THE battle for control of the Ibrox boardroom has taken a new twist after Rangers chief executive Craig Mather hired PR guru Jack Irvine to launch a fightback against the investors seeking to oust him – just a week after the club released a statement claiming Irvine did not speak for them.
The Media House spokesman has signed a one-year agreement with Mather.
He has been brought in to fight off attempts by Clyde Blowers chairman Jim McColl to have Mather, Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart removed from the board.
Billonaire businessman McColl wants to replace them with former Blue Knight Paul Murray and ex-PricewaterhouseCoopers accountancy expert Frank Blin.
The development comes seven days after the club issued a statement entitled “For the Avoidance of Doubt” which went on to state: “Finally, Jack Irvine of Media House does not speak for this club.”
A club insider said that Irvine is prepared to “go to war” with McColl’s faction. In a statement Irvine – who already represents club investors Sandy and James Easdale – warned McColl and his partners that he would expose their “reprehensible behaviour” of
the past few weeks. Irvine claimed: “The board felt that they were not successfully articulating their defence against the vicious and at times underhand attacks of Jim McColl, Frank Blin and Paul Murray.
“The board also felt that there are huge public misconceptions about the financial realities of the club and once again this was a failure of communication.
“I have known Jim, Frank and Paul for many, many years and have a huge respect for their abilities in their individual fields. Unfortunately I believe they have now stepped out of their comfort zones and are going to find that the everyday rules of business do not apply in the world of football and the media scrutiny they now face is like nothing they will ever have known in their professional lives.
“I, and many other observers, are also staggered at the arrogance of men who have invested nothing in the club yet feel they can dictate to directors who have sunk substantial sums into the venture. I am also reminded that some of these individuals had the chance to buy the club for a modest sum yet were repeatedly found wanting.
“Since then they have done little but damage the club they claim to love. That is reprehensible behaviour and needs to be recognised as such.”
Jim Traynor, Rangers’ head of communications, admitted Irvine’s appointment was a surprise to him. He said: “I have not spoken to Jack Irvine and I have not had any dealings with him. As far as I’m concerned that is the way it will stay.”