DAVE King has revealed his desire to restore Rangers to pre-insolvency status by taking the old company out of its current liquidation process and placing it back in the ownership of Ibrox Stadium and other assets.
The Rangers chairman outlined the startling ambition during his first visit to Glasgow from his South African home this season.
King claims it is “emotionally important” to try to reverse some of the damage done to Rangers’ image since Craig Whyte led the club into administration and then liquidation in 2012.
A former director of The Rangers Football Club PLC, which is in liquidation under BDO, King seized control of its successor, Rangers International Football Club, in March this year.
Both Whyte’s acquisition of Rangers from Sir David Murray in 2011 and the subsequent purchase of its business and assets by Charles Green following failure to come out of administration the following year are currently the subject of various legal proceedings.
BDO, meanwhile, had to postpone an interim dividend payment of 7.5p in the pound to Rangers’ unsecured creditors last week after receiving a claim from Law Financial Ltd, one of Whyte’s former companies, for £25 million in priority to other creditors.
In November last year, BDO secured a settlement of £24m from lawyers Collyer Bristow who acted on Whyte’s behalf when he bought the club.
The final amount due to creditors will also be dependent on settlement of the long-running HMRC tax case against Rangers for which the latest appeal ruling from a First Tier Tribunal is still pending.
There appears to be no precedent for taking a company out of liquidation but despite the myriad complications which are clearly involved in Rangers’ case, King insists it could be achieved.
The businessman says it would have no material impact on the current running of the club but would be a positive response to taunts from rival supporters that Rangers are not the same club as they were prior to insolvency.
“We have a vision going forward where I would like to see us taking Oldco out of liquidation and putting assets back into Oldco – putting the old Rangers back into the old company,” said King. “We can’t do it while all this stuff is being sorted out. But these are the areas behind the scenes where we are fairly senior commercial people and I think we can do that.
“The timing will depend on the litigation. Craig Whyte’s got this latest claim – is it a serious claim? We don’t know that yet.
“I’m just hoping we continue to do what is right on the football field and leave us to deal with the other challenges as best we can when they arise.
“I don’t think it is important, I just think it would be a good thing to do. It would be back to the traditional Rangers.
“That is the company and it is a valid thing to take a company out of liquidation and put the assets back into it. I think the supporters would like it. It is not economically important but it is something I would like to do.
“You can never rewind what has happened but you can try and look back in 100 years’ time and say there was a blip of four or five years in Rangers’ history when this all happened and it was resolved to the norm again.
“It’s an emotional thing as well with the supporters. They hear all this ‘You’re not Rangers any more’ and ‘you are a new club’.
“We just want to put all that behind us and say we had this unwanted period and now we are back to where we were. It’s more emotionally important than practically important.
“The jibes don’t bother me. I’m told about it but I’m not in here all the time. It’s part of being in Glasgow, it’s part of the history of the two clubs.
“Rangers fans over the years have been keen to have a dig at Celtic when there is an option to do so. To me that’s not really serious. But, if we could do it, I think it would be a nice thing to do.
“It is practically feasible and legally feasible. We just have to get in the position where the liquidators have done everything they can.
“The club can then be rehabilitated. But if you have all these claims floating around, where we don’t really know who is claiming assets and what they are, then it will continue for a longer period.”
King believes it is ultimately possible that “Oldco” Rangers creditors could get all of their money back. But he added: “You don’t have to pay 100p in the pound to creditors.
“If creditors accept a compromise and waive some of the debt, it could be 50p or 60p in the pound. That’s not a legal requirement, but certainly the creditors have to be happy with the settlement.
“At the moment, if you look at the potential for the liquidation, with getting the money from Collyer Bristow plus potential other claims, if HMRC are taken out the picture, then there is an opportunity for them to get 100p in the pound.
“Take Craig Whyte out of the picture as well with this new claim and people could conceivably get 100p in the pound, because there weren’t many other major creditors in the club.
“Because of the situation with the tax case – not through frugality or conservatism or the way the club was being run – the club basically couldn’t get credit because people knew about the big tax case. So the club was fiscally responsible by default.”