P ERHAPS Charles Green has decided he fancies an extension on his £335,000 French chateau and needs to milk Rangers for some more dough to pay for it.
The blessed relief of a Green-free existence was broken yesterday when it was reported that the former Rangers chief executive and major shareholder, professional Yorkshireman, and loudmouth was seeking financial support to launch a new bid for control of the club.
To recap, Green left Rangers (for the second time) last August and the last we heard of him was when he was boasting about his Normandy chateau, his 27-acre estate and his stable of 30 racehorses, indulgences paid for from the golden teat of Ibrox. Including salary, bonuses and benefits he took £933,000 out of Rangers in 13 months and made more than £2m more by buying penny shares and flogging them at vast profit. Green shamelessly said he should have been paid double what he was for the work he did for Rangers. He left Rangers, was somehow allowed back in as a consultant, then left again amid a swirl of allegations of racism having described his friend Imran Ahmad as "a Paki". When current chief executive Graham Wallace produced his 120-day review and revealed that nearly £70m in share issue money, season-ticket sales and commercial deals had been frittered away to just £3.5m left in the bank, most of that cash burn was on Green's watch.
In the roll call of spivs who have exploited Rangers over the past three years Green was the most charismatic and perhaps the cleverest, but he was divisive, provocative, opportunistic and played the club like a fiddle.
Rangers need Charles Green back in their story like they need a hole in the head. Of course, there are plenty who suspect he never really severed his ties and has remained influential in the background all along, a fact he denies. Two things can be said in his favour: he coughed up £5.5m to buy the club when others endlessly hummed and hawed, and he orchestrated a hugely successful share issue which raised £22.2m at the end of 2012. But the latter stands as a tribute to his ability to charm institutional investors, not as a tribute to what he did for Rangers. All that money was raised in Rangers' name and then bled out of the club to its ongoing detriment.
The haemorrhage contributed to the lack of trust between the Rangers board and a sizeable percentage of supporters, which continues to this day. That is the main reason why Rangers have sold only half as many season tickets as usual. The figure of 17,000 sold perfectly captures where Rangers are: divided, weakened and troubled. The number is not high enough for the board to claim it has the endorsement of the bulk of supporters, yet for those who have orchestrated a campaign against the directors 17,000 is too high for them to claim success. Nowhere is the message clear or consistent.
Last weekend Wallace told a supporters' convention in Toronto "we are in a good place now" and Rangers were in their "best position financially" since he arrived in November. A few days later the Rangers board met in London and it was leaked that the reduced season-ticket sales would result in a placement of millions of shares to existing stockholders to raise £8m to keep the club going.
Ibrox remains a cradle of confusion, even without Charles Green.
And Another Thing …
"Scottish football is the toughest, most aggressive in the world. In Scotland they don't play, they fight mercilessly. In Scotland they don't take defeat like gentlemen, above all in Glasgow, the centre of Scottish football. The whisky could help one forget that one is living in a city better suited to rats than human beings, but the whisky is too dear and therefore one goes to the football."
Those were the kind words on Scotland which appeared in a West German guide published for the 1974 World Cup. The story is recounted in Richard Gordon's affectionate, evocative and excellently researched Scotland '74: A World Cup Story (Black & White, £11.99). The book is often a painful reminder of how far we've fallen as a football force, given the strength of that squad which was eliminated unbeaten. But that German analysis shows how much things have changed: the football's far dearer than a dram these days.
And Finally …
In a long career as the physio for Arsenal and England, Gary Lewin has been credited with quickly treating John Terry and David Rocastle when they swallowed their tongues during games, perhaps saving their lives. Eduardo believes he might have lost his foot if Lewin hadn't reacted with instant, expert treatment when he badly broke his leg. Lewin is one of the best in the business.
Still, that didn't prevent him becoming the butt of the jokes in Manaus when he jumped in celebration of Daniel Sturridge's England goal and landed on a water bottle, dislocating his ankle. He is "out of the World Cup", it was reported yesterday. When Aberdeen won in Gothenburg Alex Ferguson exploded off the bench at full-time and fell flat on his face. Folk laughed at that and now they are laughing at Lewin too. When it comes to taking England seriously at a World Cup, they really don't make it easy for us.