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Rangers' Dave King takes control of Ibrox throne

By Andy Newport

Dave King hopes his victory in the Ibrox power grab will be enough to prevent a generation of Rangers supporters being lost.

The Johannesburg-based millionaire oversaw the coup which swept Mike Ashley's placemen Derek Llambias and Barry Leach out of the boardroom.

His appointment to the board - along with those of former Blue Knight Paul Murray and ex-Glasgow brewery boss John Gilligan - was backed by over 85% of the Gers shareholders at yesterday's 12-minute general meeting.

But King will delay his coronation to the Ibrox throne while he sets about proving he is fit and proper to the football and stock exchange authorities.

However, he hopes his "landslide" victory will be enough to ensure swathes of youngsters will be able to grow up watching a successful Rangers.

Speaking just minutes after his victory was confirmed to the Stock Exchange, the Castlemilk-born businessman said: "As someone who has grown up with a Rangers tradition, I always believed it was going to be there. I picked it up from my father and he picked it up from his.

"Even though I'm not living in Scotland, it concerned me that those who are living here were looking at a situation where that link was breaking.

"There was a real danger that if this continued, you would end up with a lost generation."

But whether King is the man leading that charge from the front remains to be seen.

The former oldco director confessed to 41 breaches of South African tax laws in 2013 but paid out a £44m settlement to spare himself jail time.

He will not officially join the new-look Gers board until after he has satisfied the Scottish FA and stock exchange that he is fit and proper, leaving Murray as interim chairman.

King, though, insists he will play an important role no matter the outcome.

"If I'm not fit and proper, I won't sit on the board," he said. "But I will still invest and still support the club. To me, not being on the board is not critical. It would not make any difference to Rangers going forward."

With boss Ally McCoist on garden leave and caretaker Kenny McDowall also working his notice, the first task for the new board will be to find a manager.

The club trails Championship leaders Hearts by 24 points and face a play-off battle to reclaim their Premiership place.

But King insists promotion this season is not imperative, neither is it that the club is readmitted to the AIM Market.

Shares in Rangers were suspended earlier this week when the former NOMAD WH Ireland resigned. The Glasgow giants could be thrown out of the Stock Exchange completely if they fail to find a replacement firm within the next month but King insisted that eventuality would be "completely unimportant" to the club's revival prospects.

King also spoke about Ashley.

Ashley owns almost 9% of the club but the £5m loan he handed over in January gives him security over Murray Park and the club's trademarks. It also allows him to nominate two more directors to the board.

But King claimed the Newcastle United owner would be in for a "challenging" task if he tried to impose more of his associates on the club.

He also said there were questions to be answered about the "appropriateness and quality" of the club's commercial deals with Sports Direct.

King will also have to lead the search for a new chief executive, but when asked about the current holder of that role, he seemed to suggest that Llambias - along with Leach - would eventually walk away.

Asked if the former boardroom pair would be sacked from their executive roles, he replied: "I wouldn't think so."

Asked if they still had a future with the club, King smirked as he replied again: "I wouldn't think so."

Belfast Telegraph


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