For business people, it is a fixed asset, but for sports fans it is their special place.
For any follower of any team, the home ground is an essential part of the “product”, and it has symbolic, emotional value that is hard to quantify on a balance sheet.
I was speaking to my greater crested lesser spotted insolvency expert this evening following on from the Duff & Phelps announcement about the end of days for Rangers.
He expertly sketched out for me a post liquidation scenario for the Ibrox club.
Once in Liquidation the Liquidators would attempt to sell the assets to get some money for the creditors.
The holder of the Floating Charge on the assets would be first the list of creditors.
In the case of Rangers, as far as is publicly known, the holder of the Floating Charge is RFC Group limited (formerly known as Wavetower) and wholly owned by Liberty Capital.
Both of these entities are registered in the British Virgin Islands and are part of Mr Craig Whyte’s portfolio of companies.
My insolvency expert said that if the ownership of the Floating Charge was challenged then that could, of course, end up in court.
With the Liquidators on one side and RFC Group/Liberty Capital on the other.
When I asked why this would be so my expert chap said that HMRC as the largest unsecured creditor would be “standing behind the liquidator with a pointy stick!” This was not the type of chat I was expecting, but hey ho!
The Ticketus fellows could also be in play in the Court Room with their highly expensive legal teams.
Insolvency chap pointed to the case of Martin Bain, a relatively straightforward case of compensation for terminated employment.
Mr Bain’s case was brought last summer and is now only scheduled for a full hearing this July.
Quite simply if there are any legal proceedings about who owns the Floating Charge over Ibrox then it could take a very long time.
My expert said:
“A NewCo would be bonkers to sign a lease from the Liquidators for Ibrox while the legal wrangling was still on going. If the Liquidator lost the case then the lease would be worthless, and they could find themselves, NewCo Rangers (2012), being evicted from the stadium.”
“Even if an Arab Sheik were to turn up on Friday with £100 million for the club then Mr Whyte, as the owner of the company would still have to agree to sell his 85% shareholding.”
I asked if there was any scenario that Craig Whyte didn’t financially gain from this.
He said that unless the entrepreneur had broken any laws then no, would not lose, but would profit from his one pound investment in the club.
There is, of course, no evidence that Mr Whyte has acted illegally in any way.
I came back to the status of Ibrox stadium in this post Liquidation scenario because it is this that most engages the supporters.
“This is almost certainly going to end up in court, and there will be no quick resolution of regarding the ownership of Ibrox.”
I asked him if this was likely to be resolved before the start of next season.
He said that he doubted that court schedules would work that fast.
A sort of planning blight may be about to descend on Edmiston Drive.
The Big House may be about to close.