The Ibrox board have accepted the offer of an emergency loan deal from Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, despite an 11th hour bid from Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and a significantly higher offer of £16 million from South African based businessman Dave King.
Ashley’s deal has seemingly been pushed through by the Easdales and Laxey Partners, after opposition to Ashley evaporated with the resignation of Finance Director Philip Nash and the departure of chief executive Graham Wallace on a ‘holiday’ – both supporters of Dave King’s £16 million deal.
In return for accepting Ashley’s offer of emergency funding, the Newcastle owner has demanded two seats on the board – the places that Wallace and Nash held. Kennedy wanted a seat on the PLC board for his £3 million short-term loan, while King wanted overall control of the club.
At this moment in time Ashley is prevented from owning more than 10% of Rangers by an agreement with the Scottish FA, however the Englishman has already indicated that is willing to listen to offers for the St.James’ Park side but won’t sell up until the end of next season at the earliest.
The loan arrives just in time for the Ibrox side, as reports indicated that the club was just 48 hours away from administration, but while the money helps stave off that immediate threat it is only to the tune of £2 million and will only see the club into December – significant investment is needed to help the club finish the current season and beyond.
With the likes of Sandy Easdale, Mike Ashley and Laxey Partners unwilling to launch a third share issue in as many years – as it would dilute their share holding – where will this investment come from? Further emergency loans from major shareholders or the transfer of those players at Ibrox with a resale value – they are nearly as scarce as banks jumping to offer the club a credit line.
The short-term survival of Rangers has been saved, but now to secure the long-term survival of the fallen giant those in a position of power must work together and do what is best for the club otherwise administration could descend upon Ibrox from those dark clouds lurking above the Archibald Leitch designed stadia.