Ged Nixon denies claim puts Livingston in danger

Ged Nixon: 'I've had enough'. Picture: SNS
Ged Nixon: 'I've had enough'. Picture: SNS
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Former Livingston chief executive Ged Nixon has broken his silence on the bitter feud with principle shareholder Neil Rankine and claims his court action will not place the club in jeopardy.

Nixon ended a self-imposed 14-month media blackout yesterday after the Court of Session in Edinburgh postponed his bid to have funds frozen in the club until 23 December.

The Livingston supporter has refuted suggestions that his attempt to recoup the £311,000 he loaned the Championship outfit will force the troubled club into a third administration.

The court hearing to decide whether he will have that money repaid has been scheduled for February next year.

Nixon, who stepped down from his post in October 2013, said: “It’s been put to me that this could put the club in jeopardy but I don’t accept that. The club has received over £400,000 in transfer fees this calendar year, it’s had record season ticket sales, record gate receipts this season to date and if Mr Rankine was carrying out the cost-cutting measures that he was proposing, then I see absolutely no reason why it is in jeopardy.

“If it is in jeopardy then I question why he [Rankine] himself has taken back a significant six-figure sum, by his own admission, and paid back other directors of both Livingston 5 and the football club.

“By that I mean [club vice-chairman] Robert Wilson and Carolyn Sumner, to whom he has admitted paying back all of the loan. Gordon McDougall also receives repayment of his loan on a regular basis.”

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Explaining why he was left with no option but to take court action, Nixon added: “I was quite prepared to stand aside as chief executive as our relationship became irreparable but the matter of settlement to what I was due had to be agreed.

“There were two agreements in place, and in one I was willing to reduce my claim by over a third, but both were reneged upon.

“A third proposal, again with a reduction and a time to pay, was refused. It was pretty clear to me that there was nowhere else to go.”

Nixon also denies that he was solely behind the undeclared bonus saga in which the Lions were hit with a five-point penalty and £10,000 fine by the SPFL last month.

He added: “At no time during the tenure of my involvement at the club were any club funds paid to players, officials, or anybody else for that matter, by way of bonuses. What was paid to players were monies given directly by directors and investors for the players and I was party to the distribution of that.

“How that was construed as me doing this without the consent of others is perfectly risible.”

He continued: “It’s unfortunate it’s come to the mud-slinging but I’ve had enough of it.”

Asked to explain what led to his public fall-out with Rankine, local businessman Nixon, who helped take the club out of administration with Rankine and McDougall in 2009, said: “There was an issue around the summer of 2013 with the SPFL league reconstruction and I think this has a lot do with it.

“Neil, along with Robert Wilson, asked me to stand with them and remove Gordon from the board. I refused to do that.

“I felt Gordon was the right man to lead the club, although we had a disagreement over league reconstruction.

“There was no-one else capable in our organisation of being club chairman, I refused to back Neil on that matter and relations from that point deteriorated.”

Asked to respond to Nixon’s allegations, principle Livingston shareholder Rankine said: “If Nixon does win, he busts the club. He can’t win. If Nixon proves his loan is different and is repayable on demand, then surely are the other directors’ loans.”

On suggestions he tried to oust McDougall, Rankine said: “If I wanted rid of Gordon he would not be the chairman anymore. There was no getting rid of Gordon McDougall. That’s absolute nonsense.”

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