Christmas Eve brought news that Rangers have loosened Mike Ashley’s grip a little (lot?) further.
In a very brief statement, the Glasgow club confirmed that they had paid off in full now the loan from Ashley/Sports Direct to the club.
The Rangers statement reading:
“WE are pleased to announce that payment has today been sent to Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited of the full amount of the loan facilities provided by that company to The Rangers Football Club Limited.”
It is always hard to judge exactly what the future will hold for Rangers based on the media coverage in Scotland.
The various journalists and organisations tend to be pro Rangers and anti Celtic, or vice-versa.
Reading various reports you would think either that Rangers are well and truly on their way back, off the field as well as on it, or that they are doomed whatever happens and anything they do with regard to Ashley doesn’t make any difference whatsoever.
As usual with any media coverage, the truth probably lies somewhere in between these extremes but with Mike Ashley having tried to make so much out of the loan not being paid off in full previously, you do get the impression that just maybe Rangers are extricating themselves little by little from his grip.
If only Newcastle fans were so lucky, with Ashley owning the club outright there are no checks at all in terms of what he does with the club and supporters are left with the bottom line of put up or shut up. So you either continue to go with gritted teeth, or you refuse to give him your money/bum on seat and deny yourself the chance to watch your team.
With the latest forecasts of the new TV deals being worth an extra £50m per season to every club from 2016/17, it looks ever more difficult to see Mike Ashley selling off the club, with sadly only relegation being the trigger that could persuade him to ditch Newcastle United.