A JUDGE entered into a debate over the value of the Rangers brand as he questioned an expert over whether he had underestimated the importance of the club name.

Lord Tyre entered into a 'same club' court discussion as experts argued whether fans would happily have supported a team similar to Rangers but under a different name such as the Glasgow Blues.

It came as one brand expert criticised Rangers administrators in charge of the club when it financially imploded for a failure to proactively sell its assets including the Rangers brand.

Thayne Forbes, an intellectual property expert, made the criticism as it emerged that the financial experts who took control of the club when it became insolvent in February, 2012, did not get a valuation for the brand, which includes the ability to use the Rangers name, trademarks and logos for financial gain, and is used in all its merchandising.

The Court of Session has previously heard that it was effectively sold for nothing when it was valued at being between £16m and £20m.

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The questions over the value of Rangers' brand came as BDO, the liquidators of the Rangers oldco sue the joint administrators of the club Paul Clark and David Whitehouse for £56.8m saying a flawed cost-cutting strategy meant creditors lost millions from the handling of the club’s financial implosion.


Part of BDO's argument is that the administrators should have had a brand evaluation before selling the assets of Rangers to the Charles Green-fronted Sevco consortium for £5.5m in June, 2012.

Mr Whitehouse and Clark are defending the action in the Court of Session claiming the liquidators expected a “bonkers” strategy of a ‘fire sale’ of Rangers which would have “effectively shut the club down for good”.

The case comes nine years after the Craig Whyte-controlled Rangers business fell into administration and then liquidation leaving thousands of unsecured creditors out of pocket, including more than 6000 loyal fans who bought £7.7m worth of debenture seats at Ibrox.

Administrators have admitted that they failed to get a valuation of the club brand and an assessment carried out by an independent finance expert on the day of the Sevco purchase and commissioned by the new owners put the value of the brand alone at £16m.

But Andrew Wynn, an intellectual property expert for the administrators said the valuation that had been put on the brand was unreliable and it could not be assumed that fans would naturally follow and spend money on any entity that was simply called Rangers.

Lord Tyre entered the discussion after Kenny McBrearty QC for BDO asked if Mr Wynn agreed that if the club had been called the Glasgow Blues, fans would no longer have the history of following a club that had been founded in 1872.

"I don't agree with that," said Mr Wynn. "I don't think that you secure the brand, then that gives you the ability for people to perceive it as the successor club. Conversely, if you don't have the brand I don't think it's impossible that people wouldn't consider that to be the successor club, you know, it's just so imponderable."

Mr McBrearty added: " If you have the name Rangers and you carry with it the history and the heritage, then you carry with it, for example 54 league titles [now 55], and a European Cup Winners Cup, and all of the club legends like John Greig and Bill Struth that don't belong to Glasgow Blues. It seems to me that those are utterly essential to the following of Rangers and the Rangers brand rather than the Glasgow Blues."

Mr Wynn replied: "So what I would agree with is, what is valuable is for your club to be considered to be Rangers or the true successor to Rangers. My point is that it's not at all clear to me that acquiring the legal rights to the Rangers trademark are the thing which give you the key to being considered the true successor club."

Lord Tyre then questioned whether Mr Wynn had a grasp of the recent history involving the Old Firm.

He said: "I wonder whether you're aware of some of the fallout from the Rangers debacle, particularly in relation to the attitude taken to Celtic fans who to this day will, in order to wind up the Rangers fans, argue that it's not the same club. "And they will still refer to the club which won the league championship this year as Sevco. And I mean that's just a fact of life in Glasgow. It's an unusual place when it comes to football loyalties. And it's against that background, that I really do wonder whether you are undrestimating the importance of the Rangers name when it comes to the continuing club."

 READ MORE: Rangers administrator insists valuing club brand was 'waste of money' after 'being worth' £16m

Mr Wynn replied saying that you cannot put a reliable figure on how much having the ownership of the name of Rangers was worth.

"I do not think that I'm underestimating the importance because I'm not saying that it would not have any plausible value. What I'm saying is that in the liquidation scenario, it's very difficult to assess what that value is," he said.


"And I'm trying to make a distinction between two things. So, there's believing that if I secure the trademark rights, I have the key, no-one can challenge me, I will be able to recreate the successor club. And I'm saying, one, there are no examples of that happening so we don't know what would happen, and two, I don't think we can conclude that it's the key. "

Mr McBrearty said: "I think the bit I'd have difficulty with is the idea that somehow or other, with some other rival successor club, the fan base might go with them rather than a club called Rangers.

