Dave King yesterday announced his intention to stand down from being Chairman of our club. The emotion in his speech was clear for everyone to see and it is with no doubt he leaves our football club in a much better place. His tenure is one I will be forever grateful for and whilst many are looking forward to our next title win, it can’t be underestimated how big a win Dave Kings AGM victory was in March 2015 in our clubs illustrious history.
As if we need reminding but Rangers were floating along with ownership happy at 3rd place in the championship, happy to have a caretaker manager and happy to hold AGMs in tents at Ibrox. Standards were as low as they ever were, Ibrox and our training ground were left to rot, we were a discarded cash cow for those Spivs only interested in what they could get from Rangers. It was a horrible sickening spiral which, in my mind, would undoubtedly have ended with a shell of a club and a stadium known as the Sports Direct arena.
Rangers were a broken shell
Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan stepped up ousting the old board just in time to stop them stealing £200,000 from the banks of RYDC, a symbol of their disgusting reign in charge. From that moment they have raised the standards to return Rangers to the point we are now at. In doing so they have pumped in millions of pounds of their own money and for that there will be no return.
Dave King yesterday called it a sense of duty
Yes there have been mistakes along the way. The Sports Direct shadow remains over the club and King has confirmed he will stay to fight that battle. Money has been wasted on poor managerial appointments and they will admit to being behind schedule on the footballing front, but in going through those mistakes they have led us to the position we are in now.
Let’s not forget Rangers are now a club able to spend £7m on one player, able to spend millions of pounds on upgrading our facilities and able once again to battle on the pitch to the standards we expect.
So where exactly does yesterday’s AGM leave Rangers?
Dave King will step down around March time in 2020, then he will take part in his last ever Rangers board room meeting. At this point we will appoint our next Chairman and successor to King. Douglas Park will be seen as the natural choice as he is currently deputy Chairman when King operates in his homeland. However it remains to be seen as to whether he would take that job, you then look at the boardroom and see Alastair Johnstone but would assume he would face the same logistical issues King has thus far. Will new investment mean a completely new chairman or perhaps new investors brought in by Julian Wolhardt will mean he takes the top job. It’s a situation that will clarify in the coming months.
King has already spoken about the final phase of fund raising before he leaves so what exactly does that mean?
There has been the usual nonsense suggestion that King has saddled the club with millions of debt and is jumping ship before things go wrong.
First of all King is not walking away. He will remain a major shareholder, he will take part in January fundraising and he will remain on the board of Rangers Retail whilst we battle Sports Direct for however long it takes to conclusion.
Any debt we have is to our own boardroom shareholders and we have no external debt.
The key objective of the share issue will be to raise substantial funds and clear all existing share holders loans into more shares then the remaining funds will provide Rangers with significant working funds going forward. This will allow the club to work normally in terms of no more boardroom funding and within normal parameters provided by our bankers Barclays.
King admits a key point in this is Rangers will need to become better in player trading in the future but with assets such as Alfredo Morelos, Glenn Kamara and Ryan Kent (to name but a few) we now have a squad with assets capable of such a thing.
How can we survive without boardroom funding whilst making such yearly loses?
Another question I have seen asked or accusation flung at us by those obsessed with our club.
As I covered on the finance blog and confirmed by King in his AGM speech, a lot of the losses from this year were one off payments and will not be repeated annually. For example £5m redevelopments of Ibrox and the training centre can now be seen as King completing another part of his promises before he left. The training centre is now back to the high standard of facility before it suffered years of neglect. Ibrox remains under upgrade with many areas in line for redevelopment or having already undergone it.
The £3.4m spent on battling Sports Direct will not be a recurring fee to the club. Whilst social media fantasy gets itself in a frenzy about possible further costs from Sports Direct litigation, as above, King remains on board to fight that and any costs if occurred will be covered by the shareholders going forward.
Possible new investment
Rumours have been surfaced for several months if not years about foreign investment in Rangers. This has escalated since Alex Rae commented on radio that huge money was coming into Rangers in the new year.
When you consider Dave Kings quote yesterday ‘Rangers will be in the best state it has been financially in 40 years’ when he leaves it remains entirely possible that the rumours of huge investment are true.
I have heard the stories and rumours like everyone else but I can’t substantiate anything and have no problems admitting that. One thing I have always said is I wouldn’t speculate or talk about things I have minimal knowledge of or was a major club announcement. If I had known for definite about yesterday’s announcement I wouldn’t have mentioned it anyway, Dave King deserved that moment and AGM speech.
I look forward to the possibility of major investment in the future as much as anyone else, it’s exciting and would leave our club in a strong position going forward.
How will we remember Dave King?
Dave King will be the first to admit he’s made mistakes, first to admit perhaps he has spoken a bit loosely in situations and even first to admit he has failed to completely sort the Sports Direct situation.
It hasn’t been a perfect ride by any means
But what he has given us is Rangers back to a level and standards we can expect. The training centre and Ibrox redevelopment, the first team competing at a high level and not to mention the millions of selfless investment.
Rangers stand on the brink of European qualification, we are level of points at the top of the league and in a major cup final. We have a squad and management to be proud of who can deliver the ultimate prizes.
Five years ago, as the new regime swept in to power, we were drawing with Cowdenbeath a week after they were beaten 10-0
He remains committed to the club and will take part in the January fundraising. He also remains committed to the ongoing Sports Direct battle and his commitment to that exactly what we need.
Dave King has made mistakes but in my opinion any he has made have been misjudgments in decisions and nothing that was intentional to go wrong.
He has returned Rangers to the standards we desire and in my mind their is no doubts he saved the club from a dreadful mediocracy that everyone of us dreaded.
Dave King should go down as one of the most important figures in our clubs history and whilst many will speculate on suitable ways to honour him, the best thing we can do is rally round the team and cheer them on to the silverware we crave.
No one would be more pleased than the man himself, he called it a sense of duty and in my mind he is a true Ranger who answered the call
Thank you Dave King
Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise