Scottish Third Division Rangers CEO Charles Green "brought an end to his tumultuous reign at the helm of the club after standing down with immediate effect" Thursday night, according to Martyn McLaughlin of the SCOTSMAN. Green decided to vacate his position after conceding the "negative publicity" surrounding him was damaging the club’s reputation. The Ibrox board said that it had "already begun the search for Green's successor," but praised him for helping save the institution from the "dark days" of last summer (SCOTSMAN, 4/19). In London, Roddy Forsyth reported former Rangers CEO Martin Bain "is in line for a shock return to Ibrox to take up his old job." Green’s departure is further proof that former Owner Craig Whyte "retains the capacity to influence fortunes at Ibrox." Whyte is "detested and despised by the Rangers support for plunging their club into the worst crisis in their history" (TELEGRAPH, 4/20). In Edinburgh, Tom English reported a conference call of the Rangers board Saturday "failed to reach agreement on the identity of the man to replace" Green. However, it is believed club investor Craig Mather "remains the favourite to become the new chief executive." Despite Bain’s name "being mentioned in dispatches, it is believed that the Nottingham-based Mather is the front runner" (SCOTSMAN, 4/21).
RIFT WIDENS: In Glasgow, Guidi & Waddell reported the return of Bain "to steady the ship in the interim period" now looks "unlikely to happen." Rangers Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge "is attempting to distance himself" from Green and Commercial Dir Imran Ahmad "as the rift on the board widens." Mather "has been proposed as the middle-ground candidate" (DAILY RECORD, 4/21). The SCOTSMAN reported turmoil surrounding the ownership of Rangers’ assets "could deepen if not fully tackled immediately." The warning came from John Brown, "the first man publicly to link Craig Whyte and Charles Green in the buy-out that followed the failure of the Ibrox club to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement last June." Brown: "It was going to happen anyway. You are journalists, if you do your job properly you would find that out. It is going to be interesting. I am not surprised because I knew what was going on, but I am trying to get a job at Dundee" (SCOTSMAN, 4/21).
MCCOIST SPEAKS OUT: In Glasgow, Waddell also reported Rangers Manager Ally McCoist said that the club "need cleansed from top to bottom." McCoist confessed that he expects the budget he had agreed with Green for next season "to be wiped out by the behind-the-scenes carnage." With two years’ worth of "dirty linen still spinning around in public," and about to be examined again by an independent commission, McCoist "simply wants to get on with the game." McCoist: "No matter who is in charge we need a bit of stability. There is no doubt about that" (DAILY RECORD, 4/21).
MORE TO COME: Also in Glasgow, Billy Dodds opined "Somehow I dont think Charles Green will be the last member of the Rangers board to leave." The club right now "seems to me to be undertaking a fresh start, a spring cleaning of the big house, but I don't think there is any reason for fans and investors of the Ibrox club to panic this morning." Decisions made in the upcoming weeks "will be for the betterment of the club and in time there will be a new board with a freshness to it, and all the question marks will be taken out of the equation" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 4/21).
Premier League Arsenal has "reacted to criticism" about its ticket prices by bringing in a £10 ($15) teenagers-only section for next season, according to Julian Bennetts of the London EVENING STANDARD. There will be between 800 and 1,000 seats in the section, "which will not apply for Category A games." Although the club will lose almost £400,000 ($609,000) per season because of the initiative, it hopes "to attract a new generation of fans." Arsenal has "taken the brunt of public frustration over the increasing cost of attending football." Arsenal's game against Chelsea in September -- for which prices started at £62 ($94) --was "labelled as the most expensive in Premier League history." Man City "returned 900 tickets," also priced at £62 each. There has "also been numerous occasions when the Emirates has seemed less than full, with the club now announcing ‘tickets sold’ rather than the attendance on matchdays" (EVENING STANDARD, 4/19). In London, Charlie Skillen reported two fan groups -- the Arsenal Supporters' trust and the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association -- "proposed the scheme, which was implemented following talks with club officials." Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis said, ''This is an important initiative to encourage young fans to come to games and make a big contribution to the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium. Our young fans represent the future of the club" (DAILY MAIL, 4/19).
National Rugby League Cronulla Sharks' embattled board was "overthrown" Sunday night, with the club's members overwhelmingly voting to install a rebel ticket of a new Unity group led by Damian Keogh, according to Phil Rothfield of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The result will not be officially announced until Monday night, but "seven members of the rebel ticket have gained control of the stricken franchise." Cronulla Chair Glenn Coleman remains at the helm, but "only by virtue of the fact he was not directly challenged for the spot." The other new board member was not known Sunday night. However, it is understood former Chair Damian Irvine has failed in his bid to be reelected. Irvine resigned in the midst of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation, but threw his hat in the ring as an independent candidate (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/22).
ASADA INTERVIEWS 10 SHARKS: In another piece in the DAILY TELEGRAPH, Josh Massoud reported that "only 10 current Cronulla players -- not 14" -- have received interview notices from the ASADA. The first Sharks are expected to be interviewed next week, with lawyers for both the NRL and players finally in agreement over what the boundaries are. NRL rival Manly is "expected to be the next target," but its interviews won't begin for "at least another three weeks" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/19).
League One side Portsmouth has "come out of administration" and is now officially owned by the Pompey Supporters' Trust, according to Ken Ferris of REUTERS. Business services firm BDO partner Trevor Birch said, "We have cleared the final hurdle: all of the paperwork has now been signed and the sale concluded." The PST's "purchase of the club ends 14 months of administration for Portsmouth," which earlier this week was relegated to the Football League's fourth and lowest division, League Two, having been in the Premier league in '10. The Football League "must now decide when to deduct 10 points from Portsmouth, the 2008 FA Cup winners, for officially coming out of administration" (REUTERS, 4/20).
DANCING IN THE STREETS: In London, Matt Dickinson wrote "Never let it be said that Portsmouth plummeted down the divisions. On Saturday, at a sun-kissed Fratton Park, they skipped and showboated into League Two." New Chair Ian McInnes, "leapt out of his seat to do a jig. A samba band swayed on to the pitch, dancing girls waggling their buttocks." Dickinson continued: "This was the day Portsmouth could laugh in the face of relegation and a fresh ten-point deduction because, at 8pm on Friday night, they had become the largest fan-owned club in England. The nightmares were over. The parasites have been banished for ever." Portsmouth is now "a prime example of what fan-power can do." Instead of sheikhs and tycoons, Portsmouth "is now owned by men" like 87-year-old Josh Nunn, who bought his £1,000 ($1,500) share "even though he had not been to Fratton Park since 1963." He came on Saturday — and no, the old place has not changed a bit (LONDON TIMES, 4/22).