For those who don’t know it, here is the roundabout to which I refer.
Set within the busy South Lanarkshire towns road network, the busy main thoroughfares leading both into and out of East Kilbride the Whirlies Roundabout are significantly utilised and the roundabout is used by many thousands of vehicles each and every day.
I however would reckon there has been more about-turns and more exit strategies explored at Ibrox than there has been at the mammoth Whirlies Roundabout over the last few years!
Certainly for the last 14 months, as I’m sure you all may have already noticed, the only constant at Ibrox has been the constant inconsistency at which reliable information and moral righteousness has been on display.
Indeed with great frequency, frantically the script passed as gospel truth one day, has the very next, been significantly amended or even torn up completely and re-written.
This has occurred time and time again, so much so that the standard of plot writing deemed acceptable for public consumption by those creators, producers and directors of the Rangers-Gate soap opera would now appear to be more worthy of digestion by pre-school aged children than of an educated adult mind.
The entire unfolding of this institution, as was it until only recently recognised, is now with each passing press release rendered less believable than the childhood tales involving ‘a beanstalk’, of ‘gingerbread men’ and of ‘scheming, calculated wolves, who blow the pigs house down’.
Nah, scrap that last one, the ‘wolves’ have been at the door and the ‘big hoose’ which was historically occupied by ‘greedy pigs’ and that ‘big hoose’ may yet fall down…that particular fairytale may yet perfectly summarise the entire Rangers-Gate story. It’s also highly likely to be more believable and to have less flaws in it being presented as a factual and truthfully documented event than the official club statements we’ve grown accustomed to receiving.
I don’t think anyone can quite believe just how whimsical each Rangers, Bill Miller, Bill Ng, Blue Knights, White Knights, Craig Whtye, Brian Kennedy, Duff & Phelps, and statements have been, how ridiculously flawed and how flimsy and how lacking in sincerity each of their proposals had seemed to have been. More over just how plain ridiculous this whole affair has gotten, it seems even from our delighted supports viewpoint to have gotten frankly embarrassing.
The whole reputation of Scottish football has been dragged through the mud thanks to the shenanigans played out to not only our nation, but to many interested spectatating nations…internationally our game is the butt of all the jokes, an absolute laughing-stock.
I will not attempt to evidence the entire catalogue of inconsistencies of which we are already aware of, one such current and glaring inconsistency is however springs to my mind and on that I will solely focus. To a chorus of collective ‘phews’ no doubt! 😉
I have heard from various reliable and well-informed sources of the potential financial and sporting implications of concern to the newco, these of course are both wide-ranging and stiff tests for any start-up business, in such precarious days as a businesses infancy ‘working capital’ is never more important…that is common sense and before I elaborate I of course understand entirely the business aspect pertaining to the newco’s initial stance re the matter I will now discuss. I fault them not for thinking as business men should, Rangers are only in this mess because standard, basic business practices seemed unnecessary to previous owners.
The matter to which I refer is the matter of ‘The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE)’.
It appears fairly obvious even from the title of the above regulation that in terms of an employee, this law acts to protect an employed persons rights and conditions, at least that is how it is widely regarded Mr Green thought differently.
Mr Green spoke of his desire to do the right thing by the players and following his successful acquisition of the dead club he stated he would preserve the right to retaining all the employees of the old club.
Very kind-hearted indeed Mr Green! At least staff had some form of certainty regarding his intentions…though it would have been utterly opposed to ‘The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE)’ not to have been so intending. See this wasn’t anything other than a statutory obligation on the employers side anyway, the players however had a statutory right to object to the transfer and in effect could tear up their contracts and to become free agents.
Mr Green and his new company followed, nearly to the letter, their obligatory responsibilities. I say ‘nearly’ as it appears he didn’t quite fulfill his necessary obligation to keep informed the representatives of the players in respect of the transfer, as soon as the transfer had been formally requested many players took exception and exercised their right to effectively ‘resign’ and to tear up their contract of employment.
Outraged by this act of perceived treacherous behaviour, Mr Green wasted no time in threatening legal action against both those players and to any club for which the players then took employment from.
In short, Mr Green believed he had taken possession of the players and ignored the viewpoint of his apparent enslavement of them, as seen by the rest of us.
Mr Green and Sevco obviously had plans for these players, was that ever going to extend to keeping all the key player on and paying their wages in full? After all this size of wage bill had contributed, largely in fact, to the apparent insolvency of the old club and as yet no freshly enhanced income streams appeared obviously available for the newco.
Much more likely Mr Green, with his business hat firmly sewn on, had viewed them as cattle to be traded upon and sold to the highest bidder.
Nor was he out of the goodness of his heart offering anything beyond his obliged statutory duties of transferring an employees contract of employment or, to provide full balance to the situation, doing anything illegal or under-hand. To that degree he and Sevco could not be faulted except in respect of whether they had fully complied with the need to inform employees and their representatives of the intended transfer of employment in a prescribed fashion.
