RANGERS beat Albion Rovers 2-0 last night to claim their place in a money-spinning Scottish Cup semi-final with Dundee United, but concerns continue to surround the club’s financial future after it was claimed that the Ibrox board have rejected Dave King’s plan to ring-fence season-ticket cash.
King met with the Ibrox directors on Friday for showdown talks about the club’s worrying financial state. The club responded 24 hours later with a statement describing the meetings as a “helpful, open and honest discussion”. But the South Africa-based businessman’s proposed scheme – that would have protected season-ticket cash from being used to repay a controversial £1.5 million loan handed to the new League 1 champions by investors Sandy Easdale and Laxey partners – was knocked-back by the board.
The loan agreement is secured against the Albion car park and Edmiston House facility and will earn Laxey a £150,000 profit in either cash or shares when it is repaid next year. King says the board have addressed many of his concerns about the fallen Glasgow giants’ future but revealed the two sides could not find common ground on the topic of season-ticket revenue.
In a statement issued prior to Rangers’ quarter-final replay against Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park, the multi-millionaire said: “The only significant issue that I discussed with the board that is not contained in the board statement is the Laxey loan facility. Mr [Norman] Crighton, on behalf of the board, made a forcible argument as to why the board considered and approved the terms of the Laxey loan. The board considered that a combination of legal risk and the current financial position justified the loan terms. I replied that a consequence of the board’s view of the high risk to anyone advancing funds to the club is the board’s fiduciary responsibility to ring fence any season-ticket money that is received (even if fans don’t request this) unless sufficient committed financing is in place at that time. The board did not agree with me on this logical consequence but I believe that my observation is correct.”
King looked set to go to war with the board when he advised fans to withhold season-ticket cash and instead pay it into a trust fund which would then drip feed the money to the club. He made his original call after complaining about a lack of transparency about the club’s financial state following last year’s £14.4m loss and rumours of downsizing to boss Ally
McCoist’s squad, which King feared would allow Celtic to rack up “ten in a row”.
On top of his concerns about season-ticket cash, the former director – who lost a £20m investment when the club was liquidated in 2012 – also expressed fears that the board would mortgage off Ibrox and Murray Park to secure fresh finance. But he added: “The board has now publicly dealt with each of the above. The board has affirmed that it regards competition with Celtic and in Europe as being its continued aim and that this outlook will be reflected in the business review that will be published within the next month. Crucially, that will allow fans sufficient time to consider the review prior to investing in