LYNSEY SHARP has expressed her despair at the parlous condition of Rangers as she endorses the burgeoning campaign for increased supporter influence on the running of the Ibrox club.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games and European Championship 800 metres silver medallist has joined the Rangers Supporters Trust (RST) who recently passed the 1 per cent threshold of share ownership through their Buy Rangers scheme.
A lifelong Rangers supporter, Sharp received rapturous acclaim when she appeared on the Ibrox pitch with her Glasgow 2014 silver medal last August before Rangers’ first home game of the season against Hibs. The 24-year-old, along with her mother Carol, has now joined the RST who now have almost 3000 fans subscribing to their share purchasing scheme.
“Rangers is in my blood and it’s heartbreaking to see the club like this,” said Sharp. “The fans have so much passion and we need to use that passion to bring the club back to its best.”
In the ongoing battle for boardroom control of Rangers, the current directors rejected a second possible offer of £20 million from American banker Robert Sarver earlier this week as it would have been unable to gain the necessary 75 per cent approval of existing shareholders.
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The “Three Bears” consortium of wealthy Rangers-supporting businessmen Douglas Park, George Taylor and George Letham, who have the backing of the RST, own a combined stake of just under 20 per cent and are continuing their efforts to invest £6.5m in exchange for influential representation on the club’s plc board.
Former director Dave King recently became the club’s biggest single shareholder with the purchase of a 14.57 per cent stake through his family trust’s firm New Oasis Investments, but Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley continues to hold sway at Rangers through his 8.92 per cent stake and alliance with brothers Sandy and James Easdale, who control voting rights of almost 27 per cent.
Now the club’s supporters, through both the RST and the separate Rangers First scheme, which is also close to owning 1 per cent of shares, are stepping up their bid for a greater say in the club’s future.
“In the past few weeks, we have had an incredible response from the fans,” said RST chairman Gordon Dinnie. “There is a real feeling that things are gradually moving in the right direction with the fans becoming more involved. The hope is that we can support the Three Bears in making significant changes to the way the club has been run.”
Dinnie welcomed the recruitment of Sharp to the RST cause and urged other supporters to follow her example. “Lynsey is a fantastic role model,” added Dinnie. “She is well known to the Rangers support and extremely popular in Scotland. We are delighted she has committed to the RST. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen over 400 people sign up for life memberships, annual memberships and join our Buy Rangers scheme. What we need is for every Rangers fan who wants to make a difference to follow Lynsey’s lead by visiting www.therst.co.uk/buyrangers and signing up.”