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The key players: revisiting the main protagonists in a year of unprecedented drama at Rangers

1.

A wide and varied cast have been involved in Rangers during the past 12 months
A wide and varied cast have been involved in Rangers during the past 12 months

Craig Whyte

The central figure, because of the damage he wreaked during his nine months as owner of Rangers. Historical events allowed him to buy the club for £1 from Sir David Murray, but it was Whyte's non-payment of PAYE that directly led to administration. By the time he stood on the steps outside Ibrox on February 14, 2012, he was already a figure of suspicion. Whyte had previously denied using money borrowed from Ticketus to pay off Rangers' debt to Lloyds Bank when he purchased the club, but that proved to be a lie. His plan might have been to bring the club back out of a short administration period himself but he either misjudged the complexity of Rangers' financial situation or chose the wrong administrators, as he was quickly ostracised. Has not been heard of recently, and what reputation he has left is in tatters.

2. Paul Clark & David Whitehouse

The two employees of Duff & Phelps, the administrators who were charged with running Rangers from February 12 onwards. They were faced with a difficult situation involving Whyte's floating charge, his majority shareholding and the unresolved big tax case, which potentially left Rangers liable for a £24m tax bill with possible interest and penalties (they were subsequently cleared, although HMRC are appealing the first tier tax tribunal verdict). Duff & Phelps made some unusual decisions, according to insolvency experts, such as granting the players short-term wage cuts, in return for vastly reduced release clauses, while conducting much of the sale process in the media. There was also the question of a conflict of interest, since their business partner, David Grier, had advised Whyte about his takeover.

3. Alastair Johnston

Chairman of the old board, and one of the directors ousted by Whyte after he bought the club, Johnston remained a critic of the way the club was run. Although none of the former directors were still involved by the time of administration, they had tried to persuade Murray not to sell to Whyte after an investigation they commissioned had raised concerns about how he might help to fund the club. Johnston, along with the other former directors, is currently assisting the investigation being conducted by the accountants BDO, who are putting Rangers Football Club plc through liquidation.

4. Sir David Murray

Has always denied that he was forced to sell to Whyte by Lloyds Bank, and later claimed that he was duped by the businessman. In any event, selling the club for £1 was an admission of the fragile state it was in. Murray had, typically, been brash and bold in the way he ran Rangers, always aiming big, but that resulted in a hefty debt. This was slowly being pared down, and was £18m at the point of sale, but the Employee Benefit Trust tax avoidance scheme was employed on such a scale that it left Rangers vulnerable to an HMRC claim. This potential liability left the club unsellable, except to somebody like Whyte, who had no track record in running such a business and who turned out to not have the means, either. Murray was vindicated to an extent when the FTT found in Rangers favour but he was still partly responsible for the fate of the club because of the uncertainty that surrounded its finances.

5. Paul Murray

A former director, who offered an alternative deal to Whyte's but wanted Murray Group to retain liability for the big tax case, Murray went on to corral together the Blue Knights. This group of Rangers-supporting businessmen, including Paul Mackenzie, Douglas Park and Scott Murdoch, were ready to put together their bid to buy the club out of administration. Their intent was to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement, but they ran into difficulties because Whyte refused to agree to sell his shares to Murray, and there was little or no working relationship with Duff & Phelps. The Knights courted the fans and retained public support because their intention was to eventually enable fan ownership. Ultimately, they fell short.

6. Bill Ng

The Singaporean businessman publicly declared his interest in buying Rangers, but soon undermined the credibility of that bid by claiming that he is a lifelong fan of the club. In the background, serious and well-connected business people and advisers were working on Ng's bid, and there was a genuine belief that new revenue streams could be unlocked in Far East markets. There was also communication with the Blue Knights, and Ng retained his interest throughout a protracted bidding process, so there was a level of commitment.

7. Bill Miller

The American trucking tycoon was named preferred bidder but withdrew his offer five days later. A small number of Rangers fans were against the American's ownership, principally because he intended to split the club from its debt by creating a newco, and leaving the oldco to go through the administration/liquidation process. Miller's advisers spent time in meetings with the administrators and the football authorities to try to gain a clear picture of the club's potential fate, and ultimately his departure was driven more by the fact that there was little certainty to be found about Rangers' financial or sporting future.

8. Brian Kennedy

The Manchester-based businessman was public about his interest in saving Rangers, despite being a childhood Hibernian fan and owner of the rugby club Sale Sharks. Yet Kennedy was not an aggressive bidder, in the sense that his plan seemed to be to pick up the club if all the other offers failed. Eventually, he teamed up with the Blue Knights after their agreement with the creditors, Ticketus, collapsed and Whyte made it clear that he would not deal with Murray. At one stage, Kennedy believed he had bought the club, and flew to Glasgow, only to land and discover Charles Green's consortium had agreed a purchase deal.

9. Ally McCoist

Already an iconic figure among Rangers fans, McCoist stepped into the leadership vacuum during administration. With no directors or executive management in place once Gordon Smith, the director of football, and Ali Russell, the chief executive, were made redundant, McCoist was the figure of authority. He seemed to rush from meeting to meeting, dealing with the prospect of several new potential owners and fraught negotiations over the player and coaching staff wage cuts, while trying to manage the team. His remark, "We don't do walking away" became a slogan, and McCoist will be remembered as the man who held the club together in its time of need. Also fought, occasionally bluntly and aggressively, the football authorities on Rangers' behalf.

10. Charles Green

Appeared out of nowhere towards the end of the administration process, having agreed a purchase price with Duff & Phelps, but also having signed a legally binding agreement to buy the business and assets should the CVA proposal fail. In reality, Brian Stockbridge and Imran Ahmad, of Zeus Capital, had been working on the deal for months, and approached Green to become chief executive. There were dramas and wobbles over funding, and Green had to overcome widespread hostility from the fans, but they have succeeded in securing the club's immediate future and embarked upon a rebuilding programme.

11. Neil Doncaster & Stewart Regan

Despite the growing likelihood of Rangers suffering an insolvency event, the football authorities seemed unprepared for the consequences. Hysteria ensued. The Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football Association had to tread a fine line between trying to help a member club but also apply disciplinary sanctions for the events that led up to administration. A lack of leadership ensued, and once a plan had been conceived, to place Rangers in the Irn-Bru First Division after SPL clubs voted against transferring Rangers' share to Green's consortium, the Scottish Football League clubs, and Rangers fans, railed against the plan. The reputations of neither Doncaster nor Regan were unscathed.

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