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John Brown: season-ticket money could 'disappear' if supporters renew

JOHN BROWN returned to the battle for control of Ibrox with renewed vigour last night by insisting that Rangers supporters must back Dave King's plan to withhold season-ticket money or face the prospect of their club going out of business.

The Union of Fans, a collective group of all supporters' clubs and associations, turned their guns on chief executive Graham Wallace yesterday, announcing they will start collecting funds to be handed over only when they are provided with security on Ibrox stadium and the Murray Park training facility at Auchenhowie. Brown then went a step further by reiterating his own call from two years ago to starve the owners out of office if required.

The former Rangers defender assembled a team of business figures in 2012 to take over from the Charles Green-led Sevco consortium and hand power to the supporters.

His project failed but he has now called on supporters to ask themselves whether those in charge can be trusted to have another significant tranche of money - after an estimated £22m share issue in December 2012 - handed over without conditions.

"Dave King's plan is the only show in town now," said Brown. "He is 100% right in asking for the money to be put in a trust and released to the club only in the right circumstances.

"If he can set up a trust and gain guarantees that Ibrox - and, to a lesser extent, Murray Park - will never be used a pawn to broker deals and be safe in the fans' hands forever, that would be a good thing. If the board get all that season-ticket money up front, the club maybe won't last until the end of next season.

"Remember what the board has done in the last two years. From what I can see, all the money has dis­appeared and the chances are it could disappear again. I would never ask Rangers fans not to support their team, but they haven't been happy for two years and they need to do something now.

"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 faces have changed in the boardroom, of course, but I would question who really is running the club behind the scenes."

The Union of Fans, meanwhile, yesterday released a statement which accused Wallace, currently conducting a 120-day business review scheduled for delivery on April 25, of refusing to meet them to discuss the handling of season-ticket revenue.

"The Union of Fans would like to confirm that, in line with Dave King's statements over the weekend, we will now be pushing forward with plans to collect season-ticket money," it read.

"The money placed into the account will be released to the club, in full, as soon as they agree to give season-ticket holders a security over Ibrox stadium and Auchenhowie.

"There will be no drip feeding of funds and we do not consider that the board has any legitimate reason to reject this proposal.

"For the past two weeks, we have, through a third party, put forward a plan to Graham Wallace which would have seen a security over Ibrox and Auchenhowie granted to trustees in favour of all season-ticket holders.

"We have received no response from the board to this proposal or to the offer of a meeting to discuss things amicably. This board's public pronouncements about engagement and trust are a sham. We would ask, in the meantime, that fans do not renew prior to evaluating this board's 120-day review to take the club forward. We do not consider that there is any prospect of this action forcing the club into administration.

"It would be a gross dereliction of directors' duties for this board to allow that to happen when substantial investment is on offer to them and when they can ensure they receive all season-ticket money by securing Ibrox and Auchenhowie in favour of season-ticket holders.

"We also have concerns that, even with all the season-ticket money available to them, they will not be able to complete the season without further investment.

"Our fans have an opportunity to safeguard Ibrox. We sincerely hope they do not succumb to emotional blackmail from people who know nothing about what our club means to us and that they use the only power they hold for the good of Rangers."

Rangers issued a statement in response. "The board of Rangers Football Club notes the concern of supporters around the timing of release of an update from the club's business review ahead of the renewal deadline for season tickets," it read.

"The board confirms, in accordance with its previous announcements, that the business review will be completed as planned and an update will be issued to shareholders and supporters on 25th April, ahead of the season-ticket renewal deadline as previously indicated."

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Football

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