Mike Ashley nears endgame at Rangers AND Newcastle
The BBC are reporting that Mike Ashley’s bid to make a loan to Rangers of two million pounds has been accepted by the board.
However the two directors that Ashley wanted rid of – one has gone and the other reportedly due to be on his way sooon.
The directors that remain were not active in the management of the club and can be expected to go along with Ashley’s intentions, whatever they might be.
The deal has all the hallmarks of an Ashley stitch-up. The club was desperate, as Ashley had spotted it would be. As ever, he spotted something nobody else on the outside had seen. As a result he has made a loan that enables Rangers to meet its payroll obligations.
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That is a benefit to Rangers that will last barely two months. In return he will be getting concessions from Rangers that will affect the club in the long term.
Ashley now has effective control of the club. The man himself will not be on the board until he has completed the takeover, but he is able to put in place two principal directors who will do what he tells them. And the other directors will do what the Ashley appointees tell them.
As has been written in this very spot, it is not just a question of whether Ashley is now breaching the ten per cent rule allowed him by the Scottish FA. The basic prohibition is on a shareholder in one club having any shares at all in another. Even if a member of one club has no shares at all, such a person is not allowed to exercise influence at another.
There is no doubt at all that Ashley is influencing Rangers – and he owns Newcastle outright.
The inveterate chancer, gambler, and tyrant is betting that the SFA, Rangers, and anyone else will be unable to do anything to stop him taking over at Rangers in his own good time. If they annoy the bloke he will demand repayment of his loan and pull the plug on Rangers. They know that is exactly what he would do.
And then, because nothing else makes sense, he will invest enough money in Rangers to get them into the Champions League. The fans will be delighted, I daresay. At least until he starts getting his pound of flesh in all the ways we are familiar with. And of course he won’t invest enough in Rangers to get them into the latter stages of the Champions League. That would take real money.
Anyway, the end is in sight. I’m convinced of it. Ashley will be departing St James’ Park quite soon. He will not be much bothered who he sells to.
But the rules are quite clear. He can’t own Rangers and Newcastle.
If he tries to do that, and Rangers don’t do anything about it, then fans of Newcastle United may have to step up to the plate.
There is no doubt we have locus standi at law – we have an interest to protect. This might not be enough to commence proceedings on our own. But we could support proceedings instituted, for example, by Newcastle City Council.
The council (via the freemen) owns the land on which the ground has been built. The club, and therefore Ashley, owns the stands and buildings, but the council still owns the land.
There is a lease which stipulates the land must be used for the purpose of professional football, and to be used in accordance with the rules governing such activities.
If Ashley is not inclined to abide by the rules of the sport in which he is bullocking dismayingly around, then he must be forced to abide by them.
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