Today’s announcement that the Rangers Football Club Ltd is looking to raise £20 million on the AIM before the end of this year means that, very soon, a Prospectus will be issued detailing Mr Green’s plans for the business and assets he bought in June.
Commenters here have rightly said that, until we see the Prospectus, we are speculating on what it will contain, and Mr Green may surprise his sceptics, of whom there are a few, by producing a watertight proposal which encourages investors as well as fans to invest.
Do we have anything formal from Mr Green which can give us a hint at his plans?
Fortunately we do!
In May 2012 Mr Green was seeking investors in his consortium. At that time his company, Sevco 5088 Ltd, had a binding agreement with Duff & Phelps to lend the insolvent Rangers Football Club PLC £8.5 million, subject to approval of a CVA, and to take ownership, and as we know now, a binding agreement to buy the assets for £5.5 million should the CVA fail.
I was sent a copy of the RFC presentation by a reader who downloaded it from, I think, the Follow Follow website.
It makes interesting reading. It runs to 24 pages, and was intended, one assumes, to whet the appetite of the corporate investors in the City who might be interested in acquiring a share of the company.
Of course a lot has changed since May. After all, at that stage Rangers had just finished second in the SPL. They were an SPL team and the expectation was that they would remain so. They had a playing staff stuffed with international players. Whilst they were not qualified for Europe, Duff & Phelps had indicated that they were seeking a UEFA licence anyway. After all, it was not their fault that the licence had not been obtained, was it?
So what goodies did Mr Green promise to others?
Page 1 of his presentation is entitled “Rangers Football Club by Charles Green”. It discloses that the presentation is in two parts. Part 1 is entitled “This is Rangers”. Part 2 is entitled “Ranger (sic) FC – The Financial Offering”.
At that stage therefore this was a Green deal, not a Sevco, Blue Pitch or Zeus one. It is also a pity that there was the misprint referring to “Ranger” FC. And on the front page too. I know there are typo’s on this blog, but I am not using it to attract millions of pounds of investment (Although if anyone wants to invest, contact me through the website ( 🙂 )
Pages 2 to 4 give a flavour of the history. This lists the trophies accumulated by RFC and refers to it as “one of the world’s most established and successful clubs”.
I am not sure how it can be classed as “most established”. What does that mean? Is it another way of saying longest established?
The Rangers crest and commencement date is shown alongside those for the teams with whom Mr Green wants Rangers to be compared. Manchester United, Arsenal, Celtic, Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Inter Milan are listed in date order. I think Celtic would be delighted to be placed in that company, and Mr Green presumably meant that they were the heights to which he aspired, rather than the teams on Rangers’ level just now. However, he cannot be faulted for aiming high!
Page 5 describes Rangers home and training ground. Ibrox, with its 51,000 capacity, is referred to as “Scotland’s only UEFA elite club stadium”. This is a phrase which popped up in today’s announcement as well.
Murray Park is described as “one of the world’s most advanced training facilities” and referred to as a “£14 million state of the art training centre”.
Now I do not want to keep harping on about it, but remember that Sevco Scotland paid £5.5 million for ALL of the assets and business of Rangers, which therefore included that “£14 million” training centre. I wonder what the figure refers to – is it the value of the centre, or what has been spent on it, or what? If it is “an adequate consideration” then £5.5 million for all the assets cannot be, can it? We shall soon see what BDO have to say.
Page 6 describes the “Rangers Phenomenon”. Please resist the temptation to offer your own descriptions of the “Rangers Phenomenon”. Or at least do so temperately.
Mr Green described the “Phenomenon” as having:-
- over 5 million fans worldwide
- 600,000 registered on the club database
- 1,350,000 matchday attendance
- a ground filled 90% to capacity
- 40,000 season ticket holders (on average)
- 250,000 Facebook followers
- 600 supporters’ clubs worldwide
- 42,000 corporate guests per season
Page 7 detailed the “Brand Reach”.
