Mark Warburton happy to see latest King v Ashley battle end

Mark Warburton believes Rangers have taken another step in the right direction after seeing off Mike Ashley's latest courtroom challenge.

Warburton was happy to see Mike Ashley lose his latest battle. Picture: Michael Gillen
Warburton was happy to see Mike Ashley lose his latest battle. Picture: Michael Gillen

The ongoing feud between the Newcastle owner and Gers chairman Dave King took a fresh twist on Thursday when it emerged Ashley had abandoned legal action calling into question King’s suitability to run the Ibrox outfit.

The billionaire businessman - who owns a nine per cent stake in the Light Blues - had tried to force through a judicial review of the Scottish Football Association’s decision to declare King “fit and proper”.

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But Ashley’s company MASH Holdings called a halt to proceedings at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after the SFA revealed a document from the South African tax authorities giving King their blessing for him to act as a company director.

Both Gers and the SFA still hope the judge hearing the case will order Ashley to stump up for their legal costs but Warburton is just pleased to see another of the troublesome battles with the Magpies owner ticked off.

He said: “You always want the club to be on the back pages not the front pages and that’s the important thing.

“If that’s another one gone then all well and good. It’s about putting Rangers on the back pages and being really positive in the message on what the team achieves.

“If we can do that more often, we’ll be in a good place.”

King - who had to pay the South African taxman almost £44million three years ago to settle a long-running tax dispute and spare himself jail - was cleared by the SFA to sit on the Rangers board last May after the governing body carried out an “unprecedented due diligence” process.

Although Ashley has failed with his latest attempt to frustrate King’s plans to move Gers forward, there are likely to be further disputes ahead, especially with the club’s controversial retail deal with the Sports Direct tycoon set to run until 2023.

But Warburton insists, as far as he is concerned, King is more than fit enough to reign at Ibrox.

Asked if he was satisfied with the backing he had received from the chairman and his fellow directors, he said: “It’s been excellent. We came in last summer and had to recruit a number of players really quickly.

“We got that backing to bring in the likes of James Tavernier, Martyn Waghorn, Andy Halliday, Jason Holt, Rob Kiernan, Wes Foderingham and all the names you know. Outstanding.

“We got their support to move quickly and we had to move quickly to get them in.

“The communication lines are really important. They are clear. Every day we speak two or three times to [managing director] Stewart Robertson and [director of finance and administration] Andrew Dickson. As long as we maintain that we’ll be okay.

“Last June the same questions were asked. Will we get the players in? Then again in the January window. Will you recruit? Will you have the money?

“But so far we are in a good place. We’ve achieved the target of winning the league in a convincing manner, so the club is in a good place right now.

“The board have delivered so far and they know how far we’ve got to go. If people think we’re finished by getting back to the Premiership they are sadly mistaken. We have to keep pushing forward.”

Gers will finally bring the curtain down on their four-year trawl through the lower leagues on Sunday as they fulfil their final Ladbrokes Championship fixture of the campaign away to St Mirren.

The clash will also see striker Waghorn make his return to action following 10 weeks out with a knee injury.

The Englishman was forced to sit out the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Celtic and with the final against Hibs to come on May 21, he is determined not to miss out on any further glory.

“It’s been tough,” he admitted. “The boys won the league without me, the Petrofac Cup too and the semi-final against Celtic.

“The Celtic match would have been the biggest game of my career to date. But you just have to deal with it. I’ve been desperate to get back and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

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