Firm pledge: Rangers liquidation is not an option for Blue Knights
23:17 GMT, 1 April 2012
I'm the man: Paul Murray intendeds to lead Rangers to safety
Blue Knights chief Paul Murray insisted on Sunday night that he remains the man to save Rangers from liquidation.
But he has been warned by the
administrators that only hard cash – and a competitive bid – will count
in the battle for control of Ibrox.
Murray hit out after Paul Clark, of
administrators Duff & Phelps, warned over the weekend that 'it is
certainly possible Rangers would be liquidated' when new owners take
The former Rangers director, who
said he was now closer to hammering out an agreement to include Ticketus
in his consortium, told Sportsmail: 'It seems the other groups are pushing to put the club into liquidation.
'That is not what I want to do. They have their own reasons for wanting that – but it's not part of my plan.
'Paul Clark was misquoting me if he said I was considering that. I didn't say that.
'I'm a little bit surprised and
concerned, in fact, that the administrators seem to be almost moving
things towards liquidation in the last couple of days.
'From my point of view, first and foremost, we want to reach agreement with creditors – a CVA.
Talking tough: Administrator Paul Clark
'That's the whole reason I'm talking to Ticketus. Those talks are ongoing and we're getting closer, although it's not done yet.
'I'm trying to put in place a restructuring deal that involves a CVA. I think the football and financial benefits of that outweigh the liquidation option.
'So I don't know why Paul Clark seems to be briefing in that direction. It is certainly not my intention to put the club into liquidation.'
A three-year European ban and a vote over re-admission to the SPL would be the price of liquidation – but Duff & Phelps say they will consider a rescue plan that includes that option.
The three groups fighting for control have until Wednesday to lodge their best offers, with the Blue Knights, American investors Club 9 Sports and a Singapore-based group all expected to make formal bids.
The Blue Knights, with significant supporter backing and inside knowledge of the club on their side, should be clear favourites.
Turmoil: Rangers manager Ally McCoist no nearer to knowing what the future will hold
But Sportsmail understands that, with major creditors HMRC watching closely, Duff & Phelps are under pressure to squeeze every last penny out of the process.
It is believed that Club 9's bid is worth the most in terms of overall funds promised and, if they are granted exclusivity, representatives from the Chicago firm are expected to fly into Glasgow in the hope of securing preferred bidder status by the end of the week.
With the involvement of Ticketus seen as a complication by the administrators, they have made it clear that any Murray bid should at least be competitive with their rivals – because they are not allowed legally to do a cut-price deal, even if they think the former Rangers director has the best long-term plan for the club.
Fervent support: Rangers fans will never allow the club to go to the wall
That long-term solution now appears increasingly likely to involve creating a new company, with lead administrator Clark admitting that striking a CVA deal with creditors won't necessarily be the preferred option of the eventual owners.
'It is certainly possible that Rangers would be liquidated,' said Clark, before adding: 'But it would only be done so after the club was made safe. You can name-swap, so there is no impediment to any New Co calling itself Rangers. The name can be secured.
'I'm not saying this is the most likely outcome but it probably needs to be put out there.'
But St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown fears such a nightmare scenario could force several SPL clubs to follow the Ibrox side into liquidation as they loose out on vital income.
He said: 'I think a lot of clubs are kidding themselves on. One or two of them are on the brink as it is. If they're on the brink as it is, and they are getting support financially from Rangers and Sky, there could only be one thing (that could happen).'
Meanwhile, Rangers director Dave King has lambasted former chairman Sir David Murray over his claim that he'd been 'duped' by new owner Craig Whyte, claiming: 'I do not believe that there will be a single person in Scotland who has dealt with both gentlemen that would believe that Craig Whyte had the capacity to dupe David Murray.'