ALLY McCOIST has called on Dave King, the Ibrox board and Mike Ashley to agree a compromise deal on the ownership of Rangers to finally end financial uncertainty and secure a solid future.
The Rangers manager believes it could be the perfect combination for former director King and Sports Direct owner Ashley to formulate a plan in which they could work together for the good of the club.
However, he has warned that if a deal cannot be struck then the landscape is undoubtedly a bleak one with Rangers set to run out of capital by the end of the year.
King, who is allied with wealthy supporters George Letham and Paul Murray, has been involved in talks with chief executive Graham Wallace and the Rangers board over a £16 million bailout package.
The plan would mean the South African-based businessman taking a 51 per cent stake in the club – in other words control – through a new share issue. At the same time Ashley, who has a joint venture retail deal with Rangers to sell all of the club’s merchandise through Sports Direct, has increased his stake to nearly 10 per cent and has called for an emergency general meeting at which he will seek the removal of Wallace and finance director Philip Nash.
Sandy Easdale, who owns and speaks for 26.15 per cent of shares, is allied to Ashley so it is an indication of the work that needs to be done for all parties to get together.
McCoist has seen many false dawns and has had to live with the consequences of mismanagement by previous regimes, but he is encouraged by recent events and believes there can be a positive outcome within days.
He said: “I’m delighted that now, for the first time, we have a serious opportunity of investment from a couple of areas. It has been well documented that Mike Ashley has increased his shareholding and it has been well documented there has been a series of meetings with Dave King’s team and the board.
“I would be extremely hopeful that a compromise and a deal can be done, involving all parties, and allowing us to move forward.
“I don’t know enough about the individuals’ requirements but if you are asking me whether I would rather take two investors instead of one, or two instead of three then I would obviously go for the greater amount of investment. I would be very, very hopeful that potential investors would want to look after their own investment, but, at the same time, their own investment would have a better chance of success if the club were in a far better place and things were moving forward.
“I don’t really know both personalities and I don’t know exactly what they want, but I would imagine if they could work together it would increase investment. “It would make sense to say if you have two great businessmen on board then it is better than one great businessman.
“If they can work together we will have to wait and see.
“It is not my place to sit down with them but when the time is right I’m sure I will hear from whomever.
“It is their place to have discussions, hopefully positive ones, and come to an agreement which suits the club and hopefully the investors and shareholders.”
At best Ashley is viewed with suspicion by many Rangers supporters due to his association with former chief executive Charles Green, who sold the naming rights to Ibrox to Ashley for £1 when he concluded the Sports Direct retail deal.
Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham said: “We are at a crossroads as a club. We can limp along with a series of short-term loans or we can accept solid funding.
“I don’t believe that Mike Ashley wants to own Rangers and as far as I’m aware the SFA would not allow it if he still owned Newcastle United. I understand he would be looking at loaning the club money.
“However, Dave King, with the backing of other wealthy supporters, is looking to make a solid investment which will allow the club to function properly, improve the stadium and the squad with a view to next season. He has also indicated that there would be subsequent investment.
“Mike Ashley has commercial contracts and you would have thought that if Rangers were in a stronger position and go on to make a return to the Champions League in the future then these would be much more lucrative.
“I’m reasonably hopeful that the board will accept the Dave King package.”