• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

The prospective owners: Streetfighter who is scrapping his way over the line

Charles Green certainly has chutzpah.

Green has promised  to reveal the names  of his backers today. Picture: Martin Shields
Green has promised to reveal the names of his backers today. Picture: Martin Shields

He was brought on to the scene by a Manchester-based investment bank when one round of bidding had already resulted in Bill Miller walking away and when Rangers' administrators were working to a looming deadline. He bid late and high, and talked his way to the front of the queue. Since then, he has weaved his way to the point of almost acquiring the business and assets of the club for £5.5m.

Green saw an opportunity, and he has been committed in attempting to exploit it. There was a 10-day spell when he had at least £8m in pledged funding for his Sevco consortium, but one major investor walked away last weekend after doing due diligence on the books and his fellow investors. That took £4m out of Green's funding book. He has been trying to secure the last of the money to meet the purchase price, which is likely to be due to be paid immediately on completion of the deal, but the terms and conditions of his binding agreement with Duff & Phelps remain confidential.

Green has promised to reveal the names of his backers following the creditors' and shareholder meetings at Ibrox today. Herald Sport believes that Rafat Rizvi is one, having pledged to commit £2m to Sevco. Rizvi is a British citizen who was on Interpol's wanted list after being accused of stealing assets from Indonesia's Bank Century in 2010. At one stage, his personal wealth was estimated to be £385m, but his properties are only in the UK and Singapore because neither country has an extradition treaty with Indonesia. He was one of three shareholders accused of looting the bank, but claims his innocence.

Herald Sport also believes that Mike McDonald, the former Sheffield United chairman, has pledged £2m. Green's initial proof of funding was a letter from McDonald's bank about his liquidity, showing he had access to £20m, more than enough to fund Sevco's takeover. McDonald has wavered in his support throughout, but is believed to still be involved. He is also an associate of Paul Stretford, who was once banned from working as a football agent.

Green's bid has been based on rhetoric. He talked of launching the club on the Alternative Investment Market, but his timescale of doing that by the end of the year was highly unlikely. He talked of raising £30m by the end of July, if Rangers achieved a Company Voluntary Arrangement, but even if he had that amount pledged in a funding book, the timescale was fanciful. He talked of bringing Rino Gattuso back to Ibrox and of a 19-strong signing list, all the while knowing that he is still considering accepting the registration embargo imposed by the SFA.

Green has been courting the fans, because he needs the season ticket revenue. As well as struggling to raise the funding for his purchase, there are running costs to consider. That is before any investors react to the possibility of the newco Rangers not being voted back into the Scottish Premier League, or being suspended if Green rejects the registration embargo and so has to accept the outcome of the Scottish Football Association's reconvened Appellate Tribunal.

Apart from displaying a loose grasp of the politics and the regulations of Scottish football – Green wrongly claimed that Rangers will immediately lose their SPL share following the CVA vote and that Rangers would not vote when the SPL clubs meet to discuss the newco's application – he also claimed that players who did not agree to move from the oldco to the newco would be in breach of contract. They would not.

He told members of the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund that he had deposited £7.5m with the administrators. Yet in the statement he released on Tuesday, Paul Clark of Duff & Phelps admitted Green was still short with some of his funding. Early in the process, Green claimed Rangers would be debt free, while knowing that the terms of his purchase would be that the £8.5m price for a successful CVA would be a loan at 8% interest. He claimed this was to protect the 26,000 minority shareholders, but could instead have obtained a waiver from having to offer to buy them out, as Craig Whyte did when he bought Sir David Murray's 85% shareholding. Even without doing that, Green could have set the interest at a token 1%.

The picture is of a streetfighter who is scrapping his way through this process. The likelihood is that Duff & Phelps will help Green over the line, since reopening the bidding is not in their interests. Three bidders remain keen to buy the club, and each would offer more for the business and assets than Green's £5.5m, but all received legal advice overnight that the binding deal with Duff & Phelps could not be broken. All believe him to be short of the funds needed to see the deal through, or run the club, and so continue to watch intently.

Green's promise to Rangers fans was to put the club on a sound financial footing, then leave when there is £20-30m in the bank. Fans had grown weary of the bidding process and false dawns, but now the club needs strong leadership, with a strategy that has the team's interests at heart rather than profit.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

100769