Are Rangers the Same Or a New Club?

To the green half of Glasgow, at least, the Old Firm derby is no longer a battle between old foes Celtic and Rangers. No, those days have been gone for almost a decade by now.

Instead, the Bhoys will tell you, it’s contested between their beloved Celtic and Sevco, the company who bought all of Rangers’ assets and intellectual property following liquidation in 2012. Indeed, “You’re not Rangers anymore” has rung out in Scottish stadia further than just Celtic Park. ‘Rangers’, these fans will argue, no longer exist. To paraphrase Kevin Bridges, Scottish football became a two-horse race that lost a horse.

But is this true, let alone fair? Did Rangers go bust? Can they, in their current guise, still purport to be the same club as previously? Let’s look back at just how financial meltdown caused Scotland’s most successful side to endure the most hellish of demises.

What Happened To Rangers?

File:Ibrox Stadium Glasgow Rangers v Internazionale(Milan) 2005.jpg -  Wikimedia Commons

The first blow came on Valentine’s Day in 2012, when the Gers, four points behind Celtic in a gripping title race, entered administration and were deducted ten points as a consequence. The club had owed £9 million in pay-as-you-earn taxes and VAT to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, but two months later administrators estimated their debts exceeded an incredible £134 million.

But in truth, the club had already been a ticking time bomb for some time. Even before Craig Whyte, who presided over their demise, bought David Murray’s 85.3 per cent stake the previous May for a mere £1, then-chairman Alastair Johnston had warned that going bust was a dangerously feasible possibility.

In June 2012, though, things came to a head. HMRC rejected prospective owner Charles Green’s bid to exit administration via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) giving creditors nine pence in the pound, and The Rangers Football Club PLC entered liquidation.

Much of the club’s assets and intellectual property were then acquired with a £5.5 million loan by the Charles-Green led Sevco Scotland Ltd, which later changed its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd. They were successful in applying for membership in the Scottish Football League and began lift in the fourth tier, Division Three, in the 2012-13 season.

The extent of the debts which piled up under Whyte, though, was quite astonishing. As revealed by the Daily Record, Rangers owed a total of £140 million between 276 different people or organisations.

This included more than £55 million to the club’s creditors and £26.7 million to Ticketus, but also more surreal expenses such as £48 to a Glasgow tyre service, £40 owed to a face-painting business and £18 to Electrical Waste Recycling Group in Durham.

Why Did Rangers Get Relegated?

It wasn’t so much a relegation as it was starting again, which may be what many who believe Rangers aren’t the same club anymore base their argument upon.

Initially, the Rangers applied for membership straight into the Scottish Premier League, only for ten of the division’s 12 clubs to vote against that, then 25 of the 30 lower-league sides opposed them entering the second tier, Division One. Eventually, they were accepted into Division Three instead.

But it’s important to point out that Scottish Football Association membership was essentially transferred from the pre-liquidation Rangers to the post-liquidation Rangers. The same strings were attached, including a year-long transfer ban.

Of course, Rangers went on to return to the Scottish top-flight in 2016, and now look as best-placed as they ever have been since then to challenge Celtic for the title.

Is Rangers a New Club?

No, because Sevco did not apply for new membership; rather, a transfer of the SFA membership that then belonged to the administrators of Rangers Football Club PLC.

To even try to make this case against Rangers legitimately, you would have to also refer to the likes of Fiorentina and Coventry, both of whom have also been liquidated, in much the same way. For whatever reason, Rangers often seems to stand alone in this regard.

Many influential figures and organisations within the game have also supported the idea that Rangers are still the same club. In December 2014, SPFL chairman Neil Doncaster said: “The decision, very clearly from the commission, was that the club is the same, the club continues, albeit it is owned by a new company, but the club is the same.”

Meanwhile, Green himself, who initially but briefly served as the club’s chief executive, said following the granting of SFA membership in 2012: “This is still Rangers and the next chapter of our history has the potential to be one of the greatest stories in the history of sport.”

