Rangers manager talks to US bidder for club


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -- Rangers manager Ally McCoist has held talks with the American businessman trying to buy the financially stricken Scottish club, which is feared to have debts exceeding $200 million.

Bill Miller, the chairman of a towing and recovery equipment company, is one of three bidders being considered by the administrators tasked with saving the 140-year-old Glasgow club, which is in bankruptcy protection.

McCoist said he was "very impressed" with Miller after speaking to him for an hour on a conference call on Friday.

"I got the feeling that he wants what's best for the club, which is the most important thing," McCoist said on Saturday. "I had a good chat with him and he asked me one or two questions about the club."

Miller's Tennessee-based Miller Industries Inc. markets towing and recovery equipment under brands including Century, Vulcan, Chevron, Holmes, Challenger, Champion, Jige, Boniface and Eagle.

"The next obvious step would be for us to meet and I think that would be the case if the administrators give him preferred bidder status," McCoist said. "I would certainly fly over to the States as soon as (possible)."

The other bidders are a group headed by former Rangers director Paul Murray, and a consortium fronted by Singapore businessman Bill Ng.

"I'm ready, willing and available whenever the Singaporean consortium want to talk to me -- if they want to talk to me, of course," McCoist said. "They might not want to talk to me and they are well within their rights."

To avoid liquidation, Rangers will likely have to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement -- a legal procedure to help rescue a struggling firm by agreeing to deals with creditors over the repayment of debt.

The 54-time Scottish champions entered financial administration in February following a long-running dispute with the tax authorities.

Rangers owes 4 million pounds ($6 million) to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over some contested payments to players from 2000 to 2003.

The Ibrox outfit is also awaiting the verdict of a tax tribunal over long-standing contested liabilities of up to 75 million pounds ($119 million).

Creditors, including rival clubs, are also owed 55.4 million pounds ($88 million), bringing the total potential debt pile to 134 million pounds ($212 million).

Entering administration triggered a 10-point deduction which led to crosstown rival Celtic deposing Rangers as Scottish Premier League champions on Saturday.