King Warns Of Tough Times Ahead
6 March 2015, 07:13
Dave King has warned the Rangers support his bid for power will not result in an instant fix.
The former oldco director is poised to sweep out the last elements of the current Rangers board at a general meeting at Ibrox on Friday morning.
But he insists the club will never again splash the cash as happened during Sir David Murray's extravagant reign as club owner - a spell which was followed by the Glasgow giants going into financial meltdown.
And King revealed his belief it could take Rangers another two years before they can challenge rivals Celtic's dominance of the Scottish game.
After flying in from Johannesburg ahead of the shareholder vote, King told Sky Sports News: "The Rangers fans have had a very difficult time. I think we are going to have a couple of tough years.
"For Rangers to become the second top club in Scotland should be achieved at fairly short notice. But there is a very substantial gap between Rangers and Celtic at the moment.
"For us to narrow that gap - as we surely will do - it has to be done on a judicious basis. It must never get to the situation where we put Rangers in financial distress chasing something that can be managed in a far more commercial and sane basis.''
King has already forced out chairman David Somers and director James Easdale, but chief executive Derek Llambias and financial director Barry Leach are clinging on to their boardroom positions.
They may not last much longer, however, with Castlemilk-born King claiming he is well over the 51 per cent threshold he needs to claim control at Ibrox and on his way to a "landslide'' victory.
The prospective chairman is set to form a three-man board with Paul Murray and John Gilligan. Former Blue Knight Murray will be installed as the interim chair while King proves he is fit and proper to the football and Stock Exchange authorities.
However, the 60-year-old said: "I am ready for this challenge. It's been something I have been working on for a couple of years.
"It is a little bit daunting to now think of what we have to do, because the one thing that is clear to me is that the club is broken.
"It's not just the team. It's the stadium, the infrastructure - the whole value system in the club has disappeared.
"I think it really is critical that we hit the ground running. So after tomorrow we have got to go and kick-start the thing and inject a bit of energy.
"The club is probably in a precarious position in terms of trying to get promotion this year. But if the suggestion is that the situation is financially precarious, then there's nothing further from the truth.
"If you look at the levels of debt they are talking about from Mike Ashley, they are actually very modest for a club with the facilities Rangers have got.
"If we can get Rangers back to where we know Rangers can be, then I think the level of debt is very, very affordable.''
Newcastle United owner Ashley has an 8.92 per cent stake in Rangers but is set to see his boardroom representation wiped out with Llambias and Leach removed.
However, Ashley still holds the right to name two more directors thanks to the £10million loan he handed the club back in January.
King claims he has been blanked by the Newcastle chief but expects to have discussions with his lieutenants from Sports Direct once he has examined Rangers' agreements with Ashley's retail business.
The remaining directors are trying to make life as difficult as possible for the incoming club supremo and have started the process of drawing down the second #5million tranche from Ashley's loan.
The club's nominated adviser WH Ireland has also quit, leading to the suspension of the club's stocks.
Llambias has now urged Dave King to come clean on his plans to appoint a replacement NOMAD.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan refused to give any pre-judgement on King's potential application for "fit and proper'' status.
Regan said when quizzed on the topic: "We are part way through a process which involves a meeting tomorrow and we are talking about a plc so I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on those type of corporate affairs.
"There is a process that would be followed in the event of changes, it would be up to the club to make representations to the Scottish FA and we'll deal with that as and when that happens.''
However, he conceded that an end to the instability would be welcome.
"For Rangers fans in particular and all of those who are watching what has gone on over the last three years, I think it's important there is stability and harmony and that whoever leads Rangers can actually get on with getting the club back into some kind of positive shape,'' he said.