Posing as a fictitious businessman ‘Stewart Henderson’, described as a Glasgow born ‘angel investor’ who banked a fortune from Silicon Valley investments, ‘Tommy’ decided to get involved after witnessing a series of e-mail exchanges between Whyte and a member of the Huddleboard Celtic Supporters internet forum.
Calling himself ‘John Patterson’ and describing himself as an ‘Influential Rangers blogger’, friendly chats by e-mail between Whyte and the Huddleboarder soon escalated into promises of connections between alleged investor ‘Stewart Henderson’ and Whyte, whose wealth was once described in a Daily Record newspaper article by Keith Jackson as being ‘off the radar’.
After just 15 e-mails between the the two fictitious characters, ‘Patterson’ and ‘Henderson’, a promise of a face to face meeting in London saw Whyte (using his libertycapital.biz e-mail address) providing his UK Mobile phone details to allow contacts to begin.
In an 18 minute call, recorded the day before Rangers’ administrators Duff & Phelps, applied for court action to seize Craig Whyte’s lawyers bank accounts, Whyte encouraged “Tommy” by saying the administrators were; “Doing what they had to do” by “Cutting the costs”, to ensure, “A viable business going forward.”
Whyte believed that Duff and Phelps, whose company name is an anagram of ‘Helpp Ffuds’, were doing what was; “absolutely necessary” so that, what ‘Tommy’ described as ‘The Big House’ (Ibrox Park) could stay open.
‘Tommy’ was reassured by Whyte that he “Wouldn’t be saying anything to anybody” about the proposed £10 million investment, but warned that the nature of a football club like Rangers would mean obvious public interest, much like Whyte’s recent court case, where a Glasgow judge described him as “wholly unreliable”.
When asked about his recent statement on eventual fans’ ownership of Rangers, Whyte said it was only one option, but he appeared to question the Rangers fans commitment to the any ownership scheme, revealing “I don’t think it’s something that could be absolutely depended upon.”
These same fans have been recently repeatedly using a slogan; “We don’t do walking away”, repeated by Whyte in a recent statement.
So fond is Whyte of this phrase, first coined by the failed Rangers manager Ally McCoist, that he said he “Loved the idea” of charity t-shirts bearing this slogan and his own face being sold in his honour in Glasgow.
Several versions of proposed t-shirts were created and sent to Whyte by e-mail for approval.
‘Tommy’, who is already planning a new career as an author, enjoyed his chat with Whyte immensely.
Read the emails here
Audio Transcript of ‘Tommy in Glasgow’ and Craig Whyte conversation
A Huddleboard Exclusive
Recorded on March 2 2012
TIG Hi Craig
CW Who’s that?
TIG Hi, It’s Stewart Henderson
CW Hello Stewart, how are you?
TIG Yeah, not bad. Can you hear me ok Craig?
CW Yeah yeah of course I can yup yup
TIG It’s quite a bad line I can hardly hear ye I’m on a speaker. How you doing?
CW Rarr rarr ok Yeah yeah uh not bad, where are you? Are you still in London or have you gone back to the states?
TIG Yeah I’m back in I’ve just flew back in I’ve been tied up I’ve been a heck of a busy. How have you been keeping yourself?
CW Yeah not not not bad at all not bad at all.
TIG What’s the state of play…I’m behind the curve ball, what’s been going down?
CW Wellllllllll I mean uh-uh-obviously, you know uhhhh, the administrators are doing what they have to do and cutting the costs and errr errrrrm, you know, making sure we’ve got a viable business going forward which is where we need to be it’s obviously, you know, tensions are running high and people are finding it tough to deal with but eh, you know what’s, what’s been done is absolutely necessary…
TIG Yeah yeah yeah and and the situation with HMRC, what’s the likelihood of a positive outcome do you reckon?
CW Weeellll arf arf arf I think we’re guaranteed a positive outcome ummmm there’s no question about that ummmm we’ll exit this by, ahh by CVA ummmm but aaaayyyeeee obviously the errr, the bigger uuuhhh the the uhh the fund we have to tooo too exit it more quickly the more chance of success we have.
TIG And you said the investment, you said you were thinking of looking maybe about £10 million, could you maybe break that down and tell me what you’d require to make it work?
