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King: board have disdain for the fans

Dave King last night criticised the Rangers board's response to the efforts of fans to gain an influence in the way their club is run.

The South African-based businessman was reacting to a statement released by chief executive Graham Wallace last Thursday night, and there is now a clear division between King and a growing number of the club's supporters, and the board.

King intends to fly to Scotland as soon as he can arrange meetings with Rangers fan groups. The former Ibrox director will press ahead with plans to set up a season-ticket trust fund, so that supporters can secure assets and board representation in return for releasing their renewal money. He also raised the prospect of former chief executive Charles Green still being an influence behind the scenes.

With King acting as a figurehead for supporters, questions have been raised about the club's finances, property assets and shareholder base. Wallace's statement claimed King's intervention last week, and the pos- itive response from the Union of Fans - a coalition of supporters groups - was undermining rebuilding plans. King was blunt in his response.

"The board continues to treat fans with disdain by offering mere plat-itudes," he said. "[The board says] that our statements are an attempt to undermine the club. That is an insult to fans who have nothing other than the club's interest at heart.

"[The board says] that the current problems can be attributed to previous management, presumably Charles Green. That does not explain the ongoing lack of transparency on shareholding and finances. It is quite possible that Charles Green is still de facto controlling the club. The directors have a miniscule equity stake and yet won't disclose the true power behind the throne.

"What the board is really asking of fans is to have blind faith. The board correctly argues that season-ticket monies are normally part of sound working capital management. [But] normally there would be sufficient facilities in place to support the club once the season ticket money is used up …The board is either unwilling or unable to provide such confirmation. This is particularly important given that this board falsely assured fans there were sufficient funds to meet the club's commitments to the end of the season."

King said the board was failing to deal with issues raised by fans: "The board correctly states inaccurate information benefits no one, but fails to commit to ending its propaganda initiatives," he said.

King also criticised the board decision to borrow money from Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners, with the latter receiving £150,000 in cash or shares for lending £1 million, both loans being secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park.

"It is insightful of the board's mindset that it is willing to borrow money from a preferred shareholder at a rate of interest that reflects a high risk to the investor.

"In doing so the board has finally confirmed its true view on the parlous state of the finances. What is incomprehensible is that it then eliminated the risk to this investor, and separately to Sandy Easdale, by providing club assets as security while still paying the high-risk rate. That highlights that this transaction makes no commercial sense and was not conducted on an arms-length basis."

He said it was "inspiring" to see the Rangers community united, and added: "This will guarantee a positive outcome at this watershed moment in our club's history. I will now make it a priority to travel to Scotland to meet with fan representatives to ensure appropriate legal structures are discussed and implemented for season-ticket payments and the creation of a substantial fund to secure an influential equity stake in the club for fans."

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