CRAIG Whyte has insisted he helped reduce Rangers’ debt since arriving at Ibrox, a day after it emerged that the club’s debts could be as much as a staggering £134 million.
In a rare interview, he also defended the deal with Ticketus and the sale of shares in Arsenal.
He said “every penny” of the £26.7 million paid by Ticketus for the rights to sell season tickets had gone back into the club, despite administrators Duff & Phelps saying they were unable to find it.
On Thursday, the administrators questioned where the proceeds of the sale of 16 shares in Arsenal had gone. “The shares were sold for a consideration net of commission of £223,214 (believed to have been market value), however, the funds relating to the sale of these shares were not transferred to the company,” they said.
Mr Whyte said: “The money is there. It’s in a segregated client account and that money will absolutely, definitely end up back with Rangers.”
Mr Whyte, who took over the club from Sir David Murray in May last year, has been vilified for leading it into administration. However, he insists he has helped ease its financial position.
“I’m not sure why [Thursday’s] figures surprised anyone and actually, since I’ve been involved, Rangers’ total liabilities have been reduced by between £10m to £14m,” he said.
“The accounts prove that. It’s factual – anyone can look at those figures.”
Despite his defiance, Rangers’ creditors are pessimistic about their chances of seeing their money again. Kenny Moyes, of Professional Pre Season Tours (Libero), based in Glasgow, said: “I’m just waiting to see what the outcome of the takeover bid is.”
The firm, which provides a range of football services, including agents, scouting, travel and organisation of tournaments, is owed £60,000.
Mr Moyes added: “I don’t think anyone in this climate will be able to absorb losses like that.
“We are a part of the [football] industry, and will continue to be, and Rangers are one of the big players. We have to hope things will straighten themselves out.”
Hamilton-based Craig Services and Access, which is owed £900 by Rangers for truck hire, remains hopeful of seeing its money. Director Carole Wilson said: “We do hope they are able to sort something out so we get paid back. We’re a small company in terms of profit margins and we do require that money. It does have an impact if we don’t get paid.”
Beyard Services of Ayrshire, which is run by two brothers, both Rangers fans, is owed £5,559.60 for gritting work last winter.
One of the owners, who declined to be named, said: “We’ve pretty much written off any money owed to us. I think that will be the case for most people.