ON the day that Charles Green made a surprise return to Rangers, another power struggle broke out at Ibrox as it emerged that a general meeting has been called with the aim of ousting three members of the present board.
Green’s appointment as a consultant, just months after standing down as chief executive, was announced in a brief statement from Ibrox. “The board of Rangers is pleased to announce that it has today appointed Charles Green as a consultant to the company,” it read. “Mr Green’s role will be to promote the interests of Rangers Football Club, specifically assisting with shareholder relations and advising the Company on its capital structure.”
It is understood Green will not be based at Ibrox or involved in the daily runnings of the club, and will only receive a nominal fee for his consultancy. The possibility of his returning as a director has so far been resisted.
Although by the time Green left his fellow-directors had lost patience with his constant courting of controversy, they now appear to have accepted that he has a valuable role to play in raising funds. Green brought in more than £22million last season when the team were in the Third Division, and the board know the contacts he made then could remain useful to the club as it bids to carry on its rise back through the divisions. That board itself, however, is now under pressure as a result of the requisitioning of a general meeting. Although the date for that meeting may still be six to eight weeks away - and previous requisitions have subsequently been cancelled - the resolutions tabled mean there is certain to be a renewed bout of in-fighting at Ibrox.
The first three resolutions call for the removal of chief executive Craig Mather, finance director Brian Stockbridge and non-executive director Bryan Smart. The other two propose the appointment as directors of Paul Murray - formerly the central figure in the Blue Knights consortium which wanted to take over the club last year - and Frank Blin. “The board of Rangers confirms that, on 1 August 2013, it received a notice requisitioning a general meeting of shareholders,” a statement to the London Stock Exchange read. “The requisition puts forward resolutions for the removal of Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart as directors of the company and the appointment of Paul Murray and Frank Blin as directors of the company. The board is verifying whether the requisition is properly constituted and further announcements will be made as appropriate.”
The requisition needs the support of five per cent of the shareholding in the company if it is to be accepted. Should that criterion be met, the board has to call a meeting within 21 days, then actually hold it within a further 28 days.
It is thought that Murray and Blin, who are the main movers of the requisition, hope for the support of former chairman Malcolm Murray and businessman Jim McColl. Malcolm Murray was removed from his position last month after a damaging boardroom battle. Last year McColl was briefly involved with former Rangers manager Walter Smith - now the non-executive chairman - in a group which wanted to buy the club from liquidators BDO. It remains to be seen what effect any new changes at boardroom level have on Green’s new role. He will in any case have some time to become involved as a consultant before a general meeting is held.
Rangers are aware that the inevitable controversy caused by the return of Green could have been avoided or at least minimised had he simply stepped down as chief executive but stayed on the board rather than leaving altogether. At the time, however, there was a made in favour of a clean break, and it seems to have taken some time before the board realised that the Yorkshireman still had a relevant role to play. Green himself is also thought to have decided that his work at the club was not finished.
Rangers Supporters Association general secretary Drew Roberton said he believed that, while there would be some scepticism, most fans would judge Green on results. “I think there will be fairly mixed reaction,” Roberton said. “When he was chief executive some people thought Charles was the man, some thought he wasn’t, and others like myself were not totally committed one way or the other. He chose to resign from the board previously, and I honestly thought then that was the end of Charles Green’s involvement with the club. So this news has come totally out of the blue. You would have thought he could have resigned as chief executive while still doing the job in all but name.
“But Rangers fans are primarily concerned about the health and well-being of our club, and I’d like to think that in his new role Charles Green will be a success.”