THE NUCLEAR OPTION – Dénouement
In the abundance of clichés surrounding the Rangers* situation, the one that seems to make the most appearances is “smoke & mirrors.”
As I’m sure you all know, but I’ll say it anyway, this refers to the mechanics behind an illusion; it’s how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
There is however a far more basic principle that underpins all “magic” (and most con-tricks) – Misdirection. While you’re busy watching the magician’s right hand, you don’t notice him dipping your pocket with the left.
And here’s the thing – what if the whole “Newco” scenario is just that; misdirection?
Think about it – as soon as the idea of a Rangers Newco being parachuted into the SPL came up, everyone’s attention was drawn to that, with fans lobbying their clubs’ boards to vote against it, threatening boycotts etc. – no-one was paying too much attention to whatever else was going on.
I won’t rehash the story of the bidding process, that’s been written about enough, by better writers than me. Suffice it to say that Charles Green is granted preferred bidder status & somehow becomes the front man for the club, even before he “officially” came on board on 6th June.
Cut to today, and HMRC jump the gun by announcing that the CVA will be rejected, as if that’s news! Mr Green will fill several column inches & 2-page spreads in the MSM with his outrage at the decision. Don’t believe a word of it; inwardly he’s screaming “Oh ya beautaaaaaaaaaay” because, if his plan to buy the assets is allowed – personally I don’t think that’ll happen; isn’t this why BDO have been appointed as Liquidators? – He saves £3m on the deal.
What happens next? If the Green deal goes through then we wait for the outcome of the Appellate Tribunal, and Charlie is praying that it’s suspension/expulsion. Why? Because then he can announce that the club cannot possibly survive without income – let’s face it, he’s no Abramovich – sell off whatever players he may have left & close it down. Then he’s left with all that real estate – Ibrokes & Mahatma Gandhi Park or whatever they want to call it & the car park.
Many people have said that there isn’t much point owning a football stadium without a team to play in it; to them I say only this: Highbury.
(For the more parochial among you, when Arsenal moved to the purpose-built & heavily branded Emirates Stadium, their old ground became an exclusive private housing development that made £170m. That’s not to say Ibrox would realise as much as that, but it’s a thought; Just because David Murray’s Casino & Hotel plan got knocked back doesn’t mean the land can’t be used for something else.)
Then there’s Murray Park. As I live in London I can’t be sure, but is Milngavie still as pan-loaf as ever? I understand it’s green belt round there but, as the land has already been built on, it’s quite possible something else may be allowed.
If they somehow survive the impending catastrophe, don’t worry about the Govan Rangers making an appearance in the SPL any time soon; that’s far too expensive for them & they won’t want it. Expect instead a team of kids turning out in the 3rd Division for a season at most, before being closed down as above.
(I have neither resources nor contacts, but perhaps a member of the 4th Estate might have a wee ring-round all the SFL clubs & ask them if they’ve been approached by anyone looking for a ground-share? A 50 000-seater stadium would look awfy empty on a wet Wednesday night when the opposition is Clyde (no offence!))
“But won’t that mean the BTC dies, and all that debt with it?” I hear you ask. Well, no. I believe that it will be broken down into individual cases, which will arguably be easier for Hector – you can’t give a Civil Servant too much to do when he’s chasing your money(in my experience.)
Anyone & everyone who was involved with EBTs in any way may well find themselves facing prosecution; bad news indeed for a certain Mr Campbell Ogilvie who not only signed off accounts “in good faith” (which itself may be against the law – submitting false accounts is not looked on favourably, and ignorance is no excuse) but was recipient of one worth £95 000. The Courts will be busy for a while…
Whichever way the cards fall, a Rangers* newco will be around for a year, at very most. Roll on Thursday.