Prior to what may well be one of my longer blogs I take pause to acknowledge a significant milestone. Our site has now breached the 20,000,000 hits threshold. I would like to thank all of you who provide your thoughts and provoke intelligent debate on our speakeasy. My most heartfelt thanks goes to those who make it possible. Those who step up every month to keep this site vital. Some of my more generous sponsors have not contributed of late which resulted in a temporary withdrawal of my internet facilities. This blip aside this site has never been more popular. The current run rate is indicative of a one million hit month. This is the big league inhabited by the big hitters of social media. Paul & David at the excellent CQN. James Forrest, the bloggers blogger, and the most popular and best supported of all in the alternative 4th Estate, Phil Macgiollabhain. I venture that the Snack Media sites – The Celtic Blog, Video Celts – where advertising is king, will continue to do well. Other sites, other than Phil Macgiollabhain’s, with no advertising income, will struggle. As the majority of my readers did not vote for this site, I won’t have a seat at the Snack Media table this year or any other year. One should note that I no longer mention my award in 2016 in my Twitter and WordPress profiles. A new football blogger will soon receive the accolade for 2018. It’s his/her time, not mine. I will continue to be your humble correspondent for as long as your support empowers me.
In a day of celebrating our site, it would be appropriate to provide an exclusive as this site is renowned for breaking new ground. My source, who has yet to let me down, who predicted that Gerrard would be signed sealed and delivered before anyone else, had an insight that he has just shared. He asserts that Gerrard is on the same package as Rodgers which one is led to believe is circa £2m plus bonuses. However here’s the kicker or would kickback be more apposite? He further claims that his salary will be paid by a mystery benefactor whose firm may or may not be engaged in a lucrative refurbishment project at Ibrox. The individual who provides many millions of pounds in scaffolding – pro bono – is the kind of RRM he suggests that I have a close look at. There’s never a dull moment at The Ibrox Zoo and Auchenhowie Safari Park. The monkeys, who were in a state of some agitation recently, seem particularly exercised by the arrival of Bottle & Macca. £2m per annum buys a lot of bananas.
I’m quite partial to a Williams banana from Ecuador and Mozambique. I’m less partial to the King William banana from south of The Limpopo who invited some of the SMSM for tea and Club Oranges yesterday. In jj passim : A King’s Ransom I predicted the following themes:
1. An ‘investment’ broadcast from The Dave King Party.
2. The Takeover & Mergers actions are mean-spirited, counterintuitive and do not represent the best interests of Rangers (sic) and its shareholders.
3. I have kept my promises to save Rangers (sic) from those who did not have our club’s best interests at heart.
4. The launch price for the equity is a mere 25p. This is a discount on the JP Jenkins listed price of 27.5p.
5. We must do our utmost to support the most exciting and innovative new coach in British football.
With the exception of four I called every point right. It’s admittedly not rocket science but no-one is as unpredictable as King. Even my Consigliere who has five decades of experience in the media and who has been in King’s company on several occasions cannot fathom him. He could share The Loving Cup with you one moment, then stab you in the back the next.
As has become a custom on this site I will provide all his answers in full – the questions are self-explanatory – and translate them for our readers.
1. Takeover Panel:
“It got to a point where I agreed with the Takeover Panel that while I wouldn’t make a formal offer, one of my trust companies would make a formal offer and that the Takeover Panel would accept the company offer as being the offer coming from me personally because they know that I am never going to make an offer. They accept that. They asked me for proof of funds which we gave them. They then asked for the funds to be ringfenced in a separate account, an escrow, to make sure the funds could only be used for the purpose of the shares. We agreed to that. They were placed into a trust account, (with) proof of funds given to them. Then about two weeks ago the Takeover Panel approached me again and said they were unhappy now with the funds being held in South Africa and they would like them relocated into the UK to be held in a UK bank account in sterling. I said: “I am happy to do that.” But as you know I don’t have facilities in the UK, I would have to open a bank account, which I have agreed to do. I said: “That now requires an extension of the offer period. I can’t get the money into the UK, open bank accounts, do the various KYC (know your customer) things you have to do with the banks in time to make the deadline.” They didn’t grant the extension. That is where we are stuck right now. I have gone back to them and said: “I am going to take that under review because this is something you only asked for two weeks ago.” I am not a UK resident…my business interests are not in the UK therefore I have to open bank accounts and that does take time. That is really where we are right now. They have proof of funds in rand in South Africa, but they want it relocated to the UK. That is where we are at the moment.”
