Maurice Johnston has called on Rangers chairman Dave King to relinquish control of the Ibrox club if he cannot provide sufficient investment to pose a credible challenge to Celtic.
The former Scotland striker, who won league titles with both sides of the Old Firm in his playing career, believes that Rangers have made a smart appointment by naming Pedro Caixinha as their new manager.
Johnston, however, insists the Portuguese coach will be unable to bridge the huge gulf which currently exists between the Glasgow clubs unless King is able to significantly increase the player recruitment budget available to the new man.
King’s success in overthrowing the previous Rangers board two years ago has come under scrutiny this week with the Takeover Appeal Board (TAB) ruling he was acting ‘in concert’ with the “Three Bears” consortium of George Taylor, George Letham and Douglas Park to secure enough support to oust the Mike Ashley-backed regime at Ibrox.
South Africa-based businessman King, who has yet to meet Caixinha, is now obliged to offer to buy all shares held by other shareholders in the club for a TAB-prescribed price of 20p each, which is below the current trading price of around 35p. That would entail a total bill of around £12 million for King, although he claims that most shareholders would reject the offer.
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson insists the issue will not affect the funding available to Caixinha this summer but Johnston expressed doubt over King’s wherewithal and suggested it may be time for him to sell the club.
“Maybe Rangers need a different owner,” said Johnston, speaking at a William Hill promotional event yesterday during a rare return to Glasgow.
“Perhaps that’s what has to happen. I don’t know much about the takeover but what I would say is that, if the owner injects money into the club, then things would be better.
“I don’t know the boy King’s finances, but if he puts more money in, then things might improve. But I don’t think he’s going to do that.
“If this is the case then, probably, they would need someone else to come in and invest their money.
“There aren’t a lot of people out there who would be able to do that. For me, it would have to be someone from China. That’s the one for me. Rangers are a big, big club. They and Celtic both are. If you get it right, you’ll get your money back. The amount of money going about in the Champions League is ridiculous and that is