07 August 2013

Show us the facts

by Gordon James | Guest Contributor

No Rangers fans will be surprised that the war of words has started and it looks like the media is going to be licking its collective chops as it laps up the feast. 

Again, player after player in this saga (or their lieutenants) rushes towards cameras and newspapers to spill their guts and none more so than “Consultant Green”. Ironically, the one person who seems resolute in not talking to the press is the guy employed to talk to the press. As the battle of the egos heats up, what they forget are two small details, the fans and the club.

You see in the midst of all this palaver there is a very real lack of detail from anyone. The current board seem like startled deer and are so slow to impart any information to the fan base. But then, when have we ever been given priority? I am heartily sick of the stock exchange rules excuse book coming out as a smokescreen to telling us what is going on. If the board are doing a good job then for goodness sake explain to us why they deserve our support.

For example, it now appears that the final audited results for year ending 30 June 2013 will be released by mid September and an AGM is scheduled for October. When questions were being asked about money, accounts, IPO etc and that particular concern was growing apace, would it not have been a prudent to let the fans know this? Would it have been a good idea to say this is the timetable, we will explain where we are, what we have done and what our plan is?

Then on the other hand, Malcolm Murray and Paul Murray would have absolutely known that was the case. So why do they want to push an EGM through at yet more cost to the club (north of £60k) that will happen a few weeks before the AGM was due? Their lobby could have challenged the directors they have identified as the culprits then. Every director is up for re-election at an AGM, so why the rush?

And on that subject we have the Mather conundrum. He was identified as one of the three that were to go to be replaced by Blin and Murray. I would dearly like to ask why a guy who stuck in a million quid and was backed by Walter Smith and Ally McCoist is targeted by men who have invested nothing. For guys who claim to know what is going on in the boardroom, this seems a massive miscalculation and too simply say actually Craig is a good guy now does not inspire confidence.

Frustratingly, McColl has made it clear that he has no intention in increasing any share holding or taking a direct role at the club. I say frustratingly because until fan ownership is a reality, then I would take one major player over institutional investment every day of the week. I am not sure what McColl adds except gravitas and an informed opinion. What I think is wrong is for him to be attacked for not buying. I have an old fashioned notion that it is his money he made and he can do what he wants. McColl also feels has a duty of care to his shareholders and his many thousands of employees and he is of the opinion he can’t focus on both. That said his interview with Keith Jackson does puzzle me when he advises that no one should put their hands in their pocket until Green is gone. For me, someone has to do that if they want Green gone.

Returning to the board, rumours persist that the commercial deals are weak. It is a fair assumption that these have not came from sources not on the board. What I understand is for example the Puma deal is on a straight percentage and a very decent one. This is exactly the kind of misinformation we don’t need so why is it out there? Interestingly, although Smith is absolutely unequivocal in his support for the EGM and their proposals, there is no mention of finances but a concentration on the dysfunctional board. Yet we are told by many finances are at a critical point whilst Malcolm Murray himself assured us that this was not the case not so long ago and Craig Mather, the man Smith singled out for support told us the same recently. I have no doubt that if Green had not returned then Smith would be chairman today. But again if there had not been a move for an EGM, Green would not be back.

Everyone calls for transparency without really offering it up. The board need to get out there that fully audited accounts will be available in about four weeks and will be open to full scrutiny and an AGM will follow. This gives us a clear picture of the financial health of the club. A step in the right direction has been taken with Thursday night's meeting with Mather, McCoist and Traynor. This is a chance to ask the CEO about finances, kit deals, IPO and I am sure the fans there will do so and let us all know.

For their part, the two Murrays should stop window dressing the proposals and tell us which institutional investors they represent. We should know what exactly these investors want and what plans they have for the club. If they have information on finances that they think are an immediate cause for concern then speak up. The subterfuge and insinuation are only causing pain.

For all sides any thoughts of personal vendettas and revenge should be forgotten but in the meantime if there are any solid Rangers fans with a spare £14million...