DAVE King has refused to back down from his bitter row with the Rangers board after accepting chairman David Somers’ invitation to a showdown.
And, in a separate development tonight, Rangers were reported to be considering a fresh £1 million loan offer from businessman and supporter George Letham, which would see an existing £1.5m deal with Laxey Partners ditched.
Letham told the Rangers Standard website: “[Chief executive] Graham Wallace is now in receipt of written confirmation that I am happy to replace the Laxey loan, on condition that it is cancelled, with no penalty to the club. I have offered the loan on the same terms but with the interest payable reduced from £150,000 to £75,000. It is my intention to convert this interest into shares as I have no wish to take cash out of the club.”
Earlier, King had responded to an open letter from Somers 24 hours earlier in which the Ibrox chairman “summoned” him to a meeting to explain recent statements attacking the board. King said he would be “delighted” to attend but added the way the invitation had been made made him feel like he was being sent to the headmaster for “a caning”.
The South Africa-based businessman is expected to fly to Scotland next week for a meeting with fans after he urged them to withhold season-ticket cash amid growing concerns about the club’s finances.
In Monday’s letter, Somers said King’s “statements and innuendos are very damaging to the club”, but the tycoon has now responded in kind. He released his own open letter to the Rangers chairman in which he said: “Thank you for your email. I also received a copy of your press release stating that I have been ‘summoned’ to a meeting with the board to explain myself. I feel rather like the headmaster is looking to give me a caning. It is most unfortunate you have sought wide media coverage of what should really be a private invitation. I feel compelled to respond in similar vein. I reviewed my two statements in light of your email and don’t find anything astonishing in them whatsoever. They neatly and uncontroversially depict the present state of affairs at the club and the ongoing attitude of the board.
“Similarly, I can’t detect any innuendos. It seems to me that my thoughts are stated pretty clearly and directly. Additionally, there seems nothing potentially damaging to the club. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. I accept, however, that my comments could be perceived as damaging to certain interests that are represented on the board. I don’t equate that with damaging the club. The club is much bigger than the present board. I am delighted to meet with the board to discuss the present funding crisis and can do this on my forthcoming visit. I am not clear what “allegations” you wish me to explain as I can’t find any in my statement. It will assist in my preparation if you provide me with a list of specific “allegations” that you want me to address.
“Incidentally, the irony of a board that has steadfastly refused to enlighten fans now demanding clarity from others has not been lost on me.”
Meanwhile, Rangers have appointed Philip Nash as their new company secretary, Companies House has announced. It comes just two months after the troubled Ibrox outfit confirmed they would use the former Liverpool and Arsenal financial consultant’s services “from time to time’’ as they looked to bring spending under control. In documents lodged with Companies House on Monday, however, it was confirmed Nash was the new secretary, replacing Brian Stockbridge – who also served as the club’s finance director – after he resigned his post on 24 January.
Nash will now set about helping Rangers solve their money worries on a full-time basis.
Rangers are losing about £1million per month and the club’s share price has fallen to 30.5p per share. Chief executive Graham Wallace is just over halfway through a 120-day review of the club’s operations.
But, after posting a £14.4m loss last year, he was forced to accept a controversial £1.5m high-interest loan from investors Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners just to ensure that the League One champions-elect could continue to pay their bills until the end of the season.