An Unwanted Power Struggle at Ibrox


Charles Green had problems with popularity before anyone knew what he even looked like. With a name like ‘Green’, the businessman always had the majority of supporters against his consortium’s bid to take over Rangers once Craig Whyte was effectively out of the picture. After failed bids from The Blue Knights and Bill Ng, Green’s investors were the only serious group in town with genuine working capital. Green made grandiose claims about the level of finance available, and boasted of his own track record in football. A £5.5M deal was agreed soon after with Duff & Phelps and Green became CEO of Rangers PLC, which lasted mere weeks before the CVA was rejected and a newco Rangers was formed, with Green still at the helm, and the chairman being newly-installed Malcolm Murray.
Malcolm Murray – possibly condemned by his surname.
Green’s company, which was renamed to ‘The Rangers Football Club’, was/is called Sevco, not entirely dissimilar to Craig Whyte’s ‘Wavetower’ – companies set up purely for the purpose of owning Rangers. The comparison between both men surely ends there, however, with Whyte always acting alone and his company past being anything but traceable. Green, on the other hand, has a history on record, particularly in football, and has had a number of well-respected football men support him, including Howard Kendall and Don Hutchinson.
However, this has not been enough for a great many fans who still suspect malevolent intent on the part of Green, suspecting him to ‘be another Whyte’ and backing any alternative bid, particularly if it comes from ‘real Rangers men’.
The first bid was one yours truly was happy enough to see prevail, when club hero, legend, and all-round handsome swashbuckler Walter Smith emerged as heading up a bid financed by near-billionaire Jim McColl and the multi-millionaire Donald Park. There is not a bear alive who would not wish to see Smith at Ibrox again – the problem was McColl and Park’s investment was a mere £6M. Two men worth nearly a billion and they stumped up considerably less than 10. This is not to devalue money – why throw vast sums of cash when that is not required. But given Green’s bid (potentially excluding initial costs of around a million announced by Green) was worth £5.5M – it seems a bit strange that Park and McColl felt only around £500,000 extra was required and Rangers would be theirs.
Club Legend Walter Smith.
Green understandably rejected it, and instead of returning with a more feasible bid, Smith’s group walked away, via lieu of a very strange statement:
            “However, the current business plan is not in accord with our understanding of the present circumstances of the club and the way forward, but we would prefer to leave them to proceed in their own way and we wish them good luck in their endeavours.”
Rather than upping their bid by literally a few million, and implementing their own ‘business plan’ which would be ‘in accord with their understanding of the present circumstances of the club and the way forward’, Smith’s group decided they were no longer interested and departed proceedings. Very few supporters have ever questioned why this occurred. It does not undermine Green in any way, if anything it undermines how serious Smith’s group was. No one is bigger than the club, not even the legendary Walter Smith, and for his group to ‘concede defeat’ so early on was absolutely bizarre given the funds at their disposal.
The next group to arise has created something of a pack mentality among a number of supporters, who see its head as something of a legend and a ‘real Rangers man’ and has subsequently accelerated the anti-Green sentiment which undeniably exists among factions of the support.
John ‘Bomber’ Brown announced he was fronting a new group which supposedly had the support of yet more club legends such as Richard Gough and Brian Laudrup. I use the word ‘supposedly’ as neither of them (or others named such as Lorenzo Amoruso and Andy Goram) have actually publicly said one way or another their opinion on the matter. Media outlets have quoted their names but I am yet to see actual words in black and white of endorsement of Brown’s bid.
Does the Great Dane actually endorse Bomber’s bid?
Furthermore Brown’s own approach has been full of rhetoric, big words, and a Tommy Sheridan style aggression which has, as of yet, failed to deliver a single thing. Words in the press exist about an £8.7M bid which would be absolutely fine, if it did indeed materialise. But as of yet those funding his bid have remained conspicuous by their anonymity. The best Bomber has done is to say “we have the backing of some powerful people who are going to invest” – but while a flurry of insults gets volleyed towards Green and his consortium, who have been named, Brown’s anonymous backers get a backstage pass. “We need a bit of honesty from Charles Green” says Brown, who has not exactly delivered the same himself as of yet.
“If Charles Green says he’s got the title deeds in his name, we will make an offer” he added, which is fair enough. But the siege mentality which has resulted among Rangers supporters regarding proof over the asset deeds has risen to fever pitch. Fans demand explicit proof be shared over who owns Ibrox and Murray Park, with Brown apparently appointing himself (and being appointed by fans) as moral guardian regarding said issue. An issue, interestingly, Walter Smith’s consortium made no mention of.
The latest episode has seen Brown throwing accusations at Malcolm Murray, stating the new Rangers chairman had backed out of a meeting arranged prior with him. The reality is the meeting was merely rescheduled given Brown’s consortium really is not top priority for Green and Murray right now.
The truth is this power struggle is not helping Rangers one bit right now. With the newco vote taking place tomorrow, while Scottish football as a whole stares into the abyss and prepares itself for potential collapse, while potential sanctions are being compiled in dark boardrooms ready to be meted to the Ibrox side, John Brown and any other party interested in purchasing Rangers really is not the most important issue.
Furthermore, Murray has released a statement on the official Rangers website giving answers to a great deal of the questions supporters have regarding the new regime, and today provided a dignified apology to Scottish football for the irresponsible actions of previous regimes, while CEO Green provided some media time to both Sky Sports News and the official club TV channel to clarify yet more issues, and stated further information would become established over the next 7 days.
The current regime has earned the right to be at least given a chance to come out of the pickle previous ones put the club in.
For now a power struggle at the highest level is a badly unwanted distraction.