A quick run round the developments of the last couple of days in what is becoming the greatest show on earth.
Some thoughts on the return of Mr Kennedy and his dispute with Mr Green – could Mr Green have been taken out of the loop by the investors?
What about the season tickets – you cannot charge Rogano prices for a Blue Lagoon product.
Why did Southampton pay anything for Steven Davis, and can BDO use that transaction as evidence of an undervalued sale? Why did Sevco get the cash?
Is it of note that football agents are gathering round the running of Sevco Scotlands’s team?
Four business days for transfer of membership…the clock ticks ever louder…
Lots of questions – fewer answers!
Brian Kennedy Comes Back
First of all, we have Brian Kennedy, who many moons ago appeared on the horizon as a Hibs fan who did not want to buy Rangers but if no one else did, he would do so to save the club.
He also said he would not form part of a consortium, as that was not how he worked, then he joined the Blue Knights of Paul Murray.
Yesterday he re-emerged again, this time on his own, following the Daily Record revealing his involvement.
The BBC reported Mr Kennedy saying the following:-
“I have recently had several confidential meetings with a gentleman representing the shareholders of Sevco with regards to my interest in purchasing a majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club,” he said.
“The details of these meetings and the written offer I have submitted have been disclosed from within the club.
“Now that this has leaked, I have no alternative but to confirm that what is reported in the Daily Record regarding such matters is accurate.”
Several meetings…with a gentleman… interested in buying a majority shareholding…offer submitted!
That all seems very surprising, bearing in mind how much info has come into the public domain here!
Mr Kennedy suggested that the leak came from within Ibrox, but whether this was Sevco or Rangers he did not say.
However Mr Green fought back immediately. The following was posted on the official Rangers website.
Charles Green, Chief Executive of The Rangers Football Club said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the owners and board of the Club are not interested in selling a majority stake in Rangers to anyone.
“I have said many times we are happy to talk to potential investors who wish to join the consortium on the basis that no single investor will have a majority shareholding and they support our commitment to a share issue for fans.
“We have checked with all the official representatives of shareholders and none of them have had meetings with Brian Kennedy so we have no idea who the gentleman is he is referring to.
“He has not contacted any board members on this matter and we have never received any written offer from him.
“Many people had the opportunity to purchase the Club prior to our consortium but failed to do so, including Mr Kennedy. Talk of yet more bids is a distraction from the very real task of securing SFA membership and rebuilding the Club for the future.
“That is our sole focus and should be the priority for everyone with Rangers best interests at heart.”
In the words of Jimmy Tarbuck in “Winner Takes All”, “We have a difference of opinion here Geoffrey”.
Mr Kennedy responded, saying that he has now submitted proof of his bid, made on 27 June.
“This offer will remain on the table for an open-ended period of time,” he said in a statement.
“I fully respect it is the legal prerogative of the controlling investors to accept or reject any offers for the shares. But I remain ready, willing and able to support the long-term interests of Rangers Football Club.
“This evening, my lawyers have submitted to the offices of Zeus Capital, a copy of the offer document, along with proof of funding, that was considered and rejected by the controlling investors in Sevco around 27 June 2012.”
I read a suggestion that Mr Kennedy is doing all of this, not to actually acquire Sevco, or Rangers or whatever, but to raise his media profile in Scotland. It has definitely done so. For good or ill, that is a separate discussion.
As far as this goes, if Mr Kennedy makes public to whom he spoke, then we will know if he is talking nonsense, if Mr Green is, or if, behind the scenes, investors are trying to get out of Sevco. But without involving Mr Green in discussions.
Rangers Season Tickets
The following is taken from the statement that appeared yesterday on the official Rangers website:-
The decision has been taken to reduce season ticket prices significantly – full Adult and concession season ticket prices will be reduced by ONE THIRD and Juveniles will be reduced by 50%.
Prices for season tickets, which now include all 18 league games, start from £258 for Adults, £65 for Kids and £179 for Concessions.
The spin machine is still in place – this was not simply an announcement of prices, but in response to “numerous” calls from fans. Clearly there are thousands desperate to hand over their money, and Mr Green would be delighted to find a rush to the doors of Ibrox with season ticket cash.
The spin of the announcement however is palpably obvious. The report trumpets that the prices have been reduced! What a deal – roll up and get your season tickets before they are all gone!
Except the season tickets have come down in price, but still to far higher a cost than, as far as I was able to see, those of all Rangers FC’s SFL3 rivals, because the product being sold has reduced dramatically.
It is as if the owners of the Rogano Oyster Bar changed it into a Blue Lagoon Fish Shop – the product has changed dramatically, even if the quality thereof remains high. You can’t charge Rogano prices in the Blue Lagoon!
