I thoroughly enjoyed Chris McLaughlin’s interview with Our Hero yesterday; there is so much to digest. It’s tempting to explore the information that in October last year Craig Whyte informed SPL chief executive and chairman, Neil Doncaster and Ralph Topping, that Rangers were very likely to go into administration and that a CVA was likely to fail.
Was this assertion shared with other SPL board members or did Doncaster and Topping keep it to themselves as they pretended all was well while preparing to change the rules to allow a Newco access to top flight football? There is a whole ocean of duplicity here as fans were kept in the dark while being asked to accept revolutionary changes.
Unsatisfied creditors who extended credit after this date, from HMRC down, will all be fascinated by this admission. As will liquidators BDO.
Tempting thought this question is, I’ll leaving it hanging for now. There is a more intriguing topic.
When asked how much profit he made on his Rangers venture Whyte said, “Any arrangements I made with the purchaser [Green] are confidential.”
The BBC headlines from yesterday, proclaiming that Whyte “brought Green in to buy Rangers” points to the most important matter. While Duff and Phelps were busy using creditors money to try to sell the business, Craig Whyte realised he was the Only Game in Town, and operated a parallel sales process. He had security over the stadium and it therefore didn’t matter who else entered the bidding for Rangers.
No matter what deal they put in front of Duff and Phelps. The Blue Knights, Bill Miller and Bill Ng would never in a position to pull a deal together as Whyte agreed a deal with Charles Green.
It doesn’t really matter if Green had any prior relationship with Whyte or if they were brought together by Whyte’s contacts in London (which both seem to agree on). Whyte had a price to hand over his shares (likely to be £1) and his security over the stadium (this is the interesting bit) and Green met it.
The Blue Knights thought they had a deal, so did Bill Miller, but neither had the stadium. Having secured agreement with Whyte, only Green could deliver a deal; no matter how little was on the table for creditors. Duff and Phelps subsequently accepted £5.5m for the assets of the club, the highest deliverable bid received. The only bid from the population of one who had secured use of the stadium.
Which brings us back to the heading at the top of the page, “Any arrangements I made with the purchaser are confidential.” Agree, Craig, this is not something you want to discuss openly.
This statement came in response to Chris McLaughlin asking how much of a profit Whyte made at Rangers. A more reserved interviewee would have dismissed the question by saying something like “No one but Duff and Phelps made money out of this one”, but our Craig was in full flow by this stage of the interview.
With a glint in his eye he confirmed a deal was done. Forget all the adjectives you’ve heard about the man over the last year, “stupid”, “dumb”, “clown”, this clown gave Ticketus a personal guarantee for circa £24m, put the man who agreed to his terms in place, and then made a profit out of the deal.
I’ve no idea who owns the stadium (could be Green, Whyte or Whyte senior) or what consideration passed for it when Green and Whyte put pen to paper, but this is the crux of the entire deal. Did Craig Whyte secure his profit by signing over the Ibrox security for free, did he sell it to Green at an undisclosed price or does he retain an earn-out interest in the property – and, therefore, ultimately the Newco.
It remains to be seen what liquidators BDO make of the confidential deal between Green and Whyte. Will they see the stadium asset exchange as being in the best interest of creditors or as a deal against creditors’ interests? I hear Charles Green yesterday claimed the company’s property assets were worth in the region of £80m. I’m sure HMRC were taking notes.
Is there anyone left who believes that all Craig Whyte received in exchange for passing the keys of Ibrox to Green was £1? Maybe Mr Green will be keen to explain ahead of his share issue, just to clear up where working capital is going.
There is a great Tribute Night for Pat McCluskey coming up at the Supporters’ Club on London Road next Friday, 26th October. Frank McAvennie and top comedian, Pat Rolink, are both speaking after a three course meal. Cost for the event is £40 per person. The Club holds around 200 people and I hear there are only a small number of tickets available from Pat Rolink on 07905 174275.
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