24 December 2012

2012: The Fall and Rise of The Rangers

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor

As we enter the final stages of a turbulent year, now seemed as good a time as any to reflect on the troublesome months that have passed and to take stock of just where Rangers Football Club finds itself today.
The early stages of 2012 witnessed the continuation of a decline in form that left us trailing in the race for the SPL championship. Complete and utter domination had given way to a baffling uncertainty and severe lack of confidence. Winning the title at that point always looked a difficult task but it soon became impossible when, on 14th February, Craig Whyte took the decision to place the company into administration.
The days and weeks that followed were certainly the darkest I can remember as a Rangers supporter and are surpassed in our entire history perhaps only by the tragedies of the Ibrox disasters. The very existence of our proud institution was put at risk by the negligence of two now former owners as an ominous cloud loomed menacingly over our stadium.
The Rangers support of course rallied and a passionate and highly emotional game against Kilmarnock played host to a venting of anger, frustration, defiance, loyalty and sheer love for the Club which may have been playing its final games. The atmosphere was electric; the result not so much. But the players, the staff and the management knew that the Rangers Family were right behind them, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder in our fight for survival.
At this point I would like to take the opportunity to pay immense tribute to Alistair Murdoch McCoist MBE, the man who did more than any other in the fight to keep Rangers alive. Super Ally has served this Club as well as anyone in our history and, as the banner stated at the end of last season, his loyalty and sacrifice will never be forgotten. I can only apologise for the failure to adequately do justice to the contribution the manager has made over the course of the last year. Where would be without him?

After much uncertainty the clouds began to clear as Charles Green and his consortium emerged as the proud new owners of Rangers Football Club. This was only the beginning of the hard work that had to be completed however as Green set about winning over the supporters and putting in place the foundations required to restore our Club back to its former glory.
The early stages of this process were however marred by a somewhat distasteful and bitter side to Scottish football as the relentless bile and hatred shown towards Rangers in our darkest hour continued. We were banished from the SPL and subsequently entered into the fourth-tier of Scottish football, but not before the authorities of course attempted to blackmail and bully the SFL into unprecedentedly parachuting our Club into Division One for their own benefit.
Rangers and its supporters however accepted our fate and season tickets began to sell in their thousands as fans queued for hours to secure their seat for the season that lay ahead. From there on in I’m glad to report that the story has been nothing but positive as we took the first tentative steps on the long and winding road to recovery.
On the park things have been going rather well for Rangers, despite some shaky away performance in the league, and we now find ourselves with a healthy lead at the top of the Third Division and with some emerging talents leading the way in our quest for the title and the first promotion in our illustrious history.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this season and have been pleasantly surprised by our opponents in the fourth-tier who have no doubt relished the opportunity to pit their wits against the biggest Club in Scotland in front of nearly fifty-thousand supporters at Ibrox Stadium. Some of the football has been a joy to behold and recent games against Montrose and Elgin have typified the positives so far this campaign.
Off the park and into the boardroom things are also looking extremely bright for Rangers Football Club as Charles Green has set about implementing a structure which will drive the business forward while also earning his investors a healthy return. None of us should really have any issues with that.
Speaking of investors it would be negligent to ignore the hugely successful Initial Public Offering where Rangers raised a mightily impressive £22M from institutional investors and loyal supporters. Given our league status and limited revenue streams, that is a remarkable achievement and huge credit should go to our Chief Executive and fellow board members who made it happen. My cap is doffed.

In the stands the supporters are also more united than at any time in recent memory and it has been hugely heartening to witness such togetherness as recent tribulations have served only to galvanise our fans.
At this point I must confess that, before the season started, I pictured our stadium being little more than half-full and with attendances dwindling as the cold, harsh winter weather came into play. I’ve never been more delighted to be proved wrong and the story of Rangers and our fans has reached far and wide as foreign journalists have descended upon Ibrox for their opportunity to cover our truly remarkable tale.
The immortal Bill Struth once warned us of days of anxiety but also stated that the glory of the Rangers lies not in never failing but in returning stronger than ever before. Throughout our history we have overcame difficulties and risen back to the top of Scottish football and now we must do so again, albeit in completely unique circumstances.

We may still be in the early stages of our rebuilding process but the signs are certainly positive. Thankfully we look set to end the year on a high, despite 2012 being more likely to be remembered for many lows, and long may it continue.

Finally, I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Rangers family and to everyone who has visited The Copland Road Organization in 2012. It has been hugely encouraging to receive so much positive feedback throughout the year.

As for Rangers Football Club, its path is very clear: Onwards and Upwards.

22 December 2012

It's CROpod #5!!!


It's CROpod #5!!! Executive Editor Shane Nicholson is joined by contributors Alan Clark, Peter Ewart and Andy McGowan to talk all manner of complete shite, from the last two matches that 1.67 of us saw to what the fuck is going on in America these days.

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In case you missed the memo -- or the giant iTunes logo on the right side of the site -- CROpod is now available on iTunes. If you need any other sort of RSS feed info or just about anything else to listen to the show you can click right here or there's a 'CROpod' link at the top of the site now.

21 December 2012

Stadium Re-brand Money To Boost Transfer Kitty

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Editor-at-large

Charles Green is seriously considering selling naming rights to Ibrox Stadium, despite the opposition of some diehards in the Rangers support.

A lot of bluenoses - including yours truly - support this move by Green if it brings in substantial revenues.

