Nightmare at Rangers: How can a knight in shining armour ride to the rescue in this tale of woe
It was less a statement, more an SOS. The latest update on the Rangers situation from the club's administrators was one of a series of missives in recent days.
Yet this one was by far the gravest. The SPL champions are now in a 'perilous financial situation'. One which, unless a sale can be agreed in the coming days – a feat unparalleled in corporate history – will lead to the club failing to fulfil their remaining fixtures. In the eyes of director Dave King, liquidation is now 'inevitable'.
Bad news: Rangers are in increasing danger of going out of business
Potential buyer Paul Murray disagrees and, in a second statement, Duff & Phelps also dismissed the prophecies of doom.
Irrespective of who is right, the gravity of the situation can hardly be overstated. Rangers, a proud and decorated club, are now in a truly desperate place.
Such is the level of uncertainty and financial malaise around the club that completing a sale could prove impossible.
So long, stuttering and protracted was Craig Whyte's takeover of the SPL champions that it seemed hell might freeze over first.
The end: Rangers manager Ally McCoist
One interested party last night compared the task of buying Rangers to that of buying a house with dry rot and holes all over the roof.
Making Rangers watertight and windproof will be a painful, lengthy and draining process.
Yesterday there was the unedifying spectre of directors past and present turning their guns on each other with abandon.
Individuals absolving themselves of blame has become a blood sport in recent weeks, but ignores a more pressing issue.
The damage is done. How, now, do they fix it Moves to find a buyer for the club will be stepped up in the coming days following the failure to reach an agreement on player wage cuts yesterday morning.
With no European football next season and the season-ticket money sold down the river, the keys to Ibrox should come with a health warning.
Paul Murray's Blue Knights – Dave King and all – have vowed to put an offer on the table by March 16 in the hope of winning preferred-bidder status.
On the way out: Rangers captain Steven Davis arrives at Murray Park on Wednesday
Administrators have also spoken again with Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, while talks with an overseas party – believed to be Russian – have brokered no result.
David Whitehouse, joint administrator, outlined the severity of the situation in a late afternoon statement: 'We are announcing today we are accelerating the sale of Rangers Football Club.
'The club is in a perilous financial situation and that should not be underestimated. Regrettably, we have been unable to agree cost- cutting measures with the playing staff on terms that will preserve value in the business.'
Around seven players were unable to agree terms which would have seen them sign short-term contracts with wage cuts ranging from 25 per cent to 75 per cent.
Plenty to contemplate: McCulloch leaves Murray Park after talks with administrators
Agents for some of the seven players had arranged a meeting to resume talks before receiving a call to say there would be no meeting. PFA Scotland said last night they had not given up hope.
Aware of how bad this all looks for the players and their agents, a union statement read: 'The players feel we are not far from a resolution that will see the broad agreement reached last night implemented and every player individually satisfied.
'This would see no redundancies and make the cuts required for the administrators to be able to continue running the club whilst sourcing prospective buyers.'
The reluctance of Duff & Phelps to impose cuts remains a bewildering aspect of all of this.
Anger: Fans are furious with owner Whyte over his takeover
The norm in football is for an administrator to sweep into a club like a malevolent hurricane and cast out staff and players like old bits of furniture within 72 hours.
To that end, the determination of the Rangers administrators to involve players has been painted as a commendable act of socialist goodwill. Yet others will see it as no such thing.
Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and, by putting the matter in the hands of players understandably reluctant to carry the can for a meltdown caused by others, the administrators have tried to impose cuts by committee.
Tough decisions have been avoided and little or nothing achieved in a three-week period crucial to the club's future.
Taking 100,000 a week from Rangers for their services, Duff & Phelps could be perceived to have more reason than most to drag their heels.
Beyond the conspiracy theories, however, the English firm have handled few footballing insolvencies and, frankly, look out of their depth. Defending their stance, sources close to Duff & Phelps point to the need to retain a strong team on the park.
Rangers, they say, are nothing without a team of players. The difference between finishing second and third in the SPL is 900,000; a sum the club needs badly.
Holding off the challenge of Motherwell with a team of 17 and 18-year-olds, however, would be a perilous task. Keeping the top players, then, was paramount to the plan for recovery, as administrators admit.
'We understand the players' position as the scale of wage cuts required to achieve these savings without job losses was very substantial indeed,' they said.
'In view of this, we are faced with a situation of making redundancies within the playing staff on such a scale that would materially erode the value of the playing squad.
'We are striving to strike a balance where cost-cutting measures can be implemented but do not destroy the fabric of the playing squad to the extent that it will inhibit the prospect of a sale.
'However, no one should be in any doubt that in the absence of sufficient cost-cutting measures or receipt of substantial unplanned income, the club will not be able to fulfil its fixtures throughout the remainder of the season. As a result, we are expediting the sale process and over the next few days we will be holding discussions with prospective purchasers who have declared their interest. The manager, Ally McCoist, will play an integral part in these discussions.
'If however it becomes apparent that the sale process cannot be accelerated, there will be no choice but to implement very severe cost- cutting measures at the club.'
Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae offered the view last night that the starkness of the administrators' warnings could be mere brinkmanship.
That the players will hear the gravity of the situation and back down. The PFA Scotland statement offered hope that he is right – but no guarantees. Right now, nothing concerning the future of Rangers is a given.