Rangers: Dave King Q&A

KEEP calm and keep the heid.

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The Ibrox board have still to reveal their financial review
The Ibrox board have still to reveal their financial review

Dave King, who has made his millions in South Africa, has signalled his intention to keep up the battle for control of Rangers.

But he has told fans to be patient as they wait for the business plan at Rangers to be unveiled by the board next month. He believes some supporters are looking for a fight, but he just wants a resolution to the crisis that has engulfed the club.

He gave his views in an interview with SportTimes…

There was a strand of opinion that said you were in danger of stepping away after the last interaction with the board?

I do not understand the view that I would be stepping away. I think it is the view of some of the supporters that they are looking for a fight. My preference is not to fight. If the board are saying we are considering what you are saying and it is our ambition to follow the lines you are suggesting - competing with Celtic etc and we will fund it - then that will be great. But they must show that in the business review. Unfortunately, it was reinforced to me in my visit to Scotland that there are a lot of people who are so emotional about this that they almost don't want the board to say everything is okay. They are just ready for the fight. It is a pity if there are people who want to fight no matter what but we must give the board time to come out with the review.

How advanced are the plans over a trust for season ticket money?

I have not been involved in those plans. All I have said to them (the fans' groups) is that while I think it is a very, very big ask to say to Rangers fans, 'please withhold your season ticket money" it may become necessary.

Can you put a figure on what it would take in cash terms to get Rangers back to the top of Scottish football?

I think the minimum - if we get lucky - is £30m and we will probably need £50m. That would be to compete with Celtic. The Rangers strategy should be a simple thing and I have discussed this with institutions. It is this: every year we have to compete with Celtic. Nine-in-row is terrible for Celtic and nine-in-a-row is terrible for Rangers. It is good for the fans, but bad for business.

I think if I was to speak with Dermot Desmond (largest single shareholder in Celtic) and asked him if he was happy with what is going on, he would say: 'No'. It is bad business for Celtic, it is bad business for the Scottish co-efficent in terms of Europe.

You cannot just buy the shares?

I could go in and buy up the shares, but the problem is that the amount of money I spend on buying up the shares does not go into the club, it goes into the pockets of those selling the shares. I do not want to buy the shares and own a club that has no money. I think a rights issue is the right way to go about it.

How much are you personally willing to put it?

I think the club needs £30m-£50m over the next five years and I am willing to share the shortfall as to what I get from other people. I would like as much as possible from other people.

But you could end up with the thick end of £50m to find?

Sure. It doesn't faze me because, to me, Rangers is about spending money, not making money. It is about investing in a club that I have a historical passion for. I am desperately unhappy about where they are at this point in time and want to see them back to where they belong.

How much would £50m, say, constitute of your personal wealth?

I would not invest money that would cause an inconvenience to my family. For me, investing in Rangers is about the passion for the club. I am very, very accepting of the fact that whatever I put into the club I could never see again. I have already put in 20 (million) and I am willing to lose more.

What personally drives you to save Rangers?

It is about a tradition of the club. Obviously, you have John Greig, who epitomises everything about Rangers, you have Colin Stein and I saw him score his first hat-trick for the club, and there is Alex MacDonald, Sandy Jardine. I first watched Ritchie, Shearer, Caldow ... but to me it is not about individuals. It is about something I grew up with. It is a community club and to me it is an absolute tragedy that the club finds itself in a situation through circumstances that are outwith the remit of the biggest shareholder, namely the fan.

What are your chances of success?

I will be very surprised if that, through the efforts of myself and other people, Rangers do not come through this in a healthy way and ultimately get back to where we all think they should belong.

How near are Rangers to hitting the buffers again?

I think not that close at all. There is a business plan among Rangers directors and shareholders - who are not Rangers fans at the moment - that they can take £20m in and put £19m out and they will make a profit. We would not recognise that Rangers as the way they should be. My view is that we make a step change, in that we invest ahead of the income. You cannot compete against Celtic unless you match their cost structure.

What do the fans need now?

WE need resilience. To me, going out there feeling I need to beat people up every day is not the way to succeed. The Rangers situation will only change in the boardroom. You can have your protests - and they are important in the sense that fans are giving a demonstration of how they feel - but ultimately where we are now is a boardroom issue that requires patience. We need resilience, we need patience and, ultimately, we will come out of it.


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