The Unofficial Hougang United FC Supporters Blog

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bill back in the hunt for Rangers

Photo: TNP
SINGAPORE - Barely three weeks after it looked over, the bid by the consortium led by Singaporean Bill Ng to land embattled Scottish Premier League giants Glasgow Rangers is on again.

And in a surprising twist, he could now have the club at just half of his group's initial offer of £20 million (S$40.4 million).

This after American tycoon Bill Miller withdrew his on Tuesday (yesterday morning, Singapore time), which left Rangers, already mired in debts of about £55.4 million, hanging by a thread as they are expected to run out of money by the end of this month.

Without any bids on the table, it triggered a desperate flurry of calls by club administrators Duff & Phelps to interest other parties and for Ng, who is chairman of S-League club Hougang United, to revive his bid.

With the possibility of the 54-time Scottish Premier League champions slipping off the footballing map, they are now even willing to listen to offers that match or are even lower than Miller's £11.6 million offer - almost half of what the club expected when they went into administration in mid-February.

"It is really crazy," Ng, who was already fast asleep when the latest events unfolded in Glasgow, told Today. "There were something like 20 missed calls from Scotland on my phone when I woke up.

"I am now told they are willing to accept 50 per cent of what I had initially offered. It seems they are now more receptive and no longer digging in their heels with unrealistic demands."

Besides the Singapore group, the only one identified in the latest effort to find new owners for the club, two other bids have been submitted at the 11th hour by another foreign consortium and a group of British businessmen.

The interest from Ng's group, with their £20-million offer, was first revealed in March as one of five parties, which dwindled to three last month, in the chase for Rangers.

They emerged as the front runners after the Blue Knights, spearheaded by former club director Paul Murray, dropped out on April 16 only for Ng to follow suit four days later, with claims that Rangers administrators were "shifting the goalposts" too often during negotiations.

Said the 52-year-old businessman: "We've always said we are interested in Rangers but any deal that is concluded has to be realistic. The previous time, we were allowed to sell players, but not buy any for the next season, which is not practical.

The Scottish club's Ibrox stadium in Glasgow. Potential Singapore buyer Bill Ng is said to have offered around $20 million, following the preferred US bidder's surprise pull-out. - Photo: REUTERS

"I'll concede that I am a fan only and my expertise is limited, but the problem at Rangers can be fixed with a restructuring plan. So, after shuttling up and down the UK in the last couple of months, I'm leaving it this time to my agents there to handle negotiations."

Administrators were expected to accept Miller's cutthroat price when he was the only bidder left, but his withdrawal now points to an even deeper financial crisis the 140-year-old institution are in.

Although he has been an unpopular figure among fans at Glasgow with his plans to liquidate Rangers, in walking away the American tycoon said it was a decision that "was entirely pragmatic and based upon his examination of the income and expenditure streams".

Administrators added that Miller's uneasiness were chiefly over "legacy contracts, the limitation of potential revenue streams and the expectation of required investment".

It is an ominous warning to any new owners, including Ng, of a quagmire that awaits them once they are handed the keys to Ibrox Stadium.

An observer in Glasgow, who has been tracking the Rangers bid, felt Ng should not get involved.
"It's a mess at Rangers and I'd strongly advise he walk away, for the sake of his sanity if nothing else," said the observer.

"If his bid goes wrong, he will have irate Rangers fans pestering and threatening him, as Bill Miller found out."  (SOURCE)


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