"I mean, it might be encapsulated by thinking of, perhaps, Rangers' most famous song and I'm trying to envisage the crowds at Ibrox singing, 'everywhere, anywhere we will follow on, follow follow, we will follow the Glasgow Blues'. I mean, this kind of thing transmits by the brand doesn't it. It's the name of Rangers and the heritage that comes with that and the rivalry with Celtic and historically the manifestation of Protestantism, through the medium of football in the west of Scotland. I mean, it's all about the brand of Rangers."

Mr Wynn replied: "I think we're dealing with a subtlety here. So there's a difference between people wanting to call the club Rangers, with people being willing to pay sums of money to acquire the trademark rights. That assumes that buying the trademark rights alone gives us the ability, the unchallenged ability to set up a successor club."

Thayne Forbes, a brand expert for BDO insisted the Rangers brand was key, and suggested the administrators did not do enough to properly market the club before it was bought by Sevco.

READ MORE: Rangers liquidators sue former administrators in £28.9 million claim

He said there were 57 potential buyers for the club listed and 14 would-be buyers of the assets which he said seemed "extremely low".

"I would have expected a far greater level of interest with hundreds of potential buyers listed," he said.

"In order to encourage a sale of the brand at a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe, I consider it would be necessary to describe the Rangers brand, highlighting its value and selling it in more detail than was given..."

He said there appeared to be a "reactive" approach " and based entirely on approaches made to Duff and Phelps".

He added: "I consider that a proactive approach should also have been made to approach potentially interested parties with a view to selling them the assets including the Rangers brand.

"Many of the replies noted that Duff and Phelps were seeking to sell on a going concern, and not a piecemeal basis. The sale process should not have been confined to this. Any offers on the potential buyers' preferred bases, should have been encouraged in order to generate as many options to sell as possible."


Earlier he said he believed hardly any fans would have switched allegiance had Sports Direct supremo Mike Ashley had total control of the club. The Newcastle United owner went on to have a stranglehold on Rangers in 2014 through bailout loans and a 9% stake.

Andrew Young QC for Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark created a scenario where Mr Ashley could have bought the Rangers brand on its own, without the rest of the assets such as the players, Ibrox and Murray Park training ground, during liquidation with a view to resurrecting the club.

He said: "That might succeed if the fans follow him, but if for example the fans, for whatever reason didn't regard him as true Rangers man, whatever that means, they might be inclined to take their loyalty to another form of football club which seemed to more properly reflect the Rangers they knew. Is that not the risk that someone buying the brand has, that the fans will not follow the the brand as you anticipate?"

Mr Forbes said: "Not much of a risk, no, there were five million fans. I think some of them might have disagreed with certain potential aspects but I think that they would not switch their allegiance to another club."

Mr Young added: "Again, I'm not sure how you can say that, surely it depends on what the individual fans feel properly reflects their team going forward. And if they feel that the person who holds a brand, let's say person holding the brand is even a Celtic supporter they might well not feel that that was a team they wanted to follow anymore, and they would switch allegiance to some other form of a Rangers team even if it couldn't call itself Rangers.

"It doesn't follow that the fans will always follow that particular brand, if they do not feel that the new club properly reflects the old club."

READ MORE: Rangers administrator denies Craig Whyte was 'calling the shots' in £5.5m Sevco sale

Mr Forbes replied: "I just don't think that's right. The fans' allegiances to the Rangers football club, are allegiances to Rangers, that's the brand. And I don't think they're going to leave, or switch their allegiance really for any reason, even if some of them express some kind of dissatisfaction with an owner like Mike Ashley and Mike Ashley was a shareholder in Rangers at one point.

"I'm pretty sure that the fans, hardly any of the fans would have switched allegiance to Celtic for any reason, but particularly just because Mike Ashley was a shareholder, someone who was seen as a bit of a controversial businessman and a bit of a vulture maybe."

Lord Tyre asked Mr Forbes: "So they set up a football club and they call it something else, say they call it, West Glasgow FC or something like that. And they employ a lot of the staff who were formerly employed by Rangers and they managed to get hold of a number of the ex-Rangers players. Let's say they get hold of some of the stars who were playing for Rangers at the time of administration and they apply successfully to re-enter one or other of the Scottish leagues. They may not be successful in getting into the SPL but they get into the Football League. Would that be a viable proposition without having acquired the Rangers brand?"

Mr Forbes said: "No, I don't think it would be viable because the brand is so important to the club, and so important to driving the revenue streams which you need to generate in order to meet the costs.

"So the main revenue streams that it drives are matchday tickets. I just don't think you would be able to get much attendance at all for a football match, put on at Ibrox, even with some continuity of people, if you couldn't call it Rangers."