CW Well I mean raaarr raaaarrr raaarrrr aaaaayyyeeeee in in my view and and this still has to be confirmed in my view there are probably creditors in total of about £20 million, aaaayyyyyeeee, umm, and ayyyeee it would require 20, sorry about £10 million up front to ummm satisfy that to get out of CVA…very quickly.
TIG And the fan ownership, are you serious about that? How serious is the fan ownership, I’ve heard you talk regarding that Craig?
CW Well I mean uuuurrrrmmmmm that’s, that’s certainly one option there are, there are other options too uuurrrrmmmmm you know there are uuhhhh there are various funding proposals eeeehhhhh aaayyyyyeee that are around that eeeehhhh that’s that’s one option, you know, depending on what’s ehhh aayyyeeee , what the fans want to do but , aaayyyeeee ahhhhhh, I I I I don’t think it’s something that could be absolutely, aaaahhhh, depended upon.
TIG You hinted there that there’s other things on the table, I mean, put your cards on the table time Craig, because I’ll no play any hard ball, I’m a straight hitter, whats on the table just now from what you’re aware of? Are you in the loop here with what’s happening? What’s the full situ?
CW Well I I I I’m absolutely in the loop, aye aye rar rar rar, where are you coming from Stewart, what’s your interest here?
TIG Sorry say again?
CW What’s your interest here Stewart?
TIG Well I’m a major Rangers fan. I’ve kept my distance for a long time but…I grew up in Possil myself so, you know I’m from the street…well when I say Possil, it’s Maryhill just, you know Queen’s Cross? As I grew up I moved out from a young age I left from the age of six so…but I’m a diehard, you know, True Blue and…
CW Wuh wuh wuh wuh where are you based now…
TIG In between Melbourne, in between Silicone Valley, New York, ye know, just and I don’t get as much time over here, you know as I would like…
CW Wuh wuh wuh wuh what’s your business Stewart?
TIG Sorry? Basically I specialise in techy software companies, the Silcone Valleys, but now I’m just back as an angel investor. I’ve got a few companies on the go just now, mostly, you know as an angel investor I’m taking part in just now.
CW Yurp yurp ok and you’re interested in getting involved in football are you?
CW You’re interested in getting involved in football?
TIG: Well for the one reason and the one reason only, not because of, I mean if there was anything other, any other football team then no, but for the Rangers then there is, lets say, we can’t let it die, we can’t be seen to, I mean I’ve, you know, the situation, obviously, I’m a fan at heart, I mean, it’s been a long time and I don’t get back as much, you know, but, its purely, purely for the recreational side, not the investment side if you like, just to make sure…like I’ve heard stuff, the liquidation, its probably the best option in my view, bury it and bring it back. But then, you’ve got the whole implications of what happens with, you know, have you got those bases covered with the SFA – are they all onside?
CW: I I I I have to say I I I’d be against liquidation rarr rarr rumbly bumbly and that’s my focus ahhhhhh.
TIG: Sorry Craig, I can hardly hear, I can hardly hear ye, sorry, what was that?
CW: I I I I I’m actually against liquidation aaahhh I I want to agree a creditors voluntary arrangement and that’s what I’m working towards at the moment.
TIG; I’m struggling to hear cos I’m on the…are you ok can you hear me Craig?
CW: I I I I can hear, I can hear you loud and clear
TIG: It’s just a bit muffled, so I’m purely for investment as a fan, I’m not even looking to take anything back but it’s the situation of where we’re at that I’d want to have clarified to my mind. I mean I’m a willing party in more ways than one but its just the fact that, you know, how clear….liquidation is not what you want but..
TIG: It’s just, just the, from where I’m standing I mean, obviously I’d need to take a closer, well I’ve not really looked to take a closer control or hand, I’m just wanting to make sure there’s gonna be a Rangers.
CW: There, there there, will be a Rangers . No matter what happens there will be a Rangers. You can be a part of this new Rangers, if you feel you must be involved, errrrr, I’d I’d be happy to discuss things with you because obviously any investment in Rangers, its early days and I will talk to anybody who has Rangers best interests at heart and eerrrr, if you want to invest in Rangers you you you very welcome to get involved. But what I would say is that Rangers will always be around. There’s no chance of Rangers leaving the SPL, we’ve got a plan to get our of this and eerrrr aayyyyeee I will talk to you at anytime but we’ll definitely talk but eeehhh we are eeehhh absolutely aaahhhhh aaaayyyeeee positive we are going to get out of this situation. But ehhhh, if if if you want to get involved further I am happy to talk to you, but there’s no chance of Rangers diasappearing. No chance.