JJ: Liar, liar call the fundament fire brigade. Jesus H ‘Christ The Redeemer’ (is Gerrard paying attention) how does he get away with it? How stupid and credulous does one need to be to draw a salary as a sports reporter in Scottish football? Did the hun hacks not realise that King has a 14.57% interest in RIFC Plc. Correct me if I’m wrong but is this not a UK business interest? King bought the shares via London broker Cantor Fitzgerald and then transferred them to a BVI trust. This is a UK business relationship.
As for KYC and an extension to open a new bank account, how disingenuous can King be? He has an account with Barclays Bank in London. The majority of his funds are held by Barclays in Guernsey. He also has an account with HSBC in The Bahamas. I’m certain King would have no problem arranging a London account on their recommendation in very short order.
King has been yanking the Panel’s chain for over a year. The Panel are the UK’s watchdog. What King does with Laird in South Africa in Rand is of no interest to them. What part of £11m in a UK escrow account does he not understand?
Later in the Q&A the following dialogue is instructive:
Have you had an indication of how many existing shareholders will accept your 20p offer?
King: I think pretty much nothing. Nothing. The offer will not go through. It is not going to happen.
Can you clarify that statement?
King: There has to be a level of acceptance. It has no chance of being accepted. The offer is a technical thing that I have to do to comply with and I am doing my best to do it within the circumstances we have got. At the end of the day, it will mean nothing. It will not happen. It is a process we have to go through.
Some of the penny shareholders might think it’s time to cash in though?
King: The penny shareholders are not enough to get it across the line. You need the majors, there has to be a level of acceptance. The small guys can’t make it happen.
What is the level of acceptance?
King :It is going to have to be 50 per cent of the non concert party shareholders, so you need the Easdales, all the Beaufort Nominees, the Blue Pitches, the Margaritas, to sell at 20p and they are not going to do that.
I know for a fact that the Easdales would bite his hand off. Jack Irvine, their adviser, was unequivocal on their position. As for those denied voting rights for not kissing King’s arse the decision to sell would be a no brainer. Under King’s stewardship the stock has been delisted. The company has lost £18.85m million. There is no possibility of a dividend. An offer of 20p is the best offer they will ever receive for this distressed stock. King knows full well that he would be throwing bent money after bad, saddling him with worthless toxic stock.
Are the Panel paying attention? The only question to ask of King was:
Why are you acting the cunt with the City Watchdog? They have crushed much bigger spivs than you. It might not affect the member club, but the impact on its holding company will be devastating, irrespective of whether your fellow concert party carpetbaggers are sympathetic to your plight.
The following question grasped the nettle:
There could be severe sanctions – you could be cold shouldered. Won’t that have an implication on the club, as well as you as chairman?
No. First of all, the assumption is they’d achieve that. I don’t think they will. I have spent a lot of my life with people telling me what they are going to do to me. Twenty years. I’m still here. I wouldn’t assume who is going to win that fight. Secondly, sanctions themselves on me would have no impact on me. I don’t do business in the UK. I don’t deal with any institutions. I don’t have public companies in the UK. I would make no difference to me in practice. I would make a decision whether I was comfortable with it or not. And if it is a question of fighting then I’ll… Sanctions would make no difference to me and it would make no difference to Rangers.
