05 August 2013

Walter's Walk Leaves a Void of Credibility

by Chris Graham | Contributor

‘Last but most certainly not least, I must turn to Rangers supporters. They have suffered agonies and tortures over the last two years but they can be proud of their contribution. They did not waver in their support of their Club and as far as I am concerned they have been absolutely the one outstanding feature of this Club.

'Indeed, they are a reminder to those in the Boardroom that Directors have the massive and ultimate responsibility of serving, protecting and nourishing this Club for the benefit of the fans and not an individual or any associates. Rangers fans are a credit to their Club and they really do deserve so much better.'


-Walter Smith

The news that Walter Smith felt compelled to resign from his position as Chairman of Rangers should be the latest in a number of loud alarm bells ringing in the ears of our support. The statement that followed should leave nobody in any doubt about backing the proposed board changes. Walter is quite simply the only man on that board that the vast majority of fans would have trusted unreservedly to put Rangers before either himself or the money to be made from our club. His departure and subsequent statement leaves the board bereft of credibility and is another hammer blow to the returning Charles Green.



Walter has now served notice that he believes the fans and the directors of the club should back Jim McColl’s resolution to install Paul Murray and Frank Blin on the board. Earlier reports indicate that Walter may well have been gagged from speaking out further on how the return of Charles Green and the way our club is being run prompted him to vacate his position, but he has unequivocally backed the removal of Ahmad and Green’s influence on the club. All the indications point to Green’s return as being the catalyst for his departure, but in the void created by any enforced silence there would have been opportunity for Imran Ahmad’s propagandists to work their magic. We already had seeds of doubt being placed by bloggers suggesting that his departure was linked to doubts over Ally McCoist’s position. This is what the Ahmad camp would love us to believe and we would have seen more of this in the coming days from those who are willing to churn out whatever Ahmad tells them to.

But Walter found a way to speak out, at least to some extent. The fans deserve to know why he was effectively driven out of the club he loves. I understand he was more than prepared to comment specifically on his concerns before the attempt to gag him. This is what things have come to. Those who want to inform the support are now being gagged by those who would rather the truth was kept from us. That he found a way to stand up and do the right thing is a measure of the man.

So where does Walter’s departure leave Rangers? Bereft of anyone credible in the boardroom. Vulnerable to the whims of the group of shareholders who bullied and cajoled to get Charles Green back into position. A board in charge of the club who were too weak to back a Rangers legend in keeping Green and Ahmad at arm’s length.

The fans deserve answers and they are not getting them. Rumours abound about less than impressive commercial deals, money finding its way out of the club to those who are perhaps doing little to earn it, dwindling IPO cash and now the attempted gagging of those who would speak out.

The timing of all this stinks. Perhaps fans would have bought season tickets in their thousands anyway, out of loyalty to the club, but Walter’s presence was a reassuring factor in the incredible support once again demonstrated by our long suffering fans. Green departed the club just before the season tickets went on sale and is returning just as they hit the 35k mark. It’s as transparent as it could be. What has changed in the past two months that makes a man who embarrassed the club and whose behaviour prompted the need for an expensive internal investigation fit to return? The answer is nothing. This is not about Rangers, it is about the need to shore up the share price and try to ensure maximum return for Ahmad’s investors.

Look at the state of our boardroom. Celtic, the second biggest team in the country, can boast a board of seasoned business brains and PLC experience. We have a ragtag bunch, there at the behest of Ahmad and Green, who failed to back up Walter in his efforts to bring some respectability and coherence to their running of our club. The appointment of Green as a consultant, a made up position purely for the benefit of a specific group of investors, was clearly the final straw. That some of these board members treated Walter so poorly on a personal level and caved in to pressure should forever be to their shame.

Supporters are now utterly in the dark. No doubt when Green returns he will attempt his ringmaster routine. Rabble rousing, fights picked with the football authorities and more outlandish promises that are never fulfilled. The bottom line is that he no longer has the credibility of Ally McCoist or Walter Smith to lean on. McCoist’s savaging of him over the weekend has left fans in no doubt as to his feelings and Walter Smith didn’t even want to hang about until Green arrived back in Glasgow. That Walter has now publicly backed those opposing the influence of Green and Ahmad will surely be the final nail in their coffin?

Nonetheless, expect a barrage of claim and counter claim. There are those in our support who still remember the good things Green did and who still have not seen through the fa├žade. I understand that but they are having the wool pulled over their eyes by those who for reasons we can only guess are willing to churn out Ahmad’s propaganda on a daily basis. Perhaps they believe that Ahmad is really the man to take Rangers forward. Perhaps they are just doing it for personal gain. It if is the former then they are deluded, if it is the latter then they should be utterly ashamed. Do they really believe that our fans will fall for Green’s sales patter a second time? Especially after Walter has made his concerns clear?

Dallas Cowboys’ link up, soccer academies in the USA and India, a whole new club media platform funded from the IPO money, £10m for McCoist to spend on players. The list of broken promises goes on and on.

