Scottish Daily Mail
King to sit on the throne at Rangers
Shareholders back expat tycoon for troubled club
TyCOON Dave King was yesterday handed control of Rangers.
He was voted on to the club’s board along with former international banker Paul Murray and Scottish businessman John Gilligan.
Shareholders decided overwhelmingly to support Mr King’s bid to take over the troubled Glasgow football club beset with numerous boardroom changes, financial problems and a longrunning battle with the taxman.
They agreed to remove existing board members Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, both of whom stayed away from the extraordinary general meeting.
They had been appointed by billionaire sports retailer Mike Ashley but just 15 per cent of shareholders wanted to keep them, with almost 85 per cent favouring expat Glaswegian Mr King. Although he promised fans outside Ibrox Stadium it was a ‘turning point in the future of the club’, he still has one major hurdle to overcome.
The SFA board will meet early next month to consider if he is a ‘fit and proper person’ to run Rangers, with whom he has previously lost £20million after the club went into liquidation.
It comes in the wake of the controversy over Mr King’s tax affairs in South Africa, where he was originally indicted on 322 counts of tax evasion.
The Castlemilk-born tycoon with a reputed fortune of £300million eventually struck a deal to pay about £40million after pleading guilty to 41 criminal counts of contravening the South Africa Income Tax Act. yesterday Mr King insisted his main goal was getting ‘Rangers back to its rightful place in Scottish football’.
But he warned tough times lie ahead as the board attempts to rebuild the Glasgow giant, although this process has already begun with the appointment of multi-millionaire motor magnate Douglas Park as a director.
‘The club is pretty much broken,’ Mr King added. ‘It’s broken in many areas. Pretty much everything has to be looked at.
‘There will be other appointments. The fans’ groups have been absolutely superb. We think that should be recognised.’
As many Rangers supporters rejoiced in the transfer of power, Mr King also touched on the issue of appointing a new manager to replace Ally McCoist, currently on gardening leave after quitting late last year. He said: ‘We’re laying the foundation for a long-term project here and appointing a first-team manager is a crucial decision. We’re going to take some time and get it right.’
yesterday the angry shouts which marred the previous AGM were replaced by polite applause as the votes got under way, while one fan shouted: ‘Long live the King!’
Afterwards, fans spokesman Ricki Neill said: ‘Our club has been abused by those only interested in themselves for long enough, and the rehabilitation of Rangers begins today.’
He admitted supporters have been embarrassed by the recent lack of corporate governance at the club, though they now have cause to celebrate as men of ‘impeccable corporate pedigree and genuine Rangers supporters’ are in control of the club.
Mr Neil added: ‘We share their goals of taking the club back to the higher echelons of Scottish football and we all want to see Rangers competing in Europe once again.’
‘The fans have been superb’