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$40m Glasgow Rangers bid is climax of 40-year love affair


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$40m Glasgow Rangers bid is climax of 40-year love affair

Hougang United chief Bill Ng, estimated to be worth up to $82m, lives and brea

Published on Apr 8, 2012

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Hougang United chairman Bill Ng is part of the five-man Singapore consortium seeking to buy Scottish league champions Rangers Football Club. -- PHOTO: BILL NG

By Sanjay Nair

Almost 40 years ago, a Singaporean boy watched on television as Scottish football club Rangers conquered Europe for the first time by lifting the Uefa Cup Winners' Cup.

A love affair was born.

Today, Mr Bill Ng hopes to take his childhood fascination to a whole different level by buying the famous but now bankrupt club for 20 million pounds (S$40 million).

BACKGROUND STORY

-- PHOTO: AFP

CLUB HAS 5.5 MILLION FANS

Rangers Football Club, based in Glasgow, have won 54 Scottish league titles, which is not just a record in their country. No club in the world has won more national titles than them. Nicknamed the Gers, they were the first British club to reach the final of a European club competition in 1961. Their only continental triumph was at the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Rangers boast a reported worldwide fan base of 5.5 million, with their 51,000-capacity Ibrox stadium regularly entertaining sell-out crowds (right). The 141-year-old club are fierce rivals with cross-city opponents Celtic - the two are collectively known as the Old Firm.

Rangers' traditional support has largely come from the Protestant community, while Celtic's supporters are predominantly Catholics. The rivalry is considered one of the most violent in world football. In 1980, about 9,000 fans fought an on-pitch battle in the aftermath of Celtic's 1-0 victory in a Scottish Cup final, but there have been fewer serious incidents of violence in recent years.

It cost Rangers owner Craig Whyte about £52.5 million (S$105 million) to take over the club in May last year. Already struggling to escape the shadow of the popular English Premier League, the club sank into crisis after news that Mr Whyte bought it using about £24.4 million raised by mortgaging three years' worth of season tickets to London-based agency Ticketus.

In February, Rangers entered administration after a dispute with the tax authorities. They could owe more than £134 million to 276 creditors.

Despite his five-man Singapore consortium facing rival American and Scottish bids, the 52-year-old has started to dream of having tea with a Rangers legend.

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_786516.html?

Some of this article is positive, some negative and the remainder bizarre.
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