24 Apr 2012

Why Whyte is still leaving Rangers fans feeling blue

As ever, Craig Whyte has been forthcoming in his views this morning. We still hope to pin him down on camera later in the day for at least the chance to begin asking some of the many questions folk would like to see put to him.

He has presented something of a moving target in recent days, between the south of France, the Highlands of Scotland and, today, in London.

Unlike the club he still owns an 85 per cent stake in, which currently appears to be going nowhere fast except liquidation.

First off, reacting to the latest fines passed on himself and the non-purchase embargo on the club in terms of player-acquisition for a year, he reiterated his position that at no stage had he ever taken part in the process of investigation by the Scottish Football Association’s independent body.

He told me they never approached him and he never at any stage handed them any “documentary evidence”, and at no stage was he ever called upon to defend his position in any way.

He said: “I’ve been made a complete scapegoat for the mismanagement of Rangers in the 15 years before I came along.”

He blames the maladministration of Sir David Murray almost completely for the mess Rangers is now in and seems to see himself almost as a victim in all this, however bizarre and at odds with some stark realities that might seem. That the club was poorly run is obvious from the debt it was mired in when he took it over and the price tag he was offered of one pound.

“I didn’t make it any worse,” he claims – though the stark figures may say otherwise.

But even that is not, it seems, the fault of Mr Whyte. He talked at length about how there was discussion of going into administration back in October, which he claims he fought against then – and, in fact, this year as well, when it did happen and he left his post as club chairman.

He claims he wanted to pay the money owed the taxman and would have done so, but administration made it impossible due, he says, to the bank freezing the club accounts.

“I could not release funds to HMRC if I’d wanted to because the banks froze the accounts,” he claimed.

He says he still wants the club to have a secure future but claims to want to “maintain a presence” on the board of Rangers FC in order to “generate funds to release my guarantee”.

“I mean this is just common sense, and nobody would bat an eyelid in any other business or walk of life.”

Craig Whyte: “Going forward, of course, I need some presence on the board to generate funds to release my guarantee in the club.”

All in all, he paints a clear self-image of a man who somehow sees himself as another victim in this long and sorry saga. I venture to suggest that Rangers fans are unlikely to buy into this with great enthusiasm.

Probably no fans are. I look forward to discussing it all in greater depth at some point with him.

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