LIQUIDATORS of Rangers suggest Ibrox and Murray Park training ground should have been sold off separately when the club went into administration after it emerged they ended up being bought for just £1.5m.

An expert for Rangers oldco liquidators BDO says that a sale and leaseback of the iconic club assets should have been pursued. It would have raised millions more for the club which under Craig Whyte financially collapsed nine years ago.

Evidence provided to the Court of Session reveals that while the business and Rangers assets such as Ibrox, the Murray Park training facility, trademarks and the players were bought by the Charles Green-fronted Sevco for £5.5m, a fair value assessment to the group carried out on the day of the purchase was put at nearly five times that - £27.2m.

While £1.5m of the Sevco purchase was for buying Ibrox and Murray Park the fair value assessment, carried out by an independent valuer for the new club owners put its value at £6.5m.

BDO is suing the former administrators of the business David Whitehouse and Paul Clark for £56.8m claiming a seriously flawed strategy in raising money to reimburse thousands owed money from the 2012 insolvency.

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They have argued that the administrators should have pressed forward with a break-up sale of Rangers assets and that there could have been a pursuit of a deal with fans to buy Ibrox and Murray Park separately.

The claim comes nine years after the Craig Whyte-controlled Rangers business fell into administration in February, 2012 and then into liquidation after he was at the helm for just nine months leaving thousands of unsecured creditors out of pocket to the tune of millions, including more than 6000 loyal fans who bought £7.7m worth of debenture seats at Ibrox.

Mr Whitehouse and Clark are fighting the liquidators because they believe they should have conducted a "bonkers" strategy which would they say would have"effectively shut the club down for good".

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Ibrox

BDO's appointed expert Keith Hutchison, a chartered surveyor with Montague Evans told the Court of Session that he believed any "reasonably competent property advisor" would have advised that a better option from the sale to Sevco would have been to "separate the ownership of the stadium and the ownership of the club through a leasing arrangement".

He explained that one route was for the Ibrox and Murray Park to be sold separately while leased back to any purchaser of the rest of the club.

It would have involved placing both assets into a new company which would have seen the administrators act as landlord.

He believed that a sale of Ibrox to anyone other than the buyer of the rest of the club could have taken some time.

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A fan ownership sale could have taken six to 12 months while a third party investor sale could have taken around six months.

"However, a lease could and in my view should have been agreed initially when the club was sold, with the sale of Ibrox Stadium to follow at a later date," he said.

"The initial lease could have been on a short-term basis to allow flexibility for a new lease to be agreed to suit the particular circumstances... "

He said he could not see any strategy report over the sale of Rangers property which would have "identified various practical options for maximising the sales proceeds for the heritable property and put figures against these options to enable comparison".

He added: "In my view the property advisors should have been engaged to provide advice throughout the administration process, in consideration of the importance of the heritable property."

But a report by Craig Timney and Alan Plumb, surveyors from Savills acting as property experts for Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark said that in 2012 the property would have been a difficult asset to sell.

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Murray Park

And they said that while the club business was in administration there was "substantial uncertainty as to what the market would have offered to pay".

Andrew Young QC for Mr Whitehouse and Mr Clark said to Mr Hutchison: "A structure that you're seeing is a situation where the club emerges from administration and effectively can get on with the job of playing football in the football leagues, free of the administrators' control, other than the administrator remains the landlord for a period of time.

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Mr Hutchison said: "It could be like that or an investor could have been brought in, shortly after, when the club was still in administration. I think the administrators would have to make the running in terms of agreeing the lease structure, with the buyer of the club whoever that might have been.

"I think they could probably could put those titles [of Ibrox and Murray Park] into a separate company and sell the company at a later date, perhaps. "I don't know what would be the most efficient structure to achieve it but I think there's a couple of options available there."

He said he envisaged commercial investors could be sought to buy Ibrox and Murray Park.

He said the prospect of using Ibrox or Murray Park for anything other than football was "extremely remote".

"I don't think there was a different stadium that was available, I think that would have been an unrealistic prospect, certainly in the short to medium term," he said. "The cost of Rangers building a new stadium, would have been over £75m and I think that would be completely unviable."

Mr Young asked: " I put a proposition to you that an investor is ultimately got to consider the worst possible scenario. And so to that extent alternative use is of relevance to an investor. "

Mr Hutchison responded: "I think we look at the worst possible realistic scenario, and my personal view is I think it is unrealistic to take the view that Rangers would not continue playing football at Ibrox.

"There's lots of properties sold in sale and leaseback and usually the scenario that an investor will look at is existing use, they don't normally look at alternative use because by definition properties tend to be, not always, but tend to be in the highest value use as existing [use]. So I think the prospects of Rangers not continuing to play football at Ibrox was very remote, and therefore I think the alternative use scenario was much less relevant."

Asked about his believe that the better option was to separate the stadium from the ownership of the club via a lease, Mr Hutchison said: "I think in the context of what transpired [the sale to Sevco] and the price that was attributed to the heritable property [£1.5m] then, I do believe that, yes.

"In the context of those sort of figures, the better option would have been to separate the ownership of the club and the heritable properties, the stadium in particular."