I have been meaning to comment upon the latest developments at Rangers FC:
Ashley has parked his tanks on the front lawns at Ibrox where he has launched a bid to have the Rangers chief executive, Graham Wallace, and director Philip Nash removed from the club’s plc board.
This Glaswegian power struggle represents the latest attempt at expanding the Sports Direct owner’s football empire which, apart from encompassing Newcastle, already includes a minority involvement with Oldham Athletic and an almost 9% holding in Rangers.
Ashley made his move to unseat Wallace and Nash only six days after increasing his stake in the financially troubled Glasgow club from around 5%. The sports retail tycoon has now called for an emergency general meeting to vote on his proposals but the current Rangers plc board are proving as resistant to his charms as many Newcastle fans and have declared they will endeavour to block this demand.
While there is believed to be strong support for Ashley in certain quarters within Ibrox – most notably from Sandy Easdale, the chairman of the club’s football board – Wallace has been talking to a consortium led by Dave King, a South Africa-based businessman, over a potential multmillion-pound bailout at the Scottish Championship club.
Yet unless King finally makes his long mooted move, Rangers may ultimately have little option but to rely on Ashley, who first invested in 2012 and is now the second-biggest shareholder. Last month it was revealed that he had gained control of the club’s retail division and, even more significantly, has bought naming rights to Ibrox from the club’s former chief executive Charles Green for £1. Green recently conceded there would be nothing to stop him re-naming the ground The Sports Direct Arena.