So what did you make of Dave King’s “compete with some of the bigger clubs, particularly Celtic” news conference?
He’s hoping to make a managerial appointment “within a week” which, despite the need to rebuild the squad, is a little ahead of where I expected him to be based on the feedback I know he received from those who were sounded out.
Punters and media seem convinced Warburton will be appointed. I know nothing about the man, but I’ve assumed Stuart McCall would get the job due to all other candidates having a real job, or better prospects. As McCall said in his TV interview following his Fir Park capitulation, he knows what is required and has experience at shopping for free transfers in the English lower leagues. Anyone else is an unnecessary risk so I’m still inclined to think McCall will get it.
A 5% increase in season ticket costs is on the lower end of what I expected, but there’s a subtext with this one (there often is). A key aim of whoever has been in charge at Ibrox over the last three years is to get season ticket prices back to the level they were when Ticketus “over-invested” (caveat over-investors).
Charles Green planned to do this from the off. The script was to read: “I’ve saved your club. Now I’m going to put a £50k p.a. pay cap on and I need you to buy 40,000 season tickets at full price, to ensure we glide up the leagues with ease and arrive in the SPL with money in the bank”. The players and manager would have had a choice, show you’re here for the badge, not the money, or move on.
But, within a week, King and the Blue Knights wanted the assets off Green. McCoist and others were mobilised into destabilising Charlie, who was forced to cut prices, over-promise and ultimately under-deliver.
If I was King yesterday, I’d have looked the camera in the eye and told fans “This is your time, your club needs every last one of you to step forward and pay £600 per ticket”. I’m sure he wanted to do this, but he seemed riddled self-doubt, contrasting starkly with the effusive confidence he radiated before the last EGM. It made me think of the Woody Allen line, “Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem”.
One thing I am sure of is, if he was about to splash the kind of cash he talked about while trying to remove the old board, he would have put his money on the table and asked fans to do the same.
The trade-off King referred to: the more money fans put in the less he (and other investors) need to put in, is not actually a trade-off at all. In reality, the more money he puts in now, the more fans will buy season tickets; the less he invests, the less fans will spend. Momentum, or the lack thereof, is at play.
This matter was King’s biggest failure. Charles Green and the master, David Murray, knew how to use show-biz to put bums on seats at Ibrox. Yesterday the stage was set for a bit of showmanship: “Here’s the colour of my money, now roll-up, roll-up, get your tickets before they’re all gone”. Say it confidently, convince the thousands desperate to be convinced, and you give yourself the best chance of success.
My focus would have been different from King’s too. Forget about catching Celtic, fans know this is a pipe dream. What they want most of all is a solvent, top-flight, football team. Don’t even reference football targets, instead, talk about filling the stadium, paying the bills, building a trading history good enough to earn proper facilities, and never again signing-off an unsustainable business plan. The fans are Not. All. Daft. Educate them the value of living within your means and they would buy into the project.
Talk about catching Celtic with an unsustainable business plan is astonishing, after all these people have come through, simply astonishing.
I could never quite figure how, for years, Rangers directors knew HMRC were contesting their EBTs, knew a legal challenge lay ahead, but made no provisions whatsoever for that challenge. Win or lose the case, they needed a plan to cope with each scenario. It turned out they didn’t even have a plan to cope with a partial win.
King’s ‘someone will step in and pay if we over-invest’ outlook on life explains a lot. It will be for others to judge his contribution to the lives of Rangers Football Clubs, as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible to overestimate what he’s done to them. You could say, it’s off the radar!
Spirit of Compassion – Whisky Tasting
On the 25th April, Nepal was rocked by a destructive earthquake which has claimed the lives of over 8,000 people. Many of those affected by death and destruction are children. Glasgow the Caring City is our city’s charity for children in crisis, in times of disaster. Together with House With A Heart, Nepal, we will bring stability and comfort to children left orphaned by this tragedy.
On Thursday 18th June Glasgow the Caring City are hosting a Whisky Tasting event, fun and educational, at the Trades Hall of Glasgow. Tickets are £30 and can be bought here.