Remember Charles Green?
Big Yorkshire hands?
Founded the footballing entity known lovingly around the world as ‘Sevco’?
Said stuff about the Dallas Cowboys, and yearned for a definition of ‘Manchester United’?
Yes, him! The guy with the château and the racehorses.
Well, remember how he boasted in July 2012 that Sevco’s balance sheet would be stronger than that of the SPL champions Celtic within 12 months?
We laughed didn’t we? Heartily, and for a very very long time indeed.
And why was that?
It was because we knew it to be a patently absurd proposition.
However, that didn’t stop Green pointing to a way that this financial glory could be determined:
“We’ve not got the debt that any of these clubs have and on the last day of the season I would really enjoy some clever financial analyst looking at the balance sheets and debt-to-equity ratio of every club in Scotland.”
But it was all just bluster. And with every set of horrific RIFC financial results we have thought back to Green’s comments and laughed all over again.
At least lessons were learned, and no Ibrox ‘supremo’ would ever again fall into the trap of making ludicrous grandiose statements about the state of Sevco’s finances.
Step forward Dave King with a cracker so cracking I’m tempted to put some cheese on it and have it as an afternoon snack.
“New Rangers chairman Dave King declares Ibrox club’s finances are the envy of world football” screamed the Evening Times headline, drowning out a cacophony of laughter from around the globe.
To be fair, the author of this fantasy-driven piece, Matthew Lindsay starts off by reminding us of some of Sevco’s challenges. Specifically the outstanding loans, the security over assets, and “being booted off the AIM Stock Exchange last month for failing to find a nomad to replace WH Ireland”.
But then the fun begins via a series of quotes from the Komedy King!
“Rangers are in an incredibly strong financial position. It has got shareholders who can fund it, it has got virtually no debt.
“How many clubs in the world don’t have debt? Our balance sheet is incredibly strong for any football club in the world.
“We have really just got a little cash squeeze where, for the first time, Rangers have got people who are coming in to bridge that gap.
“So if I look at Rangers financially, we are one of the strongest clubs in the world financially.
“How many clubs are sitting with £5 million of interest-free debt and that is all they’ve got?
“We’ve got the fans, we’ve got the season ticket money, we’ve got the stadium, everything all paid for.
“There’s not many clubs in that position. We’re incredibly strong financially at the moment”.
I am not sure it is possible to adequately capture quite how ridiculous these comments sound. But you do wonder what was going through King’s mind to think that
a) they are true; and
b) they are worth saying out loud so that other people can hear them.
Can you imagine RIFC going to the Square Mile or to a bank seeking finance and telling them that story? You would probably be laughed out of the building. And then the surrounding area.
Assertions of prosperity may help to create optimism among the faithful, but they are no substitute for a plan, and lots of actual money to spend.
And as I explained yesterday, Sevco seem to be short of both of these at the moment.
Finally, in terms of Sevco being the envy of the world….well I’m afraid they are not.
In October 2014 the “virtual Credit Football League” table, ranked Sevco 31st of 44 European clubs in terms of financial health and stability. Celtic were 3rd,
having successfully hidden the important contribution of State Aid towards their operation.
Strangely, the MSM has chosen not to run with that particular comment today.
Nor have they picked up on King’s own comments from early February 2015, when he said “there are no funds, the club is in crisis” and “it’s very close to the abyss”.
So which is it Dave: something to be envied, or something in need of life support?!
I’ll call the financial paramedics… Just in case…