Rangers hopes for admission to ISDX market

King pledges £10m as Ashley poised to lose loan vote

Mike Ashley BBC

Rangers chairman Dave King has pledged £10 million investment in the club as he prepares for next season’s Championship campaign.

In a letter to fans, he speaks about the urgency of refinancing the club and the need to get it back among football’s elite.

It followed the EGM held at Ibrox called by 8.92% shareholder Mike Ashley who is demanding the return of his £5 million loan.

In a season ticket renewal letter, Mr King writes: “I do not believe we should talk in exact numbers because we do not know precisely how much it will cost to rebuild and restore this wonderful club.

“The required funding for this new season alone could change significantly depending on how discussions with our retail partners are concluded.

“We have to spend immediately to rebuild the football staff at all levels but we can’t say for certain how much it will cost to forge a team to win the Championship. What I can say, however, is that if I and other investors have to put in an extra £5m for this season that’s what we’ll do. If it requires more, for instance £10m, so be it.

“The wrong types have been removed from the club and for the first time in years there is hope. We can all be confident that there will be no more squandering of money. Hopefully we can share the vision to return Rangers to the pinnacle of the domestic game within two or three years and thus become European regulars again.”

Mr Ashley took his demands to shareholders on the back of winning a court injunction against the release of confidential details about Sports Direct’s retail deal with the club. He was not present at the meeting.

Director Paul Murray chaired the EGM and revealed that the club hopes to be admitted to the ISDX stock market following its ejection from the Alternative Investment Market.

Mr Ashley wants shareholders to back a resolution demanding repayment of his £5m loan. The result of the vote is expected on Monday, but indications are that he will be defeated.

He may therefore have to settle for denying chairman Dave King and the other board members their wish for full transparency around the Sports Direct contract, which is believed to tie Rangers to the retailer until 2022.

In the High Court in London Sports Direct, majority owned by Mr Ashley, secured support from Mrs Justice Asplin that the club should abide by the confidentiality agreement it signed in January.

Sports Direct claimed information about the deal had been leaked to the media amid speculation that it came frome the Rangers boardroom.

The judge ruled in Sports Direct’s favour, stating: “I am satisfied there is a real risk of disclosure tomorrow of confidential information.”

Sports Direct was also awarded £20,000 in legal costs.

Mr Ashley requisitioned the general meeting in response to the removal of his colleagues Derek Llambias and Barry Leach from the Ibrox board by King and his supporters at a general meeting on 6 March.

The Rangers board tabled a counter-resolution at the EGM seeking shareholder approval for their bid to re-negotiate the terms of Rangers’ contract with Sports Direct which has a 75% holding in subsidiary company Rangers Retail Ltd.

In a statement issued before the EGM, Mr Ashley said repayment of the loan was the best way for Rangers to boost its retail income. Rangers’ shareholding in Rangers Retail would be restored to 51% if the loan was repaid, he said.

Photo: Mike Ashley, BBC

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