Charles Green Does Not Own Rangers
- 07 August 2013
Charles Green does not own Rangers. This might come as a shock to many, including Green himself, but it is worth reiterating after a round of media interviews in which Green gave the impression that in order to have a strong, effective board, financial transparency and good governance at the club, you have to buy his investors’ shares at an inflated price. This move from Jim McColl, Frank Blin, Paul Murray, and crucially a large percentage of existing institutional investors, is not about Green or his shares; it is about installing a strong, effective board to run our club the way it should have been run when £22m poured into its coffers in December.
It suits Green, and his boss Imran Ahmad, to misrepresent the situation and they have managed to cause enough confusion over the past couple of days that some fans are falling for it again. This has always been about making the maximum amount of money for them. They want to sell their shares for the highest possible return and they want to sell them as quickly as possible -preferably before the audited accounts show the true state of the club’s finances. That is why nobody should be surprised at Green essentially using the media to advertise the 28% that he claims is controlled by “his investors”. His wish for 70p a share is absolutely laughable and frankly if Jim McColl or anyone else was prepared to pay it then I’d seriously question how they managed to become the hugely successful businessmen they are. The market value of those shares is around 40p and likely to fall further after the accounts are released.
Green’s jibes at Jim McColl would have been amusing if the situation was not so serious. At no point has McColl said this was about purchasing Green's shares or launching a takeover. McColl is already a shareholder. He and a group of concerned shareholders have banded together to demand change and to protect the investment they have already made. It’s also an investment a lot of fans have made albeit without any real interest in financial return. They have looked at the way the club is being run, the broken promises from the IPO and they are concerned about the future. We are talking here about large, verifiable, institutional investors. Not family offices or trusts masking investors from Beirut or wherever else. These institutions invested at 70p a share in the IPO based on a plan for Rangers which has not been delivered by Green and the board he appointed.
Let’s not forget that the board which Green yesterday agreed was a shambles is the one he put in place. Apart from Craig Mather, Green appointed every single one of those board members. Now he is trying to blame them for the mess, which is accurate, but absolve himself of responsibility because he took a two month sabbatical. Is he seriously trying to tell fans that this has all fallen apart in the past two months? That all the money that’s gone out the door did so then and not on this watch?
Jim McColl was very clear in his statement and subsequent interviews about his reasons for getting involved. He is not playing the role of the Scottish version of Sheikh Mansour. He is not here to pour his riches into Rangers. That might be disappointing to some, particularly to those in Green and Ahmad’s group with pound signs flashing in front of their eyes, but he’s never faltered from that stance or ever given any contrary impression. He has clearly stated that concerned, reputable investors needed someone to organise them and lead them and he is doing that.
If people choose to believe Charles Green’s bluster then that is their decision. We have already seen some disgraceful smears and rumours being started by those who put their loyalty to Charles Green and Imran Ahmad before any concern for Rangers. McColl’s politics has been brought into it and they’ve attempted to brand him as a xenophobe over his concern about the faceless investors Ahmad and Green brought into the club. We will continue to see the same tactics being used. However I hope that not all sides of this will need to descend into the gutter to get their points across.
At the end of the day this boils down to one thing. Are you happy with the current board or would you like to see two new appointments placed onto the board by large, reputable financial institutions? People who can examine the way the club is being run, start a process of proper recruitment for key positions at the club, and begin to fulfil the promises that we were made in the IPO? Is Charles Green saying that Frank Blin, a 40 year veteran of Price Waterhouse Coopers and until 2011 their Executive Chairman in Scotland, is not a suitable board appointment? Why are Green and Ahmad so terrified of reputable, independent executives looking at the state of the club? You’ll notice in his interviews that Green constantly mentions Malcolm Murray and Paul Murray. He knows that small sections of our support have issues with those two former directors, accurate or not, so he focuses on them. Malcolm Murray has not been named as someone to be appointed to the board so why is Green talking about him?
Charles Green can keep his shares. Imran Ahmad can keep his shares. Crucially, the financial institutions who put their faith in Rangers as a long term investment can keep theirs. And, if they see the club being run with fiscal responsibility and in accordance with good corporate governance, they can invest more when required. If we lose these investors they will be gone for good. Frankly I’d rather have them involved over the long term with the club rather than another few hastily created Trusts to front up for some of Imran and Charles’ pals.
I said in an article on CRO a few days ago that we would see misinformation being thrown out by the Ahmad camp and so it has been. I can understand fans being confused and angry but we need to try to see through the smoke. Can anyone explain to me why Jim McColl would be putting his name to this move by a large and reputable block of Rangers shareholders if he was not genuinely concerned? It’s not because he is trying to take over the club. It’s not because he is trying to get a board position for himself. If he is concerned enough to do this then do we not want answers? What is the down side to having two experienced, independent board members, who are nothing to do with Green and Ahmad’s investors, in the board room? If nothing is wrong then very few changes will be required. If something is wrong then they have the ability to blow the whistle.
Green’s interviews, as always, threw up huge contradictions. One minute, Green was the only man who could get Rangers back to the top and into Europe. The next, his main concern and duty was to the group of investors he represents and whose shares he is advertising. One minute Ally was getting £10m for players, the next he would never have been allowed to sign 8 players under Green. Green attempted to justify this by saying Ally would only have been allowed to buy a certain type of player. Like Emilson Cribari, Ian Black and Kevin Kyle who were brought in when Green was here? Can someone tell me what sell on value they have? Green even tried to distance himself from the appointment of Brian Stockbridge, claiming it was Imran Ahmad who appointed him. It would be interesting to hear from Ahmad on his role in the turmoil at the club, but he prefers to hide behind Green, bloggers and forum pseudonyms.
If somebody can explain to me how we reached a situation where our current board sanctioned a salary of £1k a month for Charles Green to do a round of media interviews, hawking the shares of a group of his investors in public then I’ll be all ears. It is a scandalous appointment and as Walter Smith made clear in his statement was the reason for Smith’s departure. It must have been soul destroying for Walter to realise that the board were so spineless that they would allow Green to waltz back into a paid role with the club which benefits only a small clique of shareholders.
All sides of this agree that our board is dysfunctional. Green and Ahmad appointed that board. Are we going to give them another shot at it while money flies out the door at an alarming rate or are we going to back a large group of concerned investors who we can actually verify the identity of? Green has had a year to fulfil his promises. He did some good work when he was CEO but he’s been handsomely rewarded for that with a £720k salary and millions of shares. It’s time for a serious, qualified, reputable board to take our club forward and that is what Jim McColl and his group are trying to put in place. We’d be fools to ignore the warning signs and fall for more misdirection.