It is my understanding that the Rangers CEO will pledge that some of the monies raised by selling naming rights will go into the pot for buying players, which is something I am sure will be good news to team boss Ally McCoist.

I have been blogging about re-branding of both the stadium and the team itself on my own blog the last couple of days.

Of course, there is no suggestion at present that incorporating a sponsor in the team name is even being remotely considered by the Ibrox board.

The stadium name is, however, up for grabs to the highest bidder. This won't please the traditionalists but I am sure Charles Green will listen to any ideas on how to generate similar revenues without going down the naming rights road.

If the funds raised provide a serious boost to the transfer kitty that may sway those who are unsure about the stadium re-branding.

The one certainty is that the debate over whether or not selling naming rights to Ibrox is a step too far is bound to go on, regardless.

Bill can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email: bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

19 December 2012

Celtic-supporting solicitor ruins Christmas for his fellow fans...

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Editor-at-large

I'm sure there was a good deal of weeping and wailing from the haters as this intelligent Celtic fan burst all their Christmas balloons:-


What's it going to take for all the haters to recognise what UEFA, the SFA, the SFL, the ECA, the BBC (ok, through gritted teeth from them) and even Dermot Desmond have all acknowledged:?

That Rangers have 140 years of unbroken history.

Bill can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email: bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

18 December 2012

BF1 information, as we get it (newest info at the top)

-via email: "I'm a ST holder in BF1, not affiliated with either group, and I thought I would give my account on the actions of the police tonight.

"The first I knew there was trouble was when I seen around 20-30 UB members running up the back of the section only to be followed by around 15 police who had a look of aggression in their eyes as if they wanted something to happen.

"As it transpired the UB started making their way back down the front of the section only to be met by a wall of police on the stairs pushing, shoving and manhandling people as they walked down the steps. This resulted in people falling over into the rows, causing a crush of people which could have potentially caused a major accident.

"I was one of the members who followed the UB lead out of the ground as I backed their stance, I'm in row J so I was further behind the initial trouble in the concourse so can't comment on what happened there. However when I eventually made my way into the concourse I was met by around 30 police making a barricade around the food outlet and within their guard was an older UB member who was being cuffed by the police. Not 1 or 2 police but around 7 or 8. It was totally over the top and not needed at all.

"I made my way round the back of the police trying to get to the toilet however I was met by over-zealous police who were pushing me about, I'm 6ft2 so I stood my ground to a certain extent and eventually managed to push through to get to the toilet. Whilst in the toilet I heard the noise increase and there were songs directed at the police being aired. I quickly made my way back into the concourse.

"As I walked out I was subjected to more police brutality, both directed at myself and UB members. The UB lad I earlier mentioned was being held on the floor by 5 policemen with a further 2 standing over him. Totally unnecessary. He wasn't fighting back before I went into the toilet and so I see no need for the brutality he faced. At this point I also seen another UB member in cuffs, the boy in question looked no older than 16-17 so having 3 policemen restraining him was totally over the top. A farce. Disgusting to see.

"There were around 200 people there protesting at the treatment these fans were facing however the police didn't take to kindly to being videoed and started waving their truncheons at anyone in sight. I seen children much younger than myself, 12-15, being struck by the police and being pushed about by the police. As I was walking out calmly a policeman pushed me on my blind side and I moved slightly, I turned to ask him why and try to explain I wanted no trouble and I would make my way out quickly. I was then pushed into a wall and struck with a truncheon lightly to get me to hurry up. I felt this was way over the top. I'm lucky I was big enough, and heavy enough, not to be harmed too much from this brutality from the police however there was younger teenagers not as developed as myself who faced the same brutality. A 6ft5 policeman pushing a teenager to the ground as I was out the ground being one incident I remember. To make matters worse, as I was walking away the police charged fans on horses which prevented fans from walking on the pavement."


-Plenty of reports from the BF1 and surrounding area of batons coming out.

-Reach out to the CRO and let us know what you saw: info@thecoplandroad.org or via twitter: @Coplandroadorg

via twitter
-via twitter: "sit in bf3 went to loo,in foyer policeman was cracking his stick towards fans.cop looked well seething n up for lashing out"

-via twitter: "I saw a wee guy get hooked from a police officer just as the melee broke out at the pie stall, I was with my 7 year old"

-Still a lot of half-info and whatnot trickling in. We're going to try to keep it slow until we can verify some of this and get it square for you guys.

-via twitter: "I counted 7 police vehicles and umpteen Stasi on horseback and on foot when leaving BF1 tonight."

-via twitter: "Fucking shambles. Canny justify the scenes in our section tonight. Police brutality at its best. Trampling over fans and throwing punches."

-You can send info, pictures or video to info@thecoplandroad.org or via twitter: @Coplandroadorg

-A lot of mixed info coming in from all over the place. Trying to pin down what's what.

-via email: "ST In BF1 and UB member.  Police grabbed a guy and tried to arrest him, few boys went to investigate and ask why, they suddenly stormed us all and that was when we decided to all walk out and they just started lashing out at anyone who was within range.  A video floating around of police tackling a young boy to the ground and few others getting hits in on him."

22 million more reasons for people to hate us...

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Editor-at-large

CRO understands that the Rangers share issue has resulted in a total of around £22 million being brought into the club.

£17 million came from institutional investors and the balance from fans.

The Buy Rangers offer from the Rangers Supporters Trust raised £250,000.

