What IS going on at Sevco?
Despite having highly skilled communications experts on the payroll I’m still a bit baffled about this Orlit omnishambles.
I am no business expert and make no claim to be one.
However, I have never heard of a company negotiating to pay an ‘invented invoice’.
If a bill is considered to be the figment of a greedy imagination then it is simply refused, sent back or binned.
What you don’t do is to agree to pay it up in easy instalments!
Yet is this what we are expected to swallow from the PR people at Sevco?
I thought that the statements out of the new club this week were redolent of the halcyon days of salivating ‘succulent lamb’ journalism.
In the pre-internet days it was strictly one way traffic.
The journalist would file copy and, once it had been passed by the sub-editor and legal only then would it arrive with the reader.
The fashioning of the words into a publishable article was as much a collective effort as what the guys down on the floor of the printing plant were doing with paper and ink.
Of course when you are blogging, be it for your employer or just for your own enjoyment (believe me reader I do enjoy this!) then you don’t have a ‘sub’ to keep you write.
See what I did there?
Oh, ok then…
This blogging lark is different from filing copy in a newspaper.
I know, I’ve experienced both environments and it can be a difficult, disorientating transition from print to online.
In the same way that the pass back rule befuddled some veteran goalkeepers, then the digital age is a bit confusing for some chaps around my age…
I must say I’m puzzled too by this story and I have been working on it for a few weeks.
Ok, we know that this work was carried out by Orlit in or around June 2012 and what is at dispute is the second invoice.
The first was paid so presumably Charlie and the boys were satisfied that bill number one was not ‘invented’.
What has not been seriously considered is that perhaps it isn’t the principle of the thing it is, in fact, about the money.
Could £400,000 actually present a problem for the new company?
That hardly seems likely if the share issue delivered £22.5 million into the Sevco coffers.
However, if the real amount raised is a little south of that impressive number then that could explain the contortions around Orlitgate.
I recently asked two people with business backgrounds to advise me on the likely state of Sevco finances.
Their work was based on what was in the public domain, from documents like the share prospectus and what is believed to be paid to the new players like Ian Black and Dean Shiels.
They also made calculations about what had been saved from the Ibrox wage bill when true blue stalwarts like Davis, McGregor and Naismith did walking away last summer.
So the figures I have been examining do carry a health warning as they are not, sadly, based on leaked documents.
However, this is the same sort of informed guesswork that I indulged in ,with the assistance of experts, during the autumn of 2011.
I concluded by then that Rangers FC had, by the middle of October, run out of cash.
This fact was later confirmed by Craig Whyte himself in an interview with the BBC.
What I DIDN’T factor in at the time was that the Motherwell born billionaire would simply stop paying anything to HMRC and use that money to, literally, keep the lights on.
To be very clear I am not inferring that the same situation is happening with Sevco as happened at Rangers.
Sevco have their good name when it comes to paying tax, unlike the deceased club.
I went back to my business guys several times over the past two weeks to clarify how they arrived at various figures.
What they left me to do was to change the ‘value’ of the share issue.
They told me that the figure to tweak was the £22,500,000 that was raised when the Rangers International Football Club (RIFC) was floated on the stock market.
However, they pointed out that if the amount raised was only, say, £9,000,000 or so then that would leave just over £479,000 in the account.
Of course all of these figures could be way out and my two business chaps readily conceded that point when I put it to them.
However, the fact that Sevco have not settled this matter with Orlit despite six months of haggling is an important piece of information to add to the mix.
They told me that if their calculations were correct then, without this bill, Sevco would get to the next tranche of the season ticket money without any difficulty.
The Orlit invoice wouldn’t be a problem if Sevco had a credit line from a bank, but they don’t have one as far as we know.
It would be a good news story for the new club so I am sure their PR department would tell the world.
That is the same problem that Craig Whyte, the last ever owner of Rangers, encountered when he bought the club from Sir David Murray in May 2011.
Of course the word ‘credit’ comes from the Latin Crēdere meaning literally ‘to believe’.
After the past week does anyone really believe Sevco about this fiasco?
I now consider this story to be unworthy of further comment.