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Is Dave King’s scaremongering part of a long-term plan to buy club on the cheap?

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August 2013 Dave King claims that Rangers will go into administration by Christmas unless Charles Green lowers his asking price for him so that he can buy the club. Christmas comes and no administration materialises. Jump forward to Wednesday 26th February [after several more articles claiming investment is needed]and Dave King calls on Rangers fans to withhold season ticket money to force the board’s hand to do his bidding.

Dave King’s penchant for scaremongering has been going on for two years and can be for one reason only to buy the club at a knock down price after using the Rangers fans as pawns.

With the club’s current regime securing a loan of £1.5 million from Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners, it seems that Dave King has come to the conclusion that any hint of him being including in the current cabal at Ibrox has evaporated and therefore he has resorted to Plan B – letting the pawns do his dirty work.

The self-styled man of the people, a man dubbed a ‘good Rangers man’ who lost £20 million when the club went into administration and thereafter liquidation or so we are led to believe.

King fought for years against the South African Revenue Service and its claims that he committed tax fraud and also levelled criminal charges on the businessman. After eventually doing a deal with SARS in which he was found guilty of 41 counts of contravening section 75 of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962. In fact he pled guilty to the charges and in return was given the choice of paying a fine of around £200,000 or spend two years in jail. As part of the settlement he has to pay around £45 million in tax, and file all missing tax returns stretching all the way back to 2002.

Despite claiming that Rangers need to invest big to challenge Celtic and prevent them securing ten titles in a row, King has not once offered his own cash and why has he not done it for his beloved Rangers?

Because the price is not right for King.

So with the price still not within the range he wants to buy it at, he calls up some of his closest confidants in the Scottish press to publish his scaremongering stories to help the fans – who are already worried about the future of their club – rise up and force the current regime out by threatening to withhold season ticket money – which would be fatal to the club forcing its creditors [Laxey Partners] to put the club into administration to recoup their £1.5 million loan.

At that point King can then ride in on his white charger like the good Rangers man that he is.

King stated earlier in the day: “I appreciate that the board has no obligation to engage with me or to agree with my vision for the future of Rangers. My assessment is that the business is not commercially sustainable in the short-term and requires a level of soft investment.

“The board is focusing on cutting costs to match the income. Any club must, over the long-term, operate within its means. But, in the short-term, Rangers needs a significant one-off financial boost that cannot be met from the current revenue stream. Without this, we will not get back to where we should be. If we cut our costs to suit our present income, we will remain a small club and Celtic will shoot through 10-in-a-row and beyond – while we slug it out for the minor places. That is not the Rangers that I grew up with and not the Rangers that we should be passing down to our children and grandchildren.”

He added: “I have been such an investor and want to be so again. I would like to lead a fan-based initiative to acquire an influential shareholding in the club.”

“The Craig Whyte purchase would never have happened if the true source of ‘his’ funds had been known. Similarly, the fans would not have purchased season tickets at that time if they had known that their funds were going out of the club.
‘The fans lost their cash and almost lost their club. So now, at this critical time, I remind fellow supporters of the old adage: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”.

“I previously invested £20m in the club and lost it all. I am willing to provide funding again but do not believe Rangers should be under the control of one owner. I see my role as lead investor of a like-minded consortium that will invest in the club, with supporters, without the short-sightedness of an immediate return on investment. (The Rangers board) have seriously misunderstood loyalty as something they can take for granted and give nothing in return. We shouldn’t allow that to continue.”

More talk from King, but will he turn those words into action? The same words that both Craig Whyte and Charles Green used to sweet talk the Rangers fans, the same words that Paul Murray and his failed pretenders to the Rangers throne used.

In the next few weeks, King will fly into Scotland to much fanfare alongwith his mainstream media entourage to meet with the Rangers fans to tell them what they want to hear. But will he offer the fans a significant share in the club as he claims or will he give them a token percentage – enough to keep the people happy, but not enough to threaten his majority shareholding.

The Rangers board believe he won’t pass the Scottish FA’s version of a fit and proper test, a test that actually doesn’t exist, and with his convictions [even in South Africa]King cannot be deemed fit and proper. Remember Sandy Easdale? Convicted criminal and is not a director of the company that owns Rangers, he is on the club board not the company board.

