Charles Green’s world tour continues. He has visited Northern Ireland and North America, as well as telling the loyal fans in Scotland what he is looking for in taking his football team forward.
His recent trip to Northern Ireland, at the invitation of Rangers Till I Die Northern Ireland consisted of a number of visits. Mr Green is a tireless mover and shaker, and shook many hands on his journey across the Irish Sea.
Mr Green and his co-director Imran Ahmad visited, meeting with the RTIDNI, various Rangers Supporters Clubs and Linfield FC. This included the prospect of Rangers playing a return match with the Irish club.
Mr Green then met the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson. The purpose of this meeting, according to RTIDNI “was to explain to The First Minister, the disgraceful way that Politicians in Scotland have shown absolutely NO support for Rangers Football Club.”
A couple of points come to mind. Having a moan at Mr Robinson about Scottish politicians might be therapeutic, but how constructively does he think Mr Robinson can help him? It is not as though Rangers can move to play in Northern Ireland, is it?
Mr Green told Mr Robinson “If it was a Pie company going bust with the loss of Revenue to the local Economy and Job losses, Scottish M.Ps and Government Ministers would be bending over backwards to help”. Perhaps the workers in Hall’s of Broxburn might disagree about government backing to preserve jobs being given to every other business in trouble?
It could also be pointed out that Rangers seems to have, thanks to Mr Green’s intervention, survived with minimal job losses. Does Mr Green think that Mr Salmond should have lobbied the SPL to approve the share transfer from RFC (in administration) to Sevco? And how should the Scottish Government have helped the failing RFC PLC, owing millions of pounds in unpaid taxes?
According to the RTIDNI minutes, “Political backing for investment i.e Shops in Northern Ireland was also brought to the table and discussed, and after a lengthy discussion programme Mr Green informed us that he was extremely happy with the meeting and had found it very productive.” Quite how the Northern Irish Executive is to help Rangers within the rules surrounding European state aid would be a challenge!
Mr Green then met the Ulster Unionist Party Leader Mike Nesbitt. A cynic might wonder why, if looking for government support, Mr Green did not meet representatives of the other party in the executive, Sinn Fein. (Or maybe not)
Messrs Green and Ahmad met the fans’ groups and gave a presentation “on current affairs at the Club and their outlook for the future”.
As the RTIDNI minute said “Everyone was in agreement that our Clubs future was looking extremely good with plans of Hotels, Cancer Centre, New Shop, New Ticket office and renovations to Edmiston Club along with Football Academies in America, Asia and widespread Global Marketing.”
Can the hover pitches and casinos of gold be far behind?
Mr Green then answered some questions, though still all those he promised to answer at the end of June, within seven days, have not yet been clarified.
Mr Green’s “main problem was with The Leadership and running of the S.P.L. He said the Agenda from the S.P.L against Rangers F.C and their fans and their constant attacks upon our Club will not be forgotten. He then stated that whilst things are the way they are, the onslaught continues AND as long as he is C.E.O of Rangers F.C, Rangers will NEVER play in the S.P.L again. This was met with a round of applause from the Audience.”
Now, the cynic mentioned above might say that this proves Mr Green’s plans are short-term. Can a responsible CEO decide, in the interests of his shareholders, to refuse the chance to be in the top division? How does this fit his goals of financial success and European competition. As yet qualification for the Champions League via the SFL is not available,
Mr Green explained that “Rangers Shares will ONLY be available Direct from Rangers F.C. They will be sold at first to Rangers Fans and Rangers Fans only, as in Season Ticket Holders registered Supporters Clubs and Members of the Rangers Family. No other option for buying shares will be available.”
If so, Mr Cynical might ask, why appoint brokers and advisers with a view to being floated? Will the shareholders of the former Rangers be alloted shares for free, given them at a reduced rate, or simply allowed to buy in with everyone else? And does this stance mean that a Venture Capitalist wanting to invest £10 million would need to buy a season ticket first?
The report continues:-
A shortened Q&A then took place and was as follows.
Q1: What is happening about the money that is owed to Rangers by the S.P.L etc ?
