Grasping The Nettle

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.

Robertson added:

“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.

Robertson said:

“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.”

*******************************************************************************

Smell that? It smells like Ralston and Robertson in the morning!

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?

 

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21 thoughts on “Grasping The Nettle”

    1. You joke, but I’ve got plans to buy the history of Third Lanark, bring back the same club and instantly become a club with rich history and trophies. Looking forward to the journey.

  1. Many thanks again JJ for your analysis and explanation. Like many I disbelieve any statements emanating from Ibrox via the SMSM who have proved incapable on any objectivity over the past few years.
    Stewart Robertson’s credibility is in tatters which makes him an ideal candidate for a senior position within the SFA when sophistry abounds.
    Notice that the Walter Smith ‘myth’ as the next Scotland manager has been scotched by the individual himself. Will we see any self-criticism and apologies on the part of those bigging him up and telling us he was the man for the job? I don’t think so.
    Is there a power struggle ongoing within the SFA? Regan got the boot despite the support of Petrie and Macrae so clearly there are some who saw through the veil surrounding his incompetence.

  2. Sophistry of the highest order indeed but shouldn’t Robertson have put this in more suitable language to appeal to his demographic?

    So Guys, more good news! As we progress to Scotland and then European Dominance I wanted to let you know that we have managed to get some much needed dosh from another lender of last resort. It was either that or it was curtains for us as Dave has proved yet again that on the promises of sending money etc he never seems to manage it!! Children’s Inheritance my arse eh? He really is a rascal! .
    So anyway I’ve managed to get 3 Mill! It is secured against assets and the interest rate would give a Neighbourhood loan shark an erection and make Wonga blush but don’t you guys worry your big tattooed heads about that. Oh and usual rules apply here guys- Listen to how I’m going to tell you this and believe me, and only me on this and not anyone else!! And thanks to Robert Halpern / Paul McKenna for the tips and thanks also to our brothers in the Laptop Loyal for not questioning my /our/ true version.

    Anyway, all’s well guys. Lights are on until we get your more of your cash for season tickets. Pay early if you can. And please ask friends and rellys that don’t buy season tickets to buy some but also to make sure that they are buying the shares when we come back to you on that as well. Remember its your club, we are all in this together and the more money you give us the more we can drive the club forward by using your money.
    Oh and for all you guys who are shareholders I know I don’t need to say this but if those nasty people at the Takeover panel force Dave to ask you about buying your shares you guys all know that the shares are worth over well over the 20p he might be forced to offer so keep them or you will be doing us out of more of your money that we will need from you later. If you do have any spare cash try and buy more. Oh sorry, forgot, I don’t think that’s possible. Anyway, send us any spare cash guys and remember, believe only us and the Laptop loyal. We are you, anyone else is lying.

  3. So Close Brothers will be going for 55 percent interest…quickly rising to 1690 percent interest…rapidly rising to 1872 percent interest……..

  4. How can the SMSM not question the cold shoulder and prepare the gullible for the inevitable. King is buying time he was found to be in breach of the TOP rules. This is the same rules that prevent monoplies from fleecing shareholders and stops sharks from diluting the small investor out of the picture.
    A concert party is a merger designed to take over a business and squeeze out any competition in the voting rights to ensure the party achieve anything they desire as major shareholders.
    King knows he can only apeal at this stage if there has been an err in law, he has the right to appeal this even if there is no err in law, he knows it will buy time and tie up the decision, its a stalling tactic until he can find funding, other peoples funding to deal with what will be forced on him.
    What will be of interest is how he will manage to produce funds whenhe has declared himself skint, regardless of how he achieves this, one thing is certain it is not coming out his own pocket, the gullibears are been fleeced once gain and again and again….surely 2012 new born bears do not hibernate forever, although 2012 dead bears do.

  5. Is it something to do with being called Stewart. Robertson fails to mention over 70% of that 30mill turnover is frontloaded so to be scarabbling around 4 months before the end of 12 months trading in the sub prime lending market is ridiculous.there is another blockbuster in there apart from the inaccuracies,in that Dck appears maxed out.

