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Alastair Johnston skeptical about Ellis deal


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Alastair Johnston, the Rangers chairman, last night criticised the style and substance of Andrew Ellis’s attempted purchase of the Ibrox club, describing it as “way too prolonged” to prove of any use to the club’s board of directors.

Johnston also expressed dissatisfaction at Ellis’s lack of contact with him. The Ibrox chairman has attempted twice to hold a meeting with the London-based developer about his intentions, to no avail.

Johnston was speaking after returning to his International Management Group base in Cleveland, Ohio, having spent the past six days in Scotland trying to resolve the Rangers ownership question.

On that issue there is not good news. “I don’t see any imminent resolution of a new owner for Rangers, so I believe we are going to have to plan and budget on a ‘no change in ownership’ basis going into next season,” he said.

Johnston, though, reserved his greatest pique and frustration for Ellis, whom he believes has presided over a protracted and overblown period of due diligence, while failing to respond to a number of requests Johnston has made for a meeting.

“The situation regarding Mr Ellis’s proposed buying of Rangers has gone on way too long — so let’s just say I am sceptical about it,” Johnston said. “Not only that, but when Ellis first made his intimations about being interested in buying Rangers back in March, I set up a meeting and was all set to fly out to meet him, when that meeting was abruptly cancelled.

“I find it surprising and perplexing that, for someone supposedly keen to buy the club, Mr Ellis has had no direct contact at all with anyone at Rangers Football Club.

“On this point, two weeks ago, I made another request to hold a meeting with him, knowing that I was going to be in Britain, but I heard nothing back. So I find all of this conduct pretty surprising.”

Asked if there seemed any point in Rangers holding out hope of an Ellis deal, Johnston, while expressing his own doubt on the matter, openly admitted that there was a difference of opinion on the issue between himself and Donald Muir, the corporate firefighter co-opted on to the Rangers board on behalf of the Murray Group.

“Donald Muir believes that there might be something productive in this [Ellis] deal, but I have to say, I reserve my judgment on that,” Johnston said. “You ask me if I am cynical about it? Let’s just say, once again, that I am sceptical. If there is any imminent development on the Ellis front, I will be very surprised.”

In casting doubt on the nature of the Ellis approach, Johnston said that he did not want to put off any other prospective buyer of Rangers, but that any new owner would have to be able to sustain the club financially in the medium to long-term. The subtext of Johnston’s words was obvious.

“We are not looking for some kind of Roman Abramovich figure to come in — someone who can spend tens of millions on Rangers just like that,” Johnston said. “But what I believe Rangers will need is someone who can prove capable of making a significant difference to the fortunes of the club, beyond the mere buying-selling act. There has to be a means there to be able to allow Rangers to thrive beyond any dependence on the banks.”

Johnston also revealed that Walter Smith, the manager, had held private meetings on his own with Rangers’ bankers last week to get his own take on where the club stand in terms of refinancing for next season.

Johnston said he still hoped that Smith would commit to staying on as manager. “I’d heard Mr Ellis state this and that about Walter through the media — well, Walter is actually at Rangers, and he will decide,” Johnston said with another note of frustration in his voice.

“But, in meeting with the bank, I hope Walter was at least able to talk directly about the type of investment he believes the team will need, and maybe take some reassurance from that meeting.

“We will give Walter time to decide his future. At the moment he has both club and personal issues to resolve.”

Meanwhile, Johnston revealed that he plans to attend the North American Rangers Supporters Association (NARSA) convention in Las Vegas next month to put his own case about the club’s future to supporters.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/scotland/article7129280.ece

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Not good news and casts serious doubts over mr ellis's bid. Well done AJ on being so honest about it.

Why does it say (enemy within) when it mentions donald muir, no way the times has printed that.... <cr>

Sorry I copied it from another forum which tiresomely puts that in automatically after Muir's name. I've taken it out now.

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Not good news and casts serious doubts over mr ellis's bid. Well done AJ on being so honest about it.

Why does it say (enemy within) when it mentions donald muir, no way the times has printed that.... <cr>

Sorry I copied it from another forum which tiresomely puts that in automatically after Muir's name. I've taken it out now.

Really, what forum,surely not follow follow.... :lol:

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As I said a few weeks ago on another thread, this takeover talk would come to the fore as we neared the end of the season.

And it would die down AFTER the deadline for season ticket renewals.

It looks like I may have been right.

The STdeadline has been extended mate, maybe the takover has had somthing to do with it, who knows (tu)

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There is one good sign in the story, however worrying the situation with Ellis.

Walter Smith is actually speaking with the bank about the amount of investment necessary for the team. In a worst case scenario, the bank NEEDS Rangers to qualify for Europe and probably even the Champions League to continue to earn extra revenue to pay down the debt should no buyer emerge. The bank cannot afford the club to be devalued as it would simply decrease the likelihood of a sufficently endowed investor to become interested.

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It is certainly a worry for all fans of the club, if Ellis is avoiding directly meeting the club directors , then you would have to assuem that he is possibly a Walter Mitty character, seeking the publicity but with no real will (or financing .. who knows!!) to back up a proper bid.It seems that we will be heading into a new season with little money to improve the squad, or even retain the players who are nearing the end of the their contract.** NOTE .. lets all wave at timmy who will be reading this thread with a smile on their face .. WE ARE STILL CHAMPIONS, you know !! **Anyway, we will have to adjust and move forward, support the club to the best of our abilities and keep beleiving.

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I'm more interested in what Johnston has to say about the meetings with the bank.

Ellis may or may not be the real deal but in the meantime we plan ahead without his input.

No matter who takes us over, they will not be throwing any serious money about, a point which seems to be overlooked by most.

The bottom line is that we need to be able to cover our costs, as we are doing now.

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Hopefully with this statement we will see a decrease in the number of "what the fuk is going on - we demand answers" posts.

Planning for the worst case scenario is a good thing imho - anything above that is a bonus.

Answers are wanted until they aren't the ones that suit.

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In some ways I am glad - we need to work within our own means to have long term stability - and if that means no sugar daddy then so be it - we will overcome - and move on. Ellis's history was always a bit worrying and I while AJ could not stop a takeover in SDM sells between the two of them I still expect them to do the best they can in our interests.

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I think this may just be AJ trying to speed the process up, it must be frustrating for him not being privy to all the details despite being Chairman of the club.

We need this investment so badly though, because i couldn't be any more confident that the bank won't be releasing funds for us to sign players, and with that Walter will no doubt be heading for the exit.

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