Rangers opinion: Dave King may split unified call for change

THE vast majority of Rangers fans agreed fully with every word of the incendiary statement that Dave King released yesterday.

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Rangers fans' groups have not always seen eye-to-eye
Rangers fans' groups have not always seen eye-to-eye

King's point about the urgent need for fresh investment to help the Ibrox club challenge Celtic for the Scottish title was certainly well received.

So, too, were the serious concerns he expressed about the lack of financial transparency and the increasing use of spin doctors at his boyhood heroes. His call for shareholders who see trophies, instead of short-term financial profit, as a return for their outlay was like music to supporters' ears.

Seeing characters like Imran Ahmed, Charles Green and Richard Hughes, among others, pocket vast sums and then walk away has been painful for them.

Particularly when it has emerged that the Glasgow giants, despite the tens of millions of pounds they have banked in the last two years, need a £1.5million loan for "working capital".

Therefore, the prospect of King, the wealthy South Africa-based businessman and former director, getting involved is a highly appealing one for many. The Castlemilk-born financier is a genuine supporter and has the desire as well as the means to make a significant difference to both their on and off-field fortunes.

King once ploughed £20million of his personal fortune into the club.

He lost every penny of it.

And still he is prepared to get involved once again. It says much about the man and his intentions. Without him, the chances are high that cutbacks will have to be made on the playing side after chief executive Graham Wallace completes his 120-day review of business.

If Rangers struggle to beat part-time Stenhousemuir at Ibrox in SPFL League One just now, how will they fare against full-time opponents in the Premiership once costs have been slashed?

It is very difficult to see, as King stressed in his statement, Rangers doing anything other than "slugging it out for the minor places" if that is what happens.

But the burning question now is this: will a sufficiently large number of supporters actually act upon King's call to withhold season ticket money this summer?

If they do so then it could, as King suggested, force through real change upstairs and result in them receiving formal representation on the board.

Yet, the possibility of going down this route has been mooted in the past and, despite a widespread unhappiness at how the club is being run, has received a cool welcome.

The three main fans' organisations, the Assembly, the Association and the Trust, spoke of the prospect of "disengaging" with the club before the AGM in December.

The Sons of Struth protest group also stated there was the possibility of fans refusing to buy season tickets and club merchandise.

But many fans were deeply concerned about the adverse impact this would have on the club as it attempted to make its way back to the top flight.

Most followers were more of a mind to back the club, despite all its imperfections and their reservations about the individuals involved, both financially and in person on match days.

They had, after all, been through the hell of administration and then liquidation and were desperate to play their part in their climb up the leagues.

So there is no guarantee that a sizeable enough number of season ticket holders will decide to take action and pool their season ticket money to make a difference.

As well received as King's aston-ishing statement was, when push comes to shove and fans have to actually withhold their season ticket money how many will actually do so?

Furthermore, it is debatable whether Rangers fans can unite and get mobilised in a matter of months and set up the trust they would need to do that.

As the club has lurched from one crisis to the next in the last few years you would have expected supporters to band together in adversity.

The exact opposite has been the case. The in-fighting, squabbling and bickering between rival factions of Rangers supporters has beggared belief at times given what has been going on around them.

Rangers will start sending out season ticket renewal forms towards the end of the season.

Will Rangers fans have set up a trust by that time? It would be an achievement if they did. Releasing the funds from the trust to the club on a "pay-as-they-play" basis would be a complex process.

Do they have enough time to set that up to the satisfaction of all involved?

Few are in any doubt that the current set-up of the club - anonymous institutional investors seeking to maximise their investment while not parting with any more cash to drive the club forward - is far from ideal.

But whether supporters can do what King is suggesting and use their considerable power to seize control, or partial control, of Rangers remains to be seen.

Many who would like to see it. But wanting something to happen and something actually happening are two entirely different things.

Football

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