Willy Wonka (which might not be his real name) offered us a comment on the last post which says it all about the present state of internecine squabbling at Ibrox.
Referring to the return of Mr Irvine and Media House, he wrote:-
“Irvine … has been rehired by Mather and co to spread pro-board stories prior to the AGM/EGM/ whateverM.
He, like the rest of them will be out on his arse shortly.”
So the Board (made up of some of those who “saved” Rangers last year, and of others with significant investment made at or before the IPO) are castigated because they hire a PR expert to represent their interests. On the other hand we have the Rangers Rebels who, it appears, hardly have more shares in Rangers than me!
So, I thought it might be useful to give a quick guide to who is in and who is out at Rangers, and who has been in and out there too.
Let’s start going back a few years …
Sir David Murray
A hero for spending ten pounds for every five Celtic spent
A villain for subsequently not spending enough
A hero for deciding to sell his company’s shares in Rangers to someone with Rangers interests at heart – Craig Whyte.
A villain for selling to someone who turned out not to have Rangers best interests at heart – Craig Whyte.
Acclaimed as a hero when he stood on the field within a week of a company which was owned by a company which he apparently owned having acquired 85% of the shares in Rangers Football Club PLC.
Still hailed as a hero for his pledges to give Mr McCoist millions of pounds from his “war chest” and which, as a “Motherwell –born Billionaire” he could well afford.
Still hailed a hero by some for being outspoken for Rangers, even as the financial iceberg approached.
The devil incarnate once Rangers went into administration and as more about Mr Whyte’s dealings emerged.
Briefly again in the good books when he called for a full investigation into the alleged leaking of his tax affairs.
Duff & Phelps
On first appearance seen as “honest brokers”.
Made themselves popular with some Rangers fans by, as one of the first acts in the administration, trying to sign a new player – Daniel Cousin!
Said that they would fight the SFA/SPL, gaining more popularity.
Refusing to co-operate with the BBC – making themselves even more popular!
Being linked ever more closely with Craig Whyte – now they too are classed as villains.
Bill Miller and Bill Ng
Never seen as favoured by the bulk of the fans on the basis (a) that they were not “Rangers Men” and (b) amongst some (in fact I am sure only an unenlightened few) that they were foreign.
Bill Miler in particular was, allegedly, bombarded with abusive emails from alleged Rangers fans. Having had the joy of reading some Rangers fan websites and message boards the idea that Rangers fans would be abusive or threatening on the internet is clearly fantasy.
The Blue Knights
Popular once they appeared and gradually becoming even more so, up to the point, after the sale by Duff and Phelps when the new CEO became loved.
Then seen as uncommitted and having failed to carry through their brave sounding but ultimately unfulfilled plans.
Following his appearance in the saga, he received death threats from Rangers fans.
He was castigated as a “snake-oil salesman”, and not in a good way!
His record at Sheffield was mentioned time and again, and not favourably.
He was detested for having the temerity not to accept the bid from the Walter Smith consortium, who bid after the closing date set for bids!
But then he became loved – Charlie was their darling. And the death threats were excused – after all the team meant a lot to these people and why should one be offended if threatened by people for a cause they love?
He spoke out against the SFA, the SPL, the BBC, the press, other teams, the past owners etc etc etc. He was hauled up in front of the SFA for comments he was alleged to have made.
He made it clear he would fight for Rangers. The fans (many of them) loved him.
He led Rangers to a very successful share issue.
He swore he would remain at Rangers till the Champions League theme blared out from the Tannoy.
And then he made an ill-advised statement about Mr Ahmad and was alleged to have had closer links to Mr Whyte than previously known – and people began to wonder about the finances of the company and the speed that money was being spent at.
Suddenly he was no longer a “Rangers Man” having previously had honorary status as such.
He opposed Chairman Malcolm Murray. He backed the Easdales. He made a lot of money.
Suddenly he was, yet again, a snake-oil salesman.
Brian Stockbridge and Imran Ahmad
Unknowns at first and then seen as stooges for Mr Green.
As time passed they took on a more distinct public identity, and then it was being said that Mr Ahmad was behind the whole thing and that in fact Mr Green was his stooge and not vice-versa.
As Mr Green’s star faded, Mr Ahmad’s went out completely, after revelations about cash from Mr Whyte going into Mr Ahmad’s mother’s bank account.
Now cast into outer darkness, Mr Ahmad is persona non grata at Ibrox.
Mr Stockbridge has made a few public appearances and has, on occasion, distanced himself from Mr Green, but has never, it seems, gained confidence in his own right and still his answers to questions about the financial position fail to convince many.
His progress through the last year in the eyes of Rangers fans could be described as follows:-
“Didn’t Green choose him?”
“He’s just here to profit from the youth players.”
“He has put in £1 million of his own money – good on him!”
“Wait a minute, he is the new CEO.”
“Brilliant – he says he will take on Rangers’ enemies!”
“Wait a minute (again) he does not actually seem to be taking on the enemies.”
And from there the views diverge – with some saying
“He is just in it for the money.”
“He is blocking the “Good Rangers Men” who want to take over.”
“Get him out!”
Whilst others say:-
“He is the best man for the job. He won’t be pushed around by people who never put any cash in at the IPO.”
“We need to support him and his plans!”
How dare he, as a hugely wealthy Rangers fan, not buy Rangers?
Then, maybe his business skills as well as his money would help.
Then, he is behind the group who want to take over from Green, so we must back him to the hilt.
But he never invested at IPO stage.
Why can’t he manoeuvre Mather etc out of the door!
The Easdale Brothers
They have provoked a mixed reaction from day 1 of their public involvement, as a result of past disputes with the tax authorities, a business reputation founded on whispers and hearsay (the whispers and hearsay having however been dismissed by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner) and a perceived connection to Charles Green (who by that stage was in the dog house).
It is fair to say that the views of the Easdales remain mixed, even although they now seem to have a foot in each camp – or maybe the Board and the Rebels each have a foot in the Easdale camp?
Even Ally McCoist and Walter Smith are not immune from criticism although nowhere to the extent of any of the above.
And so, in an unscientific attempt to gauge some views, please feel free to participate in the poll below:-
Posted by Paul McConville