The first shots have been fired in what threatens to be a war of words at the Rangers annual meeting on Monday.


An umbrella group of Rangers supporters has moved to ensure directors are forced to answer questions over both the future of the club and how it has descended yet again into financial meltdown.

Chris Graham, secretary of the Rangers Supporters Trust which holds shares in the club, has written to WH Ireland, the club nominated advisor, copying in Rangers chairman David Somers, to warn that shareholders will not accept the protocol imposed at the general meeting last year.

The letter states that the board "used the excuse of the cold weather to cut short questions regarding their running of the company''.

It adds: "They left queues of shareholders with questions unanswered. Mr Somers also chose to take multiple questions at a time, which did not allow any chance for relevant follow up."

The general meeting is held in the shadow of problems in both the business and football side of the business.

Ally McCoist, club manager, has tendered his resignation and is working his notice. Talks with Rangers directors on Wednesday failed to secure a deal to allow McCoist to leave and he is expected to be in the dugout for the game against Livingston at Ibrox tomorrow.

It is unclear whether he will attend the agm but his situation will form part of a turbulent atmosphere that will focus on the need for investment in the club and the role of Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United, in providing it.

The board may use Monday's meeting to give details of how it plans to address the provision of £8m that is needed to keep the club afloat.

However, the fans have made it clear that they expect to be able to hold the board to account over what they regard as "the further mismanagement'' of the company and what they describe as "inexplicable decisions on financing the company going forward''. These centre on the "undue influence applied to the PLC board by shareholders Sandy Easdale and Mike Ashley''.

Some shareholders believe attempts to quiz the board were stymied last year and the letter asks both the Nomad and the registrar, Capita, to ensure this year's meeting is run differently.

It adds: "We expect that all questions from shareholders will be answered, as they are asked, and that follow up questions will be allowed within reason. We do not expect multiple questions to be taken at a time. We do not expect Mr Somers to attempt to cut short shareholders rights on the basis of the weather.''

The letters says: "The company, and for many of us our football club, is in dire straits. The board remains unwilling to engage properly with their concerned shareholders and customers, and this is the only opportunity we may have for another year to get the clarification we require regarding the decisions they have made.''

The board has already announced this week that it will fight an SPFL move to hold back money over an unpaid fine for the use of employee benefits trusts and to appeal against the charges over the influence of Mr Ashley, owner of Newcastle United.

However, the meeting on Monday will be a test of its mettle with supporters keen to impress on Ashley the depth of the opposition to any moves to increase his stake in the club. The board, of course, is in no danger of being overturned with a firm grip on the arithmetic of shares but fans still believe they can make their points to influence the future of the club.