Before you start on the subject of the breaking news at the top of the page, we have a VERY important message lower down the page, so make sure you read the whole blog!
Since Rangers first went into administration on St Valentine’s Day 2012 those seeking to phoenix the club have kept their eyes on the critical item – ownership of Ibrox Stadium. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter who owns intellectual property like the badge or crest design or domain name, if you own Ibrox, you decide who can play football in your stadium, or not, as the case may be.
With wages day approaching, and with creditors having taken recovery steps earlier this month, Rangers International are in urgent need of cash to stave off an insolvency event. Two groups of potential new investors have failed to come up with the cash necessary to secure control of the club, and the SFA stopped the club from issuing more shares to Mike Ashley, so, as many predicted, Ashley has lodged papers to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park. A loan from the affable cockney now seems the club’s only viable option.
The first thing to point out is that this security does not mean Ashley will acquire Ibrox, such an eventuality would only happen if newco Rangers failed to adhere to the terms of any loan secured against it, or both parties agreed to forgive the loan in return for Ibrox being passed to Ashley, with a tenancy agreement being struck.
CQN reported Heads of Terms drawn up in 2012 for the sale of Ibrox and Murray Park, with the leaseback of Ibrox at a rate of £5.4m a year. It’s worth refreshing some of the options which could be on the table.
An annual rent of £5.4m is a bit steep in return for the estimated £10m-or-so cash necessary to finish the season, but newco may consider living month-to-month like this is unsatisfactory and instead take the opportunity to borrow enough money to see them through the next 18 months, a figure well north of £20m.
With no Hearts (and possibly Hibs) to compete against next season, newco would have an excellent chance of promotion into top-flight football for season 2016-17, with commensurate access to additional revenues. They would have to pay rent, and learn to survive without profitable merchandising revenue streams, which have already been sold-off, but at least there is a chance they could muster a football budget almost double the size of that oldco had in 1876, their fourth year of business.
Remember what we covered a few weeks ago. A football club is actually a collection of businesses: merchandising, hospitality, publishing, broadcasting, advertising, property rental, and football. In business terms, the ‘football’ part is rubbish. It always loses money and attracts incessant complaints from fans, who are both necessary to keep the venture afloat but always want to see budgets expanded to allow them to live vicariously by reaching whatever ‘next level’ floats their boat.
Merchandising and advertising are hugely profitable, publishing and broadcasting less so, while hospitality is hugely dependent on the vagaries of sporting fortune. Ashley has merchandising, stadium and possibly shirt advertising. If he picks up stadium rental income, newco have reached the logical conclusion of where a distressed club ends up- someone will come in and strip away all the profitable revenue streams, leaving some other mug to take flak from fans.
This is the template, more clubs will follow.
Tickets go on sale TODAY for CQN 11, our St Patrick’s Day Dinner event, which this year celebrates the 50Years since Stein, the 50th anniversary of Jock Stein becoming Celtic manager will occur a few days before the event, which takes place in the Kerrydale Suite on Friday 13 March.
Last year, CQteN raised enough money to build three school kitchens in Malawi for Mary’s Meals. It was a stunning achievement, attendance at the schools has increased by over 30% since the kitchens were built, over 2000 kids are being fed each day, often their only meal of the day. We’ve told Mary’s Meals we’re going to fund another school kitchen this year, and they have asked us to build at Chibwata Primary School, which has 909 pupils, without any kitchen facility. The UN regard Malawi as the 17th poorest country in the world, but it is making progress and is fertile territory for targeted aid like this.
We’re going to change the mix from last year but as well as your dinner, there will still be a dance with great singers, you will hear from some former players, and Jock’s biographer, Archie Macpherson, will say a few words on the man.
It will be another fantastic event, look forward to seeing you there.