Rangers Football Club’s Annual General Meeting was in previous years akin to a battleground with the Board of Directors coming under fire from all sides – but Friday morning’s AGM was by comparison a lovefest with the platform applauded as they entered the Clyde Auditorium on the banks of the Clyde.
Chairman Dave King addressed the large number of shareholders with a prepared speech – and as an addendum brought the house down with his announcement that the Directors had made a decision to repay the outstanding £5million loan to ‘Sports Direct’, a move that will result in the title deeds to both Auchenhowie and the Albion Car Park being returned to the Club.
King thanked shareholders, fans and colleagues for their support during the past eight months since the new Board seized control.
“This support has proved to be crucial in what was another difficult and traumatic year for the Company and for the Club.
“The fact that we are all here today - in a working environment that is now genuinely conducive to a rapid rebuilding of the Club and its image - is solely due to the energy shareholders have put into securing the regime change that was clearly long overdue.”
The shadow cast by ‘Sports Direct’ hung over the meeting with the Chairman unable to answer specific questions on the contract between the club and Mike Ashley although he did reveal that in the past the club had been the Number One in the UK in terms of Retail Turnover.
However King did emphasise:
“We remain absolutely resolute to defend Rangers’ interests in the courts when required to do so and will do whatever we can to ensure that the Club enjoys a much more stable and successful future.”
There was a declaration of intent and a promise that better times lie ahead for the Light Blue legions.
“We will make it back to the very top of the domestic game because both the size and determination of the Rangers support demands and guarantees that. It is a voice that cannot be ignored, especially when we speak as one. It is our unity and absolute belief in Rangers that makes us strong and capable of meeting and dealing with all of the challenges before us and any threats made against us. The Club is recovering from all manner of problems and malicious attacks - but Rangers is now irreversibly on the way back. Nothing and no one will prevent us from reaching our goals.”
There was a firm commitment of support for Manager Mark Warburton.
“It is the Board’s intention to provide the Manager with the appropriate level of resources to secure promotion to the Premiership and open the doorway into Europe.”
To acclaim from within the hall, the Chairman did not miss his target when addressing the issues of the previous Board of Directors and the many problems Rangers have faced over the past four years.
“Unfortunately, too many of the challenges in recent years have come off the pitch and behind the scenes. There were individuals on previous Boards who actively contributed to the problems that continue to impact negatively on the business. Thankfully it now appears that justice will be done and those responsible called to account. In the meantime, we must focus on what we can do to ensure Rangers’ upward trajectory continues.
“It is our collective belief that kept Rangers alive despite the crimes, the punishments, the abuse, the lies and, sometimes, even hatred that the Club has endured. No club has been made to suffer as this one has but we WILL emerge stronger than ever.”
After 75 minutes the meeting was concluded with only the vote on the formal resolutions still to be declared