The title of today’s blog is a quote from this article, which appeared on the Evening Shark-Jump website last night.
It may well have been a genuinely-uttered quote from Rangers* First, but if it was prompted by a PR operation trailing
- the upcoming RIFC AGM; and
- (possibly) an interesting development in the ongoing saga of the Great Sevco Loan-a-thon…
…you wouldn’t be surprised.
And you also wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the beautifully-constructed piece, (which appeared to have all the spontaneity of a carefully-planed military campaign), had similar origins.
For in it, we got to read a couple of quite remarkable things.
Firstly, the suggestion that a fan ownership group might be prepared to step forward with a soft loan to keep the Rebuilding Project going.
“Rangers First director Ricki Neill insists the fan ownership group are ready and willing to step up and pay to help their club along the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
‘We could be in the same position as the Three Bears and, if the members wanted to, we could give Rangers soft loans.
We are at 3.52% and we have the money to get to 5%. Rangers could approach us and ask if we could give them a loan. At the moment, we are not buying shares but the money is still coming in. We could be the fourth Bear.’
‘There are a lot of shares that have been frozen so we are keeping the money in the bank and looking at ways in which we can help Rangers.
A soft loan is one option. The club could talk to us, like they can any party, and we would put it to our members.'”
I have read that ‘We could be the fourth bear’ sentence several times now, and each time I have laughed out loud. It really is pure, unadulterated comedy gold!
Of course, a soft loan from Rangers* First might never come to pass, because the kind of over-investment and burning of his children’s inheritance which Dave King spoke about months ago might finally be deployed.
Even Chris Jack acknowledges that there has been a bit of a wait for the largesse to start flowing:
“In the coming weeks and months, and probably sooner rather than later, the Light Blue legions will want to see the colour of Dave King’s money. The same will be true of the Three Bears – Douglas Park, George Taylor and George Letham – as supporters hope for assurances that the foundations laid in the Ibrox rebuilding job will be built upon once again.”
And Ricki Neill gives the impression that the wait may yet go on a bit longer:
“I do think people will be looking for investment in January and more players just to make sure we get promoted this season. We have got the right people on the board and people who won’t do anything to harm our club.”
So presumably when January arrives it won’t then be a case of ‘looking for investment in April’? Or May? Or October…?
The second remarkable thing about the Evening Shark-Jump piece were the suggestions that football matters will be the focus at the AGM on Friday.
Given that the meeting is one of shareholders who have an interest in how…errr… the business is being run and what their investment is likely to be worth, you would have thought that off-field matters might feature quite prominently. Especially in a context where the possibility of a fan ownership group loaning the business money is being openly discussed in the media!
But Chris says:
“The sweeping changes in the Ibrox boardroom in March were followed by an overhaul at Murray Park during the summer as Rangers looked to put years of turmoil off the park, and a campaign to forget on it, behind them as quickly as possible.
For once, football matters will be high up the agenda when shareholders gather in Glasgow on Friday morning, the performances of Mark Warburton’s side giving supporters reasons to be cheerful for the remainder of the Championship campaign.”
And Mr Neill then assets that “most fans are happy with how things are going and pleased with the team. Rather than having to understand the finances and politics, they just want to talk about the football.”
If I were a RIFC shareholder (and for the avoidance of doubt, I’m not), I would be taking great care to ‘understand the finances’, discuss them with other shareholders and then turn up at the AGM with a whole series of pointed questions about
- how the business is going to be sustainably funded; and
- about the whereabouts of the ‘over-investment’.
And then I would look forward to interested journalists such as Chris Jack asking further searching questions to arrive at the truth of the matter.
I won’t be at the AGM but I look forward to Chris and others delivering the story in due course.