In three months Duff and Phelps have not made an inch of progress on the key issue, the Only Show in Town, Craig Whyte, who has security over the stadium and Murray Park is extremely likely to inhibit any attempt to dispose of these assets against his will.
Without a stadium the SFA and SPL cannot licence and admit a football club. While Duff and Phelps may have preferred the SPL to negotiate directly with the owner of Newco (once he was appointed), they were not in a position to ask the SPL for admittance yesterday without a stadium – perhaps a more practical explanation as to why they didn’t attend yesterday’s meeting.
Now that a CVA has finally been acknowledged as undeliverable, players will leave Rangers after Sunday’s visit to St Johnstone as free agents. There will be no Newco on hand to offer them a new deal. Those who can, will find employment elsewhere. This will be more than just the headline players, I know youth players at all levels have been scouted by clubs across Scotland and England. The chance to scoop up another club’s prime youth talent for free will not be passed up.
Getting a deal done this week with the SPL, the SFA, Bill Miller and the players would have allowed Duff and Phelps to maintain continuity, with Newco taking over for Sunday’s game. This will not now happen. The finger Duff and Phelps placed in the dyke back in February is set to slip.
Staff who cannot find employment elsewhere will remain at Rangers until 31 May. If Duff and Phelps sell ‘the club’ before that date, players who want to transfer to Newco can do so under TUPE regulations, which maintains their pay and conditions, however, they will be unable to transfer their player registrations until Newco is a licenced football club (which is dependent on SFA approval, which in turn will indirectly be dependent on Craig Whyte disposing of the stadium).
Duff and Phelps have no money to fund Rangers FC after 31 May, so must sell all assets before that date or the padlocks will go onto Ibrox and Murray Park. Yesterday was their last best chance to pull a deliverable deal together.
The fact Duff and Phelps didn’t even turn up to the meeting, and yesterday evening Neil Doncaster told Radio Scotland they didn’t return his calls when he phoned to ask why, indicates how on-target plans are.
Incredibly, I read one newspaper today suggested ‘Rangers [were]to benefit from SPL delay’. Where there’s life, there’s hope, I suppose. Somehow I cannot see Duff and Phelps’ Clark and Whitehouse high-fiving at the prospect of withdrawing from yesterday’s meeting. It is more likely that an undignified disintegration of a football club is set to take place in the weeks to come.
On a separate note: Just when Duff and Phelps would have presented Craig Whyte with a take-it-or-leave-it offer for all his assets, Brian Kennedy nips in as a second potential bidder for the stadium. Unless Kennedy is putting more skin on the table than Bill Miller all he is doing is fortifying Whyte’s negotiating position.
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