:
“King is currently in talks with the Takeover Panel.” Did Ralston have to burn down his remedial school to graduate?
King has been taken to court by the Takeover Panel. They are not in talks with King. They are going to rag-doll him like a Mexican piñata. King is appealing Lord Bannatyne’s Opinion which gives the City Watchdog teeth. My Edinburgh Legal Eagle is of the view that King is ‘farting in the wind.‘ With Robertson and Ralston as his side-kicks one would not wish to be downwind of their skewed rectal rhetoric.
Close Brothers will have more than a pound of flesh riding on this deal. The interest rates will be so exorbitant that it will make the beleaguered board’s eyes water. I add the caveat that tears might not be elicited as their eyes have already been gouged out. This deal will not be predicated on a an equity carve-up that could soon be stillborn.
If only King had stepped up like Easdale did they would not be in this mess. But then what did we expect from a career criminal?