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We won�t be railroaded into selling Gers, Craig

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RANGERS chairman Alastair Johnston has sparked a high-stakes game of poker - with the club's future in the pot.


Late on Monday night, with would-be Gers buyer Craig Whyte desperate to finally seal his �£25million takeover, Johnston REFUSED to be railroaded into rubber-stamping the deal.


Instead he listened to another Gers director - understood to be chartered accountant Paul Murray - who promised he could broker a rival �£25m bid to underwrite a new shares issue in the club.


SunSport believes that proposal is backed by the financial muscle of South African multi-millionaire Dave King and Lanarkshire motoring tycoon Douglas Park. As manager-in-waiting Ally McCoist sweats over what funds he will have, though, the nightmare news for Gers fans is that process could take 10 WEEKS.


Forget all the financial posturing and alleged stalling tactics, the reality is that new boss McCoist could be marooned on July 1 with NO IDEA what his transfer budget is, with the SPL season due to start on July 23.


Johnston, though, insisted he had grave doubts whether the transfer budget Whyte promised would materialise.


And he said: "Based on the documents we have only been able to review within the last week, we are disappointed that they ultimately did not reflect the investment in the club that we were led to believe for the last few months would be a commitment in the purchase agreement.


"Given the requirement to repay the bank in full under the proposed transaction, there appears to be only a relatively modest amount of money available that would positively impact the club's operations, especially as it relates to an urgent requirement to replenish and upgrade the playing squad.


"Whilst the proposed transaction has addressed the interests of Lloyds Bank, the Murray Group and Craig Whyte, our perspective is solely directed towards the future of Rangers Football Club."


Whyte had pledged McCoist would get at least �£5m per season towards improving the champions' threadbare squad.


Johnston, though, is prepared to gamble on examining the shares issue option.


He said: "The board has had an approach from one of its directors who wishes us to consider an alternative funding option. This would involve a fresh issue of new capital to raise �£25m to be invested directly into the club. The board believes it has a responsibility to examine this proposal whilst continuing its review of the Craig Whyte transaction.


"After six months of limited engagement in the process, the board believes it is not in the best interests of its stake-holders for it to be pressed into an unrealistic timescale."


The Independent Sub-Committee of the Rangers board has taken a huge risk.


Johnston's soundbites claim he is desperate to make sure the best interests of the 26,400 minority shareholders are served.


When the fan in the street picks through the legal language and peers through the smokescreens, though, this looks like one thing. A stalling tactic. Majority shareholder Sir David Murray, Lloyds Bank and Whyte himself are desperate to get the deal over the line.


The bankers are CONVINCED the funding is there.


Johnston, chief executive Martin Bain, finance director Donald McIntyre, non-executive directors John McClelland and John Greig CAN'T veto the Whyte deal but can shunt it into the sidings at a critical time. Meanwhile, the fans suffer once more.


Johnston, though, said: "We have only very recently had the opportunity to meet Craig Whyte and his team.


"Moreover, it is only in the last few days we have started to receive the draft agreements outlining the transaction.


"We are still awaiting a detailed working capital statement demonstrating there is sufficient funding in place to meet the club's pressing needs.


"On Monday, I had a lengthy conversation with Craig Whyte explaining the dilemma the board faces. It was a constructive dialogue, and whilst he expressed his frustration, he understood our position."


Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3536471/We-wont-be-railroaded-into-selling-Gers-Craig.html#ixzz1K0whqlEN

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CRAIG WHYTE has come out fighting after it was claimed he doesn't have the cash to buy Rangers.


The would-be Ibrox owner is furious that Gers chairman Alistair Johnston blocked his �£25million takeover at the 11th hour.


He wants to delay until the end of the season after it emerged a rival bid - understood to be backed by Lanarkshire motoring tycoon Douglas Park and South African businessman Dave King was being brokered behind the scenes.


Whyte - who has spent over �£700,000 getting his offer to the table - insisted last night his deal was the right one for Rangers.


Sources close to the Whyte deal told SunSport: "There is no doubt this is the RIGHT deal for Rangers.


"This move makes no sense at all. It is a clumsy and deliberate attempt to delay the deal, which is worth �£52.5million. This is more than DOUBLE the amount being suggested by this unnamed director. Craig Whyte would clear the club's debt to Lloyds.


"On the first day of a deal being completed �£10m will go into Rangers' account as working capital. Any suggestion this is not the case is completely untrue and also defamatory.


"The Whyte proposal has been agreed by Sir David Murray and Lloyds bank. It appears to be two or three members of the Rangers board intent on delaying this deal.


"If this were to happen then it would be very bad news for Rangers FC and their loyal fans." The six-month takeover saga took a major twist when Johnston revealed concerns over the amount of money available to spend on players and that an Ibrox director - understood to be Paul Murray - had proposed a new �£25m deal.


That is understood to have left Whyte angered and frustrated. Last night it emerged Lloyds Bank - stunned Ibrox chiefs are putting the deal in jeopardy - are set to publicly back the Whyte bid.


A source said: "They are gobsmacked. They will be coming out shortly in support of Whyte. It is the best deal for everyone."


Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3536580/Board-stupid.html#ixzz1K0yVbElM

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