AS SHAREHOLDERS prepare to gather at Ibrox this morning for Rangers’ agm, former Ibrox director and investor Dave King has urged the current regime to offer an “olive branch” to supporters by inviting rival Paul Murray on to the board.
Businessman Jim McColl – a backer of the “requisitioners” who had hoped to oust the current board but now look doomed to defeat today – also believes Murray and King would be good additions to the board.
Responding to reports that the reigning board – led by chairman David Somers – had secured enough votes to retain their roles, King said: “I would hope that they will reach out a little bit and invite Paul Murray on to the board.”
Murray and his fellow requisitioners Malcolm Murray – the former newco chairman – Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch had hoped to force themselves into directorships, but despite staring defeat in the face, King and McColl insist that Paul Murray could contribute a great deal to the club,
South African-based tycoon King – who insists he is still “more than keen” to get involved with the running of the club – says hiring Murray would help heal the wounds inflicted by the club’s bitter civil war. He added: “I can’t comment on Malcolm Murray and whether he should be invited on as I have only met him a couple of times and that’s the same with the other two gentlemen, who I don’t know at all. But it would really help the incumbents to get someone of Paul’s experience on to the board. He’s a good Rangers man and a good businessman.
“I think it would send the right signal – almost an olive branch – to the supporters. It would be a very smart thing to do. It would be a very sensible, pragmatic and practical gesture from the board. That might help the fans because they would have a high level of confidence in Paul’s attitude and experience. They would know he would be there for the right reasons.”
The requisitioners had the backing of Rangers’ rank and file, who have reacted angrily to the actions of the current board – which also includes chief executive Graham Wallace, under-fire financial director Brian Stockbridge, James Easdale and Norman Crighton – and even held a red card display during their last home game against Ayr United on 7 December. But Glasgow-born King believes the current board can win over their critics. He said: “One of the difficulties that the Rangers fans have had for a couple of years now is that they haven’t been anywhere near the top of anyone’s considerations about what’s been happening at the club.
“They have been dealt with once or twice a year when [the club] needed money from sea son tickets. There’s been so much bickering and squabbling, changes in ownership and arguments about who is behind it all and who is not.
“But the one thing we will get after tomorrow is some certainty. The shareholders are the shareholders and we can’t wish them away. They will vote in accordance with their own interests. But the important thing after this is how do we move forward? At least we will know who is captaining the ship but then it is about working out how to get the funding it so desperately needs.”
King ploughed £20million into Rangers during Sir David Murray’s reign as chairman but lost his investment when Craig Whyte led the club into liquidation. However, King flew into Glasgow last month to hold talks with both sides of the boardroom divide – and was even offered the chairmanship of the club’s football board by the reigning directors.
Now King – who has settled a long-running dispute with the South African tax authorities – says he is ready to commit himself again once the agm votes are resolved. “Am I still keen to get involved?” he asked. “Absolutely, absolutely. More than keen.”
That news was welcomed by Jim McColl. The Clyde Blowers chairman said: “I would like to see Paul Murray on board. That would provide a strong basis to move forward and I would hope Dave King would be invited on to the board in the future.
“There are some good people on the board now. The new chief executive Graham Wallace is a man of integrity, a competent individual, and I think he is strong enough. But I would like to see Brian Stockbridge voted out. He (Stockbridge) is fighting for his life to stay there. But I would say to the fans to get to the agm and make their voices heard.”