Green offers Smith role in new club
Charles Green has offered Walter Smith a leading role in The Rangers Football Club after a dramatic last-minute bid from the former Ibrox manager threatened to undermine the viability of his new regime.
The rejection of a Company Voluntary Arrangement at a creditors’ meeting was a formality given Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had already confirmed their opposition.
But events before and after proved significantly less predictable.
Green’s fragile relationship with Ally McCoist was exposed amid reports the manager was set to quit before Smith urged Green to step aside.
Green soon completed his deal but remained under pressure on Thursday night with the Rangers Supporters Trust calling on fans to hold off buying season tickets and one of Smith’s partners, businessman Jim McColl, urging him to sell immediately.
Green called an impromptu media conference at Ibrox to appeal for unity and deny reports he was planning to replace McCoist.
But he appeared in no mood to make a small immediate profit with one of his financial partners, Imran Ahmad, insisting it would take a "multiple" of their outlay to force a quick sale.
Green said: "If Walter Smith wants to be chairman of the football club board, I’ll appoint him at nine o’clock tomorrow morning.
"The issues that I read in newspapers today about Ally, it’s all rubbish.
"The reality is Walter and Ally are big pals. I’m nothing to Ally, don’t expect to be.
"If there is a chance that Walter is going to put a bid together, Ally would support Walter and that’s what I would expect.
"But the reality is there is no benefit to Rangers now to having these groups.
"If Walter, Jim McColl, Douglas Park, Uncle Tom Cobley want to be an investor in this club, this man (Ahmad) will take cheques off them and put it in Rangers’ bank account.
"They can come on the board and be party to what we’re doing.
"What we’re not going to do is sit around and wait because if we hadn’t come along, this club would have closed.
"The administrator couldn’t run it forever and no-one put money on the table like we did."
However, Green admitted he had only spoken to McCoist six times and that they had only spoken for seconds when passing in the corridor this morning.
Green, who has applied to join the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Premier League, said: "One of the first things we have to do tomorrow is supply to the SFA and SPL a list and background of all people who are going to take this club forward.
"If we say we have got a chairman and and a chief financial officer and independent directors, and a bit of a nutcase chief exec (referring to himself), but on balance it’s not a bad group and definitely better than the last group, but actually we don’t have a manager, that’s not the right message to send out.
"So yes, we want Ally on board, I want Ally sat here."
Green said "no-one had approached him with a bid to buy the club" but he later revealed further interest.
He said: "It’s not just Walter, we’ve had four other emails from high net-worth individuals who are saying ‘Okay, what does it take to go?’."
Ahmad said they had spent £10million with operating costs and advisory fees included.
"These are professional investors and I would expect they would want to see a substantial return," said Ahmad, who has been appointed director of the copmpany board, which will be chaired by Ayrshire-born pension fund manager Malcolm Murray.
"So it would have to be a multiple of what we paid.
"We bought the club on May 11, we paid our money and we are now going to run the club and move on.
"If Walter Smith really cares about this club and cares about the fans, then the door is open to him to lead the football club board.
"If these guys really care about the club, why would they use a tactic to try to put off fans from coming to what’s a great institution?
"My view is that they should be embracing us and encouraging the fans."
Smith had earlier revealed his plan to ensure everything "magical about Rangers Football Club is protected and nurtured back to good health and provide a platform for Rangers for generations to come".
He added: "The supporters should be under no illusion that it will be extremely hard but with their support we can overcome financial hardship that lies ahead by lending their support to what we feel is the correct way forward – for Rangers people who know the club inside and out to control its destiny."
The last-minute appeal failed but entrepreneur McColl later issued a public plea to Green to sell.
"Mr Green does not have the backing of the Rangers support and the longer he delays, the harder the situation will become," McColl said.
And one of the investors named by Green, Glasgow businessman Ian Hart, categorically denied being part of Green’s consortium and backed Smith.
The others Green named were "Chris Morgan, a UK-based businessman representing family trusts; Glenmuir, the renowned Scottish clothing company; Alessandro Celano of Blue Pitch Holdings and Zeus Capital".
They hold the key to the prospect of a very quick sale but Green is in strong need of goodwill.
He needs fans’ money and SPL clubs, already under pressure from their own fans to reject a newco application, would find it hard to justify backing a club that has no support from within. Players are also free to leave.
The former Sheffield United chief executive previously stated he did not expect to be at Ibrox in a year’s time but might find himself tempted to walk away even earlier given the myriad of uncertainties.