THE ‘Three Bears’ consortium of George Letham, Douglas Park and George Taylor have added their collective voice to the storm of criticism being directed at Rangers’ decision to hold next month’s General Meeting of shareholders in London.
The embattled board of directors have already been forced to cancel their original choice of venue for the 4 March meeting, the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington, as they said it had expressed fears of “disruption to guests and neighbours”. They are currently seeking an alternative venue but still plan to stage it in the London area.
The motions at the GM, requisitioned by former Rangers director Dave King, seek the removal of all four members of the current board – David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach – and the appointments of King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan.
Those moves have the backing of the ‘Three Bears’ who hold a combined shareholding of just under 20 per cent in the Ibrox club.
Last night, they released a statement condemning the board’s conduct in the organisation of the GM, insisting it is likely to last no longer than 15 minutes and should have been held at Ibrox to minimise costs.
They also revealed that consortium member Park, the former Hearts director and motor group tycoon, had considered offering free bus travel to take small shareholders to London. But they have now decided to advise postal or proxy votes instead in order to ensure the business of the GM is properly carried out without further delay.
“The original decision to hold the General Meeting in London at a venue capable of accommodating only 500 people demonstrates once again how little this board understands or cares about the club’s thousands of fan shareholders,” read the statement.
“Indeed, the board’s latest statement that they will look for another venue close to London underlines their total indifference to the views of shareholders who wish to attend. The meeting should be held in Glasgow and the only people who refuse to accept this are the directors themselves.
“It is reasonable to assume this important meeting could attract a larger attendance than either of the previous two GMs and of course Ibrox should have been the obvious and least expensive choice of location.
“Moving the venue 400 miles from Glasgow could, if anything, increase the resolve of shareholders to attend the meeting which will, in all probability, last less than 15 minutes. All three of us were intending to attend the meeting to support the resolutions proposed by Dave King to bring about the boardroom change now desperately required.
“Douglas’s initial reaction was to provide a fleet of coaches free of charge to ferry shareholders from Scotland to London and back. However, on reflection, we now believe it is more important that this crucial meeting takes place on 4 March and that the board are given no excuse to postpone or delay.
“We are urging all shareholders to vote at this meeting but believe strongly that the use of postal votes or proxies may now be the best way for shareholders to have their voices heard. Although some shareholders will no doubt still wish to attend the meeting in person we are sure they will behave in a manner which allows the business of the meeting to be conducted as efficiently as possible despite any constraints imposed by the board due to the size and location of the venue.
“Having been told they cannot have their chosen venue, which was not fit for purpose in any case, the board are seeking an alternative but still in London. The need to change venue could have been avoided had the directors considered the shareholders rather than themselves in the first place.”