DAVE KING could have been doing porridge for Christmas. Now he wants champagne in May.

The former Ibrox chairman was almost jailed during his fight with Mike Ashley but he would instead save Rangers from their own purgatory.

Today, he can look back with pride at a job well done and forward to a brighter future that could bring the ultimate reward come the end of the campaign.

King must have a few regrets from the last few years but his decision to return to Rangers certainly isn’t one of them. The cost – in terms of time, money and emotional investment - is one that only King can calculate.

He has served his club as an investor, director and chairman. Over the next three years, his journey from savour back to supporter only will be completed.

The announcement this week that King will sell his major shareholding at Ibrox to Club 1872 has sparked debate about the worthiness of the deal. Yet nobody, whatever side of that argument you are on, can diminish King’s status and place in the history of Rangers.

If it hadn’t been for King, alongside Paul Murray and John Gilligan, winning the boardroom battle five years ago, supporters could only dread to think just how Rangers would look and what state a Scottish institution would be in right now.

From Ashley to the Easdale brothers, from David Somers to Derek Llambias, King has seen them all off the premises at Ibrox. Now it is his turn to bid farewell, and the opportunity he has given fans will become his Light Blues legacy.

“It is completely worth it for me,” King said. “As I look back now, some of the difficult times, if I take the dealings with Mike Ashley and the Sports Direct litigation, that was a drain on me in terms of time and effort and dealing with the litigation.

“I had to get to London when he was trying to put me in jail at Christmas for Contempt of Court. There were a lot of emotional difficult for me and with the level of responsibility that I took on because the club really was in a mess and had very little executive support in terms of the management structure within the business.

“A lot of that fell on me. So you had that in addition to the fact that I was making decisions as to what I thought was in the best interest of the club and then had to back that up by finding the money. A lot of times it had to come from me.

“I was spending a lot of time putting my money where my mouth was, but had to make sure my mouth was in the right place.

“It was very challenging emotionally and there was a level of financial commitment that kept on increasing. It was challenging, a very challenging five years for me.”

Of all the milestone moments during his tenure as chairman, the appointment of Steven Gerrard as manager in May 2018 has to go down as one of the most significant.

The first two seasons under his guidance were a case of so near yet so far for Rangers but this term there is a renewed sense of belief and optimism around Ibrox.

Title number 55 will be celebrated like few others in the illustrious history of Rangers. A place in the history books and hero status awaits those that deliver it.

“I do stay in touch with Steven and congratulate him when certain events happen,” King said.

“The decision to appoint Steven, as we all knew, was in a certain sense a bold step – in going for a manager who really had no experience of managing at the top level, just working with juniors.

“But at that stage we were looking for someone with character, who we felt had the credibility from a playing squad point of view.

“With Steven coming in, we felt that over time that would lead to a better level of player. But he needed time.

“One of the things he asked of me when taking the job was: ‘Am I going to get support from the board and access to funding? Then I will give it a really good go.’

“We were very confident in his mentality being right. We knew he would be good with the media because he is very media savvy. We just felt we had made a couple of mis-steps in a couple of years and had to get it right this time.

“Obviously I am very delighted, given the risk in the appointment, that it has worked out as well as it has done.”

The arrival of Gerrard has proven to be a turning point for Rangers as the dark days and disappointments under Mark Warburton, Graeme Murty and Pedro Caixinha have been consigned to the past.

The progress made in the Europa League has been heartening for King to see but the time has now come where Gerrard must deliver silverware to long-suffering supporters.

“I wouldn’t say we have exceeded them because I was really hoping within that timeframe we would be competing,” King said when asked about his expectations of where Rangers would be five years after his return to Ibrox.

“If you asked me on this specific season and in the last couple of weeks, with Celtic not playing well and we have had a good run and they have had a bad run… Perhaps at this point in the season the gap is a little bit wider and maybe I expected to be a bit more competitive.

“If I look at it on a year to year basis, we are probably about right where we should be. Where I think we have exceeded our expectations are our performances in Europe.

“We have done this for a couple of years already and I didn’t expect the manager to give us this level of success already in Europe.

“That has been a real bonus to the club in terms of the feel good factor of doing well in Europe and of course it is a nice financial bonus in terms of bringing in a level of revenue that is above our expectations over the last couple of years."