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Failed Rangers board want control again

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With genuine news stories on Rangers breaking several times a day, recriminations for past failures have understandably taken a backseat to current events, although Sir David Murray and Our Hero have experienced a taster of what is to come.

When the buzz of excitement dies down people will start to ask, ‘Whose fault is this awful mess?’  Board-level management at most public companies includes both executive and non-executive directors.  The executives, commonly: chief executive, financial director, and others depending on industry, such as: commercial, technical, HR, run the business on a day-to-day basis.  Non-executives are there to ensure the business is on the right course and to act as guardians of shareholders’ interests.

Wikipedia gives a useful summary for non-executive responsibility, specifically for: strategy, performance, risk and people.

Risk is the word I would like to draw your attention to here.  Wikipedia suggests:

 

“Non-executive directors should satisfy themselves that financial information is accurate and that financial controls and systems of risk management are robust and defensible”.

 

Former Rangers non-executive director, Paul Murray, didn’t have any responsibility for team matters.  He wasn’t the man charged with preparing accounts.  Health and Safety were not his remit.  Paul Murray’s duty was to ensure that financial information was accurate and that financial controls and systems of risk management were robust and defensible.

Risk management!  This is the guy who yesterday told the media he was keen to setup a rival bid for Rangers.  Good grief!  It was his job to ask questions of the financial arrangements at the club which other shareholders were unable to ask.  He was there to dig deeply enough into these matters to satisfy himself that the executive directors of the club were dealing with financial matters appropriately.

Whether they win the First Tier Tribunal or not, Rangers have already paid a heavy price for this tax issue, responsibility for which rests squarely on the shoulders of the non-executives who enjoyed the prestige of being a Rangers director (I know) but failed to carry out their duties to a standard that protected the club from meltdown.

Give him the job!

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  1. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    This exit strategy from Murray has been planned and perfected since the huns contributed 300k into his share issue. That was the biggest FU that Murray had ever experienced in his business life. Manchester riots sealed his commitment to it. Paul Murray and Alistair Mc Coist are just continuing this plan. They know the huns are going to get liquidated.

     

     

    HAil HAil

  2. I tell you one thing…

     

     

    Romanov!

     

     

    Has settled his tax bill yesterday!

     

     

    Why?

     

     

    He forsees hearts being the 2nd major force in Scottish football..

     

    More income…

     

    Champions league football….

     

     

    Just wait till this pantomime unfolds…

     

    Like the old party game musical chairs he will prance around, confident knowing the he will Hecuba one sitting on the champions league chair!

     

    As the music stops he throws himself down on that chair! Chest puffed out with pride and a smile on his face as he gazes around the room …

     

    Then that face of pride changes to fear as he notices a group huddled around a corner in the room…

     

    He gets up and slowly walks across..

     

    Hearing the laughter and back slapping the crowd begin to disperse…

     

    The leading bodies..mps…media… All move aside holding their breath as there sitting before him is White…

     

    Sitting on a chair… The champions league/SPL/ debt free chair!

     

     

    Romanov will say exactly what it is…

     

    But nobody will hear!

     

    As he will never be part of the establishment!

     

     

     

     

  3. Paul – posted near the end of the previous thread

     

     

    St Martin’s Bhoy says:

     

    15 February, 2012 at 10:02

     

    Paul67 – good work on 5Live last night despite the insistence of Mr Livesey talking over the top of you. Rude and frustrating but I guess that’s what happens when you give informed and educated responses instead of the usual claptrap that interviewees are coming out with regarding this matter. Keep fighting the good fight! All I ask is that fairness is applied. Nothing more, nothing less.

     

     

    These are amazing times. Scottish football will never have a better opportunity to sort itself out. To do this would mean a degree of pain for all in the short term but in years to come, if done properly, it could be a great thing for Scottish Football. There have been improvements in the way the game is run over the past 12-18 months, very minor but improvements nonetheless. This is a chance for those in charge to make a real and lasting difference.

     

     

    My worry is that they have neither the stomach nor the vision required to sort this mess out, especially as the first step would be acknowledging a degree of culpability.

     

     

    Thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do for all of us.

