The fund set up by Rangers fans group Union of Fans in conjunction with South African businessman Dave King and former Rangers defender Richard Gough is to be disbanded after the Ibrox club’s board refused to bow down to the group’s attempts to ‘try to get security over Ibrox’.
Just two months after launching the 1972 fund in a blaze of publicity, the fans group behind the scheme to starve the Ibrox club of season ticket money has called time on it as it failed to meet its objective of forcing the board into handing over Ibrox and Murray Park as security.
The plan for the fund was to release the season ticket money to the board if the directors ‘provided legally binding undertakings that Ibrox and Murray Park would not be used for security against borrowings’.
While the launch of the fund hit the headlines, it seems the publicity surrounding the fund’s demise is limited with the Union of Fans own website.
In a short statement issued to the BBC, a group’s spokesperson said: “Despite repeated attempts to engage with Graham Wallace and the board over the issue of a binding legal commitment not to sell or lease back Ibrox or Murray Park, we have been unable to come to any agreement.
“It seems the board are happy to continue to alienate the thousands of fans who have supported our efforts through the Ibrox 1972 fund.
“We are left with no option but to release all those who have supported the fund from their binding financial commitment. We urge fans not to give their money to this regime in a lump sum payment via season tickets and to support the team on a game-by-game basis.”
There has been no statement from messrs Dave King and Richard Gough on the demise of the scheme set up, with the South African businessman disappearing from the scene over a month ago as their ‘scheme’ faltered and was rejected by the board.
Despite the fund’s closure, the Sons of Struth have called for another march to Ibrox, in a last-ditch attempt to force the club’s hand.
In a statement issued via the group’s website, it read: “Our founders worked hard for 17 years until they eventually purchased our first owned home after years as a nomadic team. The final step in this journey was from Kinning Park to Ibrox and we are marching the same route to highlight how important owning our own ground is We believe the stadium to be of the utmost importance and to preserve it in the club’s name.
“This march isn’t just for SoS supporters it’s for all who believe in safeguarding Ibrox for us and future generations of fans. We will have banners etc but would encourage fans groups and RSC to bring their own flags and bus crests etc to show this issue is important to the wider fan base. We want the board to issue legal assurances as this shouldn’t be hard to do to back up their claims.
“Three directors have already agreed this can be done so why wont they? There are many reasons we wish this to be done and one main reason is due to the split in the boardroom, these directors may not last long or bring in another director who decides he wants to raise capital by using Ibrox.
“A simple legal assurance isn’t much to ask in return for a bit of faith and trust in this board. Their refusal to do something they have agreed can be done begs more questions than answers.”
It is highly unlikely that another protest march will achieve anything, especially since withholding money failed to force the club’s hand.
Meanwhile, Rangers yesterday issued a statement admitting they had issued inaccurate accounts to the London Stock Exchange. The club revealed that the accounts, which were finalised by former club financial director Brian Stockbridge, failed to disclose a share deal coming his way.
The share deal saw Stockbridge receive £215,000 worth of shares for just £7,000. The figures, published last year, stated in a paragraph described as note 30: “No share options or convertible shares are held within the Group, therefore no diluted Earnings per Share calculations are required.”
Following that disclosure, the club stated that no other ‘penny share’ giveaways are in the pipeline.