Smoke, Mirrors and Sevco Rangers Assets – Guest Post by Ecojon

If I stopped any guy in the street wearing a Rangers scarf and asked why anyone should invest in Rangers I’m sure he wouldn’t give a fig about any of its recent legal identities and reply: “To preserve the club and its history”.

It really is that simple to the true supporter of any club, and yes, there might be a dream that if the fans actually owned the club that would better achieve and maintain the main objective. But fans ain’t stupid, they know the millions that have got to be found from the pockets of rich, club-minded owners to keep it running.

So let’s return to the Govan Miracle in early May when an unlikely Rangers Moses in the shape of Charlie Green rolled into town with a promise that the fans could own Ibrox under his stewardship and a £30 million Alternative Investment Market floatation which would earn Green £3 million.

Let’s not trawl over the detail of how we have got to where we are which is that the money-lenders aren’t just in the Temple – they own the Temple.

And that’s what I want to examine – the expulsion of the moneylenders. Timing is all with Moses Green – and I’m sure another Ibrox Moses must be birling in his grave at the moment. Can SevGers pay D&P the £5.5 million by the end of the month and how long will it then last?

To struggle on it will need to sell at least 20-30,000 season tickets and probably divest itself of assets which largely consist of playing staff and the freehold of Ibrox and Murray Park. Yea some revenue saving could be made through trimming operating costs but not nearly enough and many are, by and large, fixed.

So let’s look at Ibrox Park – that to me is the end game move when all else lies in ruins and provides the exit ace in the hole. It could be sold to a fresh Blue Knight consortium or Tesco – to the investors who have no emotional bond to Ibrox or interest in the club and its history they sell to the highest bidder and return to the mysterious Orient when they came – maybe richer maybe poorer.

Isn’t the Albion Car park an asset?: Yes and no. It is legally tied up in a finance agreement and the club (SevcoGers) won’t gain right, title and interest to the car park until 2023. Are you tuning in on your Marconi receiver Bomber?

What about the players:? Well it would cost money to sack them or make them redundant so that’s a NO NO. But their wage bill must be reduced so some have to be sold including those who have stood with the fans and haven’t walked – there is no other way and investors usually have no interest in loyalty unless they can make money out of company ‘Goodwill’. Anyone can think what they like about Bears but I still can’t get my head round D&P estimating oldco’s Goodwill at £1 – is that all that Rangers huge and committed support, at home and abroad, are really valued at?

Interestingly D&P stated in their initial report: ‘The January 2012 management accounts show carried forward Goodwill on Acquisition of £620,000. The realisable value of goodwill will be dependent upon the exit route from Administration’. I think the fact that D&P reduced the Goodwill to £1 points to what kind of car-crash exit route is looming.

So what’s left? Ah yes – Murray Park! It really is at risk being a good long-term investment but in the short-term a money-burning furnace for transient shareholders.

Indeed there was a glowing description in the initial D&P report which stated it was a: ‘Modern fully equipped training centre covers approximately 15.8 hectares. It was opened on 4 July 2001 after a £14m redevelopment. The training centre is regarded as one of the best in Europe.’

So what is the legal position with Murray Park?. Many think that it can only be used for football-related purposes and that was true but is no longer as I will explain shortly. But if anyone doubts what I say let me point out that one of the first things D&P did was have it valued on both an existing and alternative use basis. As a matter of interest the same basis was used for valuing Ibrox Park.

At Murray Park there were two fixed-term standard charges over the ground – held by Kelvinside Academy War Memorial Trust and The Trustees of Kelvinside Academical Club Charitable – which restricted use to sporting purposes although this could be altered by payment to the charge holders of percentage of the uplift in value. However, that is now all academic as the charges have legally expired according to D&P.

However, the Scottish Sports Council has a 20-year standard security for £500,000 over Murray Park for money advanced to the oldco. This is no big problem and wouldn’t affect the sale of Murray Park as the charge would be paid off and in this dire time of government cutbacks the SSC might well welcome the cash boost. So a sale is WIN WIN for some keen to raise money in the short term but disastrous in the long term financially in the loss of saleable young talent and also club and fan dreams to produce their own players to excite the Ibrox faithful. In a wider sense its sale would also be a sad blow to Scottish Football.

And some people may wonder why the Murray Park gates have been opened and a wolf allowed into the enclosure in the shape of the latest Ibrox shareholder who, among many other interests, runs a newly formed Sports Agency involved in representing and selling football players. How surprising 🙂 but as continually shown in this saga – everything is about timing. Perhaps the new board member is an honourable man and I have no evidence to suggest otherwise but it would certainly be in his commercial interest and that of SevGers if he could turn a few pennies flogging players and youngsters.

