King claims Rangers would have become permanent also-rans in the Scottish game under the control of Mike Ashley and his partners who were ousted from the boardroom at an extraordinary general meeting in March 2015.
Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner Ashley secured an 8.92 percent Rangers shareholding in the aftermath of the club’s financial collapse in 2012. His associates Barry Leach and Derek Llambias were appointed to the board, forming what King describes as an ‘axis’ with Greenock businessmen James and Sandy Easdale in running the club.
While King says he never feared Rangers would go under permanently, he is convinced they would have been irreparably diminished if Ashley’s influence had remained.
“I don’t think Rangers would ever have folded completely in the sense the supporters base is so large,” reflected King as he savoured the club clinching its first title win in a decade at the weekend as Steven Gerrard’s side opened up an unassailable 20-point lead over Celtic at the top of the Premiership table.
“My view just prior to becoming involved with the club, when I looked at the Easdale/Ashley axis, was that under their business model Rangers were never going to compete for honours again.
“I had a conversation with Ashley in London and his view was that he could run Rangers at a profit.
“He could have done that, of course he could. If you have 50,000 fans willing to buy season tickets, then it was feasible.
“If you spend less than you earn and you have a loyal customer base, then he could have made a profit.
“But Rangers would never have competed. Rangers at that stage were so far behind Celtic that it required major investment to play catch-up.
“My concern was that if we hadn’t found a way to unlock regime change and bring in investors who had the same target of winning leagues and not making money, then I felt Rangers would become a senior junior club in Scotland. It would have become a one-team league.”