Mike Ashley has tightened his stranglehold on Rangers with confirmation today that via Sports Direct he will lend £10m to the Glasgow club.
The irony won’t be lost on many people that today was due a Scottish FA hearing on whether Mike Ashley had broken dual interest/ownership, with his involvement at Rangers…
The loan to Rangers will be made in two separate payments but you won’t be surprised to hear that it doesn’t come cheap for the Scottish club and its fans.
The supporters may have ‘won’ the fight for Ibrox not to be used as security but that could be a hollow victory.
Under the terms of the deal, Mike Ashley will be able to nominate another two directors to go onto the board, they will join Ashley’s associates Derek Llambais and Barry Leach who are already there. Part of the money will be used to repay the original money loaned by Ashley via his MASH holdings.
A second part of the deal sees Rangers agreeing to transfer 26% of its holding in Rangers Retail Ltd (RRL), this was a separate entity previously set up by the club in partnership with Sports Direct, with Mike Ashley (SD) owning 49% and Rangers 51%. The new agreement meaning Ashley and SD will now take the lion’s share of that retail/merchandising arrangement. This 26% will be returned to Rangers on repayment of the loan.
A third strand has all future shirt sponsorship money from the 2017/18 season onwards going to Rangers Retail Ltd., of which of course Sports Direct will benefit from overwhelmingly. This shirt sponsorship part will exist for the entire duration of the loan.
Meanwhile Newcastle United fans look on with interest and wonder how the imminent announcement of expected 2013/14 NUFC profits of around £50m will be presented.