With the Rangers board’s rejection of Robert Sarver’s plan resulting in Mr Sarver walking away from any potential investment in the club, it is now time that those left standing communicated their long term plans.
As it stands, the “Three Bears”, Dave King, and Mike Ashley are the only options. Ashley is being blocked from investment by the SFA, so can only offer loans.
The club is already in debt to Ashley to the tune of £3M, which is a massive amount in relation to our income. It may well suit Ashley and David Somers to continue this hand to mouth effect, to further strengthen his hold over the club, but it most certainly does not suit Rangers.
As the very time that the club needs to clear it’s debt, and invest in a Premier league capable team, we will be deducting huge amounts from a currently modest income, not helped by a reduction in ticket sales. With the position unclear on what exactly Ashley gets from Rangers retail, the income streams for Rangers do not look positive. I have outlined in my last article why I believe Ashley isn’t right for Rangers. Only he can prove me wrong.
King seems to have riled the current board and many of the fans who have been fighting for change have distanced themselves from him. If he is not in concert with the three bears, then he has to lay out his own plans. It is understood that his previous £16M offer of “investment”, was an offer fronted by him but involving one or more of the “Three Bears”. Did they ditch him for continually prevaricating, or are they in concert but acting independently so they don’t have to offer to buy the whole club without the capital to do so? Let it not be forgotten that Sarver’s offer, while undervaluing the club, and affecting recently bought shareholdings, at least had that £20M investment. Managed properly this could have allowed the club to escape the cycle of debt and deficit.
King’s original offer needs to be revised, and we need to know what short term funding he is planning, and if he has any further funds to invest, or will supporters once again be asked to invest via a new share issue? Can he match or exceed the £20M?
The Three Bears consortium have certainly captured the imagination, as there is a depth of opinion that we as a club need people controlling the boardroom who care about the club. In principle, I agree, however, it has to work and be credible. So far, the only detail in the public domain is that this consortium have £6.5M immediate funding to see the club through to the end of the season, in the form of (yet another) loan. The understanding is that they (alone?) will underwrite a share issue to generate investment in to the club. That means the support will once again have to step up, however, we would have to step up at a time when the club owes £9.5M to Ashley and the Three Bears. Unless they have some further plans, there appears to be nothing that will take the club out of the debt cycle it is in. While fan ownership is a desire many fans have, it’s something George Taylor has been both advocating and supporting alongside George Letham, and this could be interpreted that they do not have significant levels of investment available in the kind of numbers that Sarver was suggesting.
While I understand that the nature of this battle for ownership is such that none of the parties seem that keen to lay all their cards on the table, the time has come for the end game to be communicated, and for the wider fan base to be communicated to.
If we have confidence in any of the groups’ plans, we can all get behind them and turn this club around, of that I’m certain.
If none of them have credible plans for long term investment, we need to ask why Sarver was sent packing, when he did have the necessary capital.