11 June 2015

RST Statement on Mike Ashley's Court Proceedings

"Today we have seen the absurd spectacle of Mike Ashley taking our club to court to stop the Rangers board from informing shareholders and fans about details of the Sports Direct contracts. This despite the fact that the board had already publicly stated they would not break those confidentiality agreements. At the same time Mr Ashley demands clarity from the board at an EGM called by him. It seems that Mr Ashley’s hypocrisy is matched only by his avarice.

"In his panic to stop Rangers fans from knowing definitively about his questionable dealings with our club, Mr Ashley has done them a valuable service. There can now be absolutely no doubt that the Sports Direct contracts with Rangers are of benefit to one party and one party only. We call on the hundreds of thousands of Rangers fans who have already stopped purchasing official merchandise to continue to abstain from an arrangement which benefits only Mr Ashley. We also ask them to spread the word to their friends and family and those remaining few who may as yet not be aware of the disgraceful retail arrangements which are holding our club to ransom.

"Figures published many months ago showed that Rangers received only 70p per £10 spent on merchandise by fans. In the last accounts reported the club received nothing from the retail agreement with Sports Direct.

"We also now have confirmation from the court that new contracts and undertakings were put in place by Mr Ashley’s lieutenants in the days leading up the last EGM whilst they were acting as directors of Rangers Football Club PLC.

"Mr Ashley, with his call for an EGM and the cost of today’s hearing has, by conservative estimate, cost the club the wages of a first team player for 6 months. The judge in the latest case called the expenses claim by SD 'shocking'. Mr Ashley must think the Rangers support are suffering from some sort of mass delusion if he expects us to buy merchandise despite his continuing attacks on our club.

"Our message is simple. Unless the current contracts with Sports Direct are negotiated to the satisfaction of the Rangers board, and that satisfaction is clearly communicated to fans, then we urge Rangers fans not to buy any official merchandise from club shops, Sports Direct or any other outlet. Purchasing from other shops does not solve the problem.

"In addition to this we will be publishing and maintaining a full list of the companies owned by Mr Ashley or in which he has an interest. We would request that fans spread the word to their friends and family and ask them to boycott these stores and brands also. Quite apart from Mr Ashley’s questionable business practices he is bleeding the club you love dry and taking money from it that could be spent getting Rangers back where we belong.

"The only thing Mr Ashley understands is money. Take action and let’s make sure that in the near future both players and fans can wear the Rangers jersey with pride again, knowing that it is a true symbol of our club and not a testament to one man’s greed."