Charles Green: the man behind Rangers takeover

Interview - Charles Green

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The English venture capitalist leading a "worldwide consortium" which has agreed an £8.5m deal to buy Rangers has a long history in business.

Former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green revealed at a press conference on Sunday morning that there were 20 individuals in his consortium from Asia, the Middle East, Far East and the UK.

The announcement that their bid had been accepted by Rangers' administrators Duff and Phelps was greeted with relief by club manager Ally McCoist, who said it was "very positive news".

But 58-year-old Mr Green remains a largely unpopular figure among Sheffield United fans, many of whom still blame him for the Yorkshire club's financial and footballing difficulties in the mid and late 1990s.

Mr Green was appointed chief executive at Bramall Lane in 1996, after the club was bought by Manchester-based leisure group Conrad.

Start Quote

I met him frequently, with chairman Mike McDonald they set up fan forums which were very good”

End Quote Pete Whitney Sheffield United fan

The Blades - who were then in the second tier of English football - were floated on the stock market, and spent heavily on players in a bid to win promotion back to the Premier League.

When Welsh international Dean Saunders signed for the club he was reported to have declared: "I had options to go to a Premier club but after speaking to chief executive Charles Green I felt I was signing for Real Madrid".

However, Mr Green's relationship with Blades fans quickly turned sour.

Despite reporting a 33% increase in attendances and sales of merchandise through the club shop trebling by October 1997, the company that owned the club made a pre-tax loss of £5.88m for the year compared with a loss of £59,000 the previous year.

Mr Green said at the time that this had largely been due to the club's spiralling wage bill.

Rangers takeover media conference

Strikers Brian Deane and Jan Age Fjortoft were sold on the same day to raise funds - leading to team manager Nigel Spackman, a former Rangers midfielder, resigning in protest.

'Great change'

Fans were reported to have gathered in the car park to confront Mr Green following defeat in a home game with Ipswich in March 1998.

Sheffield United quickly announced that Mr Green was being "given a move away from football affairs" and he was replaced as chief executive, before stepping down from the board completely a few months later.

Pete Whitney, chairman of the official Sheffield United supporters club, told BBC Scotland that Mr Green's record as chief executive of the club had been "varied".

"It was a period of great change when he came, there were changes at board level," he said.

"I met him frequently, with chairman Mike McDonald they set up fan forums which were very good.

"But he wasn't an easy man to get to know, to be honest."

He added that the sale of key players such as Deane was not popular with the supporters and led to a "moderate" time on the pitch for the Blades.

CHARLES GREEN DEAL

  • Green bid is binding
  • Backed by 20 individuals from the UK, Middle East, Far East and Asia
  • CVA is preferred route out of administration, with £8.5m in the pot for creditors
  • CVA proposals go to creditors on 21 May; if rejected, Green will seek Bill Miller-style newco to try to preserve club history
  • Green says he has spent £1m already on deal

However, he said the situation could be different in any takeover of Rangers.

"I understand it is a consortium to the best of my knowledge," he said.

"He was chief executive (at Sheffield United) he wasn't chairman - I don't think at that time he had the financial input to take the chair.

"I have lost track of him since, but obviously he knows football, he has been in football and hopefully for Rangers it will turn out well."

However, several messages critical of Mr Green's time at Sheffield United have been posted on internet fans forums.

One claimed Mr Green had "turned us into a PLC then left it a mess" while another alleged he was the "man responsible for selling Deane and Fjortoft on the same day and dismantling a side that was destined to go up automatically".

Mr Green appears to have had no direct link with any football club since leaving Sheffield United.

But he has been involved in a range of other industries, including medical research, real estate and agriculture.

Records held at Companies House suggest Mr Green has held at least 39 different director or secretary appointments over the years. Thirteen of the firms he has been involved with have since been dissolved.

He appears to move quickly from one post to another, having resigned on 31 occasions, most recently in February.

Mr Green is currently listed as a non-executive director of Nova Resources Limited, which also includes a number of Singaporean and Mongolian-based businessmen on its board.

And he became a director of Sevco 5088 Ltd earlier this month, although the company - which was only formed on 29 March - has not yet listed what its activities are.

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