TIG: Again, I’m picking up some of the stuff here but its hard to keep…it’s a terrible line. You’re back in the UK yourself anyway Craig are you in London as well?
CW: I I I I I’m in the UK at the moment. Yurp Yurp.
TIG: Cool. I think we should hook up and…but I mean, can I ask you another thing so, did the liquidation, we’ve gone through the liquidation, we’re going through the CVA….the definitive date on the tax, is there a definitive date that you can, that you’ve been hit with yet?
CW: There’s no date. What what what we do, what what the challenge is to have a very clear signal from the tax authorities on a number…
TIG: Sorry, hold Criag, can you go back again, sorry, I couldn’t hear you there.
CW: Ruff ruff ruff at the end of this process, there will be no tax backdated. That will be decided at the end of this process.
TIG: What will be done with the process, sorry?
CW: There will be no tax liability at the end of this.
TIG: Yeah, of course, of course, of course….its a lot to take my head round here….so I mean for the £10 million, for my £10 million, I’m not wanting anything but what can that give or what can that secure for yourself? What would that help you and what can that help Rangers, not yourself Craig, with the deepest of respect but what could that give to the Rangers basically? What would that give at this stage? Is there any one else that’s stepped in and gave concrete money, I’ve heard the stuff about the fans with the millions, five million or whatever, is there anyone else whose stepped in and said ‘Here’s five million’, the operating costs to get us through until the end of the season, is ten million, would that be enough? What do you need?
CW: I I I In my view, ten million is enough to rescue the club ehhhh that’s enough to get us through to the end of the season….
TIG: Say it again clearly Craig, it’s a terrible line, I’m so sorry…
CW: It can get us through to the end of the season but if someone wants to come in and put ten million into the club, that would be superb.
TIG: To the end of the season, so we’re talking two or three months….
CW: We’re we’re we’re fine until the end of the season, we’ll be fine until the end of the season.
TIG You’ll be fine until the end of the season?
CW: Yurp, yurp, that that there’s no there’s no worries about that. What cash is required for is to pay the creditors and pay HMRC to get out of administration and I think even with that we would have it covered and if somebody wants to come in and contribute to that….
TIG: You say you have got it covered, what was that, sorry?
CW: I I I I I think we’re covered anyway, but if you have asked and you want to invest in Rangers, you’d be very welcome to come on board.
TIG: How discreet can I….How silent can I be kept?
CW: Ayyyeee, I have to tell you that anyone who mumpy rumpy pumpy…so I wouldn’t be saying anything to anybody but you have to appreciate It’s an international global brand aaaayyyeeeeit’s a huge aaaayyyyeeee institution aaayyyeeee if you want a quiet life its not the thing to do.
TIG: Yeah, well, yeah yeah. On a personal side Craig, you’ve found it stressful? Has it been stressful to say the least in the last year or so?
CW: For sure I mean its aaaayyyyyeeeee like you know, somebody had to step up and rescue this business and that’s what I’ve done eerrrrmmmm and ehhhhhh you know you have to take the flak….if you want a quiet life don’t invest in football because, I have to tell you that. Eeerrrrmmm yeah I mean I’ve rumpy pumpy mumbles, but if you’ve got Ranger’s best interests at heart and if you want to put money in you’re very welcome to come on board but ehhhhhh I have to say that if you want a quiet life, don’t invest in football.
TIG: Right, so there’s, there’s gonna have to be a compromise made then obviously, you’ve done it Craig and well done anyway I need to congratulate ye. There’s some amount of nonsense some amount of shite basically that gets told in this media. Have you got any friends in the media left…
CW: I don’t think very many to be honest , no well, you know most people will remember me for saving Rangers. That’s what I came to do that’s what I intend to do. Errrrr but you know I I I don’t have many friends left here but that’s just life.
TIG: I know some heavy people from where I’m from I dunno if you know enough heavy people in Glasgow but these people can be leant on from certain directions and that can be kept well quiet too you don’t have to worry about that Craig, you know. Total discretion on that side, you know? If they aint eating the succulent lamb one way they can be fed the horses head another, ye know?
