Despite Walter Smith urging “Rangers fans to get fully behind the resolutions which last week were presented to the Board and shareholders”, which include sacking chief executive, Craig Mather, he added, “Craig Mather, as I have said before is doing a good job. It is unfortunate that this has happened but when change does come I hope he’ll be allowed to continue the job he has started”.
Smith is clearly close to, but not in tandem with, those who requested an Emergency General Meeting.
As well as support for the chief exec, on the manager, Smith says, “As for Alistair McCoist, it is important that we all appreciate that no other Rangers manager has had to work with poorer or more trying circumstances. It is my fervent hope that when the dust settles and Rangers have a clearer path and future he is given the chance to manage under conditions similar to those which were afforded his predecessors.”
Here we get to the crux of the problem. Rangers International face enormous financial challenges. With a half decent football manager, they would be able to win promotion from the third tier of Scottish football with a football budget of around £1m, or several times that of their nearest rivals. If, as the Herald suggested this week, there is not enough money to finish the season, the most immediate responsibility of the directors is to cut costs accordingly.
Cutting costs is not the reason anyone gets into football, and it is certainly not what Walter Smith knew in his time at the Rangers group of clubs, but at times it is absolutely necessary. The non-executive directors of Rangers International would serve their fans interests best by telling this unpalatable truth.
Failure to do this will pale in comparison to some other potential consequences. In setting his stall behind McCoist, Mather’s team building exercise and the EGM protagonists, Smith has almost ensured collapse if those demanding change cannot command the support of 51% of shareholders. To succeed, Paul Murray will need to demonstrate the leadership and deal management skills which were lacking a year ago.
Meanwhile, John Brown’s warning about Green turning Ibrox to dust hangs over the place, a bit like dust.
There is one overarching concern, however. Green is critical to fending off any impending action by Craig Whyte. His evidence will be necessary to explain how Sevco Scotland Ltd assumed the irrevocable entitlement of Sevco 5088 Ltd. Even with Green on-side, this looks like a challenge, but if the main protagonists in this action are separated from those who will have to defend any action, you suspect Whyte will be enormously encouraged.
When Whyte believed he was double-crossed he went nuclear. All Green would need to do is corroborate a sliver of Whyte’s evidence to bring Whyte’s legal challenge into sharp focus. For this reason, Green has to be part of the picture going forward. Demonising him is tempting, and may be deserved, but it’s self-defeating – and these people know all about self-defeating.
Two weeks ago I said “place your bets” on what would happen after Celtic issued their “final warning” over a number ongoing issues in section 111. No one was in control of the situation, not Celtic, and not members the Green Brigade, who I believe had nothing to do with several of the issues.
Since then I’ve watched the debate. Some, like Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, attempted to inform on the debate, interviewing handicapped supporters and independent safety experts. Anticipating this day would come, I thought about interviewing the Council, but decided against, not wanting to draw them into making a public stance they would be unable to back down from.
Yesterday felt as inevitable as what’s going to happen next in Govan. Can the situation be rescued? Of course. Will it? Place your bets, people…
I’m not a regular newspaper buyer but the front page of one of today’s is a keeper. Celtic have a lateral movement issue, which dominates the front page, when the utter implosion at Ibrox is relegated to a side column. It’s a testament to our age. We will survive. I can’t say that with any certainty about the other lot.
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