Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Boardroom Chaos at Ibrox, What's Really Going On?

With the ongoing chaos which permeates the Ibrox boardroom, it is almost impossible to know where to start. But I'll give it a go.

Today saw the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Craig Mather and non-executive director Bryan Smart. Added to the resignation 2 months ago of Walter Smith as chairman, and the departure of non-executive director Ian Hart last week it is safe to conclude Rangers are not only deeper in the mire that acts like quicksand, but fundamentally rudderless:

Rangers now have no board.

The only ones left are Finance Director Brian Stockbridge and the Easdale Brothers, only one of whom is actually on the board. The other is on the sporting side, otherwise known as the Limited company.

So Rangers' PLC board is effectively two men now.

That is a summary of how it looks on the surface. 'Behind the scenes', however, the pitiful mess that is Rangers FC makes for even more damning viewing. The number of soap operas, backstabbings, lies, deceit and betrayal would have Mr Struth turning in his grave.

There is no honour any more.

What follows is a bit of an exposé of some of the truly ridiculous nonsense most Rangers fans know nothing about. I will not go into sources or indeed too much detail, but I will sum up the events I have been informed of.

For a start, Rangers fans, myself included, applauded manager Ally McCoist for taking a 50% wage cut recently. Unfortunately the problem is this is, thus far, a complete fabrication. Ally McCoist's wage remains at £875,000 plus bonuses. No wage cut has yet been taken by the boss.

McCoist also recently outed former director Ian Hart as a director who wanted him fired after the defeat to Forfar. Not actually the case at all.

My understanding is Hart was only critical of McCoist's public verbal tirade against Charles Green (the whole 'we need a cup' comment), who was once McCoist's boss. And suggested to McCoist, had he been his own employee, such a tirade from employee against himself (Ian Hart) would have seen Ally fired. Hart did not want McCoist fired, he was only being rightly critical (as I was at the time as well) of McCoist's frankly ludicrous outburst at former CEO now consultant Green.

There was also Craig Mather making underhand dealings 6 weeks ago to 'get rid' of Hart and Smart as a deal to appease Paul Murray and his 'consortium'. In other words, Mather was trying to make space on the board. That would have been acceptable had Hart or Smart been consulted and given their blessing but this was behind their backs.

Hart also saved Rangers a lot of cash by persuading Charles Green to quit with severance pay. Green could easily have sued Rangers in court for a lot more. Just like Sandaza nearly did, and would have won but for Rangers cottoning on to his case being so strong and settled out of court.

Then there is Brian Stockbridge; he did not take the bonus. He and Mather have both publicly confirmed it and my understanding is that at least is 100% true. It remains in the accounts contractually and nothing more. That one at least is honourable news but most fans refuse to accept it as the case.

Another piece of honourable news is that Ian Hart was not paid £28,228 expenses. Instead he was just given that in shares in the club.

The last thing I will touch on is the slightly embarrassing plans for the AGM. Mather and Stockbridge are/were so anxious about fan reaction they planned a 10ft stage with back exits and a tonne of police (no joke) so that they could be protected and escape if things got 'heated'. For the executives to require body guards and a plan B is truly the most absurd thing. What did they expect? A swarm of 50 angry bears charging the stage wanting blood?

It is not a surprise Smart, Hart and Walter Smith quit. Albeit it probably is a surprise to many that while Malcolm Murray was the original 'mole', Mather and Walter were not averse to the occasional leak themselves.

Rangers could not be in more of a mess right now, with no board, no leader, no direction, and a now-postponed AGM meaning new appointments cannot be made until just before Christmas.

Still, at least the stuff on the pitch is worth cheering.
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