Former Rangers director Dave King will fly in from South Africa next week and not leave Scotland until he comes up with a “definite gameplan” for the future of the Ibrox club.
The South Africa-based businessman last week urged supporters to withhold season- ticket money and hand it over to the club on a game-by-game basis, amid growing concerns about the League 1 leaders’ finances and governance.
The 58-year-old Glaswegian, who invested £20million in the club before it was consigned to liquidation in June 2012, made his plea to fans after Rangers confirmed they had accepted £1.5million in loans from shareholders Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners. King then accepted an invitation to meet the Rangers board after an open letter from chairman David Somers claimed he was “damaging the club” with his statements, although he mocked the tone of the letter, saying he was being “summoned” to explain himself.
Backed by the influential Union of Fans coalition, King will first jet into London to meet with investors in the club before travelling to Glasgow where, aside from his appointment with the Ibrox board, he will meet supporters to find a way forward for the Govan club.
“I will visit the institutions in London next week and put a schedule together with some of the existing shareholders to understand where they are and how they would feel about a rights issue,” said King. “Also, whether they would participate, whether they would give the rights to someone like me and I would like that out of the way before I meet the fans. Then I will stay up in Scotland for as long as it takes until we have a definite gameplan as to how we will go forward from there.”
Former finance director Brian Stockbridge said in October that Rangers would only have around £1m of cash reserves left by April but chief executive Graham Wallace has denied there is a risk of a second administration.
King claims the Ibrox board were fully aware of their predicament when they refused his offer of help late last year. “I said then ‘it’s now early enough to anticipate you will not make the end of the year on your current cash balances and let’s now try, and in an orderly fashion, go about a new fund-raising exercise’,” he recalled. “I was happy to be a significant investor, in fact a leader of a consortium putting new funds into the club with the only condition that the funds went into the club.
“I was looking for a new share issue and for those funds to go into the club and into the team and really all that’s happened is they have adopted a ‘Nero fiddling while Rome burns’ approach where the inevitability of the next couple of months has come to pass.
“They are looking for [fans] to give enough money for season tickets so they can continue for another couple of months before again ending up in another financial crisis. That is what I am trying to avert at this point.”
King later clarified that he had offered to invest in Rangers in response to an apparently misleading statement by Easdale, which was read out on Sky Sports News. He said: “I refer to Sandy Easdale’s statement earlier today that I had never had discussions with him regarding putting new funds into the club.
“I subsequently engaged in private communication with Sandy and he has confirmed directly to me that he intended his comment to be construed as meaning that I had never offered loan finance to the club. I accept that Sandy’s incorrect statement was merely a misunderstanding and that he was not intending to impugn my integrity.”