To give £134m context, it is approximately £3,600 for each Rangers season ticket holder. £18m of the debt is overdue to HMRC with another £75m due the taxpayer subject to the First Tier Tribunal, that’s £93m worth of schools, medicine, operations, social care, policing and roads. Or Help for Heroes, if you prefer.
This overspend is equal to the value of seven years season ticket income, acquired over 12 years. How on earth could this football club be so indulgent? The old board, including the Murray twins, Bain and No Surrender Johnston are responsible for the overwhelming majority of the debt. Whyte is responsible for the Ticketus debt but he paid money owed to Lloyds Banking Group, so even his portion of responsibility is partially offset.
Duff and Phelps gave an incorrect figure of £1.063m due to Football Creditors, which is the sum due to Scottish clubs, the SFA, SPL and SFL. Curiously they excluded £2.117m due to English and European football clubs, all eight of whom are due more money than seven out of the eight Scottish football organisations.
Football creditors are actually due £3.184m. It may be that Duff and Phelps are trying to differentiate between football creditors who have a say in how the company exits administration (either way) and those who cannot. If I was one of the English or European clubs this would alarm me. There is no ‘Football Creditor’ rule in Scotland as there is in England, obliging clubs to pay all football debts so this distinction seems arbitrary.
The creditors list is a sorry tale of humanity. Dozens of small businesses with staff and suppliers of their own, many from the Glasgow area. When a bad debtor of this size runs away from their liabilities the cost is real. I know one small business on the list, they deserve better, to borrow a phrase.
It was fascinating to read First Minister Alex Salmond’s fawning correspondence with Rangers yesterday, including his view that the 2011 ‘Billy Boys’ League Cup final was “a great showcase for Scottish football”. It would be interesting to know if he has asked any of his correspondents to explain their actions in the light of the social and economic consequences of their actions.
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