As Rangers close in on three years under chairman Dave King, the Ibrox club have posted a £6.7 million loss, a £3 million increase from the year before, and admitted they will need further loans of around £7 million to see out this season and the next.
Despite season ticket revenue increasing and commercial revenue up by 55%, the club’s operating costs increased by around £8 million to £32.9 million with their turnover around the £29 million mark.
The annual report also admitted that the club had outstanding loans of around £16 million from investors and with further loans of around £7 million needed over the next two years, that total will jump to an eye watering £21 million.
That debt is more than the amount the old club owed Lloyds Banking Group when Craig Whyte used Ticketus to fund his takeover with much fanfare and heraldry!
The report, published on Friday night, also declared that if the club had not been given assurances over a new injection of loans and their repayment or debt-to-equity dates being put back until 2019, then it would have cast doubt over the club’s ability to continue as a going concern and therefore its ability to continue.
Rangers under Dave King handed Mike Ashley a £3 million pay off to ‘re-negotiate’ a new one year merchandise deal.
Sports Direct pay-off
In June this year, Dave King called an impromptu press conference to declare that they had beaten Mike Ashley and ripped up the previous regime’s deal with the Sportsdirect tycoon and re-negotiated a new one year deal that was more favourable to the club.
The news was heralded at the time as a masterstroke for King and a kick in the balls for Mike Ashley, but the accounts published on Friday painted a totally different picture to the one that the club, its PR arm, fans and their trumpeters in the media painted.
In the report, King declared that Rangers had ‘secured an extremely favourable outcome’ to their long running battle with Sportsdirect. He uttered those same words when the South African based businessman paid off the South African Tax Revenue Service to escape a jail term for tax dodging.
It is now apparent that King and Rangers paid Mike Ashley a cool £3 million for the new one year deal and that helped Ashley and Rangers sell all stock that was gathering cobwebs in the club’s store and online – which Ashley profited from further.
The realisation that Rangers paid £3 million to the current Newcastle United owner is a further sign that what King spouts in public via his Level 5 PR arm is different to what is being said and done behind the scenes.
In previous years, the club’s three main supporters groups would almost certainly have questioned the £3 million pay-off to Ashley from the Rangers board – especially if it was done so by one of the previous regimes – but with the groups now defunct and in its place a group that is far from independent from King and the club – there is no official fan group calling into question such a deal with a man they saw as trying to bully and profit from their continued misery.
Takeover Panel consequences
Last month, King’s lawyer described the Rangers chairman as ‘penniless’ in the Court of Session, claiming that he did not have control over the finances of New Oasis – the group fronted and controlled by King who own the majority shareholding at Rangers.
And while King awaits judgement over his refusal to lodge offers for the rest of the club’s shares, after he acted in concert with other shareholders to secure control of Rangers in March 2015, it seems that he somehow found ‘someone’ at New Oasis to free up funds to keep the club running.
It will be interesting to see if the judge at the Court of Session will see the latest developments at Rangers and realise that what was declared in front of him was nothing more than a ‘glib and shameless liar’ trying to pull a fast one and dodge the rule of law once more.