Dave King has thanked the Rangers fans backing his bid for power at Ibrox.
On Friday morning, the club’s board finally set a new date for the decisive general meeting which could oust the current board as they announced it would be staged at Ibrox on March 6, with an 11am start.
King needs to win a majority vote if he is to sweep David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach out of the Blueroom before replacing them with Paul Murray, John Gilligan and himself.
But he has already won over the support of the Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First, two fan-ownership groups seeking regime change.
The RST revealed it has been given control of an extra 1.36million shares ahead of next month’s meeting.
The group, which already holds around 1.3million shares of its own, has been collecting proxies from around 1,000 minor shareholders and is now in charge of a 3.25 per cent stake.
The Trust has already polled its members on how to use its vote, with an overwhelming majority calling for the current board to be ousted and replaced with King, Murray and Gilligan.
Rangers First, backed by over 11,000 members, plans to do the same with its 1.7 per cent stake.
A spokesperson for King and his fellow boardroom hopefuls said: “We note the General Meeting date has finally been confirmed for Ibrox on Friday 6 March. Ibrox, of course, was always the natural choice of venue.
“We – Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan – would, at this time, like to thank the Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First for their excellent work towards the board room changes necessary. They have performed a remarkable service for their club and are to be commended.
“RST have an astonishing 3.25 per cent of shares and proxies while RF have also gathered a significant number of shares. Their total will be announced shortly but together these two groups deserve to be recognised.
“Both groups have released the results of surveys conducted with their members and the overwhelming majority have backed our resolutions.
“We thank all fans who have taken the time to buy shares, fill out proxy cards and back our resolutions. Supporters are the lifeblood of Rangers Football Club and they should never be taken for granted. They have our thanks.”
The Rangers board were finally forced to call the general meeting for Ibrox after two failed attempts to stage it in London hotels saw both venues back out over security concerns.
March 6 is the final day that Rangers could have held the meeting, which was originally scheduled for two days earlier.
RST spokesman Chris Graham believes victory is close but warned fans “not to rest on our laurels”.
Responding to the proxy tally, he said: “This is a hugely significant step by fan shareholders. They have entrusted the RST with what could prove to be a decisive portion of the vote in this EGM.
“Whilst still increasing our membership steadily, our focus in the past few weeks has been on galvanising the existing shareholders to vote for all the resolutions at the EGM.
“The fans have once again stepped up when their club needed them but we cannot rest on our laurels. We would encourage people not to attend the EGM despite it being moved back to Glasgow. Fans should proxy their vote to arrive with us on or before Thursday 26th February and ensure their vote is counted.
“It is clear this board will not go without a fight. They will try any trick they can at the EGM to get the meeting adjourned. Fans can ensure that any such move fails by getting their vote in now.”
The board’s reluctance to give up power was again displayed in their 7am statement to the stock exchange.
Setting out two questions for King, they asked: “What his business plans are in regards to the future running of the club and, in particular, how he intends to finance the club going forwards?” and “What action he intends to take to avoid the suspension of the company from trading on the London Stock Exchange (and the subsequent risk of being delisted from trading) should shareholders vote him onto the board, as previously outlined in the announcement made on 6 February 2015?”
That announcement claimed the club’s nominated advisor, WH Ireland, would resign if King, who admitted 41 counts of income tax offences in South Africa in 2013, was appointed to the board, prompting the suspension of trading on the stock exchange.
On the same day, King told Press Association Sport: ‘’I stated that Paul Shackleton’s historic role in governance failure rendered the nomad unfit to continue - hence they will not need to resign, they will be replaced.”