Mike Ashley's abandonment of his court case with Rangers, and subsequent collapse of the gagging order imposed on the details of the Rangers Retail contract, mean that the full extent of how unfair the contract was can finally be revealed.
The Guardian lay the whole sorry situation bare, and reveal that the club earned just 4p in the pound from merchandising sales through the scheme.
Here are some choice extracts:
- In the time of the contract, Rangers Retail has taken £13m from fans, with just £559,000 paid in dividends to Rangers. Despite Sports Direct owning less of RR, Sports Direct have been paid £1.8m in the same period. Rangers' previous retail deal saw an initial payment of £18m with a guaranteed annual income of at least £3m.
- The notice period to end the contract was seven years (can we ask Alan Pardew for advice, here?) and the confidentiality clause applied to Rangers but not to Sports Direct
- Rangers Retail were obliged to buy stock at higher than the market value
- A clause allows Sports Direct to force Rangers out of their shareholding
- Another clause required Rangers to pay over half a million pounds to Sports Direct to CLOSE two stores in Glasgow.
You can read the full article here, although it is quite light on the answer to the obvious question of "well, what do we do now?" Thankfully, the collapse of this gagging order will allow a more thorough investigation of its legality, will prove to all Rangers fans once and for all that buying official merchandise is taking money from the club, and hopefully put plenty of pressure on Ashley. We'll have more about this in the week.