Three men in a boat.

Paul Shackleton of Daniel Stewart definitely has his work cut out.

He put his name to a holding statement  tonight that was released on the wires.

The chap who works for RIFC’s Nominated Adviser (NOMAD), has the name of a famous adventurer.

Ernest Shackleton once made a heroic journey in a small boat in the South Atlantic.

On board was an unbreakable Kerry man called Tom Crean.

That type of courage would certainly assist this Mr Shackleton as he tries to steady the ship.

Currently there are only two directors on board at RIFC, Brian Stockbridge and James Easdale.

Mr Shackleton stated that  it is “not suitable” to have meagre  skeleton crew for such a prestigious vessel on the Clyde.

Below decks in the Sevco quarters is where big brother Sandy Easdale has his bunk.

If Dave King is piped aboard then no doubt the other ranks in the Govan Stand will have another reason for not liking songs about convict ships.

My Square Mile sources tell me that the only saving grace for RIFC is that for an AIM listed company it is “tiny” and the regulatory lads have bigger fish to deep fry.

However, this very public shambles is on the AIM regulatory team’s radar and the statement from the Nomad is indicative of that.

This piece by Kate Burgess in the FT tells me that the NOMAD should have some answers ready soon.

There is a belief among the Sevco customer base and the churnalists that pander to them that the AGM is some kind of settling day; that it is the meeting at which ‘the spivs’ will be routed and the true ‘Rangers men’ will be installed.

I have been trying to educate the Ibrox klan about the realities of their situation and despite being regularly vindicated they seem to have an aversion to crediting a Fenian with any veracity.

However, for an erudite soul like yourself, dear reader, here is a likely scenario.

The only way that dignified men in brogues will get control of the Magic Staircase at Edmiston Drive is to do one of the following:

(1)   Simply buy them out a la Fergus McCann with the old Celtic Board in 1994

(2)   Drive RIFC/Sevco out of business and buy the assets in a liquidation sale

(3)   Work with them in the short-medium term

All are possible of course, but (1) seems unlikely quite simply because it would have happened before now. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to have been any movement on that front. Remember how quickly Fergus McCann was able to move to take over Celtic once the bank acted and the old board realised that the game was up.

What is reasonable to deduce is that, for whatever reason, Jim McColl, although very clearly a wealthy man and emotionally committed to the Rangers brand, doesn’t want to buy out the current shareholders as per option (1).

Given the very public and, dare I say it, undignified slanging match that has been played out in the media, a rapprochement  a la (3) does seem unlikely, though not, of course, impossible.

Which leaves (2).

A crucial part of this plan is that there is a lack of (gasp) transparency in this play.

The Sevco customer base would writhe in pain at the idea of another administration at Ibrox, let alone liquidation.

However, that is the only way of acquiring the Magic Staircase without actually paying the market rate.

Anyone willing to go down route (1) as outlined would have to buy up a majority of the shares on the AIM and then offer the same price for the remainder plus a ‘Control Premium’ (usually 20%).

As well as that substantial sum, there would be the costs of restructuring.

The bottom line?


My number crunching pals are saying £45m – which is just about the same amount that David Cunningham King had to give to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

That nice young Mr Stockbridge is on the record as saying that RIFC will have to go back to the capital markets as Sevco Scotland’s team triumphantly enters the top flight of Scottish football for the first time.

This is the financial director admitting that there is currently no sustainable business plan in operation at Ibrox.

Will all of this magically go away if there are some ‘Rangers men’ voted onto the board at the AGM?

Sadly, no.

Annual General Meetings of listed companies are usually stage managed farces.

Anyone who has attended a Celtic AGM will know what I mean.

If there were some finely polished brogues under the table in the Blue Room, control would still reside with the majority shareholders and those who act as their proxies.

Currently, that means the Easdale family.

If Paul Murray et al did become RIFC directors then they could carry out two functions that they currently cannot.

They could gather intelligence on what is happening in the Ibrox operation and they could provide something of a watching brief on any over the top executive remuneration that may be going on.

I am fully aware that the Ibrox klan are in desperate need desperate of some hope.

I don’t want to dash that, but I now realise that they don’t believe a word I write so no harm done there.

The Magic Staircase is central to the outworking of this hilarious omnishambles.

Control the asset, control the brand.

Whoever has the keys to the Big House gets to say who can pretend at being Rangers.

Perhaps, and it is only supposition on my part, the Brogue Brigade wanted Deloittes to do the job for them this summer.

A Going Concern warning would have done very nicely thank you.

However, I understand from sources that this was avoided by the provision of a £2.5m credit line by way of personal guarantees from the directors.

There is a huge story in the nature of that arrangement, but it is probably too dodgy for the succulent hacks to go near.

Now the Brogue Brigade have to recalibrate their next move.

If they are going for option (2) then they really need an organised fan boycott a la Celts For Change.

However, this rebellion will be directed by the Brogue Brigade rather than the supporters themselves.

Of course a compliant media will be vital if this plan is to work.

I don’t think I have to argue too strongly with you, dear reader, that the klan are rather susceptible to dog whistle rhetoric and that is where the obedient hacks come in.

The Fitba Fourth estate will do what they can to help.

The way in which Charles Green went from his first statements about ‘bigotry’ being the motivating factor behind the #NoToNewCo revolution to the ‘then now and forever’ posturing is a case in point.

It was all too easy for the man who now owns a very fine home in Normandy financed by the klan’s gullibility.

I am sure that Charlie the Conqueror can allow himself a quiet smile as he looks out across his grounds.

It was all too easy for him and perhaps he mused on that when he was handing out cups of tea to The People as they queued for season tickets.

I am sure he was grateful for his good fortune that getting the customer base onside proved so laughably easy.

A reasonable objection to this scenario is the clear fact that the current regime doesn’t seem too keen on having the AGM.

I can’t imagine Dermot Desmond baulking at the idea of the Celtic Annual General Meeting next month.

Between his own shareholding and the shareholders who vote with him he always wins very vote.

Even if a major shareholder or two were to change sides and back the inclusion of Paul Murray et al on the RIFC board, the need for cash would remain extant.

When that nice young Mr Stockbridge said that £1m would be in the RIFC biscuit tin by next April it wasn’t made clear if he had factored in the contingent liability of Imran Ahmad.

The ex-commercial director of RIFC is looking for £500,000. Should he be successful, the Ibrox coffers will also have to meet his and their own legal costs as well as finding half a mill.

The Shackelton was the name given to an RAF aeroplane that was originally designed to win the battle for the Atlantic.

It is well known that Ibrox klan are rather fond of RAF bombers and the Shackleton dropped depth charges.

Paul Shackleton must steady the craft which is already holed below the financial waterline.

The perilous maiden voyage of the good ship Sevco sailing under the RIFC flag of convenience is not over yet.

Britannia no longer rules the waves and time is running out for the chaps at Ibrox to waive the rules.

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