Sydney Super Cup

King offers to match costs if Rangers scrap Aussie trip

Dave King
Dave King: prepared to plug gap (pic: SNS Group)

Former Rangers chairman Dave King has offered to cover the club’s costs of participating in the Sydney Super Cup later this year if the board agrees to pull out of the tournament.

The South Africa-based businessman, who left the Ibrox board two years ago, has stepped in to calm growing anger among supporters opposed to a friendly match in Australia against arch-rivals Celtic in November.

Both clubs could earn as much as £3 million from the tournament, but traditionalists are unhappy at this dilution of one of the oldest and fiercest derbies in football.

There are also objections that the first such fixture to be held outside Glasgow is being marketed by Celtic as a “homecoming” for their Australian manager, Ange Postecoglou.

The Rangers board was forced to appeal to supporters after some attempted to disrupt the Premiership match against Dundee at Dens Park last weekend.

James Bisgrove, Rangers’ commercial director, said that the four-team competition in Australia would earn the club more than they would from an entire Premiership season.

The 83,500-capacity Accor Stadium on 20 November is expected to be full for the Celtic-Rangers game in a tournament that also includes A-League sides Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers. Tickets are said to be selling well.

Despite the board’s arguments, Club 1872 – to which King is aligned – issued a statement claiming that Bisgrove, together with managing director Stewart Robertson, and head of communications David Graham had developed “an extremely unhealthy disdain for the Rangers support”.

Rangers responded by warning that such actions and comments damage the club. It said: “The collective desire of our board, management and players is to have unity of purpose over the coming months. Rest assured, we will address the disruptors and their propaganda war at the end of this season.”

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