Sport Soccer

Friday 17 November 2017

Anger and frustration as Rangers close to liquidation

Lisa Gray

Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps faced heckling and jeers at a meeting of shareholders at Ibrox yesterday after a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was formally rejected at a creditors meeting earlier in the day.

Around 150 shareholders gathered in the middle tier of the Bill Struth Main Stand at 1.0 for what should have been the formality of a vote, albeit effectively redundant by that stage, on the CVA proposal.

However, frustrated and angry members of the audience took the opportunity to demand answers from administrators on a day when Rangers edged closer to liquidation and shareholders lost their stake in the club.

Joint-administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse, along with Neil Smith of lawyers Taylor Wessing, were present at the top table, on a raised platform on the pitch.

Clark took charge of proceedings and attempted to carry out a vote on the CVA, with several members of the crowd loudly pointing out that there was no longer a CVA to vote on.

Clark explained the process was a "formal requirement", before confirming a majority vote in favour of the proposal.

The CVA was doomed to failure after Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs informed Duff and Phelps on Monday that they would vote against the proposal, thus ensuring it did not receive the 75pc backing required to move the club out of administration.

One shareholder asked why it was not previously made clear that HMRC would be unwilling to agree to a CVA.

Disappointment

Clark said: "Throughout the whole process we had very close dialogue with HMRC.

"We would not make a proposal for a CVA knowing they would reject it. We only learned of the rejection of the CVA in the last few days."

On the rejection of the CVA, Clark added: "There is huge disappointment for us and many fans and all connected with Rangers Football Club."

However, one shareholder of 24 years claimed afterwards that Duff and Phelps' intention was always to liquidate the club. John Leishman, from Kilsyth, said: "We are disappointed. We have been let down by various people.

"When Duff and Phelps came in on February 14, they had an agenda. That agenda was to liquidate Glasgow Rangers and they have done it.

"On June 14, their task was done.

"They have sold us up the river without a paddle. What a wonderful place this is and it has gone to the dogs.

"We will never be the same again."

The meeting, which became increasingly heated, was abruptly brought to a close by Clark after less than 10 minutes to loud jeers, with the administrator announcing: "This is taking us nowhere ladies and gentlemen -- we are going to close the meeting."

Another shareholder, Gilbert Lang from Newton Mearns, said: "The meeting was an absolute shambles.

"People were asking questions and they weren't prepared to answer the questions.

"He said he couldn't hear us, that he didn't understand what people were saying.

"By law, they had to have a shareholders' meeting, but they didn't listen to any of the questions and the shareholders are absolutely frustrated and irate by the result."

speculation

The meeting was held amid speculation over manager Ally McCoist's future at the club.

McCoist made a brief appearance trackside beforehand, prompting applause from shareholders, but was not present at the top table with the administrators.

Lang added: "Ally came along the track and into the main stand and got a standing ovation from the supporters and shareholders who were here.

"I heard in the car on the way over that there was some talk of him walking out this morning.

"I don't know what the up to date position is but it's very frustrating."

Charles Green's consortium completed the purchase of the business and assets of Rangers within hours of the two meetings, after former manager Walter Smith revealed an 11th hour bid for the stricken Glasgow giants.

Green stressed in a statement that he was keen for McCoist to remain in his role as manager.

Irish Independent

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