Playing poker with a billionaire


Assuming Dave King has more than 50% of the shareholding in newco Rangers, what does Mike Ashley do knowing he will not be in charge of the club after an EGM in March?

Take the defeat on one of his chins, let King’s lawyers loose on the merchandising and other deals he’s paid for and put the whole thing down to experience?

Well, possibly, but he has other options.

Ashley has yet to loan the club the money required to pay this month’s wages.  He could simply not transfer the cash, but in this event he will expect King to step in.

King with his accomplices, and others, have recently offered to loan the club money, albeit with strings attached.  If King truly has the enough votes in the bag to secure a majority, it’s likely they will loan the club enough cash to get beyond the EMG, without conditions attached.  The directors would have no option but to accept this cash, pay the bills and cede control in due course.  Ashley is owed £3m, repayable in April, for loans made late last year, so King et al will need to find cash to cover that in their ‘warchest’.

This is likely to be close to King’s narrative.  He will not have called the EGM unless the cash is available to get the club over the line this season.  I’m not prepared to countenance the possibility that he’s called it certain in the knowledge he will fall short.

I’ve always thought some kind of Grand Coalition, between Ashley and a collection of local legitimate businessmen would be the most effective forward plan, but Ashley has been so maligned by PR ‘close to King’ that this doesn’t seem to happening.  Ashley will either have to take his chance of retaining merchandising, stadium advertising and future shirt sponsorship rights, or make his play now.

It’s worth noting that the reign of the Easdales, and chairman Somers, will end in the event King gains control; they are a busted flush unless they can manoeuver Ashley into an unassailable position.

So will Ashley pack his trunk and run away to join another circus?  Don’t bet on it.  Between now and the morning of the EGM, instead of loaning an already highly-levereged club, he could buy and leaseback its properties.  This would give him enough leverage to look after his medium-term commercial interests, and exercise complete control in the long-term.

None of this even needs to happen under the current board.  He can loan the club the £10m as expected, with covenants which are, to say the least, difficult to achieve.  The cost of failure to meet one of these covenants would allow the Ashley to call-in his securities (the stadium).

Ashley can afford to lose all the cash he’s invested already, and all the his newco-related commercial contracts, but he cannot and will not lose his reputation as an uncompromising operator.  Last week I said ‘Never play poker with a billionaire’.  Whether you are a shopping centre owner, a sports goods giant, or an aspiring football club owner.  These idiots should know thier opponent.

Tickets are now on sale for CQN11, our St Patrick’s Day dinner event on Friday 13 March at the Kerrydale Suite, Celtic Park. We’re hoping to raise money for Mary’s Meals to build a kitchen at Chibwata Primary School for their 909 pupils. As well as the dinner there will be singers and dancing, it’ll be a great night.

Email me if you want tickets reserved, celticquicknews@gmail.com , or you can book tickets or tables directly at the bottom of this page.

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  1. Bawsman,



    What “mitigating factors” could they come up with?



    Rangers didn’t really have an insolvency event – we came out of liquidation. And it was only South African tax law, that doesn’t really count?

  2. livibhoy



    Sorry I was referring to Jim Murphy and his poor attempt to ingraciate himself to fans of both Celtic and deidco.


    I had brought it up earlier.




  3. skyisalandfill



    Ah fair play. I don;t see the sense in bringing it up myself just now.


    Why is Willie Miller not being mentioned? Poor show not to mention another European trophy winning captain from Scotland.








    I speak as someone who will never countenance voting for any party but Labour.



    The party has a lot of bridges to build in its struggle to convince Scottish voters that they are the party of choice,something which I once never thought would happen,but which began with the smoking ban,IMO.



    Or possibly even with the death of Donald Dewar.



    Since then,downhill all the way.



    I’m not a big fan of Jim Murphy-though he is a vast improvement on the nonentity before him-and he has an arduous task before him.



    I reckon he will be better served by concentrating on issues which affect his potential electorate rather than a cheap go at populism. And maybe fire any advisor who thought the knighthoods were a vote-winner.

  5. Let me ask all these rabid SNP converts on here-



    What has Jim Murphy ever done to you!- Jim is a really decent guy.



    What have the SNP comedians ever done for you?



    Even Sheridan, the convicted liar has done more than the SNP for the poorest in our society.



    What is it that the SNP Tartan Tories, who brought Maggie to power and who formed a coalition with Tories at Holyrood, have promised you – NOTHING

  6. Bawsman


    12:31 on


    19 January, 2015


    “SFA’s professional game board”



    Who are these peepil?



    One is Peter Lawell.

  7. I expect king can claim since the UK has no extradition or mutual legal assistance treaty then any illegal activities in that country won’t count

  8. Blindlemonchitlin on




    Well done in getting Darryll to answer you.



    A while after the Cardigan had answered the distress call after Paul Le Guen got Monster Munched ( by summarily ditching the Scotland job) I wrote to him asking what compensation the horribles had eventually paid the SFA.



    Remember that , at the time, the SFA then chief exec was in the papers moaning about ‘tapping up’ and threatening dire consequnces . Remember also how wee Fergus was clobberred after being found guilty of illegally approaching Tam Burns.



    He didn’t reply at first and it was only after I went over his head and threatened to complain to someone further up the food chain that he e mailed me to say only that




    ‘ both parties( hunnies and SFA) were happy with the arrangement reached’.



    I just bet they were.



    Pardon me for being a little cynical about fiar and fearless application of Darryll’s ‘criteria’ all this time later.



    Plus ca change down Balzerville way methinks.





    I disagree with what you say,but I defend your right to say it,the mantra of the tolerant.



    In fact,I agree with what you say,but I find it difficult to defend the manner in which you say it.



    Insulting people whose opinions have changed from those you still hold-rightly,in my view-is no way to get them back onside.



    Dialogue and debate may work. I hope they do. But your approach simply hardens attitudes against what was once a given.



    That Scotland votes Labour.



    Give them reasons to continue to do so,not historical reasons why we were great at one time.



    Particularly as we took our eye off the ball and took those votes for granted.

  10. Bobby Murdoch- 12:52





    I get so angry that these people have a illogical hatred of Labour, the only party EVER to have helped the working class.



    The SNP have done nothing for them EVER – so why do they vote for them – well I’ll tell you – for the lowest common denominator and stupid reason – they think the Ibrox loyal are the UK and they are willing, as are the SNP, to bankrupt and ruin our country for their dogma – in SNP’s case it’s hatred of the English and in our rump it’s hatred of Rangers,



    If their brains were dynamite they couldn’t blow their hat off.’



    On my approach, I am hard-hitting, but unlike them I don’t call others huns and child abusers.



    They can dish it out, but like their YESNP pals, they can’t take it.

  11. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Weetweetweet:-) Are you suggesting Mr Stewart is a follower of Sevco because he is from Airdrie? As someone from Kilwinning I might take issue with that. Mind you with a first name of Patrick don’t think there would be condusion:-) :-)