Does Lloyds mean what it says about Rangers F.C.?

October 31st, 2009

John McLelland with David Murray at MIH's Charlotte Square head office

Since Lloyds Banking Group seems to be incapable of telling us the truth about its agenda for Rangers F.C., the other troubled companies in Sir David Murray’s rapidly disintegrating empire, or indeed anything else at the moment, here’s a satirical interpretation of what the bank’s spin doctors really meant with their recent press statement.

The indented statements are from the original LBG statement, which was published in full in The Herald’s article Rangers: The thirty million pound questions on Wednesday.

“Given the recent press coverage, we would like to be clear Rangers F.C. is neither operated nor run by Lloyds Banking Group.”

We don’t trust the Rangers F.C. board one inch. That’s why we installed Donald Muir. Donald’s a turnaround specialist and he’s on the ‘panel’ of our auditors PWC. We’re running the show now, and Donald is answerable only to us. We expect we’ll have to ease out most of Murray’s cronies on the board in the next few weeks.

“The board of Rangers FC is developing and implementing a sustainable business plan and we have agreed to support this plan.”

Asset stripping is firmly on the agenda. Ibrox will be sold as soon as the commercial property market recovery gains momentum.

“Lloyds Banking Group is a bank which provides finance to many companies and households across the country. Our interest is in helping those customers grow and prosper. We do not run or manage the companies we bank – that is, quite properly, the responsibility of the management.”

We actually rather enjoy pretending to be businessmen and we don’t really mind if that occasionally means that customer firms get destroyed. The recession has, of course, given us more scope to achieve this sort of thing. There can be plenty of upside in it, especially for our friends in the turnaround and insolvency professions. It’s a game of if you scratch our backs, will fill your coffers.

Yes, we’re going to be much more careful in our choice of specialist suppliers than we were in 2003-07. At that time those fools at HBOS went and made Quayside Corporate Services one of their preferred suppliers of turnaround services. Off the record, that was a bit of an oversight. The bank failed to check out their credentials and it turned out some were former embezzlers. Yes it was a bit disaster. Slightly embarrassing, in a way, but the bank didn’t do anything wrong. The real issue was Quayside, who were just a bit too blatant in the way they went about things.

[Editorial note: anyone interested in what BoS Corporate’s director of high risk, Lynden Scourfield, and David Mills’s Quayside Corporate Services got up to with £1bn of HBOS loans, click Re-examining HBOS].

“We would also like to be clear Sir David Murray’s decision to step down as chairman was a personal decision and not at the behest of Lloyds Banking Group.”

We forced Sir David Murray out. Yes there was a bit of kicking and screaming. But we managed to hush this up and the PR guy somehow persuaded him to smile for the photo (see above).

What really happened was it suddenly dawned on us that Sir David isn’t that great a businessman after all. His success was all a bit of a mirage based on over-generous lending by the guys at HBOS — particularly Peter Cummings, who should never have been allowed to make the tea in a bank let alone sign off his own loans.

Foolishly, Cummings and his predecessor Gavin Masterton handed Murray a total of £760m on a “no questions asked, handshake only” basis and, in the current environment, we suddenly realised he hasn’t much chance of paying this back.

So we decided the best thing to do was to lock Sir David up in a darkened room and seize control of his assets. We’ve also installed Alistair Johnston, a former IMG sports marketing executive who we’re confident will do our bidding, as Rangers’ chairman.

Off the record, that wily old fox Sir Angus Grossart was a bit cleverer than Sir David. Sir Angus stepped down from the board of Murray’s Premier Property Group early last year and we cancelled his entire 5.5% shareholding. Yes, cancelled. No we can’t comment on whether Sir Angus was worried that his reputation might be tarnished if PPG went bust. But we’ve put Muir in there too.

“The group is aware of the unique position that football occupies across many Scottish communities and has been working with Scottish football clubs, including Rangers, for many years.”

If Gavin Masterton hadn’t been so besotted with the game, we wouldn’t have got into this mess in the first place. Now that Lloyds is firmly in the driving seat of what the former HBOS, we are not looking a lot less fondly on poorly managed football clubs — especially since the broadcaster Setanta went bust and their revenues have been decimated. Our intention is to “work out” the £200m plus of distressed loans that HBOS extended to Scottish football clubs as quickly as possible. Off the record, we don’t really care if this spells disaster for Scottish football. All we care about is our bonuses.

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2 Comments for “Does Lloyds mean what it says about Rangers F.C.?”

  1. Verray interresting, Ian

  2. Let’s continue this dialogue with a few more satirical titbits:-

    As for Lloyds’s toxic play pal, HBOS: just think of it like Dracula’s ‘kiss of death’. Alongside thriving businesses, they also run individuals into the ground — ASSET STRIPPING is THEIR game, and they do it sooo well. There’s no better bank than HBOS for reversing the fortunes of the wealthy. Their mates over at the SFO and at DLA Piper can be counted on to lend a helping hand should any cover-up be required — others who might lend a hand to pervert the course of justice include New Scotland Yard, the Met, local police — they’re all so brilliantly co-operative, it’s unreal!!

    If anyone gives too much grief, we just kick ’em into the long grass — toss ’em over to the FOS, who always gives them a good run for their money. It’s the perfect face-saver and time-waster when you need it! Normally it takes so long, people who are referred there will eventually give up the will to live or at least forget they even had an issue. It works a treat, really.

    We can run ring rounds laymen and plebians. We’re just so much better at organising ourselves than they are! When push comes to shove they’ll just acknowledge that we DESERVE the riches we’ve got and that they deserve to languish in poverty!! All we need do to protect our power base, is keep our friends in high places sweet and continue to freeze out the great unwashed. Easy peasy, really.

    Our ‘triangle of success’ gives equal co-operative power to the judicia (legal system / law society / bar council), banking’s robber barons (UK banks / financial regulation / Treasury / FSA / World Bank), and the insolvency profession (insolvency service / ‘regulators’ like ICAEW) — all working in tandem, to PROTECT each other from harm. What could be better than that? This way, each of the three sides can prosper as they deserve and continue to feed off the public and ordinary businesses which don’t really deserve to exist anyway.

    We won’t allow ‘public inquiries’ or damning press coverage to undermine the nice little earner we’ve put together for ourselves. No-one’s ever going to question us, as long as we stick together and lend a deaf ear to their challenges, ring-fence any revolutionaries and slap them with huge ‘costs orders’ through the High Court or else bankrupt them, and ensure we continue to control the media through insidious use of in-house legal teams, and continue to block Court hearings by falsifying and expunging records if need be.

    It’s a QUID PRO QUO. We look after the courts, funding the judges salaries and bonuses and preserving their status and untouchability, and in exchange of course they look after us by ensuring all cases go our way. As long as we can sustain the illusion of ‘justice’ and ‘choice’ we can continue to flourish. Whoever the great unwashed votes into power, we’re right behind them. It matters not who gets elected: we pay the piper — so we call the tune.

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