RANGERS football board chairman Sandy Easdale has confirmed Derek Llambias has been hired as a consultant by the Ibrox club.
The former Newcastle United managing director jetted into Glasgow on Monday night before holding talks with the Light Blues board on Tuesday morning.
Llambias is a close ally of Mike Ashley and had been expected to replace Graham Wallace - who resigned on Monday - as chief executive.
Billionaire Sports Direct tycoon Ashley - who owns around nine per cent of Rangers, runs their retail division and holds naming rights to the Ibrox stadium - has put himself in an even better position to control the crisis-hit club after they accepted his £2 million loan offer.
The terms give him security over the Albion Car Park and Edmiston House facility next to Ibrox - and crucially the right to pick two new board members.
But Easdale told Sky Sports News that Llambias is being brought in as a consultant, rather than as a new board member.
He said: “I’ve not had any discussions with him. As far as I am aware he is a consultant at the moment.”
Union of Fans slams trio for backing Ashley rescue bid
Meanwhile, the Union of Fans supporters’ coalition group has slammed chairman David Somers and directors James Easdale - brother of Sandy - and Norman Crighton for backing Ashley’s rescue bid.
Dave King had promised the cash-strapped Glasgow giants a £16 million investment package but in return demanded control of the club.
That bid was rebuffed last week, as was an 11th-hour loan from Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy which was worth £3million.
The fans’ statement read: “The Rangers support and the club itself has once again been betrayed by those tasked with overseeing the health and success of our great football club.
“The decision by the non-executive directors of the Plc board, Mr Somers, Mr James Easdale and Mr Norman Crighton, to effectively hand control of the club to Mike Ashley in return for a £2 million, short term loan, is an absolute disgrace.
“They have acted in a cowardly way and have been bullied by Mike Ashley and Sandy Easdale into giving them precisely what they want with no regard for the club.
“The club was at a crossroads. The board had to decide whether to take us down the route of a long term, £16 million, sustainable investment and the start of a process where fans could once again trust those tasked with nursing Rangers back to health.
“Instead they have handed Mike Ashley control of the boardroom for a pittance which will now have to be repaid out of the pockets of the dwindling number of Rangers fans who still choose to support this regime financially.
“They have neglected their duty to shareholders, fans and the club itself. Their cowardly act now means we are likely to see Mr Ashley gain long term control of the club’s remaining commercial income without having to actually invest a penny.
“The board has, through a policy of inaction and cooperation with Sandy Easdale’s shareholder group, allowed a situation to develop where corporate vultures are grabbing what assets they can.
“There is no long term plan. There is no investment. We simply limp from one short term fix to another, each time giving away more of the family silver, despite a clear alternative being available.
“Sandy Easdale’s pronouncement that the Plc board ‘did their duty and their due diligence accordingly’ and have done ‘what’s in the best interests of the fans, the club and the shareholders’ is the type of laughable nonsense we have come to expect from him.
“Mr Easdale certainly got what he wanted which was the retention of his seat in the director’s box and his club tie. The club and the fans have been sold down the river and this is another kick in the teeth for both them and the reputable shareholders still involved at Rangers.
“Mr Easdale, rather than disingenuous statements, should explain to fans why he actively blocked a £16 million investment that could have taken the club forward.
“It is now a matter of individual conscience for fans if they wish to continue to fund the corporate pillaging of our football club. They should be under no illusions however that every time they purchase a single item in either Sports Direct or our club shops, they are paying for the privilege of allowing Mike Ashley to strengthen his grip on our commercial operations in a move which could hamstring the club for a generation.
“Also for the remainder of this season, every match ticket they buy will be used to pay Mr Ashley back the money he has lent for control of our club. Effectively they will be paying him for the privilege of his power grab.