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  4. Paul67 I really think you wait for me to post before a new article!

     

    If you weren’t the bearer of good news each day me and you would fall oot ma Bhoy!

     

     

    Now that the game is up, the points have been docked, the brown brogues are scuffed and the jelly and ice cream has been scoffed, let’s think about the rest of the season.

     

    There is no doubt Celtic will be league champions. There is also no doubt we are favourites to win the league cup. The Scottish cup should also be within our grasp but there are still a few decent sides in there.

     

    Where does it leave our hurting Glasgow neighbours? They have nothing to play for. very soon they will have few players, they have no money and no future.

     

    What do they have left? Their hatred for Celtic.

     

    I watched the Pars match at the weekend and the BJK brigade were out in force. They will sing every song in their songbook from here on in. They have no need to worry about bans or point deductions. It’s unlikely they will be in Europe next season anyway so they don’t have to even worry about finishing 2nd.

     

    Things will get ugly (if that is possible) at Ibrokes and every stadium unfortunate enough to host them. Ironically the Rangers supporters I have spoken to are talking about a boycott of away grounds to let clubs know how much the SPL needs Rangers! I nearly choked on my Champagne flavoured jelly!

     

     

    LB

  5. Para 10.2 (j) of the SFA rule book might make it difficult for any ex hun director to meet the fit and proper person requirement.

     

     

    One assumes that even a Masonic cabal like the SFA wouldn’t be stupid enough to ignore their own rules twice in quick succession.

  6. From Garngad to Croy I am Neil Lennon. on

    Paul67

     

     

    The strange thing is that the Hordes would welcome him back with open arms. Is it the Schools ? or the ‘We are the people’ mentality ?

  7. Big Swee walks on with Neil Lennon on

    Morning all from a sunny Tottington.

     

     

    Still can’t get the smile from my face. I reckon an Amalfi lemon wouldn’t accomplish that at the moment :o) It would spoil the jelly and ice cream.

  8. The BBC…

     

     

    Sir David Murray and the fall of Rangers Football ClubBy Brian Ponsonby

     

     

    BBC Scotland news website reporter

     

     

    Sir David Murray was owner of Rangers FC for almost 23 years Continue reading the main story

     

    Rangers in administrationWork to secure future of Rangers

     

    Rangers FC enters administration

     

    Ex-director ponders Rangers bid

     

    Q&A: Rangers and administration

     

     

    By the early 1990s, Rangers was the undisputed Titan of Scottish football.

     

     

    On the field, the club was on its way to nine consecutive league titles and numerous cup wins.

     

     

    Off the field, its modern stadium, low debt and unmatched financial power looked to have cemented an unbreakable stranglehold on the Scottish game.

     

     

    How then did it fall into financial ruin in less than 20 years? Some answers can be found by looking at the reign of former owner Sir David Murray.

     

     

    Although Craig Whyte was at the helm when Rangers went under, many of the club’s financial problems can be traced back to the latter half of Murray’s near 23-year tenure.

     

     

    Rangers momentum

     

     

    The entrepreneur bought the Ibrox club in November 1988 for £6m from Lawrence Marlborough.

     

     

    Aged 37, he was one of the richest men in Scotland through his thriving metals business.

     

     

    Although Celtic had just won the league, Rangers was the club with momentum.

     

     

    Continue reading the main story

     

     

    Start Quote

     

    For every five pounds Celtic spend, we will spend ten”

     

    End Quote

     

    Sir David Murray

     

     

    Its all-seater stadium, which had been built in the 1970s after the Ibrox disaster claimed the lives of 66 people, was the most modern in Scotland.

     

     

    The club’s finances were sound and, on the field, it had emerged from a dreadful decade of under-investment and failure to win the league in 1987/88.

     

     

    During the early years, the club’s main rival, Celtic, was in a shambolic state and came within minutes of administration in 1994 before Scots-Canadian entrepreneur Fergus McCann bought it over.

     

     

    As McCann began the long task of building an all-seater stadium and a team to challenge for honours, Rangers forged ahead under Murray’s leadership.

