Late last night Keith Jackson sounded his pretend claxon and said some “interesting news” may be coming from the Daily Record.
Being a kind-hearted ethereal entity I decided to suspend my disbelief and take him at his word that the Daily Record was – for once – about to publish an actual story. 😉
Well we had to wait until this morning, but what we got was quite remarkable.
Yes, I think ‘remarkable’ is the right word for it. Certainly if you exclude profanities from the list of potential “right words”.
You haven’t imagined that. The above is the front page of today’s Daily Record. And here is the ‘story’ itself if you want to risk clicking on it:
“FORMER Ibrox chairman David Somers signed a deal with Mike Ashley that will see Rangers lose thousands, with a total rent of just £10 over the period of the contract.
Shameless Mike Ashley was handed a decade-long lease on Rangers’ megastore for £1 a year – days before Dave King took control of the club.
The Daily Record has uncovered documents which reveal details of the incredible agreement which will cost
the Ibrox club hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue until it expires in 2025.
Rangers stand to earn just £10 in rent money until the lease runs out and it’s understood this secret cut-price arrangement is a major part of the bitter ongoing legal dispute between King’s Rangers regime and Ashley’s Sports Direct.
In part four of a lease agreement titled “Rent”, it states: “The tenant undertakes to pay the landlord if asked only, the annual rent of ONE POUND (£1) together with all the VAT chargeable thereon.
The deal was one of the final acts of then chairman David Somers, who signed off on the deeds as landlord and tenant of the official megastore, then quit his position days after they were rubber-stamped.
Somers represented both Rangers Football Club and Rangers Retail when he signed the paperwork on January 27, 2015, in what appears to have been a “scorched earth” policy carried out during the last days of the old regime.
The papers were not officially processed and registered until February 25, the day Ashley struck a controversial agreement to give the club an emergency £10million loan.
Somers resigned from his position the following week, before King and his backers overthrew the remnants of the old board at an AGM on March 6. King and Ashley have been locking horns ever since.”
Once again let me remove all doubt and confirm that this really is the front-page story in today’s Daily Record.
I note that by pure coincidence this Friday will see RIFC – whose latest accounts contained a ‘going concern’ warning and whose ‘club’ is a mile behind Celtic in the league and playing dire football – hold its Annual General Meeting. A meeting in which the contracts held by His Big Mikeness are likely to cast quite a big shadow, not least because of the litigation he will be pursuing against the ‘club’ at the High Court in London next month.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sevco PR operatives were on the phone to the Daily Record first thing this morning to bawl out its sports desk. Because today’s story could easily be mistaken for a vigorous and rather cynical attempt at spin and the creation of sympathy ahead of the AGM. And that’s not something that would ever be attempted by the universe’s most image-conscious football ‘club’.
Because if they did try and deploy spin in this way, most rational folk would point at the story, laugh out loud and shout ‘squirrel’ over and over again.
And no one likes to be mocked.
I therefore wonder whether we will see the Record publish some sort of humble apology over the next 24 hours. Perhaps alongside tales of how His Big Mikeness has thwarted the attempts of the RIFC board to care for injured fluffy kittens and help elderly ladies across the road.
And as for the detailed content of the Record’s ‘story’…
- I would love to know in what way the lease agreement in question was actually ‘secret’. Was there some sort of hidden side-lease?
- Is Mike Ashley billed as “shameless” simply because he signed an agreement that the RIFC board and/or Daily Record don’t like?
- Shouldn’t the £1 payment be applauded? It is after all more than any creditors of the ‘same club’ have yet seen?
And finally, on a wider note, if the Record can manage to uncover documents relating to a ‘secret’ lease agreement, how come it can’t uncover the Offshore Game Report, the Sports Integrity Initiative Report, or the content of the UEFA ‘new club/company’ letter, all of which are in the public domain?
It’s a funny old world isn’t it?