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US & Singaporean Bidders: Who Are They?


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US & Singaporean Bidders: Who Are They? by JCS

[imgleft]http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/DarcheVinny/ibroxfront_200_200-1.jpg[/imgleft]I am fully supportive of the right to privacy for everyone, particularly in circumstances where the media are being unreasonably intrusive or attempting to covertly and unfairly target or invade the private lives of ordinary, decent people. For ‘Celebs’ the situation is somewhat different, and it is often argued that invasion of their privacy is ‘in the public interest’; indeed, that celebrities are ‘fair game’ for the broadcast and print media.

I do not necessarily share the view that celebrities should be treated any differently to ‘ordinary’ citizens, and I firmly believe that all of us are entitled to rely on the right to privacy unless, of course, we do or say something that seriously impinges upon that right.

However, we should not mistake the right to privacy with the desire for anonymity – they are two utterly different and quite distinct things.

The first is an innate right and the latter often a desire to hide in the shadows. For instance in the case of the four bidders for Rangers FC, only one has openly stated the membership of their consortium and provided us with the fundamental provisions of their bid. That consortium is, of course, the Paul Murray led Blue Knights.

Whilst I fully appreciate the need for confidentiality in respect of the financial details of all three bids, I see no justification for the bidders themselves remaining anonymous.

It is – quite simply - unacceptable that the two remaining consortia should seek - and be granted - the right to anonymity when their interest in Rangers FC and their proposals for the future of the Club are of crucial importance to the employees and fans of Rangers Football Club.

Indeed, it could be credibly argued that it is also crucial to the future wellbeing of the SPL and Scottish football in general. The growing demand for these consortia to reveal their financial backers is entirely reasonable and eminently understandable against the backcloth of the ongoing Craig Whyte saga.

Never again must we find ourselves in the untenable position of not knowing whether our new owners are legitimate business men and women with the best interests of Rangers at heart, or crooks, villains and fraudsters!

The consortia from the United States and Singapore have now submitted their "best and final offers", and I’m sure all Rangers fans share my gratitude that they have shown real interest in the Club, and have taken the time and effort to put together, and submit, realistic bids to the administrators.

But that gratitude should not be misinterpreted or taken for granted by any of these consortia, and none of them should assume that we, the Rangers faithful, are indifferent to their strategy, disinterested in who their investors are, or unmindful of the real damage and chaos that unscrupulous owners can inflict on a club such as ours.

We have seen much of that in recent weeks and months and we want no more!

All of them should take note that we have learned, through bitter experience, the lessons of the David Murray era and through our more recent ‘education’ under the tutelage of Craig Whyte.

We have been expertly ‘schooled’ to be vigilant and to ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’.

In a recent article our former Chairman, Alastair Johnston said, "they (the administrators and the various bidders) need to be transparent about who the individuals are, who are part of the consortiums. The word consortium is a useful phrase, but it disguises a whole lot of mischief potential and I think that, this time round, Rangers fans need to be told."

I doubt that any of us would disagree with those sentiments!

Administrator Duff & Phelps, and the consortia from the United States and Singapore, must understand that the absence of this fundamental information about who comprises their respective teams, only breeds mistrust, scepticism, suspicion, doubt and a distinct lack of confidence in their bids.

Continuing to hide behind anonymity is seriously undermining their credibility and that of the process itself.

Whilst we do not know the financial details of their respective bids we can, at least understand the need for confidentiality in respect of the detailed financial information in these bids, but it is a source of real concern that the consortia from the United States and Singapore have chosen not to share the names and backgrounds of the individual investors who comprise their respective teams.

The starting point must be the disclosure of the business and personal details of each of the members of the three consortia referred to above, and the fans must be told what their resources are and what plans they have for the club.

This does not require the administrators to divulge detailed information on their respective bids but, rather, general information about the individuals involved, their ‘track record’ and the financial ‘clout’ they have.

Messrs. Clark and Whitehouse have stated their intention to assess the three proposals in the coming days, with a preferred bidder being chosen next week with a view to a new owner being in place before the end of the season.

All Rangers fans will welcome that statement and, I suspect, like me, would urge Paul Clark and David Whitehouse to move the analysis and assessment process forward as speedily as possible and with the utmost urgency.

Time is pressing!

As Andy Kerr of the Rangers Supporters Assembly said recently, “we would like the answer to basic questions: who are you and why do you want to buy Rangers? We know all about the Blue Knights, they are the only ones with any detail, and we know about Brian Kennedy, who seems to be a backstop if all goes wrong, but we don't know enough or anything about the other bids," he said.

The ongoing debate amongst Rangers supporters about the efficacy of the Blue Knights bid is interesting in this context.

We can discuss the Blue Knights bid, and their controversial ‘marriage’ with Ticketus, because it is in the public domain – and quite rightly so - but we cannot have the same debate about the other bids or bidders because we simply do not know who, or what, they are!

How can we assess, and compare, the three bids if we have access to information on only one of them?

How can we assess the bidders – the consortia from the United States and Singapore – if we don’t know anything about them?

When Messrs. Clark and Whitehouse embark upon their discussions and consultations with the various consortia, I would suggest that item 1 on their agenda must be to agree with the two foreign consortia, the release of all relevant information about the members of their consortium, their respective business interests, their track record and their financial clout.

Certainly we must know ‘up front’ if any of them have a disreputable business record.

Nothing less will suffice!

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Totally agree, first and foremost we need transparency and we, the fans, should know exactly who all these bidders are. Background, warts and all.

I know big business is mostly secretive but it should not be on this occasion.

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Anonymity will last until preferred bidder is chosen, after that expect a blizzard of PR. Noone wants the hassle of a PR campaign if it is not going anywhere, and PR is expensive, both in time and money.

Ticketus isn't a stumbling block at the moment, if TBK lose out, the preferred bidder's first action will be to sit down with Ticketus/HMRC and negotiate a position.

We'll know more after preferred bidder.

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