Imagine you are one of those people who have a nice big mahogany desk, with a gloss finish set in a big corner suite office which comes complete with a picture window, a break out area, a couch to lie down on in moments of stress, a quietly playing stereo sound system, fridge, plush carpet and loads of wee executive toy like things of your choosing.
Imagine, just for a moment, that outside your office you have the executive German car that is almost compulsory when you work in such an office. Added to that, you also have the benefit of a large six figure salary, a pension scheme, substantial holidays, a bonus scheme which nicely enhances your already excellent salary, fantastic perks and trips abroad as part of your job, and that you fill a position which leads to invitations to the most fantastic events, do’s, and sporting occasions imaginable.
Imagine the respect you must command from your peers, your family and friends.
Imagine the awe that you must be held in at dinner parties and social events when you are introduced to strangers for the first time– strangers who will have heard your name, and know of your position in society.
Imagine the personal and professional respect you must command from others in your field — or any other field for that matter — when you go to conferences and meetings in foreign cities and with foreign counterparts.
Imagine the envy that many others sometimes feel for someone who has succeeded in business and society to this extent.
Then imagine that the big office described above is at Hampden?
What a bummer!!
Now, I mention all of this because if you were one of the big cheeses at at Hampden, I wonder just what you do with yourself when the large rosewood door of your office closes behind you when you get in there each morning?
Maybe you make a coffee? Read the papers? Check the mail? Go to a meeting about the latest in 3G or is it 4G pitches being installed in a ground or two in the Shetlands?
However, no matter what you do and who you speak to THAT file is always there— always at the corner of your desk, neatly up there at the top left hand corner just beyond the desk top golf set and above the Newton’s cradle with the balls that spell your name or whatever.
That file– the one that relates to the finances, compliance, directors details and ownership of Rangers Football Club.
At least that is what the top of the file says. Though to be fair it is a continuation file… continuing from the one that was opened two months ago and is fit to burst already with reports, memo’s and letters- which in turn was a continuation of the one before that and the one before that and the one before that and on and on.
Maybe that is not the correct name for the club?
Maybe that is something that can be clarified at the next meeting with the Directors and CEO of the club— whoever they might be at that time?
No matter where you go in the room, you can see that file from every position. There is just no getting away from it.
Who owns The Rangers?
There are all sorts of reports, share prospectuses, memos, deeds, documents, contracts, letters, e-mails all asking the same thing. And there you are— none the wiser.
Please clarify this, please clarify that, are there any signed but unrecorded documents, or contracts?
Are the Companies House records accurate? is the Land register accurate?
At the end of the day you just lie on the couch, place a cold cloth over your head and hope it will all go away.
Then the accounts come out. Oh the figures are shocking and they confirm that most of the people you negotiated with to get their team playing football somewhere after the collapse and liquidation of RFC PLC have exited stage left with huge severance cheques.
They now live in France, or Singapore or the Cayman Islands and you can bet they will never darken a door in Mount Florida on a wet February morning ever again.
But that is not the worst of it — the bleeding internet is full of leaks— documents, letters, e-mails, contracts, company forms and all sorts.
You wouldn’t mind if the documents leaked were ones that you had seen before, but in the main they are things that you have never seen and never had disclosed.Every day someone calls and asks ” Have you seen the latest?” and of course you haven’t so you stand there feeling like a complete chookie!!!
Every day you call the compliance and monitoring guys:
” Eh have you seen this? Have you been notified that he is a director?”
” No boss – never seen that? Never knew it existed?”
” So who owns the company if that is correct?”
” Eh Dunno boss — not sure of anything over there any more!”
“Ok have you checked the titles with the lawyers?”
” yes but the title as registered looks ok, but there is no guarantee that it hasn’t been sold to someone else and they have not registered their title for the moment!”
” Have you spoken to the lawyers? Have you asked for clarification?”
” yes Boss — the Lawyers don’t really answer our questions– well at least not fully!”
” What about these accounts – there are 57 pages there – what do they tell us?”
” Well they tell us that the figures are not good, boss, but not immediately critical.”
” Are they paying their taxes?”
” Appear to be boss– but we can’t be sure.can we? We were told they were paying their taxes before and … well you know the rest.”
” Ok, but Pinsent masons rule out the Whyte guy being involved?”
” Ah well not really – they don’t go into the company he says he owns – they sort of ignore that part!”
” But they carried out an independent investigation, surely?”
” True boss, but the independent investigation was only into what the non independent guys wanted investigating Boss, and they appear to have finished their report without speaking to all the witnesses.”
” Ok but the accounts – what do the accounts say about Whyte being the real owner — I mean they are from Deloittes for God sake – they must make the position clear?”
” Well we have had a look at them boss and in that regard the accounts are King Kenny!”
” King Kenny?”
” Aye King Kenny Boss – with regard to Whyte’s claim they say ” maybes aye– maybes naw” and they leave it at that”
” Jesus, well have you written to the Directors?”
” Aye – half the letters have come back marked “Gone away”.Boss”
” Do you know who the shareholders are?”
” Naw Boss”
“Do they have a bank account and a bank reference ?”
” Naw Boss”
” Who’s coming to the next meeting from their side?”
” Dunno Boss”
” Is there anything you can tell me that lets me close this file and get it off my desk for good?”
” Naw boss”
” Well who did we grant membership to last year?”
” The first time or the second time Boss?”
” What do you mean – first time or second time?”
” We started out granting membership to one company and then changed it to another”
” Two companies – owned by the same people?”
” Dunno Boss– but they sounded the same.”
” And which one got a licence?”
” Dunno boss”
“Was the licence not granted by Mr Longmuir boss? And then ratified by us as a formality?”
” Why are you asking me, you are the compliance guys?”
” Aye but we were told it would all be ok by … well by someone ….. and by Mr Longmuir”
” When did he tell you that?”
” Told us one day at Ibrox Boss – I think it was at half time?”
” Half Time?”
” Aye – though it might have been full time boss ….. free bevvy and sandwiches so can’t quite remember”.
” Well who has the paperwork?”
” Lost boss”
” Yes Boss – it was meant to come up from the SFL but never appeared. Turns out that the SFL was run as an unincorporated body and none of its records etc, are intact or have ever been audited …… Boss. Mr Ballantyne might have them in his garage Boss! ……… Boss? ….. are you still there? Boss?”
The man in the corner suite leaves the phone dangling, goes to his fridge for a cold drink and switches on the executive plasma hanging on the wall by way of the remote control on his desk.
The screen beams into life and an advert for the brand of soft drink that he is holding fills the wall. The very same brand of soft drink that has just been announced as the official soft drink to partner Scottish Football.
The executive, looks at his drinks can, looks at the file on the corner of the desk, looks at the abandoned phone and finally looks at the screen just as the speakers spell out clearly ………….. the benefits of coming from a long line of Fannies.
This is Scottish Football Administration in the 21st Century.