Graeme Souness speaks out on his fury at the way Rangers have been run; Shay Given accuses Scots of being hypocrites; Mike Ashley loans Rangers a further £1m and more in Wednesday’s Rumour Mill
Mike Ashley loans Rangers a further £1m
Mike Ashley has lent Rangers a further £1million after their financial crisis was exacerbated by falling attendances - but has given up the naming rights to Ibrox.
The club announced to the stock exchange on Wednesday morning that the loan had been extended to £3million while simultaneously revealing they have entered into a marketing agreement with Ashley’s Sports Direct firm.
However, that agreement sees Sports Direct give up its right to re-name Ibrox Stadium, which Ashley secured for just £1 following a previous agreement with former chief executive Charles Green. (Various)
Graeme Souness speaks out on his fury at the way Rangers have been run
After the club went into administration Souness was linked to Charles Green’s consortium that failed to save the club from liquidation.
While Ally McCoist and others were won over by the big handed Yorkshireman’s charm offensive Souness had Green sussed out early on in the drama, referring to the businessman as that pr***.
“The guy who knocked on my door one night asking me if I would get involved in it, with him, Charles Green,” Souness recalled of the events in the spring in 2012. “Late one night about 11 o’clock, my answer was no. I got a phonecall about an hour before that saying he was coming to see me. I had been asked to see him and I had refused. I got a call an hour before to say he was on his way to see me. We went for a cup of tea at a hotel around the corner. You’ve got me angry now…”
Graeme Souness also confirmed that Brian Kennedy has virtually given up hope on taking control of Ibrox.
Following the rejection of South African based tyre-kicker Dave King Mr Kennedy appeared ready to save Sevco with the offer of a £3m loan.
Discussing the most recent efforts by the Sale Sharks supremo Souness revealed: “When we met a couple of weeks ago, we never went into detail because, the last time, we believed we had it. Brian believed he had it only to be let down and deeply disappointed. We even came up to watch a Rangers and Celtic game because we believed we had it.
“I think this time around he was always thinking the worst. Given the structure the way it is now I would think that’s it finished now.
“I’m angry about it and saddened by it in equal amounts because a lot has been allowed to happen. I don’t want to get into being involved in a libel case. All I would say is that if we had got it the people there would have had the club for the right reasons.” (Various)
Shay Given accuses Scots of being hypocrites
Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given says criticism of his Scotland-born team-mates is over the top and overlooks fact that some Scotland players have foreign parents.
Shay Given expects the atmosphere to have all the hostility and venom of an Old Firm derby when Scotland entertain Ireland at Celtic Park on Friday night as he rounded on the hosts for trying to unsettle the Everton pair James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady.
McCarthy was born in Glasgow, McGeady in Falkirk, and they began their club careers with Hamilton and Celtic respectively, but elected to play for the Republic of Ireland. That did not go down well with many Scottish fans and the bad feeling has been whipped up north of the border ahead of Friday night’s pivotal European Championship qualifier. Former Scotland international Gordon McQueen even urged supporters to give the defectors “a horrible welcome”.
That prompted a rebuke from Given, who said that the language used has been far too inflammatory and accused the Scots who have attacked McCarthy and McGeady of hypocrisy. He said: “The comments were a bit unfair as some of the Scottish players were born in England but have Scottish parents and that. It can’t be one rule for Ireland and one rule for others. They are in the exact same situation, so some of the comments were a bit personal and a wee bit over the top. I just think there is no need to go to that sort of level. They are the rules and every country is the same. I think it was unfair on James and Aiden to single them out.
“We can’t tell fans what to do or what not to do. I mean, we’re going into the Scotland environment and the Scotland fans can do what they want. Aiden and James are experienced players now and they are fantastic players. Probably the reason we are talking about them is they are such great players. I don’t think they will be put off by any hostility.”
John Guidetti reveals why Zlatan Ibrahimovic was right to lambast him
John Guidetti last night admitted that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was right to lambast him for being a loudmouth. The two players will meet up when they join the Sweden squad this week and it will be the first time they have seen each other since Ibrahimovic hammered Guidetti for doing his talking to the media and not on the park. The Celtic frontman said: “At that time he was right. I did need to perform on the field and be a part of the team and for that he was right.” (Daily Record)
Stefan Johansen awarded Norway’s Player of the Year Award
Stefan Johansen was last night awarded Norway’s Player of the Year Award after an impressive 12 months for club and country.
Organised by several football bodies, including the Norwegian FA, and TV companies, the gong is decided at the end of the domestic season.
A number of accolades were handed out but the most prestigious prize – ‘Gullballen’ or Gold Ball – went to the Celtic midfielder.
Johansen has struck three goals in the last six games for the Bhoys, including a vital equaliser in Sunday’s dramatic 2-1 triumph away to Aberdeen.
He also made a significant contribution in the latter part of the previous campaign after joining the club in January from Stromsgodset, where he had come to prominence under Ronny Deila.
This included a goal against Partick Thistle in the title-clinching victory at Firhill as Celtic made it three-in-a-row.
The 23-year-old has also established himself as a key member of the Norwegian national team and was lauded for his dynamic display in their crucial 2-1 victory over Bulgaria last month in the European Championship qualifiers. (Celticfc.net)
Willo Flood sidelined due to injury
Aberdeen fc this afternoon confirmed midfielder Willo Flood will be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of injury. Flood suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages of their 2-1 Scottish Premiership defeat by Celtic at Pittodrie.
Scans have confirmed the 29-year-old, one of the club’s star performers this season, has suffered a hamstring tear.
Flood now faces a battle to get back to full fitness before the turn of the year. (Evening Express)
Aidan Connolly says he’s long way to go to catch Andy Robertson
Aidan Connolly admits good mate Andy Robertson has left him looking slow.
But there are no hard feelings from the latest teenager to star at first-team level for Dundee United.
Signs are the 19-year-old has a big future but he knows he has some way to go to catch up with Scotland international Robertson.
“When we came in I was in the youths and he was straight in the first team but that’s because he did magnificently,” said Connolly.
“He did put a bit of pressure on the rest of us by doing so well so quickly but I think we’ve shown we can do it when we get our chance.
“And I’m delighted how things have gone for him. Now he’s moved on and is a well-known player but we still keep in touch.” (Evening Telegraph)
News in brief:
• Dundee boss Paul Hartley has thanked the club’s top brass for bringing David Clarkson to the club. The manager admits he’s thankful the Dark Blues money men went the extra mile to tie up a deal for the Scotland international. (Evening Telegraph)
• A footballer at the centre of a police investigation for racially abusing Aberdeen player Shay Logan online yesterday claimed he’d been set up by pals.
Alexander Thoirs, who plays for Highland League club Huntly, said he had been quizzed by police for two hours about the slur against Logan on Facebook. (Record)
• A loss to Poland will see Georgia boss Temuria Ketsbia quit. (Express)
• Cesc Fabregas has been ruled out of the Spain squad with a hamstring injury. (Express)
• Sheffield United are facing a backlash after confirming they have agreed to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them. (Various)
• Morocco have been thrown out of the African Cup of Nations. (Express)