The Club 1872 Board once again finds itself in the position of having to publicly correct various misleading, false and defamatory statements by the self-styled “Requisitioners” led by Mr Robert Marshall.
The Board received an email from this group on Friday 13th August in which they falsely accused our five Directors of multiple breaches of the Companies Act and multiple instances of what they falsely described as “criminal activity”. The letter, which demanded a response within four hours, was a clear and transparent attempt to intimidate the Board during the course of a Contributor poll and betrayed a fundamental and disturbing misunderstanding of company law, the Club 1872 Shares CIC Articles, the rights of Contributors under those Articles and the process of submitting competent resolutions. Their legal position, which they then broadcast on social media and which included publicly accusing the Directors of Club 1872 of criminality, defamed the Directors and is manifestly wrong.
Mr James Laird – who Mr Marshall has publicly stated is providing legal advice to the group and who Mr Kristian Elgey, another member of Mr Marshall’s group, deferred to on governance during his and Mr Laird’s appearance on a podcast – does not appear on the Law Society of Scotland’s website as a qualified solicitor. It is not clear whether Mr Laird provided advice on the contents of the letter of 13th August, but it is a source of amazement to the Board that Mr Marshall’s group has relied on deeply flawed legal advice to make such serious and false public allegations. That Mr Elgey, whilst holding a position as a Board member of HH Global, a reputable company, would be willing to put his name to, and be the public face of, a group circulating such serious false accusations is extraordinary.
An opinion has been obtained from Counsel that the resolutions put forward by Mr Marshall’s group are incompetent, that they do not comply with the Articles and that their allegations of breaches of company law and criminality are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the relevant passages of the Articles and the Companies Act. The Board informed Mr Marshall of the need to rectifying his submission on 12th August but received no reply. His group instead chose to continue along Mr Marshall’s well-worn path of the past few months by making false and defamatory public statements which are causing untold damage to Club 1872. For a group presenting themselves to the Rangers support as wishing to improve corporate governance, their lack of knowledge and competence is stark.
It is only natural that Contributors exposed to the repeated social media smears put out by these individuals are concerned about the content of their false allegations, and we have had a large number of cancellations as a direct result of their behaviour. At a time when the Board wished to relaunch the legacy campaign and increase the Club 1872 shareholding we have instead had to deal with this dishonest and damaging assault on the organisation.
Such has been the reputational and financial damage to Club 1872 during this months long campaign by Mr Marshall and his colleagues, that the Board now has no option but to examine the company’s legal position and how it might mitigate the financial and reputational damage caused to the organisation. This will include examining options for seeking direct financial redress, on behalf of Club 1872, against the individuals involved in both compiling and disseminating false information to Contributors and the wider Rangers support. We have, in the meantime, written to Mr Marshall’s group and invited them to apologise publicly for their defamatory statements.
Despite him not submitting competent resolutions, the Board felt it was correct for Contributors to have their own say on Mr Marshall’s published plan to alter the Articles to allow his group to take over the organisation. Having fallen a huge 30% short of the vote they required to change the Articles and facilitate this power grab, we now hope that Mr Marshall and his group will accept the democratic wishes of Contributors, cease their damaging, false public statements and allow the Board to begin the hard work of repairing the damage done by those statements. A full report, detailing their false accusations and behaviour has been compiled by the Board for the CIC Regulator.< Back