Mr Green was of course outraged as he felt that the ability of the new club to have rushed through the TUPE and to have then gained immediate working capital from the sale of the players at a fixed asset value, one which of course had been negotiated down to perhaps ‘bargain’ values anyway through the administration process, had now been deprived to him.
Livid, he chose to publicly condemn the players and their ‘opportunistic’ behaviour. He actually stated this without viewing the irony of his ‘opportunistic’ acquisition of a debt free business and it’s assets for next to nothing and with a healthy margin to be realised upon said assets, be that the players or the property.
Mr Green’s stated policy was to threaten action against the players who no doubt had received full legal advice in respect of their rights from the PFA lawyers, their agents and their own lawyers prior to making the decision to become free agents and to break any potential ties to the newco.
An aggressive and rather surprising stated policy as it would appear clear to anyone with half a brain who was observing the situation that to pursue the players and their clubs would be both time-consuming and expensive in respect of legal costs, money clearly not readily available to the purchasing consortium.
What transpired was that a mass exodus, most of which were the most sellable assets belonging to the club had walked away, the club would be due no fee or compensation. A hole of significant financial concern was being worn into the very fabric of Mr Greens initial business plan. Times looked a lot tougher than perhaps he had bargained for.
Other factors soon came in to play, the plan to automatic transfer of Rangers SPL share of membership became increasingly unlikely amongst a unprecidented level of fans revolt, nationwide.
Mr Green also realised the implication of footballs disciplinary sanctions to-date had to be successfully negotiated, following the most hollow of victories in a judicial courts history.
Rangers fans were torn, the club they loved had died and many were increasingly alarmed at stories concerning the possible connections to murky, shadowy investment figures for whom suspicions were plentiful.
As result an internal divide became apparent and Mr John Brown in an act paramount to declaration of civil war, declared himself as completely opposed to Mr Green and his consortium.
Amongst great uncertainty, season ticket sales had already fallen to record lows and no sizable income appeared obvious. These financial woes were yet to be further compounded by the civil war declared on the steps of Ibrox stadiums main entrance, Edminston Drive, Govan by John ‘Bomber’ Brown as he advised an already reluctant fan base not to invest a single penny into the club whilst Sevco were in charge, he indeed painted Mr Green out as a devil incarnate.
How much would Mr Green now have liked a few ready-made assets such as Allan MacGregor, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Steven Davis to punt to help balance the shortfall?
In my opinion, humble though it may be, it was not necessarily a crushing blow, nor it turned out was division three and most surprisingly nor would be refusal or removal of an SFA membership; by now it appeared quite obvious that Sevco had a fall back position that could easily make a tidy profit without there needing to exist a financially draining, functional football club.
From the vociferous threats issued to the first players to have done ‘walking away’ came now an altogether more tactful and human response to those hardy, perhaps even desperate few remaining ‘star’ players. Now Mr Green was willing to rip up their contracts by mutual consent and allow them to find new clubs at no cost to any other club.
The lad Kerkar, for example, was hardly ever going to realise a hefty transfer fees but in a very conservative estimate I would have said he would have raised at least a quarter of a million…money not to be sniffed at by any means.
Now the purpose seemed designed to assist and indeed encourage all the players to walk away and to further their careers elsewhere, their presence on a wage bill obviously a source of great concern in even the shorter term!
This strange ‘about-turn’ was perhaps less shocking, less tasty and less of concern to the average football fan than the other topics of which had by then become our daily pre-occupations, it was however within such a short period of time a curious and complete reversal of policy.
It begs questions regularly posed but never adequately answered as to be either confirmed or denied by anyone in knowledge of Sevco’s full business plan…is a functioning football club every really the end game of this mysterious investment group? Is the club really a long-term consideration of theirs? Are they prepared to invest both cash and great volumes time and effort to make the newco sportingly competitive? And if not, why? What is really in it for them?
Many theories exist, many of which as I believe it are very close to mark.
Time will soon tell us exactly how much Sevco are in this for the long run or indeed as I understand it, how much they seek to quickly maximise their financial return and to wash their hands of, to cleanse their minds of and to set free their souls from the corporate car crash that was The Rangers Football Club and now seeks to be The Rangers Football Club mark II.
My guess is that it will play out relatively quickly but not so immediately as which I once anticipated.
That all leaves ourselves as keen observers with many dizzying and confusing about-turns yet to witness, perhaps they should increase the scale of the roundabout at the junction of Edminston Drive and Broomloan Road somewhat, the volume of dramatic and un-indicated turning full circles down Ibrox way shows little sign of abatement just yet.
Thank god the new season is nearly upon us and that we don’t have the concern of having any financial obligations with or from that corporate disaster zone down Govan direction, I’m dizzy watching them go around and around, never mind joining the queuing traffic at which every vehicle seeks busily to plot its safe exit from a desperately failing form of junction control.
It’s like the wacky races down Govan way and at times at the Whirlies also, both are places I’d rather drive a dodgem than ride a Diamo. There may yet be crashes ahead, I’d urge you all if travelling through Edminston Drive to buckle up and be prepared for a forceful impact…at least due to their positioning in at best division three it won’t be our team bus in danger of being written off though.