RANGERS supporters are about to have a moment that has parallels with Fergus McCann standing on the steps of Celtic Park in March 1994 beside fellow takeover figurehead Brian Dempsey, as the later declared “the war is over, the rebels have won”. Dave King, in consort with various fans’ groups, has marshalled enough shareholder support to ensure that the control of Rangers will be wrenched from a board despised by the club’s followers and placed into what are considered transformative hands.
The general meeting that King called to remove the current plc board, who act at the behest of power-behind-the-throne Mike Ashley, scheduled for Friday might not even be required. After James Easdale chose to vacate the scene – an admission the votes are stacking up for the “other side” in the power struggle – it could be that the other directors, chairman David Somers and Ashley men Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, will look to avoid the public indignity of being jettisoned by their shareholders.
It is believed that, with King’s 14.5 per cent, the near 20 per cent of the Three Bears fan consortium comprising Donald Park, George Letham and George Taylor, possibly two of the institutional investors, and the fan groups and King-sympathetic individual shareholders, those seeking regime change could muster around 55 per cent of the total vote.
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King, in stating the other week his movement had already won, appears not to have been guilty of misplaced confidence. Equally, both he and Paul Murray, in their public pronouncements when they went on their public charm offensive earlier this month, are not mistaken about where seizing control leaves them. They have accepted that to restore Rangers they have an Everest-sized task, and that progressing beyond even the foothills might prove painfully slow.
It was four years between McCann’s boardroom triumph and the first title triumph of a Celtic under his charge. Yet the team he inherited were only third in the Scottish top flight and boasted a clutch of current internationals.
Paul Murray stated that he feared it could take up to five years to remodel Rangers top to bottom.
What they do have, though, is a support that will rally to the cause, both financially and emotionally.
But what could really trouble Rangers is remoulding the football operation. Whatever else might be said about those who have mismanaged Rangers in recent years, they did not underfund manager Ally McCoist’s playing operation. Quite the reverse, in fact.
If the SFA were to serve the “considerations” of their Articles regarding the fit and proper person test, King, left, with his tax convictions in South Africa and his boardroom place at Rangers as former owner Craig Whyte called in the administrators, would not be an obvious fit to become a director. King has said that he and Paul Murray have to convince the SFA they should be waved through, which would appear easier with Murray because he was sacked in the fallout of the Whyte takeover in 2011.
Yet, no matter what happens with King and the SFA, the South African-based businessman will be running the show. He doesn’t need any directorship to do that. He will be the King-maker and King-pin to hundreds of thousands of his fellow Rangers supporters. He has an onerous responsibility to demonstrate he can run Rangers successfully, but also in a fashion that bears little relationship to how it has been run for much of the last two decades.