It has been claimed that £27m is the figure that would ensure Mike Ashley walked away from Rangers.
This follows reports of more black holes in the Glasgow club’s finances than first anticipated by the new Rangers board…with no surprises there.
Having taken control of the boardroom the first task is to ensure the cash is there to keep the club going week by week, which currently is happening due to the loans supplied by Mike Ashley via Sports Direct.
To stand any chance of breaking out of the financial noose though, they are faced with what could be a classic Catch 22 position thanks to the Newcastle United owner.
Alongside matchday income, merchandising is a massive part of Rangers’ income, or at least should be.
With the feel good mood after the boardroom coup, it is clear that the mood is ripe for raking in money via the various merchandise, to help get the finances in order and pay off the loans as well as the day to day expenses.
The only problem being that so long as Ashley/Sports Direct have any part of the loan outstanding, they bank the vast majority of the merchandising profit…
Obviously getting rid of Mike Ashley and his contractual ties and loans would give Rangers a fresh start, but in his latest column, Phil Mac Giollla Bhain says that his sources put a figure of £27m as the amount Ashley would take to walk away and sign everything back over to the club.
With £10m in loans for starters and the merchandise allegedly being worth upwards of £5m a year to him, it isn’t difficult to see how you can quickly get towards that £27m figure of worth to Ashley.
Having run into the resistance he has at Rangers, it would be a major shock if Ashley cut his losses and walked away, the smart money surely being on him simply waiting to see how much he can screw out of the club and the rebel shareholder who ousted Derek LLambias and others from the board.
One way or another Ashley will make Rangers suffer and unless major extra finance can be sourced, he will have them in the palm of his hand for some time to come.
With the Scottish FA having already fined Mike Ashley for dual ownership/interest at Rangers and Newcastle, it is hard to see him going on the front foot to try and retain control of the boardroom at Ibrox, as surely that would then presumably bring more solid sanctions after the token £7,500 warning he got last month.
Unless that is of course he has plans to sell Newcastle?