Ally McCoist 'concerned' at delayed Rangers takeover

 

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The Independent Online

Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, yesterday called for administrators to name a preferred bidder as soon as possible after expressing concerns over the protracted nature of the bidding process.

The former Ibrox director Paul Murray's Blue Knights consortium took a step back from the race on Monday to buy the club, leaving Bill Ng's Singapore consortium and American tycoon Bill Miller still in the running.

Administrators Duff and Phelps expect to announce a preferred bidder this week but McCoist insists delays so far are hampering his ability to plan for next season.

He said: "There obviously have been developments and it looks like the preferred bidder status has moved away from the Blue Knights and perhaps headed to either the American bid or the Singaporean bid. Obviously, like all Rangers fans, I think the sooner the preferred bidder status is announced would be a big, big step in the right direction.

"The uncertainty and the lack of clarity about the future is obviously really concerning and worrying for everyone, be that players, staff or fans. I can totally understand everybody's concern and that's why I'm hopeful that it will be sooner rather than later.

"I won't lie to you. I'm really concerned and really worried because we have a lot of planning to do. We have pre-season games and hopefully we'll try to arrange pre-season tours. All these things and players coming and going makes it concerning."

The Blue Knights were set to be named preferred bidder on Friday but financial backers Ticketus would not pay the non-refundable deposit, reported to be £500,000. The group raised the cash themselves but, amid the delay, discovered Ng had made what Murray called a "substantially" better offer to Ticketus.

Murray added that they were not able to match Ng's offer and were stepping back from the process in a bid to help Duff and Phelps agree a deal with the Singapore group and avoid liquidation.

However, Ticketus – whose contract with the club gives them the right to £27m of season tickets over the next three years – remain happy to work with Murray.

A spokesman for Ticketus said yesterday: "Discussions with both bids are ongoing and ultimately we are prepared to work with whichever bid the administrators think is best for the club."

It is understood Ticketus remain happy with the proposals on offer from the Blue Knights, which would see them recoup £10m of their money over a longer time period in return for helping to finance the deal.

The investment firm are also willing to work with Ng, who got in touch with the group because they are currently the biggest creditor, although Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs could be owed more should a tax tribunal go against Rangers.

Rather than be the dealmakers, Ticketus feel it is up to the administrators to decide who the preferred bidder is and they will react accordingly. It is understood they have held no talks with the other interested party, US businessman Miller.

Rangers majority shareholder Craig Whyte has also not spoken to Miller, who he claims prefers the option of liquidation and starting a new company rather than exiting administration through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Ng claims his consortium has not yet struck a deal with Ticketus and insists he will focus on his own bid rather than speculate about the Blue Knights' decision to step back. He told BBC Scotland: "We have not agreed on any terms with Ticketus at the moment.

"I do not want to speculate on the reasons of Blue Knights' withdrawal but the apparent withdrawal from the bidding process by the Blue Knights means only that the chances of taking over increases for the two remaining bidders left in the process.

"The best interest for Rangers will be the best bid forward; we accept this as a matter of fact. I do not have the facts of what Mr Bill Miller has proposed. I only know what I can do and what my plans are for the club, if successful."

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