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Rangers: Fans back Dave King plan after talks

Dave King has arrived in Glasgow. Picture: SNS

Dave King has arrived in Glasgow. Picture: SNS

A coalition of Rangers fan groups says it will press ahead with Dave King’s plan to drip-feed season-ticket cash to the club as the battle for power at Ibrox intensifies.

South Africa-based businessman King has flown to Glasgow for talks with fan groups and investors.

Now after meeting the Castlemilk-born multi-millionaire, the Union of Fans says it is going to set up the trust fund first suggested by King last month to collect season-ticket money from the Light Blue faithful.

It says it will only pass on the cash to the unpopular board now running the club once it has given supporters assurances about the club’s finances.

As part of its plan, the Union of Fans will demand it is given security over Ibrox stadium and the Murray Park training ground.

The move comes after Rangers posted a £14.4million loss last year and were then forced to enter into a £1.5million loan arrangement with investors Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners. The agreement hands Easdale and Laxey security over the Albion car park and Edmiston House facilities near Ibrox, and Laxey a guaranteed £150,000 profit on the deal. The club say they are now examining a counter-offer from shareholder George Letham.

In a statement, the Union of Fans said: “We believe that if the board is happy to hand over security for the Albion car park and Edmiston House, in return for a high interest loan, then they should be happy to secure Ibrox and Auchenhowie (training ground) for the supporters.

“The board has already publicly stated that it has no plans to use these assets to raise finance and we therefore see no reason why it would not comply with this request.”

King will also have a showdown meeting with Rangers chairman David Somers after he accused the former director of attempting to “damage and destabilise” the club.

But King - who lost a £20million investment when Rangers were liquidated in 2012 - is determined to boost the club’s dwindling coffers by investing fresh millions through a new share issue.

The Union of Fans statement adds: “It is clear from Friday’s meeting that Dave King shares the concerns of supporters with regard to the desperate need for investment in the club.

“He has indicated that he is willing to provide that investment by taking a lead role in a fan-based initiative and we are fully supportive of the terms on which he wishes to do so.

“We have arranged to meet again early next week to move the plans forward once he has completed a series of further meetings over the weekend. We would hope to then be in a position to release specific details.

“We are extremely happy with what we see as a clear path forward to return Rangers to health and put the club on a secure footing, where it can challenge for the league and in Europe in the years to come.

“Without the investment being offered by Dave King and others, and with the current board planning to slash costs across the club, which could even delay our return to the top league, we fear that Rangers could be left in the wilderness for years to come.”

In full: Unions of Fans statement

The Union of Fans are today urging every Rangers supporter to put their season ticket money into a trust where it will be held until certain assurances are received by the current board. These assurances will include the club providing supporters with a security over Ibrox stadium and the Auchenhowie training ground before season ticket money is released. This will ensure that the club’s most prized assets are not at risk if another funding crisis ensues.

This initiative is the result of a detailed meeting between Union of Fans representatives and Dave King in Glasgow today. There is now a firm commitment from all parties to move forward. More details of the set-up of the trust, trustees and how fans can take part will be released in the coming days. It is our intention to ensure that fans have full transparency of how the trust will work and we will keep them updated on a regular basis.

We believe that if the board are happy to hand over security for the Albion car park and Edmiston House, in return for a high interest loan, then they should be happy to secure Ibrox and Auchenhowie for the supporters. The board have already publicly stated that they have no plans to use these assets to raise finance and we therefore see no reason why they would not comply with this request.

It is clear from today’s meeting that Dave King shares the concerns of supporters with regard to the desperate need for investment in the club. He has indicated that he is willing to provide that investment by taking a lead role in a fan-based initiative and we are fully supportive of the terms on which he wishes to do so. We have arranged to meet again early next week to move the plans forward once he has completed a series of further meetings over the weekend. We would hope to then be in a position to release specific details.

We are extremely happy with what we see as a clear path forward to return Rangers to health and put the club on a secure footing, where it can challenge for the league and in Europe in the years to come. Without the investment being offered by Dave King and others, and with the current board planning to slash costs across the club, which could even delay our return to the top league, we fear that Rangers could be left in the wilderness for years to come.

We would reiterate that our fans have an opportunity to play a major role in holding this board to account, securing our most prized assets for generations to come and ensuring that much-needed investment is brought in for the benefit of the club and not others. We hope supporters will show their backing for this initiative, and Dave King, by taking part in the Union of Fans Blue Card display at Ibrox on Saturday.

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