The Clumpany always enjoys Roddy Forsyth’s pieces on Sevco (or “Rangers” as he persists in calling them. Anyone would think he is a supporter…).
There is always something interesting to chew over. Not for Roddy the Fanboy Flatulence-Masquerading-As-Journalism that you might read in less august newspapers than The Telegraph!
No, Roddy seems to have decent sources and usually offers us an interesting perspective on developments. I will leave you to decide whether this ultimately only represents a slightly classier brand of pro-‘Real Rangers Men’ spin than you get elsewhere(!). But whatever the case, I still think he is worth a read.
A case in point is his latest piece:
Roddy mentions His Big Mikeness’ efforts to put pressure on the Sevco board, as discussed by yours truly yesterday. But he also tells us that HBM is confidentially (sic) pressing ahead with his challenge to the £7,500 dual ownership ‘punishment’ he received from the SFA Judicial Panel.
Roddy freely admits that the inscrutable Mr Ashley’s motives are unclear, but posits some interesting possibilities:
- “that Ashley has an eye on another SPFL Premiership club with a view to increasing competitiveness by using it to field players on loan from Newcastle”. It is an interesting idea but I would really want to see some evidence before believing it!
- “that he is trying to add muscle to his cash squeeze on the current Rangers regime”. This seems entirely possible.
- “that Ashley is compelled to fight the judgement because to accept it would be to open the door to nullification of his merchandising contracts with the club”. I simply cannot see how this can be true. Are we seriously expected to believe that HBM’s legal team agreed commercial contracts that could be rendered void if he was found to have broken an administrative rule of Scottish Football?! A rule, moreover, whose breaching resulted in a £7,500 fine, and no command to cease and desist from continued joint ownership-type activity….
Roddy neglects to mention another entirely plausible possibility: that HBM does not like to lose. It could simply be that he wishes to send a great big GIRFUY to the SFA! Their earlier blocking of his wish to increase his RIFC shareholding above 10% might also be a factor in such an approach.
Mr Forsyth’s piece then moves on to financial matters at Sevco. And here he seemingly attempts the tricky task of convincing us that the new regime is on top of developments and has some sort of plan.
We are told that
“Dave King and his allies anticipated a scenario in which Ashley would make financial demands at the stage of the season when Rangers would be at their weakest in that regard”.
What brilliant foresight! Of course, if you know there is likely to be a problem, then you should put in place a plan to mitigate its impact.
Sadly, it seems that the new regime didn’t quite manage that. They have apparently secured enough funding “via the Three Bears” [NB not from them] “to bridge the gap until season ticket renewals, for which a target of 35,000 has been set“.
So the plan has been to borrow £1.5m from the Three Bears to pay March salaries and then get more money (presumably loans) via them until a large number of season tickets were sold?!
We are not told what price those season tickets are planned to be, or whether the RIFC board would be restricted in the way they could spend that money. As we know from previous discussions, season tickets are effectively ‘futures’, and you may need to be careful about spending all the cash before all the games are played.
It doesn’t sound like the world’s greatest plan does it? Where is the ‘soft investment’ and plans for a share issue to bring in some serious cash?
Put bluntly, where is the war chest, and why hasn’t Dave King put any money into Sevco yet? “Respecting the SFA’s ‘Fit and Proper’ considerations” seems to be a red herring. Dave King can invest right now if he wants to.
There is also no indication in Roddy’s piece about Sevco having had a firm timetabled plan to repay Mike Ashley’s loan. We are only told that
“If accepted, Ashley’s demand for repayment of a £5 million loan made to Rangers in January means that the board must find that money by the end of the first week in June“
Oh dear. It doesn’t sound too promising. And that’s without even considering how the gardeners are going to be paid off…
And do we read anything about how the gardeners are going to be paid off? Or about a cost-cutting programme to try and live with means? No we do not!
Finally, Roddy provides an update on the SFA’s ‘Fit and Proper’ consideration of Dave King. Apparenly, the SFA has most of the documentation required and
“the delay is not because of obstruction by King or the Rangers board – who are understood to have responded to all requests promptly and fully”.
Well done everybody!
No, the delay is because “evidence is still awaited from sources in South Africa, including the country’s Revenue Service (SARS)”.
If that is the case (and Keith Jackson of the Record hinted at something similar on Twitter) then it could be some time before the SFA has all the documentation it needs to make an informed decision. Governmental bureaucracies can often move at a glacial place.
In conclusion, Roddy Forsyth’s piece was an interesting little tour around contemporary Sevconia. However, it did little to dispel the impression held by many of us that – short of a large donation of cash from Dave King and co in the very near future – His Big Mikeness holds all the Aces.
[NB Many thanks to all the readers of this still-new attempt at a blog. I have been bowled over by the numbers of people passing through. I hope you find something to distract you for at least a few seconds!]