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. Paul67 et al



    Now, let me see, who works for Radio 5, BBC Scotland and the er Daily Telegraph, no other than Roddy (former bondholder) Forsyth. Old Firm Roddy is now the go to guy to get the latest ongoings at Ayebroke. Roddy understands a lot. Is he perchance the new Jim Traynor?

  2. Pogmathonyahun aka Laird of the Smiles on

    SOT, little did he know that he was going to come between two Bushes. ;-)





    Is that the same Roddy Forsyth who allegedly lost a right few quid when The Club Deck bondholders were shafted?



    Ah well,I suppose he has to make up the shortfall somehow,maybe a wee bit of moonlighting.



    Cue for a song….

  4. Steinreignedsupreme on

    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS 16:39 on 19 December, 2014



    When is that do? Also, do you need the £?

  5. Pogmathonyahun aka Laird of the Smiles on

    Today I took the wee dug to be wormed before travelling back to The Nothern Colony for Christmas, on Tuesday – he refused to get out the car! He still remembers getting his haw maws removed at that vets. ⚽️⚽️

  6. captain beefheart



    15:53 on 19 December, 2014





    Good to see Stephen O’Malley’s mob mentioned on here. Leaving aside his dubious views on race, the Sunn boys sure know how to concoct sonic sludge.





    If you ever get the chance to see Sunn((((0 live, go for it, it’s an experience.

  7. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Celtic mac



    Good spot. Only a pawn in their game…



    Kitalba. Only ever had a wee bit of chat last year re shares etc. But I don’t forget you offered to buy some shares on my behalf. Class ghuy – keep the faith mate.






  8. Pogmathonyahun aka Laird of the Smiles on

    celtic mac


    16:31 on 19 December, 2014




    RF, that was the first name that popped into my head when I saw the Torygraph mentioned.

  9. Greenpinata:






    I have great memories. I have honest soft ambitions.



    I’m being honest with you mate and I think we have lost our way.



    As a club we have lost our way.



    If you want me to explain why I feel that way I’m sorry mate that’ll have to wait until the new year.



    But Hey Feck It what credence my thoughts?



    Do you think Scottish football is corrupted?



    Are Celtic corrupted?



    Don’t bother answering me I’m not interested in what you think… I’m more interested in not knowing in what you believe.




    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! It’s your secret.

  10. Zico-Maltese Bhoy @ 13:18 – Embramike – Any plans?



    Gym, lunch, Roseburn, check out flights to Luqa :-)




  11. Big Georges Fan Club:



    It didn’t happen mate but maybe one day, hopefully, we’ll split a round.



    I do remember too by the way.

  12. Phil MacGiollaBhain ‏@Pmacgiollabhain 36m36 minutes ago



    The RIFC board are now aware that any pay off for Mr Super will be funded from further savings within the company/club.

  13. Ellboy - I am Neil Lennon, YNWA. on

    @Pmacgiollabhain: I just spoke to an experienced club administrator and member of the SFA judicial “taxi rank” apropos Ashley, TRFC and the SFA.





    @Pmacgiollabhain: He said that the only sanctions that could be put on the club were a fine or points deduction. The latter unlikely he said.



    @Pmacgiollabhain: A small fine-if paid-would put the matter to bed. Big Mike could then press ahead.



    If the above is all it takes for someone to hold a controlling interest in two football clubs then why not take control of the whole lot? For someone like Ashley, it wouldn’t be too costly to purchase the controlling interest in most of the clubs within the SPFL, barring Celtic of course. Just take the minor fine for each club and rig the whole game for Sevco to qualify for the Champios League each and every season?



    Fantasy perhaps but what’s happening now is equally farcical, it’s making a mockery of our game and should be unacceptable for all supporters no matter their club.



    Where will it end?




  14. bournesouprecipe on




    If it’s Ashley, then he’s in it for profit just like he is at Newcastle. He makes money Sevco lose.



    Ticketus Tocketus



    Ticketus Tocketus


    Wee message for all in the Happy Blane Valley



    I’m offski,cot time,jealous as!



    Hope you all have a smashing evening. No,really.

  16. traditionalist88 on

    Bada Bing



    Cheers for the link:)



    Can’t help but think playing Leigh in that game is robbing a youngster of a potential development opportunity – on the other hand, if his presence helps ensure we progress and that gets 10 other players some more vital experience then…who am I to complain:)




  17. Perhaps john guidetti is struggling for Sunday and Leigh Griffiths was getting 90mins under his belt at sunderland ahead of a possible start v DU

  18. do SFA now view ‘Rangers’ football club as separate fom the holding ‘company’ and the company can fold but the football entity will continue with its history, etc

  19. Bill McMurdo blogger, son of Bill McMurdo football agent and marketing genius, is, genuinely, the sanest pro-Rangers commentator around.



    Also a little bit anarchist too, though. Earlier this week he gave us this:



    Does the potential investment and involvement of the Sports Direct magnate benefit Scottish football in general by bringing some much-needed revenue to the game? If it produces a healthier Rangers which in turn attracts sponsor and advertiser money, then it is a no-brainer.



    In the current climate – and in any climate – this matters more than some dumbass rule.



    The SFA’s job is to promote football in every way it can, not to enforce draconian rules which do nothing to help anybody.



    And today:



    I am happy to accept some players are overpaid but that is about the player, not the jersey. Quite frankly, if you play for Glasgow Rangers you should be paid handsomely…. if you are a big club, you should be paying big money … Same with Ally McCoist and his salary. He is the manager of Rangers, not some pub team. … It’s all about differentiating between the man and the position. Rangers manager and players should be paid much higher than other teams. … With no disrespect to lesser teams, if we start paying what lesser teams pay we will become one of them. Rangers men get Rangers pay. Thus shall and should it ever be.



    The apple never falls far from the tree.

  20. Marrakesh Express on

    Roddy Forsyth admitted a few years ago that worldwide, Celtic were much bigger than his team Rangers.


    Celtic, he said, have a definite romantic appeal due to their formation and history, and are backed in huge numbers by the Irish-Scottish diaspora. Rangers on the other hand, are associated with for example Ulster Unionism, which doesn’t travel far or well.


    I paraphrase but those were Forsyth’s main points and it must have taken a lot for him to say it.(on shortbread). He qualified these comments by saying that his wife and son are both Celtic fans, so he was perhaps unique in having an interest in both clubs.

  21. traditionalist88,



    I can’t help but think, leigh will come back to haunt us when eventually leaves, due not to getting a chance in our first team…

  22. Auldheid :



    I’d still be interested in your thoughts on unadulterated integrity.



    Put into English with no spin (and bear in mind you’ve alluded to it, in public before,) do you place any value whatsoever on individual integrity?



    Do you agree values are created at home and do you not think at times you portray yourself and nothing more than a board apologist.




    I could use stronger language but I’d rather look you in the eye before I did even if it means me coming to Spain.

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