7 Feb 2013

Rangers – a public wrangle over £400,000

Let us consider what Shakespeare wrote:

 “All that glisters is not gold,
“Often have you heard that told.”

Words all football fans would do well to consider. Rangers fans in particular need to heed this, having been promised golden times from Sir David Murray, Craig Whyte and right now from Charles Green. If you believe his figures RFC is suddenly cash-rich after what the club calls a successful flotation. They’re talking about a genuine milestone reached.

Well – let’s see how much cash has really been raised and how much is promissary notes and all manner of other forms of not-all-that-hard-cash-at-all, to make up the fabled £20 million or more.

What really matters right now is confidence in the club, its finances and its flotation -and when it comes to confidence: the spectre of an unpaid £400,000 threatens to loom large.

Rangers strategy when Channel 4 News broke the story yesterday seemed to be to say and do nothing for many hours, before eventually issuing the statement we put up yesterday, in which they said that the sums sought were insignificant, agreement had been reached subject to the necessary paperwork and that the club was “capable of meeting any debts presented to it legitimately”.

This morning a source close to Orlit Enterprises contacted Channel4 News to respond to Rangers position.

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Ranger have said that the issue is settled subject to paperwork but refuse to explain what this means, they’re keen to sweep the entire business away by insisting it is insignificant.

My understanding from Rangers is that the club does not regard this as “debt” so its statements about being a “debt-free club” remain accurate and truthful. Rather, for Ibrox this is a little local difficulty about a contract.

However my source close to Orlit Enterprises in Singapore says that “no settlement has been reached” with regard to the outstanding sum of £400,000 which unlike RFC they do not regard as insignificant.

All of which leaves Rangers with – at the very least – a PR disaster which they appear either unwilling or unable to clear up. They have not explained at all why the contractual dispute arose? Or what the disputed issue is? Or why Orlit completely refutes Rangers assertion that the matter is settled barring some paperwork? Or what that paperwork is? Or frankly answered any detailed questions at all about this matter whatsoever.

Yet by the same token Rangers do not dispute or deny there is outstanding money. Nor the party involved. Nor the reason why the services were contracted. Nor the time frame involved. We gave them every chance to do so.

Nor does Rangers FC deny or dispute anything in our story yesterday concerning Orlit’s reluctant intention of beginning winding up proceedings against the club to recover the £400,000 it claims is owed it by RFC.

You have to ask why? Surely the fans are due this? Surely they who are again putting hard-earned cash into the club deserve to know what is going on?

So might other parties like potential investors and those watching from beyond Glasgow, in the City of London for instance. However you carve it up, getting into a now-public wrangle over a relatively simple matter of £400,000 is PR suicide when you are touring the world touting the new club as an attraction to investors.

They will have questions. We do. Fans do. And Ibrox is incapable or unwilling of providing answers. Sitting in Govan calling it all insignificant and minor should not satisfy fans as it does not satisfy us and will not satisfy investors worried that £400,000 might not be a minor or simple matter for the club.

The club tells the world it has raised over twenty million in the recent share offer. If it’s an “insignificant sum” – answer some simple questions and pay up?

With each hour that passes in silence and non-payment from Rangers, the deeper the damage to the club and investors confidence in its real level of financial security.

Follow Alex Thomson on Twitter: @alextomo

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