In today's economic climate, this is a great achievement for Rangers CEO Charlie Blue and his team. The monies raised will provide strong security for Rangers FC, as well as giving the club the ability to invest in projects.

As well as manager Ally McCoist, former Gers hitman Kris Boyd and former Chairman Alastair Johnston made investments in the share issue. So too did two Rangers-supporting MPs.

It's a great Christmas present for all connected with Rangers.

And it all goes to prove that The Rangers are the biggest team in the land.

With 140 years of glorious history!!

Bill can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email: bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org


17 December 2012

Angela Haggerty, at the bat

By Chris Graham | CRO Contributor 

Whilst chuckling at the latest installment of propaganda from a relatively new heroine of the Celtic online ‘family’, I thought it would be worth finding a proper description of the malady that is currently afflicting a rather large and vocal group of football fans in Scotland. I found the following:

The study of collective delusions most commonly falls within the domain of sociologists working in the sub-field of collective behaviour, and psychologists specializing in social psychology. Collective delusions are typified as the spontaneous, rapid spread of false or exaggerated beliefs within a population at large, temporarily affecting a particular region, culture, or country. Mass hysteria is most commonly studied by psychiatrists and physicians. Episodes typically affect small, tightly knit groups in enclosed settings such as schools, factories, convents and orphanages (Calmeil 1845; Hirsch 1883; Sirois 1974).

I am no sociologist or psychologist but I’d imagine these types of issues manifest themselves in a complete refusal to accept any evidence that refutes the delusion that you are currently experiencing. So, for example, if you desperately want Rangers to have ceased to exist, and have been told by several of your high profile chums that they have indeed “died”, then you will obviously not want to hear from the football authorities that you got it so wrong. 

In these circumstances it would appear to be best to ignore what you know to be true and just continue with the same old tired propaganda you’ve been trotting out for months. It must be particularly hard if you have taken the first faltering steps of your career based on these delusions and now find that you’ve made something of an idiot of yourself.

Up steps Angela Haggerty. 

Angela, as some of you will know, has several remarkable skills. Firstly she can apparently read books upside down, if her appearance on Channel 4 news is anything to go by. Angela is also the editor of a fiction book loosely connected with Scottish football and written by the ‘author’, ‘journalist’, blogger and bigot, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. This work of fiction was recently reviewed in the Scotsman newspaper:

“The sirens started to sound at the first of several references to Rangers supporters as 'the Ibrox klan'. The author makes no attempt to disguise his hatred for Rangers, stating at one stage 'please let this football club die'. And yet he yearns to be taken seriously as a journalist, repeatedly complaining that no-one from the mainstream media ever calls him. As the tale unravels, Mac Giolla Bhain starts to disappear up his own rear, declaring: 'I am aware of my own contribution and I rather like the guy I see in the shaving mirror every morning.' These are two classic mistakes: believing you are the story, and wanting a story to be true. When it’s not.”

So there we have it, a work of fiction. One might be forgiven for wondering if perhaps Angela edited the book upside down as well as reading it that way. Perhaps she was just trying to get it to make sense? Either way, the review is not exactly a ringing endorsement of her work but it seems Angela has not learned from her mistakes. “Wanting a story to be true, when it’s not” is very much the basis for Angela’s work.

Angela’s most recent foray into writing is entitled “Why the word Sevco matters”. Snappy. The first line will give you an idea of where we are going here: “Yes, Sevco. Yes, a different club. Yes, it matters.” We then go on to find out that, “Yes, the new team plays at Ibrox. Yes, the new team plays in blue. Yes, the same supporters go to see them and yes, that is probably satisfactory enough for those supporters to believe it is the same club.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes? Well, no. Actually Angela, that isn’t satisfactory. Here are a few things that are satisfactory though.

The SFA has already confirmed the club’s continuance by transferring the license, albeit by blackmailing the club into accepting several sanctions and propping up the Sky deal. Angela is confused about this, she thinks “Sevco is a new club and rules were created on-the-go by the SFA to accommodate it.” She doesn’t enlighten us as to what these rules are or where we can read them. That is because they only exist in her head and the heads of those also afflicted by this mass delusion. The licence was transferred; there is no new club, Angela.

Then we have the European Club Association (ECA) which is the only body recognised by FIFA and UEFA as representing clubs at European level. Their stance on this is again quite clear. Rangers are the same club they have always been. They have been relegated and are therefore not able to hold the same level of membership of the ECA as before but “it was concluded that Rangers FC was entitled to associated membership of ECA as considered to be a founding member.” 

This is somewhat problematic for Angela and her fellow deluded as it is not clear how “Sevco”, being a “new club”, could also be a founding member of an organisation that began in 2008.

Then we have UEFA. Now, Angela thinks UEFA don’t recognise Rangers as the same club because they will not grant the club a license. This won’t come as a surprise but again Angela is confused. This is a Financial Fair Play rule and effectively exists for precisely the type of scenario that the club finds itself in. We are effectively banned from Europe for 3 years for going into administration and emerging with a new company in charge.

UEFA have just published their coefficients for European competition for 2012/13. Rangers are ranked 88th. Our history in Europe for the past 5 years is acknowledged, as normal, as part of those coefficient tables. So Angela would have us believe that a new club, formed at the start of this season, has somehow managed to gain a European ranking above the likes of Newcastle, Auxerre, Rosenborg and others - quite an achievement. 

