As we now know, Dave King’s Rangers require soft loans to balance the books this season. The problem of a business model predicated on other people’s money is liquidity. In the past, David Murray would turn to Octopus Investments (Ticketus) to address end of season cash flow concerns. This avenue is no longer open to the club due to the £17.1m currently owed by our former CEO.
Despite the best efforts of Murray and Gilligan, the Royal Bank of Scotland will not be emulating the largesse of The Bank of Scotland. The latter is little more than a trading name of Lloyds. Our current banker, Metro Bank, will not provide an overdraft facility. Sports Direct (SD) turned down Murray & Gilligan’s pitch for the second tranche of £5m. The lie that this was not required was Murray’s mendacity at its most blatant. He and Gilligan went cap in hand to SD. They left with a terse reprimand and a reminder that their current £5m was now in default due to RIFC’s suspension and subsequent delisting on AIM. SD could appoint receivers at any time of their choosing.They have chosen not to do so as Rangers represent £7.8m in turnover, with minimal overheads and no risk on unsold stock. The benefit to RIFC in the last fiscal should have been £400,000, but this was offset against the losses incurred by the long term leases at the former outlets in Glasgow Airport and Belfast. Rangers Retail also had to accommodate £300,000 of costs at Puma. If truth be told, the only benefit was an accountancy trick that allocated the £7.8m turnover to revenue. This was done on the dubious grounds of the 51% ownership of Rangers Retail, where the reality is that they only had 34.23% of the voting rights and control. I wonder if RIFC’s third auditors will attempt to shoehorn this turnover into the latest accounts, that were due at the end of September, despite only 17.45% of the current voting rights and control?
The North American Rangers Supporters Association was Paul Murray’s next port of call. He was accompanied by his wife and he met up with Gordon Taylor, who was a guest speaker. His pitch that Real Rangers Men were at the helm was well received, but everyone present knew that without King’s promised £30m the business model was a basket case.
Three of the concert party, Taylor, Park & Letham, provided £3m and then awaited £1.5m from King. Since this was not forthcoming, Douglas Park resigned from the board. They have grown tired of bankrolling King.There is informed speculation that King bought his equity via loans provided to New Oasis Investments.
Which leaves us with the supporters’ collectives of Rangers First and the Rangers Supporters Trust. There is no-one else. King’s lie that the business was comfortably funded was based on expected RBS and NARSA funding, with Richard Gough pitching to the latter and Paul Murray playing golf with the chairman of the former.
Will King currently be engaging in a dialogue to ensure the shortfall in funding is addressed by RST/RF prior to their renaissance as Rangers First CIC? I cannot envisage any other reason for King being in town.
So despite the bluff and bluster in regard to challenging for the title next year and European football the following, King knows that if Green prevails he does not have the £1.5m that he has estimated it will cost. The question that someone should have asked him is how deep are the RST/RF’s pockets. If they are not as deep as King expects, then W&W will have to make do with more loan signings in The Scottish Premiership. King clearly stated that this was the option that he preferred. What he did not say was that it was the only option he could afford.
The leak to the Scotsman that Rangers had a plan in place to pay the £1.5m of Green’s costs was very clever PR. If Lord Tyre sat down to his breakfast this morning with The Scotsman, he may demur should Green’s counsel seek to ring-fence £1m of his expected costs. He may be persuaded by Anderson Strathern’s argument that a £1.5m cap should be imposed. This is very cynical. Ordinarily I would look for the unseen hand of James Traynor at Level 5, but the austerity at Ibrox seems to have claimed its first victim. If RIFC are no longer prepared to engage with Level 5, they will have lost their only client. I could write much more than this but I will not expose myself to litigation. Suffice to say that Chris Union Jack’s puff pieces are currently thin on the ground. It would be a crying shame if he were forced to work for a living.