Rangers latest: Ashley expected to name pair for Ibrox boardroom
Retail tycoon Mike Ashley is expected to parachute close associates Derek Llambias and Stephen Mucklow into the key executive roles at Rangers following the board’s acceptance of his rescue loan.
Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace has resigned, confirming expectations at the weekend that he would step down under pressure form Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Ashley.
The cash-strapped club will receive a £2m loan on a six-month term from Ashley which will be interest free and secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park, an indication as to how it is running out of key assets to offer up for sale or security.
Contrary to some reports, Ashley has not gained control of the club, nor has he made an investment, though his insistence on being able to name replacements for Wallace and finance director Philip Nash who resigned last week means he is tightening his grip on the Ibrox club.
He owns 8.92%, a stake that remains unchanged as he unable to raise his shareholding above 10% under SFA rules. Rangers will use the money as working capital, most likely to pay players’ wages, but the loan will be a stop-gap measure.
Wallace had campaigned in favour of a £16m rescue package put forward by the South African investor Dave King.
A rival 11th hour £3m offer from Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy was rejected by the board.
Board chairman and McGills bus company owner Sandy Easdale – who controls a significant 26% stake – wanted Ashley to get involved. He already runs Rangers’ retail division and bought naming rights to the stadium from the former chief executive Charles Green for just £1.
Ashley is said to want a bigger holding in the club which may accelerate his plans to sell Newcastle United. He will be aware that Rangers will almost certainly return to the Scottish top flight in the next couple of years and that European football will be back on the agenda.