Goldfish have a short-term memory which lasts only ten seconds apparently.
One sometimes suspects that journalists have a recollection span which does not extend back beyond the press conference they have just been at!
Do I have an example? Yes, I do!
The papers yesterday covered Mr McCoist’s confirmation that he and his management team had agreed to wage cuts. The Daily Record reported:-
Asked if he was worried about the finances of the club, he said: “Of course I’m worried after what’s happened but at the same time I can’t have a bearing on it, it’s not my gig.
“We’re taking a wage cut. I didn’t feel under pressure to do it as I signed a contract. Some people maybe forget when I became manager someone put a contract in front of me and I just signed it. It was as simple as that.
“I didn’t even look at the wages or length of deal – I just said ‘I’m signing that’ because it’s what I want to do.
“But I understand my responsibilities and that’s why as a management team we’re taking a wage cut – we feel it’s the right thing to do.”
I will pass over his statement that he did not look at his contract to see his wages or the term of it – either he is stupid (in which case his next employer can save itself a great deal of money) or he wants to emphasise how important the Rangers job is to him. I am sure it is the latter. In any event Mr McCoist is known as an astute man of business who has, quite rightly ensured that his various employers, including Rangers and the BBC, have paid a suitably large salary for the privilege of using his services.
But here we are – one month or so before the Rangers AGM and with accounts expected since mid-September – and the manager and his support team are taking wage cuts.
Mr McCoist confirms he is “worried” about the financial position of the company. He rightly says that he has a contract and therefore could not be obliged to take a cut (and it must not be forgotten that he did so under Duff & Phelps last year). However, despite that he has “understood his responsibilities” and accepted a wage reduction.
Mr McCoist works very closely with the CEO, Craig Mather. Mr McCoist also owns 1 million shares in the PLC. Mr McCoist was one of two “Key Employees” (the other being Imran Ahmad) listed in the Rangers IPO document.
Surely someone in that position agreeing to reduce his wages from £700,000 per annum is (a) worthy of comment (b) something which ought to be of interest to shareholders and (c) potentially something which could affect the market in Rangers shares?
None of the press coverage I have read of his statement however seems to join the dots. It is all straight reporting of his selfless gesture and no one seems to ask the question – “Why now?”
Why at the start did I mention goldfish?
I can’t remember…
Back as long ago as 11th August 2013 the press reported on the issue of a possible wage cut for Mr McCoist. The Daily Record’s article, for example, read in part:-
McCoist said: “Has anyone asked me to take a drop? No. Would I consider it if asked? Yes.
“It’s my job to get the best team I can on the park for the fans in an effort to win the league and any other competition we are in.
“It’s the board’s job to keep an eye on the finances. Obviously I am part of that in the respect they give me budgets to do so.
“I would be very hopeful, though, that we are not haemorrhaging money and going down the same road as before. It’s not a cop-out but I just don’t know.”
He said: “I’m not passing the buck here on to Brian Stockbridge but he IS the financial director.
“He said there was £10m in the bank, and that we were not losing money every month. We were making money some months and there was money coming in.
“Rightly or wrongly, I didn’t see that I should be overly concerned about the current state.
“I don’t go into board meetings for the business side of it. I go in and do my football piece.
“But I think they would tell me what was happening. I believe Craig Mather would tell me if we were heading down a road we didn’t want to be going down.
“I’d hope if it was on the horizon there would be an early warning system this time. Not like the last time when we got 24 hours’ notice.
“So if someone said to me your wage bill is too high or your staff is too high, then that’s fine I can react to that. But until that comes it’s not my gig.”
But no one seems to have linked Mr McCoist’s comments in August with what he has done 6 weeks later!
In August he said:-
1 No one had asked him to take a pay cut
2 He would consider it is asked
3 Mr Stockbridge said there was £10 million in the bank
4 Rangers were not losing money every month
5 Rangers were making money some months
6 He would expect to be told if there was a problem
7 Until someone tells him his wage is too high then he can react to that
In September he says:-
1 He is worried
2 He has not been “pressured” to take a pay cut
3 He understands his responsibilities
4 Accepting a pay cut is the right thing to do
Maybe someone can ask him a few questions at his next press conference and if I was an investor in Rangers to make money I would want these answered too.
1 Was he asked to take a pay cut or did he volunteer?
2 If he was asked, who asked him?
3 If he was asked, why was he asked to take a pay cut?
4 Is it a permanent alteration to his contract or a temporary cut which will be made up when the coffers are full again?
5 What “advance warning” of problems was he given?
6 Has he been offered additional shares or any other “compensation” for accepting a pay cut?
7 Was he offered the chance to take legal and accountancy advice before accepting the change?
8 Was he told that other action, such as redundancy, might have to be considered if he or any of his team did not accept the reduction?
Will anyone ask the questions?
Will the press link the answers Mr McCoist gave in August with those on Friday?
Will the goldfish succeed in memorising the full history of the present Rangers Football Club?
These and other questions might never be answered…
Posted by Paul McConville