So the SFA, ECA, SFL and UEFA all recognise Rangers, the club that has existed since 1872 and does so today. Up against that we have Angela Haggerty, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, Paul McConville, Brian McNally, BBC Scotland and various assorted waifs and strays from the online fan bases of several Scottish clubs who can’t bring themselves to accept that we survived. This is a mass delusion that will continue to be fed daily by the zealots who inhabit the green and grey corners of cyberspace.

So let me change that paragraph in your most recent ramblings for you Angela - for the sake of accuracy which I know you will value being a journalist

“Yes, the new team plays at Ibrox. Yes, the new team plays in blue. Yes, the same supporters go to see them. Yes, the team is called Rangers. Yes, UEFA recognise them as the same club. Yes, the ECA recognise them as the same club. Yes, the SFA recognise them as the same club, Yes, the SFL recognise them as the same club and yes, that is probably satisfactory enough for those supporters to believe it is the same club.” 

There we go, much better. Most satisfactory! Now, you were saying?

16 December 2012

Blue Christmas

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

YULETIDE MESSAGE FROM CRO

We were considering asking Rangers CEO Charles Green to change his name by deed poll but we feel that's a bit extreme.

So we have come up with a compromise. For the Christmas season we are urging all Gers fans to call our chief executive Charlie Blue when referring to him.

If it sticks, great.

If not, it can at least be a Charlie Blue Christmas!


Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

15 December 2012

Not with the programme...

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

I'm sure this wee clip from today's programme will make the bluenose battalions look forward to playing Montrose at Ibrox next January!


Whoever wrote this is clearly not with the programme...

Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

11 December 2012

Making a horse's ass of things...

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

This time of year has traditionally been one rich with comedic entertainment, especially with it being the panto season.

It appears that those involved in the Stock Market are getting panto-like entertainment from reading the comments by fans of Celtic Football Club in relation to the Rangers Share Issue.

The dafties who follow the hoops are, it seems, not content to make believe they are experts on tax and EBT's; the skill-set of many a numpty sellic fan now includes investment expertise.

I am led to believe that these financial whizzkids are deluging both the AIM and other financial institutions with the most ridiculous arguments against the IPO.

Although these arguments are providing laughs for the genuine financial experts involved in the Stock Exchange, some who work in the industry are expressing shock at the level of bigotry and spite expressed by the terminally obsessed that stalk everything relating to RFC.

The basic argument of the deluded hoopsters is their tired old chestnut of Rangers being a new club. They are objecting to stuff like Ally McCoist's history being referenced on the prospectus as, according to them, Coisty has never played for this "new club."

Yes, they really are that petty and that silly.

The thing is, we always knew it. Now their stupidity is being displayed to the financial and securities industry.

At least now we know what they are getting up to when they boycott matches involving their own team.

They are busy making a horse's ass of themselves.

Well, it is the panto season.

Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

The IPO – is it a fair share? Are the questions answered?

By Peter Ewart | CRO Contributor

A while ago I put some questions out there regarding the upcoming share issue. Now, with the prospectus issued, I'll try to lend a few answers.

And please note, this isn’t financial advice, or advice of any sort. It’s some thoughts on what jumped out of the prospectus for me. You can download the prospectus and application details at www.rangersshareoffer.com.

So what is on offer?

Shares are available in a new company created on 19 November 2012, Rangers International Football Club plc. Up to 72m shares will be listed on AIM.

There are Offer shares, which are open to us fans; Placing shares which are being placed with institutional investors (investment funds and the like); and Acquisition Shares which will be issued to existing shareholders in Rangers Football Club Limited (Green, Ahmed, Blue Pitch etc) in exchange for the shares they hold at the minute. RFCL will be a 100% subsidiary of Rangers International Football Club plc.

If all placing and offer shares are sold (at 70 pence each) the split of ownership would look like this:

Offer shares – 19.9%
Placing shares – 33.7%
Acquisition shares – 46.4%

What financial state is the club currently in?

Income statement

The prospectus sets out trading information for the three months to 31 August 2012. This is about all they could do, but is not very representative of where we are now. At that time we'd only had the East Stirlingshire SFL3 league game, and the East Fife and Falkirk League Cup games at home. There was a £3.8m operating loss in that period, but a write back of £17m associated with goodwill that was obtained for nothing when Green & Co bought the club turns into a near £13m profit. That is a one-off and therefore won’t be repeated.

In short, it’s difficult to unpick all that is going on in those three months and only three home games in that time. The important bit will be to ensure we run at an operating profit over the course of a full year, given current wages and conditions, and we won’t know that until we see it. The Prospectus includes a statement that the Directors expect the club to be profitable and a self-sustaining organisation, which is hardly a surprise.

Balance sheet

This lists the assets and liabilities of the company at 31 August 2012. In total it shows a net book value (total assets less total liabilities) of £47.8m. That is rather different to the £5.5m Green & Co paid for the club’s assets. Why?

There are two major reasons: First, Ibrox and Murray Park are now valued at £43.5m rather than the £1.5m in the purchase agreement. This is on a discounted cashflow basis as agreed by the directors using a 12.25% discount rate. The £80m valuation, quoted in the press, is the depreciated replacement cost. This is separate and is not a balance sheet item.

And net £16m of goodwill (the brand) is now being recognised on the balance sheet. Add in a few other smaller assets and liabilities and the net position is £47.8m.

What has been done or will be done with the season-ticket money which should be used to cover the running costs? What is the current cash balance held by the club?

