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Spiers on Sport: what comes after Charles Green at Rangers?

No-one yet knows where this Charles Green project at Rangers will end. Great intrigue remains around this Yorkshireman and the success or otherwise he may deliver at Ibrox.

We do know some things about Green. He is plainspoken. He has “balls”, as they say. And he has honed an almost flawless knack for “playing to the gallery”.

This last phrase riles him, due to the frequency of it being observed. Green bridles at its very utterance. But it is undeniably true.

Green has transformed his fate at Rangers by realising that, whether he actually believed them or not, issuing certain statements was guaranteed to get the Ibrox faithful on his side.

Hence his bluster about bigotry contributing to the downfall of Rangers – irony of ironies – and other stuff about SPL and SFA agendas. These outbursts have all served to get once-doubting Rangers fans rooting for him.

Green has been shrewd and calculating in this regard. And by heavens, it has worked.

But these aspects are the mere fripperies. So what if he plays to the gallery – is it a crime? Much more germane is where he is taking Rangers, and whether he can haul the club from the carnage and make it a success again.

We have just witnessed the conclusion of the Green-designed £27m Rangers share-issue and, on the surface at least, it appears to have been a reasonable success.

In British terms, raising £17m through institutional investors might seem paltry – but not in Scotland. The Scottish game is depressed, of diluted value, yet Green has still somehow managed to get some City-known finance houses to come in with a stake.

The Rangers fans’ take-up seems less successful – at around £5m it was half of what Green had aimed for – but this is easily explained.

Many Rangers diehards have already spent £300-plus on a season-ticket. The minimum price for buying a cache of shares was set at £500. There is financial austerity around, never mind that Christmas is looming.

If Green has made one botch over this, it was possibly in the timing. Yet he had verbally locked himself into offering supporters a chance to buy a portion of Rangers before the end of 2012, and was compelled to deliver.

Naturally, some scepticism prevails. Others argue that Green and Rangers are essentially passing round a bucket for much-needed working capital, and that in this regard, time was of the essence.

Either way, a glut of money is heading Rangers’ way, though if Green is in any way true to his word, he will be an iron chancellor, and spend it cautiously.

What fascinates more than anything about this Green/Rangers marriage is what it will all lead to down the line.

One thing is for sure: Green is for the off as soon as possible. He wants to make money out of Rangers via his share-options and head back home at the first opportunity.

What will happen thereafter with a cast-list of Rangers shareholders, each limited to a 10% (or less) ownership of the club?

I hope all this eventually paves the way for a return to the club of someone like Paul Murray, a west of Scotland businessman who knows Rangers, loves the club, and is singularly lacking in bluster.

Murray, some say, is tarred by being a member of the “old board” under Sir David Murray, but this is an unfair observation.

Paul Murray, like Alastair Johnston and Martin Bain, had grave reservations about Craig Whyte’s arrival at Ibrox. But they were all powerless to stop it, swept away by a tide of events.

In the aftermath, moreover, Murray spoke sincerely and convincingly about the tragedy of Rangers’ demise and his hopes for the future. He would be a good man for Rangers to have back in the Ibrox boardroom.

The dust will eventually settle on Rangers. The club is bound to be restored, in time, to Scotland’s top flight, and Charles Green will be no more. And if Green has made a success of his intervention, he will deserve (within reason) his financial reward.

But then who will steer Rangers? Who will be the new custodians in the Ibrox boardroom?

That is when the new life of the club will really take shape – when Charles Green is gone.

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