Former chairman of Oldco Rangers, now director of Newco, Alastair Johnston, took aim in the media at Celtic supporters yesterday, saying “I always wondered about the mentality of certain Celtic supporters, not by any means most of them, who basically said our club died in February, 2012.”
Why do they do this to themselves? If it is an attempt to convince people that liquidation did not happen, it will fail. All that will be achieved is the re-telling of the facts. Rangers entered administration on 14 February 2012. It failed to come out of administration and a liquidator was appointed to dispose of the remaining assets.
Secvo Scotland Ltd bought a “bundle of assets”, including the stadium. The administrators, Duff and Phelps, changed Rangers name to RFC 2012 Ltd and gave permission to Sevco Scotland to use the word “Rangers” in their name. Without this permission, Newco would have gone through a similar naming process as Clydebank – Airdrie United – Airdrieonians, who were only permitted to use the word “Airdrieonians” 11 years after the liquidation of oldco Airdrieonians.
If I’m honest, if we were in those circumstances, I would tell myself every day that the Celtic I grew up with was the same as Newco Celtic. I would have no incentive to do otherwise, so Johnston and anyone else who cares, can think what they want about Newco.
He is welcome to his thoughts, if it helps him through the trauma of what he did as chairman of Oldco during the EBT years, and the club’s failure to prepare over many years for HMRC’s legal challenge. Johnston’s board made no provision to retain enough money to trade through HMRC’s challenge, despite that legal challenge being underway years before it got to the crunch.
What he tells himself does not change the facts. Oldco is in liquidation. All player contracts ceased. Assets were sold off, a deal to use the name had to be agreed. Sevco Scotland became an associate member of the SFA while Oldco was still a member. Oldco voted on whether to admit Sevco Scotland to the SPL. Sevco changes its name and were granted entry to the SFL Third Division.
Johnston played a role in the demise of Rangers. He was chairman and had a responsibility to direct the club away from dangers. He failed and now presents an alternative reality, which is easier on the mind.
He also said, “it will be 120 years or so before you can tie with us.” For each of those 120 years, Celtic fans and others will say, “But Rangers died in 2012”. Just as Rangers fans are content to believe their club continues, belligerent denial is not going to change how others regard liquidation. It’s over, Mr Johnston, you let your club die.
There was other guff about “thriving” not “surviving”. They think they are going to win the league and that their circa £11m annual deficit is an indication of thriving. Again, I disagree.