Rangers liquidation: ‘I’m the best chief exec this club’s had in years’
IF the Rangers saga was ever produced in pantomime form, there would be no shortage of candidates to be cast as the villain. But it is certainly not the role Charles Green envisaged for himself when he put together the consortium which yesterday purchased the assets and business of the soon to be liquidated Ibrox club.
The astonishing turn of events yesterday, with Walter Smith emerging from stage right like a white knight riding to the rescue of a damsel in distress, could only harden the suspicions of those Rangers supporters who are wary of Green’s motives and those behind his Sevco consortium. Reports of manager Ally McCoist’s unhappiness with Green also did nothing to enhance the Yorkshire businessman’s credibility in the eyes of those punters he hopes will be lining up to buy season-tickets for next season.
If Green was at all fazed by yesterday’s developments, which completely upstaged his formal appointment as chief executive of the newco Rangers, he did not show it. As bullish and direct as he has been since being unveiled as the prospective new owner of the club back on 13 May, Green insists he should in fact be regarded as the hero of the hour.
“At the moment, I think I am the best chief executive this club has had in quite a few years,” said Green. “Now that might just be my ego running away with me, but I know I bought this club without any help. Just think what I could do with the support of 51,000 fans behind me. Every day now, people will see this club moving forward. There hasn’t been a board at this club for some time of the status and nature of the board now in place today. No-one has approached me with a bid to buy the club. It’s effectively me in the hot seat now. I’ve said since 13 May that we came here to rescue Rangers and that’s what we’ve done. We were criticised for being late entries. All the great and good had looked at Rangers and either failed to complete or failed to show money.
“We were accused last week of using season-ticket money to buy the club – yet we haven’t received any season-ticket money. So let’s get rid of the negativity and let’s pull together. Other people can come on board and be party to what we are doing. Their cheques will go into Rangers’ bank account, not Charles Green’s bank account. But we are not going to sit around and wait for them. Because if we hadn’t come along, this club would have closed. The administrators couldn’t have run it forever and no-one put money on the table like we did. This is not Charles Green and a few dodgy guys who came up in a bus from Yorkshire. We’ve got a group of people who invested because they could see a financial return and some people invested because they wanted to be a part of restoring the glory of Rangers – the name and the tradition.
“Some people invested because they’ve been looking at the club for 20 years but David Murray controlled it and then Craig Whyte did. All of my group have invested for different reasons. I can’t say that if you gave them their money back they would just walk away. None of them would do that. Why would they?”
Green’s relationship with McCoist appears to be strained already, but the former Sheffield United chief executive believes the club icon may be influenced by the fact he did not court his opinions and input during the administration process of Rangers, unlike some of the other failed bidders. “Look, I have great sympathy for Ally and I saw from the first time that I met him that he’s a tremendous guy,” said Green. “But he’s had people in his ear for six months. For nine months, he had Craig Whyte in his ear. Ever since this club went into administration, every single person who was associated with a buyout wanted Ally on their team.
“I was asked 20 times at least by Duff & Phelps if I wanted to meet Ally? I said no. Did I want to meet the SFA? I said no. The SPL? No. They were dumbfounded but in my mind there was no point in talking to people until I had done the deal or until at least I knew I was going to do it.
“I never raised my head above the parapet until I got exclus-ivity. From the day I signed for that exclusivity there was no chance in the world that anybody other than me would buy this club because the focus of my group was on completing it.
“It was through lack of focus that other people didn’t complete it. So we are here now, but I understand that Ally, Graeme Souness and other people had words with the various groups that declared an interest and offered to help and work with them. When someone else comes in you don’t want to be someone who says one thing one day and another thing another day.
“So I felt great sympathy for Ally because there were conflicts. Even for the staff here in the last few weeks. They see this man called Charles Green walking up and down the corridors and they are thinking ‘He says do this and do that but he’s not the boss yet’. It’s not been pleasant for Ally.
“I’ve spoken to him very briefly today. We haven’t had time to sit down but my group 100 per cent wants him as manager. I understand for him that with some of the people who are coming out of the woodwork saying they’d like to buy Rangers, he has a long history with them.
“Loyalty is something he feels passionate about, as do I, and for Ally to be loyal to these people and therefore be unable to commit to me, I understand that. I think if we can draw a line and move together, Ally can be manager of Rangers under whoever owns it.”
Green’s concern now is to establish which level of football the newly-constituted Rangers will be playing in next season, SPL votes and SFA disciplinary measures permitting. “The big issue facing this club is not who owns it,” he said. “The big challenge is that as we sit here today we are no longer in the SPL. We’re not a member of the SFA. We’re a newco who are applying – and letters have gone off already to the SPL and the SFA – asking them to consider the transfer of the shares to allow us to become members.
“Were that a brand-new newco, it would have a much better chance than we have because of issues like non-payment of taxes, the challenge to the SFA and the problem with the EBTs. There’s a whole raft of challenges. My concern is that we get sucked into a whirlpool of negativity – ‘he wants to buy it’ or ‘I want to buy it’ – as opposed to dealing with things essential to Rangers Football Club. These are resolving with the other members of that elite club, the SPL, to make sure that we are fit and proper to be part of Scottish football.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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