I’ve spoken to a few Rangers fans over recent months, the base line of acceptability has been redrawn many times. If you read back on what was presented as reality on 13 February, when Craig Whyte announced that while it was “business as usual” he applied to the court for a 10 day period to appoint an administrator.
Back then, administration was abhorrent, but suggestions of liquidation were regarded as outrageous. On 22 February Celtic Quick News asked questions about Improper Registration of Football players, was it possible that Rangers results would have to be re-written as 3-0 defeats for a decade or more?
In March Rangers director (still, I believe) Dave King sent out a new baseline, liquidation was inevitable but there was no question that titles would be taken off Rangers. Even this concession to liquidation was disputed by the Blue Knight and Duff and Phelps. Publicly, both still hold to this line, although Duff and Phelps use some creative ideas to get there.
Most now know that liquidation is inevitable. A few understand that the SPL inquiry into player registration is likely to result in five or more league titles being reallocated to Celtic, but I don’t hear anyone accepting the reality of the situation.
Rangers don’t have a buyer, primarily as the administrators don’t have a stadium they can sell. Even if they try to remain in administration for next season, Ticketus own the majority of their income. It will cost countless millions to pull a deal together, much more than the £11.2m Bill Miller considered putting on the table, and no one is coming up with that kind of money.
In the unlikely event these problems are resolved, whatever club emerged would have to deal with the fallout from players refusing to join a Newco and becoming free agents, football fines debts from Oldco, SFA penalties, Newco penalties if preferential treatment is provided in order to get them into a higher league, and SPL penalties for Improper Registration of Players.
There are two simple solutions. Form a new club, ask to share Firhill or Love St – or better still, rent Cathkin Park (reset ambition for Rangers as the new Third Lanark), and apply for entry to the Scottish Football League. Alternatively, co-opt a lower league club, maybe Airdrie United could help, rename it and spend however many years as it takes trying to acquire whatever parts of Ibrox survives liquidation.
This is a controlled and predictable way forward, a concept not delivered by Duff and Phelps, totally in the control of whoever wants to harvest fallout from the demise of the Rangers brand.
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