     

     

    He sanctioned transfer spending and wage payments previously unheard of in Scottish football.

     

     

    Murray made high profile signings like Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne

     

    This saw Rangers reverse the flow of talent drain from Scotland and sign players of the calibre of Brian Laudrup and Paul Gasgcoine.

     

     

    Murray also appeared to have the Midas touch in keeping the cash rolling in.

     

     

    He was successful in levering in multi-million pound investments to Rangers from ENIC and South African-based Scots businessman Dave King.

     

     

    Under Murray’s stewardship, Rangers won a total of 15 league titles and 26 cups – the bulk of these coming during the 1990s.

     

     

    This dominance, especially in the first half of his tenure, meant Murray was effectively immune to criticism.

     

     

    He held sway over a largely unquestioning support, and a Scottish media which reported his pronouncements with the minimum of scrutiny.

     

     

    ‘Dangerous cocktail’

     

     

    Who could forget such statements as: “For every five pounds Celtic spend, we will spend ten.”

     

     

    This cocktail of ego, success and unquestioning support, saw Murray sanction moves that would eventually push Rangers to the edge of the financial precipice.

     

     

    When Celtic ended Rangers’ domestic run of nine consecutive league titles in 1998, Murray responded in typical fashion.

     

     

    Dutchman Dick Advocaat was brought in to replace Walter Smith and a new team was assembled at enormous cost.

     

     

    Murray made Dutchman Dick Advocaat Rangers’ first foreign manager

     

    During this time a new training complex was built as Murray attempted to position Rangers for a serious tilt at European glory.

     

     

    Two league titles and three cups followed but the immediate cost was a ballooning debt figure.

     

     

    In 1999, this prompted the Bank of Scotland to secure a charge over Rangers’ income and assets.

     

     

    This “floating charge” would become hugely significant in the story of Rangers’ takeover by Craig Whyte and eventual insolvency.

     

     

    When Martin O’Neill’s Celtic ended Advocaat’s success in 2001, Rangers’ debts were approaching £50m.

     

     

    It was around this time that Murray sanctioned the use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBT) to minimise the club’s tax liabilities for employees.

     

     

    Essentially these meant that payments using EBTs did not incur tax and National Insurance contributions.

     

     

    Tax strategy

     

     

    The problem was, this tax strategy was intended to be used for non-contractual payments to employees.

     

     

    The tax authorities would eventually argue that Rangers used the scheme to make contractual payments to players.

     

     

    It would be 10 more years before this ticking time bomb went off, bringing with it the full force of a decade’s worth of alleged underpayments and penalties.

     

     

    Continue reading the main story

     

     

    Start Quote

     

    As far as I’m concerned the bank is running Rangers”

     

    End Quote

     

    Walter Smith

     

     

    In the meantime, Rangers carried on through alternating periods of on-field failure and success.

     

     

    With debt now approaching £80m in 2002, Murray stood down as chairman and handed over running of the club to John McClelland.

     

     

    He returned to the hot seat two years later to spearhead a £57m share issue, designed to wipe out a debt burden which had seen Rangers downsize their previous on-field ambitions.

     

     

    About £51m was raised from the share issue, but £50m of this was underwritten by Murray and effectively transferred off Rangers’ books into his company, Murray International Holdings (MIH).

     

     

    Perhaps realising the extent that Rangers had become a personal and financial drain, Murray announced in July 2006 that he was ready to sell the club. It would be some time, however, before he would find an exit.

     

     

    Paul Le Guen’s ill-fated stint at Rangers saw Murray turn to Walter Smith

     

    Later that year, Murray announced that Rangers had agreed a 10-year licence agreement with sports retailer JJB Sports.

     

     

    The club received an initial payment of £18m, with a guaranteed minimum annual royalty of £3m.

     

     

    This allowed Murray to further reduce Rangers’ debt, which was said, by late 2006, to be just under £6m.

     

     

    This deal coincided with a turbulent on-field period for Rangers which saw Alex McLeish replaced as manager in summer 2006 by the Frenchman, Paul Le Guen.

     

     

    It was not a successful transition, however, and Le Guen exited in January 2007 to be replaced by Walter Smith.