There was a cash balance of £4.1m at 31 August 2012. Some cash will have gone to running costs and not all season ticket cash would have been collected by the end of August due to the Direct Debit scheme. Elsewhere in the document it tells us over 35k season tickets were sold by 31 August at an average of £219 bringing in around £7.78m in season ticket sales. In addition to this a further £5.575m has been invested by new shareholders after 31 August.

How much has Green’s consortium put into the club? Looks to be £9.5m plus £5.575m after the 31 August 2012 from new shareholders (prior to the IPO).

How much of the £5.5m paid for the club has been turned into a shareholder debt repayable by the club? None.

Has any more capital been injected into the club in the form of loans? No

We can't spend it on buying/registering senior players prior to 1 January 2014, so why a share issue to fans now? Or, to put it another way: If you handed Charles Green £500+ to spend for the club what would you want him to do with it?

If the IPO is fully taken up should raise a net £24.5m for the Club. A summary is laid out for how it is intended to be spent:

£5.5m for Ibrox upgrades.
£4.5m to purchase land assets adjacent to Ibrox.
£3m for other projects that would bring additional revenue streams and working capital (no figure given).

If enough is raised a further £3.5m would be spent on Ibrox and £2m on other projects. So that would account for £18.5m of £24.5m.

There isn’t a lot of detail on the projects but it would appear the moving the shop to Edmiston House would take place, with the ticket office moving to the existing Megastore. Upgrades to catering and bar facilities within the ground would be among the projects identified.

What are the consequences if the IPO does not attract sufficient interest? Is it being underwritten?

The IPO is not being underwritten. It is stated that Cenkos Securities have signed up £17m in placing shares from institutions, but this has not yet been received although it is likely to be. Names like Artemis, Legal & General, Insight Investment, Hargreave Hale and Cazenove are included in the prospectus as purchasing Placing Shares.

As regards the Offer shares if we don’t buy the shares, again it is not underwritten. It would mean the additional upgrades to Ibrox and other additional projects would be unlikely to go ahead.

Valuation

To put it in Dragons’ Den terms, the fans are being asked for £10m for just under 20% of the company, which values the club at just over £50m. A long way from the £5.5m paid for the assets. Of course the future of the club is a little clearer now than it was then. Still, it’s quite a hefty amount for where we are currently.

On the other hand, there are household names from the investment industry that are taking shares at the same price, so they must see an attraction. Once the shares actually start trading they could of course move up or down in price. If there are more sellers than buyers, the price goes down and you get more shares for your money than through the IPO (a prize for stating the obvious) and vice-versa.

The prospectus identifies ‘Locked-in Shareholders’ i.e. Directors and key staff who wont be able to sell for 12 months and some institutions have agreed not to sell for six months and to contact Cenkos so that orderly trading can be achieved. But don’t necessarily expect other investors to be around for long if there is a gain to be had. Once the shares are trading, there is no available mechanism to ensure that no shareholder owns no more than 10 or 15%. Shares could be bought on the open market and at certain levels, the City Code (regarding takeovers) would kick in.

Other points

  • Green already owns 15% of shares in the company (likely to be diluted down to around 7-8%) and he paid £50k for them.
  • Super already owns 2.99%!
  • Two new non-executive directors have been appointed.
  • Lots of risks/uncertainties highlighted re: future prospects.
  • Prospectus makes mention of trying to get back to the SPL by season 2015-16 although reconstruction may accelerate this.
  • Football performance/success has obvious link to parts of the value of the shares.

Statement re: the liquidators and creditors of RFC 2012 plc (OldCo): Although it acted in good faith, RFCL ‘cannot be certain that a liquidator or a creditor of RFC 2012 plc would not seek to try to establish grounds under the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 to challenge the acts of the administrators of RFC 2012 plc, the Directors consider that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure historic liabilities of RFC 2012 plc remain with RFC 2012 plc and that the APA is valid, binding and enforceable.’

Purchase agreement bought lease to Albion Car Park which RCFL is now trying to buy out for £1.5m. RFCL own 51% of the Retail JV with Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. The Sport Direct group has agreed a £1.5m borrowing facility with the JV that if taken up would see debentures secured in Sports Direct's favour against the (presumably new) Megastore.

So in conclusion it’s difficult to assess the financial position right now at December 2012 from only three months figures to August, but we know broadly where the IPO money would be spent – on the ground and surrounding Ibrox and on projects that would (we hope) open additional revenue streams. The valuation is pretty steep, in fact it’s my biggest hang-up with all of this. Are we worth £50m here and now? Strikes me that the fans are being asked to pay a premium AND take the risks with it. Particularly given the price of the shares could be volatile.

The choice is yours: £500 minimum as an individual or as an alternative you might consider £125 via the RST. Some fans like the idea, some don’t; have a look at www.buyrangers.org and see for yourself. Or sit it out and wait for the shares to start trading to see what happens to the price.

I’ve tried to answer a few of the questions a few weeks ago. And I know for some the financial ins and outs of it won’t really matter - it’s a chance to buy a piece of Rangers. But I don’t see it as a cheap price. Ultimately do you trust Charles Green and the Board to do the right thing?

There isn’t a great deal else to go on. To me, this is what you would class as a punt.

10 December 2012

Here's to the Next 140 Years

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor


Four men had a dream
To start a football team
They had no money, no kit, not even a ball
But they carried on
The Rangers were born
54 titles, we’re still going strong


 


 Saturday was quite an occasion, wasn’t it?