C.G: “The S.P.L are refusing to hand what is due to Rangers and the fight against these disgraceful decisions was still ongoing.”
However, no one seems to have asked in what way the fight was ongoing, Nor did Mr Green confirm why the money was due to “Rangers”. One assumes he means his version rather than the one owing millions in debt. Mr Green’s position seems to be, although it would help if he confirmed it, that, in his view, he bought and paid for that prize money and therefore he wanted it. This however goes against the statement by Duff & Phelps that Sevco agreed to forego the money due as it negotiated membership of the SFA.
Q2: Would Rangers Consider putting a Team back into the N.I Milk Cup ?
C.G: “This had already been raised by the Youth Team Coach and would definitely be looked at in the future”
Q3: Would Rangers consider bringing out an Orange Top ?
C.G: “Yes, they have a number of designs and are coming near agreement with Adidas”
Good to see the important issues being addressed by the supporters,
Q4: Will you continue with the fight against all Rangers enemies out there as you have been doing ?
C.G: “Absolutely and with everything in my body, I wasn’t a Rangers Supporter when I came here but I am Now”
Now I might be a bit pedantic here, but how on earth do comments like this square with the duty under Scottish football’s rules of showing respect etc? Especially after his bizarre “not proven” verdict from the SFS one suspects Mr Green feels he can get away with saying anything, and who is to doubt him?
Q5: Would Rangers Consider flying the 4 Home Nations Flags alongside the Flags already above Ibrox ?
C.G “I don’t see why Not as the contribution and dedication of Rangers Fans throughout the U.K and the world is second to none and should be recognised”
The next day, after a visit to sites for a prospective Rangers store in Belfast, Mr Green left the province..
How did his views go down amongst the Northern Irish faithful?
“All in all we found Mr Green to be very honest and upfront and along with all the other Supporters thought his plans were excellent. Therefore on behalf of Myself and R.T.I.D.N.I We would like to give our FULL backing to Mr Green and his plans for Rangers F.C.
WE Support fully, his stance with regards to the hatred towards our club and the Agenda by The S.P.L/S.F.A and fully back him every step of the way in his fight against the haters of Rangers F.C and their Fans.
We also Support fully the plans on the way forward for Rangers F.C and we would urge ALL Fans, Fan Groups Clubs etc etc to Support The Share Scheme (I.P.O) which will be put forward by Rangers F.C. and to buy Shares when available.
We believe that Mr Green is the real deal and has the Full Backing of R.T.I.D.N.I and we would urge ALL fans to do the same. We would also urge ALL Northern Ireland Fans, Groups and Clubs to join with us to form a new grouping more representative of N.I. Rangers Fans to not only have a big say at Rangers, but to organise a good convention every year.
So, mission accomplished for Mr Green – fans onside and supporters groups rallying behind him.
I do not want to rain on his parade, but it looks as if the entire visit was designed only to garner support for the fast approaching share issue. Mr Green seems to have learned the lessons from the tenure of his predecessors. Messrs Whyte and Bain did not generally tell the Rangers fans what they wanted to hear. Accordingly they lost popular support. Mr Green is doing the opposite. I do not mean that he would automatically go along with anything suggested by a large enough number of fans, but either (a) he is now a Rangers fans and wants to give them what they want or (b) he wants them to buy his shares.
I leave it to readers to decide what is more likely.
From here Mr Green has returned to Scotland and produced more details regarding his plans, some of which seem to contradict what he says here, but nonetheless I am sure any errors were entirely innocent on his part.
What will be interesting is how the Prospectus for shares will address issues where he is giving the popular responses now, but where the business case justifies the opposite. Whilst it is easy to tell the world that he will not bring Rangers into the SPL whilst he is CEO, what is the betting that, if he hangs around long enough, they will have won promotion, and at that stage he would be able to announce that the SPL had changed enough, as had enough of its members, to allow Rangers back into the SPL, only, of course for the good of the honest men of Scottish football who stood up for Rangers, and for Rangers itself.
As I have said before, and have heard from reliable sources, Mr Green is a super salesman, able, it seems, to sell anything to anybody. He is working damn hard to close this deal now – can he pull of the last big job?
Posted by Paul McConville