Paul Clark, joint administrator, told club staff at a meeting at Ibrox this morning of the American being given preferred bidder status as he is now given the chance to complete a purchase for the financially stricken club.
Clark said: “We would like to thank all parties for their efforts in seeking to submit bids which preserve the long history and success of the Club.
“We are delighted to announce that today we have received an unconditional bid for the business and assets of Rangers Football Club plc from Mr Bill Miller which has been accepted in principle and he is now the preferred bidder. Mr Miller now proposes to complete his transaction by the end of the season.”
The administrators might be delighted with the news that a preferred bidder has now been announced, but the fans are looking on with apprehension as the American has mentioned liquidating Rangers Football Club and starting a newco up free from the debt that currently strangles the Ibrox side.
Brian Kennedy, who linked up with the Blue Knights consortium, last week hit out at Miller’s bid, he said: “This is a critical moment for Rangers. A sequence of events is about to unfold which could be enormously damaging to the club. I’m not trying to bully or scare anybody – I’m just pleading for the people involved to think this through properly. This is not as simple as £11m versus £5m. If I am right and the American bid does not hold up then it could become zero versus £5m.”
“And by then the club’s position will have become even more perilous and the situation could well be completely irretrievable. The fans have been through so much pain in the last 12 months they are terrified of the ramifications should the club end up in the wrong hands.
“They are not xenophobes but they want people they know to take charge of saving their club. They are also vehemently against the prospect of losing 140 years of history. For those reasons I do not believe they will back Mr Miller’s bid and, without their full support, his proposals cannot work.
“I know the guys from Duff and Phelps are decent men trying to do their best for the club and its creditors. But I implore them to think this through and fully consider the sequence of events I have just outlined. There is a danger the club could die and the creditors could be left with not £11m, not £5m, but nothing.”
Kennedy added: “Miller plans to have a newco, Rangers 2012, playing in the SPL next season while the oldco – the Rangers which means so much to so many – is sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust and cobwebs, perhaps never to be seen again.
“It was because of the possibility of this very scenario that I got involved in the bidding in the first place. Together with Paul Murray and the Blue Knights we are trying to do everything in our power to protect the club and its emotional heritage.
“Yes, if Craig Whyte doesn’t co-operate in our attempts to keep Rangers alive then we might have to go down a route like the one Miller is proposing. But only as a last resort. The Rangers fans will accept that. They will NOT accept it as a first resort – which is why they’ll resist the American bid with all their might.
“If Miller is given preferred bidder status he will soon realise his strategy is not wanted. The emotional
resistance he will encounter from the supporters will overwhelm him. Then there is the matter of no European football for three years which is a financial hammer blow.
“With no Europe and no support from the fans his plans will look horrendous. I’m sure he’ll soon work this out and then run for the hills. But at that point the club could be three or four weeks further on and way beyond the point of saving.
“If the Americans delay this process and then disappear, the existence of Rangers will have been seriously jeopardised. That is what the administrators must keep in mind.”
Despite the warnings from Brian Kennedy, the American Bill Miller has been handed preferred bidder status while Kennedy and the Blue Knights languish behind.
In this morning’s Herald Sport, the American businessman would ‘look for a refund of his £500,000 deposit in the event of a negative reaction among Rangers fans to his potential takeover’.
The article continued: “The American trucking tycoon is known to be aware of the anger among supporters at his plan to move the club’s assets to a newco, because they see that as a form of liquidation. Protests had been planned outside Ibrox and throughout the [Dundee United] game, but instead Sandy Jardine, the club’s former defender, addressed fans before kick-off pleading for unity.”
Despite Jardine’s call for unity at least two banners were unfurled at Ibrox last night – albeit briefly – one stated ‘Truck off Miller’ with the other saying ‘No Thanks to Asset-stripping Yanks’.
Rangers Supporters Trust spokesperson Mark Dingwall admitted that their preferred bidders would be the Blue Knights. Dingwall who also runs the Follow Follow Rangers website said: “Obviously, we’ve been backing the Blue Knights, so we’re not exactly impartial. But people are extremely wary of [Miller’s] newco, because they see that as essentially the same as a liquidation. There’s a complete lack of transparency as to his funding of the club or his plans that is making people highly sceptical.
“There is still an offer from the Blue Knights and it is more than workable. We don’t think that anybody should seek out, as he has done, a newco route at this time, because we just don’t believe it’s necessary.”