Smith offered a role at Rangers as the new regime meets a frosty reception
CHARLES GREEN last night offered Walter Smith a leading role in Rangers Football Club after a dramatic last-minute bid from the former Ibrox manager threatened to undermine the viability of his new regime.
Green completed his £5.5million purchase of Rangers’ assets hours after the 140-year-old club was officially consigned to liquidation.
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 last 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 Green to sell immediately.
Green called a 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 . . . But there is no benefit to Rangers now 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.”
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 £10 million 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 company 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 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”.
The last-minute appeal failed but entrepreneur McColl later issued a public plea to Green to sell.