After a period of characteristic silence and keeping his cards very close to his chest, His Big Mikeness has now made two moves on Sevco.
As we all know, it consisted of a sky-full of Moonbeams about increased budgets and doing “whatever it takes” to get promoted from the Championship as Champions.
But they also served to set the scene for Friday’s EGM which HBM has requisitioned in order to call for repayment of the £5m Sports Direct loan and embarrass the RIFC regime over the share delisting and possible lack of plan and finance to take Sevco forward.
The Q&A contained some remarkable comments which are worth considering again:
“I don’t see the Ashley loan being a loan in isolation. In fact, I don’t see it as a loan, quite frankly. It is one of those situations we will certainly discuss with his people but I don’t think the club should be repaying the loan. If we have to, we will. But I’d much rather see funds going into the club, rather than repaying that loan”
“That’s part of the broader commercial discussion we will have with them. One way or another, we will cater for it. It is an interest free loan, it is free capital for the club and I think it should stay on that basis”
In short, if King has his way, Sevco won’t be repaying the loan any time soon…
Sevco had previously indicated that MASH might wish to make a statement to shareholders ahead of the EGM.
And when it came today it was an absolute belter.
Trailed by a ‘leaked’ snippet about Sports Direct “not being a bank”, it calmly and comprehensively took the RIFC board to task over the lack of NOMAD, the delisting, the £5m loan only being intended as a short-term measure, and the transfer of 26% of ‘Rangers Retail Limited’ to Sports Direct providing an incentive to sort out the ‘club’s’ difficulties as soon as possible.
The message was clear: pay back the loan as quickly as possible and you can have back the 26% and the associated retail income.
Oh, and you can also shake off Sports Direct’s security over most of your assets.
It really is that simple as far as MASH is concerned.
The statement – which lacked the bluster and sense of grievance inherent in many Sevconian utterances – also made a few rather barbed comments which are worth noting.
Firstly, it took aim at King, explaining that the loss of the AIM listing meant a loss of regulatory protection which was important given the convictions of the new Chairman.
And secondly, it responded to Sevconian complaints about Sports Direct’s stranglehold on the retail operation by highlighting the considerable expertise and market reach from which Sevco is benefiting.
The folly of some of Sevco’s previous actions in opening dedicated shops in various locations was also highlighted, and a bit of free retail consultancy was offered:
“the ordering of products should reflect the football league in which RFC operates”.
Later in the afternoon some light relief was provided by the Rangers* Supporters Trust, who – in a radical departure from their usual modus operandi – issued a statement!
One outstanding snippet is all you really need to get a sense of its quality:
“Sports Direct does not have a clue how to grow, market and improve a premium sports brand like Rangers”
And just when you thought that that might be enough to persuade him to chuck his tiny retail operation, His Big Mikenes made a play that got all our jellies a-quivering, and all our ice-cream jumping out of the freezer:
Tomorrow. At the High Court. In London.
It remains to be seen what the case is about. The front page of the Record suggests that it is “Not believed to be linked to Ashley’s £5m loan”, and there are some suggestions on social media that Sports Direct may be looking to secure an injunction preventing the divulging of commercially-sensitive information at the EGM.
However, others – most notably Phil Mac Giolla Bhain – suggest that the case may well be about ring-fencing the £5m.
It goes without saying that were this to be the case, and a ring-fence was granted, it might just impair Sevco’s attempt to rebuild and secure promotion as winners of the Championship.
We shall know more at 10:30am tomorrow.
And then maybe some more at Friday’s EGM.
These could be interesting days for the ‘obsessed’, and worrying ones if you are a Sevco fan.
Stand by your fridges and freezers.
[NB this is the 50th Clumpany Blog! Many thanks to all of you for reading my ramblings and being so encouraging. It has been great fun!]