One of two things are going to happen:
Dave King will say: “You ain’t got no problem, journos. I’m on the pot. Go back in there, chill them Bears out and wait for the £30m, which should be coming directly”.
Dave King will make some irrelevant, vacuous, comment, or make no comment at all, but he will NOT say “Chill them Bears out and wait for the £30m”, because £30m isn’t coming.
If option one happens, Newco has a future. If anything but option one happens, they have no future.
They will need £10m to keep the lights on next season in the Championship – and that’s before any ambitions to improve the football operation. Even more important than keeping the lights on, they need to find £5m to repay Ashley’s loan (yes, getting Intellectual Property off Mike Ashley is more important than staying out of administration).
That’s £15m loan or capital investment needed, on top of ticket sales and other income, to survive the next 12 months, without repaying any of the directors loans and without finding a budget for a better keeper than Cammy Bell.
If they find this money, and they win promotion next year, they will still have a deficit (even with the current player budget) in the Premiership. £30m would be gone within two years, and that’s assuming the millions needed to be spent on the stadium is forgone for a while longer.
While King was building momentum to displace the last board, he was crystal clear about the level of ambition which was a minimum requirement for Newco: compete with Celtic. He was prepared to spend his children’s inheritance, £30m, £40m, whatever it takes!
Now he’s not so verbose.
Last year he issued a statement asking “Does the [Newco] board agree it is unfair to ask fans to buy season tickets before they consider the business review?” Now he’s ‘on the throne’ we’re hearing little about the club’s plans. It’s easy running a football club when you’re criticising the guys currently doing the job, it’s a whole lot harder when it’s you who has to make the decisions.
Mike Ashley’s EGM next week may be a welcome distraction. Mike will be the bogeyman, but only for the permanently gullible (and there are lots of them). His loan is modest compared to the size of the funding gap and it was known about before King urged shareholders to back him.
That Ashley is an uncompromising lender and holder of onerous contracts is no mitigation for King. Ashley is that and more. We knew this, King knew it when he told fans he was the man to turn things around. He cannot act surprised now.
So is the £30m coming? Even if King has the money, I can’t see it, it just doesn’t make sense. Pouring £30m into a black hole, without merchandising rights for 7 years, without a realistic prospect of being competitive on the field, when the only reward is to survive long enough to pour in yet more millions, is lunacy. The dark days of 2012 will haunt Ibrox once more.
It makes more sense to let the club go to the wall, let Ashley run off with the Rangers brands, make him the bogeyman, and use your money to bid for the stadium from the insolvency practitioner. Four or five years down the line Govan United could be a top-flight team. They may even be able to cut a deal with Ashley for rights to the ‘Rangers’ name, which despite all that’s gone on, still has some cachet.
I’m pleased to read Celtic on the front foot again this morning regarding the Offensive Behaviour’ Act. I’d hoped that when the baton passed from Salmond to Sturgeon the Scottish Government’s lunge in the direction of extraordinary police powers, and laws created after curious political considerations, would end. I gather a glimpse of doubt crept in around a year ago, as immediate political realities gave the Government reason to reconsider, but all such self-doubts have since been washed away.
Get used to the Act, police with guns on our streets as a matter of course, and ambitious aims for their authority.