Will the Scottish FA be forced into accepting King to keep the natives happy? To secure a strong Rangers in the top flight to welcome back the sponsors and significant investment from the TV companies or will they see Dave King for what he really is – a convicted criminal and unfit to hold office.

Remember Craig Whyte may be a dodgy character, but he has not been convicted of any crime, unlike King. But because King is a good Rangers man.

A good Rangers man who lost a fortune to the tune of £20 million, a good Rangers man who tried to cheat his way out of paying taxes that he rightfully owed [sound familiar?]and a good Rangers man who – according to SARS documentation and a tax assessment of King’s finances  which was quoted by the South African press, he received an income of R200 million from Rangers Football Club. In today’s currency rate that would be around £11 million, however back in 2008 would have been more like £15 million. Even a die hard Rangers fan and blogger is questioning the sad tale of a millionaire losing £20 million and why the income of R200 million was never published in the Rangers accounts.

Or maybe it was another one of those loans that wasn’t actually a loan that you didn’t need to pay back?

A short and sharp statement from the Ibrox side tonight read: “The board notes Mr King’s comments with concern as they are potentially de-stabilising and damaging to Rangers Football Club.”

Would a good Rangers man de-stabilise and damage his beloved club or is it all part of his plan to buy in cheap to make the most money from his investment from the heart?

Craig Whyte fooled the Rangers support, Charles Green fooled the Rangers support and now Dave King is once again circling overhead like a vulture waiting to pounce on the corpse. Can Rangers supporters really fall for the same rhetoric used by previous saviours Craig Whyte and Charles Green all over again?

Rangers chief Graham Wallace is half way through his 120 day period of evaluating the club’s finances to cut costs that exploded once more under Charles Green – money spent to appease the same fans, who had an element within their core, threaten the Yorkshireman with the big hands. The same fan base that turned on American businessman Bill Miller sending him hundreds of emails every day, both vitriol and expletive-filled according to his spokesperson.

Rangers, like every other club in Scotland should be living within their means, King was part of the Murray board that ran up debts of around £80 million in the early noughties where was King then other than suckling at the tit of Rangers? Where was he when the Rangers board warned Sir David Murray about Craig Whyte and his lack of clarity over finances?

Where was King when the club needed a good Rangers man to save them from liquidation and the humiliation of it all?

Several media folk in the Scottish footballing fraternity state that King could be Rangers’ equivalent to Fergus McCann. Wrong, there is a huge difference between the two men. McCann had a game plan and knew what had to be done to save Celtic and it wasn’t to spend tens of millions on a playing squad. He didn’t spend two years talking a good game when Celtic were in financial trouble, he came in put up his money along with other investors and the fans to save the club they love and support. And despite under huge pressure from the Celtic support to match Rangers’ reckless spending to buy titles and European glory under Murray, McCann stuck to his guns saving the club putting it on the right road and he left with a nice wee profit – which he stated all along he would do after five years.

McCann was a man of his word, is Dave King? Just read what Judge Southwood made of King during his SARS tax battle in 2010, he remarked: “…..he [King] has no respect for the truth and does not hesitate to lie or at least misrepresent the facts if he thinks it will be to his advantage. There can be little doubt that on most occasions King lied as he knew the correct facts and obviously decided to misrepresent these facts.”

Would you trust this man with your investment? Would investors rally to King’s bugle call rather than a respected chief executive in the guise of Graham Wallace? Would Rangers fans rather get someone in who will manage the club properly and within their means than trying to stop Celtic from achieving ten titles in a row? What is more important saving the club or spending big to stop your rivals winning titles again?

If the Rangers fans are serious about buying the club they love – raise the funds yourself and buy the shares needed without the need of another rich sugardaddy. Otherwise don’t go bleating to everyone who will listen about their latest saviour bending them over to pump them rotten for everything they have.

Don’t let me sway you with the facts and my opinions of saviour number three Dave King, what are your thoughts on this man? Is he the messiah or is he just another naughty boy? Can Rangers afford to trust a man who has a penchant for lying for his own end?

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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