RANGERS need up to £50m to compete with Celtic at the top of Scottish football and Dave King, the businessman based in South Africa, is prepared to stump up all of it.
King, who is seeking to push through an investment plan for the club, made this bold declaration in an interview with Herald Sport last night. He also urged fans to be patient as they await the business review conducted by Graham Wallace, the club's executive, saying: "I think it is the view of some of the supporters that they are looking for a fight. My preference is not to fight."
King, who has extensive business interests in South Africa, travelled to Britain this month to have talks with institutional investors, the fans and the board. He said: "It was reinforced to me in my visit to Scotland that there are a lot of people who are so emotional about this that they almost don't want the board to say everything is okay.
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"They are just ready for the fight. It is a pity if there are people who want to fight no matter what, but we must give the board time to come out with the review."
However, he was blunt about what he believes is the way forward for the beleaguered club. He insists Rangers need investment so they can compete with Celtic immediately when the Ibrox club reaches the top flight.
He put a price on that investment. "I think the minimum - if we get lucky - is £30m and we will probably need £50m," he said. "That would be to compete with Celtic. The Rangers strategy should be a simple thing and I have discussed this with institutions. It is this: every year we have to compete with Celtic. That is the business plan. And that is Celtic's business plan as well."
He admitted that "senior heavyweights" in the financial world may not be ready to put in as much money as many Rangers supporters believe but said he would be willing to make up the shortfall.
King, who lost £20m when he served on the Ibrox boardroom under Sir David Murray, was not perturbed when it was pointed out that this could be "the thick end of £50m".
"To me, Rangers is about spending money, not making money," he said. "It is about investing in a club that I have a historical passion for. I am desperately unhappy about where they are at this point in time and want to see them back to where they belong. I actually believe whatever I invest in Rangers I will never get back. But I am happy to do it."
He said that any plans to postpone investment would leave Rangers as "also-rans" in Scottish football.
But he was optimistic about the club's future, saying: "I will be very surprised if, through the efforts of myself and other people, Rangers do not come through this in a healthy way and ultimately get back to where we all think they should belong."