     

     

    His second spell as Rangers manager saw the club rebound strongly on the field, but the initial expenditure to assemble a competitive squad saw the club’s debt spiral back up to around £30m.

     

     

    Eventual moves to control costs at Rangers prompted Smith to state in October 2009: “As far as I’m concerned the bank is running Rangers.”

     

     

    To make matters worse, the credit crunch in 2008, and ensuing economic downturn, hit Murray’s other business interests hard.

     

     

    Tax demands

     

     

    By 2010, MIH had suffered a £175m loss, prompting Lloyds Banking Group (which took over the ailing Halifax Bank of Scotland) to double its ownership stake in the company.

     

     

    The effect was to cut off another escape route for Rangers through financial help from MIH.

     

     

    If things appeared bleak, they were about to get worse.

     

     

    In April 2010 it finally emerged that Rangers was facing tax demands from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over their use of EBTs.

     

     

    Craig Whyte placed Rangers in administration on 14 February

     

    For more than a year, Rangers sought to dampen concern about the story, saying it had been given expert advice about the legality of its tax strategy.

     

     

    The club pointed out it was contesting the bill in a First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and was “confident” of winning the case.

     

     

    As this issue cast a shadow over Rangers, a bid to buy the club led by London-based property developer Andrew Ellis failed in June 2010.

     

     

    He was to become a member of the Craig Whyte-led consortium, which bought Murray’s 85% share holding for £1 in May this year.

     

     

    It later emerged that Whyte paid the £18m debt to Lloyds through his company, Wavetower, which was later renamed The Rangers FC Group Ltd.

     

     

    This meant he enjoyed the legal protection of the “floating charge” and as Rangers’ largest secured creditor would be paid first in the event of any insolvency.

     

     

    Following the takeover, Whyte promised a new era for Rangers through an immediate injection of working capital and a “front-loaded” £25m commitment to bolster the club’s on-field fortunes.

     

     

    Despite some limited dealings in the transfer market, Rangers crashed out of two European competitions by the end of August, effectively losing out on up to £15m of vital revenue.

     

     

    Financial woes

     

     

    Earlier in August, it also emerged that sheriff officers had visited Ibrox over an unpaid tax bill.

     

     

    The following month, the veil was finally lifted in court on the extent of the club’s financial woes.

     

     

    HMRC had £2.8m of assets ring-fenced in Rangers accounts over an unpaid bill.

     

     

    The club’s former lawyers Levy & McRae took an outstanding £35,000 bill to the Court of Session where its own counsel expressed concerns over Rangers’ solvency.

     

     

    The club going into administration will be very painful for Rangers fans

     

     

    Further embarrassment ensued when a damages action by former chief executive Martin Bain reached court.

     

     

    A judge granted a warrant to ring-fence £480,000 of Rangers’ assets pending the settlement of his case.

     

     

    Lord Hodge granted this on the basis that there was a “real and substantial risk of insolvency” if Rangers lost its FTT against HMRC for disputed tax and penalties totalling about £49m.

     

     

    Although Rangers had established a healthy lead at the top of the SPL, bad news off the field kept coming in October.

     

     

    Club legend John Greig and former chairman John McClelland resigned from their posts as non-executive directors.

     

     

    Days later, former director Donald McIntyre won a legal bid to have £300,000 of the club’s assets frozen pending a breach of contract case. He later settled out of court.

     

     

    More damaging headlines followed as the club began to surrender its lead at the top of the league.

     

     

    Surprise move

     

     

    By the time matters came to a head in February 2012, Rangers trailed Celtic by four points having sold their top scorer Nikica Jelavic in the January transfer window.

     

     

    In a surprise move on 13 January, Whyte confirmed that the club had lodged legal papers to appoint an administrator.

     

     

    HMRC responded, on Valentine’s Day, by launching a legal bid to appoint its own administrator.

     

     

    Whyte’s legal team won the race and London-based firm Duff and Phelps were appointed to take over the day-to-day running of the club, which suffered an immediate 10-point penalty.

     

     

    Rangers now lie 14 points behind Celtic in the league – effectively ending their title challenge.

