Last Monday Somers sent King a letter, that was then published, in which he accused King of deliberately trying to cause Rangers problems and of making certain "allegations" that needed to be explained. The South Africa-based businessmen issued a sharp response yesterday, but opened the way for talks with the directors.
The exchange came amid developments over the £1m loan Rangers accepted from Laxey Partners, the single largest shareholder in Rangers International Football Club, in return for security over the Albion car park and for a premium of £150,000. George Letham, a Scottish businessman who had previously contacted the club's nominated adviser, Daniel Stewart, to offer to loan £1m at better rates, wrote to the Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace to propose formally a £1m loan at less cost to the club.
King's retort to Somers was pointed. The former Ibrox director, who invested £20m in the club under Sir David Murray, said that being "summoned" by Somers to "explain himself" felt "rather like the headmaster is looking to give me a caning". The tone of Somers' letter had been brusque, and King questioned why it had been published before challenging its content. He intends to arrive in Scotland shortly, to meet fan representatives and push ahead with setting up a season-ticket trust fund so that disgruntled supporters can use their renewal money as leverage to demand that the club's assets are protected and that fans are allowed an influence on board decisions.
"I reviewed my two statements in light of your email and don't find anything astonishing in them whatsoever," King said to Somers. "They neatly and uncontroversially depict the present state of affairs and the ongoing attitude of the board. Similarly, I can't detect any innuendos. My thoughts are stated pretty clearly and directly.
"Additionally, there seems nothing potentially damaging to the club. I accept that my comments could be perceived as damaging to certain interests that are represented on the board. I don't equate that with damaging the club. The club is much bigger than the present board. I am delighted to meet with the board to discuss the present funding crisis and can do this on my forthcoming visit.
"I am not clear what 'allegations' you wish me to explain as I can't find any in my statements. It will assist in my preparation if you provide me with a list of specific 'allegations' that you want me to address. Incidentally, the irony of a board that has steadfastly refused to enlighten fans now demanding clarity from others has not been lost on me."
Fans have become increasingly concerned about the club's financial state since the board announced they would be borrowing £500,000 from Sandy Easdale, the Rangers Football Club chairman, and £1m from Laxey Partners, with the loans secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park respectively and Laxey also receiving a 15% premium, or £150,000, in either cash or shares.
Following an email from Colin Kingsnorth, of Laxey, to a Rangers fan last Monday night in which he reportedly said that "if they want to offer the money cheaper go for it . . . no problem cancelling it", Letham submitted an offer in writing to Wallace yesterday afternoon. His previous verbal offer had not been followed up by Stewart.
"Graham Wallace is now in receipt of written confirmation that I am happy to replace the Laxey loan, on condition that
it is cancelled with no penalty to the club, and that any security over property offered to Laxey is also cancelled," said Letham to The Rangers Standard website.
"I have offered the loan on the same terms but with the interest payable reduced from £150,000 to £75,000. It is
my intention to convert this interest into shares as I have
no wish to take cash out of
"If the club are unable to convert the interest to shares, then any cash sum I received from the loan would be reinvested into the club via a future share issue to further the cause of fan ownership.
"My only motivation is to ensure that the club is secure, has as much involvement as possible from those who care about it and that its vital
assets remain available to it
at all times.
"I am making this offer
public in the hope that a degree of transparency can
be brought to this process
for the fans and hope that
the board will give my offer