The Clumpany has been savouring the comments made by Dave King and the MSM commentariat this week about the ‘grip’ that His Big Mikeness has on the Sevco retail deal, and how this is depriving Scotland’s most successful, young ‘same club’ thing of its rightful revenue. Or something.
Bad bad Michael!
This morning’s Sunday Mail piece by Michael ‘Mr’ Gannon is a case in point. To be fair, the article doesn’t exactly trumpet Dave King as being the all-conquering saviour that others have, and Mr Gannon suggested on Twitter that the Ibrox outfit wasn’t exactly in a strong bargaining position in 2012 given what had happened to the [*cough*] ‘same club’ as a result of the recklessness of David Murray and others.
However, like so many others before it, the piece still managed to dive into the ‘Big Bad Ashley’ narrative without seriously considering whether HBM simply ‘benefits’ from an agreement which was freely entered-into by both sides. Nor did it ponder whether an agreement can really be wrong, unjust or immoral purely because Sevco and its adherents don’t like it.
Here are a few illustrative quotes from the piece:
“Mike Ashley. The Sport Direct chief bought skimpy underwear mob Agent Provocateur recently and still seems hellbent on ripping the drawers out of Rangers.”
“The Ibrox club get 7p in the pound on their retail deals. It’s a painful reminder for the fans of the parasites who had their teeth in the club for too long.
“It’s denying Rangers up to £5m a year and, on a human level, Gers fans would like to wear their club’s strips again.”
“Ripping”, “parasites”, “denying Rangers*”.
It’s all very loaded language, which could quite easily be deployed to say something like:
“The ‘same club’ seems hellbent on ripping the p*ss out of ‘its’ creditors who might not even get 7p in the pound as a result of the parasites who fed off their goodwill. It’s denying them millions of pounds which was rightfully theirs.”
Somehow I don’t think that we will be seeing that sort of sentence in the mainstream media anytime soon!
Having digested the week’s Ashley guff (not a pleasant experience I can tell you, even for the most ethereal of stomachs), The Clumpany believes it has worked out where His Big Mikeness went wrong.
Here is what he should have done.
In 2012 he should have said:
“Hi Charles. New club you say? Previous one went bust owing millions to all and sundry? You need to sell shirts and merchandise very quickly via a ready-made retail network? And it would be helpful to have a big commercial name endorsing your operation by working with it? SURE! Absolutely no problem. Here are my terms: Sports Direct will do it all for free. In fact we will do it for nothing AND give the ‘club’ £5 million pounds per year for the truly humbling privilege! Hope that’s OK with you. I’ll square it with my shareholders, but they’ll be fine. They don’t call me ‘Charity Mike’ for nothing”
And in 2014 he should have said:
“Hi! You need to borrow £5m and be able to draw down another £5m if needed to keep the lights on? I am not sure I can agree to that. Because I want to give you the money! I am so impressed with the way Rangers* are being run that I’d like to make a personal contribution. No strings, no security and no repayment is required. Here are my bank account details. Help yourself lads! And if you want more than £10m you can have it!”
While in March 2015, he should have picked up the phone to David King and said:
“Well done on winning that EGM, Dave. Fair’s fair, you are a better man than I am. I would like to give you my RIFC shares for free, and pay even more for the privilege of being associated with Rangers*. How does giving the ‘club’ a £10 bonus premium for every shirt sold in a Sports Direct shop sound? We can deduct it from my shareholders’ dividend. They’ll thank me for it. In fact why don’t you join MY board? And bring that bloke with the nice hair with you. We could ruffle it up for a laugh during meetings. I’d love to put you both in charge of a large part of my multi-billion pound operation. Which bit do you fancy, Dave?”
Sadly however, His Big Mikeness never did any of those things.
He must lie awake at night reflecting upon his colossal folly and wondering how he can ever hope to make amends. However, given his philanthropic nature, I am sure it won’t be long before HBM begs to appear before the RIFC board where he will sign over his entire business interests to aid Sevco in their dual quest for Champions League glory and a set of accounts which are free of a going concern warning.
Remember: you heard it here first…