In a protracted 1,500 word statement released yesterday, Rangers chairman Craig Whyte looked to clear his name and recenter the consternation and vitriol that has been swirling around the organization since its descent into administration. In what reads more like a "they started it" note from a guilty schoolboy, Whyte failed to achieve his goal, and instead seemed to contradict himself repeatedly.
The lone revelation from Whyte's statement came when he finally admitted to accepting 24 million pounds from Ticketus in exchange for future season tickets at Ibrox. The move ensured his complete takeover of the team last May. Whyte claims that the Ticketus money provided him with "working capital" and enabled him to assume full control of the organization from Sir David Murray.
What is unclear from Whyte's address is why he has emphatically denied using Ticketus money until now. Despite repeatedly asserting that he proved his ability to take over the Ibrox club with 33 million pounds of his own money, he has never produced proof. He similarly continues to suggest that the Rangers disaster has effected his personal finances as well. And yet, he has produced no evidence. The acknowledgement of the Ticketus money is simply the latest ingredient of the witches brew Whyte appears to have concocted.
Beyond the disillusionment and despair caused by Whyte's clandestine boardroom meetings that ultimately proved fatal for Rangers' finances, resides Whyte's colossal mismanagement of damage control. Whyte has routinely walked tail between his legs to address a public outcry in a way that demonstrates—at best—his utter cluelessness and at worst, a sinister arrogance.
With each fresh piece of juicy shrapnel smoldering on the Ibrox faithful, Whyte has seemed shocked that anyone is questioning him. Continually pointing the finger at the HMRC has not only forced closer examination of himself, but also betrays the depths of his ignorance. Rangers fans do not need a scapegoat, they need a leader to explain the situation and how the organization will overcome it.
Tom English excellently analyzed the dribble Whyte released yesterday. Formally eviscerating any semblance of integrity Whyte still enjoyed, English points to the lies, contradictions and shameless pandering that has come to characterize Whyte's response to financial destruction.
The only thing missing from English's glorious piece is the big picture. Hardly the only bizarre account spewed from Whyte's mouth in the last two weeks, his attempt at "clearing his name" acted more like a sniveling apology and resides within the context of a myriad of utterly weird fabrications and fibs.
Consider the Daily Record's report last week that Whyte used different birthdays when registering as the boss of several companies. Why? What could possibly be the motivation behind something like that?
The only conclusion to draw is that Whyte is the type of businessman that thrives on misinformation and untruths. But as the EU struggles to regain its footing and unemployment surges, if there's one thing people will not tolerate anymore, it's a dishonest suit.
Moving forward, it is looking increasingly likely that Whyte will be forced out of Glasgow one way or another. If the Strathclyde police cannot pin something on him, maybe the SFA will. Whatever the outcome, Whyte will have little success distancing himself from Rangers' financial ruin. Despite taking over a rotting framework, Whyte was the steward when the walls collapsed.
As the mob closed in around Whyte last week, he fled to join Duff & Phelps in London. Yet, in his soon-to-be infamous statement, he said, "I don't do walking away." It might be time to issue a retraction of that last part, Mr. Whyte.
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