There were a number of suitors for RFC but most knew liquidation (following the normal route) was inevitable and no-one wanted to be seen as the people who made Rangers go bust and lose their 140 years of history. The Blue Knights did submit a bid that they believed could avoid liquidation but I’m told it was conditional upon;
· Retaining SPL status
· No liability for the big taxcase
· No liability for non-paid PAYE and VAT by Whyte
· No punishment of RFC by SPL following EBT case
· Retained history
This bid was therefore going nowhere.
There was then interest from the RFC fighting fund, but it is alleged this had a problem with where the funds were coming from. Most of the larger backers were (we’ll be kind here) Glasgow Businessmen. These people were keen to save their club but the challenge for some would come upon any detailed scrutiny of where the money came from – they’d seen the forensic nature of Whyte by RTC and others and well, there’s only so much you can do before you cross the line into becoming a “well known” Glasgow businessman (!)– more than one of the 32 journalists Alex Thompson identified as receiving threats for covering the RFC story came unstuck identifying individuals involved in this group. And then we have Charles Green who, just before and just after liquidation, appeared to be holding off challenges to the RFC crown from two suitors. A consortium notionally fronted by Walter Smith and a left field bidder in “Celtic fan” Steven McKenna.
The Walter bid was one of Rangers businessmen who didn’t want their club to get into the wrong hands but knew liquidation was inevitable. They sat on the sidelines and waited and waited to be last second saviors. They did well and genuinely pulled together a £10m bid inside 24 hours. The problem was that by the time they came to the party Green had a done deal. Informed insiders tell me that they also had been wracked with internal squabbling as no-one wanted to be the bidder who tipped them over yet everyone wanted to be the savior. In time it will also be seen that personal issues with one main backer was the final straw. So that leaves the strange case of Steven McKenna and my “How to Finance a Football Club” article followed by Paul adding the figures from the Heads of Terms.
Steven McKenna had a long-standing relationship with Duff & Phelps. As I commented on twitter last season, Steven had secured a position with D & P and first option on the Rangers land and property bank long before Charles G had even considered pulling a deal together. But that was all Steven was interested in. Football ownership isn’t for him. Like Craig Whyte, making a fast buck is his game. The discussions with the Blue Knights would have freed up Steven to keep touting his land options around the UK (as he did through March, April & May), but Charles’ deal was for the lot at Ibrox and Steven saw his £m’s boat sail off into the sunset, until….
One of the suitors he had approached reverted back to him and offered a very attractive deal for the land parcels he had been selling. Steven then stepped up for the plate and the deal outlined by Paul and I was created. As stated on twitter when his “interest” in RFC was in the news, Steven was NEVER intending to buy Rangers, but if he could interest Green in the sale and leaseback options, AT WORST he could make a quick tidy £1m.
Just as the press got whiff of Steven’s interest, the buyers became uneasy. They are a reputable investment house; not from these shores but they do speak English and were aware of what was going on. They didn’t want to speak with the monkey when there was an organ grinder on the scene. Just as Steven McKenna was having an unwelcome spotlight shone upon him, so too the investors wanted to ditch him. At that time Green was not a welcome person and here was a deal that would repay his investors and give him the quick buck he sought.
Being a Yorkshireman I’m sure Green is well aware of the pro’s and cons of this deal. It is IDENTICAL to the Leeds set up. It facilitated quick cash-flow, but at circa 30% repayment terms (on lease and % interest) you’re pretty much robbing Peter to pay Paul.
This deal was on the table through the summer, the knowledge of its existence went well beyond twitter rumours as could be seen from Browns “show us the deeds” rally at Ibrox. Those events appear to have spooked Green and the sale and leaseback deal was put on hold.
He has now managed to turn around the RFC faithful. He has done this by pandering to the lowest common denominator. As a Glaswegian I really fear for this tactic and believe that whilst Green understands what he’s doing in terms of getting the bears on board, he doesn’t have any knowledge of potential consequences. By getting the bears on board however, the need for this sale and leaseback deal has diminished and the share issue has been launched, but be sure – this deal is not dead, just on the back burner.
Greens only denial when Paul printed the figures from the HoT was to ask why he would do that deal when he has a valuation on Ibrox at £80m. Well Charlie, why did Murray sell a £110m stadium for £1 and why did D & P sell to you at £5.5m? Because money talks! Just this week I spoke with a wealthy RFC season book holder who agreed with me that the chances of SEVCO going into administration this season were greater than 50/50 so maybe those Canadian Soldiers will come to save RFC after all!