Rangers director Paul Murray has said that an “innocent mistake” led to confusion over the repayment of a £5 million loan to Sports Direct and that the Ibrox club are in a position to complete the transaction to Mike Ashley’s firm.
Lawyers acting for Dave King last week stated that Rangers had paid the £5m, only for Sports Direct lawyers to reject this claim and force the club to concede they were awaiting a sum of £450,000 to make up the balance.
Murray said the repayment – which will return securities over the club’s crest and badges, Murray Park, Edmiston house, and the Ibrox car park – was now in the process of being completed.
“Basically the QC made a simple mistake, he didn’t know the full facts, our QC, he made an innocent mistake and he made those comments and that’s why we then had to clarify it,” said Murray, speaking as Rangers promoted a coaching tie-up with Gala Fairydean Rovers.
“To be clear, we have deposited £5m with our solicitors. We said at the agm that our intention was to repay the loan and we will obviously do that. When you buy a house, you don’t just transfer money overnight without having the legal paperwork in place. These things have to be properly documented. It literally was an innocent mistake the QC made. He didn’t have the facts at his fingertips and that’s why we had to clarify it. It was unfortunate.”
Murray admitted the error by King’s legal team gave critics the chance to jump on the club over the sort of governance issue that Murray would have taken previous boards to task about. He accepted there is a natural scepticism over Rangers’ financial affairs that leads to the bar being higher in terms of scrutiny of their actions than with others.
“I spent a long time criticising past regimes. So I should be held to the standard,” he said. “We said things we would do. And if we don’t do them or do them wrong we should be held to account. We are human beings and will make mistakes. But we are doing everything in the best interests of the club.”
Rangers have made big strides since the King takeover in March, most notably on hte pitch. Murray was dismissive both of any suggestions Mark Warburton could be enticed away so early into his three-year deal or the recent questions over his team’s durability on the back of just two wins from five league games.
“It’s not as if he is coming to us every day to say, ‘I am leaving to go Swansea City’ or whoever he is linked with that day. “I and the rest of the board spent a lot of time identifying Mark and he has done a fantastic job so far. I can’t believe some people are criticising Mark because the progress made has been phenomenal. We have only dropped seven points all season. Hibs have done really well and it’s a great league, very competitive, and long may it continue. But I have been involved in football long enough to know you are going to get speculation. But the club has had no approach from any other club in terms of wanting to bring Mark somewhere else.
“We have only had 15 managers in the club’s history, which is an incredible statistic. Appointing Mark Warburton was a very important decision. The club was at a crossroads at the time. There had been the boardroom changes and we missed out on promotion last season. It was important to build a modern football club and Mark really fits that bill and Davie Weir alongside him really understands the club. You plan to hire a manager forever but you understand that in all walks of life if you do well there will be approaches.
“Things change in life but he is committed to his future here. Promotion to the Premiership is his priority and eventually he wants to take the club back into Europe.”