No Green and Whyte at Ibrox
I have continued to observe the lack of progress in the attempts to resolve the crisis at Ibrox. I hoped that a “supportable” proposal would emerge from an individual or grouping that would meet the needs of the club. I see those needs comprising of four main components;
Any offer should demonstrate the capacity to not only acquire the club but to invest in the club going forward.
Any offer should be supported by the requisite business skills to ensure that the recent crisis is not repeated.
Any offer should recognise that the club cannot be run on purely business principles. The club has a “soul”, a history, and a tradition going back 140 years. Our children and grandchildren are entitled to the same legacy that our father’s and grandfather’s bequeathed to us.
Any offer should recognise that the fans are key stakeholders in the club, whether they are shareholders or not.
In my view the CVA proposal that is being put forward for consideration by Duff & Phelps fails to demonstrate compliance with any of the above criteria. I accept the possibility that Duff and Phelps may know more than is contained in the CVA proposal, but if that is the case, why the lack of transparency? Duff & Phelps have earned enormous sums as administrators and have had sufficient time to ensure that full disclosure is made with any offer.
One practical difficulty that Duff and Phelps has is that their prime responsibility is to those stakeholders that have a legal claim on the company. This excludes the many fans who are important stakeholders but not shareholders. This leads me to some specific concerns about the CVA proposal:
1. It is clear from the CVA proposal that Mr Green intends to repeat Mr Whyte’s strategy of using season ticket sales to fund the club. This would put fans back in the position of funding the club without owning it.
2. I made it clear to Duff and Phelps that I regard the Whyte acquisition of the shares from the Murray Group as being fraudulent and that myself and every other minority shareholder (all fan shareholders) have been prejudiced by this. The CVA gives no recognition to this difficulty and to what reparation will be made to those shareholders who have been abused by the terms of the sale to Mr Whyte.
3. I also advised Duff & Phelps that I was making a claim against the club for the full amount of my investment based on the deliberate non-disclosure by David Murray of transactions that he had committed to on behalf of the club that were both risky and to the sole advantage of the Murray Group. I have made that claim but Duff & Phelps have at this stage ignored my representations.
4. If it becomes necessary for me to prove my claim I intend to enlist the support of the other fans, like me, who are shareholders in order to ensure that we are all considered and represented. I further advised Duff & Phelps that any proceeds received in respect of my claim will be reinvested, in full,back into the club. I am sure that all other aggrieved investors (that are fans) will do likewise.This will ensure that a substantial portion of the funds used to acquire the club will still be available to invest in its future.
5. Mr Whyte gave me first right of refusal on his shares on the 29th September 2011. Andrew Ellis subsequently advised me that Mr Whyte had personally advised him about my first right of refusal but that Mr Ellis had a prior right to 24,9% of the shareholding from Mr Whyte. Based on my own history of dealings with Mr Whyte I have no reason to doubt Mr Ellis’s version. Either way, Mr Green cannot acquire the shares.
It is not my intention, and I know Mr Ellis feels the same, to get in the way of a properly structured and a properly funded transaction that meets the needs of all stakeholders, including the fans.
In my view, based on previous discussions with Mr Whyte, it is unlikely in the extreme that he would sell “his” shares to Mr Green for a nominal sum (even if he hadn’t committed them to me) unless he was obtaining some benefit or retaining some control behind the scenes. Duff & Phelps non-communicative approach to stakeholders causes me further concern in that regard.
I am opposing the CVA and urge all loyal fans to do the same. We don’t want to be back in a similar situation next season. I also believe that all true Rangers fans should not buy any season tickets until full and frank disclosure has been provided by Duff & Phelps, Mr Green, and Mr Whyte, as to what is truly going on behind the scenes.