This was posted in the old thread but I thought I would post it in here as its up to date news from Whyte
Interesting interview by Whyte
IN AN interview that began with some discussion about Rangers' plight with the taxman then veered off into a complete evisceration of the Ibrox old guard before swinging round to deal with what he calls a damaging culture of leaks inside his new club, Craig Whyte had much on his mind.
This was Whyte swinging from the lip, far more relaxed than he had been on the day of his arrival as Rangers' new owner, when he walked in there in a fairly self-conscious mode, not knowing what to do with all these people who were applauding him and calling his name and asking for his autograph.
That was only a few weeks back. He was cagey, then. But not now. Deep breath required here, because this was fairly full-on stuff. He was incensed the other day about a report in the Daily Record that claimed some kind of financial chicanery on his part, a scheme about season ticket money that could, in the words of the headline, turn Rangers into Scotland's version of the stricken Leeds United.Whyte was angry, for sure. But he won't be deflected from the task in hand. Other gripes? The old board.
"I don't know, but I hear that some of the previous directors are still sniping away in the background, still trying to cause trouble where they can. I think it's a pity that some of these guys didn't go gracefully instead of going disgracefully."
He's talking here about former directors, Paul Murray, who put together a late rival bid for control of Rangers, and Alastair Johnston, who broke Whyte's balls when analysing his proposal but didn't appear to apply the same rigour to Murray's plan.
"Alastair Johnston had a chance to stand down and refused. And so did Paul Murray. It was unfortunate for them. You just have to get on with it. I really don't know what their problem is. Why didn't they resign? It's what any reasonable person would have done. The funny thing is that every time I sat down beside Alastair he was exceptionally nice to me, then he goes and stabs me in the back. You could respect somebody more if they just say it to your face, 'Look I don't like you, I don't want the deal and I'm going to resign'. You could respect somebody who said that. But Johnston said something completely different to my face than what he actually did."
The infamous five, aka the independent board committee who scrutinised Whyte's bid, came out with an extraordinary statement in the hours after Whyte concluded business with Sir David Murray, an act of treachery as the new owner saw it – and still sees it.
Is there any way back for suspended chief executive Martin Bain and director Donald McIntyre, two of the five? "No, there's not, no."
Was it all over for them as soon as they issued that statement?
"The statement didn't help. It was very difficult to work with the people who were behind that statement. It's unheard of in a takeover where you buy a company and the people who are running it are talking against you hours after the takeover is completed and yet still they expect to work with you. It's the most bizarre thing. You couldn't make it up.
"Listen, somebody had to do it (buy the club]. Nobody else was going to step up. Despite all their sniping, they all had the opportunity to do the deal, they all had the opportunity to pick up the phone to me and put their money where the mouth was, and didn't do it. Paul Murray's proposal was a five-line email sent from his blackberry. It was nothing. What's the point? Why bother? Why not just stand aside gracefully and let us get on with running the business?"
We move on to the saga of HMRC, the whopping bill that may be coming down the track. Whyte's mantra before, and now, is that his legal counsel says that they will win the case, but even if they don't they have a measure in place to deal with it that will keep the club above ground. But here's the stand-out thing. He reckons it could be years before this thing is over. "I'm aware of a website that has dedicated itself to talking about our tax case," said Whyte of a site that claims to be in the know about Rangers' financial affairs and regularly predicts a new kind of Armageddon for the club.
"I've looked at it. What they're saying is 99 per cent crap. The tribunal only starts in November so it will likely be concluded around March-time. Of course, there will probably be a series of appeals after that. This could go on for years yet. If we lose, we appeal and that's another year. If we win, HMRC could appeal, so it's not necessarily going away any time soon. It would be nice if it could go away sooner but it will run for some time yet."
The scrutiny of his every move is something that has taken him by surprise. He thought he was steeled for it, but he is honest enough to admit that he was not.
"I knew about the intensity of the focus on Rangers but I didn't expect this. I thought I could stay behind the scenes quite easily but that is not the case. I didn't really think through the whole concept of walking around Glasgow getting stopped everywhere. I didn't think about that at all before I got involved in the deal. It brought it home to me that life in Scotland is not the same any more.
"The intensity is incredible. I've read things in the paper before even I know they were happening. Somebody can tell you something and within a couple of hours it's on the internet. Nothing I've ever been involved in compares to this. Weird. Very weird.
"It's something we've spoken about. Rangers, going forward, has got to have a much more co-ordinated media strategy. We'll be looking carefully about who is to talk. We've all got to be on-message. There are far too many leaks coming out of Ibrox."
Whyte has been busy putting together his key executives and there is a role for Gordon Smith in the new set-up. The former player, pundit, agent and chief executive was away in Portugal playing golf at the weekend but will pretty soon take up his post as Rangers' director of football. "Gordon, particularly with his experience with the SFA and UEFA, is a great addition," said Whyte. "He'll be based out of Murray Park and it's important to have somebody at board level based there. The other thing is that we've got to develop our youth players from there. So we've got to have somebody who has the experience and drive to really give the youth system a shake and make sure we have good players coming through in the next five and ten years.
"We've had quite a few who have come through but given the money we spend and the set-up we have out there I don't think enough come through. A lot more can be done. So what I've decided to do is have Ali Russell in charge of operations and he will effectively be chief operating officer on the commercial side and looking for new deals and so on and Gordon will be on the football side, so there's no need to have a chief executive as well."
He's at pains to point out that Ally McCoist is The Man. Together they're trying to force some deals over the finishing line. There's lots going on, he says, but he can't make it public right now. Then he corrects himself. "Actually, nothing stays private for very long so you'll probably know it in a day anyway."
The deal for Carlos Cuellar has been slowed by the change of manager at Villa Park. The Israeli striker, Tomer Hemed, looks like opting for Real Mallorca over Rangers. There are other offers in for players. "We're getting close to where we want to be."
In this new Rangers world you wonder has Whyte got a grasp on the sectarianism issue yet. He says all the right things about not tolerating it, that it has no place in a modern football club, especially one that is hell bent, under Russell's stewardship, of reaching out for new commercial opportunities. The Billy Boys is not exactly the best backing track for a guy who is trying to sell the wholesome Ibrox Experience to the corporate world.
There is in Whyte, though, something of the spirit of the Copland Road. Just a tinge. "Huge strides have been made since I used to go to games 20-25 years ago. It's important that we don't have it (sectarian chanting] but it's also important that our club is not singled out. It's something we have got to watch. We've got to make sure that all fans are treated equally."
He says he would like to fade into the background as soon as the season is up and running, a comment that produces an ironic laugh. "I'd like a low-key existence." The laugh said that he knows that those days living in the shadows are over.
Some good points I especially wonder who's website he is referring to