Elsewhere, UEFA have stressed that its rules allow for ‘sporting continuity’ of a club’s records, even if their corporate structure changes in the way that Ranger’s did, for example. A quote from FIFA in its weekly magazine in May 2015, stating: “After their enforced relegation in 2012, Glasgow Rangers are in the hunt for promotion back to Scotland’s top flight” also seemed conclusive from one of the game’s highest governing bodies.

So, yes, there’s been newspaper adverts, name-calling and cheap-shot chanting, but ultimately Rangers are still the same club as ever – just one that was resuscitated after its heart briefly stopped beating.

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10 thoughts on “Are Rangers the Same Or a New Club?

  1. Same club – I don’t think so.
    There is no way to separate an entity from a company once it is incorporated – simple company law I’m afraid.
    Anything else is slight of hand boohah, a manipulation of facts as it were, by interested parties, to keep the gravy train rolling. Some call it “The continuation lie”
    Here’s a wee story to put things in the right (or wrong) place in your head:
    A bloke called Bob has his own company – Bob’s entertainment company, and it’s so good, that he regularly wins awards and for many years at that.
    However, he spends too much over the years chasing those shiny baubles, and subsequently goes into liquidation.
    A wee guy called Jim, a big admirer of Bob’s productions, comes along and buys up all the shiny awards and sticks them on his side board. Can Jim now call himself Bob’s entertainment company?
    Sounds a bit ridiculous when you put it like that, no?
    But hey, if it eases your sleep at night, rock on, but those who do not believe any old pish that some people tell them, know better.

    1. How the company Bob?
      That’s a pile of pish you just spewed…
      the club, is not a business the company is. You can’t liquidate a club.

      Analogy for you, BH carpets , owned BJ Flooring Established in 1990, BH carpets goes into administration, before liquidation is Sells / transfers BH flooring to a new company, Called BH laminate & flooring.

      BH flooring, is still a continuation established in 1990 as it didn’t enter liquidation nor did it have its gates padlocked or cease to trade/ or entertain!

  2. Yes he can call himself Bobs entertainment company. Are you thick?
    He can call his company anything he wants. You obviously are a fan of the Unwashed. WATP.

    1. No he can’t Geo ?, you’re club died and you zombies can’t take it. You’re fan base literally stood back and watch it sink. Clowns

      I’ve you still can’t bare it go check out the date of The Rangers Ltd incorporation.

    2. Why were all the players at Ibrokes 2012 allowed to rip up there contracts and leave for free???Because the players refused to play for The New Club???

  3. 29th May 2012 the club was incorporated, check companies House.. The are called The Rangers International football club… Not even Glasgow name… Like poundstretcher, Larry’s laminate land, woolworths etc.. All in the Gazette the official Government publication since 1643…
    It will remain on public record for ever…

  4. It’s just the Tarriers trying to console themselves by giving themselves a wee hug. If they read the article they’d see we applied for a TRANSFER of the SFA membership NOT a new membership. Literally everyone from UEFA down says we are the same club just different business set up. If we were a new club why are they crying so much? The famine is over bhoys, feel free to go home.

    1. No he cant call it what he wants.
      If you register your name in companies House and liquidate it rather than pay your debts, then it’s all over.
      Nobody can now use that name as it is on companies House as liquidated.

  5. You Celtic fans will aye be annoyed that lazerus has risen and chose Ibrox to do so.
    Like it or not of the Hay Shed, neither P we t Andy John or Jesus sterrtit tae call Lazerus, Jimmy or any other different names just because he got his breath back!! Lazerus Wiz still Lazerus and went back to his ain hoose and lived the rest of his life there as Rangers went back tae Ibrox.
    Jist ’cause you woulda preferred Lazerus tae stiy deid and he didnae, yi’ cannae stumach it but yi’ll hivtae learn tae live with it Lassies and laddies!!!

  6. Definitely the same club. 1872 and counting. Same badge, same ground and same supporters. Anyone who says different is clutching at straws!

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