Ashley fait accompli


Tuesday’s Telegraph suggested Mike Ashley is about to increase his shareholding in newco to 29.9% via a share issue, in contravention of his agreement with the SFA on multiple ownership.  This morning the club informed the stock market the Ashely’s appointee, Derek Llambias, is now chief executive.

The key passage in the Telegraph article is:

“There is no certainty of anything like unanimous approval, but many in the higher reaches of the Scottish game acknowledge that a revived Rangers, capable of resuming the Old Firm rivalry and renewing the club’s presence in Europe would make Scotland more attractive to broadcasters and league sponsors, with general benefits.”

This has almost certainly come from the same kind of club source which in another lifetime were assuring journalists that HMRC would agree to a CVA; I know for sure the SFA are far from ready to rubber-stamp an Ashley land grab.

There are a few points which, despite blanket coverage of this issue, are not getting a proper hearing:

At current trading levels, Ashley is earning around £4m p.a. from newco as their retail ‘partner’.  He is also their exclusive wholesaler, so the club is worth even more to him, let’s say £5m p.a. in total.

Anyone who tells you his financial pay-off is through having newco wear his branding on a European stage is either wholly compliant in an attempt to mislead newco fans, or is simply regurgitating information handed to them by PR agents, without the wherewithal to digest the information correctly.

He’s making £5m per year and he therefore has an interest in ensuring the club continues in its current condition.

The second issue is around the legality of multiple-ownership.  It is not against Uefa rules (you can simply comply by one club not competing) but does breach rules in Scotland and England.  I recommend not getting too hung-up on this point.  In the event he was asked to disinvest from one of his clubs, Ashley could with pull a Blue Pitch Holdings/Margarita stroke.

For all you know about those two newco investors, I could own them.  It’s a paper exercise for Ashley to move his ownership beyond the reaches of oversight, and there is nothing in the rules to prevent this.

The question for the SFA, and eventually the FA, is what level of Ashley’s influence, not ownership, they are comfortable with.  There are no guidelines on this point.

A further consideration is that whoever briefed the Telegraph at the start of the week is likely to have painted a scenario that without Ashley’s next bung, newco is likely to go the way of oldco.  This is far from certain.

If all newco need to survive another season is circa £8m it’s not a figure beyond the realms of possibility for some of the blowhards who have been trying to disrupt Ashley’s strategy in recent months.

My hunch is that the SFA and newco’s fans will be presented with a fait accomply – it’s Ashley or bust.  What is certain is that the club will be vastly more inhibited by Ashley milking it dry than with a unifying figure.  He has the makings of a memorable Ibrox owner, a true heir to Sir David Murray.

Still time to order Caesar & the Assassin, the 2015 CQN Annual, with or without bundle, or anything else from the vast array of Celtic books and DVDs in time for Christmas post, but you don’t have long……

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Magners ticket competition yesterday – and who donated to Mary’s Meals. The answer to the question, who do we play on 27 December, is Ross County, which proved to be trickier than I thought. Draw will be made this afternoon and winner informed thereafter.

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  1. Had I logged onto CQN this morning for the first time the last 3 pages would probably have ensured that it would have been my only visit.



    Think what I’d have missed out on in life……..



    Any chance we could apply the ‘pub rule’. ie we talk to one another like we’d talk to a fellow celtic fan we’d just met over a pint.



    For the record I think all the protagonists a huge Celtic fans. What a broad church we are!!!!



    HH jamesgang

  2. connaire12



    Things have been hectic lately but I will do my best to get something to you over the holidays.



    I got a reply from my MSP on Twitter with a promise that she’d email me regarding the Gallowgate Report.



    A few days later I got an email from her secretary outlining how beneficial the OB Act had been in improving the behaviour at games in Scotland.



    I’ve replied :-)



    Still waiting……

  3. tonydonnelly67


    12:09 on


    20 December, 2014


    Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.’


    Henry David Thoreau



    Very true, but hard to prove.






    Nah, balance of probabilities allows a verdict ?

  4. What did you learn in class today?



    Well miss I learned that a Gorbals Dick is actually spelt tonydonnelly67 and the definition of that Gorbals Dick is he loves to gob off about others but when others dare gob off about him he shits his man nappy and shuffles off on his zimmer with a smelly cloud smoking him.

  5. mullet and co @ 11.48 hrs



    “Tis the season to be jolly. Some folk take blogging too far.


    Remember children read this site”





    Ho Ho Ho, and sometimes post on it too :-)



    HH to all.

  6. Christmas day oot wi work mates, better shift , early start. A hope Ally dizny get a result for what it’s worth Ave Ave

  7. University education at its best, I rest my case.







    12:11 on 20 December, 2014


    What did you learn in class today?



    Well miss I learned that a Gorbals Dick is actually spelt tonydonnelly67 and the definition of that Gorbals Dick is he loves to gob off about others but when others dare gob off about him he shits his man nappy and shuffles off on his zimmer with a smelly cloud smoking him.

