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Playing poker with a billionaire

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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. KITN

     

     

    Condolences to you and your family following the loss of your mum.

     

     

    RIP

     

     

    Jimbo67

  2. saltires en sevilla on

    Arsenal playing some wonderful fitba

     

     

    Lovely to watch

     

     

    How much did citeh spend to get filleted…again!?

  3. Good evening all.

     

     

    Kickinthenakas

     

     

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your mum. I lost my mum 6 months ago. I really feel your pain. Chin up buddy, time does heal, just not quick enough. Prayers will be said tonight. Take care.

     

     

    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  4. Just saw wee Jay giving his team talk to the Celtic players….brilliant.

     

    Well done bhoys, proud of you all.

     

    Amazing stuff.

     

     

    HH

  5. If this has been posted already…my apologies…I’ve been painting the hoose.

     

    Point is…It’s about time that this was aired and highlighted…

     

    I “Nicked it” from the Scotsman…

     

     

     

     

    THERE was a rare moment of unity between Rangers fans groups and the Scottish Football Association when the governing body blocked Mike Ashley’s proposals to increase his stake in the club last month.

     

     

    Then, a Union of Fans statement spoke of the SFA having “done the right thing” in observing their rules on dual ownership by refusing to approve the Newcastle United owner’s bid to increase his Rangers stake from around 9 per cent to 29 per cent.

     

     

    Yet, those same supporters are unlikely to be so taken by the SFA obeying their articles of association should Dave King succeed in his mission to oust the current board. King revealed his intentions on Friday night when he requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting (egm). The South Africa-based businessman, Rangers’ largest single shareholder with a 16 per cent stake, is “confident” he can muster the 50 per cent shareholder support he needs to remove chairman David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach from their directorship. His plan is to replace them with himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan. And therein lies the rub.

     

     

    At an egm, which the current Rangers board could stall for six weeks, King could expect the support of the 20 per cent stake controlled by the Donald Park, George Letham and George Taylor consortium. In addition, he is believed to have the ear of a couple of the hedge funds with a 10 per cent holding between them, while individual supporters whose share totals add up to a further 10 per cent would back his efforts to put the Ibrox club into the hands of supporters

     

     

    That is all well and good, and Ashley deserves to be removed because of his callous disregard for the club and its followers in this week’s moves to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park. The current board maintain this was in return for the £10 million loan Rangers need to see out the season.

     

     

    But it is important to look beyond Ashley’s game-playing and not forget how we arrived at this point. In the independent inquiry chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith under the auspices of the SFA, the old board were criticised for failing to blow the whistle on Craig Whyte as he sent the club on the road to ruin after taking over in May 2011. King was a member of that board.

     

     

    And it cannot be forgotten either that the reason King was in no position to buy the assets once the old Rangers had been condemned to liquidation the following summer, and save it from the clutches of Charles Green, was that the Castlemilk-born businessman was then in the midst of a decade-long legal battle with the South African Revenue Service.

     

     

    He settled last year by pleading guilty to 42 criminal counts of contravening the country’s tax laws, and kept himself out of prison by plea bargaining on almost 300 other charges, which required him to stump up £41m. As far as failing to meet the SFA’s fit and proper person test, King – who lost £20m he invested in the David Murray Rangers era – does so with bells on.

     

     

    Indeed, it is almost as if the ruling has been written to debar individuals with chequered business careers of King’s ilk. Under section (h) of Article 10.2 that sets out the “considerations” that would be made concerning the board “reserving its discretion” as to whether a person is deemed fit and proper to hold a football directorship, it is stated “[if] he has been convicted within the last ten years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud.”

     

     

    King was liable for a stretch longer than two years had he not plea-bargained. Moreover, he is caught in a double bind over the fit and proper person rules. Because what also counts against those seeking to meet the criteria is having “been a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the five-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event”.

     

     

    King and Paul Murray – who was sacked from the Rangers board immediately after Whyte took over – both fall down on this basis. They simply cannot be granted permission by the SFA to take up directorships in any Rangers board if the governing body stands by their own rules, which were tightened up because they had failed to act over Whyte’s dubious business past.

     

     

    King constantly puts it out through sympathetic media sources that he is confident the SFA professional game board would wave him through as a Rangers director in the event of gaining a controlling interest. That sounds like bluster, which, as well as the baggage, has led to legitimate questioning of King’s credentials to lead Rangers out of the mire.

     

     

    At times, though, it must be said he talks a good game. As he did in his statement on Friday in which he claimed that, as well as putting the club on a sound financial footing, a second “important task” would be “to conduct a forensic audit of the management and commercial contracts undertaken over the last few years to determine whether they are truly arm’s length and whether the affairs of the company have been pursued in accordance with the fiduciary obligations of those entrusted with that responsibility”.

     

     

    King thundered at the end of this declaration of intent that “any malfeasance will be pursued aggressively and transparently”.

     

     

    For the South African tax authorities, that might read like a sick joke.

  6. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Kickinthenakas

     

     

    Stay strong, she will still be looking out for you, take care & god bless at this sad time in your family’s life

  7. Let’s also get on a tall powerful fast ball playing good finisher excellent leader Centre forward as well please.

     

     

    Not much to ask :)

  8. Kickinthenakas

     

    sincere condolences for you loss , may she rest in peace

     

     

    thought and prayers

  9. bournesouprecipe on

    Tim Malone Will Tell / 67 heaven

     

     

    It was all o.k. because he’s a Sugar Daddy

     

     

    © the media. Ironically their offspring are looking for……………………………

     

    another Sugar Daddy.

     

     

    The Media immediately restart the circle, it’s hilarious.

  10. Tri

     

     

    Tell me about it. Hope you are well kiddo? :-))

     

     

    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  11. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Kikinthenakas, sorry to learn of the loss of your mother. Please accept my sincere condolences.

     

     

    Acgr

  12. Well certainly Dave King is the man to find out any wrong doing – he would know exactly what to look for !

     

    Unless he’s trying to find a few dodges he hasn’t already tried out in olde SAfricaanerland!

     

    Huns and zombies never change their spots evidently!

     

     

    HH

  13. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Kikinthenakas

     

     

    Thoughts with you my friend at this very difficult time

     

     

    HH

     

     

    CRC

  14. Alfie, sorry for the late reply, dinner.

     

    I wouldn’t call for a boycott, but the lie must never be uttered without a rebuttal.

  15. acgr

     

     

    How you doing young yin? Hope you’re well. KTF.

     

     

    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  16. Kickinthenakas.

     

    Can’t begin to think how you are feeling but always remember

     

    Y.N.W.A.

     

    May yer Mam R.I.P. and perpetual light shine upon her.

  17. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar / Neil Lennon.. Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Barca game on Sky Sporte 5

  18. Kickinthenakas

     

     

    So sorry to hear that news my Fhriend.

     

    Prayers for you and your wee Mum.

     

     

    HH jamesgangx

  19. Kickinthenakas

     

     

    Sincere condolences to you and your family on the passing of your mum.

     

     

    May she rest in peace

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