Having said that I’ve run out of time and haven’t found the black hole that Mick’s’ pies disappeared into but let’s keep munching away till we get to the bottom of Piegate.

 

 

Posted by Ecojon

 

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26 Comments

Filed under Charles Green, Football, Guest Posts, Rangers

26 responses to “Smoke, Mirrors and Sevco Rangers Assets – Guest Post by Ecojon

  1. Por Cierto

    Don’t discount the idea their “Old Friends” at the SFA and in Government coming up with a deal for Murray Park to use for the benefit of up and coming Scottish Players…

    • ecojon

      @Por Cierto

      I never rule anything out when dealing with Big Business, Bureaucracy and Government and, to be fair, the culture of interdependence between them is seldom based on a ‘handshake’ although I would be foolish to ignore it completely.

      In any case, if private money was found and the government injected the SSC £500K into the project you describe, that would present me with no problems although – and this really is a first 🙂 I agree with Green that it should be re-named.

      But I find it hard to believe the project would fly in the current economic climate and, in any case, a much better instant profit could be obtained from property developers. Think of the location and the fact that the site is flat – householders even in the current climate would salivate to buy it even if they only land-banked it for now.

      I don’t see any problems with planning difficulties from the local council as an atractive socio-economic mix of housing could be offered and if they still object they would be overturned on appeal.

  2. mick

    its getting real messy now good article agian ecjon ,murry park has planning restrictions due to location so the selling for use to sfa would be best viable option thats if they have money to buy dont forget the games in financial melt down and hampden and lesser hampden are well suvicent for trianing

  3. Sterling work Ecojon. If everything I’ve read on this site in the past few months is even half right, I very much doubt Mr G’s consortium will even see August. I doubt also that there will be enough time for any other group to get everything in order in time to start the coming season.

    Add the problems of penalties, costs and of course the legal ramifications of what HMRC is going to come out with (not to mention the police investigations), and it really does seem that we’ve all seen the last of Rangers – at least one that plays at Ibrox and trains at Murray Park.

    Maybe Bomber Brown and his supporters will spend the 2012/13 season putting together a truly brand new club, with a new place to play and train, that will start in Div 3 (if they still want them) in 2013/14?

    Because it seems to me that the only way the aforementioned Bear in the street’s wishes can come true would be if entity (person or group) was willing to write off something like £100m on running costs, wages and penalties over the next three years (at least) – and commit to that in the next week or so. Isn’t that what we’re looking at?

    • ecojon

      @Kenny McCaffrey

      I would love to be able to agree with you but I never ever underestimate the ability of Capitalism to survive, adapt and prosper particularly in the short-term.

      I would agree with the £100 million if they were still in SPL but I really think going into SFL3 and moving up say taking 4 years to allow for a slip along the waycould be done on £40/50 million. The key is the ST money generated each season and how that was spent.

      The dreaming has to stop as well. It will be 6/8 years absolute minimum before they are back to the playing standards they weren at in the last 2/3 years. Murray Park has to go (I know that is a hard one to take and I would love if an escape plan could be devised for it but it will be 10 years before they can create a similar facility) Ally can’t be afforded and there are a helluva lot of other ex-greats picking up loot. In good times that’s fine but not in survival mode.

      I know this will hard for Gers fans to swallow but Ibrox has to go as well. They need a modern, cheaper-to-run stadium in a transport-linked location with oodles of parking – preferably a brown-field site so it is cheap land. The fans then sell Ibrox to Tesco and they dismantle their historic facade and rebuild it at the new stadium. Ibrox is just too expensive and all the Rangers Knights who have the millions to invest balked at telling the supporters how it is.

      And that is a bottomless pit that can never be satisfied unless there is a fresh start on sound financial grounds with a modern ethos which is welcoming to all – yea even opposition support because you want to make money off them and cut down the number of smashed seats.

      In time the stewarding and policing bills would even drop .

      I think fans in general are resilient and I do genuinely believe that the majority of Gers aren’t wedded to historical battles that virtually no one gives a toss about. They might have to give a cursory tug of the forelock to it but deep down I know what they think ’cause they’ve told me.

      It’s decision time to either support a splinter-religion ( and I don’t refer to Protestanism) and cling to the past and have no future. Or bravely grasp that new dawn and march towards building new history and earn everyone’s respect by taking it on the chin and rising once again.

      Hopefully in this process Gers fans will lose the ‘supremacy’ complex that some exhibit and cling-to. Personally I think they will actually if not disappear at least lose their grip on ordinary fans and have their influence diluted. No football team has a God-given right to be victorious and all you can ask of any player is that they give their professional best on the field and behave in a way off it that doesn’t discredit their club.

