I wanted to note down the things that I have been thinking for a while before any more comes to the surface regarding the plight of Glasgow Rangers PLC. Its simply my opinion of what I think i likely to happen with lots the thoughts being derived by reading between the lines of the stories reported in the media plus the work of the bloggers at Rangers Tax Case and Scots Law Thoughts. There is a lot of if's, but's and maybes but I fear this might be what is likely to come to pass.
First I guess we better sort out the presently accepted facts:
- Craig Whyte has assured supporters that "their will always be a Rangers and they will always play at Ibrox"
- If Rangers should go into Administration or be Liquidated Ibrox stadium will still in effect belong to Mr Whyte due to the securitisation of it.
- The sum quoted as being the potential liability to the Her Majesties Inland Revenue should the case regarding off shore payments being found in HMRC favour would be the most largest debt on the current companies books.
One last assumption that I would like to make is that (despite many views to the contrary) Craig Whyte is rational, competent, has full knowledge of what is likely to happen and (most importantly) is actually planning the best way to proceed with Rangers.
Now to the point. I believe that the current Glasgow Rangers management are fully prepared for the company to lose the HMRC tax battle, and furthermore they are not preparing for administration - the company will be wound-up. My basis for this is that all those assuming that a loss in the HMRC case would put the club into administration only, I don't agree with this as the sums involved would make the HMRC the greatest creditor by far with no potential for the debt being repaid in any sort of reasonable time scale (my understanding is that by default HMRC look at the realistic payment within a single year). HMRC would move to have the company wound-up, and it would be unlikely that there would be sufficient grounds to stop it.
This is of course a double edged sword, many people will suffer due to it BUT Rangers (and more importantly Mr Whyte) will find this is the best thing that could have happened.
So what happens if the Rangers as a company go completely out of business. Guess that needs to be sub-divided into the pros and cons.
- Every Rangers season ticket holder loses the money they have already paid for their season ticket. Every season ticket holder for every other SPL club loses the game that they have already paid for that should take place this year.
- All staff employed directly or indirectly with Rangers finds themselves unemployed.
- All games played against Rangers already this season should be declared void.
- Rangers no longer hold any player registrations allowing all players to move elsewhere as they wish.
- Rangers no longer hold a league registration.
- Every business that is currently owed money by Rangers loses some, if not all, of the monies owed to them.
- No more outstanding debt.
- No more contracted out merchandise revenue.
- No more contracted out catering revenue.
- No more over-inflated (and non supportable) wages needing to be paid.
- The ability to start afresh.
Its this final pro that i think is the most important aspect. The question I have asked myself (and a few others) is that if there is a club looking to start playing professional football who already have a stadium, a loyal support and the national fame that would have many young players willing to still play for them simply for the badge (in whatever form that may take) what is the restriction that makes them apply to Scottish league for a registration? To date the reason quoted for neither half of the old firm moving to England is that they would not be accepted into the higher echelons of the english league set up. Now if a club had to decide to apply for the lower levels of the Scottish league or the English league which offers the greater potential?
If given the choice between either the English Conference or Scottish Third Division I know which one i would prefer. The conference has a potential for reaching the premiership after all. Is that not worth sinking some money into to subsidise a club to try and progress to that height?
What about the rest of the SPL?
Scottish football would then be left in its own nuclear winter. No matter how many try to deny it the lure of the Old Firm games is what drives the SPL's TV revenues and other advertising too. An SPL with only half the Old Firm is as impotent as one without it. This season becomes pointless (except maybe for Motherwell who currently have a chance to upset the odds and win it (is it still worth a small bet)).
Celtic would be pushed into a death spiral, their symbiotic relationship with Rangers being destroyed would be the catalyst for their own destruction unless they too could find a way to escape (would choosing to follow and doing so with a better financial footing allow them and advantage? Would it be acceptable to fans and shareholders alike?)
No idea of the answers to be honest, just think I can foresee these questions.