     

     

    Larger threats, however, may lie in wait over the horizon for the Ibrox club.

     

     

    If the administrator cannot reach agreement with creditors then the liquidation of Rangers becomes a real and distinct possibility.

     

     

    Since HMRC would appear to be the largest creditor, it would be in a position to block any deal.

     

     

    The days ahead are now about the very survival of Rangers.

     

     

    For the club’s fans, these events are cataclysmic.

     

     

    The season is effectively over and the club they love and cherish could be on the verge of folding.

     

     

    As the club’s army of fans tries to make sense of this, many will ask questions about the club’s tax strategy and financial dealings over the last decade.

     

     

    Uncomfortably for one Knight of the Realm, some of those questions will focus on the role of Sir David Murray in the financial collapse of Rangers Football Club.

  9. As I understand it the Administrator has to run the huns at a profit and can’t use any funds lying about (no sniggering) to pay future bills.

     

     

    We know what expenditure he’ll have just to keep going. Player and staff wages, police costs, utility bills etc, auditors bills, lawyers bills (I noticed the huns agreed to pay HMRC’s legal costs on Tuesday).

     

     

    But what income is there? How many pay at the gate tickets are there likely to be? It’s only that and TV income ( no idea how and when that’s paid).

     

     

    I can’t see this going on for long unless the season books are cancelled.

  10. lochgoilhead bhoy on

    Is there a prize for getting the last post in an article? Anyway I’ll repost here.

     

     

     

    I’ve just written to Margaret Curran along the following lines:

     

     

    Dear Margaret,

     

     

    I am writing to you having listened to you on Good Morning Scotland today (15th Feb 2012) in regard to the current insolvency event at Rangers FC.

     

     

    While I agree with you that it is important to protect jobs, it is more important that individuals and corporations pay their taxes. After all, jobs and services (e.g. Disability Services) are put at risk every time an individual or corporation evades paying their taxes. Do you agree with this?

     

     

    Equally jobs have been put at risk at other companies by the mismanagement at Rangers. These companies need your sympathy more than the instigators of these problems.

     

     

    I’m not at all convinced that you have indicated that Rangers should pay all that they are due. You gave the impression that the most important thing for Scottish Football and the 200 people who work for Rangers is that they survive.

     

     

    Can you re-assure me that you are of the opinion that:

     

    – Individuals and corporations must pay all the taxes due

     

    – Those who fail to do so should be dealt with in the strictest possible manner

     

    – You will fight any attempt by a New Rangers to emerge from the ashes of the current mess debt free and with us as taxpayers picking up the unpaid bill by the current Rangers FC

     

     

    Companies who fail to pay their debts to their suppliers put at risk the jobs of people working for these suppliers

     

     

    I look forward to your reply.

     

     

    I think it is important that we lobby MPs and MSPs. Margaret Curran’s email address is margaret.curran.mp@parliament.uk

     

     

    Your MPs contact details can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

     

     

    Your MSPs contact details can be found here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps/177.aspx

     

     

    It only takes a minute to get in touch with them. So give up CQN and RTC for a minute and get writing.

  11. Perfect jobs – huns administrator!

     

     

    Imagine having the power to go in there and look through every file, every folder. Scrutinise every bit of paper.

     

     

    I wonder what they will find? OK there are some things never put on paper, or that might have allegedly mysteriously vanished, but it would be great fun looking

  12. Bring Me The Heid of Thunder Crap Reid on

    What’s got 4 legs and more money than Glasgow Rangers ?

     

     

     

     

    Harry Redknapp’s dog !

     

     

     

     

    ( with thanks to the Ken Bruce Show and apologies if you’ve already heard it. )

  13. Brian Moore on Talksport not missing when he tells it as he sees it. Best comments I have heard so far on the radio….interestingly from his neutral., English perspective.

     

    Such a shame Gray is not there beside him to hear his shafting of his favourites.

  14. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Swanseabhoy -Sone Aluko has bought a scratch card.

     

     

    And Lee mcculloch has offered to take in washing.

     

     

    And there’s the money from Mervan Celik’s male modelling.

     

     

    Hold on…

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