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Spiers on Sport: Dave King, dodgy past and all, arrives with more bluster

Let's just recap for a moment on Dave King and Rangers, because it is all getting very testy and confusing out there.

King is a solid Rangers fan - there can be no doubts about that. He is also, I believe, supremely wealthy, and there is no sin in that, either.

King, riding some lavish newspaper headlines, also wants to grab power at Rangers. You might have noticed that bit.

He also wants financial restoration at Ibrox. King wants fiscal responsibility. He desires transparency and a new Rangers boardroom which will wield both power and honesty in front of supporters.

Right…so where do we start with this?

In August of last year the South African tax authorities finally caught up with King and indicted him on 41 counts of illegal tax affairs in a high court. Each guilty plea represented a two-year prison sentence, unless King chose to pay recompense back to the state, which he duly did.

For a number of years King had been chased on other counts, including racketeering, fraud and money-laundering, but it had become a wearying and expensive saga, and the South African prosecutors sought to cut their losses.

The deal suited both the South African authorities and King: they got some of their money back in unpaid back taxes - about £47 million - and King finally got his prosecutors off his back. Though he did, in reaching a plea-sentence, end up with a high court conviction to his name.

This is the man, if it is not too farcical to say so, who now wants public honesty, decency and transparency at Rangers. I mean…is Donald Trump a recluse?

Amid it all, King issues these statements like royal charters, wafting on endlessly about the current Rangers board, their shortcomings, and this evil regime that is propping Rangers up. The club - and this seemed to be what supporters wanted last year - is owned by the market.

This is the same King who sat on the old Rangers board, right? The board that duped the football authorities over dual contracts and finally led the club to a catastrophic liquidation?

With all due respect, I have to say Dave King is a rather unlikely role-model for financial governance, transparency, openness and the rest of it.

But he does appear to have one thing: the wealth of kings. This is the key fact not lost on those Rangers fans who keenly desire King to be enthroned at Ibrox. On the other stuff - court convictions, dodgy tax affairs, illegality, such pesky fripperies - they could not give a toss. They just want King and his money.

Actually, I don't doubt for a minute that King could be good for Rangers. He has the wealth, he has a chorus-line of fans for backers, and he'd have as good a chance as this current Rangers board of putting things right at the club.

I've met King on a number of occasions. He is perfectly charming. At Augusta National he used to caddie for Gary Player. He moves in impressive circles. He has a certain aura.

The problem is, he fails, in spectacular fashion, the SFA's 'fit and proper' test for Scottish football. King fails it all-singing, all-dancing, lights flashing, bells ringing.

Are we meant to ignore this? Are we supposed to say, 'och, come on, this is Rangers, they've had a hard time of it, who cares about King's baggage?' If so can there be any deterrent to anyone wanting to invade Scottish football?

It's quite weird in one say that Sandy Easdale, a man with a 17-year-old conviction for VAT fraud behind him, still gets it in the neck from some Rangers fans over it, yet King's illegality is judiciously ignored.

Or maybe it's not so weird at all. Maybe it is perfectly obvious, actually. The Easdales are rich but not super-rich. King, apparently, is. That is the difference.

Right now King is plotting against the Rangers board, by establishing a legal entity within which rebel fans' season-ticket monies can be withheld - or the promise thereof - unless the board yield to some of their wishes.

It remains to be seen how many fans sign up to it - there seems to be a sharp divide on the issue - but the idea, if successful, will severely dent the club.

King remains the orchestrator, the Pied Piper of Ibrox. Rangers fans might do well to think again about some of his tactics.

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