02 May 2014

Dave King: Time to Step Up and Pay


by Andy McKellar | Contributor

It is fair to acknowledge that the Rangers rebuild has proved to be as farcical and shambolic as realistically imaginable. Labelling it a missed opportunity just doesn’t do justice to the levels of negligence, exploitation and incompetence that we’ve witnessed since the beginning of our lower league journey.

In an ideal world we would have used our demotion to learn from the mistakes of the past and to develop a business and football strategy into a model which would see our dominance of Scottish football return upon our promotion to the top-flight. But, alas, Rangers now operate under circumstances which are so imperfect that at times you find yourself wondering just how such chaos is possible.

In truth our recent history reads like more of a pantomime than the events you’d find at any moderately normal football club and the latest civil war again centres on a seemingly untrustworthy board and the frustration of many supporters. Whyte, Green, Mather, Stockbridge. It’s little wonder that there is scepticism in all honesty. But moaning alone will get us nowhere.

Organising the Rangers support to make a meaningful change to our current situation has thus far proved impossible, although that perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise. What has been equally frustrating however has been the lack of success achieved by the perceived saviours who have launched themselves into the limelight with relentless statements and continuous allegations. It really is a shambles.

Many of Dave King’s claims have undoubtedly been valid, and certainly questions remain over the recent performance of the board and indeed their plans for the future, but that unfortunately doesn’t change the fact that King’s verbal jousting has achieved virtually nothing except perhaps causing division and disappointment. He really must do better.

Much like the Requisitions before him, King’s greatest strength appears to be the weakness of his opposition. His season-ticket trust still hasn’t launched, his equity fund is non-existent and, if the best he can offer is mere words, I think I’d rather he didn’t bother. His campaign has been an immense let down for many fans who saw him as a unifying figure and as a potential solution to our current problems, of which there are many, but there is still time to rectify that.

What we have at Rangers is undoubtedly an ownership problem. The power and influence lies with the shares. Administration and the sale of the business and assets unfortunately left the door open for opportunists and, while some of them have since departed, it’s fair to acknowledge that the primary concern of our owners is not the performance and success of our football club.

These shareholders, including the reputable financial institutions, are here for a return on their investment. That’s the harsh reality of business. We can either howl and scream at them or we can face up to our situation and seek to do something about it. I know which option I prefer.

It might not sit well with supporters or indeed Dave King to put money into the pockets of people who have overseen financial calamity at Rangers, but how else are we supposed to change things? Withholding money could lead to secured borrowing, administration or worse. Is it really worth taking that risk when a controlling interest can surely be purchased for a price far less than the cost of repairing the potential damage a boycott could cause? Either way, these shareholders look like they’ll get their money one way or another. To pretend otherwise looks like a very naïve approach, and I certainly don’t believe Mr King is naïve.

While there are lingering doubts about his own credibility given his tax problems in South Africa I don’t think we should doubt his intentions where Rangers are concerned. But that goodwill can only get him so far and, judging by some of the reaction to his latest statement, I’d suggest that patience is wearing thin amongst our fans.

King must now move quick to rectify the situation and to garner the support that I believe he is capable of achieving. His season-ticket trust idea is flawed, and also dangerous in my opinion, but I wish him every success in achieving his aim of receiving security in return for releasing the funds. Regardless of this, the bigger picture must be addressed and that is something that he has ignored for far too long.

The board do not currently have the authority to issue new shares directly to King – a fact that is often ignored – and therefore, as things stand, he is reliant upon a fresh rights issue and a low uptake from the existing shareholders. Only if those circumstances exist will he be able to invest on his own terms and have all of his cash going into the club rather than to the current owners. His stance is admirable. Surely we all want money going into Rangers? But unfortunately it is also unrealistic and naïve. He needs to join the rest of us in the real world, and soon.

It’s not my place or indeed anyone’s to tell Mr King what to do with his own money and his children’s inheritance. Of course it isn’t. If however he wants to use some of it to benefit Rangers Football Club and write his name into the history books, I really hope he is currently considering a different approach. The dirty PR tactics have been a waste of time meanwhile the season-ticket trust is essentially a distraction from the bigger picture. Until that’s addressed, nothing will change.

Despite his errors of judgement and his lack of meaningful action to date, I’d still support King almost without hesitation if he committed to raising funds alongside supporters in order to buy a controlling stake in our beloved football club. The details and technicalities of course would need to be worked out, but I firmly believe that we need to get Rangers back into the hands of those with its best interest at heart. And King has the ability to make this happen.

