By Jim Thornton:
Green for Go?
First we had Saint Walter and his millionaire backers, then two property developers from Cambuslang whose CVs make Craig Whyte look like Holy Willie. Now it’s John Brown who’s fronting the latest group who want to buy out Charles Green and his consortium. Bomber and his backers have apparently offered the Yorkshireman some £8.7m to walk away, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Where were all these people when Duff & Phelps were looking for offers? Whether you like it or not, Green came up with the goods while everyone else was fannying about in midfield, as it were. So why is he the bad guy all of a sudden? Silly me. Unlike Walter and Bomber, he’s not one of the ‘Rangers family’; he’s not even an in-law.
Now, if I were an unscrupulous property developer (there’s another kind?), I’d let some patsy buy Ibrox, Murray Park, etc in a liquidation scenario, and let him take all the flak from punters for being nothing more than an asset-stripper out for a quick buck. I’d then get some former Rangers player to bad-mouth him, and encourage fans not to renew their season tickets. This would deprive the Newco of the income the club would normally get from supporters at this time of year. I would then start putting it about that the new guy didn’t have enough money to run the club on a day-to-day basis, and that a second administration was on the cards.
Next, I’d come over the horizon and offer to help the Bears buy the club back from this big, bad guy. Now, the punters wouldn’t be able to raise enough up front to buy the stadium and the training ground, but that’s ok, I’d pay for them, and even though I’d have to give Newco a sweetener, I’d still be getting the properties at less than their open-market value.
The Rangers family would keep the club going in the meantime by buying season tickets, ‘I Saved the Gers’ tee-shirts, and Andy Cameron DVDs, and when they’ve saved up enough money, I’d let them buy me out. I wouldn’t be looking for a profit as such, just open-market value, that’s all. Sounds reasonable to me.
Now, all I need to do is find a former Rangers icon I can dupe into fronting for me. Any suggestions, anyone?
We’ll Have to Support You Evermore
Unless they have a belated ‘Road to Damascus’ moment, or there’s a sudden flurry of brown envelopes emanating from Govan, it seems that the SPL clubs will reject Newco Rangers’ application to join the top league. It also looks as if there’s a growing groundswell of opinion amongst their counterparts in the SFL that the new club shouldn’t be parachuted into Division One rather than start life in Division Three. Indeed, if Raith’s Turnbull Hutton has his way, Club 12 will become Club 43, ie, out of the SFL altogether.
Only the most naïve amongst us would believe that the SPL clubs’ apparent volte face is on the grounds of sporting integrity. Quite simply, they wouldn’t have climbed all the way up the hill to the moral high ground if their supporters hadn’t been at their backs prodding them along. So, the season ticket is mightier than the remote control, after all.
Of course, fans will now have to put their monies where their mouths are and turn out in numbers to watch their teams, wear the tops, and buy the pies. Celtic are off to play a glamour friendly in the US on August 11, so, with no Rangers in the SPL, we’ll have an Old Firm-free fixture list that weekend in the top league - a great opportunity if ever there was one for all the SPL fan groups to get together and organise a Sell-Out Saturday with full houses all round to show there is indeed life outwith the big two. I’ll even give them a rallying tune. As they used to sing at the Band of Hope – ‘Come and join us, come and join us, we are the chosen few.’
In a Packed Programme Tonight
And which game do you think the media will focus on that weekend? Competitive SPL matches at the start of the new season, or a meaningless kickabout thousands of miles away? Not forgetting East Stirling or whoever against Newco, of course.
Support Your Local Talent
SPL fans will also have to accept that their sides will have to cut back on playing budgets if they’re to avoid following Rangers into the grubber. So, no more loan signings from the nether regions of the English leagues. Or bringing in foreigners of whom we know little, other than that they can speak better English than Wayne Rooney.
Instead, clubs will have to live within their means and might actually play young Scottish guys who’ve come up through their youth sides. Who knows, they might even be better than some of the over-rated imports we’ve seen recently. (See Hibs; see Cup Final.)
It’s a Knock-Out
Tommy Sheridan is to take part in a charity boxing match against ex-professional Ian McLeod. What about getting Sandy Jardine to square up to Turnbull Hutton on the undercard?
Buy One, Get 30,000 Free
Despite reports that more than 170,000 tickets remain unsold, Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson says he still believes Hampden will be full for the forthcoming Olympic matches. He also tips Celtic to win the Champions League.
The organisers have already tried giving tickets away for nothing; 30,000 have been handed out to local schools and sports clubs. What next? Are they going to make it compulsory if you live in Cathcart? Or will they have press gangs roaming the streets of Mount Florida dragging in unsuspecting punters? Perhaps they should give Craig Whyte a bell – he knows how to shift tickets.
Two of a Kind?
John Terry’s solicitors are to cast doubt on Anton Ferdinand’s credentials by making an ‘application for bad character’ against the QPR defender as part of Terry’s defence against charges of racial abuse.
In legal terms, ‘bad character’ means the commission of an offence or other reprehensible conduct. Given the nature of the charges, you can’t really mention pots or kettles, can you?
It Should’ve Been Me
And I see Anton’s big brother Rio has been having a pop at Roy Hodgson after England’s defeat by Italy. No hard feelings, then, eh?