I’m a film buff, and to me the movie Goodfellas is one of the greatest ever made.
One of my favourite parts comes near the start of the film and it is when Paulie becomes a partner in the restaurant where Henry Hill and the other mob guys like to hang out. And in the aftermath of that takeover Henry explains the thinking behind that move in a monologue which is still the perfect exemplar of how the traditional “legitimate business” is used and abused and finally broken by exposure to the world of the gangster.
“Now the guy’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, he can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy’s got to come up with Paulie’s money every week. No matter what. Business bad? F@@k you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F@@k you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning, huh? F@@k you, pay me. Also, Paulie could do anything. Especially run up bills on the joint’s credit. And why not? Nobody’s gonna pay for it anyway. And as soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and you sell it for a hundred. It doesn’t matter. It’s all profit. And then finally, when there’s nothing left, when you can’t borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.”
The Bust-Out is a real strategy; Hill took part in many of them.
And that makes me wonder; are we seeing a similar strategy unfold over in Sevconia?
Because there are parts of it that sound awfully familiar.
What are they up to over there?
The spending continues, although no-one can say where the money is coming from. There’s yet to be a single player photographed in a single kit; it is pretty standard for new signings to be draped in the club shirt with advertisers and sponsors logos emblazoned on it and the background boards. There’s nothing in these cases, nothing at all. The out of control throwing around of money is one thing; the insult to the sponsors is something else.
Is Sevco playing for time? Daring the sponsors to walk away and sue, under the hope that this will allow new sponsors and manufacturers to be found? This late in the day? It seems chronically dangerous to me. With any other organisation the media would be united in calling this a shambles; not one word has been written in the press questioning this.
But the greater question remains; is this is a “bust-out”?
Is planned bankruptcy actually the plan?
Because it allows the club to do certain things it presently isn’t able to.
Administration would hold off the consequences of any court cases involving the sponsors.
It would allow the club to cancel the contracts of staff and players.
Right now the only major creditors are their own directors; if you assume court cases, and the idea that the directors don’t plan on seeing any of their money back they could simply accept pennies in the pound, press the sponsors to drop the litigation or be accused of putting the club out of business, force a CVA through, take a minor points hit and be trading again at the current level in a year.
Liquidation would get them out of all their current contracts and pretty much enable them to start again. It would mean another absence from Europe but don’t be too sure that it would see them in the Third Division this time.
Their contract with Puma has one year left.
Both parties are probably of a mind to get out of it at the current time, but I’m just not sure that any new manufacturer will be any happier than Puma are right now. If the Sports Direct thing continues to drag on it’s hard to see how Sevco can justify, to their own fans, having a shirt launch whilst Ashley takes the profits.
This club is in total chaos, and they are signing players. Something is clearly not adding up here. Not one footballer has left Ibrox in this window and seven have signed currently with more on the way. They are yet to find a shirt sponsor. Whole areas of the club remain unattended. They are already back at pre-season training, which means every facility, every part, of the Sevco operation is up and running, with barely a break between now and the last campaign.
How else can this end, but with the club in admin?
Is that what someone at Ibrox (or in South Africa) wants? Is that the endgame? Who could possibly benefit from such a ridiculous scenario? But there are few other explanations for it. From the outside it only looks like one thing; like someone deliberately running this club aground, at a time when the SFA’s own President says the game needs a “strong Rangers”; we know he means Sevco, but in the meantime his own association is letting this go on.
I said in a previous article that we need to start bracing ourselves for what comes next; I cannot help feel that King is deliberately engineering a crisis. When it comes he will find someone else to blame, and the campaign to “go easy” on the fans who’ve “suffered enough” will start up in the media and at the SFA.
Something is in the wind.
And it ain’t the smell of flowers.