    Cup final day with every game televised is a must,honest mistakes have already contributed to the 9 lge points garnered in dingwall Maryhill and leith .thank heavens for Willie collum.

  6. Stewart Robertson’s statement to the press was a stunning combination of spin, chutzpah and downright nonsense. Just like his boss Alastair Johnston, he utters press comments as if he had just digested a Harvard MBA quick study manual: except the words come out in the wrong sequence.

    This statement represents the delusions of a desperate man and a desperate regime. It is also insulting to the paying fan who are being told to embrace this ew initiative. Well, for the ‘Gers fans and journalists who read this site, here is the bottom line. Rangers are in such a precarious financial state that they have sought and obtained a working capital injection of funds from the corporate equivalent of Wonga. This is being paraded as a sign that corporate institutions are demonstrating confidence in the Ibrox regime, the leadership and the club’s potential. Nothing could be further from the truth. When looking at serious investment opportunities, the serious fund managers look at people, product, past performance and potential. Rangers FAIL every tick box.

    Close Brothers will take their pound of flesh and then some.

    This is an embarrassing initiative for, what has now become, an embarrassing club. Poorly led, bereft of ideas, a stranger to fiscal prudence and a level of arrogance which takes one’s breath away. Board members have lied consistently to the fans with regard to the true state of finances and have become adept at presenting spin rather than the much promised transparency.

    When Somers, the Easdales and Big Mike’s guys were around, the club had a semblance of normality and the costs were, slowly, being controlled. But since Dave King got his grubby hands on the big desk, Rangers have gone downhill faster than a champion toboggan racer on the Cresta Run in St Moritz.

    This Wonga inspired loan is yet another example of desperate times at Ibrox. Don’t be surprised if the next announcement declares that Rangers have agreed a joint initiative with Poundland.

  7. JJ, sometimes you do drift off on a tangent but you’re absolutely right about this ‘deal’ with CB. Total BS and I am getting tired of it. Wish my fellow fans of (the club formerly known as) Rangers could see through all this. Mackay ( multi million £ bid) ; ditto Moreles, knocking those bids back (we don’t need the cash) and then going cap in hand to the ‘posh’ Wonga is farcical. Whatever you (JJ) think of the fans it is quite unbelievable that they have had 30-40 thousand season ticket holders over the last 5 years and they just don’t see through all this crap.

    1. Fair play to you. Wish more Rangers fans would actually see through the wishful thinking at the financial meltdown they are going to put Scottish football through again. Absolutely scandalous that the SFA turn a blind eye instead of governing. If ever there was an argument for replacing the SFA that UEFA could digest it’d be the refusal to contemplate FFP (in favour of FTP).

  8. Peter Lawwell ups the ante by stating they must have a good look at themselves. Without proposing, he hints that there are good people working there and it ain’t the old guard, who are only interested in sevco and themselves. How many more have to go before we see change.

    Is Craig Levein going to be up on a charge, not once but twice? You can be sure if it was Neil Lennon uttering those words, the lynch mob from the red tops would have him drawn and quartered by now.

    When the Close brothers are the last option, the brown stuff is halfway to the fan. If they lose the car park, the games a bogey. Notice how no charge was made on Ibrox Park as this is still in the hands of Mr Whyte. Maybe disputed but nobody has proved otherwise.

  9. Scottish football reporters are merely repeaters. They have chosen to pander to the continuity myth and dare not question how a distressed loan can be called an overdraft, dared not question the Morelos myth, dare not question the veracity of the myth of financial security. Do Scottish reporters have no honesty, ethics or backbone? More fake news than Fox News.

  10. I do love that euphemistic catch all phrase that they use…

    “Record Sport Understands’

    Roughly translates as ….

    “Here’s some shite we’ve made up having been fed some fantasy pish by Jabba at L5”

  11. Scottish football reeks too the highest peak .totally agree with the softly softly moves to shoehorn sevco to a cup win this season,were getting shafted with the myth of the same club bull,and it will really grind the gears if sevco get the cup win,we’re getting taken for fools.

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