- 530 million potential TV audience
- saturated media coverage with a £6 million media value to the sponsor
- a cumulative domestic audience in excess 10 million
- worldwide soccer schools in 14 countries with 1.5 million attendees per season
- matches shown in over 100 countries by 50 channels
Now the 530 million potential audience is a bit like the figures saying that 2 billion people watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony, or that 1 billion watch the Super Bowl. For any football match to attract an audience in excess of 500 million would probably require the team to be playing against an inter-galactic select, with star players from Inter Centauri, AC Orion, and Betelgeuse United. Any players from Ursa Major would, of course, guest for Rangers.
What about the soccer schools? Are these money makers or sources for new players for Rangers? How much money do they make or cost? So far I am not aware of any players coming through the schools to Rangers, but maybe that is not why they are run.
Page 8 details the strategy under 8 headings.
- To capitalise on Rangers position as Scotland’s greatest club
- To develop our brand across the globe through five key components: Football, CSR, Media, Commercial, Fans
- To have the Old Firm recognised as the biggest rivalry in World Football
- To continue to develop Ibrox into a world class destination
- To bring innovation to our entertainment experience on match days and non-match days
- To dominate all competitions, at home and in Europe
- To nurture youth development and produce a golden generation of home grown talent
- To build strong company partnerships using innovation and activation
As I said, nothing lost for aiming high!
One thing which annoys almost every football fan I speak to is the way that the executives refer to the “brand”. Football fans do not follow a “Brand”. Think of football brands, and Roy Keane’s “Prawn sandwich” brigade come to mind.
I like the aim of dominating ALL competitions, at home and in Europe. Not quite playing out successfully so far, but it is early days.
As for Ibrox being a “world class destination”?
Page 9 has more info about the overseas strategy. This is described as building on “Rangers Global Appeal”.
The focus is stated to be on areas where there already is a “significant existing brand presence” – North America and Oceania.
There is also targeting of areas of “high growth potential”. These are stated to be Asia, Middle East and Far East. Maybe it is a quibble, but aren’t the Middle East and Far East both in Asia?
In addition, the Far East gold mine has not paid out significantly for any of the various sporting teams who have viewed it as a source if limitless riches – whether in football or baseball. There is money to be made, but not the pot of gold!
As the only areas where they are not targeting the expansion are Africa, Europe and South and Central America (as well as the Arctic and Antarctic), it seems a very wide “target”!
There are 4 “key strategic levers”. Football, Social Responsibility, Media and Fans.
Page 9 lists “The Opportunities”.
- Matchday audience of 1.35 million
- Stadium Branding and Advertising
- Matchday Sponsorship
- Rangers Club media portfolio
- Social Media
- Guaranteed European exposure
- Penetration of overseas markets
- Money can’t buy opportunities
- Manager Ally McCoist
- First team and legend endorsement
- World famous Old Firm
- Exclusive access to World Class Facilities
- Award winning hospitality
- Award winning family strategy
- Award winning CSR community programme
I hope no one invested on the strength of this. The “guaranteed” European exposure could have been a hostage to fortune.
I am not sure how “Money can’t buy opportunities” falls into “Opportunities”. And after all, is it not the case that every “opportunity” listed has been bought?
What about the awards?
Can some enlighten me on the awards they won? I am not suggesting they did not win any – but they should be proud of their awards for hospitality, family strategy and their CSR community programme.
The section ends with the notorious image titled “We are Rangers” showing Ibrox at the height of a triumphant SPL prize giving in front of a full ground, with fireworks going off all over the place. Why notorious?
This was apparently part of the presentation to the SPL when seeking approval for the transfer of the SPL share from oldco to newco, and it was not felt to be suitably “under-stated” if not penitent. Instead it seemed that the perceived arrogance of old Rangers had been adopted by new Rangers while still in infancy. This was coupled with news of Rangers being about to sign Ian Black, who could no longer be afforded by Hearts. All in all, the wrong notes were struck.
As far as a presentation goes, it seems flashy, and a triumph of sizzle over substance. Did it succeed in attracting investors? Well, as Mr Green now says that there are £22 million worth of shares already taken up by investors, it seems to have done the trick! This despite the team not being in the SPL but in SFL3, and many of the valuable players “walking away”.
My next post will look at the meat on the bones – the financial offering.
Posted by Paul McConville