RANGERS interim chairman Paul Murray has accused his immediate boardroom predecessors at Ibrox of “appalling recklessness” as the new regime continue their assessment of the club’s fragile finances.
In a bid to lessen Mike Ashley’s influence on Rangers, the club cancelled the drawdown of a second £5 million tranche of the £10m loan arranged with the Newcastle United owner’s Sports Direct company at the end of January.
To address ongoing funding issues, Rangers have instead accepted unsecured, interest-free loans totalling £1.5m from Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor whose “Three Bears” consortium previously had a £6.5m investment proposal turned down. Rangers issued a statement in which Murray hit out at the actions of every controlling faction at the club since Craig Whyte purchased it in 2011 and led it into insolvency.
Murray is especially critical of Ashley’s associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, who were suspended from their roles as chief executive and finance director respectively in the wake of the general meeting of shareholders on 6 March which saw them ousted as directors and Dave King sweep into power.
Revealing that King’s personal investment in the club will be delayed until the South Africa-based businessman’s “fit and proper” status is assessed by the SFA, Murray slammed Llambias and Leach for sanctioning a £300,000 outlay on the general meeting at which they knew in advance they would be defeated.
He also slated the loan signings of five Newcastle United players on transfer deadline day without any of them undergoing medicals. Three of them have yet to play for Rangers.
“Many of the people who have occupied the Ibrox boardroom during that period should be ashamed of themselves for the parts they played in dragging this great institution towards near financial ruin,” said Murray.
“It is actually difficult to look closely at the club’s finances and understand the rationale behind some of the decisions taken.
“Let me give just two examples of the recklessness displayed by those who were removed from office just more than two weeks ago. One is the amount – in the region of £300,000 – spent on a needless General Meeting and the other is the signing of five Newcastle loan players without medicals. This is simply appalling.”
Murray and his fellow directors John Gilligan, John Bennett and Douglas Park will continue what the Rangers statement described as “damage analysis” before finalising their plans for medium to long-term funding of the club.
“We hope to present this package in the coming weeks but I want to thank George, Douglas and George who continue to demonstrate their commitment to the club,” added Murray.
“Dave King is not investing at the moment because, as we have said, we respect the processes of the SFA and must wait until they have completed their review of Dave’s status before he can fully participate in the future of the club.
“After that, we will be inviting him to invest alongside the gentlemen who have just provided today’s facility and others who are also willing to invest. We can and we will rebuild the club and this £1.5m investment is stage one of the process.”
Rangers are also examining the fine detail of Sports Direct’s initial £5m loan, secured by a floating charge on the club’s assets, fixed charges over Murray Park and other properties, and which saw 26 per cent of Rangers Retail share capital transferred to Ashley’s company.
“We have already made it clear we are happy to engage with Sports Direct but the board has decided against drawing down the second £5m tranche of Sports Direct’s £10m loan,” said Murray.
“We are reviewing all of the contractual relationships that Sports Direct has with the club and we hope to conclude this review very shortly.”
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