Mike Ashley may have lost control at Rangers with the new look board sweeping his men/allies out of power, but he clearly still wields considerable power.
The likes of Derek Llambias and Barry Leach, former direct employees of Ashley at NUFC and Sports Direct respectively, were forced out after a shareholders vote.
However, interim Rangers Chairman Paul Murray has now admitted that the £5m loan from Mike Ashley/Sports Direct entitles Ashley to put those two, or indeed any other pair of nominees, back on the main public board of Rangers.
“Mike Ashley does have the right to nominate two board members to the main public company, the International Football Club, he has got rights under the first £5m loan to do that.
“He has showed no intention of doing it so far but he has the right to do it if he wants to – and we’d have to address that if and when he chooses to do that.”
A lot of relationships with Sports Direct:
“One of the big information gathering exercises was to look at the whole relationship between Sports Direct and the club.
“There are a lot of relationships (with Sports Direct) and we haven’t finished that review yet. I think once we have done that we will sit down, hopefully with Sports Direct and Mike Ashley, and try and agree a way forward.”
When Rangers turned down the poisoned chalice of the second £5m loan from Ashley, it was widely thought that this meant he lost the right to appoint two directors but clearly the arrangement already existed with that first £5m loan.
After three weeks, Paul Murray says he and the other new directors are still going through all the documentation of the club’s links with Ashley/Sports Direct and still haven’t got to the end of it.
It makes you wonder if Mike Ashley did ever vacate Newcastle United, just how many knots he would leave the club tied up in, in terms of ongoing contracts beneficial to him and his retail empire.
Quite clearly those in control of Rangers would love to cut all ties with Mike Ashley but the implication in Paul Murray’s words is that the other ‘relationships’ outside of the £5m loan, are far more problematic than the cash amount owed.
If he so chooses, I think there is every chance of Mike Ashley still having his claws into Rangers way beyond the day he ever leaves Newcastle.
This side of the border we are all hoping he cashes in those black and white chips, sooner rather than later.