      As to removal of trophies that is a huge issue and lots of angles have to be explored and I haven’t even decided what my position is on it and I will reserve it until I hear all the evidence for and against.

      As to titles and honours not in dispute then of course they remain part of a club’s history and help form the very core beliefs of a football fan – they don’t belong to owners who come and go or shareholders whose money comes and goes. They belong to the club which lives through the beating heart of its fans. I do not refer solely to Rangers supportes here but to all football supporters.

      And any supporter who argues for the destruction of Rangers’ history and the stripping of titles honourably won on the field of play should look in the mirror and ask: If my club was in Rangers’ position would I think our history should be extinguished. Takes a bit of courage to give an honest answer to that but nothing less is acceptable.

      Just remember when you are looking in that mirror that the history and titles belong to you and your fellow supporters and are only held in trust by the club. A lot of the problems here have been caused by D&P who ‘sold’ the idea to Green that he could ‘buy’ the Rangers ‘history’ and ‘club’ to push the price up. A club’s ‘history’ is never for sale – it’s for keeps – good, bad or indifferent.

      Poor deluded fool that Green is believed D&P because he may understand everything about making millions but he doesn’t understand football supporters. He doesn’t understand that even when they are out of work and on benefits they still buy season tickets to follow and support their club and build solidarity with their fellow supporters.

      Does he give a toss – I doubt it – I doubt if Rangers will cross his mind a few months down the line as he chases his next investment opportunity and meanwhile Bears and Scottish Football in general has to pick up the bill for the carnage that his foray into our national game has created.

  4. ecojon

    @mick – read the piece I have just done – I’m not sure the planning probs would apply. I think they were really inserted to give the Academicals a financial lift should Murray buy it and immediately build houses on it or get his old pals the Gilllespies to start digging out an open-cast coal mine 🙂

    Pity the Academicals didn’t look a bit further down the line and have a longer restriction – still I suppose they took the appropriate professional advice – wonder if their lawyer went to Fettes rather than the Academy – only joking 🙂

    Fair point about Hampden facilities. Btw just announced on TV that Strathclyde Cops have had to take over Olympic security at Hampden apparently the G4S are fully committed to protecting Green from anyone wearing a Rangers scarf.

    Don’t see the SFA politically able to buy Murray Park even if they had the money as all the other clubs would be screaming that if there is any spare dosh it should be going to member clubs.

    How’s the pie situation – I hear Bomber is going to do a humanitarian run and drop pies to the desperate in the Ibrox area.

  5. mick

    lovely pies everywere yeha ,theres still no news on licence ,yet they have been placed in the the league cup under the name rangers ,security should not be privateitised any way am sure our boys in blue will do a grand job and keep everything in order

  6. mick

    piegate3 coming soon a think it will run to 10 the way its taken off

  7. Ernesider

    Hi Ej

    Good title, nothing is as it seems.

    And when the first of probably many books on this whole all too familiar story of greed, pride and arrogance is written. Would a good title be:

    “The Taxman’s Revenge”

    As you probably realize by now, I am constantly racking my brains, for a word, a phrase or a piece of poetry to better explain Rangers plight. Well the latest is:

    Hubris ( /ˈhjuːbrɪs/), also hybris, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.
    (Wickipedia)

    • ecojon

      @Ernesider

      “The Taxman’s Revenge” is ok but a bit bland for my liking a bit like the missing Ibrox Pies. I will think and see if I can bake a spicier Mr Singh alternative.

      As to Hubris – I trust that is applied to Mr Green?

      • ecojon

        @ecojon

        How’s about: ‘In the bowels of HMRC’ I thought about that because HMRC goot booted by Ministers over letting the Ibrox bill get so high and out oc control and there was a reaction all of the way down the management line.

        I would paint the picture of the main action beginning from the time that HMRC didn’t prevent D&P being appointed. I think they took the gamble on that because they wanted them in place all the better to nail them to the floor.

        You could argue that the beginnings of the book should lie with DM and CW but I dodn’t see it like that – Always keen to maximise revenue I would have 2 books with the first ending in CW’s documented discussions with the forerunner to D&P discussing how an insolvency event should be planned and handled to the benefit of oldco.

        And as I say Book 2 would be the sequel – means you make at least double the money having the two books and probably more. E-Books of course to save mick’s trees.

        And it opens with HMRC managers plotting their revenge – they might even have engineered the disappearance of the pies to finally stuff D&P.

        What do you think?

      • Ernesider

        Ej said

        “As to Hubris – I trust that is applied to Mr Green?”

