Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rangers: The questions continue

The now traditional Thursday night Rangers post.

Have we moved on? Or are we descending further into farce?

Nodody seems to know exactly what's happening. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. But who actually owns the asylum? And will another group of lunatics be happy to take over in the next few weeks?

We've even discovered that a legal glitch means Rangers might not actually have been in administration after all.

Ticketus and the adminstrators are arguing in court over money at the same time as Ticketus are publicly backing the consortium led by Blue Knight Paul Murray.

HMRC continue to circle with a grim determination. They won't go away.

Craig Whyte is gone for now, but is surely not yet the irrelevance the administrators are trying to paint him as.

Brian Kennedy, owner of rugby's Sale Sharks, one time suitor of Hibs and Stockport County's bĂȘte noire, has said he'll reluctantly buy Rangers if nobody else will.

That's the sort of commitment you get from the vicar at a parish jumble sale when trade is slow at the cake stall.

It's not, perhaps, the kind of commitment you want from the potential saviour of a stricken company.

Send in the clowns.

Or, following an email error with the launch of a new fans fund, send the clowns your money.

Another week and it's still a mess. The prospect of a quick resolution looks ever further away.

The longer it drags on the more important questions about the future go unanswered. And the more uncertain that future looks for Rangers.

The SPL seem to think announcing an investigation has bought them the right to stay silent.

They'll need to start speaking soon.

Maybe chief executive Neil Doncaster could share his past experiences of financial uncertainty. Like the time he was on the English Football League board that allowed the Leeds United phoenix company to keep their league place.

My uncharitable impression is that Doncaster is an expert in few things. But this is one of his specialist subjects: why isn't he sharing?

Across the Hampden corridor the SFA, fresh from the less than surprising discovery that Craig Whyte had shown their fit and proper person procedures to be unfit and improper, have announced a range of charges against both Whyte and the club.

Whyte is accused of breaching two disciplinary rules while Rangers face five accusations.

Fines, suspensions and expulsion could all be on the table when a Judicial Panel meets on 29th March.

At the same time the SFA have found themselves dragged into the mess thanks to president Campbell Ogilivie's previous involvement at Ibrox.

Well, stone the crows! Who on earth would have predicted that Ogilvie's career history would soon embroil the SFA in this whole sorry mess?

As I said the other week, Ogilvie might be totally innocent of any wrongdoing - Rangers, we should remember, have not yet been found guilty in the "big tax case" - and that means any hounding he has had or is set to suffer in the future could be grossly unfair.

But perception counts for a lot. And perceptions are currently tarnishing him.

Crucially that means the SFA, who should be providing leadership in this situation, look to be suffering yet another lame duck presidency. One that allegedly forced someone in the organisation to call an award winning Channel 4 journalist "pig headed" and accuse him of "lying" this week.

I'm one of those hardy souls who'll say that the SFA have done some good work in the past few months. The Ogilvie controversy will put that at risk.

Politicians are often forced to resign and fight to clear their names outside the cabinet. Ogilvie will do more harm than good if he chooses to try and clear his while wearing an SFA blazer.

Chick Young pointed out during the week that Ogilvie gave up a well paid job at Hearts to take on this unpaid labour of love at Hampden. That, we were left to infer, is how much he cares about Scottish football.

If he really cared he wouldn't want to see the SFA compromised by his continued presence. Innocent people were always going to suffer in this affair, Ogilvie at least has it in his power to reduce some of the damage to the game.

Did someone mention Chick Young?

Ah, Chick. On Tuesday night Chick used Radio Scotland's Sportsound to defend Ogilvie. Defend him as if his life depended on it.

An SFA statement the next day quite comprehensively contradicted the gospel according to Chick.

That's not unusual.

For Chick the story of Rangers and their administration has been a tour de force in wrongness, an era defining performance in barking up the wrong tree.

Maybe it's time the BBC did some liquidating of their own.

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