Sevco Scotland Ltd seems desperate for money – the normal sources of cash, namely from season tickets, has not come in yet. The threat to sue Duff + Phelps seemed bizarre and another sign of the cash pressures.
Will the reductions in season ticket costs work?
Southampton Pay £800,000 Fee For Steven Davis. Why?
Simple. To end the complicated procedures regarding the dispute on his registration. There was the potential for this matter to drag through a panel in Scotland and then get to the Court for Arbitration for Sport. Whilst a temporary registration had been given to Southampton for Davis, they clearly wanted to end the uncertainty.
The fact that they agreed to pay £800,000 for a player who they could have got for nothing, suggests that this is still a good deal for the Saints. Davis was sold in 2007 for £4 million, and in 2008 for £3 million. He is now 27 and possibly at the peak of his career. Sale prices of over £5 million were being bandied about previously.
Quite how Sevco Scotland Ltd has ended up with this much needed cash is interesting. They have been paid a fee for a player who never, as far as the player was concerned, had any legal connection at all with that company.
I suspect that the liquidators will be having a close look at transactions like this when they come in. Should that money have gone to oldco, for the creditors?
If not, does the fact that the value attributed to player registrations was just under £2.75 million, and this one fee for a disputed transaction is almost one third of that, suggest that there was a sale of assets at an under value?
We shall see.
The Gathering of the Agents
Grant Mather, the new investor, to the tune of £1 million, is also a football agent.
Why would football agents be involved in the running of a football club? Is it for the love of the game, or is it business?
Bearing in mind that, if Rangers FC plays this season, many young players will be thrust centre stage, it is clearly a good move by Mr Green to bring on board people who can maximise asset values. One would expect to see young players who make a success of the opportunity being sold off to generate cash for all concerned, and to fund Rangers FC’s ascent back to the SPL
The Big Tax Case – Why the Delay?
On the face of it, it seems a long time to wait for a judgement. However this is a commonplace feature of the judicial process.
The hearing lasted many days. Clearly there was a great deal of evidence, possibly even about many individual transactions amongst many individual trusts. There may too have been extensive and detailed legal submissions.
The Tribunal needs to make findings in fact regarding all the essential issues, and also findings in law applicable to the facts.
The process of writing as judgement can be a lengthy one, as in addition the Tribunal members have other things to do – both in their “day jobs” and with other Tribunal commitments.
Many years ago I knew of a damages claim where, after three days of evidence, the Sheriff reserved judgement, or in the Scottish jargon “made avizandum”. We waited for a decision…weeks passed…months passed…nothing emerged.
The way of taking up the issue of a delayed decision was to make an enquiry/complaint to the Sheriff Principal, effectively the Sheriff’s boss.
However the general view was that making such a complaint or enquiry ran the risk that the Sheriff, if the decision was not yet complete, might, in a normal human way, be influenced subconsciously against the party making the complaint.
We therefore waited more, and almost a year later, a decision appeared. In that case it had not required all that time to frame the decision, but it was simply, I am sure, a matter of having the time to sit down undisturbed and to consider all of the relevant evidence and legal arguments.
Whilst there are guidelines for when decisions might be issued, they are only guidelines. The decision will appear when it appears.
Suggestions that HMRC are delaying the decision, or that the Tribunal is reluctant to issue a decision for fear have no foundation. The case is in the hands of the three Tribunal members and they will issue their decision as soon as they can. It could be next week…it could be next year.
As with all of the issues above, we shall see.
Rangers had to cancel a friendly with Kelty Hearts due later this week. The Fife team blames the SFA but one could equally say that Rangers FC agreeing to play matches when it did not have a licence was taking a big risk, especially as the reports seem to suggest that the stumbling blocks are partly of Rangers’ own making.
Rangers FC has played closed door matches. These must not count therefore as “official” games and so Rangers FC believe that they can play these without a licence.
The terms of the players’ insurance might be interesting. Are they covered for playing in a non-sanctioned match, or is treated as training?
As far as the other teams are concerned, what is their position if, for example, a player was injured by negligence of a Rangers FC player? Would insurance cover be in place?
Driving a car without a licence invalidates insurance. Does playing a match without a licence do the same?
What Happens Next?
Rangers FC’s Ramsdens Cup match at Brechin is a sell out. It is due to be shown live on BBC Alba.
The embarrassment and financial costs of Rangers FC not being able to play the game would be enormous, and would cast grave doubts over whether the team plays any football in the coming season.
There are four days to go.
Will Sevco stand its ground?
Will Ally McCoist walk away if Sevco agree to the SPL investigation regarding dual contracts continues?
Will the SPL and SFA agree to drop the investigations?
When will the SFA re-convene the Appellate Tribunal?
There is an awful lot to be done in four business days!
Posted by Paul McConville