sport

King makes plea to Gers fans

Former Rangers director Dave King has urged supporters to withhold their season-ticket money until their concerns over the running of the League One side are addressed.

King, who ploughed 20m of his own cash into oldco Rangers, is keen to invest in the financially-strapped newco but insists the 'business is not commercially sustainable in the short-term'.

The South Africa-based businessman is questioning the way the club is being run after it was forced to borrow 1.5m from within the confines of Ibrox.

Earlier this week Sandy Easdale, the Rangers Football Club chairman, and hedge-fund investors Laxey Partners, the club's major shareholders, lent Rangers the money as 'working capital'.

Now he is calling on fans to put money set aside for season books into a trust fund with cash released to the club on a game-by-game basis to protect their investment should the club go under.

In a lengthy statement, King, whose campaign is backed by a number of Rangers supporters and associations, said: "Late last year... I was keen to seek a way forward that could accommodate all interests in the club but I no longer believe I can achieve this with the board presently in place and I consequently wish to update fans on my current position.

"During this period I made it clear to the board I am a potential source of funding by way of a new capital injection. My prime condition is that any funds introduced by me would go into the club for the benefit of the team and the dilapidating infrastructure.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I appreciate the board has no obligation to engage with me or to agree with my vision for the future. My assessment is that the business is not commercially sustainable in the short-term and hence requires a level of soft investment.

"Such a soft investment will only come from a fan-based group that regards their return as winning trophies in the top flight. I have been such an investor and want to be so again. I would like to lead a fan-based initiative to acquire an influential shareholding in the club.

"I hope the board will belatedly recognise the importance of communicating with fans on the true state of the club's finances. Financial transparency should now be a non-negotiable requirement of the fans prior to investing in season tickets.

"The big question is 'what can fans do to protect themselves but still assist the team and management. Fans must remember the purchase of a season ticket is essentially an individual loan from the fan to the company until such time as all games are played.

"If the board does not provide disclosure to the fans then it is time to draw a line in the sand and I propose the fans buy the season tickets on one of the two following bases:

"They pay the season ticket money into a trust and funds are released to the club on a pay-as-they-play basis or fans pay their money into a trust and funds are released in full to the club but against security of the club property until such time as all games are played.

"In that way the fans will have some protection from a future event of failure if the board cannot bridge the funding gap which clearly exists."

Meanwhile, Rangers chairman David Somers has rubbished a report claiming King had offered the club an interest free loan.

In a statement on the club's website he said: "This is untrue. I have been in email correspondence with Mr King and suggested that, even though he is not a current shareholder, I would be interested in hearing any proposals he might have.

"Mr King replied and indicated a willingness to consider participating in any future equity issue that the club might undertake.

"This has been the extent of the discussion and I repeat that no offer of an interest free loan has been received from Mr King, or anyone else, apart from Mr Sandy Easdale."