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Mike Ashley set to bid for Rangers (and NUFC ban Daily Telegraph for story)

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MIKE ASHLEY is preparing to become the front-runner in an effort to save Rangers from another financial collapse.


The Newcastle United owner has made positive moves to sell the St James’ Park club and bring to an end a troubled seven-year reign on Tyneside as he turns his attention to Ibrox.


There is already interest in United – even at the asking price of around £230million – and any quick deal would allow Ashley to immediately focus on the Gers.


News of the Sports Direct chief’s enthusiasm for stepping up his involvement with Rangers comes on the day fans are expected to hear how successful the board’s latest share issue – aimed at raising £4m – has been.


But, whatever happens, it appears Ashley is keen to switch his football and business from Tyneside to Clydeside.


Gers fans are now of a mood where any transparent ownership of the club would be welcome, even if there would be reservations over precisely what Ashley has in mind.


He has been notoriously reluctant to splash the cash at Newcastle during his time in charge of the Premier League club, although Rangers wouldn’t need anything like the investment in players the English club require to compete against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.


Ashley, of course, already has a stake in the Gers, along with the naming rights for Ibrox. But, until he sells Newcastle, he is pre- vented from increasing that to more than 10 per cent by SFA rules.


UEFA regulations also stipulate the same person cannot own two clubs that might meet each other in European competition and, while neither Rangers nor Newcastle are playing in Europe, they could in the future.


Now it seems Ashley wants to take charge of the Gers alone with, clearly, one eye on a potential return to the Champions League and the opportunities that would afford.


But right now his focus is on selling the Magpies quickly – and the £230m asking price includes repayment of the £129m he is owed in the form of interest-free loans.


Ashley paid just £134m to purchase Newcastle from Sir John Hall, above, and Freddie Shepherd in 2007.


And, while the club has not officially been put up for sale as the uncertainty could destabilise the business and unsettle the team, there is interest from North America and the Far East in buying a club that posted a post-tax profit of £9.9m for the last financial year.


That, however, has not been achieved without incurring the wrath of a lot of people concerned at his lack of investment in the team, a controversial shirt deal with payday loans company Wonga and a series of internal cost-cutting measures.


The £40m spent on players this summer was paid for almost entirely by the sale of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain and Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal.



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Seat belts strapped and all that ...


(Despite all the baggage that comes with a potential owner like Ashley, just imagine for a moment or two the look on Lawwells face should this come to pass.)

Not sure what relevance Lawwell has in this topic, nor do I think he's going to be worrying about us any time soon.

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Seat belts strapped and all that ...


(Despite all the baggage that comes with a potential owner like Ashley, just imagine for a moment or two the look on Lawwells face should this come to pass.)


I really couldn't give a fuck about what Lawwell's face looked like. Ashley is a huge part of the current predicament we now find ourselves in and anyone gleeful about further involvement should be viewed with suspicion.

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Seat belts strapped and all that ...


(Despite all the baggage that comes with a potential owner like Ashley, just imagine for a moment or two the look on Lawwells face should this come to pass.)


I imagine he'd fall about laughing that another rogue was coming-in to rape n pillage - why would you want that????

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From what I've read about Newcastle, this would be their gain and our loss. He boasts about turning them into a profit making company, but that seems to be because he's used them to make money for himself and not spending much on the team, making them much less competitive than their size.


For me I think football clubs should be more community companies that try to break even or make a small profit and reinvest that in infrastructure.


What gets me is why someone super rich like Ashley, still sees the need to squeeze every pound out of this kind of venture. Surely life is about raising money in part of it and spending some of it in another part?


That's why we really need a super rich fan if we're going to have that kind of ownership. You want someone who can afford to lose a few million and enough to invest 50m (but hopefully not lose it as it will still be there in equity). But you also want them not to see it as a money making exercise. You want it to be like us, if we were rich - a hobby and labour of love, where the goal is to get the club to be as successful as possible, without losing your shirt.


We all have hobbies where we give our time and money - you're average golfer can spend several thousands every year on green fees and lessons, as well as 20 hours a week of their time. All that just to make them reasonably successful in the club competitions. The same goes for many expensive hobbies - like classic cars/bikes, amateur motor racing etc. I've recently bought an expensive guitar, just about to buy a top of the range Marshall amp, and just starting to pay for lessons to take me to the next level, but I'm not going to go busking to try and make them pay for themselves.


I want it where you scale up that kind of cost and time to someone super rich, where they not only enjoy their expensive hobby, but they get a lot of perks from it too - they're already rich, so why not add fame and celebrity? Surely swanning around the Scottish football scene, with the odd sojourn into Europe, in hospitality suites and directors boxes, mixing with top footballers and plenty of celebrity hangers on, is far more glamorous and enjoyable than your average corporate strategy meeting?


The likes of David Murray also used it to increase his business by having such a famous public profile, and flying people in his private jet to then be treated like a VIP at Ibrox must have been seductive for many potential business partners. He also used it to make money for his own businesses - something I wouldn't really mind as long as the club get value for money.


If we any of us were worth a few hundred million pounds, then I'm sure most would do this - after all what else do you spend that kind of money on? You can't really spend it, so what reward do you have except your fortune as some kind of score?


I think for the likes of King, this is more relevant due to his age. He's due for retirement - surely once you are that rich you start looking for something a bit more fun to spend your remaining active years with? Besides, when you're getting into your twilight years, you start wanting to leave some kind of legacy to be remembered by, and just making a load of money and beating the SA tax authorities at their own game, isn't exactly a great epitaph. That gets even worse when you consider the false promises he's made if he doesn't do anything... He won't be popular. It's either that or maybe some other high profile philanthropy.


But if not King, then surely there is some other super rich Rangers fan who wants to save the club and make it successful without skimming it? Or are we the only big club without one? We're not talking about Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour type levels of throwing money around. Just saving the club and competing with Celtic. Small potatoes when you consider how much an EPL club costs these days. Even Ashley is selling NU for £230m - how did become a poundland purchase compared to them?

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Presumably Ashley is in no place to do anything further with Rangers until he has completely exited Newcastle United? Whilst there may be interest from other parties in acquiring Newcastle surely in reality that is likely to take months and months to conclude even if a suitable price is agreed? A long drawn out process before he is even in a position to progress matters with Rangers?

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