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CLUB 1872 – “CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN?”

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A RANGERS fans group has suggested that Club 1872, which is a significant shareholder in the Ibrox club, has been caught with its pants down!

The claim from the group calling themselves ‘Rangers Fans Voice’ centers on the proposal by Club 1872 to go back on its promise that memberships purchased could be passed down the generations, this ensuring that the small part of the holding company owned would stay in the family.

This of course mirrors the promise made and broken by Sir David Murray to the Club Deck Debenture Holders who had a seat for life at Ibrox. Many called the club to confirm that this was the case after the club plunged into liquidation in 2012 only to be told that their rights died with the old ‘holding company’.

Now Rangers Fans Voice claim that they were contacted by a number of life members of Club 1872 concerned that they felt this organisation planned to do away with their rights to pass on these memberships to friends or relatives as part of a change to their articles of association.

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They point out that Rangers First life members purchased more than 900 of these memberships on the basis that they would be able to pass them on when they died. The statement issued today seems to indicate that the attempt to move the goalposts by Club 1872 has been halted.

The statement issued by Rangers Fans Voice continues as follows.

“A number of Club 1872 life members wrote to Club 1872 and indeed James Blair, Company Secretary of Rangers International Football Club and Director of Club 1872 directly for information on this point. Those we were in touch with received no reply. We asked for evidence of this and duly received it.

“At this point Rangers Fans Voice were left in no doubt that this injustice needed to be corrected and we indeed sought independent legal advice. Whilst waiting for this opinion we contacted the Community Interest Company Regulator asking them to intervene on behalf of the life members of Club 1872. The regulator responded in what we felt was a very positive way.

“We are pleased to report that due to the pressure brought by Rangers Fans Voice and a number of Club 1872 life members who wrote to the Regulator independently, that the board of Club 1872 has backed down on their position on heritable life memberships.

“However, there is something very uncomfortable in the wording of their statement. They say:

“The Board has previously confirmed this position to individuals who have asked about this topic. We would encourage all members to contact Club 1872 in the first instance with any queries about their membership rather than relying on social media comment where information is seldom accurate.”

“With the evidence shown to Rangers Fans Voice, this is clearly not the case. They did not confirm to any individuals who asked us to help that this was the case. It is also obvious from the wording in the proposed articles of association that this was clearly not the intention.

“It now seems a messy way that Club 1872 plan to handle this. They are asking members to notify them of their wishes but it seems they don’t plan to contact all of these people themselves. We would respectfully suggest they should contact these members with clear and explicit instructions. If members have a will and the membership is mentioned they should accept the executors instructions and transfer the membership accordingly. That is the normal means of resolving such issues and if that is acceptable they should say so. They also need to be quite clear that there is no time bar on this issue.

“We are pleased that the issue is getting resolved.

“There is though frankly a strange and somewhat disconcerting tone with regard to social media when it played such an important part in not only ridding the club of people like Whyte, Green and Ashley but was of course paramount in promoting fan ownership and what led to the invention of Club 1872.

“Indeed as Rangers FC now do with a site called the Rangers Observer, they use social media to express opinion that would be difficult for them to say otherwise, the club sees social media as a vital tool. Surely Club 1872 are not trying to say everything on social media is “fake news” and people with knowledge about Community Interest Company regulations should be ignored?

“Has Club 1872 in this instance been caught with its pants down? It’s for you to decide but what is clear, they should have listened to the life members and responded timeously and not waited until the intervention from Rangers Fans Voice, life members of Club 1872 and the CIC regulator before finally saying something on the topic.

“It is things like this that turn people off from getting involved in or supporting fan ownership and we can only hope that the directors of Club 1872 have learnt from this mistake.”

Club 1872 have never been slow at issuing statements themselves so they will no doubt be quick to reassure Rangers fans that this matter is going to be resolved and issue apologies to the Rangers supporters concerned at the implications that their proposed actions would have caused.

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