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From The. Times.

 

tom_farmery ‏@tom_farmery 12m

Crunch time for #Rangers as AGM approaches. Read exclusively how the current board have Thursday's vote already won. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/busine...cle3949988.ece

 

tom_farmery ‏@tom_farmery 5m

Story tells how S Easdale, Laxey Partners, Mike Ashley, Artemis and Richard Hughes of Zeus will back current board. Total of 54.67% #Rangers

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Sandy Easdale, the largest shareholder at Rangers, has said the only way the Scottish football club can operate in a financially viable way going forward is if fellow investors vote at an AGM to keep the current board in control at Ibrox.

 

His comments come only days before shareholders will arrive in Glasgow to vote at Thursday’s AGM to decide the future of the Rangers boardroom. Investors will decide between the current boardroom and a requisition group led by Paul Murray and Malcolm Murray, respectively the former director and chairman of the club.

 

After speaking to a number of top ten shareholders at Ibrox, The Times understands that the current board will win the AGM vote by a clear margin.

 

It can now be revealed that Mr Easdale, whose current holding is 4.37 per cent but has voting rights of 26.62 per cent, Laxey Partners, Artemis Investment, Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United, and Richard Hughes of Zeus Capital will all back the present outfit at Rangers. Their votes collectively would produce a total of 54.67 per cent, over three per cent more than required to secure a majority.

 

“I’ve always been confident that the board as it is now would be secure. It would be ridiculous to think anything else,” said Mr Easdale, whose brother, James, was appointed as a non-executive director in July. He added that where necessary more funds would be made available if the current board is still in charge on Friday morning.

 

The board consists of five members, with Graham Wallace, the chief executive, David Somers, the chairman, and Norman Crighton, a non-executive director, all joining last month.

 

Mr Wallace’s appointment in particular has helped sway investors such as Artemis. The London-based funds manager, that holds a 8.42 per cent stake, initially backed the requisition group when it first became clear in October that an AGM would be held with resolutions relating to the retirement of the current board and the appointment of both Murray’s, along with Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson.

 

But sources close to Artemis have told The Times that the appointment of Mr Wallace, who was the chief operating officer and chief finance officer of Manchester City between 2009 and 2013, was a “major step in the right direction”.

 

It is also understood that rather than wanting to meet with the requisition group as a whole, Artemis sought only to converse with Paul Murray in an attempt to persuade him to join the current board. Those talks, as recent as last week, have since broken down.

 

Malcolm Murray, who holds 0.3 per cent and has been the mouthpiece for the rebel group, was chairman of Rangers from May 2012 until he stepped down in July this year following speculation that fellow board members wanted to get rid of him.

 

He has remained confident that his group will win the AGM because he claims they have “the best interests of Rangers at heart”.

 

Mr Murray said last night that he didn’t want to comment on the outcome of the AGM suggested that even if his group is defeated “the war would still be very far from over”.

 

“What people need to understand is that we have the fans’ vote and they want us on that board. Nothing can be more significant when the fans start saying they won’t buy season tickets. We are here to provide a future to a club that lacks transparency,” said the Scottish businessman.

 

Mr Easdale added, though, that the prospect of Mr Murray ever returning to Ibrox in a position more senior than “a season ticket holding fan” was “ridiculous and ludicrous”.

 

Not only will the AGM conclude weeks of trying to sweeten up investors, it also caps what has been a torrid year off the pitch at Ibrox. There has been infighting in the boardroom, a racist comment made by Charles Green, the former chief executive, confusion over who was running the club, a yearly operating loss of £14.4 million and a month ago had only two members on the board and no chairman.

 

On departing in August as the chairman of the club currently top of the Scottish League One, Rangers icon Walter Smith called for a clear up of what he called “boardroom turmoil”.

 

Neil Patey, a partner at EY and a football finance expert, added that “where Rangers has really failed over the last year or so is in corporate governance”.

 

“There was effectively no platform for the club to control itself in a sensible manner. It really has been a complete mess and that has translated into a football club being known for its exploits off the pitch rather than good performances on it.

 

“Now there is that platform of corporate governance in place. Graham Wallace has a very impressive background in football but after all of this is over there will need to be a prolonged period of harmony so that the club can move on and start concentrating attentions on the football it plays rather than the trouble among board members.”

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Wooops.....

 

I fear that this error is not replicated in their main claim. When Laxey didn't listen our club was doomed to spivvery and gangster control with no-one who has ever cared for the club left. Unless the requisitioners are saving up some special, late twist to the tale.

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