What is the Rangers board meeting going to discuss today?


There are two topics. First is likely to be the future of Charles Green, who returned to the club as a paid consultant two weeks ago. At a subsequent, and at times stormy, meeting with fans, Craig Mather pledged to review Green's position with the rest of the board.

The former chief executive is a divisive figure, and only fellow shareholders James Easdale - who is also a director - and Sandy Easdale continue to align themselves with Green. The second issue is the requisition notice made by a group of shareholders calling for boardroom changes or put to a shareholder vote at a general meeting. The resolutions, backed by among others the Glasgow businessman and entrepreneur Jim McColl, are for Mather, the chief executive, Brian Stockbridge, the finance director, and Bryan Smart, the non-executive director, to be removed, and Paul Murray, the former Rangers director, and Frank Blin, the former executive chairman of PricewaterhouseCooper, to be appointed.

So will Green lose his position at Ibrox for the second time in four months?

The actions of the directors will reveal how much of an influence Green and the shareholders who support him still have. Removing him so soon after appointing him as a consultant - to liaise with the institutional investors who bought shares in Rangers International Football Club last month, in particular those who are disgruntled enough to back the requisition notice - would seem to undermine the board's authority.

Yet the three major fans groups made a blunt statement yesterday calling for Green to be removed, and Mather would lose any credibility he has with much of the support if Green is retained. It is difficult to see how Green could stay without a mood of anger and resentment amongst many of the fans.

What about the GM then? Can an agreement be reached without holding a shareholders' meeting?

At this stage, that seems unlikely, since on the face of it the requisition notice requires three members of a five-man board to relinquish their position. The shareholders who are pushing for change may accept a compromise proposal, though, to avoid the messy and costly nature of a GM. If no compromise is agreed, the GM would have to be held within 21 days of this Friday.

How might a compromise be reached?

Difficult to predict, but the board lost its main corporate governance figures when Malcolm Murray and Philip Cartmell stepped down. The addition of new directors seems key. Mather and Stockbridge met institutional investors in London last week to try to persuade them that the board can continue. Mather is increasingly seen as an independent and significant figure to the outcome. The status quo seems unlikely, because there appears to be a large number of shareholders backing the calls for change. The most likely compromise is two additions and one departure.

Who would win a GM?

That depends on how many shareholders actively participate. The requisition notice was backed by almost 29% of shareholders, then Laxey Partners, who have built a 6.5% stake, indicated yesterday that they would back the stance of the supporters groups in voting for the board to be changed. Supporters hold around 11% in total, and moves are afoot to provide proxy arrangements so that the fan shareholders vote en bloc. Even if half of the fans were estimated to be likely to vote, the requisition notice could be backed by around 40% of the shareholders even before the canvassing for votes that would follow the announcement of a GM.

Why is the status quo so unlikely?

Rangers need fresh investment. Stockbridge has revealed that there is £10m in the bank, but there is no credit line and new money will need to be sought before the end of the season. Green has a track record of raising investment, but all of the £22m generated by last December's Initial Public Offering of shares has been spent, some of it on Green's watch. If the institutional investors have lost faith in Green, either boardroom change is necessary, or new investors must be found. Dave King, the former Rangers director, and others are prepared to put money into the club in return for stakes, but he refuses to pay a premium to buy out Green and his backers. So far, no compromise has been reached on share price.

Will Green go quietly?

It's not his style to be reserved, and that gruff charm won so many Rangers supporters over last summer. It depends how much support he believes he still has among shareholders, but also what his end game is. Does he want a long-term commitment to Rangers?

With more than 7% of the shareholding, he is the largest single stakeholder and that is enough to be able to requisition a GM himself, at least until after the first annual general meeting of RIFC is held, after which 10% or more of shareholders are required to requisition a GM. So he could choose to be disruptive.

What is the best outcome for Rangers?

Neither side benefits from a GM, because the three-week period in the build-up to it will be full of campaigning, which means division. That is also a period in which new investment is not being sought. Stability on the board and among the shareholders is vital. In truth, that will only ever come if somebody buys a controlling stake, or the balance of the shareholder base changes.