Time for a new King?
- 04 March 2014
Like many Rangers fans I don’t trust the board an inch but will not wholeheartedly jump into bed with Mr King before he gives every average Bear some answers.
After Dave King released his statement, I and many others were immediately delighted by his mention of fan ownership. It was a welcome sight after being almost blasphemous for many of the would-be saviours in recent years. I have maintained my stance on fan ownership for a long time and remain firm in my belief that it is the best way for fans to get transparent, authoritative consultation with the people who run the Club on their behalf. In the early days of Rangers, the club needed to raise money to build stands and terraces and we became a limited company. Before that we were a members club, let’s return to those days of yore.
Another thing that struck me was "option 2" of his brief statement in which he expressed his belief that fans should get security in return for their season ticket investment. This really is an excellent idea which, if explored to its natural conclusion, would lead to permanent and ongoing security for season ticket holders over the club. It does, however, require intricate and proper structuring to exploit the massive advantages available to such a scheme, such as making the club millions of extra pounds every year. Such a financial injection is much needed due to the lack of Champions League money until we regain our rightful place. I know personally many well-informed people amongst the Rangers support who know these structures inside and out I only hope Mr King seeks them out and enlists their help.
However, I still have a few questions that remain outstanding.
Who will be the trustees that he plans to appoint? Mr King needs to appoint people who will unite the support not polarise it. They need to be men or women with first class business acumen and be completely ethical in their dealings. Obviously to roll-out Brian Laudrup or Colin Stein as a trustee would be a great PR coup but the others need to be more substantial. I would suggest the trustees shouldn't have been involved previously with the Rangers board or any previous bid to take control of the club. This would only serve to distract from the need for change as fans started to concentrate on them, rather than the misdeeds of the current Board.
As we all know, Scottish football has moved in mysterious ways in recent years, seemingly tainted by a green tinge. There is no reason in my mind why Dave King would not pass a fit and proper persons test, Christ, even Craig Whyte did. But the question remains: If Mr King did not pass the test, would he be happy to be a benevolent benefactor without being a Director of Rangers?
Mr King also needs to make it clear what he thinks the Board’s options would be if they refuse his conditions for the season ticket money. Are we potentially playing Russian roulette?
My fear is the club refuses his terms and simply do a sale and leaseback deal for the stadium with our friendly hedge fund the Laxey’s. Shareholders could call an EGM but as we saw at the AGM they were powerless to do much. In the event this happened, the controlling shareholders who have the security over Ibrox and Auchenhowie are certain to get their money back if the club goes into administration before anyone else is paid.
How will my season ticket be bought if the club refuses to engage with the scheme? Will they be able to ensure my usual seat?
If the Club refuses to accept the terms of the season ticket money, is a boycott next?
Who will be footing the bill for setting up the trust? I presume Mr King but fans need to know. Will any costs be deducted e.g. credit card costs from the season ticket money paid in?
If the plans fail and I decide I want my money out of it, how quickly can it be paid back and, presumably, paid back without any costs deducted?
The statements released so far by Mr King and, let’s face it, by the Blue Knights and the requisitioners in the past, have always been vague and left many more questions than answers. He needs to be open and transparent from the start in everything he does. He’s demanding such standards from the current board so it’s the least we should expect from him.
God forbid that Mr King does not win but really fans should not dismay if he doesn't because they can achieve fan ownership without him or anyone else.
There are two excellent schemes run by fans for fans to buy shares: www.rangersfirst.org and www.buyrangers.org. I am a member of Rangers First and I make regular monthly payments into this as see it as I believe it’s the perfect vehicle to secure fan ownership for Rangers in a very short term. But I am also a member of the Rangers Supporters Trust and have made four one-off payments into Buy Rangers for myself and family members.
If you are a member of Narsa, Orsa or just live and work abroad you can contribute to one of these schemes. In the interest of fairness I’ll ask you to research and find out which scheme is right for you.
If you haven’t heard of either scheme look them up, don’t just wait for Dave King to sort out all our problems. If you have issues with the RST then join Rangers First, if you have issues with Rangers First put your money in Buy Rangers. Alternatively, be like me and have a foot in both camps, just make sure you put some of your hard earned cash in either scheme.
Get involved with fan ownership, it really is the only way to make the people who run Rangers Football Club, and I would include Dave King in that, accountable to the fans.
Graham McLaren is a member of Rangers First and the Rangers Supporters Trust he can be found on twitter @gazborangers