Today, in the footballing world, a similar money-losing process appears to be playing itself out in Glasgow with Rangers football club still showing all and sundry that the lessons from the liquidation of 2012 have not been learned with cash flying out the door quicker than Usain Bolt after he’s just eaten a Phal curry with extra chillies.
While Apple Corp may have been set up by four rich men who wanted to give something back to the community, you have to wonder as to what purpose those in control (take your pick as to who the puppetmaster is – Mike Ashley, the Easdales, the Three Bears, Goldilocks, etc…) at Ibrox are doing it for. To give the club back to the supporters? Definitely not. After all, given the large fanbase that Rangers have, it was more than feasible for those in the boardroom to do what Ann Budge has done at Hearts. Namely, step in, steady the ship and have the club set up a scheme where the fans can invest with a view to one day handing over the grand institution to them.
What we have instead is an ongoing power squabble between the various major shareholders already in place which threatens not only to get messy, but could once again have Rangers staring into the abyss not long after having to revive itself after David Murray drove the club to Beachy Head and Craig Whyte pushed the bus off the cliff.
The transfer money received from the sale of midfielder Lewis MacLeod has gone straight back to being used as ‘working capital’ with board member Sandy Easdale also having to loan Rangers £500,000 to prevent the club being wound up. Not forgetting the loan that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has already given to the Light Blues and you would imagine that at some point, he will be round to collect the cash. If that happens, one may be advised to duck for cover.
Earlier this week, the owner of US NBA basketball side Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, bid £18million for the club. Sarver appears (on the surface at least) to be genuine having apparently been persuaded by his sons’ football coach, former Rangers player David Robertson, to take a look at investing in the Light Blues. Bizarrely, though, the current board have claimed today that Sarver’s proposal “does not adequately value a controlling interest in the company”.
If Rangers as a business were ticking over just nicely then one could understand this statement. However, money is flying out of the club at a rapid rate and this gift horse appears to be having its mouth looked at. if you thought the level of silliness couldn’t be topped, having rejected Sarver’s offer the Ibrox board then said in their statement to the Stock Exchange: “The directors are in discussions with Rangers’ significant stakeholders with a view to arranging finance for the club. This is likely to comprise loans in the short term and possibly equity in the medium term. The board has invited Mr Sarver to consider participating in a similar discussion alongside other supportive shareholders.”
Basically, the offer to give oxygen to a patient short of breath has been met with the response: “Naw pal yer awright…erm…gaunnae gies a couple o’ quid fur sum sticky plaster?”
Money can buy you a football club, but it can’t buy you common sense.