So there you have it. The City Watchdog are authorised to blackball King. Is he going to waste more of Lite’s money challenging their right to implement The Cold Shoulder? King has spent 40 years being a career criminal. Twenty years racking up 323 indictments. He keeps beating raps, usually by foul means. However this is a fight that he cannot and will not win. If he chooses not to fight and continues as a pariah, will the SFA grow a pair and throw him out of football? Not a chance. Anyone with skin in the game to deliver betting sponsorship and improved broadcasting revenue will always be welcome by the corrupt cabal at Hampden. King could be sent down for two years – the maximum tariff for contempt of court – and still be passed fit and proper by the SFA. It’s a close run thing between Regan and Ogilvie for the title of the most bent administrator of Scottish football. Gordon Smith, who swept the Rangers EBT arrangements under the shag pile after HMRC arrived with a court order in 2009, deserves an ‘honourable’ mention.
King’s next answer is so surreal that I’m half expecting a Salvador Dali signed print in the post:
If you’ve got the money, why did you agree a £3 million overdraft with Close Brothers?
It’s a significant achievement. For this club to normalise relationships it’s important. Clubs don’t operate without this facility. No club in the world does. Rangers were in a situation where we were denied facilities. So what we’re proving to the world now is that we can get facilities. We want facilities – I’d love to get an overdraft facility. It shows a normalisation of Rangers. It’s our single greatest achievement. To me, the best thing we did was getting that Close facility. That was huge for this club, that we could actually go out into the market place and finally get a third party to give us that facility. That was enormous for the normalisation of this club.
The tacit acknowledgment that it’s not an overdraft is the only positive takeaway from King’s bong talk. Hocking the family silver, including the kitchen sink, being spun as an achievement as he spunks season ticket money in punitive interest charges takes one’s breath away. Should King wish to extend this facility, and The Cold Shoulder is inevitably applied, he will find out that his premium will be increased exponentially if not summarily withdrawn.
I’m not going to waste any more time on the Morelos Myth other than to say that any so-called businessman who would not welcome £8m in the bank is a glib and shameless liar. Traynor manufactured this lie at King’s behest. It fooled no one save the SMSM.
King, now in stand-up mode, kept his best wise cracks till last:
How can you make up the gap to Celtic?
King: We appoint a manager who can win games, with more resources, and we take one league away from Celtic. We only need one league. We don’t need two or three. We need one. Once we take one away, it’s a pack of cards.
King anticipates a rights issue in June. He believes that £6m can be raised. He believes it can proceed minus his participation. As it changes the shares dynamic I expect the Panel to petition The Court of Session to prohibit this rights issue until such time as King makes a mandatory offer. If he does not make this offer, and it’s evident that he is hard set against doing so, there will be no rights issue. On the balance of probability Gerrard will be potless.
King is desperate to stop ten-in-a-row. But as for closing the gap, let’s have a look at the prosaic facts behind King’s fantasy. Celtic’s revenue in their most recent audited accounts is instructive:
2016/17 European Revenue Domestic Revenue Total Revenue
Prize Money £28.5M. £3M £31.5M
Gate Revenue £10M £27.5M £37.5M
In the past four years Celtic have gained £38.5m from player sales. Rangers Lite by comparison Lost £6.6m on a turnover of £29.2m, with £450,000 lost on player sales.
Should Lite attempt to trade their way to closing the gap, their squad’s value at 20,800,000 Euros is dwarfed by a squad worth circa 3.5 times this quantum.
Celtic would not collapse in the unlikely event that Bottle & Macca represented Scotland in the UEFA Champions League. They could offset the shortfall with player trading.
However of more significance is that they could and would spend more if Lite threatened their CL hegemony.
In the cold light of day, once King’s marijuana smoke clears, Celtic will pit their seasoned successful manager with a superior squad against a coaching ingenue with a fractious squad of has-beens and assorted dross. This won’t end well for King and Gerrard.
Ten-in-a-row is looking more likely by the day. King stated that he is Lite’s banker of last resort; that he will invest £50m, which one assumes is inclusive of the £20m that he invested with Sir Bribe & Lie. He fails to mention the £15m he received in dividends. How remiss of him.
King is not Lite’s banker of last resort, he is their bank robber of first resort.