So it’s over to you, Dave. You can stay in South Africa firing ineffective statements against the board or you can dust off your cheque book, stand side by side with our supporters and take the first steps towards reclaiming and rebuilding the Rangers.

There can be no more false messiahs at Ibrox. Time to step up and pay.

2 comments:

  1. A very well written piece. It highlights both the rights and wrongs in what Mr King is trying to do. One thing however which has not been mentioned is the criminal record for fraud and tax evasion that Mr King has. This alone would ensure he would fail the fit and proper person test so he would need a patsy to represent him. Step forward Paul Murray. Now, this man was on the board the last time it all went wrong and the club was liquidated, he has jumped up and down all through the admin and sale of assets and he was willing to jump into bed with anyone who could guarantee him a seat in the Directors box every week.

    We all know that football clubs don't make money unless they are run properly, Arsenal, Swansea, Celtic. So, is Dave King willing to "lose" money on Rangers, personally I don't think so. He has said he has asked his kids, told them it's their inheritance and said he has been given the go ahead, so why the delay. He has also said that him putting money into this venture is the last resort, wait a minute, so he isn't going to fund a charge back to the top then. In reality he is doing what the existing board are doing and asking the fans to fund the venture.

    The existing board have come in to a shambles and so far they have done nothing wrong. They are cutting costs, they are trying to get the club stable but for some reason that is not an acceptable solution. For too many years Rangers lived outside their means, borrowed huge amounts of money which the didn't repay, avoided paying tax..the list goes on and all of this because they had a sugar daddy who didn't want to upset the fans. Those days are gone, they need to stay gone, the club needs a solid footing not another false dawn.

    This process of rebuilding will take years, are the fans willing to wait that long, not a chance so it isn't the board who are trying to kill the club then is it. Time for a harsh reality check, accept the situation, back the club with your season ticket money and let the club stand on its own without people having to pump in tens of millions every couple of years to service the desires of the people who don't see the big picture.

    Dave King, Paul Murray, SDM are all culpable in what happened to your club and yet you turn to them because they are "Rangers men". It isn't Rangers men you need it is people who rule with their heads and not their hearts. It is fine to have an affection, even a love for the club BUT that must also be combined with a harshness to say NO. It was done at Celtic for many years and now they are reaping the rewards. Every season they sell players worth millions of pounds and that then ensures the long term future of the club BUT the Celtic fans endured years of watching Rangers win everything, now the tide has turned and the Rangers fans need to accept this and do all they can to help THEIR club.

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  2. I think we're missing a glaring hole in the argument. Dave King knows that the board would be in breach of their directorial duties if they took us into administration. Now, while one or two might not feel that being banned from directorship for a period would affect them, I'd imagine that it could end the career of a banker, or that of a CEO?

    That's the caveat that the men with the blazers will have to weigh up in a personal capacity. Nonetheless, I agree fully with the fact that our problem lies in the power base at the club, meaning the faceless companies who have no owners. What we have, is a situation where money is removed from the club by a legacy of mistakes, removals and appointments. This process of stripping will continue until supporters take a stand, and refuse to be bullied and coerced by emotional blackmail.

    Some seem to think that playing directors at their own game is damaging the club, but ask yourself this - Will giving them your money stop the process of fleecing the club?

    Dave King is damned if he speaks out, and damned if he shuts up, so he may as well exorcise his right to voice his opinion, just like us.

    No, he may need to eventually buy existing shares, but we need to trust in his judgement with the ST trust.

    We're dealing with people who have behaved appallingly over the past 2 years, including since the AGM. Allegations of lying at the AGM, and misleading the media with his version of why the credit card facility was withdrawn, have indicated that the board are still totally untrustworthy. On top of that, they have went form paying a PR pit bull who denigrated our greatest ever player, to hiring a new Rottweiler who likened the Liverpool fans to the Khmer Rouge, who slaughtered and butchered their way to genocide in Cambodia.

    There's only one reason that he has been hired, and that is to fight the fans, and try to divide ums, just when we are doing the right thing. Notice how certain bloggers and minority groups have went on the offensive this week. This is to sow doubts in people's minds. Suddenly, people are questioning Kibg, instead of the people who have been responsible for the state of our club - those who hold power over the board, and the board themselves.

    I stool find it incredible, that after 2 years of asking, we still don't know every name of every shareholder at the club. For me, that should've been a condition in the ST trust, and perhaps it could still be added.

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Keep it civil, lads.