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Former Rangers director attacks 'flimsy' review of club's finances

FORMER Rangers director Dave King has attacked as "completely superficial" a review of the club's books that revealed almost £70 million had been squandered in two years.

The businessman, who is at ­loggerheads with the board over the future direction of the club, said the 120-page document by chief executive Graham Wallace was "flimsy".

He added that it "could have been put together in a day by a relatively junior employee" and offered "no hope" to fans or shareholders over the club's future.

Mr King also warned the plan could lead to rivals Celtic gaining an irreversible financial advantage.

He said a police investigation that may be launched into allegedly misleading claims by Mr Wallace at the club's annual meeting in December should be extended to other directors.

Mr King claimed it was "beyond doubt" senior figures were aware last December there was insufficient cash to last until the end of the season.

A Rangers spokesman said the club had no comment in response to the strongly worded statement from Mr King, who was involved in a major dispute with the South African authorities over a tax bill that resulted in him reaching a settlement last year for £44m.

Mr King said he issued the response after taking the time to "carefully consider and reflect" on the business review, which stated the Ibrox club had raised £70.7m through ticket sales, commercial revenues and share-issue proceeds from May 2012 to December 2013. However, the report said only £3.5m was left at the end of last year.

Mr King added: "It falls well short of the strategic business review that we were promised. There is nothing to read between the lines, no sign of a coherent plan to save this club, and more importantly no hope for the supporters or shareholders. This is a great review for Celtic fans. It is stated that the board might only raise £20m over the next three years. This paltry amount will guarantee that Celtic will be in a league of their own for the next few years - and possibly permanently thereafter. The gap could become financially irreversible.

"The board still does not have a clear plan for raising capital despite knowing for some months that a financial crisis was looming."

The ex-director reiterated calls for fans to withhold season ticket money. Along with fan groups, he has encouraged supporters to place it in a trust account until they are given ­security over Ibrox and training ground Murray Park.

He added: "The board continues the blame game and takes no responsibility for the current debacle. In truth, it is this board's stubborn refusal to secure fresh equity that is the cause of the present fragile state of the club's finances. The board clearly hoped to muddle along by using the season ticket advances from fans. This review should reinforce to fans that this board cannot serve as an appropriate custodian for their season ticket money."

On Friday, Mr King and former club captain Richard Gough registered a new company, Ibrox 1972 Ltd, which he hopes fans groups will use to poll their season ticket money into.

l Flares and smokebombs were set off at a Rangers and Celtic under-17s cup tie last night, attended by 8000 fans.

The match at Celtic Park came a year after seats were damaged and fire works let off in the final at Firhill Stadium. Police said there had been no arrests last night.

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