RICHARD Gough has expressed his grave concerns for Rangers if his close friend Dave King fails in his bid to oust the current Ibrox board.
Gough has formally aligned himself with King ahead of the forthcoming Rangers general meeting where the South Africa-based businessman is confident he is already assured of the necessary backing of over 50 per cent of shareholders to effect regime change.
Former club captain Gough, who won 18 major honours during his time at Rangers, is desperately hoping King has got his sums right. “I think we are bang in trouble if Dave doesn’t win the day,” he said. “I would fear for the club. In a lot of ways, it is the last chance to save it. I might be completely wrong, but I just look at the evidence of the last three or four years and it’s getting worse and worse.
“The club is in as bad a state as I’ve ever seen it. I’m not sure the supporters actually know how bad it is. I hear rumours all the time that there is now just one guy looking after the maintenance at Ibrox. It’s changed, it’s unrecognisable from what it was ten years ago. When Dave asked me to back him a while ago, I thought it was the right thing to do. It’s pretty evident, with what has happened since then, that it is the right thing. Let’s hope it can happen.
“A lot of my fellow former players have backed him too. Most people do want change. I don’t think a lot of them have to say so publicly. John Brown has been very vocal and it looks like he has been right from day one when he stood on the steps at Ibrox. He got a lot of criticism for that but when you look back at what’s happened since, he was right. Dave King and the people who are on board with him all have Rangers at heart. It’s pretty evident that the people who have been in charge for the last few years have not been in it for Rangers Football Club.”
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If boardroom mismanagement is the prime motivation for King’s intervention, Rangers’ condition on the pitch is also a serious source of alarm for Gough. Last Sunday’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic at Hampden starkly illustrated the slump in playing standards since the club’s financial meltdown in 2012. “I’ve watched Rangers since the late 1970s, I know about the teams before then from my father and grandfather,” reflected Gough. “This team at the moment is probably the worst Rangers team that’s ever played for the club.
“It’s not their fault, it’s just the circumstances at the club. It could also be the worst Celtic team I’ve ever seen, to be fair. That’s the standard right now. I didn’t go to Hampden on Sunday, I didn’t want to. But what struck me from watching on TV was the Rangers support. They were unbelievable, because they were watching a poor team being completely outplayed by Celtic who were far better in every position. But the Rangers fans remained very vocal in their support. That saddened me in a way, because I knew if that had been a team I’d played in who had been 2-0 down and getting played off the park by Celtic, we would have got hammered. The support would have walked out, we would have got a hard time.
“But the supporters know that the current team just doesn’t have the necessary quality. So I just hope Dave King can get control, because it will be better for those supporters again. The supporters are guaranteed to come back in their numbers if Dave wins the GM. Loads of supporters have been asking me when he’s going to get control.
“It’s going to be a long process, it’s not going to be a quick fix. What has happened in the last three years had drained the resources. By all accounts, Murray Park and Ibrox both need £10 million of work done.
“It will take a while to get the club back to how it should be. If Dave gets in and the ‘Three Bears’ consortium also invest, I think the club will be able to get other money from elsewhere, maybe from Mr Sarver as well. There are a lot of big investors out there who would come in if they saw the right people on the board.”