Despite publicly appearing to withdraw from the process on Friday afternoon, Kennedy told the Sunday Herald last night he was prepared to keep his offer on the table until Monday but feared administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse, of Duff & Phelps, were set to agree a deal worth around £8.5 million with the group led by Green, a former chief executive of Sheffield United, which is backed by a venture capital fund. "Talks are at a very advanced stage," said Whitehouse.
Although the Green consortium has been involved for a number of weeks, there were even suggestions last night that a purchase could be concluded imminently. "Strange as it may seem, I don't know if they are going to do due diligence or if they are just going to buy the club," manager Ally McCoist said last night.
Despite his statement, Kennedy had left the back channels open for an 11th-hour change of heart from the administrators but his phone never rang. "I don't think they are talking to us," he said. "I think they are a bit upset we have gone public with something. If Charles Green is the right man to take it forward, credible, and he is going to save Rangers then we will absolutely get 100% behind him.
"But the administrators and the media need to make sure that this is a credible bidder and is good for the future of Rangers. If they [the administrators] go ahead with Charles Green then all the best. I hope he does complete, but I think he prefers to go down the newco route. If he decides to pull out a week from now it will most certainly be too late for us."
In fact, the parties were further apart than ever last night as the war of words intensified. Kennedy made the bid document that he claims was agreed with Paul Clark eight days ago publicly available. In a press release issued last night the Blue Knights claimed they would pay out a total of £9.1m and that they were prepared to pay "substantially more cash" going forward.
Duff & Phelps claimed it was Kennedy's strategy that was driving the club towards liquidation.
Sticking points appear to be the Blue Knights' inclusion of money to pay £3.8m to football creditors in their up-front £5.5m, and the inclusion of additional monies contingent on qualification for the latter stages of European competition. A further bid remains on the table from Singapore businessman Bill Ng while another unnamed consortium is thought to be monitoring the situation. "At the moment we have four bids and they are fourth of four," said Whitehouse. "The Blue Knights have been told time and time again that the bid is too low. They have adopted a strategy to try and bulldoze the process and railroad us through to submission. Frankly, even if they were able to railroad us, which they won't, I don't believe that their offer is one the creditors will accept. And we speak to HMRC on a daily basis.
"HMRC have made it very clear they don't believe in the football creditor rule so it would be contrary to stated policy to accept what the Blue Knights are proposing," he added. "Brian Kennedy and his lawyers and advisers are aware of that. Their offer is just not enough and to come out and say you've offered £11m is disingenuous to the fans. To state categorically that their bid has a value to creditors of £2m-£2.5m and it's too low, and to say it is £11m is misleading.
"Brian Kennedy is adamant he'll come back in. He's sure his tactics will remove everybody from the frame but my concern is that if his tactics were to achieve that, they could bring about the true liquidation of the club. It's very hard to see how HMRC could be persuaded to accept a bid of that ilk when there's an asset base that includes Ibrox and Murray Park. I think he's pursuing a very dangerous strategy. If he thinks he can railroad the process and persuade HMRC to take his level of offer, it's dangerous. He wants to get involved in a head-to-head with us, but that's not helpful to the process. We want to get on with proper bidders and get a deal done, we don't want to be distracted by a sideshow. He has to buy the club with cash, not with media influence. If he wants to buy the club then make an offer that is comparable to other people. The Knights have had nearly 12 weeks to do that."
MEANWHILE, the three leading Rangers fan organisations last night asked for an immediate meeting with Duff & Phelps to discuss their concerns over a prospective new owner. "In view of the recent history of the club and the purchase process all Rangers fans are highly nervous about the identity of potential owners and that they have the ability to deliver promises made in bidding for the club," said a statement, co-authored by the spokesmen for the Rangers Supporters Assembly, Association and Trust. "Fans are the major investors in Rangers and deserve clarity on potential owners and the plans they have for the club ahead of completion of a deal."
ADMINISTRATOR DAVID WHITEHOUSE YESTERDAY