Rangers Football Club and its loyal supporters this weekend celebrated 140 years of our proud institution and commemorated the numerous achievements, successes and victories throughout our illustrious history. It was always going to be an emotional day, heightened certainly by the recent tribulations we have overcome, and so it proved to be.

Stirling Albion were the visitors for league duty in the Third Division however, in truth, Saturday was about much more than the football on the park. The Rangers supporters filtered into Ibrox before kick-off and were treated to a very moving montage on the big screens, chronologically passing through the most noteworthy moments throughout the years.
The crowd revisited our humble beginnings, were taken through the domination of the Struth era and of course shown that famous night in Barcelona. There was also a poignant reminder of the tragedies that have shaped our Club, particularly the Ibrox disaster of 1971, and we should never forget those who came to watch their team and sadly never returned home.

Then of course there was 9-in-a-row which, quite frankly, speaks for itself. We marvelled at the talents of Laudrup and Gascoigne and then were quickly fast-forwarded into the days of De Boer, Van Bronckhorst and Mols. We remembered that Lovenkrands’ header in the last minute of the Scottish Cup final. We remembered Helicopter Sunday.

Thereafter came the darker days of the McLeish / Le Guen years before Walter Smith returned when duty called. He brought us that famous night in Florence, when Nacho Novo sent Rangers to Manchester and the three titles that followed, despite crippling financial difficulties. And then came McCoist. What comes next in our story is really up to him.  

The match itself started in fine fashion with Rangers creating numerous chances to open the scoring. Sadly our finishing left a lot to be desired and Stirling Albion weathered the storm, settled down and eventually restricted our chances. The huge crowd of 49,913 though weren’t put off by the lack of goals and the BF1 ‘mad squad’ in particular were doing a fine job in creating an atmosphere.

The half-time whistle sounded and the players made their way down the tunnel. Then came the main attraction. Andy Gray emerged from the tunnel, microphone in hand, and began to speak of our history and of the various successes achieved by Rangers Football Club.

After a quick recap of our numerous titles and trophies, it was time to welcome some of the great men who were crucial in the creation of such a fine history. From Bobby Brown, the final barricade of the famous Iron Curtain defence, right through to Lorenzo Amoruso and Michael Mols, we were treated again to the presence of some fantastic footballers.

There was of course one man sadly missing from the celebrations, someone who has been a great Ranger both as a player and as an ambassador of the Club. This man fought as hard as anybody to keep our club alive following our entry into administration and for that he deserves great recognition. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him well in his recovery. All the best, Sandy.

The half-time proceedings were very emotional and it was great to witness the legends of our Club receiving such a rapturous welcome by the supporters in the stadium. There have been many proud moments in my life as a Rangers supporter but Saturday was right up there with the very best of them. I must admit it was very difficult not to shed a tear.

While Saturday was about acknowledging and appreciating our past, it was also about building for the future as the current team secured another home win to remain at the top of the table. Ally McCoist’s rebuilding job continues as we seek to get back to where we belong – the top of Scottish football.

The rest of the Rangers’ story remains unwritten, blank pages waiting to be filled. So much potential, so much hope. Here’s to the next 140 years.

Rangers: Then, Now, Forever.

 


09 December 2012

Worth Every Penny

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

I see the muckrakers of the Scottish press are trying to make a big deal about the salaries of Charles Green and other Rangers directors.

If there was a Pulitzer Prize for a non-story this would be a winner, for sure.

There are two things I want to say about the salaries of Rangers directors:

1) They are none of my business.

The Moneymakers
2) That said, taken collectively, the salaries of Charles Green, Imran Ahmad and Brian Stockbridge are still less put together than that of Martin Bain. And we all know how good a job he did...

I would say Rangers are getting value for money from the men running the show at Ibrox.

By next May Rangers will likely have £50 million of cash at bank and be sitting pretty on top of £100 million freehold property.

Not bad business from the Charles Green consortium.

Particularly when you contrast matters with those of Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell, who has just been paid over£1.6 million for filling Celtic Park with empty seats.

It appears that the Blofeld of Scottish football hasn't found the magic formula of his Rangers counterparts.

The one that prevents the fans walking away, that is.

I am sure most of my fellow bluenoses will agree with me that Big Chuck and his fellow directors are worth every penny they take home.

This latest pathetic attempt by the Scottish media to divide the Rangers family is a massive fail.

I am pretty sure it won't be the last, though.

Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

07 December 2012

From Heroes To Zeroes

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

I have often heard it said you should never meet your idols because you will end up disappointed.

That was something I had little choice but to do over the years, given my old man is a football agent. As a bluenose, I have had the opportunity to meet many Rangers players, more than a few of whom could rightly lay claim to the "legend" tag.

My all-time favourite player since I was a toddler is Willie Henderson. The Wee Barra is actually my dad's closest friend and I have spent a great deal of time in Willie's company.

Never once has the wee man said or did anything to lose his "hero" status with me, though I have come to know him outside the famous footballer persona.

Some players prove to be let-downs as human beings but others, like Wee Willie, certainly don't. In fact, knowing them as men enhances their legend status even more when you discover they are what it says on the tin in real life, not just on the pitch.

Davie Cooper was another who was a boyhood hero and I got pally with him shortly before his death. Like all of us, Coop was not infallible but he was a Ranger through and through.

Some who played for Rangers weren't so likable when you got to know them. My own view, however, is that if they were legends on the pitch, I am happy to keep them that way in my thinking, regardless of their personality.

