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'I hope that they will invite Paul Murray on to the board . . . that would be right'

Dave King has reiterated that he wants to invest in Rangers and has urged the Ibrox directors to offer Paul Murray a place on the board.

Paul Murray
Paul Murray

With a BBC Scotland report having suggested that the five current directors will have enough votes to be re-elected at today's annual meeting and that Murray may not be elected as a nominee, King believes that a compromise solution would help bring peace and stability to the club. Jim McColl, the businessman who campaigned with the nominees, also called for Paul Murray and King to join the Ibrox club's board.

King was unable to broker a conciliation agreement when he flew to Scotland in October and held various meetings, including with Sandy Easdale, who holds the voting rights for more than 26% of the shares in Rangers International Football Club. The South Africa-based businessman wanted to invest directly in the club, and was prepared to take up the vacant role of chairman. Since then, Norman Crighton has joined the board, Graham Wallace has been appointed as chief executive and David Somers was named chairman. Those changes to the board appear to have been enough to secure its re-election at today's agm.

However, fan protests have been prominent in recent weeks and the main supporter organisations backed the nominees, Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch. The business needs to be streamlined and revenues raised to ensure that it is sustainable, but additional funding is also required to invest in the football resources ahead of Rangers' widely anticipated return to the top flight. King wants to provide that funding, in return for rejoining the board.

"I hope that they will invite Paul Murray on to the board," King said from South Africa. "I would strongly urge them to do that; that would be the right thing to do. He's a good Rangers man and a good businessman. He knows what it's about and is interested in the club for all the right reasons. We know his heart is in the right place and he's a smart guy. It would send the right signal - almost an olive branch - to the supporters. It would be a very sensible, pragmatic and practical gesture. That might help the fans because they would have a high level of confidence in Paul's attitude and experience."

McColl, who assisted the nominees, echoed King's views, and repeated his own stance that the finance director Brian Stockbridge ought to stand down. "I would like to see Paul Murray on board, that would provide a strong basis to move forward and I would hope Dave King would be invited on to the board in the future," McColl said.

"There are some good people on the board now. The new chief executive Graham Wallace is a man of integrity, a competent individual, and he is strong enough.

"But I would like to see Brian Stockbridge voted out, he presided over a huge cash outflow and there are questions around that which haven't been answered. If he is not, then I am sure Graham Wallace will get to the bottom of what has been going on."

King is one of the few figures who unites the Rangers support. Some fans have talked about staging further protests or boycotts, but King believes that whatever board is elected today can win the trust of the supporters. Having watched from afar, he is waiting to offer the funding that would help Rangers regain their competitiveness in the top-flight.

"I'm going to wait to see what happens [at the AGM]," he said. "Then I will engage with whoever is in charge. It will be interesting if it's a 58/42 [vote], because then it could all reverse again, but if the Easdales come out with 65/35 [vote in their favour] then it's clear that they will be running the show for the next few months and the critical point is between now and when they have to go to the fans for the season ticket money. I'm happy to be one of the primary providers of any funding they require. It's up to them to refuse it, but I don't see anybody else wanting to put money into the club at this moment in time."

Speaking on Radio Scotland last night, Paul Murray urged the Rangers board to investigate how information was leaked to the BBC allowing them to report that the five current directors will be re-elected and the nominees will fail, two days ahead of the annual meeting at Ibrox today. The report said that the proxy votes indicated the final result, but that information is restricted and subject to Stock Market regulations. Murray had previously said that the information could only have come from Capita Registrars or the Rangers board, both of whom issued denials yesterday.

"It's price sensitive and really important that no information is disclosed before Friday morning [when the AGM result is due], said Murray. "There was a limited number of people who know how the voting's gone. I have noted the Capita and Rangers statements. I have to accept what they're saying, but it's now incumbent on the Rangers board to get to the bottom of who leaked this information."

Earlier, Rangers denied that the leak had come from the board and called on Murray to withdraw his remarks. "We feel this is an attack on the integrity of board members," said a spokesman. "The board did not have the final voting figures and therefore it would have been physically impossible to leak anything."

Capita also released a statement, to Sky Sports News, denying being the source of any leak. "We have conducted a detailed investigation and are confident that all necessary protocols were rigorously adhered to and that no information was shared inappropriately."

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