Director inquiries at Ibrox

John Greig Image copyright SNS (Scotland)
Image caption Greig brought Craig Whyte credibility with the fans

The loss of John Greig wasn't part of the game plan for the takeover of Rangers.

Although the former player, captain, manager and Greatest Ever Ranger was one of those to put his name to the committee of directors who doubted the suitability of Craig Whyte as owner of the controlling stake, John Greig continued to make the link with the past and with the true blue faithful.

Not any longer. His sudden decision to quit appears to have come - if you'll excuse the pun - out of the blue. I'm told there was no mention of unhappiness when the former directors were last watching the team at Ibrox, or when Craig Whyte last talked to former chairman John McClelland by phone.

It's no huge surprise, mind you, that there are tensions in the Rangers boardroom.

Or at least there would be if the board ever met. We've been told there have been no board meetings since May, when Craig Whyte took over the controlling stake and the chairmanship. Most companies require boards to meet at least once a month, and more often when there are difficulties.

Double whammy

So the double whammy hitting Craig Whyte is, first, that John Greig alerts fans to the concerns that true believers have cause to worry about the direction of travel under Whyte and, second, that John McClelland, the most serious business figure remaining on the board, has also left unhappily.

The chairman could do without the previous six directors who have quit since May - the first two as he arrived, the next two when he ousted them, and another two as they launched legal action for alleged breach of employment contract.

But Greig and McClelland were those he wanted to keep. Greig brought credibility with the fans: McClelland brought credibility with the business community.

The former chairman's experience reached back to a senior role with IBM, more recently in charge of distributing public funds to Scotland's universities and advising the Scottish government on its IT strategy.

And while he wasn't doing any explaining today, saying only that he was kept in the dark by Craig Whyte and the new chairman's team, McClelland understands that non-executive directors have responsibilities.

Rumour mill

As they've been explained to me today through the Institute of Directors in Scotland, directors are there to set strategy, then to monitor it, and they have a legal duty to ensure the finances are in place to carry through that strategy.

They're only likely to leave voluntarily when they're unable to carry out those roles. And it makes you wonder whether it was a particular decision or the question of solvency that led them to quit.

At the heart of the busiest of Scotland's rumour mills, the next step in Rangers' financial saga is the subject of yet more heated speculation.

That £49m tax bill still hangs over Ibrox's future, meaning the risk of insolvency looms large as it reaches the tribunal next month.

But after five months, and with the break with the past ever clearer, there have to be questions asked about the promises made when Craig Whyte came in: £5m in working capital, £5m extra funds to build up the player squad, £1.7m for upgrading facilities?

And while we're at it: who is on the board these days? On the exchange on which Rangers shares are traded, which has seen the share price fall by a third since Craig Whyte took over, the club has registered the resignations of directors, but not the appointment of new ones.

Apart from Whyte, as chairman, and Dave King, who remains a director while battling immense tax difficulties of his own in South Africa, is there actually a Rangers board left?

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