That's why it saddens me to hear the offhand and ofttimes downright abusive way some Rangers fans speak about guys who once played for The Rangers.

The vitriol poured upon some of our ex-players on blogs and forums by some in the Rangers support is appalling, in my opinion. It actually makes me wonder if some of these critics really are Rangers supporters, so poisonous are they in their thoughts toward some who have worn the famous blue jersey. Of course, people are entitled to their opinions but are you really a fan if all you can do is deride people involved with the club?

I have had more occasion than most to have my opinions of players soured by acquaintance with what goes on behind the scenes; I grew up with intimate knowledge of many indiscretions and worse carried out by people in the footballing world. I didn't allow such things to interfere with the part of me that is a fan, however.

So, frankly, I struggle with people who put the boot into ex-players every chance they get. Football is and always has been a cruel and unforgiving business that takes young men to the heights of fame and fortune only to throw them on the scrapheap just when other men of the same age are starting to develop their careers.

Many ex-footballers suffer from depression because, monied or not, they really don't have a purpose in life when they are in their mid-thirties and have to retire. Many also have ongoing physical problems from a life spent getting kicked stupid week in, week out.

And not all of these guys have millions to retire on.

Rangers are presently celebrating 140 years of glorious history. Rightly, it is the club that is the focus. And no player is ever bigger than the club.

But as Rangers legends congregate at Ibrox, I hope those who like to castigate former players just for proving themselves to be fallible and human take stock and reflect that the guys you are abusing now helped make those 140 years so amazing.

And remember something else...

Very few of us pass the Ronseal test in life.

Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

CROpod #3 - boycotting a ground near you

It's CROpod #3, back and hopefully no worse than the last one!

This week we've got CRO boss Shane Nicholson, contributors Andy McGowan and Alan Clark and from the WATP Podcast it's Ross Hendry out of the Great White North.

We're talking Elgin City, DUFC boycott, some more football supposedly and some absolute nonsense.

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Enjoy the show!

05 December 2012

Hard As Nails

Coming up in the first issue of the free-to-download CRO web-mag we have a belter of an interview with the one and only Graham Roberts (along with a special guest introduction) by part-time contributor Scott Ferguson. CROmag #1 will be available the middle of December. If you or your company would fancy a bit of advertising space take a look here for rates and info.

And just for you today is a little warm-up from our own Bill McMurdo. Enjoy!

By Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

Back in the 1990's my old man and I organised a game between a Legends Select  and the boys from Brookside (remember that?) who liked a wee game. It was a charity fundraiser for Yorkhill Hospital.

We had a few ex-Gers in the Legends team, including Gordon Smith and Wee Doddie MacDonald. We also flew Graham Roberts in as a big name attraction for the Legends.

The Brookside lads and Robbo were all staying at the Moat House. I was on chaperone duties so was staying at the hotel myself.

The big guy who played Terry in the soap - Brian Regan - came to me after a while and asked if he could have a word.

I said sure and he then informed me that Robbo had been going up to all the Brookside lads in the hotel and telling them he was going to do them all in the upcoming game.

I laughed and said that will just be Robbo on the wind-up but Brian Regan - who was a smashing big lad - said, "I don't think so, Bill. He seems really serious and the lads are bricking it."

Later on I was standing outside the hotel and Graham Roberts comes up to me, all smiles and happy.

I said, "Graham, have you been winding the boys from Brookie up? They are s******g themselves cos you have been intimidating them. I told Brian you were just at the wind-up."

"I wasn't," he said, totally deadpan.

I laughed - nervously, I admit and said: "It's only a charity game, Graham."

He gave me a spine-chilling look and snarled at me: "Do you wanna lose?"

"No, you carry on, Graham," I said.

Robbo then enlightened me about how he approached every game, regardless of opposition or occasion. Let's just say that Graham Roberts played IN charity games, though he never played a charity game.

It does have to be said that he did take a little mercy on the Brookie lads as they were too wrecked from a night of decadence the night before the game to offer up much opposition - though they did themselves proud on other forays north. When they were less bevvied, that is.

As for me, whenever I am asked who the hardest footballer I have ever encountered is, I always think of this wee story.

I like to remind Robbo of it whenever I see him.

He just chuckles.

RTC knocked back or locked up?

In the midst of the dozens of emails and conversations we have during a day some things get jumbled, especially whilst six sheets to the wind late at night. It was brought to our attention via the 37-year-old man himself originally mentioned and our source that we're fucking bawbags when it comes to taking notes. The story below has been amended accordingly whilst under the influence of coffee:

By Shane Nicholson | CRO Executive Editor

Late last night (or early morning if you're 95% of our readers) there was an interesting message waiting for me when I returned to my desk from the kitchen, one that summed up a great many lessons we've learned about the Skiddish media in the fallout of the FTTT and the collapse of their primary source, the discredited Rangers Tax Case blog. Most importantly, it was one from a trusted source.

I'll lay out the facts as presented in the simplest terms possible, so as to avoid muddling what was relayed our way:

An arrest made around 21-23 November was the Rangers Tax Case blogger.

The media has focused on a separate arrest connected to the disgraced site, and a couple days later paired it with the story that David Murray was going to hunt down the leaks. They were willing to report this man's every anonymous word but not his name upon his being taken in by Strathclyde's finest. Yes, some of them know, and they're not reporting it.

Oh, and there's the little bit about how he works for either HMRC or the Tribunal Service.