  8. Higgie



    I’ll be in the Weeman’s in the Gallowgate if you fancy a wee scoop or 2 on the 27th




    I know, but I have not forgotten how he attacked Jeanette Findlay without reason beyond hate.



    So I’m just giving him a wee bit of his own medicine but I don’t think he likes it.



    I apologise (I’d do so unreservedly too though I don’t actually have a clue what that means, but it sounds sincerer) for being a dick. Would it help if I changed my login and put a wee :-) after every insult, would that make acid taste sweeter?




    How many skins should I have before I tipped the blog?

  10. ExSlaemuirBhoy


    12:19 on


    20 December, 2014


    before and after the game






    i might come looking for you. mibbies, see what that day brings.



    being a non-drinker i try to avoid pubs nowadays.

  11. Por ceirto. I terms of what to do? Well firstly we need answers from the celtic board. But the problem is they won’t give those answers willingly because they are up to their necks in it.

  12. eddieinkirkmichael



    11:31 on 20 December, 2014



    6th Class St Attracta’s NS Ballaghaderreen singing a great song about a great Scotsman. Let’s hope they don’t ask Kano foundation to to help them come over and sing it at Celtic Park.



    Down witht hat sort of stuff ;)











    Thanks for sharing it Eddie.

  13. BCW




    Dear Chris,



    Thank you for your tweet to Christina regarding the ‘Gallowgate’ report produced by the Fans Against Criminalisation group. Christina has asked me to respond on her behalf.



    The Offensive Behaviour Act is designed to ensure that football fans are able to enjoy going to support their team without being subject to the offensive behaviour of a small minority.



    While the Scottish Government are committed to reviewing the legislation after two years, figures show that the strong action taken is delivering results.



    People are of course free to express legitimate political views – and the legislation is quite clear that it is aimed at tackling offensive and threatening behaviour.



    I’ve included some information below that may be of interest – however if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.





    Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012


    · The majority of fans are well-behaved and simply wish to support their team and the Scottish Government recognises this. This legislation is intended to address the unacceptable behaviours of the small minority who disrupt the enjoyment of the match-day experience for everybody else.


    · The application of the law is a matter for the Police, the Crown and ultimately the Courts, in light of the facts and circumstances of each individual case.


    · In 2013-14 there were 203 charges of ‘offensive behaviour at regulated football matches’ reported by the police to the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).


    · This is a reduction of 24% on the 267 charges reported in 2012-13 and a welcome indication that the Act is having a positive effect.




    Early Review of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act


    · The Act requires Scottish Ministers to report to Parliament on the operation of the Act over two full football seasons.


    · The review period ended on 1st August 2014 and the evaluation report must be laid in Parliament within 12 months of this date.


    · The Scottish Government will meet its statutory commitment to report to Parliament and work is already underway to collect the necessary evidence by 1st August 2015.


    · The Scottish Government has commissioned an evaluation of the operation of the offence of ‘offensive behaviour at regulated football matches’ (section 1 of the Act) by the University of Stirling in conjunction with ScotCen Social Research.


    · When giving evidence to the Justice Committee on 4th March 2014, the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs emphasised that Stirling University are in the process of carrying out a “proper, comprehensive, quality-assured and evidence-based evaluation” and ruled out an early review of the Act. The Official Report is here.



    Despite budget cuts from Westminster, the Scottish Government will invest £9 million over three years to tackle sectarianism.


    · Sectarianism isn’t confined to football and we must put the needs of communities at the centre of the agenda in order to tackle sectarianism wherever it is found.


    · Tackling bigotry and hatred isn’t just about legislation, but about wider action to help bring communities coming together.


    · The work being taken forward by the Scottish Government to tackle sectarianism is underpinned by an unprecedented investment of £9 million over a three year period up to March 2015.


    · That has been the biggest commitment that any Government in Scotland has ever made to anti-sectarianism.


    · As was stated in the draft budget, a further commitment was made to invest more than £3 million in 2015-16 to support community-based initiatives to tackle sectarianism and to further develop our understanding through research, while continuing to support work to tackle racial or ethnic hatred.



    Josh Wilson


    Constituency & Parliamentary Assistant


    (Office of Christina McKelvie MSP)

  14. prestonpans bhoys on

    Just login and after reading only the last three pages will logoff!



    Think I’ll wander up to Edinburgh for a pint instead, remember for those like me who are driving to Dundee tomorrow the Police will be out for the ‘day after’ drivers.

  15. Should we suspend honesty and integrity in the season of ‘goodwill’?



    Should auld acquaintance be forgot for the sake of liars and back stabbers?

  16. kitalba



    Don’t know of any blogger who changes their login, suspected some. Oh their was that one who posted, as Ernie Lynch……….



    As for the :-) I’m not with you.



    Some posters make a habit of aggravation………..get their jollies from it. They are consistent, repeated offenders and drag the blog down……….



    It’s usually the Referendum stuff; today something different. Some of the participants were the same though.

  17. Prestonpans,



    I’m affit too. I’m away out for all you can drink for 3 quid sixty!!:)





    Local swimming pool.

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