ALLY McCOIST has welcomed moves to bring former director Dave King back to Rangers, insisting it would be to the benefit of everyone connected with the club.
Rangers chief executive Craig Mather travelled to South Africa earlier this week for talks with King over a potential fresh investment in the club and a return to the boardroom.
The current board of directors, still without a chairman following Walter Smith’s resignation at the start of August, are embroiled in a power struggle with rival shareholders, led by former director Paul Murray and millionaire businessman Jim McColl, who are seeking their removal at Rangers’ annual general meeting later this month.
Against that backdrop of ongoing turmoil at the club, which has seen supporters’ protest against the board and a loss of over £14 million revealed in Rangers’ first audited annual accounts since the slide into administration and liquidation last year, McCoist believes King’s involvement would be a significant boost.
The Rangers manager, who has a good personal relationship with King, last week confirmed he has agreed a cut of around 50 per cent to his own annual salary of £825,000 which was published in the club’s yearly figures. McCoist accepts Rangers will require fresh income streams as he tries to lead them back to the top flight of Scottish football.
“The recent accounts have been well documented and the fact of the matter is we will need re-investment at some stage in the future,” said McCoist.
“If we are going to get re-investment then it would be good to get it from someone who has definitely got the best interests of the club at heart. Dave King has got Rangers’ best interests at heart and clearly the board also believe that to be the case.
“From my point of view, the fact that a member of the current board has flown to South Africa for talks would indicate they also feel it would be hugely beneficial to have Dave back on board. It can only be a good thing for Rangers.
“The board have a difficult and important job to do and it is encouraging to think we are talking to someone who could help move the club forward. I think it would be a great thing for us all.
“I believe the board deserve credit for making such an effort to attract someone like Dave King back to the club. I think this is a clear message that they are trying to do their best for Rangers.
“Someone like Dave King has already invested vast sums of his own money into Rangers and that tells me he’s the kind of investor we need at this club again.”
King, from Castlemilk in Glasgow, has lived and worked in South Africa since 1976 where he has amassed a significant personal fortune. A boyhood Rangers supporter, he became a non-executive director of the club in March 2000 and invested £20 million of his own money into the club under former owner Sir David Murray’s stewardship.
After Rangers were placed into administration by Murray’s successor Craig Whyte last year, King travelled to Glasgow where he held talks with administrators Duff and Phelps. McCoist accompanied him at that meeting.
King subsequently called on the club’s creditors to reject the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposal put to them by Duff and Phelps in June 2012. He raised doubts at the time over the Charles Green-led consortium which had purchased Rangers’ business and assets from the administrators for £5.5 million.
It remains unclear whether King would be prepared to work in tandem with the current board of Rangers or whether he would be more likely to back the Paul Murray-Jim McColl group of investors. They are due back in the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Monday when they will attempt to have the removal of current directors and the
– appointment of four new directors – including former chairman Malcolm Murray – added to the formal business of the AGM at Ibrox on 24 October.
Any return of King to the Rangers board would also need the approval of the SFA. The 57-year-old was among the old board who were criticised by the SFA’s inquiry into Rangers’ financial collapse for not acting on Whyte’s failure to make payments of £9 million in PAYE and VAT during his ruinous tenure.
King’s long-standing legal dispute with the South African tax authorities had also cast doubt over his ability to meet the necessary criteria to become a Rangers director once more. He reached a settlement of £45 million over the case two months ago which saw all charges against him dropped.
“I regard the sum agreed as being very acceptable,” said King at the time. “It has no impact on my ability to invest in Rangers. In fact, the opposite is true. It means that there are now no restrictions on me whatsoever – plus the ‘fit and proper’ issue disappears as all fraud allegations were finally withdrawn by the state.”