Hopefully that narrows down the shortlist for some of you. Might go a ways to explaining why that wee site was wiped clean within hours and the Twitter fell suddenly silent.

Still haven't signed that petition? You may be running out of time.

Hell, we may not even need it after all.

04 December 2012

Leading from the front

by Bill McMurdo | CRO Contributor

Chuck The Enforcer Green
Charles Green has stepped up to the plate and shown true leadership with his decision to refuse any ticket allocation for the forthcoming Scottish Cup tie at Tannadice.

Every major supporter group had called for a boycott in respect of this fixture and Green has shown his respect for fans' wishes by this bold move.

It remains to be seen how this will go down with the SFA; I do not imagine sponsors will be too happy with Green's decision. However, it may guarantee a bumper viewing figure in terms of television.

I do expect Dundee United to be unhappy, even although it will give them an opportunity to pack even more Rangers-haters into Tannadump on the day. It will gall the already embittered Stephen Thompson even more when he has to pay half the gate to the team he despises so much.

Perhaps Charles Green and Rangers directors should do what Thompson did a couple of years back and sit in the bus till five minutes before kick-off so they don't have to talk to the wee nyaff. I am sure Chuck and co have too much class to resort to such things. After all, Rangers stand for dignity and class, unlike some.

The decision by Green to reject Rangers' ticket allocation will settle the tense situation which was developing between those fans who would have backed a boycott and the "Everywhere, anywhere" division who would have boycotted the boycott.

My own view is, as I said on my own blog earlier today, that I fully back and endorse the boycott.

The level of hatred directed toward Rangers is despicable and it appears it is not abating. Therefore, it is essential that true bears everywhere get behind the team - even if, in these curious times we live in, that means not going to certain games to cheer them on.

Now those who would have gone to the game in defiance of all the major fan groups will have to do so in defiance of the club itself - and risk ejection from the ground if they display support for The Rangers.

These are difficult times to be a Ranger, given the bigotry shown towards our club. But it is a time to stand up and be counted. And a time to stand united.

We should also be thankful that in Charles Green we have someone prepared to lead from the front and not shirk the fight.


Bill is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @WilliamMcMurdo and via email:bmcmurdo@thecoplandroad.org

03 December 2012

#TextTuesday - Fight the good fight

By Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

Social media is a wonderful tool: it allows us to connect, share and influence in real time. In the wake of the first tier tax tribunal (FTTT) which found Rangers not guilty of the crime of tax evasion it has been used as a very large stick with which to beat certain discredited journalists over the head.

But more importantly has been key in the spreading of a very important petition for all Rangers fans. The handling of the FTTT or ‘big tax case’ as it came to be known over the years has been a constant source of frustration to both the club and all of its supporters. 


A time frame which dragged on years and leaked documents used by anonymous blogs and journalists to distort the reality of the situation are just two of the issues which must be investigated during this attempt at punishing an innocent club retrospectively. The fact is that HMRC moved the goalposts after the game was finished then tried to reverse the score line.   


Rangers are not liable for any money nor guilty of any crime or wrongdoing, yet for years the club has been persecuted for tax avoidance, a practise which every company and indeed tax paying member of the public undertakes. This assumed guilt, this conjecture reported as fact all leads back to the leaking of documents from within HMRC who have gone beyond the pale in their capacity as a government branch who are to act in the best interests of the public. 


For many fans simply winning the FTTT is not enough we may have been vindicated but the damage done due to this red herring, this mock threat, can never be undone. Both the club and the fans deserve justice as do the many players who had their private dealings published online for all to see. Nikki Brown has taken up the mantle by creating a petition to have this leak and HMRC investigated for the travesty that became ‘the big tax case’ and to date over 30,000 of us have signed up, almost down to the power of social media alone.

But as powerful as social media is this is not enough; 30,000 is not enough. The best hope, the only hope for the justice we all desire is you - the fan who has yet to sign the petition, you the fan who hasn’t spread the word. On a weekly basis we ask that our players and our coaching staff give us 100% so now is the time to ask yourself have you given the club the same back? Have you given your support to the club as we seek redemption from years of illegal practises from inside HMRC? 

It’s time that we all take up this mantle as Nikki Brown did by asking for justice. It’s time for our galvanised fan base – undoubtedly the best fan base in this country – to push for this crucial investigation to take place to see that those who anonymously and illegally attacked our club are called upon to answer for these crimes. 


What we – The Copland Road Organization – ask is simply this: a text message. We ask that on Tuesday the 4th of December you text your friends who are lucky enough to support the greatest club in the world and ask them to sign the petition – an organised #TextTuesday effort by the thousands of Bears online. This act which will take no more than a minute could reignite the momentum of this petition which must succeed in reaching its goal of 100,000 signatures. 


The club from boardroom to dressing room have a responsibility to do their very best to see that the club are as successful as possible both on and off the park; it is our responsibility to return this in kind and fight for the club that we love, to see that no more undue harm comes to her. I implore you to sign the petition, for every goal you celebrated, for every smile put on your face, for every day the club made a little bit easier just by winning a game of football, for every time against the odds they have lifted a trophy, and for every time they’ve just got it right up ‘them’ please do a little something to give back to these many past heroes who have been wrongfully exposed as supposed cheats and liars. 


If you haven’t signed the petition already please take the few minutes required to do so and stand up not only for your club but for justice - http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42143


And make sure you mark that address down for tomorrow. #TextTuesday, Bears. Spread the word.