a blurred to the wise; Decisions from Wallace haven't become any clearer with passage of time at Ibrox.
THE never-ending Rangers crisis is a fast-moving thing.
Often the picture changes so quickly that it becomes hard to keep up and almost impossible to remember how it looked before.
Dave King's grenades over the last five days, for example, have altered everything beyond recognition once again. Of course, it may all be different by the time you've finished your morning cuppa but, as things stand right now, King appears to be the club's only viable long-term hope.
In the space of four days, King launched two blistering attacks on the Ibrox hierarchy from his South African bunker.
These were the opening salvos in what will soon become an all-out war for control and already the current regime looks shaken and vulnerable. In fact, its credibility may be damaged beyond repair.
When Graham Wallace was shoehorned into this farrago towards the end of last year, his appointment as the club's chief executive was something of a masterstroke for a board which had lost the trust of its own customers.
In Wallace they found an acceptable corporate face. A man of integrity, experience and substance. Someone whose very presence was enough to ease anxiety levels amongst supporters and investors.
Wallace was the calm ahead of a predicted storm at the agm which, at one stage, had threatened to hit the top of the old marble staircase like a tsunami, wiping out its incumbents. After his arrival, though, it petered out into a non-event.
He spoke with measure and authority. He asked for time - 120 days to be precise - to put his plans in place and also insisted the club was not hurtling towards another insolvency, despite all of the irresponsible scaremongering you may have come across in places such as this one. "Nothing to see here, folks. Keep calm and carry on spending your blue pounds."
And, for a while, largely because of Wallace's gravitas as a front man, it worked. But now that everything has changed again it does seem like an appropriate moment to re-examine some of Wallace's words and actions.
Wallace's problem here, where his own credibility is concerned, is that events and decisions that didn't appear to be very clear in strategy at the time seem even more blurry and confused when viewed through the 20-20 lenses of hindsight.
Let's rewind first to the middle of January.
If you recall, all things Rangers were back on a high state of alarm after news emerged from the dressing room of potential 15 per cent wage cuts across Ally McCoist's first-team squad.
On January 17, in an exclusive Q&A with this paper, Wallace played down the significance of this, dismissing it first as a "conceptual discussion" before adding: "This is not about a need for any immediate drastic action."
All of which soothed a few frayed nerves. But then something very strange happened when Nottingham Forest weighed in with a bid of around the PS1million mark for Rangers left-back Lee Wallace.
The CEO chose to kick this offer into touch, a move which, once again, suggested that the club's finances must be a great deal more robust than many of us on the outside had believed to the case.
Wallace said around that time: "Without putting a number on it, there is sufficient cash in the bank. Come April we would be confident that the club will have sufficient cash in the bank in order to maintain our operations."
Got that? No need for immediate drastic action. Sufficient cash reserves in the bank by April.
Now fast forward to February, little more than two weeks after the Forest bid was rejected.
Record Sport broke the news that Wallace was on the verge of securing a PS1.5m emergency loan from two shareholders, Sandy Easdale and hedge fund group Laxey Partners.
This deal was then ratified and rubber-stamped a week ago today when Wallace confirmed that Laxey would be paid a whopping PS150,000 for the favour.
So now, in retrospect, the decision not to take PS1m from Forest for one of their players seems utterly incomprehensible.
Because, even if that million was to be paid up in two or three separate instalments, surely it would have been more favourable for Rangers than the terms of the deal which now sees a bunch of hedge fund managers positioning themselves as the club's major creditor. Make no mistake, this was a hugely smart piece of business by Laxey Partners.
th chL Not only are they charging exorbitant, high-risk interest rates of more than 30 per cent APR, they have also secured their loan against the Albion car park which is worth many times more potentially than the PS1m they have handed over.
ex mhth mth th h In fact, a cynic might suspect that ultimately Laxey will be hoping the club is in no position to repay this debt in full because ownership of the car park might give them a great deal more bang for their buck.
There is, you see, an interesting subtext to this arrangement because, as per a planning agreement from the time Ibrox was redeveloped, the 7000-capacity Club Deck cannot be opened for business unless the car park is available.
So the closure of that piece of tarmac, for whatever reason, could be very costly for Rangers.
In other words, Laxey now has the club by the short and curlies.
What's more, in the event of another administration - as improbable as Wallace makes such a Doomsday scenario out to be - they would also retain control over the entire process.
There is another man in the middle of all of this who has gone about his business with much more stealth.
His name is Norman Crighton, the recently-appointed chairman of the club's investment committee. And a man with friends in high places at Laxey.
So should we really be surprised that thus far Crighton's contribution to this saga is to propose and recommend a loan with his old pals? Again, this is where Wallace's credibility takes a bit of a pounding as it was left to him to take centre stage and talk this deal up rather than present it for the disaster that it almost certainly is.
He said: "There is a level of return that they would expect for their money. The cost we've agreed with Laxey is deemed appropriate in the market. I don't think there should be any concerns about the level of commerciality on that."
And this from the mouth of the same man who said in January: "The business has to be able to stand on its own two feet without huge amounts of investment coming in just to fund the on-going operation.
"It's not a case of looking for investment to cover on-going operation losses. That, to my mind, makes no sense at all."
You said it, Mr Wallace. Come to think of it, Dave King himself couldn't have put it any better.
IT'S A WALL OF CONFUSION Graham Wallace told Record Sport there was no danger of Gers going bust but why did he snub Forest's bid for Lee Wallace then take out a PS1.5million loan just weeks later? IT'S AW A A W LL OF
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Mar 3, 2014|
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