        Definitely not. Charlie’s problem was merely over confidence and a failure to properly “due diligence” what he was walking into. Stupidity and carelessness if you like.

        The hubris is aimed squarely at David Murray and everyone connected with his reign at Ibrox.

        The David Murray who said; “For every five pounds Celtic spend, we will spend ten”

        And far too significant a word to apply to that shady egotistical little asset stripper Craig Whyte.

      • ecojon

        @ernesider

        Ah I thought Green because of: ‘indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities,’

        But true that: ‘When the person exhibiting it is in a position of power’. Most defo not Green 🙂

      • Ernesider

        Hi Ej

        You write:

        “You could argue that the beginnings of the book should lie with DM and CW.”

        My book would be almost entirely about David Murray’s totally irresponsible and possibly criminal behavior during his time in charge of Rangers. The inept stewardship of Craig Whyte, would warrant no more than a final chapter.

        Charles Green’s ill conceived scheme to make a quick profit from the wreckage, and his subsequent struggles to extricate himself, may be affording us an opportunity to exercise our forensic skills and (thanks in no small way to Mick) quite a good deal of amusement.

        However, at the end of the day the Sevco Circus will be seen as little more than a footnote.

        When the final analysis is made, I believe the blame for the downfall of Rangers will be laid squarely at one man’s door, and that will be David Murray’s.

  8. mick

    its looking really bad for them now a wonder who will get the demolition contract ????

    • Ernesider

      Hi Mick

      Looks bad, but I won’t be looking for the lend of a handkerchief.

      Looking forward to PieGate latest.

  9. ecojon

    Rangers accept 12 month transfer ban – BBC news

    • Grabthegrass

      But also that they have received the financial info and that they “anticipate” the transfer to go ahead early next week. I hope they make this publically available, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it…. You correctly stated earlier that it will apparnetly start on 1st Sept 2012 to Aug 31st 2013, so they had better get some good players in before the end of August or they’re completely screwed.

      NOTHING about football debts though either saying they are in or out of the conditions of membership.

      http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2986&newsID=10229&newsCategoryID=1

      • ecojon

        @Grabthegrass

        Yea but they haven’t OK’d the financial info yet t- hey mention that has still to be looked at.

        They would have got info under confidentiality cover so it won’t be officially released but at some point it will leak anyway.

        I just don’t see how they can afford any good players. I am out of touch what are SFL3 wages like?

  10. Martin

    It seems clear that the current owners of Rangers are heading for a financial disaster. Note that I use the name Rangers, oldco newco it does not matter. If Rangers cease to exist in any form the argument about history has no point.

    There is a very real chance that Rangers will cease to exist.

    Without the support of the Rangers fans in the form of season ticket sales and punters turning up at matches the current owners will quickly fail to produce a football team able to fulfil its fixtures and meet the costs of running the infrastructure. To say nothing of the yet to be determined result of liquidation and the various sporting and legal investigations that will shortly be visited on the club.

    As things stand Rangers must continue to pay their fixed costs while trying desperately to limit any additional costs resulting from the catastrophe that has befallen them. At the same time there is the small matter of fieling a competitive team.

    Rangers fans as I understand it support ‘Rangers’ a nebulous concept as it is with all teams but one that must be captured by any company that wishes to benefit from that support.

    It seems to me that if Rangers start the season with all the uncertainty and without the fans support the company and the club will fail very quickly.

    Rangers in reality need a ‘time out’. They must cut all costs as close to the bone as possible. Sell all the players, and put on ice every asset they can reasonably retain.

    Work to resolve every legal and financial question currently outstanding and set a target of returning to football in one years time.

    When all the mess is cleared up a path for sensible measured investment will open. One that the ordinary and the wealthy fans can buy into. A new team could be built playing in a financially secure structure.

    To this end Scottish football fans and governors have a question to answer. If you value Rangers, can you, will you assist in buying them this time and provide a place for them to return to?

    • Martin

      As a footnote, as I understand it, it is unlikely that Charles Green will take this path. It is not the route to a quick profit.

      • Ernesider

        Hi Martin

        If you are referring to my use of the word “footnote” above. I am using it in the sense indicated below.

        foot·note noun \-ˌnōt\

        Definition of FOOTNOTE
        A note of reference, explanation, or comment usually placed below the text on a printed page

        One that is a relatively subordinate or minor part (as of an event, work, or field)

        (Merriam-Webster)

        My apologies if you meant something completely different.

  11. Pingback: Wings over Scotland | Stable door “to be bolted soon”

  12. mick

    justice for the players at last well done pfa scotland

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