WORKING out exactly when Rangers could clinch the Scottish title this season as they pulled further and further clear of Celtic at the top of the Premiership table proved to be a bit of a struggle for your arithmetically challenged correspondent.

It is, then, fair to say high finance is not particularly strong area.

You do not, however, need to be Warren Buffett to realise the £6.75m share offering which the Ibrox club launched last week will have a damaging impact on the ambitious attempt by Club 1872 to raise £13m and buy out the major stake held by former chairman Dave King.   

Glasgow Times:

Since the supporters’ organisation announced they had struck a deal with King to purchase his entire shareholding in Rangers International Football Club (RIFC) Plc back in December, the uptake of “legacy” memberships has been brisk. 

Indeed, they quickly announced that over 1,000 fans had forked out £500 for one on the first day. That was some going given the challenging economic climate and financial difficulties which so many people are wrestling with amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It was understandable to a degree. The “Never Again” campaign has set out to achieve a 25 per cent plus one share shareholding that will give ordinary fans considerable control and help to ensure that unscrupulous individuals without the best interests of their beloved institution at heart are frozen out in the future.

Glasgow Times:

It will be interesting to see if they can achieve their fundraising target of £2.5m this month. They would seem to have a decent shout of doing so given how well their bold initiative appears to have gone to date. 

However, the chance for Rangers supporters to acquire ordinary shares and voting rights will hinder their efforts. The announcement on the official website this week stated the offering would present them with “the opportunity to help future-proof our club and build a lasting, fan-based legacy”.

Future-proof our club. Lasting, fan-based legacy. It sounded awfully similar to another promotion. Can they both succeed? It is improbable.

Season ticket holders who have not been allowed through the turnstiles at Ibrox to watch a single game in the last 10 months are currently being asked to shell out sizeable sums of their hard-earned to renew.

There is a limit to their benevolence in these uncertain times. They are desperate for their heroes to both build on their league triumph as the 150th anniversary approaches in 2022 and should favour the club share issue.

There are, though, other reasons why “Never Again” may founder.

Glasgow Times:

There have been widespread and deep concerns about how Club 1872 is run behind the scenes for some time. It fact, there has been unease about how it operates almost since it was formed, when Rangers First and the Rangers Supporters’ Trust merged, back in 2016. There are regular complaints about the lack of transparency and consultation.

Directors have certainly come and gone with greater frequency than a government coronavirus briefing. Anyone who has ever served on a committee, even one at their local bowling club, is well aware they can be rife with petty in-fighting and infantile rivalries. The departures have been put down to sour grapes after some inconsequential squabble.   

However, back in September the Reverend Stuart McQuarrie, the former Glasgow University chaplain and the man who conducts the annual Ibrox Disaster service at the John Greig statue at the corner of the Bill Struth and Copland Road Stands, walked. It was impossible to be dismissive about his exit.

When a lengthy and detailed letter written by the Reverend McQuarrie was published on the Follow Follow website last month – presumably with his permission - it painted a damning picture of a dysfunctional and despotic body.

Glasgow Times:

He claimed that decisions had been taken by individuals without the full board being consulted, that an email had been sent to official merchandise supplier Castore which contained confidential information and was legally actionable and that he had subsequently been the victim of aggression, intimidation and coercion.

There has so far been no response to serious accusations from a pensioner who is, as a man of the cloth, about as righteous an individual as you could hope to come across.

Such bitter spats are nothing unusual in a fans’ group. But for one which wants to raise £13m and become the main powerbroker at Rangers? It was not a particularly good look.  Many supporters who still had faith in Club 1872 rapidly revised their view.

Glasgow Times:

Elections are set to be held imminently and new board members appointed. Reputable, experienced and professional people with business, legal and financial backgrounds, possibly even with proven track records in football at a high level, are desperately required.

However, Reverend McQuarrie also stated that one Club 1872 member had been disbarred from being a candidate in the January 2020 elections for unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct without the returning officer, former Rangers director John Gilligan, being informed. He questioned the integrity of the arrangements for the forthcoming elections.

But the Dave King buyout is doomed to fail unless there is radical and immediate change.