Convicted of hubris

This morning I recalled a conversation I had around the time that Mr David Cunningham King reached his “favourable settlement” with the South African criminal justice system.

I was on Skype to a business journalist in that country.

During the call I wanted to confirm the section of the specific law that Mr King had broken.

He said to me:

“Actually, he has forty one convictions for hubris”.

That quip stuck with me as being very perceptive.

Quite frankly Mr King made his tax problems much worse by the way in which he prevaricated with the authorities and thought he could tough it out.

He couldn’t and he was very fortunate to escape prison.

In the military they have a saying:

“A bad plan is better than no plan”.

Well,  back in 2014 Mr King certainly had a plan.

Firstly, it was to buy enough shares along with his Concert Party colleagues to achieve control of Rangers International Football Club (RIFC).

This would mean that they then controlled the home dressing room at Ibrox.

That is still a powerful cultural asset in the West of Scotland.

I have believed for some time that Mr King was convinced that the sight of “Real Rangers Men” at the top of the Magic Staircase inside Ibrox would unleash a tsunami of “soft investment”.

Obviously, he achieved the first part of his plan and he would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky Takeover Panel.

The second part of the plan worked in part, but not enough for it to be a total success.

There was a common thread in both parts of the plan, Other People’s Money (OPM).

I’m told that most of his share purchases were funded by…ahem…soft loans from members of the Concert Party.

However, I’m sure that he has paid them back in full.

Anything less would be undignified.

Mr King is very good at deploying this magical substance OPM in the past and has profited from it.

He clearly has an impressive skill set in convincing seemingly intelligent individuals to part with their money.

Of course, with the home crowd at Ibrox, he didn’t have to try too hard.

They were yearning for a “Real Rangers Man” with putative wealth to deliver them from Ashely.

Actually, there was a possibility, even at the 11th hours before the Off License Putsch for there to be a deal between Big Mike and King.

It was the former who was open to this rapprochement.

However, along with the hubris goes the inflated ego.

An insider confided in me that the South African-based entrepreneur couldn’t abide being in the same room as a genuine self-made billionaire.

Apparently, Dave had to be top dog.

The nature of the usurpation, the humiliation of Derek Llambias in the local media, simply made a dangerous enemy for no good reason.

The triumphalism of the winning side in the March 2015 coup has consequences that have yet to fully play out.

However, even the most dignified observer would have to privately concede that Ashely has been a determined enemy over the past two years.

The leaders Off Licence Putsch did not need to rub Ashley’s nose in it.

That was a mistake.

Mr King seems to have an unfortunate habit of picking up enemies.

The speed with which the Takeover Appeal Board moved to full on legal has surprised the Sevco High Command.

I think the explanation for that can be found in how Mr King interacted with them throughout the process.

Of course, the fans should be told the entire truth of this matter.

Therefore, they are fortunate in having among their number a chap who will stop at nothing to uncover the murky dealings that delivered the Holding Company Vehicle into the hands of such a destructive chairman.

 

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