14 May 2012

Rangers have a buyer, we have his CV

Definitely a spring in my stride as I head to Manchester this afternoon to cover City’s open-top bus parade. Whether buying it or not they’ve widened the club of English Premier League winners and that has to be good.

And some finish – even as they prepared to roll out the red carpet for the Reds…with five added minutes still on the board for City.

So optimism in the air and yes, across the border too perhaps at Rangers, with – can it be – the backing at last to pay off their creditors: the charities, councils, colleges, small businesses – and the larger ones too.

All Rangers fans, all football fans, will want the debts paid – as will all taxpayers no doubt.

But last time Rangers were sold this was the situation:

1. The seller was desperate to sell the club;

2. The process was taken at the fastest possible pace;

3. The new buyer talked big about plans for the club;

4. The buyer was greeted as a saviour in many sections of the media;

5. Large statements were made about the buyer’s finances with little by way of hard information to back them up;

6. The buyer had a chequered record of company directorships;

And whaddya know? This time around all six apply all over again.

True, this time around there’s been some considered observation of Charles Green’s background. Helen McArdle’s excellent piece in the Herald on Saturday sets the required tone of caution.

By way of filling in the (no doubt minor) details, here’s what comes to light about Mr Green’s almost lightning ability to flit from boardroom to boardroom:

It’s mobile. It’s dynamic. It’s also a list of dissolved companies.

What Rangers needs, what football needs, what business needs in these times above all else is sustainability. This looks, on the face of it, a doubtful CV to bring that to troubled Ibrox.

After Craig Whyte and the fiasco of his Ibrox ownership, what Rangers fans deserve is openness and transparency from Mr Green about his past and his present.

There are commercial limits of course but some disclosure of his financial backing would boost confidence. So too, real disclosure concerning the 20-strong consortium. Glasgow and Scottish football needs more than vague noises about Middle East and Singaporean connections.

And they need it fast. Avoiding liquidation remains far from assured and nobody should believe the administrators Duff and Phelps with their catalogue of absurd hype, missed deadlines and pantomime rescue deals.

Dispassionate, forensic, cautious work is now needed. We can only hope that finally Rangers have found men of their word and wallet, to lead.

But you have the CV – warning sign or otherwise.

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