WHERE would Rangers be just now without David Cunningham King?

Would they have just installed Steven Gerrard as their new manager? Would they be waiting to launch a European campaign? Would they have signed seven players who had been identified by their Director of Football? Would they have taken back control of their retail operation? Would they be hopeful of challenging Celtic for silverware in the season ahead? It is all very unlikely.

The Ibrox club may not, as the forthcoming campaign is liable to show, be at the same level as their Parkhead rivals, but progress has certainly been made, both on and off the park, since King and his associates took control three years ago.

The previous regime, an unfortunate alliance between Greenock businessmen James and Sandy Easdale and Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley and his acolytes, had left Rangers facing a highly uncertain future. Crowds had plummeted to their lowest levels in three decades. There was concern about dwindling finances, alarm over the ownership of precious club assets and protests in the stands.

Where would it all have ended if King, George Letham, Douglas Park and George Taylor hadn’t come along when they did? And what would happen if the soft loans being provided by those wealthy benefactors and others were no longer forthcoming? How would the losses be offset? It just doesn’t bear thinking about for supporters who have been through so much trauma and turmoil during the past six years.

It is, then, no surprise that King commands the widespread, if not universal, backing of the support. Yes, there were banner displays and chants expressing discontent during a game at Ibrox following the heavy and humiliating defeats to Celtic last season. The subsequent appointment of Gerrard, though, has sent his approval rating through the roof.

But every action made by the inhabitants of the Rangers boardroom must, after the reigns of Sir David Murray, Craig Whyte, Charles Green and those who succeeded them, still be scrutinised and questioned by their followers and that is just not the case as things stand.

The statement released by the Takeover Panel, who have been involved in a lengthy legal stand-off with King over his failure to make an offer to his fellow Rangers stakeholders for their shares, on Wednesday was practically ignored.

The Glasgow-born, Johannesburg-based businessman has repeatedly attempted to make light of this issue by insisting it is of no concern to Rangers. He did so again in a statement released to the BBC this week. “It is not something that I see as critical for the club,” he said.

But the reality is this sorry saga may yet have far-reaching implications for both King and Rangers.

He had insisted that he was unaware the funds for the shares had to be in a United Kingdom bank account in sterling rather than a South African bank account in rand and the requisite cash confirmation provided by an appropriate third party. During a media briefing at Ibrox back in May he said: “They changed the requirement as far as I’m concerned.”

But that was repeatedly challenged in the lengthy Takeover Panel missive. It read: “It was explained that cash confirmation would need to be provided by a UK financial adviser or bank stating that sterling funds were freely available in the UK and could not be withdrawn.”

So what exactly is the problem here? Is King unable to transfer the money out of South Africa where sizeable foreign exchange transactions are subject to controls or simply unwilling to? Few, if any, shareholders will accept the offer. So why not just comply with the Takeover Panel ruling and focus fully on rebuilding Rangers? This is an expensive and time-consuming process which has tarnished his reputation. Indeed, he has now had contempt of court proceedings initiated against him.

The prospect of King being “cold-shouldered” – which would prevent any individual or institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority from dealing with him of acting on his behalf – remains a very real one. That sanction would make his position as chairman untenable. And he has previously stated that his investment is incumbent on him holding that office.

Elsewhere, the share issue made possible by the passing of Resolution 11 at the AGM last year that was supposed to take place by the end of June and raise at least £6 million in fresh capital has not occurred.

The fans who flocked to Ibrox last night to see Rangers take on Bury in Steven Gerrard’s second game in charge are excited and optimistic about the season ahead but there remain reasons for them to be wary about what the future holds.