FORMER administrators of Rangers are fighting the liquidators of the business who are suing them for £56.8m because they believe they should have conducted a "bonkers" strategy which would "effectively shut the club down for good".

Details have emerged as Rangers liquidators BDO began court action against the former club administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse of Duff and Phelps who have already agreed an estimated £24m settlement after Scotland's senior law officer the Lord Advocate agreed there was a malicious prosecution in connection with the collapsed club fraud case.

The liquidators have said the action was taken because of questions over the strategy used by Mr Clark and Mr Whitehouse in the administration process after the club plc went into financial meltdown in February, 2012 under Craig Whyte's stewardship.

READ MORE: Ex-Rangers chief Charles Green unwilling to testify in £56.8m claim that Ibrox should have been sold off

The financial collapse left thousands of unsecured creditors out of pocket, including more than 6000 loyal fans who bought £7.7m worth of debenture seats at Ibrox.

Creditors also ranged from corporate giants such as Coca-Cola to a picture framer in Bearsden and a lady called Susan Thomson who ran a face-painting business and was owed £40.

The Herald can reveal that sources close to the former administrators who have been "surprised and disappointed" by the BDO action confirmed that the liquidators are arguing they should have had a fire sale of property including Ibrox and the training ground Murray Park and all the players to generate more money for creditors.

BDO were said to have had valued Ibrox on the open market at £25m.


Charles Green's Sevco 5088 Limited ended up buying the assets of the club for £5.5m in June, 2012 when Rangers were consigned to liquidation.

"Basically what they allege is that we should have shut the club down," said a source close to those defending the claim.

"They allege that if we closed it down we would have got more by selling Ibrox and then selling the playing squad and we say that is nonsense.

"They say we should have broken up the heritable assets and sold the playing squad, even though Craig Whyte couldn't sell any of them other than Nikica Jelavic during the transfer window and we are supposed to sell them outside of the transfer window.

"Do they really think that's a viable strategy? It's just bonkers."

The administrators had previously stated that the purposes of their work was to rescue Rangers as a going concern.

They had been criticised by some over the handling of the situation with some saying they ought to have made swift cuts tot he playing squad and made large scale redundancies similar to that experienced in previous insolvencies involving Motherwell and Dundee.

But Duff and Phelps argued it would have stripped away value from the club which they insisted they wanted to sell as a going to concern.

HeraldScotland: Ally McCoist

The first day of the Court of Session hearing heard that Rangers manager Ally McCoist had supported delivery of wage cuts of 50% across non-playing staff and 75% for players to prevent redundancies that Duff and Phelps had envisaged in the beginning of March, 2012.

Administrators had been warned by Fraser Wishart of the Professional Footballers' Association Scotland that he had been approached by prospective bidders for the club who warned that the cost of repairing the squad after redundancies will be "far more costly" than a wage deferral scheme suggested by the players and that if they went ahead it would be a "barrier" to any potential takeover.

At the start of the administrators' work on the insolvency, Mr Clark said at a press conference that they did not think liquidation and the closure of the club was a likely outcome.

"We fully understand the 140 years history of Rangers football club and are taking steps to ensure this history will endure," he said.

BDO in taking the action said: "The joint liquidators consider that the former joint administrators failed to take actions which would have reduced costs during the administration period and realised additional value from the company's assets over and above that obtained from the sale of the business and assets to Sevco."

The action brought by BDO is expected to last 32 days.

The case continues.