Are Jim McColl’s group perfect? Perhaps not. I’m sure part of us would love the idea that McColl will come in and throw money at the club to get us back to where we belong but we should remember where that got us before. The club needs a strong board that can run the club properly and take tough decisions if need be. They also need to be people with a track record that we can trust.

Frank Blin has an outstanding record in business and huge financial experience. Do we really object to him sitting on the board and examining just what has happened to the IPO money that poured into the club? Jim McColl’s credentials in business in Scotland are perhaps second to none. What is it about Rangers current situation that so concerns these guys? What is it that so concerns the institutional investors who have put their name to requisitioning the EGM? Do we not at least want to know the answer? Do we really believe that Jim McColl is feigning concern as some sort of ruse to get hold the club?

The fans are going to be hit with a wall of misinformation in the coming days. The bottom line is do we want answers or do we want the wool pulled over our eyes again? We have two home games coming up and we have already seen fans gathered outside Ibrox on the news of Walter’s departure. Will we find our voice and make our displeasure clear in a positive way? Ahmad’s group will be relying on Charles Green’s ability to win us over again. I suggest we don’t fall for it. Trust Walter and follow his lead.

10 comments:

  1. Well put. If there was any doubt in my mind as who to back , I have now been well and truly pointed in the right direction. In Walter I trust. Green out!!!

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  2. "That he found a way to stand up and do the right thing is a measure of the man."

    If Walter Smith was found harpooning whales in the North Sea there'd be still be fans babbling on about his integrity and dignity. In what possible way is his resignation "the right thing" or in the interests of the club? Walter Smith does do walking away, and we're supposed to applaud that? He could have made this statement, or maybe even one with some substance, as chairman, from which position at least he might be able to influence something. Now he's volunteered to have nothing more to do with it. Well, thanks Walter, now we have absolutely no-one on the board that we know anything about.

    His comments about McCoist are laughable, too. Having a budget 100x that of your opponents can not be said to be the most difficult circumstances any Rangers manager has had to endure. McCoist, his salary, his assistants and their salaries, and his profligate spending, add up to one of the major reasons we're draining money, in financial crisis and therefore in boardroom crisis. I don't trust Charles Green but he's got to be more basically competent at his job than Super Ally is at his.

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    Replies
    1. Great points well made. The "old guard" has done more harm then good in the last year - been a "Rangers Man" does not make for a good business man or indeed a good football manager.

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  3. OK, I'll take that bit back about Charles Green. I don't trust him at all and I want him out. I do at least trust Walter to not just be in it for the money. I am just disappointed by Walter's resignation, which I think puts the unstable ship close to capsizing, and by his continual backing of McCoist, which is entirely personal and emotional, and yet has so much sway on so many supporters.

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  4. Sadly the reality is that Walter Smith has walked because he simply and honestly concluded that he couldn't handle the boardroom machinations.
    He said at the time when he accepted the role that it would be temporary. He did it because he recognised the fans needed stability and there were season tickets to sell. No brainier.
    Walter was our most successful manager of modern times but the boardroom is a very different environment, particularly when there are highly political animals prowling.
    Whether or not his advice to the other board members will be adhered to is anyone's guess.
    Whatever they vote for it must be Rangers first.

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  5. Interesting points about credibility. Paul Murray was FD in the old set up, where is his credibility? Returning the old guard is not the way forward and where was McColl with his £M's when we really needed him?
    Credibility????

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  6. Any Rangers supporter who does not want Jim MacColl's group to take over at Ibrox should check themselves into Carstairs.

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  7. ''Any Rangers supporter who does not want Jim MacColl's group to take over at Ibrox should check themselves into Carstairs.''

    ''One of the most significant at that time was the sale of Sir Tom Hunter's Sports Division retail chain to JJB Sport which made Sir Tom one of Scotland's richest businessmen. "It was a negotiation that was completed in the front room of Tom's house in Ayrshire. I will never forget me sitting with Mr Whelan [the founder and then chief executive of JJB] talking and Tom coming in and out at various stages. Together we negotiated the price. I think Tom was delighted with the outcome. At that time we were considering plans to float the business though I don't know whether Tom would ever have done it. So that was a great deal."

    http://www.business7.co.uk/insider-magazine/latest-news/2012/03/07/the-big-profile-frank-blin-pwc-influential-innovator-in-search-of-new-challenges-106408-23778231/

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  8. Jim McColl is a Nationalist pro-Indy Salmond fan who thinks Rangers are a 'bad investment' otherwise he would have stumped up his money long ago. Green might not be the right man long term, be he stood up for our club before where others didn't. McColl & his cronies would be jumping out the frying pan and into the fire!

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  9. I am backing Green, I cannot understand why Walter Smith sacked it and walked away, he was in a position to stand his ground, Ally McCoist should be sacked he is not the man for the job, I do not want a pro separation man running the last British team in the UK, if McColl was a Gers man where was he when Green came in, at least Green stood his ground, Rangers Fans better think b4 they act

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Keep it civil, lads.