TRUST has been a commodity thin on the ground at Ibrox over the best part of the last decade. Football supporters in general are often left feeling helpless as they watch the custodians of their club steer the ship whichever way they choose, a sensation that has been enhanced multi-fold at Rangers in recent times.

Every decision taken by those in charge during the tumultuous period that saw the club stumble into administration, then liquidation and then beyond, tended to be viewed with the utmost suspicion, the fans scrutinising each move and wondering just what the ulterior motive behind it was.

The hope was that the successful takeover by Dave King and other like-minded “Rangers men” in 2015 would bring an end to all that and yet, even with the club undoubtedly now being run with its best intentions at heart, there has still been a slight sense of unease over the past two years.

Most have centred on King - the chairman in absentia - and his decision to control matters from his South Africa base, rarely seen at matches or to be heard commenting on the burning issues of the day. When he spoke the statements and promises were sometimes vague or contradictory. It left some Rangers fans wondering whether King really was the right man to take the club forward.

Slowly but surely, however, he is winning over the remaining doubters. Burdened by the debilitating and onerous retail arrangements set up shamefully by his predecessors, King’s time has been largely taken up waging a very intense and often personal war against Sports Direct and Mike Ashley, a man seemingly intent on draining every last penny out of the club if he could.

It seemed a futile fight from King’s perspective, a battle against a man and a company who rarely bend to pressure. And yet on Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers chairman was the one to emerge victorious, the old deal ripped up, and Ashley’s vice-like grip on the club’s retail wing finally eased.

It felt like a significant moment, not just for Rangers but for King, too. If his reputation was on the line with some, then he had come through the test with flying colours, although he modestly attempted to play down any sense that this was a victory on a personal level.

“Vindication might be a bit strong but, yes, there is certainly a level of satisfaction,” he admitted. “It’s incredibly important to the club. It was challenging and so there is certainly satisfaction and relief. We had the added burden of it not only being a commercial issue but it was part of the commitment we made to the supporters for the first three years.

“We said we expected to do certain things and getting the retail operation back under control was one of them. It took longer than we had thought. It took two years of very bruising and personal battles in certain cases to get to this point. I wouldn’t have expected to go through that. It’s satisfying that we hung in there and got the right deal for Rangers.

“The supporters will judge that but, even if we couldn’t do it, I don’t know if it was necessarily a credibility issue. I think it’s an area where I guess the supporters at the time of regime change put their trust in a group of people and part of that trust was believing we could achieve this sort of thing. It’s good to have done it. It would certainly have been very disappointing had we let them down.”

Judging by the enthusiasm with which Rangers fans poured into the club’s megastore over the last few days to purchase kit again, the self-imposed embargo finally lifted, King’s stock has never been higher. But he never felt he had to prove himself to the fans.

“Do I feel the supporters trust me? I would say completely. I have never had a sense otherwise. Ever. Not even remotely. We had 1300 supporters recently in a room in Las Vegas [at the club convention].

“What I said to them is that you get the comments that I am away in South Africa and ‘the supporters’ are complaining I’m not at games, as if Pedro [Caixinha] should be looking up to me to ask what he should be doing at half time.

“It was more important to me that I should spend thousands of hours sorting out stuff like this instead of going to games. Flying into London for legal issues, sometimes flying in the morning and out at night to deal with my other business. I was letting my family down.

“The supporters get that. The fans don’t all get that. And I made the differential that what I am doing is for the supporters. All supporters are fans but not all fans are supporters.

“You’ve got Rangers fans who will criticise the manager after the first game. And they’ll tweet and they’ll blog and they’ll insult. They’ll use language that a supporter would never use about their football club. I’m in it for the supporters, the 50,000 who turned up to give us the biggest crowd of the day for our first game in the Third Division. I’ve had no doubt the supporters are with us and with me in what we are doing.”

The easing of the retail deal will have other benefits beyond the rush to put out two new kits. Caixinha may be given greater funds in the January transfer window, while the culture of short-term loans from King and other directors may finally disappear if Rangers can continue to qualify for European football.

“We now manage and run the club on the basis that we can rely regularly on having Europa League income and regard Champions League as a bonus - whereas previously we used to run the club on a Champions League budget and it was a problem if we only got into the Europa League. That's a mistake we can’t make again.

“If we now know we have normalised retail bringing in X amount per year and it's reliable and seasonal, with new kit launches and Christmas, allowing us to plan cash-flow wise, and then have regular European income, we can start to have a cost structure which supports that. That’s the time we must move away from external investments and say the club now must balance its own books.”