Don’t underestimate the danger to Sevco

In any conflict being underestimated by your adversaries rarely fails to bring benefits.

When someone doesn’t believe you have the capabilities or the application to prevail they will ultimately be surprised, and not in a good way.

I suspect there are a few chaps associated with the new club at Ibrox who now realise that they seriously underestimated Craig Whyte.

When he bought the now deceased club from Sir David Murray for one pound sterling the Rangers fans cheered and so did I.

He was a smooth talker, but Craig Whyte was a plain speaker when he had to be.

Just as people thought he had left the stage he reappeared, right at the time of the new club’s share flotation.

Now the ex-CEO of Sevco, Charles Green, has admitted the new club could be in litigation with Craigie boy for a decade.

This isn’t good news for the people trying to steady the good ship Sevco.

Even with the season ticket money guaranteed by the elevation of the Blessed Cardigan last week it merely kicks the cash flow crisis down the road for a few months.

It is undoubtedly a smart move for the Golden Share Boys and something of a coup for them to persuade a genuine Rangers man to front up the current boardroom ensemble.

Of course, the uncomprehendingly loyal bears will stump up for season tickets – they can do no other.

Their rudimentary reasoning is simply that if Walter is on board then all must be ok.

The current signing of players, within the confines of a very understanding registration ban, is simply another signal to the customer base that everything is ok and nothing has changed.

Yet it is merely a short term chimera designed to sooth anxious bears due to receive season ticket renewal forms.

The cash burn remains extant and as there is no announcement that the new club has secured a credit facility from a bank.

Subsequently the future is uncertain to say the least.

Obviously the forensic detail of the shaky financial structure at Sevco has been previously brilliantly unpacked by the Sports Writer of the Year and all I can do here is adumbrate his prescient analysis.

Similar season ticket sales to that of last year’s merely postpones insolvency.

For the Golden Share lads who probably don’t have any beneficial interest in RIFC past, say, February, that will be good enough.

Once the handcuffs are off their shareholding they will be free to trade them on the Alternative Investment Market.

Charles Green and Imran Ahmad stand to make a substantial profit from their sojourn at Sevco and good luck to them.

However, if you are new to the RIFC board and want to run the new outfit as a going concern – not easy at all – the type of austerity measures required will be reminiscent of administration.

For Sevco watchers, from now until Patrick’s Day next year will be very interesting.

Insolvency or austerity seems to be the only options while the klan pines for a new benefactor who will deliver the good times for them.

It would appear that they don’t do self-reliance down Edmiston Drive way.

The Duff & Phelps administration was, well, rather different to the norm.

Daniel Cousin’s agent, for example, should not expect a call.

Of course, unquestioning breathless copy about ‘steadying the ship’ and ‘uniting warring factions’ is what the bears want to hear.

Theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to pay as Sevco dies.

I have read and re-read the ‘Letter Before Claim’ (28th May 2013) from the forensically precise chaps at Merchant Legal LLP and sent to Charles Green, Imran Ahmad, Zeus Capital, Rangers Football Club Limited (formerly Sevco Scotland Limited), Rangers International Football Club PLC and Brian Stockbridge.

They are representing Sevco 5088 Limited, Craig Whyte and Aidan Earley.

Having considered the letter’s terms and shared the contents of the missive with a legally trained colleague, my settled view now is that I cannot see this staying out of court.

I do not believe that the funds are available to Sevco to settle on the stairs even if they wanted to.

This legal instrument cost serious money to compile and with lawyers on a no win no fee basis they clearly see a case worth pursuing.

That will take time to work its way through the legal process.

What isn’t dependent on court dates and arguing lawyers is that Sevco continues to haemorrhage cash – a fact that the succulent lamb chaps seem too squeamish to adequately point out.

There will be no European money in the next three years and the top flight remains two seasons distant.

In the meantime they carry the burden of the second highest wage bill in Scotland.

Given these facts there are two options for Sevco; austerity or insolvency.

The cost cutting programme required would feel like administration for staff and the latter would, of course, actually be administration.

Only a benefactor willing to bankroll Sevco as a plaything would prevent that scenario unfolding.

The financial prognosis I just outlined is incontestable, while across the city there is a self-sustainable football budget of £30m.

These are difficult times for people in the green half of Glasgow who have an aversion to seeing the big picture and giving credit where it is due.

The Moneyball game is now being played with some aplomb by the people in charge on Kerrydale Street and it looks to be putting epochal distance between Celtic and Sevco.

If the klan felt it cold in Stein’s shadow then they should be prepared for it to get downright hypothermic.

Hypothermia can, of course, be fatal.

Rangers died and so can Sevco. In fact, they’re already on the critical list and indeed there’s a lot to criticise about their valued customers.

However, writing commitments during the second half of 2013 mean that I won’t be working on this story as I did with the downfall of Rangers, but like the Skibbereen Eagle, I will be keeping my eye on Sevconia.

I do hope that the klan will underestimate the impact of that scrutiny.

They did the last time…

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