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After calls to 'starve them out' there is still a hunger for change

STARVE them out.

John Brown coined the phrase almost two years ago in an address from the front steps of Ibrox which was delivered to thousands of concerned Rangers supporters. He believes, as that selfsame call to arms resounds again around the concourses and corridors of the old stadium, that it is even more pertinent now than it was back then.

It was on a summer evening in June 2012 that the former defender, a stalwart of those Nine-In-A-Row years that now seem to have existed in an entirely different dimension, gathered the masses on Edmiston Drive and implored them to withhold their season ticket money from the Charles Green-led Sevco consortium and invest in the vision of the future he had developed through his own business connections and sold to the likes of Barry Ferguson, Lorenzo Amoruso, Andy Goram and Brian Laudrup, among others.

That vision was based upon powerful fan involvement. It was based upon protecting assets such as Ibrox and Murray Park and denying the new owners any kind of revenue through merchandise and ticketing. There was even an independent bank account being set up, which would be used as an investment vehicle for those both flush and fired-up enough to demand meaningful change.

Sound broadly familiar, Dave King fans?

In the end, of course, Brown's plans came to little. Green pulled some rabbits out of the hat in best Barnum and Bailey style, played to the lowest common denominator with many of his more incendiary pronouncements and hauled in the cash that allowed the club to embark on a two-year 'journey', as the Rangers marketing department likes to call it, that many fear is now destined for another cataclysmic dead end.

Brown, on the other hand, was left to face a degree of derision over his decision to put his head above the parapet.

Yet, as you might expect from a man never known for giving ground, Brown remains suitably defiant and believes the intervening period of financial chaos behind the scenes has shown he had the board's card marked right from the very off as King cranks up the pressure with a sales pitch based on so much of what Brown felt was required to restore the club to health.

"I feel totally justified," said Brown. "What's more, my stance is 100% the same as it was that day I was on the steps. The football club needs the fans to control everything. They've been lied to for two years and, as far as I am concerned, they are still being lied to.

"I see no transparency. Fans want to know who is behind certain investment groups and they want other important information from the boardroom, but they aren't getting it. Is that because the guilty people are still involved one way or another? I am only raising the question.

"I still want definitive proof of who has the title deeds to Ibrox as well. Everyone I met in person shook my hand and thanked me for saying what I said two years ago. I never got any grief on the street.

"I was just disappointed in the corporate side of things and the business side. They still put their money in and kept their mouths shut.

"This time, I urge them to forget about losing that nice leather seat they've had for the last 20 years because, sooner or later, there won't be a brick left in the building with the way things are going and the club will go out of business again.

"For all the medals I won as a Rangers player, I would give them all back - every single one - to have Rangers in the hands of Rangers people with the best interests of the club at heart."

Brown believes King fits that bill despite his well-documented difficulties with the South African tax authorities and is proud of the fact that his "starve them out" catchphrase has now returned to the Rangers supporters' lexicon as the one-time club director and his followers get the battle fever on.

"I did say 'starve them out' and that is, basically, what you have got to do now," stated Brown. "For all the good times I have had supporting and playing for Rangers, I am ashamed of where the club is right now. I am also ashamed of the manner in which some people went with Green at the start and backed him, leading to the fans getting on board. There are a few Rangers people out there who should be ashamed of themselves for going down that route.

"Two years ago, I was dealing with Dave [King] by email and giving him a picture of what I knew. He's now coming out with the same kind of stuff and that's because nothing has really changed.

"Look at last week and the revelations on the subject of the payments [totalling £470,000] that were made to Brian Stockbridge and Craig Mather. Fans' season ticket money is still going into the pockets of these people.

"I am 100% certain that Rangers are going to go into administration again further down the line unless the supporters move to take control of the situation. The only way you can do that is by not giving them your money and looking for them to do a deal."

Brown also urges those fans that are unsure of what to do with those season ticket renewal forms sent out last week to consider why club legends such as John Greig and Walter Smith remain at a safe distance from the men currently inhabiting the boardroom.

"Walter had to leave the club after taking up the position of chairman and I can only guess that was because he was uncomfortable with what was happening," he said. "Why has John Greig decided not to go back? If Rangers were being run in the right manner, he would be the first man back through the door.

"Do you think it doesn't hurt him every day that he feels he can't go back? It has been his club for life. These guys should not be ending their days feeling they cannot go back to their club and this is going to be a plane crash unless the supporters take control."

Graham Wallace, the Rangers chief executive, is winning little favour thanks to his now-infamous 120-day business review, which has formed a central plank of King's fresh assaults. It is due to be published on April 25 and King insists the club broke promises made to him by seeking season ticket renewals before that document had been made available for consideration.

"Why should a review of the business take 120 days?" asked Brown. "It should take something like two weeks to work out the accounts, cut costs and deal with returning the business to profitability. It makes me question how much power Wallace has."

Rangers raised a total of £22m from a share issue last year and, although he possesses doubts over how much of that materialised into hard cash, Brown finds it difficult to stop when asked how such funds can be squandered at a club that has not even bothered to rebuild the scouting department he was part of.

"The whole thing has been disgraceful," he said. "For starters, there should have been a close look at the wage structure ahead of going into the lower leagues and a plan to put money aside for the eventual return to the top flight.

"You cannot be paying Premiership wages when you are playing in the lower divisions, but they did it to keep everyone happy so that they could carry on doing what they were doing behind the scenes."

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