CW: Well I don’t need that anyway I’ll just keep my head down get on with business and looking look for investment in Rangers mumbly rumbly bumbly I I I I I I will make sure we get through this, errr that’s for sure, if you and anyone else wants to be involved, you’re welcome eeeehhh you know but whatever happens, I’ll make sure you get through this.
TIG: And the likelihood of people losing jobs as well, how’s that going? Have the players accepted a deal or what’s the situation with that?
CW: Well I ayyyyeeeee, I can’t really get into that just now, we can’t get into the details at the moment but eh, you know, if you’re interested in getting involved at the moment…
TIG: It’s breaking up again sorry Craig can you, it’s not too clear there, what was that?
CW:I can’t get into it.
TIG: You can’t get into it, ok ok I can appreciate that. Obviously, I mean the season is gone now, its getting us out of administration by the end of March is there a Champion’s League place for second place on offer?
CW: Yes, yes yes there is yes.
TIG: So there’s a carrot to be dangled anyway I would suggest, with money and we should be at least trying to go with that. It’s a viable option, you’re not denying that? Is that something that’s been aimed for? Realistically?
CW: Of course it is, of course it is.
TIG: So we have to be out of administration by, what was it? The end of this month, then end of March.
CW: That would be the preference, for sure. Emm emm emm basically what you would need to do, if you, errrr, if you want to get involved….
TIG: Sorry, you’re breaking up again Craig, you’re breaking up it’s a terrible line, what was that?
CW: Again, I was just saying if you’re interested in getting involved, if you have a good interest in getting involved, I I I I can get the administrators to ask you to sign an NDA and to send you more information and you can make the decision on whether you want to get involved or not.
TIG: You can get a what, sorry, a…?
CW: You’d have to sign an NDA with the administrators.
TIG: Uh huh.
CW: And then they send you relevant information for you to decide if you want to get involved in the bid.
TIG: Right, right right. Yeah listen mate I can only thank you for taking the time to iron out a few of the thingamies. Yeah, thanks a lot Craig for that, definitely.
CW: No no no no problem at all.
TIG: I’m sorry for phoning you so late, sorry what was that?
CW: if you’d like to have a think about it and let me know and tell me if you’re still interested in getting involved
TIG: Right brilliant I’ll get back to you soon as.
CW: Great thanks for the call Stewart.
TIG: No, take care Craig, take care and all the best and I hope, hopefully, I can see you’ve got the best interests of Rangers at heart sincerely, I’m offering it as well and hopefully, even if I’m not getting involved and if you’re going down a difference route Craig I wish you the utmost best for achieving what you’re out to do.
CW: I I I I I I really appreciate that Stewart.
TIG: And the offer regards to the succulent lamb, if they aint chewing on your meat then let me know and eh, you know buttons can be pressed. I’m serious Craig, I’m serious, you know, I’m from the streets, whereabouts are you from originally yourself anyway?
CW: I I I’m from Motherwell, near Glasgow.
TIG: I’m the same age myself I mean I’m 40 myself, I went out to the States when I was just about 17, before I turned 18. I mean I’ve been away for a long time. I moved down to London with my folks when I was eleven. My dad worked, he worked in the city in London and eh, yeah, well, we need to sit down and talk some time I’ve had an eventful life, to say the least. But I’m a diehard Bluenose and I’ll be fucking scunnered if the big house has to shut, then, it canny be allowed, as they say the big house has to …
CW: That that that is never going to happen, I I I I’ll make sure of that.
TIG: What about the concept of opening a dome with a casino and stuff like was mooted a long time ago is there, that was the other thing as well Craig, I mean, is there development scope that’s opened, you know for anything that was mooted a few years ago by Mr Murray?
CW: Rumbly mumbly bumbly there is certainly some development potential….
TIG: Sorry, what was that?
CW: There is certainly potential but ehh, I don’t think there’s anything you’re going to be getting into quickly, errrr, in terms of this, eeehhhh, the timescales.
TIG: That’s a long one yeah.
CW: Yurp yurp.
TIG: No, it was just the viability at a later stage. OK then Craig no problem at all listen thank you very much for your time.
CW: No problem Stewart, thanks.
TIG: I’ll e-mail you. Sorry, what’s that?
CW: Good speaking to you, I’ll speak to you soon.
TIG: take care:
CW: Cheers, bye bye.